Michigan Trails through Chippewa County
In the year 1800 the value of beaver skins belonging to
the North West Company alone, and brought out through the
Sault, was over a million dollars. In that year the Company
employed thirty-five guides, fifty clerks, seventy interpreters
and eleven hundred canoe-men. This force collected and forwarded around the rapids here over one hundred thousand
beaver skins, thirty thousand martin, seventeen thousand
muskrat, six thousand fox, two thousand bear and the same
number of deer-skins, six thousand lynx, nearly five thousand
otter, two thousand mink, four thousand wolf, seven hundred
elk and five hundred buffalo robes.
To this enormous total must be added the Company's smaller peltries, and those of the X Y Company and the independent traders. Truly, the fur trade in those days was everything. For several years the North West Company brought down more furs through the Sault than the Hudson's Bay Company exported directly through the Straits.
Wild fur-bearing animal life now in the vicinity of the Sault is fast going the way of the whitefish. The skins enumerated above would be worth at today's valuations over three million dollars. It is doubtful if the two Saults will handle this year much over one hundred thousand dollars worth of peltries. The killing of beaver is forbidden in Michigan, and unless some action is taken in Ontario, the beaver will soon be practically extinct there. Aside from the beaver-skins collected in Algoma, muskrat, fox, mink and skunk provide the bulk of the present limited receipts in this locality. Many of the fur-bearers are nearing extirpation, and recourse must be had to captive rearing if the supply of fur is to continue. One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the North West Company was well-nigh supreme here. Its posts dotted the country around Lake Superior, each post had its quota of Indians, and each Indian's hunting-grounds were marked out for him. At the beginning of the season, his credit was allotted to him in Company currency or tokens. This was placed in his box at the Company store, and the Indian was given the key to the box. When he left for the hunt the key remained with his wife or relatives, and the tokens covering their purchases from time to time were taken from the box and counted by the clerk or factor in their presence.
Beaver Skins Were Cheap
On the hunter's return a yearly settlement was made. He turned in furs to the amount of his credit. If he wanted a gun, he piled skins on the floor to the height of the upright weapon in exchange. The muskets in those days were made with very long barrels. If he poached on another hunter's territory or did business with one of the free-traders, he obtained no more credit and was listed at the other posts. Thereby he found his usefulness in that locality at an end. By the exercise of industry and strict honesty, he eked out a living, while his merchandise, won through winters of toil and privation, enriched its buyers in the markets of Europe. Beaver especially was wanted, for well-to-do folk in the old country would have hats of nothing else.
The prime requisites of the Indian hunter, in exchange for his furs, were guns, powder, bullets and traps. He might be without a coat to his back or shoes to his feet, but these were indispensable. Blankets, bright-colored clothing, knives and hatchets made close seconds. Cooking utensils and other articles of household hardware stood near the top of the Indian's want-list and comprised a large part of the Company store-keepers' stock. Many a canoeful of whisky was unloaded at the Sault and dispensed to the Indians at ruinous prices, and with ruinous results. If you know how many beaver-skins it takes, piled flat and pounded down, to level up to the muzzle of an extra long, five dollar musket standing upright, you can get some idea of the profits in the fur business here when Sault Ste. Marie was young.
The North West Company flourished and waxed great in the Lake Superior country. Many and bloody were the battles of its men with those of the Gregory-Mackenzie Company and the X Ys, rival concerns which it finally absorbed. We find the X Y Company warehousing its goods on the American side of the rapids in 1803, the North West Company having pre-empted every location suitable for that purpose on the north bank. Two years later the adversaries became one under the North West name. The best talent in both concerns pushed the business forward with spirit and enterprise, everywhere encouraging the trade of Canada with the great Northwest and opening posts at various places in the territory. The Hudson's Bay Company took over the Nor'westers on favorable terms to the latter in 1821, and the northern woods and streams ceased to be the battlegrounds of the rivals in Montreal and London.
Michigan Territory Is Formed
In the meantime Virginia and Massachusetts had relinquished whatever claims they had to the Northwest Territory of which we were part. Indiana Territory had been organized, including the eastern part of what is now the Michigan Upper Peninsula, and in 1805 Michigan Territory was formed.
It is hard to think of Sault Ste. Marie at the beginning of the last century without recalling the name of John Johnston. Johnston's romantic career, powers of intellect, and generous hospitality made him famous throughout a great stretch of country, and he has been featured by many writers in their accounts of this locality.
He was born near Coleraine, in Antrim County, Ireland, in 1763, and came to Canada in 1792. Being attracted by the possibilities of the fur trade, he soon joined a party bound for Lake Superior. Tarrying at the Sault for a space, he journeyed up the lake to La Pointe, where he established a trading post and made the acquaintance of Wab-ojeeg and his handsome daughter O-shah-gush-ko-do-no-qua, whom her children afterward knew as Neengai, the girl whom he was to marry the following year.
Waub-ojceg was the most famed of the Chippewas in the north country and was the son of the celebrated Mongazid, in whose arms Montcalm died on the Plains of Abraham. In courage and craft he was the true exemplar of a warlike race. Once, when Mongazid was hunting with his men near an encampment of the Sioux, the latter attacked and surprised the sleeping Chippewas at early dawn. Mongazid rushed out. and shouting his name, asked if Wabash, his mother's son by a Sioux Chief was among the enemy. Thereupon the tall figure of his half-brother approached with hand outstretched in token cf peace.
Was a Warrior at Eight
Hostilities were suspended and Wabash was invited into Mongazid's wigwam, but at the moment of entrance he was saluted with a lusty blow from the stout war club of young Waub-ojeeg, then a boy of eight. The uncle, delighted with this display of spirit, took Waub-ojeeg in his arms and prayed Gitchi Manito to make him a sturdy man and a great warrior. This prayer Waub-ojeeg fulfilled.
When he came to the chieftancy he made his home at La Pointe. This wigwam was sixty feet in length and it was surmounted by the carved figure of an owl, the insignia of his clan, his power, and his presence, the emblem being taken down when he was absent in war or during the hunting season. War with the Sioux and the Ottawas employed his time so that he did not marry until he was thirty years of age. Then a widow became his wife and bore him two sons. Becoming tired of the widow, he exercised the prerogative of a Chippewa and a Chief and married a girl of fourteen who became the mother of six children, of whom Neengai was the eldest. Here the young fur-trader Johnston met the Chiefs daughter, and he promptly fell in love with her. When he asked Waub-ojeeg for her hand the Chief replied:
"White man, your customs are not our customs. You desire our women, you take them, and when they cease to please your fancy you say they are not your wives, and you forsake them. Go back to Montreal with your load of furs, and if the pale-face girls do not put my daughter out of your head, come here in the spring and we will talk further. You are both young, and she can wait."
But Johnston Came Back
The young Irishman was impetuous with his arguments, his presents, his entreaties. They were in vain, Waub-ojeeg was unswerving. Johnston went down to Montreal for a lonesome winter, returned in the spring and took the maid to wife. Waub-ojeeg made the bridegroom swear that he would marry her according to the law of the white man, until death. Mrs. Jameson has recorded for us in her "Winter Studies end Summer Rambles" the story of this marriage. On being escorted by her people to the bridegroom's lodge, Neengai fled into a dark corner, rolled herself in a blanket and refused to speak or be spoken to, or even looked upon. Johnston was more than considerate, and during the ten days she remained in his lodge he sought by every gentle means to revive her confidence and affection. At the end of that time, however, she ran away to the woods in a sudden access of fear and terror, and reached her grandfather's wigwam after a four day fast. Meanwhile Waub-ojeeg. at his distant hunting-ground, had a premonition that all was not well with his daughter. Returning home suddenly he found the truant, gave her a sound thrashing with a stick and threatened to cut off her ears. Then he took her back to her husband with a a thousand apologies, assuring Johnston of his fatherly disapproval of her actions. Johnston soon succeeded in taming this wild fawn of the woods, and brought her from La Pointe down to Sault Ste. Marie.
Lived 36 Years Happily Married
Even here she could not overcome at once her shyness with the white man, and her longing was strong to see her own people again- So her husband provided her with a schooner and a crew and sent her to her former home with Waub-ojeeg at La Pointe. A short stay there convinced her that the whites mode of living was the better, and the intense desire came to rejoin her mate. She returned to the Sault and lived there happily thirty-six years with her white husband, becoming the mother of four boys and four girls.
Mr. Johnston has been described as a vigorous end handsome man before age and infirmities came upon him, lively and jovial, and of excellent education. He acquired a comfortable fortune in the fur trade, and lost a good deal of it in the war of 1812. His talents, good nature, wide acquaintance, and his marriage with Chief Waub-ojeeg's daughter, brought him great influence in old Sault Ste. Marie and its vicinity. His wife became a Christian, and her energy and strength of mind, as well as her descent from the ancient family of Waub-ojeeg. the White Fisher, endeared her to the northern Indians. Like her father she possessed poetical talent, and many of the Chippewa Indian legends and traditions which we now enjoy have come down to us through her, having been translated by her daughters.
Jane, the eldest daughter of this couple, married Henry R. Schoolcraft, noted author and historian. Her Indian name was O-bah-bahm-wah-wah-ge-zhe-go-qua, meaning "the sound the stars make, rushing through the sky." Before her marriage she visited Ireland and England with her father, and her beauty and accomplishments made a great impression there. Her sister Charlotte, described by Colonel McKenney in his "Tour to the Lakes," as a surpassingly beautiful woman, became the wife of the Reverend Mr. MacMurray, who came to the Sault as an Episcopal missionary in 1832. The youngest daughter, Anna, married James Schoolcraft, brother of Henry, at the Sault. Eliza, the remaining daughter, never married. The oldest son, Louis, was aboard one of the British ships captured by Commodore Perry on Lake Erie in 1813. George became a soldier in the British army. William and John were interpreters in the United States Indian Service; the latter acting in that capactity for his brother-in-law, Henry R. Schoolcraft, Indian Agent at Sault Ste. Marie.
Many travelers have recorded the generous hospitality of the Johnston homestead in Sault Ste. Marie in the old days and the ability of its master as an entertainer. Part of the Johnston home, which was erected about 1815, is still standing, the most interesting landmark of the Sault of a century ago. At the time it was built, the house was one of the finest in the whole north country. The government road reaching westward to Fort Brady was afterward constructed directly in front of it. The house faced the river, and a short lane from the front door led to a dock, which extended some distance into the stream. Over this dock came General Cass in 1820, to haul down the British flag, and after him came the federal troops in 1822.
To the west of his home Johnston built his warehouse and a carpenter shop. A little to the northeastward, and closer to the river, there stood his store, another warehouse, and a bunkhouse for his men. Behind his home there was a beautiful old-fashioned garden, luxuriant each summer with roses and lilacs. Alongside it was his fur press, a little to the westward his blacksmith shop, and near that was the home of Mrs. Cadotte, on the site of the old French fort. In the rear of these stood the old Jesuit cemetery. The river bank to the west of the Johnston home was an Indian camping ground, while to the east it afforded pasture for his sheep. Directly east of his home Johnston built his wine cellar, milk and ice house and barns.
Back of his garden Johnston laid out in 1816 the first street in Sault Ste. Marie, which we know as Water Street or Park Place. This street extended but a few hundred feet west from the lot on which his home was built, and this extension was intersected a few years later by the palisade of Fort Brady. South of this street lay the unfenced commons-
Was Hospitable to All
Here Johnston lived with his family from about 1815 until 1828, dispensing a cheery hospitality to all who came, buying and selling furs and other merchandise, doctoring any ailing whites or Indians with simple remedies, often bleeding them after the fashion of the times. The kind and practical benevolence of the daughter of Waub-ojeeg matched his own. No tale of poverty or bad luck went unheeded. Johnston was the friend, confidant and patriarch of all in this broad demesne. Though he lived on the frontier he maintained contact with the world outside. His house was filled with books and current publications. He brought from his former home in Ireland many of the comforts of civilization. Massive-framed portraits on the walls, and the many foreign articles about the rooms, aroused great wonder and admiration in the minds of the Indians who viewed them.
This was of course after the war of 1812, in which Johnston and the Sault Ste. Marie suffered some unpleasant experiences. The British, having lost Mackinac Island by treaty after the Revolutionary War, had established about I 796 a small military post on St. Joseph's Island, just below Lime Island on St. Mary's River. On the announcement of hostilities, John Johnston, although he appears to have been Collector of the port for the U. S. Government at the time, raised, equipped and provisioned a company of white and Indian militia here, and placed himself under the orders of the British commandant at Fort St. Joseph.
Captain Roberts was in charge at St. Joseph when he received orders from General Brock to attack the American position on Mackinac Island without delay. About one thousand whites and Indians, John Johnston among them, proceeded down the river in July, 1812, debarked at British Landing in the rear of the fort, and planted their cannon on the heights, in a position to rake the block-houses and the town. The little garrison commanded by Lieutenant Hanks surrendered. Two years later a fleet of seven American vessels with seven hundred soldiers came up Lake Huron to attack the British at Mackinac. The British commandant sent to Sault Ste. Marie for help, and Johnston and his Saulteurs again responded via the river route, taking the short cut through West Neebish.
Fort St Joseph Destroyed
Meanwhile a detachment of American troops ascended the old channel east of Sugar Island, burned the North West Company's storehouses on the north side of the river, and in all probability destroyed the Company's canal and lock. When these were unearthed many years later, the remains were in a badly wrecked condition. The troops also grounded the schooner Perseverance in the rapids and confiscated a large quantity of merchandise of John Johnston on the south side of the river. Fort St. Joseph was destroyed about the same time. Johnston afterward petitioned the British Government to reimburse him for his losses. He stated in this petition that he had been present at and had assisted in the capture of Michilimackinac, that be had commanded the fort there in the absence of its Lieutenant, and that he had sustained heavy damages at the Sault by the act of United States troops. His petition was denied, and a later memorial to the United States Government asking for restitution met with no better success. The North West Company also made claim on the British treasury for its losses inflicted by Major Holmes' troops Its petition does not specifically mention the destroyed canal and lock, but there is little doubt they were demolished in Holmes's raid. All trace of them was lost and later generations had forgotten their existence, until an old record of them came to the notice of Judge Joseph Steere of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Together with Mr. E. S. Wheeler and Mr. Joseph Cozzens he searched out the location and discovered unmistakably the tiny lock, but a short distance from the great ship- lock built by the Canadian Government at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The rubbish was removed from it and the lock-form reconstructed in stone, and many visitors now view it yearly.
Great Flotilla Bearing Fun
Had Holmes raided the Saults a few days later, it is likely he would have taken one of the richest prizes of the war. Shortly after he left the rapids to rejoin his command, a flotilla of canoes carrying a million dollars worth of furs came down from Superior and passed safely through to Montreal.
John Jacob Astor, who came to this country from Germany via England in I 783, was a leader in the northern fur trade. It is said that his first experience in the business was with Alexander Henry as a clerk, and he soon was out buying furs on his own account. The old stories tell us that it was his custom to entertain the Indians with his flute before talking business with them, and that the flute made many friends for him in his quest for merchandise. There has circulated recently in the country's periodicals a curious and circumstantial story that John Jacob Astor was the discoverer of a pirate hoard secreted by Captain Kidd on the coast of Maine, and that this find was the foundation of his fortune. At the beginning of the century he was worth several hundred thousand dollars and was the richest merchant in New York City. Organized American For Co.
Astor organized the American Fur Company in New York in 1808. Its central assembling point for peltries and supplies was at Mackinac Island, and finding the Mackinaw Fur company in his way there, he purchased it from its English owners in 1811. The war of 1812 seriously hampered his operations, but after the Treaty of Ghent the Company prospered wonderfully, and many millions of dollars worth of furs from the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin and Minnesota territory were assembled, sorted and shipped at Mackinac. About 1815 the American Fur Company and its subsidiaries employed four hundred clerks at Mackinac Island alone, besides two thousand trappers and voyageurs.
The wise and patriotic efforts of John Jacob Astor in bringing about a better understanding between the American Government and the Indian tribes of the Northwest, have never been fully appreciated. His trading post for the Lake Superior country was here at Sault Ste. Marie, and here as well as elsewhere his officials and employes endeavored to treat the red men with fairness and justice. Due largely to the friendly feelings engendered by the Company, it was not very long before whatever sympathy the Saulteur Indians retained for the British cause had disappeared. The potent influence of Astor at all times worked for the progress of desirable emigration into the Northwest, and the upholding of the flag and the government.
Astor's expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River in 181 I resulted in a loss to him, but it was of advantage to the United States in establishing later the Union's claim to Oregon and our present northern boundary.
Crooks Succeeds Astor
Ramsay Crooks, a wonderful Scotchman who penetrated to the Pacific coast with one of Astor's expeditions, was agent for the American Fur Company at Sault Ste. Marie, or St. Mary's Falls, as he called it, for many years. He succeeded to the presidency of the Company after Astor's retirement. In the old records of the American Fur Company at the John Jacob Astor House on Mackinac Island, are many copies of letters written by Ramsay Crooks while he was agent of the Company here. Crooks often has been cited as an exemplar of the fine art of letter-writing as practiced a century ago. One instance may be given here, illustrative of approved business form in bygone times by a master of the pen, and which is reminiscent of the eternal liquor question:
St. Mary's Falls, 3rd August, 1819.
I had hoped your good sense would have told you to pursue a very different course, particularly as I had at Mackinac been reluctantly compelled to express to you in very plain terms my abhorrence of your propensity to drunkenness, and my determination not to retain in the employ of the Company any person who, lost to the true feelings of a gentleman, took every opportunity to degrade himself to the level of the brute creation. You have now attained too ripe an age for the follies and indiscretions of youth to be pleaded in extenuation of your shocking attachment to intemperance, and you must clearly understand that, added to the detestation I personally feel for such profligate practices, my duty to the Company as its Agent will not permit me to continue in its service any one whose habits disqualify him for executing with fidelity the trust reposed in him.
You have pledged the faith of an honest man to consult the interest of the Company at all times and under all circumstances, and to devote your whole time and attention to the faithful discharge of the duties of your station. How far or how well you have heretofore kept your engagements I will leave your own conscience to answer. Your conduct puts it in my power to refuse paying you a single dollar for the last year's services, yet I did not scruple to account for your salary as if you had been a good and upright servant.
Your behavior more than once authorized my denying you access to the Company's table, for you were not fit to be seen with gentlemen, yet I palliated and overlooked your deviation from strict propriety. The veil is, however, at last torn from my eyes, and you now stand before me in all the deformity of an ill spent life. I request you to understand distinctly that unless you give unquestionable proofs of a total reformation, and furnish proper grounds to believe you have altogether abandoned every improper habit, f cannot and most assuredly will not consent ever to meet you again as a gentleman and an honest man.
In fact, you must convince me beyond the possibility of a doubt that you possess sufficient firmness to resist the allurements of vice in any shape, and will for the future be exemplary in the practice of virtue, else you may rest assured that however painful it may be, it will nevertheless become an imperative duty to hold you up as an example to other young men who might be disposed to follow your devious course, and by discharging you with every mark of ignominy from the Company's service, leave you to the indulgence of your vicious propensities with the wicked and profligate, an outcast from society a dishonor to your family, and a disgrace to human nature.
But if you will listen to my warning voice, give up your pernicious habits, and become in reality a gentleman, I will for- give and forget your past sins, meet you in the spirit of cordiality, and treat you according to your merits as a man and your ability as a trader.
Mr. Halliday will in all cases instruct you in your duty to the Company and you will govern yourself accordingly. He will I am sure impart to you with pleasure a knowledge of your calling, provided you behave as becomes you, and it will depend wholly on your future industry whether I shall hence forward consider you a valuable acquisition to the Company, or regret that I ever had the misfortune to meet you. I am, air.
Some wag has written at the head of the copy of this letter the words "Nota bene," (Mark welll)
The Modem Way
No history of the Sault discloses whether the convivial Mr. Warner heeded this ponderous and solemn warning. Let us hope he did.
We do these things much better nowadays. The modern captain of industry would put it thus,—by wire: "Cut out the booze or off goes your head!"
In the early days of the fur industry muskrat skins were worth little or nothing. About the time of Mr. Crook's Utter, however, we find Robert Stuart, another officer of the Company, offering John Johnston and Charles Ermatinger at the Sault thirty-five cents each for muskrat skins. He mentions that he has offered this high figure "not for any hope of getting but little advance on them, but merely for the purpose of having control over the market."
Charles Ermatinger was an independent trader in furs and other merchandise in the Canadian Sault at this time, occupying much the same position relatively that John Johnston did on the American aide. He was the son of a Swiss merchant who had settled originally in New England, but who had taken up his residence in Canada after Wolfe's victory. Mr. Ermatinger built a substantial stone house on the north side of the river and accumulated a fortune in trade. He was the friend of Schoolcraft, who mentions him often, and was the father of two sons who located in the American Sault.
British Put Fort on Drummond
The government of Great Britain, having taken and lost Mackinac Island in the war of 1812, cast about for another vantage point in the vicinity whereon to erect a fort. The north shore of the rapids at the Sault was considered, and was found to be rocky, low and swampy, and under the possible domination of American artillery. It was deemed likely that the Americans would claim St. Joseph's Island, so in 1815 a British fort was established at the mouth of St. Mary's River on an island called by the Indians Pontanagannippi, or fontanaganniasi. It was renamed Drummond'a Island by the British, in honor of General Sir Cordon Drummond, commander of the lake district, but the Indian name has been preserved in the adjacent and altogether lovely Potaganniasing Bay. One meaning given to this name is "the place of beautiful island." The stolid Saulteur Chippewaa were given but little to the contemplation of the beautiful, but such is the loveliness of the region that even an Indian might be pardoned for growing ecstatic over it. The matter-of-fact British Army reports speak of the location as beautiful and picturesque, and Drummond Island has come to be known as "The Gem of the Huron."
Here the British remained until the Island was adjudicated American territory. Although they had long since relinquished possession of the American Sault and the Michigan Upper Peninsula, their standard was still raised by the Indians loyal to them on the south side of the rapids.
Brought Gov. Cass to Sault
It appears to have been overlooked by later chroniclers that the establishment of this British fort on Drummond's Island was a direct cause for Governor Cass's famous visit to the Sault in 1820, and the erection of Fort Brady two years later. The case is stated plainly in a note to Schoolcraft's "Narrative of the Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi:" "We learn that the Indians are peaceable, but that the effect of the immense distribution of presents to them by the British authorities at Drummond's Island has been evident upon their wishes and feelings. Upon the establishment of our posts, and the judicious distribution of our small military force, must we rely, and not upon the disposition of the Indians. The important points of the country are now almost all occupied by our troops, and these points have been selected with great judgment. It is thought by the party, that the erection of a military work at the Sault is essential to our security in that quarter. It is the key of Lake Superior, and the Indians in its vicinity are more disaffected than any others upon the route. Their daily intercourse with Drummond's Island, leaves us no reason to doubt what are the means by which their feelings are excited and continued. The importance of this site, in a military point of view, has not escaped the observation of Mr. Calhoun and it was for this purpose that a treaty was directed to be held."
Secretary of War John C. Calhoun had approved in 1819 the plan of Governor Cass to effect a treaty with the Indians at Sault Ste. Marie, to arrange for a Government military post at this place and to carry the flag of the United States into these remote northern regions, where it had never been borne by officials of the country. Henry R. Schoolcraft, then twenty- six years of age, accompanied this expedition in 1820 as mineralogist and geologist.
Came Up River in Canoes
Schoolcraft came from Buffalo to Detroit on the it earner Walk-in-the-Water, the first vessel on the Great Lakes to use steam power, and which had been launched two years before. The Walk-in-the-Water had been as far north as Mackinac, but the Governor and his party preferred canoes for their trip up the lakes. In view of possible hostilities, a squad of soldiers accompanied the Governor.
The expedition reached the Sault June 15th, 1820, landing, as Schoolcraft says, in front of the old Nolan House, the ancient headquarters of the North West Company. This was probably the old home of Augustin Nolin, a French trapper and trader, friendly to the American cause, who had retired and settled down in Sault Ste. Marie before the War of 1812. afterward selling his property to Mr. C. O. Ermatinger or his sons.
The party went into camp on the green beside the river. the hour being late, with soldiers on guard. The Indians, says Schoolcraft, occupied a high plateau in plain view several hundred yards west, with an intervening gully and a plain, well- beaten foot-path.
Pass Night in Tents
The visitors passed a quiet night in their tents, disturbed only by the sound of the falls and the distant monotonous thump of Indian drums. In the morning they explored the village and found it consisted of fifteen or twenty buildings occupied by the descendants of the original French settlers, all of whom drew their living from the fur trade. Most of the Frenchmen's houses stood inside picket fences. All trace of the missionaries* chapel had disappeared, but there was an old consecrated graveyard which was still used for interments. The principal buildings of the village were those of John Johnston and the ones formerly occupied by the North West Company. Johnston was absent in Europe, but his family received the visitors hospitably and invited Governor Cass and his suite to take all their meals at the Johnston home. Schoolcraft was impressed especially with the eldest daughter, Jane. "The Sault Falls of St. Mary," continues Schoolcraft, "is the head of navigation for vessels on the lakes and has been from early days a thoroughfare for the Indian trade. It is equally renowned for its white fish, which are taken in the rapids in a scoop-net. The abundance and excellence of these fish has been the praise of all travelers from the earliest date, and it constitutes a ready means of subsistence for the Indians who congregate here.
"The place was chiefly memorable on our tour, however, as the seat of the Chippewa power. To adjust the relations of the tribe with the United States, a council was convened with the Chiefs on the day following our arrival."
To this council the Chiefs came, clothed in their best and arrayed in feathers and British medals. Greeting the Governor with great dignity at his tent, they were seated and the pipes were smoked. Cass then explained to them through his interpreter the views of the Government. He told them that he had come to remind them of the cession of the country by their ancestors to the French, to whose national rights and prerogatives the Americans had succeeded, and to secure their assent to its reoccupancy.
Chiefs Split on Proposal
The Chiefs split on this proposition, some saying they knew nothing of such former grants, and others appearing to favor a settlement on the basis broached by the Governor, provided it was not intended to occupy the Sault with a garrison. These said, in the symbolic language of the Indians, that they were afraid their young men might kill the cattle of the garrison. The Governor, being fully aware of their meaning, replied that so sure as the sun then ascending would set, so sure would there be an American garrison at Sault Ste. Marie, whether they renewed the grant or not.
The principal Chief Shingabawossin was inclined to be moderate and said little. But Shingwauk, the Little Pine, who had conducted the last war party of Indians from the village in 1814, was openly hostile. So, too, was Sassaba, a tall Chief in scarlet, whose brother had been killed by the Americans in the Battle of the Thames. He furiously drove his spear into the ground before him and delivered an impassioned oration in dissent. At its close he kicked away the presents brought by the expedition for the Indians and strode from the tent, and the other Chiefs followed him.
The Indians went to their hill, and scarcely had the whites returned to their tents when it was announced that the Saulteurs had raised the British flag in their camp. Trouble seemed certain and Governor Cass ordered his men under arms. Calling his interpreter and ordering the others back, the Governor then did a most courageous thing. Proceeding up the path and across the little ravine, he reached the lodge of Sassaba, before whose door the flag had been raised, and immediately pulled down the banner. Then he entered the lodge with the interpreter and informed the Chief that he had been guilty of an indignity, and that if any other flag than the Stars and Stripes were raised there again, the United States would set a strong foot upon the Saulteurs' rock and crush them. Finally the Governor, unmolested, brought the captured flag to his tent.
Indiana Were Amazed
The intrepid act of Cass struck the Indians with amazement and indecision. They sent their women and children across the river at once, but the whites waited in vain for the war-whoop. While the Chippewas doublingly deliberated, Mrs. Johnston, the daughter of Waub-ojeeg, sought council with the Chiefs and told them their meditated scheme of resistance to the Americans was madness, that the day for such resistance had passed, that Cass was her guest, that he had the air of a great man, and could carry his flag through the country.
The advice prevailed, and she had the seconding of ShingabowBaain and the Little Pine. Negotiations were renewed, and another council was convened in one of the Johnston buildings. Here the treaty desired by the Governor was amicably discussed and signed by all the Chiefs save Sassaba. June 16th,—a treaty by which the Chippewas ceded to the United States a piece of land four miles square, fronting the rapids and lying within the present limits of Sault Ste. Marie. The Indians reserved the perpetual right to fish in the rapids. The consideration for this cession was paid on the spot in merchandise.
Such, in substance, is Schoolcraft's account of the lowering of the British flag by Governor Cass at the rapids in June. 1820. in all likelihood on the identical spot where St. Lusson had raised the French ensign in the same month one hundred forty nine years before. It is regrettable that the exact location of these historic occurrences is open to doubt. Many an argument has been waged on this point of location, the opinion being advanced by some, and not without reason, that Sassaba's flag stood on the high ground just south of the Weitrel lock. Schoolcraft mentions a ravine which still exists near the foot of Bingham Avenue, and which in former times extended southward across the present line of Portage Avenue. But he does not say how far west of the ravine Sassaba's lodge and the Indian village were placed, or at what distance east of it the Governor's tent was pitched. He tells us the Indians "occupied a high plateau, in plain view, several hundred yards west of the expedition's tents, with an intervening gully, and a plain, well-beat foot-path."
Probably at Foot of Bingham
This is rather indefinite. If the visitors' tents were pitched in the immediate vicinity of the Johnston home, on the river bank marked as Indian camping ground on the Wheeler-Westcott map, or in the pasture, the Indian village might be located easily enough three hundred yards or so west on or about the present line of Water Street or Park Place, just across the ravine. The ground is a little higher there, and it has been mentioned that prints of the period do not show any particular elevation further west, except in the location of the Indian burying-ground. It is not likely that the Chippewas would camp on a spot sacred to the bones of their ancestors. Furthermore, the burying-ground was directly opposite the rapids, and the location of an encampment there would necessitate a considerable detour around the rapids in crossing the river. The logical place of living for the Indians was at the foot of the rapids, and this hardly could have been far above the little hill at the foot of Bingham Avenue.
A sketch of Water Street made in 1850 and now hanging in Le Saut de Sainte Marie club-rooms, shows the ground south of the location of the Weitzel lock to be rough and not at all suited to camping purposes.
Another statement of Schoolcraft deserves consideration. He says: "It has been stated that the encampment of the Indians was situated on an eminence a few hundred yards west from our position on the shore, and separated from us by a small ravine.....In a few moments after the Governor's return from the Indian camp, that camp was cleared by the Indians of their women and children, who fled with precipitation in their canoes across the river."
Reversing this statement, and allowing that the Indians were on an eminence close to the present Weitzel lock, with the whites a few hundred yards east of them, say just to the eastward of the little historic ravine, it is difficult to see how the women and children could take to their canoes without passing directly by and very close to Governor Cass and his men, it is hardly conceivable that they would do this. As an alternative we have only the supposition that the Indians had two fleets of canoes, one below and one above the rapids, and that the women and children took refuge in the latter. This is equally unlikely.
A more reasonable explanation seems to be that the Americans were encamped some distance below the ravine and that the Indians had placed themselves just west of it on the high ground there, and from which point they could transfer their women and children to the canoes without contact with the whites.
Chief Helped Governor?
William Warren, the native historian of the Chippewas, has left us the account of another Chippewa Chief, Hole in the Day, who told Warren that he was present on this occasion. The Chief claimed that he had rushed to the defense of the Governor when the flag came down, and had called for his friends to join in backing the Governor. Also that the local Chippewas were very hostile, and this daring exploit prevented the massacre of Cass and all his men.
This story came to Dr. Alfred Branson, Indian Agent at La Pointe years later, and through him to Mr. C. C. Trowbridge, assistant topographer of the expedition. Mr. Trowbridge made the following comments, afterward printed in the records of the Wisconsin Historical Society:
"Dr. Branson's sketch is, in respect to Hole in the Day, one more proof that it is dangerous to trust tradition. Hole iu the Day no doubt told the Doctor or his informant that in the little affair at Sault Ste. Marie in 1820 between Governor Cass and the Chippewas, he came to the Governor's aid. But there is an alibi.—Hole in the Day was not there.
"I recollect the circumstances as well as if they occurred but yesterday, and my journal of the events is now before me. I will mention that the Governor took from Detroit one canoe load of Indians under command of Kewakwishkum. an Ottawa Chief from Grand Rapids. At Mackinac, where we stopped several days, a very handsome, athletic young Indian whom we called Buck, probably as a translation of hit Indian name, was strongly recommended by Biddle and Drew, Indian traders, as likely to be serviceable, and the fellow pleaded so hard that the Governor took him.
"At the Sault Ste. Marie the conference with the Chippewas took place in the Governor's wall tent, the sides of which were rolled up, so that it was a tent a 1'abri. The Chippewas had their lodges on the American side, some distance, say a third of a mile, above the Governor's camp. My impression is that when they came to the conference they had just come from the British side.
British Gave Presents
"You are aware that the British had. during the war of 1812-'! 5, been profuse in the distribution of presents, and our Government had not. The consequence was a settled hostility on the part of the Indians. The object of the Cass expedition was to carry our flag through the country, assert our rights, arrange for a military post at St Marie, and look for the Ontonagon copper rock. Governor Cass informed this little squad of this design. He told them of the double purchase of their territory by the French and the English; read and explained to them the treaty of Greenville in 1795. of Spring Wells in 1815, and of Fort Harrison in 1816; and informed them that their Great American Father intended to place some troops at the Sault Ste. Marie, and wanted a small place to land, for which he was ready to pay a third rime.
"I must describe the appearance of the Chippewa Chief. Beginning at the top, an eagle's feather, signifying that he was a killer, bear's grease, vermilion and indigo, a red British military coat with two enormous epaulets, a large British silver medal, breech-clout, leggings and moccasins. Thus decked off, he rose and said gruffly that they did not wish to sell their land. The Governor informed them that their fathers had twice sold it and been paid for it, but that to make things pleasant he would buy it again.
"He had a quantity of tobacco in the center of the tent for distribution. He offered through the interpreter the usual pipe after smoking—in his way. which was to wait until the interpreter had fixed the pipe, and then blow the smoke out instead of inhaling it himself. The chief rejected the pipe and rushed out of the tent—not through the door, but under the side. His men followed him. They went up to their camp. This was late in the afternoon. Soon after, the women of the camp were seen going toward the river with burdens on their backs; and then it was discovered that the British flag was hoisted in front of their lodges. As soon as the Governor saw this he called William Riley, the interpreter, and walked hastily toward the Indian camp. He refused to allow anyone else to accompany him. He went unarmed.
Brought Flag Staff Back
"We watched with deep solicitude. We saw him pull down the flag, throw it to the ground, and point to it while he looked toward the Indians, who were then outside their lodges. Riley told us when they returned to camp that the Governor rebuked the Indians, and told them if they raised the flag there again he would fire on them. Riley by command of the Governor brought the staff of the flag to our camp.
"Early in the evening George Johnston came to the Governor at the request of his mother, to tell him that the Chippewas intended to attack the camp during the night. Immediately the camp was put in a state of defense. Sentinels were posted, muskets were rubbed up, and common guns and horsemen's pistols, with which the young gentlemen of the Governor s suite were armed, were loaded, and orders and countersigns given. We had a guard of soldiers who accompanied us thus far, under Lieut. John Pierce, brother of the late President of that name, besides eight who continued with us throughout the expedition, under Lieut. Mackay.
"It was now discovered that our Indians faltered. They came with their Chief to the Governor and said they would give up their arms and lie down, and take their chance of death; but they would not fire upon their brothers. Young Buck stood aloof. When the Chief had finished, Buck walked forward with a defiant air, and, addressing the Governor, alluded to his having been reluctantly received at Mackinaw, and now he was going to make good the pledge of Biddle and Drew. 'He wanted,' he said, 'a good rifle, and wanted no one to relieve him; and if those fellows dared to approach our camp they would pay dearly for their temerity.
"We put out the fires and the lights and watched all night. It was very dark, but we were all in fine spirits and spoiling for a fight. Day broke and we found ourselves wearing our scalps.
"In a short time we learned that Mrs. Johnston, who was a Chief's daughter, had spent the night with her friends and relatives at their camp, and that they heartily repented of their rashness. They were now desirous to see their Father and apologize, and would be glad to sell him a piece of land for a fort.
"Accordingly a conference was had, the Chippewas apologized, and the treaty of the cession was made. We afterwards heard that the Chippewas on Lake Superior were greatly surprised to see us, after having been apprised by runners that we were all to be massacred at the Sault as we passed up.
"Here you see that we had no aid from any one but Mrs. Johnston, and from her only as a diplomat, and that the real hero of the scene, after Governor Cass, of course, was the Indian Buck. Whether Hole in the Day was there I do not know. I have no recollection of hearing anything from him till long after the event. So much for Buck."
This eliminates Hole in the Day. barring of course the possibility that he and Buck were one. We know that the Chippewas sometimes changed their names. Shingwakonce, for instance, signed his name as Lavoine on the above treaty. Neither Trowbridge's story nor that of George Johnston in his "Reminiscences" throws much light on the now-debated location of the flag. Johnston says the Governor and his party formed their camp on the green near the shore, within gunshot of the Indian village. This would indicate a comparatively limited distance.
Location Remains in Doubt
In fine, the precise place of the Governor's famous coup remains in dispute. But since local civic bodies desired to mark the spot as nearly as possible, it was deemed well by those interested to designate the little hill at the foot of Bingham Avenue as the ground where the British flag was lowered in 1820, to float no more over Sault Ste. Marie, or Michigan, or the northwestern States.
Sassaba the implacable henceforth cherished a more bitter enmity than ever against all Americans. Two years after the above events he was drowned in the rapids.
The figure of the Indian wife and mother Mrs. Johnston, strong, self-reliant and tactful, mediating successfully between the whites and her infuriated people in the absence of her husband, is one of the pleasant pictures of old Sault Ste. Marie. Governor Cass wrote his appreciation of her to John Johnston, and although the latter's claims for war damages were disallowed, Mrs. Johnston and her children and grand-children each received by the Treaty of Fond du Lac in 1826 one section of land. Part of this land was the high ground on the western shore of Sugar Island near Sault Ste. Marie. The Island is so called from the great quantities of maple sugar produced there in times past. After the death of her husband. Mrs. Johnston turned her attention to maple sugar and syrup making, and she marketed several thousand pounds of maple sugar each year.
Detroit Cut Off From Civilization
Schoolcraft proceeded up Lake Superior after the affair at the Sault, no doubt taking with him pleasant thoughts of the handsome Jane Johnston. He went back east by another route, and soon after his return the steamer Walk-in-the-Water was wrecked in Lake Erie. A friend in Detroit wrote Schoolcraft: "This accident is one of the greatest misfortunes that ever befell Michigan. It deprives us of all certain and speedy communication with the civilized world."
If Detroit was so remote from civilization, what must be said of the Sault of one hundred years ago?
Schoolcraft's nomination to the post of Indian Agent at the Sault was confirmed by the United States Senate in 1822, and he came up on the new steamer "Superior," the second steam-boat on the Great Lakes. Colonel Brady came also, with a battalion of the Second Regiment U. S. Infantry, from Sackett's Harbor. The Colonel, who was made a General the day he landed at the Sault, took quarters with some of his officers and their wives in the old Nolin house, which was in ruinous repair but the best available. Schoolcraft found a welcome haven in the Johnston home, the finest in the Sault, and was delighted with his new home. "I have stumbled, as it were," he says, "on the only family in North West America who could, in Indian lore, have acted as my guide, philosopher and friend."
Schoolcraft Becomes Famous
Schoolcraft was young and ambitious, and he appears to have taken the Agency at the Sault only because nothing better was offered him. He desired a higher post in Government work. He found himself, however, in a wonderful field for investigation and research, and his writings on the Indians, begun and completed here and elsewhere but founded on his experiences and researches in Sault Ste. Marie, have made him famous as an ethnologist and historian.
The first Agency building in the Sault belonged to John Johnston and had been used as his men's quarters. Schoolcraft soon had a new building thirty-six feet square and about a hundred yards west of the first one. In the rear was a blacksmith shop, probably Johnston's. The gate of the new fort was three hundred yards west of the new Agency.
Fixes on Correct Name
Since hit official communications to and from the United States Government were likely to be frequent, one of the first things Schoolcraft did was to determine as nearly as might be the correct name of the village. His method of arrival at the form adopted by the Government at his suggestion, and used officially since, is interesting:
"Sault Ste, Marie and Lake Superior are destined to hold an important rank in our future geography. When the French first came to these falls, they found the Chippewas, the falls signifying, descriptively, Shallow water pitching over rocks, or by a prepositional form of the term, at the place of shallow water, pitching over rocks. The terms cover more precisely the idea which we express by the word cascade. The French call a cascade a Leap or Sault; but Sault alone would not be distinctive, as they had already applied the term to some striking passes on the St. Lawrence and other places. They therefore, in conformity with their general usage, added the name of a patron saint to the term by calling it Sault de Sainte Marie, i. c.. Leap of St. Mary, to distinguish it from other Leaps, or Saults. Now as the word Sainte, as here used, is feminine, it must in its abbreviated form, be written Ste. The preposition de (the) is usually dropped. Use has further now dropped the sound of the letter I from Sault. But as, in the reforms of the French dictionary, the ancient geographical names of places remain unaffected, the true phraseology is
SAULT STE. MARIE."
Indians Called Saulteurs
Thus did the U. S. Government Indian Agent Henry Schoolcraft choose and fix for good the corporate name we bear, a variation of which was originally bestowed upon us by the French Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette. In the records consulted in the compilation of this story, the name is spelled in thirty-four or thirty-five different ways, sometimes with two or three variations in the same document.
"Having named the falls a Sault," continues Schoolcraft, the French went a step further, and called the Ojibwa Indians who lived at it Saulteurs, or People of the Sault. Hence this has ever remained the French name for Chippewas."
Schoolcraft found the correct pronunciation of the word Sault to be "so." This is of course the French way of speaking the word, and there are many French here and but few other whites in Schoolcraft's day. General usage, however, in the English tongue, and the American passion for brevity in nomenclature, have crystallized in the name "Soo." and our purists cannot change this now. The accepted pronunciation of the full name is Soo St. Mary, the first word being emphasized, the second slurred just a litde, and the third being accented on the first syllable.
Mr. J. W. Curran of the Sault Ste. Marie. Ontario. Daily Star has suggested that the inhabitants of the sister cities at the rapids follow the old usage and call themselves Saulteurs. pronounced So-ters. The idea is a happy one. and it has romantic and historic usage back of it. But romance and history have a small part in the lives of modern folks. We are creatures of habit, and probably shall continue to designate ourselves by the unlovely but easily remembered name
All of which calls to mind a certain limerick:
Said a youngster of Sault Ste. Marie,
Schoolcraft's fertile mind and poetic fancy conceived another name that is of interest to our Canadian friends. To quote:
"In the term Gitchegomee, the name for Superior, we have a specimen of the Indian mode of making compounds. Gitche signifies something great. Gomee is a compound phrase denoting a large body of water, a sea. I have cast about to find a sonorous form in which it may come into popular use, but find nothing more eligible than I-go-mee or Igoma. A more practical word in the shape of a new compound may be made in Algoma, a term in which the first syllable of the generic name of this tribe of the Algonquin stock harmonizes very well with the Indian idea of goma (sea), giving us Sea of the Algonquins. The term may be objected to, as the result of a grammatical abbreviation, but if not adopted practically it may do as a poetical synonym for this great lake."
The term was not objected to, but it has been taken by the people of Canada as the name of one of their most beautiful provinces.
Schoolcraft Marries Miss Johnston
About a year after his arrival Schoolcraft married Jane Johnston, the grand-daughter of Chief Waub-ojeeg. He devoted much time to the investigation of Indian languages, traditions and customs, took a friendly and personal interest in his red charges and procured the enactment of several laws beneficent to them. In 1827 he moved into a handsome residence on the bank of the river about half a mile east of the fort. This building contained fifteen rooms including the Agency office, and stood in a bower of elms, maples and mountain ash of his planting. Here, he tells us, he lived most happily, varying the duties of his office with his incursions into Indian lore. This house still stands, close to the Michigan Northern Power Company's power-house, and is now shut off from the river by it.
Schoolcraft became a member of the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1828, and helped to organize the Michigan Historical Society in the same year. Four years later he headed a scientific expedition to the head waters of the Mississippi River, and determined its source to be in Lake Itasca, which was named by him. He spent eleven busy and useful years in the Sault and its vicinity before the Indian Agency was moved to Mackinac Island.
Schoolcraft's writings and compilations here, many of them done with the assistance of his accomplished wife, were subsequently published. They include his "Algic Researches," "Oneota, or the Indian in his Wigwam," "Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes," and most noted of all, the "History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes." This monumental work was published by the United States Government in 1851-57 at a cost of $650,000.00. The six great quarto volumes under this title form the most extensive existing repository of information concerning the red race in America.
After his first coming to the Sault and previous to his incumbency as Indian Agent here, he published his "Travels in the Central Portion of the Mississippi Valley." This, his first work, laid the solid foundation of his fame, and was useful to the country in acquainting the east with the enormous and hitherto unknown possibilities of the lands beyond the Great Lakes.
Were Indians Misused?
It is still the fashion in some quarters to condemn the United States Government's treatment of the Indians within its bounddaries. With these criticisms in mind, it is worth while to read the following from the foreword of Schoolcraft's "Thirty Years With the Indian Tribes." This foreword is written anonymously, probably by the brother of Schoolcraft but no doubt with the sanction of the latter, who probably knew the Indians as no other white man ever did:
"We have been reproached by foreign pens for our treatment of these tribes, and our policy, motives and justice impugned. If we are not mistaken the materials here collected (referring to Schoolcraft's "History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes") will show how gratuitous such imputations have been. It is believed that no stock of the aborigines found by civilized nations on the globe have received the same amount of considerate and benevolent and humane treatment, as denoted by the Government's laws, its treaties, and general administration of Indian affairs, from the establishment of the Constitution, and this too, in the face of the most hostile, wrongheaded and capricious conduct on their part, that ever signalized the history of a barbarous people."
We are indebted for the greater part of our knowledge of old Algonquin America to the Jesuit Relations and to Henry Schoolcraft, citizen of Sault Ste. Marie. The importance of this information in the Relation" cannot be over-estimated; still, it was incidental to the report by the writers of spiritual progress made by their savage congregations. Banished, as it were, to Sault Ste. Marie, Schoolcraft seized a pschycological opportunity in the true spirit of enterprise, and made himself famous by recording his observations. It has been said that Schoolcraft was the man who gold-plated the northern Indians, but who shall blame him? They were the making of him.
And they did not need his gilding, for they were and are one of the most interesting races in the world.
Were Inspiration of Longfellow
Longfellow found his inspiration for Hiawatha, the most famous of his poems, in the works of Schoolcraft compiled largely here in Sault Ste. Marie. His debt and ours to Schoolcraft is acknowledged in the opening lines:
Should you ask me whence these stories,
Schoolcraft moved his agency to Mackinac Island in 1833, and assumed the Superintendency of Indian Affairs for Michigan at Detroit in 1836.
Is Buried Here
Johnston died in 1828 at Sault Ste. Marie, and was buried not far from where the Armory now stands. Years afterward his remains were transferred to Riverside Cemetery, where they repose in a family lot with those of members of his family, in the northwestern corner of the cemetery, a little distance back of the caretaker's house. The stone marking the spot is engraved with an epitaph by Schoolcraft.
In justice to Johnston, the following note of Schoolcraft's is inserted here:
John Johnston was a native of the north of Ireland, where his family possessed an estate named 'Craige,' near the celebrated Giant's Causeway. He came to this country during the first Presidential term of Washington, and settled at St. Mary's, about 1793. He was a gentleman of taste, reading, refined feeling and multivated manners, which enabled him to direct the education of his children, an object to which he assiduously devoted himself; and his residence was long known as the seat of hospitality and refinement to all who visited the region. In 1814, his premises were visited, during his absence, by a part of the force who entered the St. Mary's under Colonel Croghan, and his private property subjected to pillage, from a misapprehension, created by some evil-minded persons, that he was an agent of the Northwest Company. Genial, social, kind, and benevolent, his society was much sought, and he was sometimes imposed on by those who had been received into his employments and trusts, as in the reports which carried the Americans to his domicile in 1814."
An Interesting Sketch
There is an interesting sketch of Johnston in Ross Cox's "Adventures on the Columbia River," from which the following is taken:
"Mr. Johnston has extensive plantations of corn and potatoes, with a beautitfully arranged and well-stocked fruit and flower garden. During the late war with America he induced one thousand Indian warriors (of whom he took the command) to join the British forces, and rendered important services while so employed.
"He suffered severely for his loyalty, for during his absence with the army, a predatory party of Americans attacked his place in the hope of obtaining a large quantity of valuable furs, which they were informed he had in his stores, but which a short time before his departure he had fortunately removed. Disappointed in their hopes of plunder, they burned his house and out-offices. At the period, therefore, of our visit (1817) the buildings were quite new, and were constructed with much taste. The furniture was elegant and the library select and elegant.
Mr. Johnston possessed a highly cultivated mind, much improved by extensive reading. He had made many excursions round the shores of Lake Superior and along the banks of its tributary streams, in which scientific researches imparted a pleasing variety to the business of an Indian trader. His collection of specimens were varied and well selected, and it the result of his inquiries be published, they will, I have no doubt, prove a valuable addition to our geological knowledge of interior America.
"Two retired traders, named Nolin and Ermantinger, also resided on the same side with Mr. Johnston, a short distance below his house.
Ninety Pound Trout
"Mr. Johnston has plenty of cattle, hogs, sheep and domestic fowl, and has also a very good windmill close to his dwelling-house. Fish is found in great abundance, particularly trout. They are of enormous size, sixty pounds is not uncommon; and Mr. Johnston assured me that he saw one caught in Lake Superior which weighed ninety pounds.
"He treated us to an excellent dinner, fine wine, and a few tumblers of Irish mountain dew which had never seen the face of an exciseman. We left Mr. Johnston's at dusk, but he crossed over with us to the north side, and we spent together another night of social and intellectual enjoyment." In the days of Cox and Schoolcraft, the Saulteurs picnicked at Point aux Pins- The Shallows and Gros Cap as they do now, but the glorious sport of shooting the rapids is gone forever, barred by the compensating dam which stretches from the American to the Canadian ship canals. Modern Saulteurs make the picnic pilgrimage in cars or launches; the old Saulteurs had no other conveyance than canoes.
"1 went with a pic-nic to Gross Cape, a romantic promontory at the foot of Lake Superior," says Schoolcraft. "This elevation stands on the north shore of the straits and consequently in Canada. It overlooks a noble expanse of waters and islands, constituting one of the most magnificent series of views of American scenery. Immediately opposite stands the scarcely less elevated and not less celebrated promontory of Point Iroquois, the Na-do-wa-we-gon-ing, or Place of Iroquois Bones, of the Chippewas. These two promontories stand like pillars of Hercules which guard the entrance into the Mediterranean, and their office is to mark the foot of the mighty Superior, a lake which may not inaptly, be deemed another Mediterranean Sea. The morning chosen to visit this scene was fine; the means of conveyance chosen was the novel and fairy-like barque of the Chippewas, which they denominate Che-maun, but which we, from a corruption of a Charib term as old as the days of Columbus, call a Canoe.
"Our party consisted of several ladies and gentlemen. We carried the elements of a picnic (a word derived from a root meaning, to eat). We moved rapidly. The views on all sides were novel and delightful. The water in which the men struck their paddles was pure as crystal. The air was perfectly exhilarating from its purity. The distance about three leagues.