By Leo

In April, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Department of Commerce v. New York and could render a decision any day on whether or not the 2020 federal census should include a question asking about citizenship status.  In January, a Federal District Court in New York ruled that commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, violated the law by pushing for that question.

Those in agreement with the District ruling suggest that the Trump administration wants to add the question as a way of discouraging immigrants from participating in the census, thereby diminishing the political power of immigrant communities.  This, they say, would violate the Constitution on the grounds that the census must be an “actual enumeration” of all persons within the United States, not only citizens.

Proponents of the citizenship question counter that citizenship status is a perfectly natural question to ask in the census, that any government would want to know how many citizens it has, and that several past iterations of the 10-year count have included similar questions.

It remains to be seen how the Supreme Court will rule, but chances are it will not be the last time an issue of race, identity, or citizenship pops up in the politics of the census.  From its creation by the Constitution as a way to apportion seats in congress according to populations of the states, the count has always begged tricky questions that essentially boil down to:

Who is a real American?  Who isn’t?  Who is a citizen?  Who is three-fifths of a human being?  Who might not be human at all?  What does it mean to be White?  To be Colored? To be civilized?  How do you classify the myriad of human backgrounds, cultures and stories into finite, discrete “races?”

The Civil War and Fourteenth Amendment helped shed light on some of these questions, but it would be a mistake to think that they belong to the past.  The NPR podcast Codeswitch has done an excellent series on census, and this episode from last August gives a broad overview of the history.

Here at Chequamegon History, though, we aren’t in the business broad overviews.  We are going to drill down right into the data.  We’ll comb through the 1850 federal census for La Pointe County and compare it with the 1860 data for La Pointe and Ashland Counties. Just for fun, we’ll compare both with the 1855 Wisconsin State Census for La Pointe County, then double back to the 1840 federal census for western St. Croix County.  Ultimately, the hope is to help reveal how the population of the Chequamegon region viewed itself, and ultimately how that differed from mainstream America’s view.  With luck, that will give us a framework for more stories like Amorin’s recent post on the killing of Louis Gurnoe.

Background

Daniel Harris JohnsonJudge Daniel Harris Johnson of Prairie du Chien had no apparent connection to Lake Superior when he was appointed to travel northward to conduct the census for La Pointe County in 1850.  The event made an impression on him. It gets a mention in his short memorial biography in the 1902 Proceedings of the State Bar Association.

Two years after statehood, Lake Superior’s connection to the rest of Wisconsin was hardly existent.  This was long before Highways 51 and 53 were built, and commerce still flowed west to east.  Any communication to or from Madison was likely to first go through Michigan via Mackinaw and Sault Ste. Marie, or through Minnesota Territory via St. Paul, Stillwater, and Sandy Lake.  La Pointe County had been created in 1845, and when official business had to happen, a motley assortment of local residents who could read and write English:  Charles Oakes, John W. Bell, Antoine Gordon, Alexis Carpentier, Julius Austrian, Leonard Wheeler, etc. would meet to conduct the business.

It is unclear how much notice the majority Ojibwe and French-patois speaking population took of this or of the census generally.  To them, the familiar institutions of American power, the Fur Company and the Indian Agency, were falling apart at La Pointe and reorganizing in St. Paul with dire consequences for the people of Chequamegon.  When Johnson arrived in September, the Ojibwe people of Wisconsin had already been ordered to remove to Sandy Lake in Minnesota Territory for their promised annual payments for the sale of their land.  That fall, the government would completely botch the payment, and by February, hundreds of people in the Lake Superior Bands would be dead from starvation and disease.

So, Daniel Johnson probably found a great deal of distraction and anxiety among the people he was charged to count.  Indians, thought of by the United States as uncivilized federal wards and citizens of their own nations, were typically not enumerated.  However, as I wrote about in my last post, race and identity were complicated at La Pointe, and the American citizens of the Chequamegon region also had plenty to lose from the removal.

Madison, for its part, largely ignored this remote, northern constituency and praised the efforts to remove the Ojibwe from the state.  It isn’t clear how much Johnson was paying attention to these larger politics, however.  He had his own concerns:

Johnson1Johnson2Johnson3

House Documents, Volume 119, Part 1.  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1859.  Google Books.

So, in “that thinly settled and half civilized region,” Johnson only found a population of about 500, “exclusive of Indians.”  He didn’t think 500 was a lot, but by some counts, that number would have seemed very high.  Take the word of a European visitor to La Pointe:

Among 200 Indians, only a few white families live there. One of the boatmen gave us a name, with which we found Mr. Austrian.                           

~Carl Scherzer, 1852

And, from this Mr. Austrian, himself:

There were only about 6 white American inhabitants on the Island, about 50 Canadian Frenchmen who were married to squaws, and a number of full blooded Indians, among whom was chief Buffalo who was a descendant of chiefs & who was a good Indian and favorably regarded by the people.

~Joseph Austrian, Brother of Julius and La Pointe resident 1851-52

Who lived around La Pointe in 1850?

In her biography, William W. Warren:  the Life, Letters, and Times of an Ojibwe LeaderTheresa Schenck describes the short life of an ambitious young man from La Pointe.  William Whipple Warren (1825-1853) grew up on the Island speaking Ojibwe as his first language.  His father was a Yankee fur trader from New York.  His mother was a daughter of Michel and Madeline Cadotte.  In his famous History of the Ojibways Warren describes the Ojibwe as people with whom he readily claims kinship, but he doesn’t write as if he is an Ojibwe person himself.  However, he helped interpret the Treaty of 1847 which had definitively made him an Indian in the eyes of the United States (a fact he was willing to use for economic gain).  Still, a few years later, when he became a legislator in Minnesota Territory he dismissed challenges to his claims of whiteness.

If he were alive today, Warren might get a chuckle out of this line from the South African comedian Trevor Noah.

People mocked me. Gave me names like mixed breed, half caste — I hate that term ‘half’. Why half? Why not double? Or twice as nice, I don’t know.

— Trevor Noah

William Warren did not see himself as quite the walking contradiction we might see him as today.  He was a product of the time and place he came from:  La Pointe.  By 1850, he had left that place, but his sister and a few hundred of his cousins still lived there. Many of them were counted in the census.

What is Metis?

Half-breeds, Mixed-bloods, Frenchmen, Wiisakodewininiwag, Mitif, Creoles, Metis, Canadiens, Bois Brules, Chicots, French-of-the-country, etc.–at times it seems each of these means the same thing. At other times each has a specific meaning. Each is ambiguous in its own way.  In 1850, roughly half the families in the Chequamegon area fit into this hard-to-define category.

Kohl1

Kohl2

Kohl, J. G. Kitchi-Gami: Wanderings around Lake Superior. London: Chapman and Hall, 1860.  pg. 260-61.
“Where do I stay?  I cannot tell you.  I am a voyageur–I am a Chicot, sir.  I stay everywhere.  My grandfather was a voyageur; he died on voyage.  My father was a voyageur; he died on voyage.    I will also die on voyage and another Chicot will take my place.” ~Unnamed voyageur qtd. in Kohl
We were accompanied on our trip throughout the lakes of western Canada by half-Indians who had paternal European blood in their veins.  Yet so often, a situation would allow us to spend a night inside rather than outdoors, but they always asked us to choose to Irish camp outside with the Indians, who lived at the various places.  Although one spoke excellent English, and they were drawn more to the great American race, they thought, felt, and spoke—Indian!  ~Carl Scherzer

 

 

 

 

 

In describing William Warren’s people, Dr. Schenck writes,

Although the most common term for people of mixed Indian and European ancestry in the nineteenth century was “half-breed,” the term “mixed blood” was also used.  I have chosen to use the latter term, which is considered less offensive, although biologically inaccurate, today.  The term “métis” was not in usage at the time, except to refer to a specific group of people of mixed ancestry in the British territories to the north.  “Wissakodewinini,” the word used by the Ojibwe, meant “burned forest men,” or bois brulés in French, so called because half-breeds were like the wood of a burned forest, which is often burned on one side, and light on the other (pg. xv).

Schenck is correct in pointing out that mixed-blood was far more commonly used in 19th-century sources than Metis (though the latter term did exist).  She is also correct in saying that the term is more associated with Canada and the Red River Country.  There is an additional problem with Metis, in that 21st-century members of the Wannabe Tribe have latched onto the term and use it, incorrectly, to refer to anyone with partial Native ancestry but with no affiliation to a specific Indian community.

That said, I am going to use Metis for two reasons.  The first is that although blood (i.e. genetic ancestry) seemed to be ubiquitous topic of conversation in these communities, I don’t think “blood” is what necessarily what defined them.  The “pure-blooded French Voyageur” described above by Kohl clearly saw himself as part of Metis, rather than “blanc” society.  There were also people of fully-Ojibwe ancestry who were associated more with Metis society than with traditional Ojibwe society (see my post from April).  As such, I find Metis the more versatile and accurate term, given that it means “mixed,” which can be just as applicable to a culture and lifestyle as it is to a genetic lineage.

louis_riel.jpg

One time Canadian pariah turned national hero, Louis Riel and his followers had cousins at La Pointe (Photo:  Wikipedia)

The second reason I prefer Metis is precisely because of the way it’s used in Manitoba.  Analogous to the mestizo nations of Latin America, Metis is not a way of describing any person with Native and white ancestry.  The Metis consider themselves a creole-indigenous nation unto themselves, with a unique culture and history.  This history, already two centuries old by 1850, represents more than simply a borrowed blend of two other histories.  Finally, the fur-trade families of Red River came from Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinac, Grand Portage, and La Pointe. There were plenty of Cadottes, Defaults, Roys, Gurnoes, and Gauthiers among them.  There was even a Riel family at La Pointe.  They were the same nation    

Metis and Ojibwe Identity in the American Era

When the 1847 Treaty of Fond du Lac “stipulated that the half or mixed bloods of the Chippewas residing with them shall be considered Chippewa Indians, and shall, as such, be allowed to participate in all annuities which shall hereafter be paid…” in many ways, it contradicted two centuries of tradition.  Metis identity, in part, was dependent on not being Indian.  They were a minority culture within a larger traditional Anishinaabe society.  This isn’t to say that Metis people were necessarily ashamed of their Native ancestors–expressions of pride are much easier to find than expressions shame–they were just a distinct people. This was supposedly based in religion and language, but I would argue it came mostly from paternal lineage (originating from highly-patriarchal French and Ojibwe societies) and with the nature of men’s work.  For women, the distinction between Ojibwe and Metis was less stark.

The imposition of American hegemony over the Chequamegon region was gradual.  With few exceptions, the Americans who came into the region from 1820 to 1850 were adult men.  If new settlers wanted families, they followed the lead of American and British traders and married Metis and Ojibwe women. 

Still, American society on the whole did not have a lot of room for the racial ambiguity present in Mexico or even Canada.  A person was “white” or “colored.”  Race mixing was seen as a problem that affected particular individuals.  It was certainly not the basis for an entire nation.  In this binary, if Metis people weren’t going to be Indian, they had to be white.

The story of the Metis and American citizenship is complicated and well-studied.  There is risk of overgeneralizing, but let’s suffice to say that in relation to the United States government, Metis people did feel largely entitled to the privileges of citizenship (synonymous with whiteness until 1865), as well as to the privileges of Ojibwe citizenship.  There wasn’t necessarily a contradiction.

Whatever qualms white America might have had if they’d known about it, Metis people voted in American elections, held offices, and were counted by the census.

Ojibwe “Full-bloods” and the United States Census

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which
may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.     

~Excerpt from Article I Section II, U. S. Constitution

As I argued in the April post, our modern conception of “full-blood” and “mixed-blood” has been shaped by the “scientific” racism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The distinction, while very real in a cultural sense, was not well-grounded in biology.

The relationship of Indians (i.e. full-bloods or those living a traditional lifestyle) to American society and citizenship was possibly more contradictory then that of the Metis.  In one sense, America saw Indians as foreigners on their own continent:  either as enemies to be exterminated, or as domestic-dependent ward nations to be “protected.”  The constitutional language about the census calls for slaves to be counted as three-fifths of a person.  It says Indians shouldn’t be counted at all.

In another sense, however, the path to personhood in America was somewhat clearer for Indians than it was for African Americans.  Many New England liberals saw exodus to Liberia as the only viable future for free blacks. These same voices felt that Indians could be made white if only they were separated from their religions, cultures, and tribal identities.  In 1834, to avoid a second removal, the Brothertown Indians of Wisconsin petitioned congress for citizenship and the termination of collective title to their tribal lands.  In 1839, their request was granted.  In the eyes of the law, they had effectively become white.  Other communities would follow suit.  However, most Native people did not gain any form of American citizenship until 1924.

How did that play out for the Ojibwe people of Chequamegon, and how did it impact the 1850 census?  Well, it’s complicated.

Race, the Census, and Classifying Households 

The enumeration forms Daniel H. Johnson carried to La Pointe had more rows and columns than ever.  The Seventh Census was the first to count everyone in the household by name (previous versions only listed the Head of Household with tally marks).  It was also the first census to have a box for “color.”  Johnson’s choices for color were “white,” “black,” and “mulatto,” forcing him to make some decisions.

He seems to have tried to follow the Indians not taxed clause strictly.  40-50% of households in the region were headed by a full-blood Ojibwe person, possibly only two of them were enumerated.  You won’t find Chief Buffalo, Makadebinesi (Blackbird), Oshkinaawe, Omizhinaawe, Edawegiizhig, and their immediate families in the 1850 census.  Jechiikwii’o (often called Little Buffalo) is not in the document, even though he was an early Catholic convert, dressed in “white” clothing, and counted more Metis Ojibwe among his followers than full-bloods.  However, his son, Antoine Buffalo Sr. (Antoine Jachequaon) is counted.  Antoine, along with George Day, were counted as white heads of household by the census, though it is unclear if they had any European ancestry (Sources conflict.  If anyone has genealogical information for the Buffalo and Day families, feel free to comment on the post).  A handful of individuals called full-bloods in other sources, were listed as white.  This includes 90-year old Madeline Cadotte, Marie Bosquet, and possibly the Wind sisters (presumably descendants of Noodin, one of the St. Croix chiefs who became Catholic and relocated to La Pointe around this time).  They were married to Metis men or lived in Metis households.  All Metis were listed as white.

Johnson did invent new category for five other Ojibwe people:  “Civilized Indian,” which he seemed to use arbitrarily.  Though also living in Metis households, Mary Ann Cadotte, Osquequa Baszina, Marcheoniquidoque, Charlotte Houle, and Charles Loonsfoot apparently couldn’t be marked white the way Madeline Cadotte was.  These extra notations by Johnson and other enumeration marshals across the country are why the Seventh Federal Census is sometimes referred to as the first to count Native Americans.        

Enumerated Population by Race_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River).svg

So, out of 470 individuals enumerated at La Pointe and Bad River (I’ve excluded Fond du Lac from my study) Johnson listed 465 (99%) as white.  By no definition, contemporary or modern, was the Chequamegon area 99% white in 1850.  The vast majority of names on the lines had Ojibwe ancestry, and as Chippewas of Lake Superior, were receiving annuities from the treaties.

There were a few white American settlers.  The Halls had been at La Pointe for twenty years.  The Wheelers were well-established at Odanah.  Junius and Jane Welton had arrived by then.  George Nettleton was there, living with a fellow Ohioan James Cadwell.  The infamous Indian agent, John Watrous, was there preparing the disastrous Sandy Lake removal.  Less easy to describe as American settlers, but clearly of European origins, Fr. Otto Skolla was the Catholic priest, and Julius Austrian was the richest man it town.

There were also a handful of American bachelors who had drifted into the region and married Metis women.  These first-wave settlers included government workers like William VanTassel, entrepreneurs like Peter VanderVenter, adventurers with an early connection to the region like Bob Boyd and John Bell, and homesteaders like Ervin Leihy.

For several reasons, Metis genealogy can be very difficult.  For those interested in tracing their La Pointe ancestors to Quebec or anywhere else, Theresa Schenck’s All Our Relations:  Chippewa Mixed Bloods and the Treaty of 1837 is an absolutely essential resource.

It is unclear how many of French-surnamed heads of household were Chicots (of mixed ancestry) and how many were Canadiens (of fully-French ancestry).  My sense is that it is about half and half.  Some of this can be inferred from birthplace (though a birthplace of Canada could indicate across the river at Sault Ste. Marie as easily it could a farm in the St. Lawrence Valley).  Intense genealogical study of each family might provide some clarifications, but I am going to follow Kohl’s voyageurs and not worry too much about it.  Whether it was important or not to Jean Baptiste Denomie and Alexis Carpentier that they had no apparent Indian ancestry and that they had come from “the true homeland” of Quebec, for all intents and purposes they had spent their whole adult lives in “the Upper Country,” and their families were “of the Country.”  They were Catholic and spoke a form of French that wasn’t taught in the universities.  American society would not see them as white in the way it saw someone like Sherman Hall as white.

So, by my reckoning, 435 of the 470 people counted at La Pointe  (92.5%) were Metis, full-blood Ojibwe living in Metis households, or Canadians in Metis families.  Adding the five “Civilized Indians” and the six Americans married into Metis families, the number rises to 95%.  I am trying to track down accurate data on the of Indians not taxed (i.e. non-enumerated full-bloods) living at or near La Pointe/Bad River at this time.  My best estimates would put it roughly the same as the number of Metis.  So, when Johnson describes a land with a language and culture foreign to English-speaking Americans, he’s right.

Birthplace, Age, and Gender

Ethnic composition is not the only data worth looking at if we want to know what this area was like 169 years ago.  The numbers both challenge and confirm assumptions of how things worked.

Let’s take mobility for example:

Reported Birthplace_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River).svg

The young voyageur quoted by Kohl may have felt like he didn’t have a home other than en voyage, but 86% of respondents reported being born in Wisconsin.  Except for ten missionary children, all of these were Metis or “Civilized Indian.”  Wisconsin could theoretically mean Lac du Flambeau, Rice Lake, or even Green Bay, this but this number still seemed high to me.  I’m guessing more than 14% of 21st-century Chequamegon residents were born outside the state, and 19th-century records are all about commerce, long-distance travel, and new arrivals in new lands.  We have to remember that most of those records are coming from that 14%.

In September of 1850 the federal government was telling the Ojibwe of Wisconsin they needed to leave Wisconsin forever.  How the Metis fit into the story of the Sandy Lake Tragedy has always been somewhat fuzzy, but this data would indicate that for a clear majority, it meant a serious uprooting.

For those born outside Wisconsin, more than two-thirds reported being born in Michigan, Canada, or Minnesota Territory.  These are overwhelmingly Metis or in the case of Anglo-Canadians like Robert Morrin, heads of Metis households from areas with a fur-trade tradition.  Only eighteen individuals reported being born in the eastern United States.  Only three reported Europe.

I had more questions than assumptions about the gender and age breakdown of the population.  Would there be more women than men because of the dangerous jobs done by men or would mortality from childbirth balance that out?  Or maybe widows wouldn’t be counted if they returned to the wigwams of their mothers?  How would newcomers skew the age and gender demographics of the area?

Let’s take a look:

AG1 Total Enumerated Age Gender

A quick glance at Figure AG 1 shows that the population skewed male 248-222 and skewed very young (61% under 20 years old).  On the eve of Sandy Lake, the natural increase in the population seemed to be booming.

Wisconsin-Born_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) by Age and Gender.svg

The hypotheses that women had higher mortality rates and were more likely to be undercounted looked good until we limit the data to the Wisconsin-born population.  In Figure AG 2, we see that the male majority disappears entirely.  The youthful trend, indicating large families and a growing population, continues with 66% of the Wisconsin-born population being under 20.

Non-Wisconsin-Born_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) by Age and Gender.svg

The male skew of the total population was entirely due to those born outside Wisconsin.  This is not surprising given how much we’ve emphasized the number of men who came into the Lake Superior country to marry local women.

A look at the oldest residents in chart AG 2 and AG 3 hints at another story.  Madeline Cadotte is the only Wisconsin-born person over seventy to be counted.  The oldest men all came from Michigan and Canada.  Why?  My hypothesis is that between the fall of New France in 1759 and the establishment of Michel Cadotte’s post sometime around 1800, there wasn’t a large population or a very active fur trade around La Pointe proper.  That meant Cadotte’s widow and other full bloods were the oldest locally-born residents in 1850.  Their Metis contemporaries didn’t come over from the Soo or down from Grand Portage until 1810 or later.

Economics

Before the treaties, the economy of this area was built on two industries:  foraging and trade.  Life for Ojibwe people revolved around the seasonal harvest of fish, wild rice, game, maple sugar, light agriculture, and other forms of gathering food directly from the land.  Trade did not start with the French, and even after the arrival of European goods into the region, the primary purpose of trade seemed to be for cementing alliances and for the acquisition of luxury goods and sacred objects.  Richard White, Theresa Schenck, and Howard Paap have all challenged the myth of Ojibwe “dependence” on European goods for basic survival, and I find their arguments persuasive.

Trade, though, was the most important industry for Metis men and La Pointe was a center of this activity.  The mid-19th century saw a steep decline in trade, however, to be replaced by a toxic cycle of debts, land sales, and annuity payments.  The effects of this change on the Metis economy and society seem largely understudied.  The fur trade though, was on its last legs. Again, the Austrian travel writer Carl Scherzer, who visited La Pointe in 1852:

After this discussion of the of the rates of the American Fur Company and its agents, we want to add some details about the men whose labor and time exerted such a great influence on the fate and culture of the Indian tribes. We wish to add a few explanatory words about the sad presence on La Pointe of the voyageurs or courriers du bois.

This peculiar class of people, which is like a vein of metal that suddenly disappears within the bedrock and reappears many hundreds of miles away under the same geological conditions, their light reaches the borders of the eastern Canadas. The British people, with their religion and customs, reappeared on the shores of these northern lakes only in 1808 with the Fur Company. For labor they drew on those who could carry their wares across the lakes and communicate with the Indians.

Many young men of adventurous natures left the old wide streets of Montreal and moved into the trackless primeval forests of the West. Young and strong as laborers, they soon started to adopt the lifestyle and language of the aborigines. They married with the Indians and inhabit small settlements scattered throughout those mighty lands which begin at Mackinow Island and come up the upper lake to the region of Minnesota. They almost all speak the Canadian patois along with the language of the Chippewas, the tribe with which they came into kinship. We found only a few, even among the younger generation, who understood English.

Since then, every day the population of the otherwise deserted shore of Lake Superior increases with the discovery of copper mines. The animals driven away by the whirlwind of civilization toward the west, attract the Indians with their sensitive guns, leaving La Pointe, abandoned by the Company for their headquarters at St. Paul in Minnesota. Most voyageurs left the island, having seen their business in ruins and lacking their former importance. Just a few families remain here, making a meager livelihood of hunting, fishing, and the occasional convoy of a few travelers led by business, science, or love of nature who purchase their limited resources.

From Scherzer’s description, two things are clear.  It’s pretty clear from the flowery language of the Viennese visitor.Washington Irving and other Romantic-Era authors had already made the Voyageur into the stock stereotypical character we all know today. Th only change, though, is these days voyageurs are often depicted as representatives of white culture, but that’s a post for another time.

The second item, more pertinent to this post, is that a lot of voyageurs were out of work.  This is especially relevant when we look at our census data.  Daniel Johnson recorded the occupations of all males fifteen or over:

Occupations (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) 135 men, 15 years or older, listed with occupations.svg

A full 55% of enumerated men fifteen and older still identified themselves as voyageurs in 1850.  This included teenagers as well as senior citizens.  All were from Metis households, though aside from farmer, all of the other occupation categories in Figure O 1 included Metis people.

Mean Household Size by Occupation_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) .svg

A look at household sizes did not show voyageurs having to support significantly larger or smaller families when compared to the other occupation categories.

The other piece of economic data collected was value of real estate.  Here we see some interesting themes:

valueofrealestate1850Census.svg

If real estate is a good proxy for wealth in a farming community, it is an imperfect one in the Chequamegon area of 1850.  If a voyageur had no home but the river and portage, then we might not expect him to put his coin into land and buildings.  A teacher or Indian agent might draw a consistent salary but then live in supplied housing before moving on.  With that caveat, let’s dig into the data.

Excluding the single farmer, men in the merchant/trader group controlled the most wealth in real estate, with Julius Austrian controlling as much as the other merchants combined.  Behind them were carpenters and men with specific trades like cooper or shoemaker.  Those who reported their occupation generally as “laborer” were not far behind the tradesmen.  I suspect their real estate holdings may be larger and less varied than expected because of the number of sons and close relatives of Michel Cadotte Sr. who identified themselves as laborers.  Government and mission employees held relatively little real estate, but the institutions they represented certainly weren’t lacking in land or power.  Voyageurs come in seventh, just behind widows and ahead of fishermen of which there were only four in each category.

It is interesting, though, that the second and third richest men (by real estate) were both voyageurs, and voyageur shows a much wider range of households than some of the other categories:  laborers in particular.  With the number of teenagers calling themselves voyageurs, I suspect that the job still had more social prestige attached to it, in 1850, than say farmer or carpenter.

With hindsight we know that after 1854, voyageurs would be encouraged to take up farming and commercial fishing.  It is striking, however, how small these industries were in 1850.  Despite the American Fur Company’s efforts to push its Metis employees into commercial fishing in the 1830s, and knowing how many of the family names in Figure O 3 are associated with the industry, commercial fishing seemed neither popular nor lucrative in 1850.  I do suspect, however, that the line between commercial and subsistence fishing was less defined in those days and that fishing in general was seen as falling back on the Indian gathering lifestyle.  It wouldn’t be surprised if all these families were fishing alongside their Ojibwe relatives but didn’t really see fishing (or sugaring, etc.) as an occupation in the American sense.

Finally, it could not have escaped the voyageurs notice that while they were struggling, their former employers and their employers educated sons were doing pretty well.   They also would have noticed that it was less and less from furs. Lump annuity payments for Ojibwe land sales brought large amounts of cash into the economy one day a year.  It must have felt like piranhas with blood in the water.  Alongside their full-blood cousins, Metis Ojibwe received these payments after 1847, but they had more of a history with money and capitalism. Whether to identify with the piranha or the prey would have depended on all sorts of decisions, opportunities and circumstances.

Education and Literacy

The census also collected data on education and literacy, asking whether children had attended school within the year, and whether adults over twenty could read and write.  The history of white education efforts in this area are fairly well documented.  The local schools in 1850 were run by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (A.B.C.F.M.) at the La Pointe and Odanah missions, and an entire generation had come of age at La Pointe in the years since Rev. Sherman Hall first taught out of Lyman Warren’s storehouse in 1831.  These Protestant ministers and teachers railed against the papists and heathens in their writings, but most of their students were Catholic or traditional Ojibwe in religion.  Interestingly, much of the instruction was done in the Ojibwe language.  Unfortunately, however, the census does not indicate the language an individual is literate in.  I highly recommend The Ojibwe Journals of Edmund F. Ely, 1833-1849 if you are interested in these topics.

To start with, though, let’s look at how many people were going to school:

Number of Pupils by Age_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River).svg

Thirty-nine students had gone to school in the previous year.  There is a lot of sample-size noise in the data, but it seems like ages 7-11 (what we would call the upper-elementary years) were the prime years to attend school.

Reported School Attendance for Children Ages 5-16_ (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River).svg

Overall, most children had not attended school within the year.  Attendance rates were slightly higher for boys than for girls.  White children, all from two missionary families, had a 100% attendance rate compared to 24% for the Metis and “Civilized Indian” children.

We should remember, however, that not attending school within the year is not the same as having never attended school.  Twelve-year-old Eliza Morrin (later Morrison) is among the number that didn’t attend school, but she was educated enough to write her memoirs in English, which was her second language. They were published in 2002 as A Little History of My Forest Life, a fascinating account of Metis life in the decades following 1854.

Eliza’s parents were among the La Pointe adults who could read and write.  Her aunt, uncle, and adult cousins in the neighboring Bosquet (Buskey) house were not.  Overall, just over half of adults over 20 were illiterate without a significant gender imbalance.  Splitting by birthplace, however, shows the literacy rate for Wisconsin-born (i.e. Metis and “Civilized Indian”) was only 30%, down from the overall male literacy rate of 48%.  For Wisconsin-born women, the drop is only three points, from 47% to 44%.  This suggests Metis women were learning to read while their husbands and brothers (perhaps en voyage) were not.

Literacy Rate for Adults over 20 (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) by Gender and Birthplace_.svg

And this is exactly what the data say when we split by occupation.  The literacy rate for voyageurs was only 13%.  This beats fisherman–all four were illiterate–but lagged far behind all other types of work.

Literacy Rate for Adults over 20 (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River) by Occupation_.svg

If education was going to be a factor in the economic mobility of unemployed voyageurs, the trends weren’t looking good.

Odds and Ends

Two marriages were reported as occurring in the year previous to the census:  Peter and Caroline Vanderventer and Pierre and Marguerite Robideaux (ak.a. Peter and Margaret Rabideaux).   Though married, however, Caroline was not living with her husband, a 32-year old grocer from New York.  She (along with their infant daughter) was still in the home of her parents Benjamin and Margaret Moreau (Morrow).  The Vanderventers eventually built a home together and went on to have several more children. It appears their grandson George Vanderventer married Julia Rabideaux, the granddaughter of Peter and Margaret.

I say appears in the case of George and Julia, because Metis genealogy can be tricky.  It requires lots of double and triple checking.  Here’s what I came across when I once tried to find an unidentified voyageur known only as Baptiste:

Voyageurs by Given Name (1850 Census La Pointe and Bad River)

Sometimes it feels like for every Souverain Denis or Argapit Archambeau, there are at least 15 Jean-Baptiste Cadottes, 12 Charles Bresettes, 10 Francois Belangers and 8 Joseph DeFoes.  Those old Canadian names had a way of persisting through the generations.  If you were a voyageur at La Pointe in 1850, there was nearly a 30% chance your name was Jean-Baptiste. To your friends you might be John-Baptist, Shabadis, John, JB, or Battisens, and you might be called something else entirely when the census taker came around.

The final column on Daniel Johnson’s census asked whether the enumerated person was “deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict.”  20 year-old Isabella Tremble, living in the household of Charles Oakes, received the unfortunate designation of idiotic.  26-year-old Francois DeCouteau did not have a mark in that column, but had “Invalid” entered in for his occupation.    It’s fair to say we’ve made some progress in the treatment of people with disabilities.

Final Thoughts

I am not usually a numbers person when it comes to history.  I’ll always prefer a good narrative story, to charts, tables, and cold numbers.  Sometimes, though, the numbers help tell the story.  They can help us understand why when Louis Gurnoe was killed, no one was held accountable.  At the very least, they can help show us that the society he lived in was under significant stress, that the once-prestigious occupation of his forefathers would no longer sustain a family, and that the new American power structure didn’t really understand or care who his people were.

Ultimately, the census is about America describes itself.  From the very beginning, it’s never been entirely clear if in E. pluribus unum we should emphasize the pluribus or the unum.  We struggled with that in 1850, and we still struggle today.  To follow the Department of Commerce v. New York citizenship case, I recommend Scotusblog.  For more census posts about this area in the 19th century, keep following Chequamegon History.

Sources, Data, and Further Reading
  • Paap, Howard D. Red Cliff, Wisconsin a History of an Ojibwe Community ; Volume 1 The Earliest Years: the Origin to 1854. North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 1854.
  • Satz, Ronald N. Chippewa Treaty Rights: the Reserved Rights of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Indians in Historical Perspective. University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.
  • Original Census Act of May 23, 1850 (includes form and instructions for marshals). (PDF)
  • Compiled data spreadsheets (Google Drive Folder) I’ll make these a lot more user friendly in future census posts.  By the time it occurred to me that I should include my tables in this post, most of them were already done in tally marks on scrap paper.
  • Finally, these are the original pages, scanned from microfilm by FamilySearch.com.  I included the image for Fond du Lac (presumably those living on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River) even though I did not include it in any of the data above.

 

 

By Amorin Mello

 

Madeline Island Museum

Julius Austrian Papers

Folder 3: La Pointe Lands

Scans #1-25 transcribed  (#26-55 not transcribed)

 


 

Mortgage Deed
Julius Austrian to Charles Oakes

Office of Register of Deeds
La Pointe County Wis.

I hereby certify that the within is a true copy from the Records in my office of an instrument recorded June 9th 1853 at 10 O’clock AM in Book A of Deeds Vol 1 pages 18 & 19.

John William Bell Sr. was the white father of a La Pointe Band mixed blood family; an employee of the American Fur Company, La Pointe County politician.

John W Bell

Register of Deeds

Fees 7-

 

– – – – –

 

Charles henry oakes

Charles Henry Oakes built New Fort for the American Fur Company, was the white father of a La Ponte Band mixed-blood family, and signed several Treaties.
~ Findagrave.com

This Indenture

made the Second day of May in the year of Our Lord One thousand Eight-hundred and fifty three, Between Julius Austrian of the County of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin of the first part, and Charles H Oakes of Minnesota of the second part; Witnessed, that the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of Sixteen (16) Hundred Dollars in hand paid by the said party of the Second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed and confirmed, and by those present does give, grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm unto the said party of the Second part, his heirs and assigns forever all the following described piece or parcel of land situated, lying and being in the County of La Pointe, and State of Wisconsin, known and designated as follows, to wit;

“10 acres or there abouts of Lots 3, 4 & 5 Section 30 to be selected and resumed for Light House purposes of order of the President bearing date the 4 [Apl.?] 1853 see letter of Secr Interior [apl?] 4 /53.
The above lots 3, 4 & 5 with drawn from market util the selection is made see Comt. Instructions to [R.y R. Apl.?] 28 /53 and June 18 /53.
Reservation rescinded by order of the President March 3 /54 see Instructions to [R.g R.y?] March 7 /54.”
~ General Land Office

Lot number four (4)  is New Fort (downtown) La Pointe.
~ General Land Office

Lot number four (4) Township fifty (50) Section No. thirty (30) and Range No. three west containing sixty seven & 82/100 acres of land according to the Government Survey.

To have and to hold the same, together with all and singular the appurtenances and privileges thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining and all the Estate Right, Title, Interest and Claim whatsoever, of the said party of the first part, either in Law or Equity, in and to the above described premises, to the only proper use, benefit and behoof of the said party of the second part, his heir and assigns forever, and the said Julius Austrian party of the first part for himself his heirs Executors and administrators do covenant and agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns that he is well seized in Fee of the aforesaid premises, and has good right to sell and convey the same, in manner and form as above written, and that the same are free of all incumbrances whatever, and that the aforesaid premises, in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, against all and every person lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, he will forever warrant and defend.

83-238-347b-julius-austrian

Julius Austrian
~ Madeline Island Museum

Provided nevertheless that if the said Julius Austrian of the first part, his heirs, administrators, executors or assigns shall well and truly pay or cause to be paid to the said Charles H Oakes party of the second part, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns the sum of Sixteen (16) Hundred Dollars, lawful money, in six equal annual payments, according to the condition of six certain notes bearing even date with, then this deed to be null and void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and effect, but if Default shall be made in the payment of the said sum of money, or the interest, or of any part thereof, at the time herein before specified for the payment thereof, the said party of the first part, in such case, does hereby authorize and fully empower the said party of the second part his executors, administrators or assigns, to sell the said hereby granted premises, at Public Auction, and convey the same the same to the purchase in Fee Simple, agreeably to the statute in such case made and provided, and out of the moneys arising from such sale, to retain the Principal and interest, which shall then be due on the said notes, together with all costs and charges, and pay the overplus (if any) to the said Julius Austrian, party of the first part his heirs, executors administrators or assigns.

In testimony whereof the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Julius Austrian

Sealed and delivered in presence of

Isaac Van Duzer Heard was a St. Paul lawyer and worked for many years as the Ramsey County prosecuting attorney.”
~ Findagrave.com

Isaac V D Heard
I Van Etten

 

Territory of Minnesota
County of Ramsay

Be it known that on the second day of May AD 1853, before the undersigned, personally came Julius Austrian the Grantor to the foregoing and within Deed from him as such Grantor to Charles H Oakes, to me personally known to be the identical person described in and who executed the said deed, and who acknowledged that he executed the said deed freely and voluntarily for the uses and purposes therein expressed.

Isaac Van Etten was a Minnesota Territory Senator.

I Van Etten

Notary Public
Minnesota Territory

 


 

Charles W. W. Borup and Charles H. Oakes: married into the La Pointe mixed blood Beaulieu family; built the American Fur Company outift at New Fort, La Pointe; and started Minnesota’s first bank.
HeritageAuctions.com

St. Paul, May 2nd 1853

$200

On or before the fifteenth day of June A.D. 1854 I promise to pay Charles H. Oakes, on order, at the office of Borup and Oakes at St. Paul, Min. Ter. The sum of Two Hundred dollars, value received, and in case of default in the above payment then I agree to pay interest on the same at the rate of ten percent per annum until paid.

Julius Austrian

 

– – – – –

 

St. Paul, May 2nd 1853

$300

On or before the first day of November A.D. 1854, I promise to pay Charles H. Oakes, on order, at the office of Mesfrs. Borup and Oakes, St. Paul, Min. Ter., the sum of Three Hundred dollars, value received—and in case of default in the payment of the above sum of money, then I agree to pay interest on said principal sum at the rate of ten percent per annum until paid.

Julius Austrian

 

– – – – –

 

St. Paul, May 2nd 1853

$200

On or before the fifteenth day of June AD 1856, I promise to pay Charles H. Oakes on order at the office of Borup & Oakes, in St. Paul, Min. Ter. the sum of two hundred dollars, value received, and in case of default in the payment of the above sum, then I promise to pay interest on the same as at the rate of ten percent per annum until paid.

Julius Austrian

 

– – – – –

 

St. Paul, May 2nd 1853

$400

On or before the first day of November AD, 1856, I promise to pay Charles H. Oakes on order at the office of Borup and Oakes, St. Paul, Min. Ter. the sum of four hundred dollars, value received and in case of default of the payment of the above sum, then I promise to pay interest on the same at the rate of ten percent per annum until paid.

Julius Austrian

 


 

[Filed 11/30/89]

Power of Att’y

from Jos Austrian
to Jul. A.

Registers certificate inside.
Recorded.

– – – – –

State of Michigan
County of Houghton

Joseph Austrian lived at La Pointe with his brother Julius during 1851 and 1852.
~ Austrian Papers

Know all men by these presents that I Joseph Austrian of Eagle River county of Houghton and State of Michigan have made, authorized, nominated and appointed and by these presents do make authorize nominate and appoint Julius Austrian of La Pointe county of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin my attorney for me and in my name and to my use, to enter into, and take possession of all such messuages, lands tenements, hereditaments, and real estate whatsoever, in La Pointe County of La Pointe State of Wisconsin, whereof I now am, or hereafter may be by any ways or means howsoever entitled or interested in, either in severalty and jointly or in common with any other person or persons.

And also for me and in my name, to grant, bargain, and sell, the same messuages lands, tenements and hereditaments, or any part, share or portion thereof, and all such rights, titles, interest, claim, and demand both in law and equity, as I may have in the same, for such sum and price, and on such terms, as to him shall seem meet, and for me and in my name to make, execute, and deliver good and sufficient deeds and conveyances for the same, and every part thereof, either with or without covenants and warranty.

The north coast of La Pointe was patented in Joseph Austrian‘s name during 1852.
~ General Land Office

And while the sale thereof, for me, and in my name, and for my use, to let and do wise the same real estate or any part of parts thereof for the best rent that can be gotten for the same.

And also for me and in my name, and to my use to ask, demand, recover and receive all sums of money which shall become due, owing or payable to me by means of any such bargain, sale or lease. And to have, use, and take, all lawful ways and means for the recovery thereof by attachment, unrest, distress, or otherwise, and to compound, arbitrate, and agree, for the same and aquittances or sufficient discharges for the same, for me and in my name, to make, seal and deliver, and generally to do, execute, and perform, every thing that may be neccesary in and about the premises, as fully in every respect as I myself might or could do, if I were personally present.

And an attorney or attorneys under him for any or all of the purposes aforesaid, to make and substitute, and again at pleasure to revoke. And I hereby ratify, allow, and confirm, all, and whatsoever my said attorney shall do or cause to be done, in and about the premises by virtue of these presents. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal.

Eagle River May 31st 1854.

Joseph Austrian

Signed Sealed and delivered in the presents of

Charles Hembeck was a Houghton County postmaster.

Charles Hembeck
A W. Senter

 

State of Michigan
County of Houghton

Personally appeared before me Joseph Austrian and acknowledged that he executed the within Power of Attorney, and I further certify, that I well know the said Joseph Austrian, and that he is the same individual who is described as the within conveyance and who executed the same. Eagle River May 31st 1854.

Simon Mandelbaum was a competitor of Joseph Austrian in Eagle River.

Simon Mandlebaum

Justice of the Peace

Houghton County
Michigan

– – – – –

 

STATE OF MICHIGAN,

County of Houghton

I James Crawford Clerk of said County of Houghton DO HEREBY CERTIFY, that Simon Mandlebaum – whose name is subscribed to the Certificate or proof of acknowledgement of annexed Instrument, and therein written, was, at the time of taking such proof or acknowledgement a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, duly Elected and qualified, and duly authorized to take the same; AND FURTHER, that I am well acquainted with the hand writing of such Justice of the Peace and verily believe that the signature to the said Certificate or proof of acknowledgement is genuine; I FURTHER CERTIFY, that said Instrument is executed and acknowledged according to the Laws of this State.

James Crawford moved from New York City to Keweenaw Point in 1845.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said County, at Eagle River this Twelfth day of September A. D. 1856.

James Crawford
Clerk.

 


 

A Warranty Deed

S S Vaughn and Peter B Vanterventer
to
M. H. Manddlebaum
7 day April A. D. 1855

Recd for Record April 7 1855 at 4 Oclock P.M and Recorded in Book A of Deeds on Page (127)

John W Bell
Register of Deeds for
La Pointe County
Wis

 

– – – – –

 

Samuel Stuart Vaughn
~ Western Reserve Historical Society

Know all men

by these presents that we S. S. Vaughn and Peter B Vanderventer and Caroline Vanderventer his wife of the Town and County of Lapointe and State of Wisconsin in consideration of Two hundred Sixty Two and a half dollars to us paid by M. H. Manddlebaum of Town County and State aforesaid the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge do by these presents give grant bargain sell and convey unto the said M H Manddlebaum his heirs and assigns a certain piece of land described as follows to wit lot No F??? one in Section No Four and lot No one in Section No Five Township no Forty nine range no Three containing Fifty two acres and forty seven hundreth of an acre together with all the privileges and appurtenances to the said land in any wise appertaining and belonging.

Vaughn/Vanderventer‘s lots 1 & 1 by Old Fort (Grant’s Point) La Pointe.
~ General Land Office

Peter B. Vanderventer lived at the mouth of Thompson Creek west of what is now Washburn; and the white father of a La Pointe Band mixed blood family.  His wife was Caroline Moreau.
Max. H. Mandelbaum was an employee (and relation?) of the Leopolds & Austrians family at La Pointe.

To have and to hold the above granted granted premises to the said M. H. Manddlebaum his heirs and assigns and to his and their use and behoof forever. And we S. S. Vaughn and Peter B Vanderventer and Caroline Vanderventer his wife for ourselves our heirs executors and administrators do covenant with the said M. H. Manddlebaum his heirs and assigns that we are lawfully seized in fee of the aforesaid premises that they are free from all incumbrances that wee have a good right to sell and to convey the same to the said M. H. Manddlebaum as aforesaid and that we will and ours heirs executors and administrators shall warrant and defend the same, to the said M H Manddlebaum his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful demands of all persons.

In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hand and seal this 7 day of April A.D. 1855

S. S. Vaughn
P. B Vanderventer
Carline (her X mark) Vanderventer

Antoine Gordon was an influential Mixed Blood member of the La Pointe Band.

Sealed and delivered in presence of

John W Bell
A. Gaudin

 

State of Wisconsin
Lapointe County
April 7th 1855

They personally appeared before me the above named S. S. Vaughn, Peter B Vanderventer and Caroline wife of said Peter B. Vanderventer, who severally acknowledged they did sign and seal the foregoing instruments as their free act and deed, and the said Caroline wife of said Peter B Vanderventer on a private examination before me separate and apart from the said husband acknowledged that she did execute the foregoing deed without any fear or compulsion from her said husband or any other person.

John W Bell

Justice of the Peace in & for
Lapointe County Wisconsin

 


 

Deed ~

Antoine & Sarah Gaudin
to Joseph Austrian

Received for Record June 16 1855 [???] and Recorded in Book A of Deeds on page 153.

John W Bell Register for
La Pointe County Wisconsin

 

– – – – –

 

WARRANTY DEED. —  Printed and sold by SANFORD & HAYWARD, Cleveland, Ohio.

To all People to whom these Presents shall come—GREETING:

KNOW YE, That

we Antoine Gaudin of the County of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin and Sarah wife of said Antoine Gaudin

Antoine Gordon king midas flour

Mr. and Mrs. Antoine Gordon,
the founders of Gordon,
would have liked King Midas Flour.”

~ History of Gordon

For the consideration of the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars received to our full satisfaction of Joseph Austrian of Eagle River in the State of Michigan do give, grant, bargain, sell and confirm unto him the said Joseph Austrian the following described TRACT or LOTS of LAND, situate in the township of Lapointe being number (49) in the third range of Townships, which is also in the county of Lapointe and is known

as Lots two (2) and three (3) of section number five (5) containing one hundred acres (100)

Gordons’ lots 2 & 3 near Old Fort (Grant’s Point) La Pointe.
~ General Land Office

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the above granted and bargained premises, with the appurtenances thereunto belonging, unto him the said Joseph Austrian his heirs and assigns forever, to his and their own proper use and behoof. And we the said Antoine Gaudin and Sarah his wife do, for ourselves our executors and administrator, covenant with the said Joseph Austrian his heirs and assigns, that at, and until the ensealing of these presents we are well seized of the premises, as a good and indefeasible estate in FEE SIMPLE, and have good right to bargain and sell the same in manner and form as above written, and that the same be free from all incumbrance whatsoever. And furthermore, we the said Antoine Gaudin and Sarah his wife do by these presents find ourselves, our heirs, forever, to WARRANT AND DEFEND the above granted and bargained premises to him the said Joseph Austrian his heirs and assigns, against all lawful claims and demands whatsoever. And I the said Sarah wife of the said Antoine Gaudin do hereby remise, release, and forever quit claim unto the said Joseph Austrian his heirs and assigns, all my right and title of dower in the above described premises.

Sarah Dingley;
wife of Antoine Gaudin.

In Witness Whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals the fourteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five.

A. Gaudin
Sarah (her X mark) Gaudin

Signed, Sealed and Delivered
in presence of

John .W. Bell.
M. H. Mandelbaum

 

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN,
COUNTY OF LA POINTE.

June 14 1855.

Personally appeared before the me above named Antoine Gaudin and Sarah his wife who acknowledged that they did sign and seal the foregoing instrument, and that the same is their free act and deed. I further certify, that I did examine the said Sarah wife of said Antoine Gaudin separate and apart from her husband, and did then and there make known to her the contents of the foregoing instrument, and upon that examination she declared that she did voluntarily sign, seal and acknowledge the same, and that she is still satisfied therewith.

John W. Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

Warrantee Deed

Joseph Austrain
to
Francois Cadotte

Office of Register of Deeds
La Pointe County Wis

I hereby Certify that the within Deed was filed in this office for Record Jany 21st 1858 A M and was duly Recorded in Book A of Deeds Vol [2 or 3?] and page 239.

John W Bell
Register

Fees $1.00

 

– – – – –

 

WARRANTY DEED.
Sold by E. Terry & Co., Milwaukee

This Indenture,

Made the Twenty first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight between

Joseph Austrian by Julius Austrian his attorney in Fact Party of the first part and Francois Cadotte of Lapointe County Wisconsin, party of the second part.

Antoine and Frank Cadotte (son and grandson of Michael and Madeline Cadotte, and Mixed Blood member sof the La Pointe Band).
~ Madeline Island Museum

Witnesseth, That the said party of the first part, for in consideration of the sum of Forty dollars Lawfull Money of the United States of America to him in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby confessed and acknowledged has given, granted bargained, sold, remised, released, aliened, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents does give, grant, bargain, sell, remise, release, alien, convey, and confirm unto the said party on the second part, and his heirs and assigns forever

the following Described Real Estate situated in the County of of Lapointe and State of Wisconsin, and Known as Lot number Thirty four (34) in the Town of Lapointe according to the Recorded Plat of said town as recorded in the Registers Office of said County of Lapointe.

Cadotte‘s block 34 in downtown La Pointe.
~ Julius Austrian Papers (maps folder)

Together with all and singular the Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and all the estate, right, title, interest, claim, or demand whatsoever of the said party of the first part, either in Law or Equity, either in possession or expectancy of, in and to the above-bargained premises, and their Hereditaments and Appurtenances TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises as above described, with the Hereditaments and Appurtenaces unto the said party of the second part, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

And the said Joseph Austrian by his P attorney for himself his heirs, executors, and administrators, does convenant, grant, bargain, and agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, that at the time of the ensealing and delivery of these present, he is well seized of the premises above described, as of a good, sure, perfect, absolute, and indefeasible estate of inheritance in the Law, in fee simple, and that the same are free and clear from all incumbrances whatever, and that the above-bargained premises in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons, lawfully claiming the whole or any part thereof [???] will forever WARRANT AND DEFEND.

In Witness Whereof, the said party of the first part, has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written

Joseph Austrian

by Julius Austrian
his Att in fact.

Sealed and delivered in presence of

John W Bell

STATE OF WISCONSIN
COUNTY OF La Pointe

Be it Remembered, that on the Twenty first day of January A. D. 1858 personally came before me the above-named Joseph Austrian by Julius Austrian his attorney in fact to me known to be the person who executed the said Deed, and acknowledged the same to be his free act and deed, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned.

John W Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

Antoine Gordon & wife
to Julius Austrian

Office of Register of Deeds
La Pointe County Wis

I hereby Certify that the within Deed was filed in this Office for Record July 11th 1858 oclk and was duly Recorded in Book A of Deeds Vol 2 & page 296.

J W Bell
Register

rec 1 day of July 1861
$550 – 7%.

 

– – – – –

 

WARRANTY DEED.  Sold by E. Terry & Co., Milwaukee.

This Indenture,

Made the Eleventh day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty eight between

Antoine Gaudin and Sarah Gaudin his wife of La Pointe County & State of Wisonsin of the first part and Julius Austrian of the Same County and State party of the Second part.

Witnesseth, That the said parties of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of Eight hundred Dollars receipt whereof is hereby confessed and acknowledged, has given, granted bargained, sold, remised, released, aliened, conveyed, and confirmed his heirs and assigns forever

Gordonslot 9 in downtown La Pointe.
~ Julius Austrian Papers (maps folder)

the following Described Real Estate situated and lying in the Town of La Pointe as on Record in the Registers Office of Lapointe County aforesaid and known and Descried as follows being Lot number nine (9) in Block number Thirty six (36) in Said Town of Lapointe, hereby absolutely Revoking and annulling a Deed of Gift, Executed by us to our son Edward on the eighth day of May 1855, and witnessed by John W Bell & William Morin and Recorded same day in the Registers Office of Lapointe County in Book A of Deeds Vol 1 & page 138 for the said described premises.

“It was in September of 1860 when two canoes rounded a bend in the St. Coix river seeking a landing. This was the last year of peace for this nation for four long, bitter years of civil war. The leader of this group was one Antoine Guerdonn of the LaPointe Tradiing Post on Lake Superior.”
~ History of Gordon

Together with all and singular the Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and all the estate, right, title, interest, claim, or demand whatsoever of the said parties of the first part, either in Law or Equity, either in possession or expectancy of, in and to the above-bargained premises, and their Hereditatments and Appurtenances. TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises as above described, with the Hereditaments and Appurtenances, unto the said party of the second part, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

“During the winter of 1860-61 Gordon purchased a tract of land from the Wisconsin Land and Improvement Company and the Henry Rice Land Company.  He then sold his interests at LaPointe and built a Trading Post at this place that the Indians called Amick, The Beaver, in the Chippewa Tongue.”
~ History of Gordon

And the said Antoine Gaudin & wife for themselves heirs, executors, and administrators, does covenant, grant, bargain, and agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, that at the time of the ensealing and delivery of these present, they are well seized of the premises above described, as of a good, sure, perfect, absolute, and indefensible estate of inheritance in the Law in fee simple, and that the same are free and clear from all incubrances whatever, and that the above-bargained premises, in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons, lawfully claiming the whole or any part thereof He will forever WARRANT AND DEFEND.

In Witness Whereof, the said parties of the first part, has hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.

A. Gaudin
Sarah (her X mark) Gaudin

Sealed and delivered in presence of

John W Bell
John [Clikf?]

 

STATE OF WISCONSIN
COUNTY OF Lapointe

Be it Remembered, that on the Eleventh day of February A.D. 1858 personally came before me the above-named Antoine Gaudin & Sarah Gaudin his wife to me known to be the persons who executed the said Deed, and acknowledged the same to be their free act and deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned.

John W Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

Warrantee Deeds

Francis Cadotte
to
Julius Austrian

Office of Register of Deeds
La Pointe County Wis.

I hereby Certify that the within Deed was filedin this Office for Record May the 8th 1858 at M and was duly Recorded in Book A of Deeds Vol 2 on pages 370 & 71

John W Bell
Register of Deeds

Fees $7-

 

– – – – –

 

WARRANTY DEED. Sold by E. TERRY & CO., Milwaukee.

This Indenture,

Made the Eighth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty Eight between

Francis Cadotte of LaPointe County, Wisconsin, party of the first part and Julius Austrian of Lapointe county party of the second part.

Witnesseth, That the said part of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of Forty Dollars lawfull money of the United States to him in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby confessed and acknowledged has given, granted, bargained, sold, remised, released, aliened, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents does give, grant, bargain, sell, remise, release, alien, convey, and confirm, unto the said party of the second part, and his heirs and assigns forever

the following described Real Estate situate in the County of LaPointe and State of Wisconsin, and Known as Lot Number Thirty four (34) in the Town of La Pointe, according to the Recorded Plat of said Town as Recorded in the Registers Office of said County of La Pointe.

Block 34 in New Fort (downtown) La Pointe.
~ Julius Austrian Papers (maps folder)

Together with all and singular the Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining; and all the estate, right, title, interest, claim, or demand whatsoever of the said party of the first part, either in Law or Equity, either in possession or expectancy of in and to the above-bargained premises, and their Hereditaments and Appurtenances.  TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said premises as above described, with the Hereditaments and Appurtenances made the said party of the second part, and to his heirs and assigns forever.

And the said Francis Cadotte for himself his heirs, executors, and administrators, does covenant, grant, bargain, and agree to and with the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns, that at the time of the ensealing and delivery of these present, he is well seized of the premises above described, as of a good, sure, perfect, absolute, and indefensible estate of inheritance in the Law, in fee simple, and that the same are free and clear from all incumbrances whatever, and that the above-bargained premises, in the quiet and peaceable possession of the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns against all and every person or persons, lawfully claiming the whole or any part thereof He will forever WARRANT AND DEFEND.

In Witness Whereof, the said party of the first part, has hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Francis Cadotte

Sealed and delivered in presence of

John W Bell

 

STATE OF WISCONSIN
COUNTY OF La Pointe

Be it Remembered, that on the Eight day of May A.D. 1858, personally came before me the above-named Franis Cadotte to me known to be the person who executed the said Deed, and acknowledged the same to be his free act and deed, for the uses and purposes therein mentioned.

J W Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

Office of Register of Deeds

La Pointe County Wisconsin Sept 5th 1859

I hereby Certify that up to this date, that the two United States Patents, to Julius Austrian numbered (79,458) and(2421) for Lands on Madeline Island have never been Recorded in this Office, nor any instrument from any person, in relation to any of the lands embraced in said Patents, and that the same are free from all incumbrances.

John W Bell

Register of Deeds

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)

By Amorin Mello

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

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from Bavaria 1833-1847.

 

Left Wittelshofen.  1848.

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

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

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

 

Emigrated to America.  1850.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Arrived in New York.  1850.

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

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

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

1850-austrian-immigration-on-robert-kelly

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued at Mackinac 1850-1851

By Amorin Mello

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


Joseph Austrian’s
Autobiographical and Historical Sketches.

Dedicated to
My Wife and Members of my Family.

 

My Childhood Days. 1833.

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

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

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

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

Wittelshofen

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

~ Destroyed German Synagogues and Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1844-julius-oestreicher-immigration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued in Manhattan 1848-1850

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

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

 

——-

AN INTERESTING FAMILY HISTORY.

——-

 

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

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

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.

By Leo Filipczak

Joseph Oesterreicher was only eighteen years old when he arrived at La Pointe in 1851.  Less than a year earlier, he had left his native Germany for Mackinac, where he’d come to work for the firm of his older brother Julius and their in-laws, the Leopolds, another Bavarian Jewish family trading on Lake Superior.

In America, the Oesterreichers became the Austrians, but in his time at Mackinac, Joseph Austrian picked up very little English and even less of the Ojibwe and Metis-French that predominated at La Pointe.  So, when Joseph made the move to his brother’s store at Madeline Island, it probably felt like he was immigrating all over again.

In the spring of 1851, he would have found at La Pointe, a society in flux.  American settlement intensified as the fur trade economy made its last gasps.  The island’s mix-blooded voyageurs found it harder and harder to make a living, and the Fur Company, and smaller traders like Julius Austrian, began to focus more on getting Ojibwe money from treaty annuity payments than they did from the actual trade in fur.  This competition for Indian money had led to the deaths of hundreds of Ojibwe people in the Sandy Lake tragedy just a few months earlier.  

The uncertainty surrounding Ojibwe removal would continue to hang heavily over the Island for both of Joseph’s years at La Pointe, as the Ojibwe leadership scrambled to process the horror of Sandy Lake and tried to secure a permanent homeland on the lakeshore.

The Austrians, however, found this an opportune time to be at the forefront of all the new business ventures in the Lake Superior country.  They made money in merchandise, real estate, shipping, mining, lumber, government contracts, and every other way they could.  This was not without controversy, and the name of Julius Austrian is frequently attached to documents showing the web of corruption and exploitation of Native people that characterized this era.  

It’s difficult to say whether Joseph realized in 1851, while sweeping out his brother’s store or earning his unfortunate nickname, but he would become a very wealthy man.  He lived into the 20th century and left a long and colorful memoir.  I plan to transcribe and post all the stories from pages 26-66, which consists of Joseph’s time at La Pointe.  Here is the first fourth [our original] installment:  

 

Memoirs of Doodooshaboo

… continued from Mackinac 1850-1851.

 

Left for La Point:  My First Trip on Lake Superior

1851

Julius Austrian ~ Madeline Island Museum

Julius Austrian
~ Madeline Island Museum

Mr. Julius Austrian was stationed at La Pointe, Madaline Island, one of the Apostle Group in Lake Superior, where he conducted an Indian Trading post, buying large quantities of fur and trading in fish on the premises previously occupied by the American Fur Co. whose stores, boats etc. the firm bought.

Julius Austrian, one of the partners had had charge of the store at La Point for five years past, he was at this time expected at Mackinaw and it had been arranged that I should accompany him back to La Pointe when he returned there, on the first boat of the season leaving the Sault Ste. Marie.  I was to work in the store and to assist generally in all I was capable of at the wages of $10 a month.  I gladly accepted the proposition being anxious for steady employment.  Shortly after, brother Julius, his wife (a sister of H. Leopold) and I started on the side wheel steamer Columbia for Sault Ste. Marie, generally called “The Soo,” and waited there five days until the Napoleon, a small propellor on which we intended going to La Point, was ready to sail.  During this time she was loading her cargo which had all to be transported from the Soo River to a point above the rapids across the Portage (a strip of land about ¾ of a mile connecting the two points) on a train road operated with horses.  At this time there were only two propellers and three schooners on the entire Lake Superior, and those were hauled out below the rapids and moved up and over the portage and launched in Lake Superior.  Another propeller Monticello, which was about half way across the Portage, was soon to be added to the Lake Superior fleet, which consisted of Independence & Napoleon and the Schooners Algonquin, Swallow, and Sloop Agate owned by my brother Julius.  Quite different from the present day, where a very large number of steel ships on the chain of Lakes, some as much as 8000 tons capacity, navigate through the canal to Lake Superior from the lower lakes engaged in transporting copper, iron ore, pig iron, grain & flour from the various ports of Marquette, Houghton, Hancock, Duluth, and others.  It was found necessary in later years to enlarge the locks of the canal to accomodate the larger sized vessels that had been constructed.

 

Building Sault Ste. Marie Canal.  1851.

The ship canal at that time had not been constructed, but the digging of it had just been started.  The construction of this canal employed hundreds of laborers, and it took years to complete this great piece of work, which had to be cut mostly through the solid rock.  The State of Michigan appropriated thousands of sections of land for the purpose of building this canal, for the construction of which a company was incorporated under the name of Sault Ste. Marie Ship Canal & Land Co., who received the land in payment for building this canal, and which appropriation entitled the Co. to located in any unsold government land in the State of Michigan.  The company availed itself of this privilege and selected large tracts of the best mineral and timber land in Houghton, Ontonagan & Kewanaw Counties, locating some of the land in the copper district, some of which proved afterwards of immense value, and on which were opened up some of the richest copper mines in the world, namely:  Calumet, Hecla, and Quincy mines, and others.  There were also very valuable timber lands covered by this grant.

The canal improved and enlarged as it now stands, is one of the greatest and most important artificial waterways in the world.  A greater tonnage is transported through it annually that through the Suez or any other canal.  In later years the canal was turned over by the State of Mich. to the General Government, which made it free of toll to all vessels and cargoes passing through it, even giving Canadian vessels the same privilege; whereas when operated by the State of Mich. toll was exacted from all vessels and cargoes using it.

The Napoleon, sailed by Capt. Ryder, had originally been a schooner, it had been turned into a propeller by putting in a small propeller engine.  She had the great (?) speed of 8 miles an hour in calm weather, and had the reputation of beating any boat of the Lake in rolling in rough weather, and some even said she had rolled completely over turning right side up finally.

To return to my trip, after passing White Fish Point, the following day and getting into the open lake, we encountered a strong north wind raising considerable sea, causing our boat to toss and pitch, giving us our first experience of sea sickness on the trip.  Beside the ordinary crew, we had aboard 25 horses for Ontonogan where we arrived the third day out.  The Captain finding the depth of water was not sufficient to allow the boat to go inside the Ontonogan river and there being no dock outside, he attempted to land the horses by throwing them overboard, expecting them to swim ashore, to begin with, he had three thrown overboard and had himself with a few of his men lowered in the yawl boat to follow, he caught the halter of the foremost horse intending to guide him and the others ashore. The lake was exceedingly rough, and the poor horses became panic stricken and when near the shore turned back swimming toward the boat with hard work.  The Captain finally succeeded in land those that had been thrown overboard, but finding it both hazardous to the horses and the men he concluded to give up the attempt to land the other horses in this way, and ordered the life boat hoisted up aboard.  She had to be hoisted up the stern, in doing so a heavy wave struck and knocked it against the stern of the boat before she was clear of the water with such force as to endanger the lives of the Capt. and men in it, and some of the passengers were called on to assist in helping to hoist the life boat owing to its perilous position.  Captain and the men were drenched to the skin, when they reached the deck.  Capt. vented his rage in swearing at the hard luck and was so enraged that he did not change his wet clothing for some time afterward.  The remaining horses were kept aboard to be delivered on the return trip, and the boat started for her point of destination La Point.

 

Arrived at La Point and Started in Employ of Brother Julius.  1851

Next morning we sighted land, which proved to be the outer island of the Apostle Group.  Captain flew into the wheel room and found the wheelsman fast asleep.  He grasped the wheel and steered the boat clear of the rocks, just in time to prevent the boat from striking.  Captain lost no time in changing wheelsman.  We arrived without further incidents at La Point the same afternoon.  When she unloaded her cargo, work was at once begun transferring goods to the store, in which I assisted and thus began my regular business career.  These goods were hauled to the store from the dock in a car, drawn by a horse, on wooden rails.

There were only about 6 white American inhabitants on the Island, about 50 Canadian Frenchmen who were married to squaws, and a number of full blooded Indians, among whom was chief Buffalo who was a descendant of chiefs & who was a good Indian and favorably regarded by the people.

Fr. Otto Skolla (self-portrait contained in History of the diocese of Sault Ste, Marie and Marquette (1906) by Antoine Ivan Rezek; pg.360; Digitized by Google Books)

The most conspicuous building in the place was an old Catholic Church which had been created more than 50 years before by some Austrian missionaries.  This church contained some very fine and valuable paintings by old masters.  The priest in charge there was Father Skolla, an Austrian, who himself was quite an artist, and spent his leisure hours in painting Holy pictures.  The contributions to the church amounted to a mere pittance, and his consequent poverty allowed him the most meager and scant living.  One Christmas he could not secure any candles to light up his church which made him feel very sad, my sister-in-law heard of this and sent me with a box of candles to him, which made him the happiest of mortals.  When I handed them to him, his words were inadequate to express his gratitude and praise for my brother’s wife.

 

Sherman Hall and the other A.B.C.F.M missionaries were actually Congregational-Presbyterian, but they were known to collaborate with Canadian Methodist missionaries.  The Wheeler Family correspondence from 1854 reveals that Julius Austrian and Rev. Hall were not always  on “friendly terms.”  Charles Pulsifer was a teacher in the mission school.

There was also a Methodist church of which a man by the name of Hall was the preacher.  He had several sons and his family and my brother Julius and his wife were on friendly terms and often met.

The principle man of the place was Squire Bell, a very genial gentleman who held most of the offices of the town & county, such as Justice of the Peace & Supervisor.  He also was married to a squaw.  This was the fashion of that time, there being no other women there.

John W. Bell, “King of the Apostle Islands” as described by Benjamin Armstrong (Digitized by Google Books) .

There was a school in the place for the Indians and half breeds, there being no white children there at this time.  I took lessons privately of the teacher of this school, his name was Pulsevor.  I was anxious to perfect myself in English.  I also picked up quite a bit of the Chippewa language and in very short time was able to understand enough to enable me to trade with the Indians.

My brother Julius was a very kind hearted man, of a very sympathetic and indulgent nature, and to his own detriment and loss he often trusted needy and hungry Indians for provisions and goods depending on their promise to return the following year with fur in payment for the goods.  He was personally much liked and popular with the Indians, but his business with them was not a success as the fur often failed to materialize.  The first morning after my arrival, my brother Julius handed me a milk pail and told me to go to the squaws next door, who having a cow, supplied the family with the article.  He told me to ask for “Toto-Shapo” meaning in the Indian language, milk.

Doodooshaaboo:  milk 
Makadewikonaye:  a priest
Gichi-mookomaan:  1. A white person 2.  American
Ishkode-jiimaan:  a steamboat, a ship.  Wiigiwaam:  a wigwam, a lodge
Ishkodewaaboo:  alcohol, liquor
(Ojibwe Peoples Dictionary)

I repeated this to myself over and over again, and when I asked the squaw for “Toto Shapo” she and all the squaws screamed with delight and excitement to think that I had just arrived and could make myself understood in the Indian tongue. This fact was spread among the Indians generally and from that day on while I remained on the Island I was called “Toto Shapo.”  One of the Indian characteristics is to name people and things by their first impression–for instance on seeing the first priest who work a black gown, they called him “Makada-Conyeh,” which means a black gown, and that is the only name retained in their language for priests.  The first soldier who had a sword hanging by his side they called “Kitchie Mogaman” meaning “a big knife” in their language.  The first steamboat they saw struck them as a house with fire escaping through the chimney, consequently they called it “Ushkutua wigwam” (Firehouse) which is also the only name in their language for steamboat.  Whiskey they call “Ushkutua wawa” meaning “Fire Water.”

My brother Julius had the United States mail contract between La Point & St. Croix.  The mail bag had to be taken by a man afoot between these two places via Bayfield a distance of about 125 miles, 2 miles of these being across the frozen lake from the Island to Bayfield.

 

Dangerous Crossing on the Ice.

An Indian named Kitchie (big) Inini (man) was hired to carry it.  Once on the way on he started to cross on the ice but found it very unsafe and turned back.  When my brother heard this, he made up his mind to see that the mail started on its way across the Lake no matter what the consequence.  He took a rope about 25 ft. long tying one end around his body and the other about mine, and he and I each took a long light pole carrying it with two hands crosswise, which was to hold us up with in case we broke through the ice.  Taking the mail bag on a small tobogan sled drawn by a dog, we started out with the Indian.  When we had gone but a short way the ice was so bad that the Indian now thoroughly frightened turned back again, but my brother called me telling me not to pay any attention to him and we went straight on.  This put him to shame and he finally followed us.  We reached the other side in safety, but had found the crossing so dangerous, that we hesitated to return over it and thought best to wait until we could return by a small boat, but the time for this was so uncertain that after all we concluded to risk going back on the ice taking a shorter cut for the Island, and we were lucky to get back all right.

In the summer when the mail carrier returned from these trips, he would build a fire on the shore of the bay about 5 miles distant, as a signal to send a boat to bring him across to the Island.  Once I remember my brother Julius not being at home when a signal was given.  I with two young Indian boys (about 12 yrs. of age) started to cross over with the boat, when about two miles out a terrific thunder and hail storm sprang up suddenly.  The hail stones were so large that it caused the boys to relax their hold on the oars and it was all I could do to keep them at the oars.  I attempted to steer the boat back to the Island, and barely managed to reach there.  The boat was over half full of water when we reached the shore.  When I landed we were met by the boys’ mothers who were greatly incensed at my taking their boys on this perilous trip, nearly resulting in drowning them.  They didn’t consider I had no idea of this terrible thunder storm which so suddenly came up and had I known it for my own safety would not dreamed of attempting the trip.

 

Nearly Capsize in a Small Boat.

Once I went out in a small sail boat with two Frenchmen to collect some barrels of fish near the Island at the fishing ground near La Point.  We got two barrels of fish which they stood up on end, when a sudden gust of wind caused the boat to list to one side so that the barrels fell over on the side and nearly capsized the boat.  By pulling the barrels up the boat was finally righted after being pretty well filled with water.  I could not swim, and as a matter of self-preservation grabbed the Frenchman nearest me.  He was furious, expressing his anger half in French and half in English, saying, “If I had drowned, I would have taken him with me.” which no doubt was true.

 

A Young Indian Locked up for Robbery

Indian Agent John S. Watrous was the most conspicuous villain of the previous year’s Sandy Lake Tragedy.  Despite hundreds of deaths, and the Indian Department’s cancellation of the removal order, Watrous tried to illegally force a second removal in the fall of 1851 by holding the payments in Sandy Lake again.  Very few Ojibwe agreed to return to Sandy Lake, and most went without their payments for a second-straight year.  Joseph’s chronology is a little unclear.  This may be a reference to the cash payments at Fond du Lac in January 1852.
Like Joseph, Henry Schmitz, was an employee and later a business partner of Julius Austrian.

One day brother Julius went to the Indian payment.  During his absence I with another employee, Henry Schmitz, were left in charge.  A young Indian that night burglarized the store stealing some gold coins from the cash drawer.  The same were offered to someone in the town next day who told me, which led to his detection.  He admitted theft and was committed to jail by the Indian agent Mr. Watrous, which the Indians consider a great disgrace.

Some inquisitive boys peering through the window discovered that the young Indian had attempted to commit suicide and spread the alarm.  His father was away at the time and his mother and friends were frenzied and their threats of vengeance were loud.  The jailer was found but he had lost the key to the jail (the jail was in a log hut) the door of which was finally forced open with an axe, and the young culprit with his head bleeding was handed over to his people who revived him in their wigwam.  The next day the money was returned and we and the authorities were glad to call it quits.

To be continued at La Pointe 1851-1852 (Part 2)

 

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.  The original handwritten memoir of Joseph Austrian is held by the Chicago History Museum.