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

The following is a set of three articles collected and edited from the Superior Chronicle newspaper, followed by my personal thoughts on this matter :

 




 

Superior Chronicle newspaper July 7th, 1855, page 2.

Lake News.

These were exiting times for American settlers on Lake Superior as the Soo Locks had just opened one month earlier in June of 1855.

We find in the Lake Superior Journal the following paragraphs of lake news:

The brig Columbia, which carried the first cargo of ore through the Sault Ste. Marie Canal.”
~ The Honorable Peter White, by Ralph D. Williams, 1907, Chapter XIV.

Johnson & Tisdale, of Cleveland, have just built a small side-wheel steamer, for J. H. Garrett, of Ontonagon, and intended to be used on that river as a passenger boat, and also for towing between the mouth of the river and the mines. Her dimensions are : length of keel, 85 feet; beam, 14 feet; depth of hold, 2 feet. She has two engines, and will draw about fifteen inches water.

The Garrison stable at the Sault Ste. Marie, containing two horses was set on fire on the morning of the 29th ult., and, with its contents, totally consumed.

The Canal Company showed their patriotism on the Fourth of July, by exploding about one hundred and fifty barrels of damaged powder.

The brig Columbia carried the first full cargo shipment of iron ore down the Soo Locks one month later in August 1855.

The first locomotive for the Iron Mountain Railroad, from Lake Superior to the Iron Mountains, left Buffalo on Tuesday by the brig Columbia, for Marquette.

 


 

Superior Chronicle newspaper, October 23rd, 1855, page 2.

Man Shot.

George Riley Stuntz
Deputy U.S. Surveyor, and Chequamegon Bay land and minerals speculator.

On Tuesday night last an affray occurred on Minnesota Point, which resulted in the shooting of a sailor, attached to the brig Columbia. The vessel was lying at the wharf of Messrs. Stuntz & Co., and the crew, under the influence of liquor, went on shore for the purpose of having a frolic; in the course of their spree they came across some Indians, encamped on the Point, and one of the men soon provoked a quarrel with an Indian. The Indian was being beaten severely, when the captain coming up, interfered, whereupon he was attached by the man. The captain, being small in statue, and unable otherwise to defend himself, drew a pistol and fired at his assailant, the ball entering his side. The wounded man was brought to town, his wound dressed, and is now said to be doing well, the ball not having penetrated to any serious depth.

 


 

Superior Chronicle newspaper, November 6th, 1855, page 2.

Death of Louis Gurnoe — Inquest by a Coronors’ Jury — Verdict, etc.

There were more than one Chippewa mixed-blood named Louis Gurnoe.

Captain Justus O. Wells
J. Baker was counted as a “Colored”
man living alone in Superior City during the 1855 Wisconsin Census.  No further sources about J. Baker could be found.
Alcohol was prohibited on Minnesota Point and the Minnesota Arrowhead region by Article 7 of the 1854 Treaty at La Pointe.  This prohibition is not recognized anywhere in this article written one year after the Treaty.

Several weeks ago we gave an account of the shooting of a half-breed named Louis Gurnoe by Captain Wells, of the brig Columbia. The affray occurred on Minnesota Point, opposite Superior. It appears that Gurnoe was a man of very intemperate habits, and several nights previous to his difficulty with the captain, was engaged in a row at a low groggery on First street, kept by a negro named Baker. A dance was being held at that place, and Gurnoe, under the influence of liquor, challenged those present to a fight; he was then set upon, knocked down, and kicked and beaten in a cruel manner. The injuries he sustained, aided by excessive dissipation, ensued his death, just as the vessel was leaving our port. At La Pointe, a coronor’s inquest was held on the body, and the verdict rendered was that death was caused by bruises received at Baker’s house. We hope this matter will be brought before the grand jury at the next sitting of our circuit court, and while we may not expect to see the murderers brought to justice, we hope, at least, that sufficient cause may be shown why this miserable den should be removed. It has been tolerated too long already, and for the good order and character of our town, if for no other consideration, some effect should be made to put a stop to the disgraceful proceedings there enacted.

We publish the entire testimony elicited at the inquest, verdict of the jury, and an affidavit made by Gurnoe previous to his death, exhonorating Captain Wells from all blame whatsoever.

Joseph Stone, one of the hands on board, being duly sworn said:

That on Tuesday evening last, the brig Columbia, Captain Justus Wells, from St. Clair, was opposite Superior; there was a noise between [Sandy?] and deceased, Louis Gurnoe; Louis wanted to fight; captain wished him to stop; deceased knocked captain down; Louis then challenged captain to fight; he then got hold of the captain by the hair of the head; captain told him several times to let go; captain said if he did not let go he would shoot him; told him five or six times to let him go; he did not let go; the first thing I heard was the report of a pistol; [Sandy?], captain, and myself carried him to a tent; I stopped there till four o’clock; captain directly sent two men away to get a physician; deceased was in liquor at the time; he had been very quarrelsome; he shipped at Saut Ste. Marie this trip; he had been bruised on the face the Saturday previous; on the Monday previous when leaving Superior wharf he was so intoxicated that he fell off the provision chest; he was sick coming up; he was unable to do duty after Saturday.

Simeon Nelsonn being duly sworn said:

Simeon Nelsonn could not be identified. His version of the story is different than what was published in the earlier article from October 23rd.
Between this “little Irishman” and Patrick Sullivan at the 1855 La Pointe Annuity Payments, it is evident that the Irish were treated as a minority group by the average settlers and and tourists on Lake Superior during 1855.

We went on shore at Superior, on Saturday evening last; at Baker’s there was a dance; the dance went on nicely till about twelve o’clock; Louis said something to the effect that no one in the room was able to fight him; with that a little Irishman took it up; I went in and hauled Louis back; some one took me off from him, shoved me on one side and commenced at Louis; knocked him down with his fist, and several men piled on him; they then commenced kicking him in the side, breast, and once or twice in the face; after a while they were parted; then Louis commenced drinking again – had been drinking during the evening. After having got all pacified we went on board about two o’clock in the morning; he went to sleep; when he woke he swore he would have a row with somebody before he left the place; on going on shore he commenced drinking; we unloaded the vessel on Monday and Tuesday, and on that afternoon we went over to Minnesota Point; in the evening all went ashore to have some sport; Louis said, before he went ashore, he was bound to have a row with the captain; after going on shore, everything went on well till about two o’clock in the morning. (Wednesday;) I was lying in the lodge; Louis came in and commenced at me; I told him that I did not want any fuss with him and that everything he said I was bound to knock under to save a row; at that the captain heard the words from Louis and came out from another lodge; as Louis was going to come in at me, the captain grabbed him by the shoulders, hauled him back, and said to him, “Louis we did not come here for a row, we came to have sport;” Louis turned on him, and knocked him down; they were then parted; the captain balloed “enough;” Louis was going at him again; the captain stepped back, pulled out a revolver, and said, “If you don’t leave me alone I will shoot you;” Louis opened his breast to him, and said, “Here’s a clean breast shoot;” captain stepped back, and Louis went at him again; caught the captain by the hair of the head; captain told him if he did not let go he would shoot him; we tried to part them again; couldn’t part them; captain wanted to let go, but Louis wouldn’t; captain again said “If you do not let go I will shoot you;” as Louis was drawing back his foot to kick the captain in the face, he being down about knee high, the captain again repeated his caution, gave him one minute to let go, and then shot him; Louis then let go; says he, “I’m dead’ I’m dead.” – Captain said “I thought it would turn out that way – I told you I would shoot but you would not mind me;” captain said “If there is anything I can do I will do it;” the captain, Joseph Stone and myself, carried him into the lodge; the other two boys that were with him commenced dressing his wounds; captain sent John Scott and myself aboard the vessel after the boat to go for a physician; we went aboard and got the boat; got the second mate and Benj. Rassau to go for the doctor; went to Superior; couldn’t find a physician; captain, second mate, Joseph Chapman, a Frenchman living on the point, and myself, got the deceased into the boat and brought him aboard; before we got him aboard a physician came; about eight o’clock in the morning I saw deceased lying in the cabin; said he felt better; about four o’clock p.m. we endeavored to put him into one of the berths; he seemed to be in convulsions; on Wednesday night he got out of his berth, went on deck, and walked fore and aft; Thursday morning he left the cabin and sat on the rail aft; I said “Louis, you will be falling overboard;” he said “there is no fear of that;” he then left the rail; I was standing at the helm; he came up; looked me very hard in the face; I said, “what is the matter?” he gave no answer, but went directly into the boat; deceased had been very quarrelsome all the way up; he remained in the boat about three minutes; he was sitting in the boat with his arm on the taffrail; I took him to be asleep, and tried to wake up; I lifted his arm up, and eased him down into the boat to keep him from falling overboard, and went down after a lantern, (about five o’clock a.m.;) before I had time to time to come with a lantern, some one hard me talking to him and was there before me with one; the captain was also there; I looked at him, and said he was dead; then we took him out of the boat, and laid him forward of the cabin, and put a mattress under him; he was warm at the time, and we thought he might recover; one of the passengers then said life was not gone but he was dying; deceased frequently complained of his bruises received on Saturday night.

James Chapman
~ Madeline Island Museum

James Chapman, being duly sworn, said:

More details on James Chapman later.

The quarrel commenced about a squaw; in other respect; he corroborated the testimony of the previous witness.

Daniel Weihl, a passenger, being duly sworn, said:

I saw the doctor probe the wound, and he followed the rib, one or one and a half inches; I turned away as he found the ball; I do not think the wound was sufficient to cause his death; no inflamation existed; deceased went forward so many times that I concluded he had the diarrhea.

A. W. [Groveract?], being sworn, said:

I told the captain not to use the weapon there; after the shot, saw the deceased standing by a tree; he vomited blood; had not seen deceased vomit blood previous to the shot; he bled very near a pint; the blood from the bruise on his face might have got into his mouth and he threw it up.

John [Babner?], being sworn, said:

I corroborate the testimony given by Mr. Nelsonn.

Mr. Hancock, (a passenger,) being sworn, said:

I corroborate the testimony given by Mr. Nelsonn.

Calvin Ripley, being sworn, said:

Captain Calvin Ripley (“Old Rip”) began shipping copper ore on Lake Superior in 1845.  Ripley’s Rock in Marquette harbor is named in honor of his ship encountering it during a September 1848 storm.

Deceased had been sick about six weeks previous to his shipping, and was sick again when about two days out; was drunk every night, while at Superior, that I saw him; kept the forecastle a day after the fight at Superior; doctor said the wound would not injure him at all – that deceased was worse off in other respects; doctor said it was better for deceased to be on shore; he might suffer from the bruises; deceased wished to come on board and go down.

E. M. Raymond, being duly sworn, said:

I saw the doctor drawing the ball out, and left; saw nothing out of the way till last evening; noticed that deceased thrashed about the chains, and made unnecessary noise; I think deceased was not in his right mind last evening.

Daniel Weihl, being recalled, said:

The wound did not cause mortification; the worst bruise is the one at the rim of the belly; have seen a person kicked in the same place vomit about a quart of blood.

J. E. Rogers, (passenger,) being sworn, said:

That he observed that that deceased, during the time he lay in the cabin, hawked and spit, and about one-third of it appeared to be blood and the rest yellowish matter.

At the conclusion of the testimony, the following verdict was rendered by the jury:

La Pointe County Judge John William Bell Sr. also presided over the 1856 Inquest on the Body of Jerry Sullivan.

An inquisition taken on board the brig Columbia, Captain Justus Wells, in the port of La Pointe, on the 18th day of October, 1855, before John W. Bell, one of the justices of the peace for La Pointe county, Wisconsin, upon the view of the body of Louis Gurnoe, there dead, by the jurors whose names are hereunto subscribed, who being duly sworn to inquire on behalf of the people of this State, where, in what manner, and by what means the said Louis Gurnoe came to his death, upon their oaths do say:

That the deceased came to his death in consequence of bruises received at Superior, at Baker’s residence, from the hands of individuals to the jury unknown, but with whom he was engaged in a fight;

That he was at the same time, and had been, suffering from the effects of continued hard drinking, following sickness, from which he had only partially recovered previous to shipping;

That we acquit Captain Wells of all guilt as to the shot fired by him, and that we do not deem it as a mortal wound, or one that accelerated the death of the deceased.

In witness whereof, the said Justice of the peace and the jurors of this inquest have hereunto set their hands the day and year aforesaid.

JOHN W. BELL Justice of Peace,
S. S. VAUGHN, Foreman,
M. H. MENDELBAUM,
R. D. BOYD,
JOHN M. BRADFORT,
JULIUS AUSTRIAN,
A. CARPENTIER.

Copy of a settlement made at Minnesota Point for assault and battery:

Minnesota Territory, Superior county,
Dock at Minnesota Point,
October 17, 1855.

Know all men by these presents, That whereas the brig Columbia, of one hundred and seventy-six tons, commanded by Capt. Justus Wells, from St. Clair, Michigan, District of Detroit, laying at Minnesota Point now and for a few days previous, and among other hands on board said brig was one Louis Gurnoe, a half-breed, and this man was in a state of intoxication, and was making a quarrel with other parties; and whereas, the said captain interfered for the purpose of introducing peace measures, and the said Gurnoe opposed the said captain, and they came to blows and a clinch; and whereas Gurnoe held the said captain firm by the hair of the head, and the said captain requested the said Gurnoe to let go of him, and he would not, and the said captain shot the said Gurnoe in the skin of the side to get clear of him, which would was only a flesh wound, entering the skin against the rib and running along under the skin outside of the rib; and the said captain sent a boat to Superior City for a doctor, and he came and dressed the said wound, and said captain paid said doctor five dollars for his fee for crossing St. Louis river from Wisconsin; and the said Louis Gurnoe having [diver?] other fights, was badly bruised before this; and whereas the said captain has made arrangements in Superior City for the taking care of said Gurnoe to the amount of twenty-five dollars, which we receive of the said Captain Justus Wells, and discharge him of all expense whatever that may arise in an action of assault and battery or any other action for the said causes as the said Gurnoe has received a full compensation for all injuries by the said captain on the ground that the said captain seems not to have done anything more than to defend him or his own personal safety, and what he gives is of good heart and a charitable act received by me.

This settlement is to be construed no further than the said parties have a right by law to settle actions and causes of action. In this settlement the said captain does not mean to have it understood that he acknowledged that he has done anything or [ac?] whereby he may be liable to the law, but for the purpose to buy his peace and a general good will to the said Gurnoe.

(Signed)

LOUIS (his X mark) GURNOE,

In presence of JOSEPH GURNOE,
[DORUS MARCUS?], and CALVIN RIPLEY.

 




 

Amorin’s Commentary

Hi, Amorin here again.  I don’t always add commentary to my reproductions of Chequamegon History, but when I do… it is because I am still trying to understand the rest of the story.

First and foremost, the death of Louis Gurnoe was horrific.  It is unfortunate that these articles disrespected him and served him no justice.  The October article doesn’t even mention his name.  The only real biographical information gleaned from the November article about Louis Gurnoe is that he was a Chippewa mixed-blood who came aboard the brig Columbia at Sault Ste. Marie.  Apparently, his death was far more newsworthy than his life to Americans.  

The language stereotyping Louis as a drunk Indian is disgraceful, and makes me question whether the references to the negro and little Irishman were perjury.  To be clear, yes, I do believe this entire inquest was a fraud.  One red flag, for example, is that the doctor was never identified by any of the witnesses for verification.

Besides dishonoring Louis’ life, it seems that the sole purpose of the Verdict in the November article was to acquit George Riley Stuntz and Captain Justus O. Wells of any guilt with the incident as reported in the October article.  The Judge and Jury of the mystery Louis were all white Euroamerican settlers of La Pointe that were very involved with Lake Superior Chippewa mixed-bloods by marriage and/or business, yet there does not seem to be any amount of empathy expressed by them for Louis Gurnoe.

Although these articles dishonored Louis (and failed to identify exactly which Louis Gurnoe he was) they revealed just enough information to hint at what his life may have been like before boarding the brig Columbia at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855.  The Gurnoe/Garneau/Gournon/Gornow/Gaunaux/etc. families of Chippewa mixed-bloods (a.k.a. Metis) were very active in the cosmopolitan politics of Lake Superior throughout the mid-1800’s.  There is more than one Louis Gurnoe this could have been, so unfortunately the Louis Gurnoe that boarded the brig in 1855  may only be known as a mystery to Chequamegon History.  

Consider, for example, the Louis Genereaux [Gurnoe] that authored an August 29, 1855 letter to Indian Affairs Commissioner George W. Manypenny via the Mackinac Indian Agency on behalf of Saginaw Chippewa/Odawa Tribe trying to locate their reservation lands in lower Michigan.  While it may have been possible for someone to travel from lower Michigan to western Lake Superior within this time frame, there doesn’t seem to be any compelling correlation suggesting that this Louis Genereaux would be the same Louis Gurnoe from the brig Columbia.

Another example Louis Gurnoe that we may consider is the one featured in the bottom right of the following photograph from 1855 at Sault Ste. Marie;

the elder Louis Gurnoe.  

1855 photograph from the Soo Evening newspaper labeled “Five of the Earliest Indian Inhabitants of St. Mary’s Falls” [Sault Ste. Marie] and identified from left to right:
1) Louis Cadotte; 2) John Bouche; 3) Obogan; 4) O’Shawn; 
5) [Louis] Gurnoe.
Read Metis-History.info/ by Richard Garneau (Gurnoe) for other possible identities of the first four men in this photograph.

We can reasonably eliminate the elder Louis Gurnoe as a possibility because of his age at the time (born 1790) and later death record (1863).  It appears that the elder Louis Gurnoe had more than one wife over time, and that some of his children relocated from the Bay Mills area of Lake Superior to the La Pointe area during the mid-1800’s.  A July 5, 1890 article about the elder Louis Gurnoe in the The Democrat newspaper of Sault Ste. Marie reveals that he had at least one son named Louis, while other records in Richard Garneau’s research seem to suggest more than one son named Louis.

It is possible that the Louis Gurnoe from these articles was one of this elder Louis Gurnoe’s sons.  Louis Gurnoe’s Settlement at the end of the November article was signed by another son, who is featured in the bottom center of the following photograph:

the Indian Agency interpreter Joseph D. Gurnoe.

Top: Frank Roy, Vincent Roy, E. Roussin, Old Frank D.o., Bottom: Peter Roy, Jos. Gourneau [Joseph Gurnoe], D. Geo. Morrison. The photo is labelled “Chippewa Treaty in Washington” and dated 1845 by the St. Louis Hist. Lib and Douglas County Museum, but also dated 1855 by the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center. It was probably taken during the Bois Forte Treaty of 1866, which was these men acted as conductors and interpreters in Washington, D.C.  Photograph digitized by Mary E. Carlson for her book The Sawmill Community at Roy’s Point.

I cannot begin to imagine what it may have been like for Joseph to be a witness to the last hours and words of his suffering relative (especially if the inquest into his death was a fraud).  And I may never solve the mystery of exactly which Louis Gurnoe died in 1855.  On the other hand, I will speculate that this Louis Gurnoe’s life may have been similar to his relative Joseph’s life up to this point. 

Superior Chronicle newspaper November 4, 1856

I will share details about Joseph D. Gurnoe’s life, and his professional relationship  to James Chapman, but these details will have to wait to be published in another post in the future.  This concludes my thoughts for this post.

Until next time,
Amorin

By Amorin Mello

This is one of several posts on Chequamegon History featuring the Mixed-Blood Allotments of the Penokee Mountains overlooking Chequamegon Bay, such as the Sioux Scrip scams during the Penokee Survey Incidents.  This post illustrates the curious circumstances that occurred at the U.S. General Land Office in the City of Superior during 1858 as a large group of Chippewa Mixed-Blood Allotments were located along the Penokee Mountains via the seventh clause of the second article of the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe:

ARTICLE 2.
The United States agree to set apart and withhold from sale, for the use of the Chippewas of Lake Superior, the following-described tracts of land, viz:
[…]
7th. Each head of a family, or single person over twenty-one years of age at the present time of the mixed bloods, belonging to the Chippewas of Lake Superior, shall be entitled to eighty acres of land, to be selected by them under the direction of the President, and which shall be secured to them by patent in the usual form.

 


 

Selected affidavits from the National Archives:

Interior Department appointment papers, 1849-1907.

Roll 6, Superior Land Office 1854-1860.

 


 

May 1, 1858

State of Wisconsin
County of Douglas

John Dow Howard (photograph from the Duluth Public Library) later owned large areas of land in both Superior and Duluth.

Eliab Byram Dean, Jr. (photo from Wisconsin Historical Society) was a Madison businessman and Wisconsin State Senator.

John D. Howard being duly sworn says, that he resides in Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin, and that he is acquainted with Eliab B. Dean Jr, the Receiver of the U. S. Land office at Superior aforesaid; that sometime during the month of January or February 1858 the said Dean stated to affiant that he said Dean had an object in view whereby an investment could be made at a profitable rate, and if affiant could command the sum of one thousand or fifteen hundred dollars, he said Dean would give the affiant a proportion of the profits that might accrue therefrom, representing to the affiant that it was a matter he did not feel disposed to disclose fully the substance of [tile?] a future period, and that in the mean time affiant should follow his, Dean’s, instructions to -not- provide means to purchase Half-Breed Scrip and hold his Dean’s proportion secretly – saying he Dean did not wish to be known in the transaction. Subsequently, affiant was informed by Dean that the Half Breed Scrip was to be laid by affiant under power of attorney from Half-Breeds on lands in the Superior Land District, known as the “Iron Range” near Ashland, which lands had been filed upon by settlers under a pre-emption law of the United States that said Dean showed the affiant a list of the persons claiming the said land by pre emption which list was contained in the Register’s abstract of Declaratory statements, and told the affiant that these were the land he proposed to enter with the said scrip. For the purpose of enabling affiant to purchase genuine scrip the said Dean showed to affiant an official list of the Half-Breeds who were entitled to receive scrip from the Government. In this arrangement Dean proposed to affiant that he Dean and affiant should enter into a combination to contest the right to the land with the pre-emption. The said Dean further informed affiant that he had secured such influence at Washington that beyond a doubt he and affiant would be able to secure the land. And the said Dean wished affiant to keep Dean’s interest in the location of the Scrip a secret; and to do all the business in affiant’s name and after the title of the lands was secured, affiant was to convey to Dean, or for Dean’s benefit such portion of the lands as Dean by the agreement should be entitled to.

Ad from the Superior Chronicle, July 10, 1855.

And this affiant further says that said arrangement was not consummated in consequence of affiant’s determination not to purchase the scrip, and further says not.

J. D. Howard

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 1st day of May A.D. 1858

Geo. W. Perry

Notary Public
Douglas County

 


 

May 2 1858

State of Wisconsin
County of Douglas

Julius Austrian (photo from the Madeline Island Museum) was accused of obtaining fraudulent power-of-attorney over Chippewa Mixed-Bloods as the U.S. Postmaster at La Pointe.

Joel Allen Barber, Oct. 12, 1858:
“I think I have told you that E. B. Dean 
is removed.  For this we must thank Austrian.  The Com. gave him 30 days in which to answer the charge against him, and he was round here a long time trying to get Austrian to retract and even offered him $2000.00 to clear him but no go The Jew was determined to 
have his revenge.”

Julius Austrian being duly sworn says that he resides in the County of LaPointe, Wisconsin and that he is acquainted with Eliab B. Dean Jr Receiver of the U. S. Land Office at Superior Wisconsin; that on the first day of March A.D. 1858, this affiant applied at said Land Office to locate certain Chippewa Half Breed Scrip, under Power of Attorney to this affiant from the Half Breeds to whom said Scrip was issued, that the application of this affiant under such Power of Attorney was made in due and proper form, and signed by the Register of said Land Office, who told and that this affiant requested the Receiver (the said Dean) to sign the same, but that said Dean delayed signing the same, and would not talk with the affiant in the Land Office, but compelled this affiant to meet him said Dean at various places under various pretexts, until finally the said Dean told this affiant that he (Dean) would not sign the said applications unless this affiant should first pay him (the said Dean) the sum of Five hundred Dollars, and that this affiant being pressed for time and anxious to perfect the location of the said Scrip, after some demur, paid to the said Dean the said sum of $500.00 so demanded to the said Land Office, and signed the said applications as Receiver of said Land Office.

Julius Austrian

Sworn and subscribed before me
this 2nd day of May A.D. 1858

Geo. W. Perry

Notary Public
Douglas County

 


 

General Land Office
May 21, 1858

Sir,

New York Times, Dec. 9, 1858:
Land Office Frauds
“If Congress would amuse their leisure a little by looking at these land office operations on the verge of civilization, they would strike a placer of corruption.  […]  Let them find out what Receiver DEAN said of Register SHAW, and what Register SHAW said of Receiver DEAN, and why DEAN was dismissed and why SHAW was retained.  It will be rare fun for somebody.  The country ought to know something about the Land Offices, and such an investigation as this would enlighten the country very materially.  I hope it will be made, and that the country will learn how it is that more land has been entered in this district by Indians, foreigners, and minors than by qualified preëmptors, and all for the benefit of a few favored speculators.”

I have the honor to submit herewith a letter from Daniel Shaw Esq.~ Register at Superior Wisconsin, covering charges against E. B. Dean Jr., Receiver at that place, as follows:

1) Refusing to sign an application of Julius Austrian to locate certain Half breed scrip, under power of Attorney, said Dean refused to sign the applications unless Austrian paid $500, after some demur A. paid the $500 and Dean signed the papers in his official capacity as Receiver.

2) Agreeing to permit one Honsinger, for a consideration, to enter the pre-emption claim of a man named Cotas advising Honsinger what means to take to enter Cotas claim; these measures however were defeated by the Register.

3) Making an agreement with Jas. D. Ray, to purchase land of a pre-emption after he had proved up, and furnishing funds from the public safe to pay for the land so purchased.

4) Proposing to John D. Howard, a secret partnership for the purpose of speculating in half breed Scrip, and entering lands therewith, which Lands had been filed upon by settlers under the pre-emption law. Dean exhibited to Howard a list of persons claiming these lands, also exhibiting the Official list of half breeds; which list this Office directed should be kept confidentially from all persons.

 


 

Superior, Wisconsin
May 22, 1859

Sir;

Julius Austrian succeeded in securing several thousand acres of Chippewa Mixed-Blood Allotments along the Penokee Iron Range for his benefit, not the Tribe’s.  The Austrian family and their business partners co-founded the LaPointe Iron Company with these lands via a charter enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature in March of 1859. 
Today the LaPointe Iron Company continues to claim title to several thousand acres of Chippewa Mixed-Blood Allotments.

You will oblige me by informing me whether my removal from the Office of Register at this place was in consequence of any charges [referred?] against me; and, if so; whether it appears from the record that I have have an opportunity for defence.

Very Respectfully
Your Obt. Servt,

Daniel Shaw.

Hon. Thos. A. Hendricks,
Comr. Genl. Land Office,
Washington, D.C.

By Amorin Mello

Early life among the Indians
by Benjamin Green Armstrong
continued from Chapter I.

CHAPTER II

In Washington.—Told to Go Home.—Senator Briggs, of New York.—The Interviews with President Fillmore.—Reversal of the Removal Order.—The Trip Home.—Treaty of 1854 and the Reservations.—The Mile Square.—The Blinding. »

After a fey days more in New York City I had raised the necessary funds to redeem the trinkets pledged with the ‘bus driver and to pay my hotel bills, etc., and on the 22d day of June, 1852, we had the good fortune to arrive in Washington.

Washington Delegation, June 22, 1852
Engraved from an unknown photograph by Marr and Richards Co. for Benjamin Armstrong’s Early Life Among the Indians.  Chief Buffalo, his speaker Oshogay, Vincent Roy, Jr., two other La Pointe Band members, and Armstrong are assumed to be in this engraving.

I took my party to the Metropolitan Hotel and engaged a room on the first floor near the office for the Indians, as they said they did not like to get up to high in a white man’s house. As they required but a couple mattresses for their lodgings they were soon made comfortable. I requested the steward to serve their meals in their room, as I did not wish to take them into the dining room among distinguished people, and their meals were thus served.

Undated postcard of the Metropolitan Hotel, formerly known as Brown’s India Queen Hotel.
~ StreetsOfWashington.com

The morning following our arrival I set out in search of the Interior Department of the Government to find the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, to request an interview with him, which he declined to grant and said :

“I want you to take your Indians away on the next train west, as they have come here without permission, and I do not want to see you or hear of your Indians again.”

I undertook to make explanations, but he would not listen to me and ordered me from his office. I went to the sidewalk completely discouraged, for my present means was insufficient to take them home. I paced up and down the sidewalk pondering over what was best to do, when a gentleman came along and of him I inquired the way to the office of the Secretary of the Interior. He passed right along saying,

Secretary of the Interior
Alexander Hugh Holmes Stuart
~ Department of the Interior

“This way, sir; this way, sir;” and I followed him.

He entered a side door just back of the Indian Commissioner’s office and up a short flight of stairs, and going in behind a railing, divested himself of hat and cane, and said :

“What can I do for you sir.”

I told him who I was, what my party consisted of, where we came from and the object of our visit, as briefly as possible. He replied that I must go and see the Commissioner of Indian Affairs just down stairs. I told him I had been there and the treatment I had received at his hands, then he said :

“Did you have permission to come, and why did you not go to your agent in the west for permission?”

I then attempted to explain that we had been to the agent, but could get no satisfaction; but he stopped me in the middle of my explanation, saying :

“I can do nothing for you. You must go to the Indian Commissioner,”

and turning, began a conversation with his clerk who was there when we went in.

I walked out more discouraged than ever and could not imagine what next I could do. I wandered around the city and to the Capitol, thinking I might find some one I had seen before, but in this I failed and returned to the hotel, where, in the office I found Buffalo surrounded by a crowd who were trying to make him understand them and among them was the steward of the house. On my entering the office and Buffalo recognizing me, the assemblage, seeing I knew him, turned their attention to me, asking who he was, etc., to all of which questions I answered as briefly as possible, by stating that he was the head chief of of the Chippewas of the Northwest. The steward then asked:

“Why don’t you take him into the dining room with you? Certainly such a distinguished man as he, the head of the Chippewa people, should have at least that privilege.”

United States Representative George Briggs
~ Library of Congress

I did so and as we passed into the dining room we were shown to a table in one corner of the room which was unoccupied. We had only been seated a few moments when a couple of gentlemen who had been occupying seats in another part of the dining room came over and sat at our table and said that if there were no objections they would like to talk with us. They asked about the party, where from, the object of the visit, etc. I answered them briefly, supposing them to be reporters and I did not care to give them too much information. One of these gentlemen asked what room we had, saying that himself and one or two others would like to call on us right after dinner. I directed them where to come and said I would be there to meet them.

About 2 o’clock they came, and then for the first time I knew who those gentlemen were. One was Senator Briggs, of New York, and the others were members of President Filmore’s cabinet, and after I had told them more fully what had taken me there, and the difficulties I had met with, and they had consulted a little while aside. Senator Briggs said :

“We will undertake to get you and your people an interview with the President, and will notify you here when a meeting can be arranged. ”

During the afternoon I was notified that an interview had been arranged for the next afternoon at 3 o’clock. During the evening Senator Briggs and other friends called, and the whole matter was talked over and preparations made for the interview the following day, which were continued the next day until the hour set for the interview.

United States President
Millard Fillmore.
~ Library of Congress

When we were assembled Buffalo’s first request was that all be seated, as he had the pipe of peace to present, and hoped that all who were present would partake of smoke from the peace pipe. The pipe, a new one brought for the purpose, was filled and lighted by Buffalo and passed to the President who took two or three draughts from it, and smiling said, “Who is the next?” at which Buffalo pointed out Senator Briggs and desired he should be the next. The Senator smoked and the pipe was passed to me and others, including the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Secretary of the Interior and several others whose names I did not learn or cannot recall. From them, to Buffalo, then to O-sho-ga, and from him to the four braves in turn, which completed that part of the ceremony. The pipe was then taken from the stem and handed to me for safe keeping, never to be used again on any occasion. I have the pipe still in my possession and the instructions of Buffalo have been faithfully kept. The old chief now rose from his seat, the balance following his example and marched in single file to the President and the general hand-shaking that was began with the President was continued by the Indians with all those present. This over Buffalo said his under chief, O-sha-ga, would state the object of our visit and he hoped the great father would give them some guarantee that would quiet the excitement in his country and keep his young men peaceable. After I had this speech thoroughly interpreted, O-sha-ga began and spoke for nearly an hour. He began with the treaty of 1837 and showed plainly what the Indians understood the treaty to be. He next took up the treaty of 1842 and said he did not understand that in either treaty they had ceded away the land and he further understood in both cases that the Indians were never to be asked to remove from the lands included in those treaties, provided they were peaceable and behaved themselves and this they had done. When the order to move came Chief Buffalo sent runners out in all directions to seek for reasons and causes for the order, but all those men returned without finding a single reason among all the Superior and Mississippi Indians why the great father had become displeased. When O-sha-ga had finished his speech I presented the petition I had brought and quickly discovered that the President did recognize some names upon it, which gave me new courage. When the reading and examination of it had been concluded the meeting was adjourned, the President directing the Indian Commissioner to say to the landlord at the hotel that our hotel bills would be paid by the government. He also directed that we were to have the freedom of the city for a week.

Read Biographical Sketch of Vincent Roy, Jr. manuscript for a different perspective on their meeting the President.

The second day following this Senator Briggs informed me that the President desired another interview that day, in accordance with which request we went to the White House soon after dinner and meeting the President, he told the, delegation in a brief speech that he would countermand the removal order and that the annuity payments would be made at La Pointe as before and hoped that in the future there would be no further cause for complaint. At this he handed to Buffalo a written instrument which he said would explain to his people when interpreted the promises he had made as to the removal order and payment of annuities at La Pointe and hoped when he had returned home he would call his chiefs together and have all the statements therein contained explained fully to them as the words of their great father at Washington.

The reader can imagine the great load that was then removed from my shoulders for it was a pleasing termination of the long and tedious struggle I had made in behalf of the untutored but trustworthy savage.

Downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, circa 1857.
~ Minnesota Historical Society

On June 28th, 1852, we started on our return trip, going by cars to La Crosse, Wis., thence by steamboat to St. Paul, thence by Indian trail across the country to Lake Superior. On our way from St. Paul we frequently met bands of Indians of the Chippewa tribe to whom we explained our mission and its results, which caused great rejoicing, and before leaving these bands Buffalo would tell their chief to send a delegation, at the expiration of two moons, to meet him in grand council at La Pointe, for there was many things he wanted to say to them about what he had seen and the nice manner in which he had been received and treated by the great father.

At the time appointed by Buffalo for the grand council at La Pointe, the delegates assembled and the message given Buffalo by President Filmore was interpreted, which gave the Indians great satisfaction. Before the grand council adjourned word was received that their annuities would be given to them at La Pointe about the middle of October, thus giving them time to get together to receive them. A number of messengers was immediately sent out to all parts of the territory to notify them and by the time the goods arrived, which was about October 15th, the remainder of the Indians had congregated at La Pointe. On that date the Indians were enrolled and the annuities paid and the most perfect satisfaction was apparent among all concerned. The jubilee that was held to express their gratitude to the delegation that had secured a countermanding order in the removal matter was almost extravagantly profuse. The letter of the great father was explained to them all during the progress of the annuity payments and Chief Buffalo explained to the convention what he had seen; how the pipe of peace had been smoked in the great father’s wigwam and as that pipe was the only emblem and reminder of their duties yet to come in keeping peace with his white children, he requested that the pipe be retained by me. He then went on and said that there was yet one more treaty to be made with the great father and he hoped in making it they would be more careful and wise than they had heretofore been and reserve a part of their land for themselves and their children. It was here that he told his people that he had selected and adopted, me as his son and that I would hereafter look to treaty matters and see that in the next treaty they did not sell them selves out and become homeless ; that as he was getting old and must soon leave his entire cares to others, he hoped they would listen to me as his confidence in his adopted son was great and that when treaties were presented for them to sign they would listen to me and follow my advice, assuring them that in doing so they would not again be deceived.

Map of Lake Superior Chippewa territories ceded in 1836, 1837, 1842, and 1854.
~ Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission

After this gathering of the Indians there was not much of interest in the Indian country that I can recall until the next annual payment in 1853. This payment was made at La Pointe and the Indians had been notified that commissioners would be appointed to make another treaty with them for the remainder of their territory. This was the territory lying in Minnesota west of Lake Superior; also east and west of the Mississippi river north to the territory belonging to the Boisfort and Pillager tribe, who are a part of the Chippewa nation, but through some arrangement between themselves, were detached from the main or more numerous body. It was at this payment that the Chippewa Indians proper desired to have one dollar each taken from their annuities to recompense me for the trouble and expense I had been to on the trip to Washington in their behalf, but I refused to accept it by reason of their very impecunious condition.

It was sometime in August, 1854, before the commissioners arrived at LaPointe to make the treaty and pay the annuities of that year. Messengers were despatched to notify all Indians of the fact that the great father had sent for them to come to La Pointe to get their money and clothing and to meet the government commissioners who wished to make another treaty with them for the territory lying west of Lake Superior and they were further instructed to have the Indians council among themselves before starting that those who came could be able to tell the wishes of any that might remain away in regards to a further treaty and disposition of their lands. Representatives came from all parts of the Chippewa country and showed a willingness to treat away the balance of their country. Henry C. Gilbert, the Indian agent at La Pointe, formerly of Ohio, and David B. Herriman, the agent for the Chippewas of the Mississippi country, were the commissioners appointed by the government to consumate this treaty.

Mackinac Indian Agent
Henry C. Gilbert
~ Branch County Photographs

While we were waiting the arrival of the interior Indians I had frequent talks with the commissioners and learned what their instructions were and about what they intended to offer for the lands which information I would communicate to Chief Buffalo and other head men in our immediate vicinity, and ample time was had to perfect our plans before the others should arrive, and when they did put in an appearance we were ready to submit to them our views for approval or rejection. Knowing as I did the Indians’ unwillingness to give up and forsake their old burying grounds I would not agree to any proposition that would take away the remainder of their lands without a reserve sufficient to afford them homes for themselves and posterity, and as fast as they arrived I counselled with them upon this subject and to ascertain where they preferred these reserves to be located. The scheme being a new one to them it required time and much talk to get the matter before them in its proper light. Finally it was agreed by all before the meeting of the council that no one would sign a treaty that did not give them reservations at different points of the country that would suit their convenience, that should afterwards be considered their bona-fide home. Maps were drawn of the different tracts that had been selected by the various chiefs for their reserve and permanent home. The reservations were as follows :

One at L’Anse Bay, one at Ontonagon, one at Lac Flambeau, one at Court O’Rilles, one at Bad River, one at Red Cliff or Buffalo Bay, one at Fond du Lac, Minn., and one at Grand Portage, Minn.

Joseph Stoddard (photo c.1941) worked on the 1854 survey of the Bad River Reservation exterior boundaries, and shared a different perspective about these surveys.
~ Bad River Tribal Historic Preservation Office

The boundaries were to be as near as possible by metes and bounds or waterways and courses. This was all agreed to by the Lake Superior Indians before the Mississippi Chippewas arrived and was to be brought up in the general council after they had come in, but when they arrived they were accompanied by the American Fur Company and most of their employees, and we found it impossible to get them to agree to any of our plans or to come to any terms. A proposition was made by Buffalo when all were gathered in council by themselves that as they could not agree as they were, a division should be drawn, dividing the Mississippi and the Lake Superior Indians from each other altogether and each make their own treaty After several days of counselling the proposition was agreed to, and thus the Lake Superiors were left to make their treaty for the lands mouth of Lake Superior to the Mississippi and the Mississippis to make their treaty for the lands west of the Mississippi. The council lasted several days, as I have stated, which was owing to the opposition of the American Fur Company, who were evidently opposed to having any such division made ; they yielded however, but only when they saw further opposition would not avail and the proposition of Buffalo became an Indian law. Our side was now ready to treat with the commissioners in open council. Buffalo, myself and several chiefs called upon them and briefly stated our case but were informed that they had no instructions to make any such treaty with us and were only instructed to buy such territory as the Lake Superiors and Mississippis then owned. Then we told them of the division the Indians had agreed upon and that we would make our own treaty, and after several days they agreed to set us off the reservations as previously asked for and to guarantee that all lands embraced within those boundaries should belong to the Indians and that they would pay them a nominal sum for the remainder of their possessions on the north shores. It was further agreed that the Lake Superior Indians should have two- thirds of all money appropriated for the Chippewas and the Mississippi contingent the other third. The Lake Superior Indians did not seem, through all these councils, to care so much for future annuities either in money or goods as they did for securing a home for themselves and their posterity that should be a permanent one. They also reserved a tract of land embracing about 100 acres lying across and along the Eastern end of La Pointe or Madeline Island so that they would not be cut off from the fishing privilege.

It was about in the midst of the councils leading up to the treaty of 1854 that Buffalo stated to his chiefs that I had rendered them services in the past that should be rewarded by something more substantial than their thanks and good wishes, and that at different times the Indians had agreed to reward me from their annuity money but I had always refused such offers as it would be taking from their necessities and as they had had no annuity money for the two years prior to 1852 they could not well afford to pay me in this way.

“And now,” continued Buffalo, “I have a proposition to make to you. As he has provided us and our children with homes by getting these reservations set off for us, and as we are about to part with all the lands we possess, I have it in my power, with your consent, to provide him with a future home by giving him a piece of ground which we are about to part with. He has agreed to accept this as it will take nothing from us and makes no difference with the great father whether we reserve a small tract of our territory or not, and if you agree I will proceed with him to the head of the lake and there select the piece of ground I desire him to have, that it may appear on paper when the treaty has been completed.”

The chiefs were unanimous in their acceptance of the proposition and told Buffalo to select a large piece that his children might also have a home in future as has been provided for ours.

Kiskitawag (Giishkitawag: “Cut Ear”) signed earlier treaties as a warrior of the Ontonagon Band and became associated with the La Pointe Band at Odanah.
~C.M. Bell, Smithsonian Digital Collections

This council lasted all night and just at break of day the old chief and myself, with four braves to row the boat, set out for the head of Lake Superior and did not stop anywhere only long enough to make and drink some tea, until we reached the head of St. Louis Bay. We landed our canoe by the side of a flat rock quite a distance from the shore, among grass and rushes. Here we ate our lunch and when completed Buffalo and myself, with another chief, Kish-ki-to-uk, waded ashore and ascended the bank to a small level plateau where we could get a better view of the bay. Here Buffalo turned to me, saying: .

“Are you satisfied with this location? I want to reserve the shore of this bay from the mouth of St. Louis river. How far that way do you you want it to go?” pointing southeast, or along the south shore of the lake.

I told him we had better not try to make it too large for if we did the great father’s officers at Washington might throw it out of the treaty and said:

“I will be satisfied with one mile square, and let it start from the rock which we have christened Buffalo rock, running easterly in the direction of Minnesota Point, taking in a mile square immediately northerly from the head of St. Louis Bay”

As there was no other way of describing it than by metes and bounds we tried to so describe it in the treaty, but Agent Gilbert, whether by mistake or not I am unable to say, described it differently. He described it as follows: “Starting from a rock immediately above and adjoining Minnesota Point, etc.”

We spent an hour or two here in looking over the plateau then went back to our canoe and set out for La Pointe. We traveled night and day until we reached home.

During our absence some of the chiefs had been talking more or less with the commissioners and immediately on our return all the Indians met in a grand council when Buffalo explained to them what he had done on the trip and how and where he had selected the piece of land that I was to have reserved in the treaty for my future home and in payment for the services I had rendered them in the past. The balance of the night was spent in preparing ourselves for the meeting with the treaty makers the next day, and about 10 o’clock next morning we were in attendance before the commissioners all prepared for a big council.

Mackinac Indian Agent
Henry Clark Gilbert
~ Branch County Photographs

Agent Gilbert started the business by beginning a speech interpreted by the government interpreter, when Buffalo interrupted him by saying that he did not want anything interpreted to them from the English language by any one except his adoped son for there had always been things told to the Indians in the past that proved afterwards to be untrue, whether wrongly interpreted or not, he could not say;

“and as we now feel that my adopted son interprets to us just what you say, and we can get it correctly, we wish to hear your words repeated by him, and when we talk to you our words can be interpreted by your own interpreter, and in this way one interpreter can watch the other and correct each other should there be mistakes. We do not want to be deceived any more as we have in the past. We now understand that we are selling our lands as well as the timber and that the whole, with the exception of what we shall reserve, goes to the great father forever.”

Bureau of Indian Affairs Director
George Washington Manypenny
~ Commons.Wikimedia.org

Commissioner of Indian affairs. Col. Manypenny, then said to Buffalo:

“What you have said meets my own views exactly and I will now appoint your adopted son your interpreter and John Johnson, of Sault Ste. Marie, shall be the interpreter on the part of the government,” then turning to the commissioners said, “how does that suit you, gentlemen.”

They at once gave their consent and the council proceeded.

Buffalo informed the commissioners of what he had done in regard to selecting a tract of land for me and insisted that it become a part of the treaty and that it should be patented to me directly by the government without any restrictions. Many other questions were debated at this session but no definite agreements were reached and the council was adjourned in the middle of the afternoon. Chief Buffalo asking for the adjournment that he might talk over some matters further with his people, and that night the subject of providing homes for their half-breed relations who lived in different parts of the country was brought up and discussed and all were in favor of making such a provision in the treaty. I proposed to them that as we had made provisions for ourselves and children it would be only fair that an arrangement should be made in the treaty whereby the government should provide for our mixed blood relations by giving to each person the head of a family or to each single person twenty-one years of age a piece of land containing at least eighty acres which would provide homes for those now living and in the future there would be ample room on the reservations for their children, where all could live happily together. We also asked that all teachers and traders in the ceded territory who at that time were located there by license and doing business by authority of law, should each be entitled to 160 acres of land at $1.25 per acre. This was all reduced to writing and when the council met next morning we were prepared to submit all our plans and requests to the commissioners save one, which we required more time to consider. Most of this day was consumed in speech-making by the chiefs and commissioners and in the last speech of the day, which was made by Mr. Gilbert, he said:

“We have talked a great deal and evidently understand one another. You have told us what you want, and now we want time to consider your requests, while you want time as you say to consider another matter, and so we will adjourn until tomorrow and we, with your father. Col. Manypenny, will carefully examine and consider your propositions and when we meet to-morrow we will be prepared to answer you with an approval or rejection.”

Julius Austrian purchased the village of La Pointe and other interests from the American Fur Company in 1853.  He entered his Town Plan of La Pointe on August 29th of 1854. He was the highest paid claimant of the 1854 Treaty at La Pointe.  His family hosted the 1855 Annuity Payments at La Pointe.
~ Photograph of Austrian from the Madeline Island Museum

That evening the chiefs considered the other matter, which was to provide for the payment of the debts of the Indians owing the American Fur Company and other traders and agreed that the entire debt could not be more than $90,000 and that that amount should be taken from the Indians in bulk and divided up among their creditors in a pro-rata manner according to the amount due to any person or firm, and that this should wipe out their indebtedness. The American Fur Company had filed claims which, in the aggregate, amounted to two or three times this sum and were at the council heavily armed for the purpose of enforcing their claim by intimidation. This and the next day were spent in speeches pro and con but nothing was effected toward a final settlement.

Col. Manypenny came to my store and we had a long private interview relating to the treaty then under consideration and he thought that the demands of the Indians were reasonable and just and that they would be accepted by the commissioners. He also gave me considerable credit for the manner in which I had conducted the matter for Indians, considering the terrible opposition I had to contend with. He said he had claims in his possession which had been filed by the traders that amounted to a large sum but did not state the amount. As he saw the Indians had every confidence in me and their demands were reasonable he could see no reason why the treaty could not be speedily brought to a close. He then asked if I kept a set of books. I told him I only kept a day book or blotter showing the amount each Indian owed me. I got the books and told him to take them along with him and that he or his interpreter might question any Indian whose name appeared thereon as being indebted to me and I would accept whatever that Indian said he owed me whether it be one dollar or ten cents. He said he would be pleased to take the books along and I wrapped them up and went with him to his office, where I left them. He said he was certain that some traders were making claims for far more than was due them. Messrs. Gilbert and Herriman and their chief clerk, Mr. Smith, were present when Mr. Manypenny related the talk he had with me at the store. He considered the requests of the Indians fair and just, he said, and he hoped there would be no further delays in concluding the treaty and if it was drawn up and signed with the stipulations and agreements that were now understood should be incorporated in it, he would strongly recommend its ratification by the President and senate.

Naagaanab of Fond Du Lac
~ Minnesota Historical Society

The day following the council was opened by a speech from Chief Na-gon-ab in which he cited considerable history.

“My friends,” he said, “I have been chosen by our chief, Buffalo, to speak to you. Our wishes are now on paper before you. Before this it was not so. We have been many times deceived. We had no one to look out for us. The great father’s officers made marks on paper with black liquor and quill. The Indian can not do this. We depend upon our memory. We have nothing else to look to. We talk often together and keep your words clear in our minds. When you talk we all listen, then we talk it over many times. In this way it is always fresh with us. This is the way we must keep our record. In 1837 we were asked to sell our timber and minerals. In 1842 we were asked to do the same. Our white brothers told us the great father did not want the land. We should keep it to hunt on. Bye and bye we were told to go away; to go and leave our friends that were buried yesterday. Then we asked each other what it meant. Does the great father tell the truth? Does he keep his promises? We cannot help ourselves! We try to do as we agree in treaty. We ask you what this means? You do not tell from memory! You go to your black marks and say this is what those men put down; this is what they said when they made the treaty. The men we talk with don’t come back; they do not come and you tell us they did not tell us so! We ask you where they are? You say you do not know or that they are dead and gone. This is what they told you; this is what they done. Now we have a friend who can make black marks on paper When the council is over he will tell us what we have done. We know now what we are doing! If we get what we ask our chiefs will touch the pen, but if not we will not touch it. I am told by our chief to tell you this: We will not touch the pen unless our friend says the paper is all right.”

Na-gon-ab was answered by Commissioner Gilbert, saying:

“You have submitted through your friend and interpreter the terms and conditions upon which you will cede away your lands. We have not had time to give them all consideration and want a little more time as we did not know last night what your last proposition would be. Your father. Col. Manypenny, has ordered some beef cattle killed and a supply of provisions will be issued to you right away. You can now return to your lodges and get a good dinner and talk matters over among yourselves the remainder of the day and I hope you will come back tomorrow feeling good natured and happy, for your father, Col. Manypenny, will have something to say to you and will have a paper which your friend can read and explain to you.”

When the council met next day in front of the commissioners’ office to hear what Col. Manypenny had to say a general good feeling prevailed and a hand-shaking all round preceded the council, which Col. Manypenny opened by saying:

“My friends and children: I am glad to see you all this morning looking good natured and happy and as if you could sit here and listen to what I have to say. We have a paper here for your friend to examine to see if it meets your approval. Myself and the commissioners which your great father has sent here have duly considered all your requests and have concluded to accept them. As the season is passing away and we are all anxious to go to our families and you to your homes, I hope when you read this treaty you will find it as you expect to and according to the understandings we have had during the council. Now your friend may examine the paper and while he is doing so we will take a recess until afternoon.”

Detail of Benjamin Armstrong from a photograph by Matthew Brady
~ Minnesota Historical Society

Chief Buffalo, turning to me, said:

“My son, we, the chiefs of all the country, have placed this matter entirely in your hands. Go and examine the paper and if it suits you it will suit us.”

Then turning to the chiefs, he asked,

“what do you all say to that?”

The ho-ho that followed showed the entire circle were satisfied.

I went carefully through the treaty as it had been prepared and with a few exceptions found it was right. I called the attention of the commissioners to certain parts of the stipulations that were incorrect and they directed the clerk to make the changes.

The following day the Indians told the commissioners that as their friend had made objections to the treaty as it was they requested that I might again examine it before proceeding further with the council. On this examination I found that changes had been made but on sheets of paper not attached to the body of the instrument, and as these sheets contained some of the most important items in the treaty, I again objected and told the commissioners that I would not allow the Indians to sign it in that shape and not until the whole treaty was re-written and the detached portions appeared in their proper places. I walked out and told the Indians that the treaty was not yet ready to sign and they gave up all further endeavors until next day. I met the commissioners alone in their office that afternoon and explained the objectionable points in the treaty and told them the Indians were already to sign as soon as those objections were removed. They were soon at work putting the instrument in shape.

“One version of the boundaries for Chief Buffalo’s reservation is shown at the base of Minnesota Point in a detail from an 1857 map preserved in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Other maps show a larger and more irregularly shaped versions of the reservation boundary, though centered on the same area.”
~ DuluthStories.net

The next day when the Indians assembled they were told by the commissioners that all was ready and the treaty was laid upon a table and I found it just as the Indians had wanted it to be, except the description of the mile square. The part relating to the mile square that was to have been reserved for me read as follows:

“Chief Buffalo, being desirous of providing for some of his relatives who had rendered them important services, it is agreed that he may select one mile square of the ceded territory heretofore described.”

“Now,” said the commissioner,

“we want Buffalo to designate the person or persons to whom he wishes the patents to issue.”

Buffalo then said:

“I want them to be made out in the name of my adopted son.”

This closed all ceremony and the treaty was duly signed on the 30th day of September, 1854. This done the commissioners took a farewell shake of the hand with all the chiefs, hoping to meet them again at the annuity payment the coming year. They then boarded the steamer North Star for home. In the course of a few days the Indians also disappeared, some to their interior homes and some to their winter hunting grounds and a general quiet prevailed on the island.

Portrait of the Steamer North Star from American Steam Vessels, by Samuel Ward Stanton, page 40.
~ Wikimedia.org

About the second week in October, 1854, I went from La Pointe to Ontonagon in an open boat for the purpose of purchasing my winter supplies as it had got too late to depend on getting them from further below. While there a company was formed for the purpose of going into the newly ceded territory to make claims upon lands that would be subject to entry as soon as the late treaty should be ratified. The company consisted of Samuel McWaid, William Whitesides, W. W. Kingsbury, John Johnson, Oliver Melzer, John McFarland, Daniel S. Cash, W. W. Spaulding, all of Ontonagon, and myself. The two last named gentlemen, Daniel S. Cash and W. W. Spaulding, agreeing to furnish the company with supplies and all necessaries, including money, to enter the lands for an equal interest and it was so stipulated that we were to share equally in all that we, or either of us, might obtain. As soon as the supplies could be purchased and put aboard the schooner Algonquin we started for the head of the lake, stopping at La Pointe long enough for me to get my family aboard and my business matters arranged for the winter. I left my store at La Pointe in charge of Alex. Nevaux, and we all sailed for the head of Lake Superior, the site of which is now the city of Duluth. Reaching there about the first week in December—the bay of Superior being closed by ice—we were compelled to make our landing at Minnesota Point and take our goods from there to the main land on the north’ shore in open boats, landing about one and-one half miles east of Minnesota Point at a place where I desired to make a preemption for myself and to establish a trading post for the winter. Here I erected a building large enough for all of us to live in, as we expected to make this our headquarters for the winter, and also a building for a trading post. The other members of the company made claims in other places, but I did no more land looking that winter.

Detail of Superior City townsite at the head of Lake Superior from the 1854 U.S. General Land Office survey by Stuntz and Barber.

About January 20th, 1855, I left my place at the head of the lake to go back to La Pointe and took with me what furs I had collected up to that time, as I had a good place at La Pointe to dry and keep them. I took four men along to help me through and two dog trains. As we were passing down Superior Bay and when just in front of the village of West Superior a man came to us on the ice carrying a small bundle on his back and asked me if I had any objections to his going through in my company. He said the snow was deep and the weather cold and it was bad for one man to travel alone. I told him I had no objections provided he would take his turn with the other men in breaking the road for the dogs. We all went on together and camped that night at a place well known as Flag River. We made preparations for a cold night as the thermometer must have been twenty-five or thirty degrees below zero and the snow fully two feet deep. As there were enough of us we cut and carried up a large quantity of wood, both green and dry, and shoveled the snow away to the ground with our snow shoes and built a large fire. We then cut evergreen boughs and made a wind break or bough camp and concluded we could put in a very comfortable night. We then cooked and ate our supper and all seemed happy. I unrolled a bale of bear skins and spread them out on the ground for my bed, filled my pipe and lay down to rest while the five men with me were talking and smoking around the camp fire. I was very tired and presume I was not long in falling asleep. How long I slept I cannot tell, but was awakened by something dropping into my face, which felt like a powdered substance. I sprang to my feet for I found something had got into my eyes and was smarting them badly. I rushed for the snow bank that was melting from the heat and applied handful after handful to my eyes and face. I found the application was peeling the skin off my face and the pain soon became intense. I woke up the crew and they saw by the firelight the terrible condition I was in. In an hour’s time my eyeballs were so swollen that I could not close the lids and the pain did not abate. I could do nothing more than bathe my eyes until morning, which I did with tea-grounds. It seemed an age before morning came and when it did come I could not realize it, for I was totally blind. The party started with me at early dawn for La Pointe. The man who joined us the day before went no further, but returned to Superior, which was a great surprise to the men of our party, who frequently during the day would say:

“There is something about this matter that is not right,”

and I never could learn afterward of his having communicated the fact of my accident to any one or to assign any reason or excuse for turning back, which caused us to suspect that he had a hand in the blinding, but as I could get no proof to establish that suspicion, I could do nothing in the matter. This man was found dead in his cabin a few months afterwards.

At La Pointe I got such treatment as could be procured from the Indians which allayed the inflamation but did not restore the sight. I remained at La Pointe about ten days, and then returned home with dog train to my family, where I remained the balance of the winter, when not at Superior for treatment. When the ice moved from the lake in the spring I abandoned everything there and returned to La Pointe and was blind or nearly so until the winter of 1861.

Returning a little time to the north shore I wish to relate an incident of the death of one of our Ontonagon company. Two or three days after I had reached home from La Pointe, finding my eyes constantly growing worse I had the company take me to Superior where I could get treatment. Dr. Marcellus, son of Prof. Marcellus, of an eye infirmary in Philadelphia, who had just then married a beautiful young wife, and come west to seek his fortune, was engaged to treat me. I was taken to the boarding house of Henry Wolcott, where I engaged rooms for the winter as I expected to remain there until spring. I related to the doctor what had befallen me and he began treatment. At times I felt much better but no permanent relief seemed near. About the middle February my family required my presence at home, as there was some business to be attended to which they did not understand. My wife sent a note to me by Mr. Melzer, stating that it was necessary for me to return, and as the weather that day was very pleasant, she hoped that I would come that afternoon. Mr. Melzer delivered me the note, which I requested him to read. It was then 11 a. m. and I told him we would start right after dinner, and requested him to tell the doctor that I wished to see him right away, and then return and get his dinner, as it would be ready at noon, to which he replied:

“If I am not here do not wait for me, but I will be here at the time you are ready for home.”

Mr. Melzer did return shortly after we had finished our dinner and I requested him to eat, as I would not be ready to start for half an hour, but he insisted he was not hungry. We had no conveyance and at 1 p. m. we set out for home. We went down a few steps to the ice, as Mr. Wolcott’s house stood close to the shore of the bay, and went straight across Superior Bay to Minnesota Point, and across the point six or eight rods and struck the ice on Lake Superior. A plain, hard beaten road led from here direct to my home. After we had proceeded about 150 yards, following this hard beaten road, Melzer at once stopped and requested me to go ahead, as I could follow the beaten road without assistance, the snow being deep on either side.

“Now,” he says go ahead, for I must go back after a drink.”

I followed the road quite well, and when near the house my folks came out to meet me, their first inquiry being:

“Where is Melzer?”

I told them the circumstances of his turning back for a drink of water. Reaching the bank on which my house stood, some of my folks, looking back over the road I had come, discovered a dark object apparently floundering on the ice. Two or three of our men started for the spot and there found the dead body of poor Melzer. We immediately notified parties in Superior of the circumstances and ordered a post-mortem examination of the body. The doctors found that his stomach was entirely empty and mostly gone from the effects of whisky and was no thicker than tissue paper and that his heart had burst into three pieces. We gave him a decent burial at Superior and peace to his ashes, His last act of kindness was in my behalf.

To be continued in Chapter III

By Amorin Mello

 

This is one of many posts on Chequamegon History that feature the $90,000 of Indian trader debts that were debated during the 1854 Treaty and the 1855 Annuity Payments at La Pointe. 

In summary, the Chiefs of the Chippewas made it a condition of the treaty that they would be granted $90,000 to settle outstanding debts with Indian traders, under the condition that a Council of Chiefs would determine which debts claimed by the traders were fair and accurate.  The following quote is the fourth article of the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe, with the sentence about the $90,000 underlined for emphasis:

ARTICLE 4. In consideration of and payment for the country hereby ceded, the United States agree to pay to the Chippewas of Lake Superior, annually, for the term of twenty years, the following sums, to wit: five thousand dollars in coin; eight thousand dollars in goods, household furniture and cooking utensils; three thousand dollars in agricultural implements and cattle, carpenter’s and other tools and building materials, and three thousand dollars for moral and educational purposes, of which last sum, three hundred dollars per annum shall be paid to the Grand Portage band, to enable them to maintain a school at their village. The United States will also pay the further sum of ninety thousand dollars, as the chiefs in open council may direct, to enable them to meet their present just engagements. Also the further sum of six thousand dollars, in agricultural implements, household furniture, and cooking utensils, to be distributed at the next annuity payment, among the mixed bloods of said nation. The United States will also furnish two hundred guns, one hundred rifles, five hundred beaver traps, three hundred dollars’ worth of ammunition, and one thousand dollars’ worth of ready made clothing, to be distributed among the young men of the nation, at the next annuity payment.

~ 1854 Treaty with the Chippewa at La Pointe
Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties; Volume II by Charles Kappler, 1904

 

This $90,000 appear to have been an unexpected expense that the United States government incurred in order to successfully negotiate this Treaty.  Indian Agent Henry Clark Gilbert was a commissioner of the Treaty, and was obliged to explain this $90,000 to his superiors at the Office of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C.  The following is his explanation written a few weeks after the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe was concluded:

The Chiefs who were notified to attend brought with them in every instance their entire bands. We made a careful estimate of the number present and found there were about 4,000. They all had to be fed and taken care of, thus adding greatly to the expenses attending the negotiations.

A great number of traders and claim agents were also present as well as some of the persons from St. Paul’s who I had reason to believe attended for the purpose of preventing if possible the consummation of the treaty. The utmost precautions were taken by me to prevent a knowledge of the fact that negotiations were to take place from being public. The Messenger sent by me to Mr Herriman was not only trust worthy but was himself totally ignorant of the purport of the dispatches to Major Herriman. Information however of the fact was communicated from some source and the persons present in consequence greatly embarrassed our proceedings.

~ Treaty Commissioner Henry C. Gilbert’s explanation of the treaty concluded in 1854 with the assistance of David B. Herriman
Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters: Volume 79, No. 1, Appendix 5

 

Indian Agent Gilbert’s explanation suggests that there was some effort on his behalf to preemptively avoid the subject of outstanding debts from occuring during the Treaty negotiations.  In January of 1855, a few months after the Treaty was negotiated, President Franklin Pierce budgeted for this $90,000 in the fund appropriated for fulfilling the terms of the Treaty:

For the payment of such debts as may be directed by the chiefs in open council, and found to be just and correct by the Secretary of the Interior, per 4th article of the treaty of September 30, 1854…….. 90,000

~ United States House of Representatives Documents, Volume 11, 33d Congress, 2nd Session, Ex. Doc. No. 61.
1854 Treaty of La Pointe Appropriations

 

As quoted above, the $90,000 negotiated during the treaty were to be distributed by a Council of the Chiefs following the treaty.  How the $90,000 were actually distributed did not honor the intent or terms of the treaty.   The following is a public notice from Indian Agent Gilbert that invited Indian traders with claims against Tribe to come forth with their claims before or during the 1855 Annuity, and makes no mention of any distribution to be determined by a Council of Chiefs:

PUBLIC NOTICE.
OFFICE MICHIGAN INDIAN AGENT,
DETROIT, June 12, 1855.

ALL PERSONS having just and legal claims against the Chippewa Indians of Lake Superior are hereby notified that all such claims must be presented without delay to the undersigned, for investigation. Each claim must be accompanied by such evidence of its justice and legality as the claimant may be able to furnish; and in all cases where the idebtedness claimed is on book account, or is composed of aggregated items, transcripts of such accounts specifying the items in detail, with the charge for each item, and the name of the person to whom, and time when, the same was furnished, must accompany the claims submitted. The original books of entry must also in all cases be prepared for examination.

Claims may be presented at any time prior to the close of the next annuity payment at La Pointe, which will take place in the month of August next; but after that time they will not be received or acted upon.

This notice is given in accordance with instructions received from the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

HENRY C. GILBERT.
Indian Agent.
jy 10 4t

~ Superior Chronicle newspaper, July 10th, 1855
Library of Congress

 

The distribution of this $90,000 was hotly debated by Blackbird and other members of the Council of Chiefs during the 1855 Annuity Payments.  It is clear from the speeches transcribed from this important event that the Council was not being allowed to determine the distribution of this $90,000.  The following is one of many speeches that touched upon this subject:

In what Blackbird said he expressed the mind of a majority of the chiefs now present.  We wish the stipulations of the treaty to be carried out to the very letter.

I wish to say our word about our reserves.  Will these reserves made for each of our bands, be our homes forever?

When we took credits of our trader last winter, and took no furs to pay him, and wish to get hold of this 90,000 dollars, that we may pay him off of that.  This is all we came here for.  We want the money in our own hands & we will pay our own traders.  We do not think it is right to pay what we do not owe.  I always know how I stand my acct. and we can pay our own debts.  From what I have now said I do not want you to think that we want the money to cheat our creditors, but to do justice to them I owe.  I have my trader & know how much I owe him, & if the money is paid into the hands of the Indians we can pay our own debts.

~ Adikoons, Chief of Grand Portage Band
(Wheeler to Smith, 18 Jan. 1856)
Blackbird’s Speech at the 1855 Payment

 

With the above quotes as an introduction to this subject, we will now investigate what exactly happened to the $90,000 to be disbursed as “directed by the chiefs in open council”.  What we have found so far appears to suggest that the federal government did not honor their Trust responsibility to the Tribe:

 


 

Senate Documents, Volume 112

U.S. Government Printing Office, 1858

 

 

[Page 295 of audit]

Indian Disbursements

Statement containing a list of the names of all persons to whom goods, money, or effects have been delivered, from July 1, 1856, to June 30, 1857, specifying the amounts and objects for which they were intended, the amount accounted for, and the balances under each specified head still remaining in their hands; prepared in obedience to an act of Congress of June 30, 1834, entitled “An act to provide for the organization of the department of Indian affairs.”

 

[Pages 303-305 of audit]

Fulfilling treaties with Chippewas of Lake Superior, September 30, 1854

When issued To whom issued. For what purpose. Amount of requisition. Am’t accounted for.
Amount unaccounted for.
1856
July 3 John B. Jacobs Fulfilling Treaties, (due) $1,718.73 $1,718.73
22 Henry C. Gilbert …do… $7,000.00 $7,000.00
Do …do… $5,000.00 $5,000.00
Aug. 14 Henry E. Leman …do…(due)… $1,412.50 $1,412.50
18 Ramsey Crooks …do…do… $6,617.64 $6,617.64
Adam Noongoo …do…do… $66.00 $66.00
Wm. Parsons …do…do… $28.50 $28.50
Erwin Leiky …do…do… $119.75 $119.75
Robert Morrin …do…do… $163.56 $163.56
Charles Bellisle …do…do… $191.00 $191.00
Posh-qway-gin …do…do… $47.88 $47.88
22 W. A. Pratt …do…do… $50.00 $50.00
John G. Kittson …do…do… $1,280.93 $1,280.93
Asaph Whittlesey …do…do… $25.00 $25.00
Louis Bosquet …do…do… $72.00 $72.00
David King …do…do… $100.00 $100.00
P. O. Johnson …do…do… $10.12 $10.12
Henry Elliott …do…do… $399.02 $399.02
McCullough & Elliott …do…do… $475.78 $475.78
Edward Assinsece …do…do… $50.00 $50.00
John Southwind …do…do… $21.00 $21.00
Kay-kake …do…do… $35.00 $35.00
Goff & Co. …do…do… $556.21 $556.21
Jame Halliday …do…do… $67.88 $67.88
Peter Crebassa …do…do… $1,013.99 $1,013.99
S. L. Vaugh …do…do… $57.08 $57.08
David King …do…do… $191.72 $191.72
Peter B. Barbean …do…do… $1,200.00 $1,200.00
23 Antoine Gaudine …do…do… $3,250.94 $3,250.94
Peter Markman …do…do… $300.00 $300.00
Pat L. Philan …do…do… $90.08 $90.08
Treasurer of township of Lapointe …do…do… $224.77 $224.77
Michael Bosquet …do…do… $219.63 $219.63
James Ermatinger …do…do… $2,000.00 $2,000.00
Louison Demaris …do…do… $2,000.00 $2,000.00
Joseph Morrison …do…do… $250.00 $250.00
John W. Bell …do…do… $253.11 $253.11
27 Paul H. Beaubien …do…do… $600.00 $600.00
R. Sheldon & Co. …do…do… $1,124.71 $1,124.71
Abraham Place …do…do… $450.00 $450.00
Michael James …do…do… $195.00 $195.00
R. J. Graveract …do…do… $269.19 $269.19
Reuben Chapman …do…do… $71.11 $71.11
Miller Wood …do…do… $38.50 $38.50
Robert Reed …do…do… $21.60 $21.60
Louis Gurno …do…do… $179.00 $179.00
Gregory S. Bedel …do…do… $142.63 $142.63
Geo. R. Stuntz …do…do… $537.41 $537.41
Usop & Hoops …do…do… $49.43 $49.43
May-yan-wash …do…do… $45.50 $45.50
John Hartley …do…do… $41.01 $41.01
B. F. Rathbun …do…do… $8.07 $8.07
W. W. Spaulding …do…do… $258.92 $258.92
Stephen Bonge …do…do… $40.00 $40.00
Abel Hall …do…do… $160.00 $160.00
Louis Cadotte …do…do… $200.00 $200.00
John Senter & Co. …do…do… $17.00 $17.00
John B. Roy …do…do… $150.00 $150.00
L. Y. B. Birchard …do…do… $26.00 $26.00
Peter Roy …do…do… $250.00 $250.00
Jacob F. Shaffer …do…do… $150.00 $150.00
Peter Vandeventer …do…do… $216.31 $216.31
Sept. 4 John Hotley, jr. …do…do… $538.48 $538.48
G. B. Armstrong …do…do… $950.00 $950.00
Lathrop Johnson …do…do… $376.00 $376.00
6 Wm. Mathews …do…do… $1,741.50 $1,741.50
Cronin, Hurxthal & Sears …do…do… $4,583.77 $4,583.77
13 Henry C. Gilbert …do… $12,500.00
24 B. W. Brisbois …do…(due)… $4,000.00 $4,000.00
27 John Brunet …do…do… $2,000.00 $2,000.00
John B. Roy …do…do… $80.00 $80.00
Edward Connor …do…do… $600.00 $600.00
Alexis Corbin …do…do… $1,000.00 $1,000.00
Louis Corbin …do…do… $1,108.47 $1,108.47
Vincent Roy …do…do… $645.36 $645.36
Abner Sherman …do…do… $568.00 $568.00
John B. Landry …do…do… $502.64 $502.64
Thomas Conner …do…do… $1,050.00 $1,050.00
Augustus Corbin …do…do… $238.50 $238.50
Julius Austrain …do…do… $6,000.00 $6,000.00
Do… …do…do… $1,876.86 $1,876.86
John B. Corbin …do…do… $750.00 $750.00
Cruttenden & Lynde …do…do… $1,300.00 $1,300.00
Orrin W. Rice …do…do… $358.09 $358.09
Francis Ronissaie …do…do… $817.74 $817.74
Dec. 6 W. G. and G. W. Ewing …do…do… $787.02 $787.02
1857
Jan. 2 Henry C. Gilbert …do… $674.73 $674.73
Feb 21 Do …do… $8,133.33 $8,133.33
24 John B. Cadotte …do…(due)… $1,265.00 $1,265.00
Cruttenden & Lynde …do…do… $1,615.00 $1,615.00
J. B. Landry …do…do… $560.00 $560.00
P. Chouteau, jr., & Co. …do…do… $935.00 $935.00
Vincent Roy …do…do… $5,000.00 $5,000.00
Northern Fur Company …do…do… $625.00 $625.00
J. B. Landry …do…do… $90.00 $90.00
$105,071.70 $84,363.64 $20,708.06

 


 

Many of the Indian traders listed above make regular appearances in other primary documents of Chequamegon History.  Some of the names are misspelled but still recognizable to regular readers.  In summary let’s take a closer look at the top ten Indian traders that received the most disbursements related to the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe:

 

9½.)  James Ermatinger

$2,000.00

James Ermatinger was involved with the American Fur Company in earlier years.  He seems to have become an independent Indian trader in later years leading up to the 1854 Treaty:

James founded Jim Falls, Wis., arriving by canoe from La Pointe, Wis. where he was involved in fur trading. He settled in Jim Falls, initially managing a trading post there for the American Fur Company. Others in the Ermatinger family were prominent fur traders in Canada, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Wisconsin.

~ Ermatinger family papers, 1833-1979

 

9½.)  Louison Demaris

$2,000.00

According to Theresa Schenck’s research in her book All Our Relations, Louison Demarais may have been a son of Jean Baptiste Demarais who was an interpreter for Alexander Henry the Younger’s North West Company on the Red River:

Louison Desmarais residing at Chippewa River a ½ breed Chippewa 50 yrs of age born at Pembina and remained in the North until 9 years back when he came to Chippewa river where he has resided since claims for himself and wfie Angelique a ½ breed, 35 yrs of age born at Fond du Lac where she remained until she was married 23 years since when she went to the North with her husband and has since lived with him.

~ 1839 Mixed Blood Census
All Our Relations by Theresa M. Schenck, 2010, page 60

 

8.)  Cruttenden & Lynde

$1,615.00 + $1,300.00 = $2,915.00

“Here lie the remains of Hon. J. W. Lynde Killed by Sioux Indians Aug. 18.1862″
~ Findagrave.com

James William Lynde was an Indian Agent, Senator, and first casualty of 1862 Sioux Uprising.  Mr. Lynde was also a signatory of the 1854 Treaty, which may be a conflict of interest:

Hon. James W. Lynd was a native of Baltimore, born in 1830, but was reared and educated at Cincinnati. He had received a college education at Woodward College, having attended from 1842 – 1844. He was a man of accomplishments and ability. He thoroughly mastered the Indian language, married successively two Indian wives, and spent years in the study of the history and general character of the Sioux or Dakota tribe. For some time prior to his death he had been engaged in revising for publication the manuscript of an elaborate work containing the results of his studies and researches. Under the circumstances the greater part of this manuscript was lost. He was a young man, of versatile talents had been an editor, lecturer, public speaker, and was a member of the Minnesota State Senate in 1861.

~ Sketches: Historical and Descriptive of the Monuments and Tablets Erected by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society in Renville and Redwood Counties, Minnesota by the Minnesota Valley Historical Society, 1902, page 6

 

Joel D. Cruttenden was Mr. Lynch’s business partner:

Col. Cruttenden, of whom I have spoken briefly in another place, left St. Louis in 1846 and removed to Prairie du Chien, where he was employed by Brisbois & Rice. In 1848 he came to ST. PAUL and remained up to 1850, when he took up his residence in St. Anthony and engaged in business with R. P. Russel. He then went to Crow Wing and was connected with Maj. J. W. Lynde. In 1857 he was elected to the House of Representatives, and on the breaking out of the war was commissioned Captain Assistant Quartermaster; was taken prisoner, and on being exchanged rose to the rank of Colonel. At the close of the war he was honorably discharged, and soon after removed to Bayfield, Wisconsin, where he has held many offices and is greatly esteemed. He is a pleasant, genial gentleman, well known and well liked.

~ Pen Pictures of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Biographical Sketches of Old Settlers: Volume 1, by Thomas McLean Newson, 1886, page 95

 

7.)  Antoine Gaudine

$3,250.94

~ Antoine Gordon
~ Noble Lives of a Noble Race by the St. Mary’s Industrial School (Odanah), page 207

Antoine Gaudine (a.k.a. Gordon) as one of those larger-than-life mixed-blood members of the La Pointe Band leading up to the 1854 Treaty and beyond:

Mr Gordon was the founder of the village of Gordon and for years had a trading post there which was the only store there. It is but a few years since he discontinued this store. He was a full-blooded Chippewa Indian, and came here from Madelaine Island, where he ran a post years ago. He was formerly the owner of the famous Algonquin, the first ship to come through the Soo locks, and used her in the lumber trade.

~ Eau Claire Leader newspaper, May 8, 1907

 

 

6.)  B. W. Brisbois

$4,000.00

Bernard Walter Brisbois was a son of Michael Brisbois, Sr.:

Bernard Brisbois was born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1808, to Michel Brisbois, a French-Canadian voyageur, and his second wife Domitelle (Madelaine) Gautier de Verville.

Like his father, Brisbois also began his career in the fur trade, working as agent for the American Fur Company. Bernard married Therese LaChappelle [daughter of metis Pélagie LaPointe (herself the daughter of Pierre LaPointe and Etoukasahwee) and Antoine LaChapelle]. Later he engaged in the mercantile business in Prairie du Chien until 1873 when he was appointed consul at Verviers, Belgium. He returned to Prairie du Chien in 1874 and lived there until his death in 1885.

~ Wikipedia.org

 

5.)  Cronin, Hurxthal & Sears

$4,583.77

Advertisement of Cronin, Hurxthal & Sears
~ The Prairie News (Okolona, Miss.), April 15, 1858, page 4

According to a receipt from this company, the partners behind this firm were John B. Cronin, Ben. Hurxthal and J. Newton Sears.  No further biographical information could be found about these individuals, who are presumed to have been New York City businessmen.  In general they appear to have been involved with trades associated with slavery and Indians.  Per their advertisement, they were the successors to the firm of Grant and Barton:

Grant and Barton nevertheless remained active in the [Texas] region, winning government contracts to supply the Bureau of Indian affairs with “blankets and dry goods” in the late 1840s and early 1850s…

The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860, by Calvin Schermerhorn, 2015, page 225

 

4.) Vincent Roy

$5,000.00 + $645.36 = $5,645.36

Vincent Roy, Jr. (III)
~ Life and Labors of Rt. Rev. Frederic Baraga, by Chrysostom Verwyst, 1900, pages 472-476

Vincent Roy, Sr. (II) and his son Vincent Roy, Jr. (III) were prominent members of the La Pointe Band mixed-bloods.  Sr. was recognized by Gilbert as the Head of the Mixed Bloods of the La Pointe Band of Lake Superior Chippewas.  Jr. was allegedly an interpreter at the 1854 Treaty, but is not identified in the Treaty itself and cannot find primary source.  Jr. is described as a skilled trader in many sources, including this one:

“Leopold and Austrian (Jews) doing a general merchandize and fur-trading business at LaPointe were not slow in recognizing ‘their man.’  Having given employment to Peter Roy, who by this time quit going to school, they also, within the first year of his arrival at this place, employed Vincent to serve as handy-man for all kind of things, but especially, to be near when indians from the woods were coming to trade, which was no infrequent occurrence.  After serving in that capacity about two years, and having married, he managed (from 1848 to 1852) a trading post for the same Leopold and Austrian; at first a season at Fond du Lac, Minn., then at Vermillion Lake, and finally again at Fond du Lac.” 

Miscellaneous materials related to Vincent Roy, 1861-1862, 1892, 1921

 

3.)  R. Crooks

$6,617.64

Ramsay Crooks
~ Madeline Island Museum

Ramsey Crooks enjoyed a long history with the American Fur Company outfit at La Pointe in the decades leading up to the 1854 Treaty:

“Ramsey Crooks (also spelled Ramsay) was born in Scotland in 1787. He immigrated to Canada in 1803 where he worked as a fur trader and explorer around the Great Lakes. He began working for the American Fur Company, which was started by John Jacob Astor, America’s first multi-millionaire, and made an expedition to the Oregon coast from 1809-1813 for the company. By doing so he also became a partner in the Pacific Fur Company. In 1834 he became acting president of the American Fur Company following Astor’s retirement to New York. A great lakes sailing vessel the Ramsey Crooks was constructed in 1836 by the American Fur Co. A nearly identical sister ship was built in the same year and was called the Astor. Both ships were sold by the dissolving fur company in 1850. Ramsay Crooks passed away in 1859, but had made a name for himself in the fur trade not only in Milwaukee and the Great Lakes, but all the way to the Pacific Ocean.”  

~ Milwaukee County Historical Society

 

2.)  J. Austrian

$ 6,000.00 + $1,876.86 = $7,876.86

Julius Austrian
~ Madeline Island Museum

Julius Austrian was competitor and successor of the American Fur Company during the decade immediately leading up to the 1854 Treaty.  Chequamegon History’s research has explored the previously uncovered circumstances of Austrian’s purchase of the Village of La Pointe from American Fur Company in 1853, being the unnamed and de facto host of the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe, being the host of the 1855 Annuities at La Pointe, and the host of the 1855 High Holy Days at La Pointe:

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.

United States Jewry 1776-1985: Vol. 2; the Germanic Period, Part 1 by Jacob Rader Marcus Wayne State University Press , 1991, page 196

 

1.) Henry C. Gilbert

$0.00 ?

Henry Clark Gilbert
~ Branch County Photographs

Mackinac Indian Agent Henry Clark Gilbert was the Commissioner of the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe along with David B. Herriman. 

Gilbert submitted requisitions for $5,000.00, $7,000.00, $12,500.00, $674.73, and $8,133.33; which is a total amount of $33,308.06.  The amount accounted for in his name is $0.00, but his total amount unaccounted for is $20,808.06.  The difference between the total amount Gilbert requisitioned and his total amount unaccounted for is $12,500, which is the same amount that Gilbert requisitioned for on September 4th, 1856.

A closer look at all of the 1854 Treaty accounts as a whole suggests that Gilbert was paid his $12,500.00 despite what is shown on paper.  The total amount accounted for is actually $71,763.64; which is $12,600.00 less than the total amount on paper.  The total amount unaccounted for is $20,808.06; which is $100 greater than the total amount on paper (all of which was in Gilbert’s name).  We are left with a puzzle missing some pieces.  Did Gilbert obtain his $12,500.00 fraudulently?  Was the extra $100 accounted for taken from the unaccounted amounts by someone else as a bribe?

Did Gilbert abuse his Trust responsibility to the 1854 Treaty of La Pointe?  Or was this simply a case of sloppy reporting by a federal clerk?

By Amorin Mello

 

Madeline Island Museum

Julius Austrian Papers

Folder 6: James Hughes Affair (1853-1866)

 


 

J. Austrian

Power of Attorney to

J. Hughes

“State of Wisconsin”
“La Pointe County”
“Office of Register of Deeds”

Received for Record on this 10th day of December 1853 at 7 O Clock P.M. and Recorded on Pages 20 and 21 in Book A of Records of Deeds.

Robt. D. Boyd

Register of Deeds

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

James Bibb Hughes of St. Paul, MN, and Hudson, WI.
Newsman; Politician; Abolitionist.
~ Wikipedia.org

Know all men

Moses S. Gibson was a prominent banker and politician in Hudson, WI.

by these presents that I Julius Austrian of La Pointe, Lapointe County and state of Wisconsin, have made, constituted, and appointed and do by these presents, make, constitute and appoint James Hughes now of La Pointe my lawful Attorney for me and in my name, place and stead to, to sell, alien, and convey, any and all rights, title claim and interest that I have or may have unto any lands or lands purchased by me as the public land sales at Willow River or the second day of May A. D. 1853 for which I hold a Duplicate No 242 signed by Moses S. Gibson received Dated May 2, 1853.

Giving and granting unto my said Attorney full power and Authority to do and perform all and every act or thing whatsoever, requisite and necessary to be done and performed in and about the Premises, as fully & completely, to all intents and purposes as I myself might or could do if I were personally present with full authority to make deeds or deeds for lands sold & to receive money & receipt for same here by ratifying and confirming all the acts or acts of my said Attorney (as fully as I myself could do & [cause?] to be [owner?]) by virtue thereof.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hands & seal this 30th day of May AD 1853

Julius Austrian

 

Signed Sealed & delivered
in Presence of

Henry Smitz
S Goff

 


 

State of Wisconsin
County of La Pointe

Schuyler Goff later became a La Pointe County Judge and involved with Penokee mixed-blood lands.

S. Goff came personally before me and being duly sworn according to laws, Says, That, he signed the annexed foregoing power of Attorney from Julius Austrian to James Hughes bearing date on the 30 day of May AD 1853, as one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, and that his Deponents signature thereon and thereto, is genuine, that Deponents was then and still is acquainted with and personally knew the said Julius Austrian who signed the said Power of Attorney, and that he signed the same in the presence of this Deponent at the time the same bears date. To wit: on the 30th day of May AD 1853, and the said Julius Austrian’s signature thereto and thereon is genuine.

S. Goff

Subscribed and Sworn
to before me the 10th day
of december AD 1853

John W. Bell
Justice of the peace

 


 

This Agreement

made and entered into between Charles H Oakes, Michael E Ames and Isaac Van Etten of St Paul, Minnesota Territory of the first part and James Hughes of Hudson Wisconsin, of the second part witnesseth:

Julius Austrian purchased the American Fur Company’s La Pointe Lands from the Bealieu/Borup/Oakes family of white and mixed-blood fur traders.
Michael E. Ames and Isaac Van Etten were lawyers and politicians in Minnesota Territory during the 1850’s.
Austrian and Oakes both signed the 1847 Treaty at Fond Du Lac.
Austrian and Van Etten were both involved with Chippewa Mixed Blood Land Fraud.

That the said parties of the first part do hereby agree to pay or cause to be paid, the sum of Three Hundred and fifty Dollars, to be paid unto the said James Hughes, party of the second part, as soon as two certain Warranty Deeds made and executed by Julius Austrian through and by the said James Hughes, his Attorney in fact, to the parties of the first part of even date herewith, shall by duly Recorded in the office of the Register of La Pointe county, Wisconsin, upon the express condition however, that no deed or other instrument of conveyance of the lands described in the said Deed, or any part of them, has been executed or Recorded in said County or State from Julius Austrian, or from his Attorney in fact previous to the Record of the above deeds, to the parties of the first part.

And upon the further condition that the entry or purchase from the United States Government, of the said Austrian of said lands mentioned and described in said Deeds to the parties of the first part, shall be held good and valid by the Government and not vacated or cancelled, and that a patent issue from the United States Government therefore and perfecting the title thereof in the parties of the first part.

And the parties of the first part further agree to pay unto the said James Hughes the further sum of Six Hundred Dollars after and out of the proceeds of the sale of a portion of the property ( Real Estate described in the said two Deeds of Julius Austrian, executed and delivered to the parties of the first, by said James Hughes, as Attorney in fact, for said Austrian above named, after the same shall have been sold and proceeds therefrom realized and not before.

Charles Henry Oakes
La Pointe fur trader; Chippewa treaties signatory; father of a mixed-bloods family; St. Paul banker and Free Mason.
~ Findagrave.com

It is further understood and agreed by and between the parties of the first part, and the party of the second part hereto that the payments of the above sums or either of them, is dependent and upon the express condition, that the said Warranty Deed, bearing even date herewith, to the parties of the first part above herewith, to the parties of the first part above described, does and shall convey and vest a good perfect and legal title of the lands describe therein, in and to the parties of the first part, their heirs and assigns in fee simple, free of all adverse title or titles, and free from all incumbrance (Excepting a certain Mortgage upon a part of the premises to secure the payments of about fifteen Hundred Dollars, from the said Austrian to Charles H Oakes of the parties of the first part).

Otherwise it is understood and agreed that the party of the second part, has not and shall not have any claim whatever when the parties of the first part for the payment of the above mentioned sums, or any part thereof.

In witness whereof, we have hereto set our hands the 1st day of December AD 1853

in duplicate form

Signed Chas H Oakes

[Other signatories cut off in scan]

Isaac Van Duzer Heard was also a Minnesota Territory lawyer and politician during the 1850’s.

In presence of

I V D Heard

 


 

Julius Austrian

To.

Charles H Oakes
Michael E Ames
Isaac Van Etten

Warranty Deed

“State of Wisconsin”
“County of La Pointe”
“Office of Register of Deeds”

Received for Record on the 10th day of December 1853 at 7 O Clock P.M. and Recorded on Pages 22, 23, and 24 in Book A of Records of Deeds.

Robt. D. Boyd
Register of Deeds

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

THIS INDENTURE,

made this first (1st) day of December is the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty three.

BETWEEN

Julius Austrian (by James Hughes his attorney in fact)

of the county of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin of the first part, and

Charles H Oakes Michael E Ames and Isaac Van Etten

of the second part,

WITNESSETH, that the said party of the first part, for and is in consideration of the sum of

One Thousand ($1000)

Dollars, in hand paid by the said parties of the second part – the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged – has given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents, does give, grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm unto the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, forever, all the following described pieces or parcels of land, situate, lying and being in the County of La Pointe ^and State of Wisconsin^ and known and designated as follows, vis:

The lots of this deed are outlined in red, describing La Pointe (New Port and Middleport) for a total of 306.28 acres.  This is roughly 80 acres short of “Containing 382 23/100 Acres of land”.
~ General Land Office

Lots numbered three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Section No thirty (30) in Township No. fifty (50) North of Range NO. three (3) west, and Lots Numbered One (1) two (2) three (3) and four (4) in Section Number thirty one (31) in said Township No fifty (50), Range No three (3) aforesaid, according to the Survey of the United States government and Platts thereof, [ben?] and hereby intending, to convey the same, and all of the pieces, [pared?] or lots of land heretofore entered, bids of or purchases by the said party of the first part from the United States Government, on or about the second day of May AD 1853, or at any other time.  Containing 382 23/100 Acres of land.

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD THE SAME,

This deed is not recognized at the General Land Office or the Ashland County Register of Deeds.  Nor do they have any original land patent for these lands at all for that matter.

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 partof 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 parties of the second part, their heirs, and assigns forever.  And the said party of the first part, for himself his heirs, executors, and administrators, does COVENANT AND AGREE to and with the said parties of the second part, their 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 parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, against every person lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, he will forever WARRANT AND DEFEND.

 

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

By James Hughes

his Attorney in fact

Sealed and Delivered in Presence of

The words “and State of Wisconsin” first [intertriced?] before signing.

I V D Heard

Truman M Smith

 

Truman Mott Smith was also a banker.
~ Minnesota Historical Society via Minnesota Public Radio

Territory of Minnesota,
COUNTY OF Ramsey

BE IT KNOWN, that on the first (1st) day of December A. D., before the undersigned, personally came James Hughes (the attorney in fact of the said Julius Austrian) the grantor to the foregoing and within DEED, from him as such grantor to Charles H Oakes Michael E Ames and Isaac Van Etten grantors, and to me personally known to be the identical person described in, and who by James Hughes his said attorney in fact executed the said deed, and the said James Hughes his attorney in fact acknowledged that he executed the said deed, freely and voluntarily, for the uses and purposes therein expressed, for in behalf and on the part of the said Julius Austrian [grantors?], aforesaid, 

Truman M Smith

Justice of the Peace

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Territory of Minnesota
County of Ramsey

I do hereby certify that Truman M Smith, Esq before whom this within acknowledged [guest?] was taken was at the time the same bears date, a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, duly Elected & qualified to act as such, & to take Acknowledgement of Deeds,
that I am well acquainted with his hand writing & believe the within signature purporting to be his, to be his genuine signature. And that the within Deed is Executed & Acknowledged according to the laws of said Territory.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affirm the seal of the District Court of said County, at St. Paul, this 3rd day of December A. D. 1853. [A. J. Mutney?] Clerk.

by Sherwood Hough

Dept. Clerk of said Court

 


 

Julius Austrian

To

Charles H. Oakes
M E Ames
Isaac Van Etten

Warranty Deed

“State of Wisconsin”
“Lapointe County”
“Office of Register of Deeds”

Received for Record on this 10th day of December, 1853 at 7 O Clock P.M. and Recorded on pages 24, 25, and 26 in Book A of Records of Deeds.

Robert Dundas Boyd was a La Pointe County Judge, married to Julia Cadotte of the La Pointe Band, and a nephew of President John Quincy Adams.  Boyd was shot to death in an Ashland bar fight.

Robt. D. Boyd
Register of Deeds

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

THIS INDENTURE,

made this first (1st) day of December is the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty three.

BETWEEN

Julius Austrian (by James Hughes his attorney in fact)

of the county of Lapointe and State of Wisconsin of the first part, and

Charles H Oakes Michael E Ames and I Van Etten

of the second part,

WITNESSETH, that the said party of the first part, for and is in consideration of the sum of

One hundred and fifty ($150~)

Dollars, in hand paid by the said parties of the second part – the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged – has given, granted, bargained, sold, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents, does give, grant, bargain, sell, convey and confirm unto the said parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, forever, all the following described pieces or parcels of land, situate, lying and being in the County of La Pointe ^and State of Wisconsin^ and known and designated as follows, vis:

Roughly 80 acres are highlighted in blue, labeled as Austrian’s Sawmill on the 1852 PLSS survey map. This is located along what is now Pike’s Creek south of the Bayfield Road on the mainland.
~ General Land Office

The South West quarter of the North West quarter of Section No twenty one (21) and the North west quarter of the south west quarter of said section No. twenty one (21) in Township No fifty (50) North, of Range No. four (4) containing Eighty Acres more or less.

Borup and Oakes built La Pointe (New Fort) and the Sawmill for the American Fur Company.
“In 1845, the American Fur Company built a small sawmill near the mouth of what came to be known as Pike’s Creek (S21 T50N R4W). A dam provided waterpower for the mill’s operation. It was operated by the company for only a brief period of time before being sold to Julius Austrian, who in turn sold it to Elisha Pike in 1855.”
~ The Sawmill Community At Roy’s Point by Mary E. Carlson, 2009, page 14.
According to the General Land Office, these 80 acres were entered by Joseph Austrian (via Power of Attorney to his brother Julius Austrian); the north 40 acres on July 5th, 1854, and the south 40 acres on June 6th, 1855.  Both dates occurred after James Hugh’s sale.
Joseph Austrian had an interesting adventure at Austrian’s Sawmill, during the winter of 1851/1852.

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 partof 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 parties of the second part, their heirs, and assigns forever.  And the said party of the first part, for himself his heirs, executors, and administrators, does COVENANT AND AGREE to and with the said parties of the second part, their 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 parties of the second part, their heirs and assigns, against every person lawfully claiming or to claim the whole or any part thereof, he will forever WARRANT AND DEFEND.

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

By James Hughes

his Attorney in fact

Sealed and Delivered in Presence of

The words “and State of Wisconsin” first [introduced?] before signing.

I V D Heard

Truman M Smith

 

Territory of Minnesota,
COUNTY OF Ramsey

BE IT KNOWN, that on the first (1st) day of December A. D., before the undersigned, personally came James Hughes the attorney in fact of the said Julius Austrian the grantor to the foregoing and within DEED, from him as such grantor to Charles H Oakes Michael E Ames and I Van Etten grantors, and to me personally known to be the identical person described in, and who by James Huges his said attorney in fact executed the said deed, and by James Hughes his attorney in fact and who acknowledged that he executed the said deed, freely and voluntarily, for the uses and purposes therein expressed, for in behalf and on the part of the said Julius Austrian [grantors?], aforesaid, 

Truman M Smith

Justice of the Peace

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Territory of Minnesota
County of Ramsey

I do hereby certify that Truman M. Smith Esq. before whom the within Acknowledgment was taken, was at the date thereof, a Justice of the Peace in and for said County, duly Elected & qualified to act as such, & to take the Acknowledgement of Deeds, that I am well acquainted with his hand writing and believe the signature to the within certificate purporting to be his, to be his genuine signature. And that the within Deed is Executed & Acknowledged according to the laws of this Territory.

In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand & affix the Seal of the District Court of said County at St. Paul this 2nd day of December A.D. 1853. Clerk.

by Sherwood Hough

Dept. [Crt?] Clerk
of the Dist Court
of said County

 


 

Hudson, Wisconsin
Dec. 4th 1853

Julius Austrian Esq.

Doctor Charles William Wulff Borup was Charles Henry Oakes’s brother-in-law; and business partner at the American Fur Company in La Pointe, and as bankers and Free Masons in St. Paul.

Dear Sir,

WILLIAM H. SEMMES was born in Alexandria, Virginia. He came to Hudson in 1851, and practiced law, as a partner of Judge McMillan, in Stillwater. He was a young man of great promise, but died early and much lamented, Sept. 13, 1854.”
~  
Fifty Years in the Northwest, by W. H. C. Folsom, 1888, page 169.

I have first learnt, by report, that Col. Hughes by virtue of a power of att’y given him by you, has sold to Borup and Oaks the whole La Pointe property, for the sum of four thousand dollars. You had better at once draw, execute and have placed on record a written revocation of the Power of Attorney. The revocation should be acknowledged before a justice of the peace as same as a deed.

If this report be true you had better come down at once.

Yours truly

W. H. Semmes

 


 

Notice to the Public

Julius Austrian
~ Madeline Island Museum

Whereas James Hughes of Hudson in the County of St Croix and State of Wisconsin, on the first day of December AD 1853, did execute to Charles H Oakes, Michael E Ames and Isaac Van Etten, under a pretended power of attorney from Julius Austrian and without any authority from him, or either of the under signed, two several deeds, one of which deeds had described therein, the following described lands, lying in the County of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin, to wit:

the south west quarter of the north west quarter of Section No twenty one (21), and the north west quarter of the south west quarter of Section No Twenty one (21) in Township No fifty (50) North of Range No four (4) containing eighty acres more or less,

and the other of said deeds had described therein the following described lands to wit:

Lots numbered Three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Section No Thirty (30) in Township No fifty (50) north of Range No Three (3) west and Lots numbered one (1) two (2) three (3) and four (4) in Section No Thirty one (31) in said Township No fifty (50) Range No Three (3) aforesaid.

Henry Smitz lived with the Austrian Family and was a trusted employee.

And whereas the said lands were entered and purchased by Julius Austrian from the Government of the United States on the 2nd day of May 1853. And whereas the said Julius Austrian, did, on the 23rd day of May AD 1853, execute and deliver to one Henry Smitz of La Pointe County, a deed of conveyance in fee simple of the undivided one sixth part of the following described lands, to wit:

Lots Nos three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Section No thirty (30), and Lots Nos one (1) two (2), three (3) and four (4) of Section No Thirty one (31) in Township No fifty (50) North of Range No three (3) in the said County of La Pointe.

And whereas neither the said Julius Austrian, nor the said Henry Smitz, has conveyed any part or portion of the rel estate above described & any person. And whereas further the said James Hughes had no legal or equitable power or authority from the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz or either of them, to sell or convey the said above described lands, on the said first day of December AD 1853 or at any time previous or subsequent of that day.

Now therefore notice in hereby given to all persons, that the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz, nor either of them do not, and never have recognized the authority of the said James Hughes to make the deeds aforesaid of the said laws, and do not recognize the acts of the said James Hughes in the premises. And that the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz, do now claim and have ever since the said 23rd day of May 1853, claimed the legal title to and ownership of, and the sole right to sell and convey the following described lands; to wit;

Lots Nos three (3), four (4) and five (5) in Section No Thirty (30) and lots Nos one (1) two (2), three (3) and four (4) of Section No Thirty one (31) in Township No fifty (50) North of Range No three (3) West.

And that the said Julius Austrian does now claim and has ever since the 2nd day of May 1853, claimed the legal title to and the ownership of and the sole right to sell and convey the following described lands, to wit;

the South West quarter of the North West quarter of Section No Twenty one (21) and the North West quarter of the South West quarter of Section No Twenty one (21) in Township No fifty (50) North of Range No four (4) West, containing eighty acres more or less.

And all persons are therefore hereby warned, notified and forbidden from purchasing of, or receiving any manner of conveyance or conveyances from the said Charles H Oakes, Michael E Ames and Isaac Van Etten, or either of them, of any part or portion of the above described lands.

Hudson, St Croix County, Wisconsin
December 23 1853

Julius Austrian
Henry Smitz

 


 

To Messrs Charles H. Oakes, Michael E. Ames and Isaac Van Etten and to each and everyone of you

You are hereby notified that the conveyances made to you by James Hughes on the first day of December A.D. 1853 under a pretended power of attorney from Julius Austrian, of the following described lands to wit:

the South West quarter of the North West quarter of Section No. twenty one (21), and the North West quarter of the South West quarter of Section No. twenty one (21) in Township No. fifty (50) North of Range No. four (4) containing eighty acres more or less; and also Lots numbered three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Section No thirty (30) in Township No. fifty (50) North of Range No. three (3) West, and Lots numbered one (1) two (2) three (3) and four (4) in Section No. thirty one (31) in said Township No. fifty (50) Range No. three (3) aforesaid in the County of La Pointe and state of Wisconsin,

were made in fraud of the rights of the said undersigned, the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz to the said lands and without any authority from the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz or either of them, either by power of attorney or otherwise, to the said James Hughes.

And you are therefore hereby notified that we the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz claim the legal title to and the ownership of the following described lands to wit:

lots numbered three (3) four (4) and five (5) in Section No. thirty (30) in Township No. fifty (50) North of Range No. three (3) west and Lots numbered one (1) two (2) three (3) and four in section No. thirty one (31) in said Township No. fifty (50) Range No. three (3) aforesaid being in the County of La Pointe and state of Wisconsin.

And you are further notified hereby that the said Julius Austrian claims the legal title to and ownership of the following described lands to wit:

the South West quarter of the North West quarter of Section No. twenty one (21) and the North West quarter of the South West quarter of Section No. twenty one (21) in Township No. fifty (50) North of Range No. for (4) containing eighty acres more or less.

And that we the said Julius Austrian and Henry Smitz do not and neither of us does, recognize the acts of the said James Hughes concerning the said above described lands and hereby forbid you and each of you from executing any conveyance or in any manner encumbering the title to the lands above described or any part thereof.

Dated at Hudson December 23d 1853

Julius Austrian
Henry Smitz

 


 

Mr. [McCloud?]

You will please deliver to Julius Austrian the enclosed papers upon my sending you a quit claim deed signed by Chas. H. Oakes & wife, Michael E. Ames & wife & I. Van Etten & wife for the lands embraced in two certain Deeds executed by said Austrian by James Hughes his atty-in- fact to said Oakes, Ames & Van Etten which deeds will accompany said Quit Claim Deeds.  The [?????ed ??? you?].

I Van Etten

[????] discharge of [??????]

I Van Etten

 

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Quit Claim Deed

Chas. H. Oakes
and others

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 October 10th 1859 a [M?] and was duly Recorded in Book A of Deed Vol 3 on pages 333 & 334.

John W Bell

Register of Deeds

Fee 10$

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Know all men by these present.

That we Charles H Oakes and Julia B., his wife, Issac Van Etten & Jan I., his wife & Michael E. Ames & Josephine, his wife, of the County of Ramsey in the State of Minnesota. & the first part in consideration of the sum of three Hundred Dollars were?] in [hand?] [paid?] by Julius Austrian of La Pointe County in the State of Wisconsin, the receipt whereof is hereby a acknowledged, have bargained, sold, and quit claimed, deed of these presents do bargain, sell and quit claim unto the said Julius Austrian, his heirs and assigns forever, all [our?] rights, title, intersets, claim and severance in and [wled?] following described pieces or parcels of land situate and being in the County of La Pointe and State of Wisconsin [as is?] described as follows, to wit:

Lots Number three four & five (3, 4 & 5) in Section Number thirty (30) in Township No fifty (50) North of Range No Three (3) West, and lots one (1) two (2) three (3) and four (4) in Section number thirty-one (31) in said Township No fifty (50) Range No Three (3), and the South West quarter of the North West quarter of Section Number twenty one (21), and the North West quarter of the South West quarter of said Section number twenty one (21) in Township Number fifty (50) North of Range No four (4), being the same lands conveyed by said Julius Austrian by James Hughes his Attorney in fact to said Oakse & Van Etten & Michael E. Ames, by Deeds dated Dec [1?] 1853.

To Have and to Hold the above Quit claimed Premises with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging to the said Julius Austrian, his heirs and assigns forever, so [cleat?] neither [we do?] said parties of [wofeist?] part, [??] in heirs or assigns shall have any claims, rights, or title in [?] to the aforesaid premises.

In Witness [????] We have hereunto set our [hand?] and seal, the thirtieth day of September, AD; 1859.

Isaac Van Etten
Jane I. Van Etten
M. E. Ames
Josephine Ames
Chas. H. Oakes
Julia B. Oakes

Signed, Sealed & Delivered
in presence of

[Harvey Affrcer?]
Thomas Van Etten

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

State of Minnesota
County of Ramsey

Be it Remembered that in this 18th day of September AD. 1859, at St Paul in said County & State formerly same before nee, [Iwrue denjued?]. Charles H Oakes and Julia B. his wife, Isaac Van Etten and Jane I. his wife and Michael E Ames and Josephine his wife [fernaly? Rumb? me? who? elusegues?] & [seates?] of [deepering?] deed and acknowledge that they embrace the same for [lew? o? wiwre?] therein expressed, and the said Julia B. Jane I. and Josephine afersaid being by nee examined separate and apart from their said husbands acknowledge that they executed said deed freely.

 


 

United States of America

State of Minnesota,
Secretary’s Office.

Francis Baasen
“He was born in Luxembourg, Germany and came to America when he was 19 years of age. […] He was Minnesota’s first Secretary of State, assuming office on May 4, 1858.”
~ Findagrave.com

The Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota, does hereby certify, that Thomas Van Ettan whose name appears subscribed to the annexed instrument, was, at the date thereof, a NOTARY PUBLIC, in and for the State of Minnesota, residing in the County of Ramsey duly appointed and qualified, and empowered by the laws of this State, to administer Oaths, take Depositions, Acknowledgements of Deeds, and other written instruments, and exercise all such powers and duties, as by the law of Nations and according to commercial usages, may be exercised and performed by Notaries Public, and that full faith and credit are due and should be given to his official acts as such Notary.

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Great Seal of the State, at the Capitol, in Saint Paul, this Fifteenth day of September A. D. 1859

Francis Baasen

Secretary of State,

 


 

Rec’d August 11, 1866,

of Julius Austrian $766.50 (by draft for 450$ & 210 94/100 acres of land valued at $1.50 per acre) in full satisfaction of a certain deed presents rendered & [d???etece] in the District Court of the United States for the District of Wisconsin in July 3, 1861 for $1127.94 damages & $74.70 cents in my favor & against said Austrian.

C. H. Oakes

by I. Van Etten
his Atty.

 


 

Bayfield Aug 11, 1866

Mr Julius Austrian

Dr Sir

Finding this Judgement dated July 3, 1861, may reveal more details about the James Hughes Affair of 1853 and other scandals at La Pointe.

In consideration of my settlements this day made I agree to obtain & file a [satisfactuis?] of the Judgement I obtained against you July 3, 1861, in the District Court of the United States for the District of Wisconsin, as soon as I leave [reach?] Madison.

[Y?? ? ?]

I. Van Etten

for C. H. Oakes

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

The following is a reproduction of “objections to Julius Austrian’s mail contract business (May 27, 1855)”  from a Minnesota Historical Society collection of United States Post Office correspondences known as Selected items relating to Minnesota, 1855-1861.  This is a classic example of how primary sources sources and historians tend to either honor, abhor, or ignore Julius Austrian at La Pointe.  The petition was not included, but it will be reproduced here if it can be found.


Whittlesey, La-pointe Co.,

Wisconsin.  May 21st, 1855

Horatio King
~ Wikipedia.org

To the Hon. Horatio King,

First Asst. Postmaster General, D.C.

Julius Austrian had been Postmaster of the La Pointe mail route since at least 1851 or earlier, as documented in his brother Joseph Austrian’s memoir.
The illiterate Frenchmen (Mixed Blood Chippewas) gave their names  by granting Power of attorney to Julius Austrian.  This is the same extralegal arrangement that would be used by Austrian to place Mixed Blood Allotments onto the Penokee Hills and establish the La Pointe Iron Company.

Dear Sir: In addition to this petition, we would respectfully call your attention to a brief history of the base intrigues of Julius Austrian, the Jew, who now holds the contract for carrying the mail on route 13780.  Heretofore there have been but few whites, that is, Yankees living upon the Island, most of the residents being halfbreeds, French and Indians.  These people never have much interest in mail matters and consequently care very little whether Mr. Austrian carries the mail regularly or not.  Indeed they cannot read a letter if they should receive one and therefore have no interest in such things.  Now whenever Mr. Austrian wishes to effect an alteration in mail matters, he goes to these illiterate Frenchmen, gets them to sign something they hardly know what, but he gets their names and these, with his unprincipled misrepresentations, are the instruments and means by which he accomplished his selfish ends.  Those who are most interested in mails, our merchants and other business men, who of course would oppose his measures, know nothing of this until the change is made, and the “Jew” triumphantly announces to them, that by his influence at Washington he has effected this or that change, a change in which those most interested and most effected, could have no voice.  The change of the mail route, via St. Croix, to via Fon-Du-Lac, was accomplished in this manner; the route was perfectly satisfactory to those most interested, as it was, and they knew nothing about it until it was done.  The change he has effected this winter, while at Washington, was brought about very much in the same manner, it does not meet the wants of the public.

Julius Austrian
~ Madeline Island Museum

Besides all this, he does not fulfil his present contract, and if anyone complains, he very insolently tells them, if they do not like the mail arrangements they can leave the place.  The 11th of May we received a mail from Fon-dulac, how cheering to know that we must wait one month ere we could have another mail.  Well, the people were indignant at such treatment, they resolved to use their utmost exertions to break up such a state of things – as soon as the “Jew” found out the indignant feelings that were among the people, he immediately dispatched a mail to Fon-du-lac, and one to Ontonagon on the 16th of May, which we believe is not in accordance with contract which he now holds, it should have left Lapointe June 5th or 8th.  No one was prepared to send letters, supposing that the mail was not to go out until the last named date, consequently no good was accomplished by this irregular and untoward way of doing business.  His object in this undoubtedly was to arrest our action upon the matter, by giving us to understand, that we were to have the usual privileges of mail, and as soon as our indignation had a little subsided, to do as he pleased again.

The Ashland/Whittlesey Post Office was formed via a separate petition on March 12th, 1855, as featured in Asaph Whittlesey Incidents: Number IV.

Now what we want is to give you such an insight into his doings as will forever destroy his influence at the P. O. Dept.  We are tired of his underhand intrigues and disgusted with his mean duplicity.  It is hard to think that the only means of doing our business correspondence and communicating with our friends can be enjoyed but twelve times a year and all through the means of an unprincipled “Jew”.  We therefore respectfully ask and sincerely hope that if the Dept. can find sufficient evidence that he has broken his contract and other misdemeanors which we know him to be guilty of, they will transfer the carrying of the mail to Wm. E. Vantassle, Esq., who is a respectable man, a good citizen and every way worthy of the trust, and you will thereby illicit the gratitude of your fellow countrymen.

Unanimously approved and adopted at our indignation meeting held at Ashland Whittlesey P.O.

C. A. Rollins, Chairman.

A. W. Burtt, Secretary.

By Amorin Mello

Wheeler Family Papers: Box 3, Folder 12;
La Pointe County, 1849-1862

Papers Relating to an
Inquest on the Body of
Jerry Sullivan
~~~


 

State of Wisconsin
County of Lapointe

To any Constable of said County.

Judge John William Bell Sr. was the father of a mixed-blood family in the La Pointe Band, and was infamous for his unique applications of law and order.

In the name of the State of Wisconsin you are hereby commanded to Summon Joseph Lapointe Oskinawa and [Cotonse for I have?] son of the little chief named [Jegequaon?]  to be and appear at my office in Lapointe and give Evedince on an Inquest then & there to be held on the body of P Jerry Sullivan found frozen to death how and by what means he came to his death.

Given under my hand this 10th day of March AD 1856.

J. W. Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

State  of Wisconsin.

To any Constable of the County of Lapointe

You are hereby required immediately to summon six good and lawfull men of the County of Lapointe to appear forthwith before me at my office in the town of Lapointe to enquire upon the view of the Dead Body of Patrick Jerry Sullivan there being dead, how and by what means he came to his death.

Given under my hand this 10th day of March 1856.

J. W. Bell
Justice of the Peace

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Served the within by Summoning the following Individuals and producing them in Court.

Perinier, CochranBono, Mandelbaum, Goslin, and Fornier were settlers of La Pointe County.
Roy and Gordon were mixed-blood members in the La Pointe Band.

Antoine Perrinier
John Cochran
John Bono
Marks Mandelbaum
JB. Roy
Batiste Gaudin
& Edward Fornier

Antoine Cournoyer Sr. was a French-Canadian and father of a mixed-blood family in the La Pointe Band.

A. (his X mark)  Cournier
Constable

Fees 50 cts

 


 

Inquest on the Body of Jerry Sullivan.

 

Patrick Sullivan was known as a real bona fide, unmitigated Irishman and found guilty of illegally selling alcohol at the 1855 Annuity Payments.

Patrick Sullivan

being duly sworn says that last Thursday evening

Captain John Daniel Angus first settled at La Pointe in 1835.
~ Madeline Island Museum

Oskinawa came to my house, and there a pair of Boots and Blanket and two quilts belonging to the deseased and was going away My little Boy seen him do so.  My wife went out of Doors and asked him where the old man was, I heard them talking and I went out.  I asked Oskinawa if the old man had left Angus and if he was coming to night, he replied that he did leave him the old man some where on the Ice.  I went to see Oskinawa the next day and he told me that an Indian had come across and told him that the old man was sick in a house on the opposite side.  I started on Saturday morning in search of the old man and called at the different houses but could get no information of him I also searched along the shore.  John Morrison told me that on thursday he seen him with Oskinawa abreast of his place away a good distance from shore on his way to Lapointe.  I went to Capt Angus that night to Enquire, Capt Angus told me that he had made an arrangement with Joseph Lapointe to bring the old man home with him as he was coming to Lapointe with a horse and train and he would pay him for it. on Monday afternoon after searching I found the Deseased lying on his back frozen lying on the beach about a mile or more from Lapointe and brought him home and requested that an Inquest should be held over him.

Sworn & subscribed to before me this 10th day of March 1856

J W Bell
Justice of the Peace

 


 

Inquest on the Body of Jerry Sullivan

 

Oshkinawe was the son of Dagwagaane and the lineal chief of the La Pointe (White Crane) Band.  They often set up camp along Bay City Creek in what is now the City of Ashland.

Oskinawe

being duly sworn Says that he knows deceased.  Deseased left the Bay to come to lapointe on foot thursday at about half past two o’clock PM.

Stoney Point was another name for Houghton Point, midway across the Bay between Ashland and La Pointe.

I overtook him on the road Shortly after I requested the diseased to come along with me as I wanted to get ahead of  horse that was going to Lapointe.  Mr. Angus had given me the Old Man’s things to bring to Lapointe I had a dog and a train with me the Old Man deseased could not keep up with me and I left him.  I overtook the horse at Stoney point and came home in company with the horse Joseph Lapointe had the horse.  I could still see the Old Man coming after us when I was this side of the Stoney point.

Sworn to March 10th 1856 before me

J W Bell Justice

 

– – – – – – – – – –

 

This person appeared in the summons as the son of Jege qua on.  John Jegequaon could be Jean-Baptiste Buffalo; a son of Jayigwyong (aka Little Buffalo) and grandson of the legendary Chief Buffalo of the La Pointe Band.  However, what looked like a ‘J‘ on the summons looked more like a ‘D‘ on the testimony; suggesting a different pronunciation and identity.  Reading 19th-century handwriting is a challenge for identifying La Pointe Band members in primary sources.

John [Degequaon?]

being duly sworn says, that on Saturday last he went to the Bay & Capt Angus enquired of him if the old Man had got home.

Captains Angus and Butterfield were south of Houghton Point, in what is now the City of Washburn. Detail from the Barber Brothers’ survey during August of 1855.

I answered in the negative.  Capt Angus told me that he had told Joseph Lapointe on his sleigh and that he would pay him for it.  Steven Butterfield told me that he heard Capt Angus tell Joseph Lapointe to take the Old Man on his sleigh.  in the Evening I told Mrs Lapointe the Mother of Joseph and she said her son was very foolish in not taken the old man in his sleigh, but that she had herself told him not to take any person on his sleigh before he was paid for it as he had been cheated so often, and perhaps her son had refused the old man for the reason that the old man had once refused to lend him a bucket to water his horse.

Sworn on March 10th 1856 before me

J W Bell Justice.

 

– – – – –

 

Joseph Lapointe Jr. was a mixed-blood in the La Pointe Band.  His oldest sister Susan was married to the blacksmith William Van Tassel, and his uncle was the interpreter Henry Blatchford (aka Francois Decharrault).

Joseph Lapointe

duly sworn says, that he left the Bay with his horse to come to Lapointe on thursday afternoon that the deseased wanted to come over with him in his sleigh that he offered the deseased to bring him over to Lapointe with his things for half a Dollar but the Deseased would not agree to give it to him.

I then turned my horse and came away, on the road he broke an Iron pin and went back to Mr Angus to get it repaired that the Deseased was still there that Mr Angus did not say any thing to him at all in regard to bringing the old man over.  Mr Angus never asked him to bring the old man over.

Says that the reason that he did not want any thing in his sleigh was because he wanted to get to Lapointe and back the same day.

Sworn to before me this 10th day of March 1856,

J W Bell Justice

 


 

An inquisition taken at Lapointe in the County of Lapointe, on the 10th day of March 1856 before J W Bell one of the Justices of the peace of said County, upon the view of the Body of Jerry Sullivan there dead by the Jurors whose names are hereunto Subscribed, who being duly sworn to Enquire on behalf of the people of this State when, in what manner, and by what means the said Jerry Sullivan came to his death upon their Oaths do say, that from the Evedince produced on their inquest that they Exempt any person from blame, and that owing to the late hour of starting the deceased came to his Death by freezing in making an effort to reach home.

In testimony whereof the said Justice of the Peace and the Jurors of this inquest have hereunto set their hands the day and year aforesaid.

John W. Bell
Justice of the Peace

W. J. Cochran

M. H. Mandelbaum
John Bono
Antoine Perrinier
Edward Fornier
John B. Roy

~ Jury ~

 


 

Patrick Sullivan

Son of the diseased being duly sworn Says that Deseased  was not possesed of any real Estate, and all the personal Estate that he knows of was

Money to the amount of 35.00 which he left with my wife, 7.00 which he lent me, 6 cents was found in his pocket after his disease and 1 Barrel of Flour which I got of him valued at 20.00.  Making $62.06.  He told me that Captain Angus Owed him for some labor, likewise he had some potatoes hid in the ground and some wood in the woods cut.  the Diseased made my house his principal home.  he had a due Bill on Mr J have Austrian for the Sum of 3.75.  Total in Money & due Bills 65.81.  also 5.00 worth of meal.  70.81

Incidental Expenses paid by me out of the above for
holding an Inquest and Burrial rites, Church Rites &c

Expenses of Inquest Jury fees & witnesses &c  $8.37
Paid for Coffin & Outer Box                                 9.38
Paid the Preist for a Mass                                    5.00
To 4 Men looking for Diseased                            4.00
Paid Paul Souliere                                               2.00
Henry Brissette                                                   1.00
Michael Brissette for teaming                            1.00
two Indian Boys for bringing Deseased             2.00
John Cochran two Days.                                    3.00
Hauling Sand for grave                                     4.50
[Bisson?] 1 Day searching for diseased           1.00
Ten Dollars for a Railing round the Grave     10.00
Grave Stone                                                     5.00
To Massers to be said hereafter                   15.00

$70.81 – $71.25 = -$0.44

Decided that Patrick Sullivan is the proper person to collect and settle all affairs of the diseased.  and what remain he is entitled to for his trouble.

By Amorin Mello

The Ashland press 1877

Originally published in the June 16th, 1877, issue of The Ashland Press.  Transcribed with permission from Ashland Narratives by K. Wallin and published in 2013 by Straddle Creek Co.

EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF ASHLAND.

“OF WHICH I WAS A PART.”

Edwin Ellis, M.D. appears to be the ghostwriter of this series of memoirs.
Edwin Ellis

Edwin Ellis, M.D. 
~ Western Reserve Historical Society

My Dear Press:– In these joyous days of Ashland’s history, when we are all made glad by the completion of that great enterprise – the Wisconsin Central Railroad – when from banishment and isolation from the populous portion of our State and from the great world we in one day are brought in close contact with and feel the throbbings of the pulse of commercial and social life, it may be of interest to some to recall a few incidents of the early history of our town and its vicinity.

The years 1853 to 1857 were noted in the West for adventure and enterprise in pushing into new regions and laying out and building new towns.

Superior City Incidents:
Land Office Fraud;

Barber Papers Prologue;
Part VI of Sketch of Vincent Roy Jr.

In 1853 the site of Superior City had been pre-empted and in 1854, laid out into regular lots and blocks, and the work of a new city begun.  The site had attracted the attention and capital of some of our ablest men.  It was backed by stronger political influences than ever combined to lay the foundations of any town in the west.  Among its proprietors were many leading members of Congress and of the Cabinet, especially from the South.  The most sanguine expectations of its future greatness were entertained, for it commanded a scope of country as great as that paying tribute to Chicago.  Its lots were sold at fabulous prices.  It was in 1855 and 1856 – probably the most talked of town in the Union.

The temporary success of Superior kindled a blaze of speculation, which spread far and wide in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Some of the founders of Superior at the map, saw stretching away to the South-west from the Apostles’ Islands, a deep bay, extending far inland, as if reaching forth to reach the tide of commerce flowing northward from the Gulf and the Atlantic.

Report on the Geology of the Lake Superior Land District: Part I. Copper Lands (1850) and Part II.  The Iron Region (1851) by John Wells Foster and Josiah Dwight Whitney.

This was our Chegomegon or Long Island Bay.  The report of Foster and Whitney also told of mountains of iron ore, which must find its way into the channels of commerce, by the waters of this bay.  An important town, it was thought, must spring up near its head.

Martin Beaser

Martin Beaser
~ Western Reserve Historical Society

While plans were maturing for the occupation of this site, we learned that another party had been attracted by the same considerations that moved us, and that Martin Beaser, Asaph Whittlesy, and Geo. Kilbourn had entered upon and claimed about three hundred acres under the townsite law.  The land had not yet been surveyed, and of course could not be entered or pre-empted.  The two latter gentlemen were on the spot, having arrived in the summer of 1854.  But we were not deterred by these anticipations of our plans.

Early in February, 1855, Edwin Ellis, as the representative of several enterprising capitalists of St. Paul, left the latter city with one companion, Cyrus A. Rollins, to examine the situation and site, and if thought advisable and practicable, to make a lodgement there.  The writer was then in full prime and vigor of early manhood, and full of ambition and bright expectations.  The way from St. Paul was through an unbroken wilderness.  The Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad had not been conceived.  In truth, no railroad had then approached within three hundred miles of the great Lake.  The present city of Duluth in its visions of the near future – the Damascus between the Atlantic and Pacific – the halting place of the North Pacific caravan, bringing to New York and London, the wealth of India, and China and Japan, and the Islands of the South sea – was then only occupied by the wild Indian.

Robert Emmet Jefferson is said to have built the first frame house in what is now Duluth.

Emmet Jefferson, who subsequently pre-empted the site of Duluth, was one of our party from St. Paul; but for many years he had slept in his last sleep.  Three or four other adventurers were with us and though it was cold and the way hard, we were a wild and joyous party of young men, going forth to seek our fortunes,– not doubtful of success.

At Superior we first saw the Great Lake.  Half a dozen houses – a store or two and the beginnings of a hotel, comprised all of that rival to Chicago.

Captain T. A. Markland cofounded the Middleton townsite on Minnesota Point.
Washington Ashton was the editor of the Superior Chronicle (1855-1863).
Colonel Reuben B. Carlton was a government blacksmith and farmer at Fond du Lac and signer of the 1847 Treaty at Fond du Lac.  In later years he became a mining investor and politician.

Among our acquaintances formed there, of which there were several pleasant ones, were Capt. Markland, a soldier of the Mexican war, a lawyer by profession, a man of culture, courteous in manner and stately in his bearing;– Washington Ashton, the pioneer publisher of Superior, and Colonel Carleton, who had been for several years a resident at Fond du Lac, and whose name is perpetuated by the name of a county in Minnesota.  All of them have been long years dead.

Having rested a day and bade adieu to our traveling companions, already dear to us as the sharers of our toils, we turned our faces towards the east.  We were fortunate in securing as a pilot on our untried voyage, Baptiste Gauden – mail carrier between Superior and La Pointe.  Here we first saw a dog train, which relieved us of our packs; and at night Baptiste assisted in pitching our camp, “a day’s march nearer home.”  He “still lives,” and devotes much of his time to the service of the Roman Catholic Church, of which he is an obedient and devoted son.

George Riley Stuntz's town-site near the Mouth of Iron River, La Pointe County, 1852.

George Riley Stuntz had a settlement and sawmill near the mouth of the Iron River, 1852.
~ General Land Office Records

Detail of settlements and foot trails in the Sioux River Valley, 1855.

Detail of foot trails in the Sioux River Valley, 1855.
~ General Land Office Records

Leaving Superior late in the forenoon, we arrived at Iron River, twenty miles away; where we were happy to find shelter in a logging camp, full of robust, hearty, whole-souled men, some of whom had come from cultivated homes in the east.  By some means strange to most of that company, the traveling pilgrim discovered a brother of the mystic tie, with whom he passed a pleasant evening, thankful for that fraternal bond, which makes strangers friends and brothers at sight.

Leaving Iron River the next morning, two days march brought us to La Pointe via the valley of the Sioux river, passing through the wilderness then, which is now the cultivated vale, made classic by being the dwelling place of the “Sage of Avoca;” the peer in farming to the immortal Horace, who has earned his title to the peerage by “causing two blades of grass to grow, where but one grew before he came,” and of him we may say:

Remote from cities lived a swain,
Unvexed with all the cares of gain;
His head is silvered o’er with age,
And long experience makes him Sage.

Antoine Gordon from Noble Lives of a Noble Race (pg. 207) published by the St. Mary’s Industrial School in Odanah.

Antoine Gordon 
~ Noble Lives of a Noble Race by the St. Mary’s Industrial School (Odanah), page 207.

At La Pointe the first object to meet our profane view were numerous large wooded crosses ten to fifteen feet high, in different parts of the town, erected by the pious zeal of the faithful believers in the then new dogma of “Immaculate Conception.”  We saw also an imposing procession of French mixed bloods, escorting a fat, good natured looking priest through the street, under a gaudy canophy, borne by four devout servants of the Church.  This also was in honor of the same dogma.

We put up for the night at the only hotel of the place, kept by Antoine Gauden, whose aged father, that very night, amid the chanting and prayers of the virgin saints of La Pointe, passed into the presence of the Eternal.  La Pointe at that time was of much greater importance than at present – the most important town on the Lake west of Ontonagon.  It was the annual gathering place of several thousand Indians, who then received their annual payments.  It was the center of the fish trade for all this part of the Lake.  It had, also, quite an extensive fur trade.

Samuel Stuart Vaughn

Samuel Stuart Vaughn
~ Western Reserve Historical Society

Julius Austrian had an extensive store of general merchandise and transacted a large business.  Hon. S.S. Vaughn, one of Ashland’s present most substantial citizens, was then a young merchant at La pointe, where by close attention to business, he was laying the foundation of the fortune he has since achieved.  Wm. E. Vantassel, Government Blacksmith for the Indians, a descendant of an old Knickerbocker family was there – a very skillful workman and a very genial man.  In old age he now resides near Stillwater, Minnesota.  Francis McElroy was also there, full of life and energy.  And last but not least, I must mention John W. Bell, Esq, who even then had lived on the Island more than twenty years, and whose recollections carried him back till he could almost hear the war whoop of the Sioux and Chippewas as the latter drove their old enemies forever away from the land of the Ojibwas.  He has for many years been the “Patriach” of the Island, and is much esteemed by his neighbors.

Frederick Prentice

Frederick Prentice
~ History of the Maumee Valley by Horace S Knapp, 1872, pages 560-562.

Resting one night, on the following day we started across the bay on snow-shoes, reaching the shore near the Kaukaugon river.  We followed the coast west, and at nightfall we found tracks leading up the ravine, a few rods from where the railroad track now touches the water of the bay.  We found here a log house, built by Lusk, Prentice & Co., for purposes of trade and with the plan for the occupation of the site.  Here we passed our first night.  The ruins of the shanty may be seen on the block now occupied by the residence of Ferinand Schupp.  Adolphus Bart, the clerk of the company, was in charge and made us welcome with his good cheer.  He is now a lawyer in the State of New York.

To be  continued in Number II