Beards Directory
History of Marquette Co MI
with sketches of the early history of Lake Superior, its mines, furnaces, etc., etc.

Sketch of the early Explorations with a notice of the Missionaries and their labors
(Pg 165-200) - By C.I. Walker

It is now more than two centuries since civilized men penetrated the vast solitudes of the region of Lake Superior.

The history of the early explorations, missions, and settlements in this region is full of deep, romantic, and sometimes tragic interest. The particular site on which has sprung up the city of Marquette was not early brought into prominence. There were here no trading posts, missions, stations, or settlements, but Marquette has outstripped its elder sisters, and is now the metropolis of Lake Superior. In population, wealth, and business, and in its means of communication, it is far in advance of any other point upon the lake; and in a work devoted to this particular locality, it is eminently appropriate that there should be a reference to the early history of the whole region of which it is now the metropolis and principal city, and a reverent tribute to the men who here first planted the cross and especially to Father Marquette from whom it derived its name.

From the time when the footsteps of the white man first penetrated the forests of our commonwealth, until the power of France on our continent was terminated by the victory of Wolf on the plains of Abraham, the entire territory of Michigan was under the undisputed dominion of France. And virtually it remained a part of Canada until 1796, when, under the provisions of Jay's treaty, it was surrendered to the United States.

From France we received our first laws, our original social polity, our early religious character. And although the wave of Anglo-Saxon immigration has, within a halt of a century, rolled in upon us a population of more than a million, it has not obliterated, and it is to be hoped it never will obliterate, the clear and distinct influence upon our social character, of the era of French dominion.

We may not forget, we should ever be proud to remember, that, for the first century of its existence, the metropolis of our State, the "City of the Straits," was essentially French in all its characteristics.


We should never forget that the pioneers of civilization and Christianity, along the shores of the noble rivers and mighty lakes that form the boundaries of our State, were the French Jesuits.

These men, with a firm step and intrepid mien, in the face of dangers, toils, sacrifices and sufferings, which no language can portray, and no imagination adequately conceive, bore aloft the torch of Christian truth, amidst the moral darkness and desolation that here reigned in terrible and savage grandeur. And, sustained by a mental and moral discipline, known to few save the followers of Loyalla, and by that unfaltering trust in God, which, thank heaven, is confined to no creed, and to no sect, they met, nay, even welcomed, torture and death with a calm joyousness that finds few parallels in thle annals of mankind.

The memory of those early Jesuit Missionaries to the Indians has been embalmed in the glowing pages of Bancroft.

It may not he inappropriate or uninteresting to enter somewhat more into detail in relation to their labors upon the shores of Lake Superior.

Quebee was founded by Champlain in 1608. In 1615 the first priests (Recollects) arrived. They were reinforced in 1620, and in 1625 some Jesuits arrived. But these all returned to France in 1629 on the capture of Quebec by the English. But in 1633, when Champlain returned to his government he brought with him Brebeuf and another priest.

Before this period (1633) but little progress had been made in the conversion of the Indians. The Hurons were the first nation that cordially opened their hearts to the reception of Christian truth.

They occupied a somewhat anomalous position in relation to the two great divisions, into which the Indians, bordering on the St. Lawrence and its tributaries, were divided-the Algonquins and the Iroquois.

When Jaques Cartier ascended the St. Lawrence in 1534, he found its banks inhabited by tribes of the great Algonquin race, and at Hocelaga or Montreal he found a very populous Indian town. When Champlain in 1608 first raised the banner of France on the rock of St. Louis, the Algonquins gathered around him to give him a welcome.

He found them the hereditary enemies of their neighbors, the Iroquis, a race with similar habits, but with a radically different language, fewer in numbers and occupying a far less extent of territory. But these disadvantages were more than compensated by their compactness; by their admirable system of government; by their superior prowess, and by their haughty ambition.

Occupying a territory but little larger than the State of New York, they arrogantly aspired to become the Romans of this western world; the arbiteis of peace and war, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, from the great lakes to the everglades of Florida. Their tomahawks carried terror and destruction into the villages of the peaceful Illinois on the broad prairies of the west, and the fiendlike yells of their war parties were echoed back by the rocks that ranged themselves along the shores of the mighty lake of the north.


The Hurons, or Wyandottes, were of the same lingual stock of the Iroquis, and occupied for a time a kind of neutral position between the great contestants for aboriginal dominion. They were the intellectual superiors of the Iroquis, without their love of war, or their lust 0of power.

They had gathered in large numbers about Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe, where they sustained themselves by hunting, fishing, and a better system of agriculture than generally prevailed among the Indians.

The year of the settlement of Quebec, Champlain joined an expedition of the Algonquins of the St. Lawrence into the country of the Iroquis, by way of the beautiful lake that bears his name. From him, in that expedition, those fierce warriors first learned the terrible power of firearms.

From that moment they became the bitter enemies of the French, who had thus espoused the cause of their hereditary foes, and at frequent intervals, for a century and a half, the French colonies suffered from their vindictive and cruel wrath.

The Hurons, at a very early day, became the fast friends of the French. As early as 1615, lather Carron visited them, on an embassy of peace and love. And from 1622 to 1625, the Recollects had a mission among them.

On the arrival of the Jesuits, they commenced their labors among the Hurons,-labors that were to have so tragic an end.

Brebeuf acquired a knowledge of their language and manners, and was adopted into their nation.

By the conquest of Canada, 1629, the mission was broken up. But on the restoration of the French power, in 1633, it was renewed with increased zeal and numbers. Then villages were reached by the circuitous, laborious and dangerous route of the Ottawa river, the more direct route being through a country where the Iroquois were found upon the war path.

The journey was replete with difficulties, hardships and dangers,-reaching for 300 leagues through dense forests. The rivers were full of rocks and waterfalls, and the missionaries were compelled to ply the paddle, to draw the canoe over rapids, and to carry heavy burdens over roughest portages.

Food was scarce, and the Indians unfriendly. But after severe toil and intense suffering, the sacred envoys, Brebeuf and Daniel, reach the heart of the Huron wilderness, and commence their labors, soon to be followed by the gentle Lallemant, and many others.

Here, for fifteen years, with calm, impassive courage, and He falls,-breathing the name of Jesus, and his body is cast into the fire made by his burning chapel.

The following year, in March, other towns fell. The brave and noble Brebeuf and the gentle and loving Gabriel Lallemant met death by tortures, that only demons could invent or demons inflict.

The whole annals of martyrdom scarcely afford a parallel, either in the ingenious cruelty of the tormentors, or in the wonderful fortitude and heroism of the victims.

The Huron nation was destroyed. Many perished by the hand of the enemy; others submitted and became incorporated into their tribes. Another portion settled near Quebec, and a small fraction, consisting of 600 or 800 fled, first to the Manatoulin Islands, thence to Mackinaw, and from thence to Bay de Noquet. And when the mission at La Point was established in 1665, they gathered around the standard of the cross, erected by Father Alloney. Driven thence by the Dacotahs, they were established at Mackinaw by Marquette, in 1671.

When Detroit was founded in 1701, they removed to this point. In 1751 they mostly removed to Sandusky, and subsequently, by the name of Wyandottes, took an active and conspicuous part, on the side of the British in the war of the Revolution. They have been, since their dispersion, wanderers without territory of their own, depending for a home, upon the hospitality of other nations.


It was from the Huron mission, that the first Missionary explorers were sent forth to examine the moral desolation of our own territory. At a feast of the dead, held in Huronia, in early summer 1641, there were in attendance a delegation from the Chippewas of Sault St. Marie.

The Missionaries, with that skill which was peculiar to them, soon ingratiated themselves into their favor and were cordially invited to return with them to their homes, on the confines of the "great lake," the charms of which they depicted in glowing colors.

The Missionaries, ever anxious to extend the dominion of the cross, joyfully accepted the invitation.

Charles Raymbault, a father, thoroughly versed in the Algonquin language and customs, and Isaac Joques, equally familiar with the Huron, were selected. These men were the first who planted the cross within the limits of our State.

On the 17th of June, 1641, they started upon their adventurous voyage. For seventeen days, they plied the paddle on the clear waters of the Northern lakes, and through the channel of the St. Mary's River gemmed by a thousand beautiful islands.

They were kindly and hospitably received by the Chippewas at the Sault, who urged them to remain with them, that they might profit by their words. They told them of the "Great Lake," of the fierce Dacotahs, and of numerous other tribes, of whom the fathers had never before heard.

But they were compelled to return, and after planting the cross, they left, hoping soon to be able to establish a mission at this promising point among the docile Chippewas.

Raymbault died with consumption the following year, and Jaques met a martyr's death among the Iroquois.

No further attempt was made to send the gospel to the great Northwest, until 1656. After the destruction of the Hurons, the Iroquois ranged in proud and haughty triumph, from Lake Erie to Lake Superior.

Upper Canada was desolation, and even the route by the Ottawa river was not safe from the war parties of these bold marauders.

During this year, some Ottawas made their way to the St. Lawrence. Two missionaries left to return with them, one, the celebrated and devoted Drcuilletts. They were attacked by the Iroquois. Father Garreau was mortally wounded, and Dreuillettes brutally abandoned.

Another company of Ottawas and other Algonquins, appeared at Quebec in 1660, and asked for a missionary. Missions had now received a fresh impulse from the pious Levalle, the first bishop of Quebec, who came out in 1659.


Father Mesnard was selected as the first ambassador of the cross on the shores of "Gitchie Gumee," the "Big Sea Water."

The choice was a fit one. He had been a compeer of those noble men who had enriched Huronia's soil with their blood.

He had experienced every vicissitude of missionary service and suffering. He had rejoiced in baptizing many a convert on the banks of the beautiful Cayuga, and his seamed face attested the wounds he had received in the cause of truth. Th3 frosts of many winters adorned his brow, and severity of toil and suffering had somewhat broken his frame, yet his spirit was still strong, and he was ready for the sacrifice.

Although not buoyed up by the enthusiasm of youth, or inexperience, he not only did not recoil from the labor, peril, suffering and death, which he felt awaited him, but he cheerfully looked forward, as the truest happiness, to a death of misery, in the service of God.

Alone, in August, 1660, he leaves the haunts of civilization, and puts himself into the hands of savage strangers, who treated the aged priest with coarse brutality. From morning till night, in a cramped position, they compel him to ply the unwelcome paddle; and over sharp rocks to drag the canoe up the foaming rapids; and at portages, to carry heavy burdens.

He is subjected to every form of drudgery; to every phase of insult and contempt. Want, absolute and terrible comes in to enhance the horrors of the voyage. Berries and edible moss are exhausted; and the moose skin of their dresses is made to yield its scanty and disgusting nutriment.

Finally, with his breviary contemptuously cast into the water; barefooted, wounded by sharp stones, exhausted from toil, hunger, and brutal treatment; without food, or the means of procuring any, he is abandoned, upon the desolate shores of Lake Superior to die.

But even savage cruelty relents. After a few days, during which time he supports life with pounded bones, his Indian companions return, and convey him to their winter rendezvous, which they reach October 15th, St. Theresa Day. From that circumstance he called it "St. Theresa Bay," probably Keweenaw Bay.

Here, amidst every discouragement and privation, with no white brethren nearer than Montreal, he began a mission and said "Mass," which he says, " repaid me with usury, for all my past hardships."

For a time he was permitted a place in the dirty camp of Le Bouchet, the chief of the band, and who had so cruelly abandoned him. But this aged and feeble servant of God was soon thrust out and forced to spend the long and bitter cold winter on that inhospitable shore, in a little cabin, built of fir branches, piled upon one another, through which the winter winds whistled freely, and which answered the purpose, " not so much," says the meek missionary, " to shield me from the rigor of the storm, as to correct my imagination, and persuade me that I was sheltered." Want, famine, that frequent curse of the improvident tribes that skirt the great " Northern Lake," came, with its horrors, to make more memorable this first effort to plant the cross by the waters of Lake Superior.

" 0 the long and dreary winter!
O the cold and cruel winter!
Ever thicker, thicker, thicker,
Froze the ice on lake and river;
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper,
Fell the snow o'er all the landscape,
Fell the covering snow, and drifted.

Through the forest, round the village,
Hardly, from his buried wigwam,
Could the hunter force a passage;
With his mittens and his snow-shoes,
Vainly walked he through -the forest;
Sought for bird and beast, but found none,
Saw no track of deer nor rabbit,
In the snow beheld no foot-print,
In the ghastly, gleaming forest,
Fell,-and could not rise from weakness,
Perished there,-from cold and hunger.

O the famine and the fever!
O the wasting of the famine!
0 the blasting of the fever!
O the wailing of the children!
O the anguish of the women!
All the earth was sick and famished,
Hungry was the air around them;
Hungry was the sky above them;
And the hungry stars in heaven,
Like the eyes of wolves, glared at them."

Yet, the good father found sources of consolation even here, and desired not to be taken down from the adorable wood.

A few adults listened to his words of love, and some dying infants were baptized.

Spring came and relieved the pressure of physical suffering, and hopefully did the missionary labor on.

The band of partially christianized Hurons, —who, on the destruction of their nation, had sought refuge from the Iroquois in these northern fastnesses,-were now at Bay de Noquet; and they sent for Father Mesnard to come and administer to them the rites of religion. It was a call he could not resist, although warned that the toil of the journey was too great for his failing strength, and that dangers beset his path. He replied, "God calls me thither, I must go, if it costs me my life."

He started; but on the 10th of August, 1661, while his only attendant was getting the canoe over a portage, he wandered into the forest, and was never seen more.

Whether he took a wrong path and was lost in the wood, or whether some straggling Indian struck him down, was never known.

Thus ended the life of Father Mesnard, the first christian missionary who labored within the bounds of our commonwealth. Although possessed of no striking qualities, yet, by his fervent piety, by his faithful and incessant toil; by his calm endurance, of hardship and suffering; by his noble christian courage; by his earnest faith and christian hope, he had become one of the most useful missionaries in the new world; commanding the respect of his superiors, the love of his equals, and the veneration of the Indians.

As a pioneer in our own State, Michigan should cherish his memory, and seek to perpetuate a knowledge of his virtues. But as yet, not a stream, not a bay, not a headland, bears his honored name; and on the shores of the great lake where he first raised the cross, that emblem of our faith, even his existence is hardly known.

Hardships, discouragements, persecutions and death, seemed only to excite the Jesuits to renewed and more energetic effort to carry the gospel to the poor Indian.


In 1665, Claude Allouez left Quebec to commence a christian mission on the shores of Lake Superior. He may well be called the founder of northwestern missions; the real pioneer of christianity and civilization in the region bordering on the great northern and western lakes.

He had not that cultivated intellect; that refined taste; that genial heart; that elevation of soul; that forgetfulness of self; that freedom from exaggeration, that distinguished father Marquette; but he was a strong character, of dauntless courage; of ceaseless and untiring energy; full of zeal; thoroughly acquainted with the Indian character, and eminently a practical man. For a full quarter of a century, he was the life and soul of the mis. sionary enterprise in Wisconsin and Illinois, and to some extent, Michigan.

On his voyage to the Sault, he was subjected,-as was generally the case with the missionaries until the arm of French power was distinctly felt in those remote regions,-to the keenest insult and to the coarsest brutality from his Indian conductors. He reached the Sault early in September. He passed on beyond. For a whole month he coasted along the shores of the Great Lake, which he named de Tracy, in honor of the Marquis de Tracy, then in command of Canada as governor, and in October, at Chegonnegon, the beautiful La Point of our day, he raised the standard of the cross, and boldly preached its doctrines.

The Hurons, in search of whom father Mesnard lost his life, some of the converts of father Mesnard, and many heathen bands, gathered around the solitary priest, and listened to his words; yet they opened not their hearts readily to "the prayer."

He visited remote tribes, and after seeing bow broad was the harvest, and how ripe for the sickle, he descended, in 1667, to Quebec, for more laborers. Quickly he moved; promptly he acted.

In two days after his arrival, he was on his way back to his beautiful northern field, with an additional priest and a lay brother in his company.

He remained at La Point until father Marquette took his place, in the fall of 1679, when he founded the mission of St. Francs Xavier at Green Bay.

After father Marquette's death, he succeeded him in the Illinois mission, and afterwards founded the mission of St. Joseph, on our own beautiful river of that name.

It does not fall in with our purpose to trace the interesting career of this man, and point out his abundant labors and untiring zeal as a missionary, or his valuable services as an explorer; for our own soil was but incidentally the field of his efforts.


But of all the men whose names are connected with the early history of Lake Superior, there is none toward whom we turn with so warm a love and so high a veneration as to James Marquette.

His cultivated mind, his refined taste, his warm and genial nature, his tender love for the souls in his charge, his calm and immovable courage in every hour of danger, his cheerful submission to the little privations and keen suffering attending the missionary life, his important discoveries, his devotion to truth, his catholic spirit, and last but not least, his earlv, calm, joyous and heroic death, all entitle him to that high place in the regard of posterity which his memory has been slowly, but surely acquiring.

Marquette was born in 1637. He was of gentle blood, having descended from the most notable family in the small, but ancient and stately city of Leon, in the north of France.

The family have for centuries, been eminent for a devotion to military life, and three of its members shed their blood upon our own soil during the war of the Revolution.

Through the instructions of a pious mother, he became, at an early age, imbued with an earnest desire to devote himself to a religious life.

At the age of seventeen he renounced the allurements of the world, and entered the society of Jesus. As required by the rules of the order, he spent two years in those spiritual exercises prescribed by their great founder. Then, for ten long years, he remained under the remarkable training and teaching of the order, and acquired that wonderful self-control, that quiet repose, that power of calm endurance, that unquestioning obedience to his superiors; that thirst for trial, suffering and death that marked the Jesuits in this, the golden age of their power.

He took for his model in life the great Xavier, and, like him, longed to devote his days to the conversion of the heathen, and like him, to die in the midst of his labors, in a foreign land, alone.

Although he had not that joyous hilarity of soul; that gay buoyancy of spirit; and that wonderful power over men, that so distinguished the Apostle to the Indies; yet, he had much of that sweetness of disposition, that genial temperament, that facile adaptation to circumstances, that depth of love, and that apostolic zeal which belonged to that wonderful man.

Panting for a missionary life, Marquette, at the age of twenty-nine sailed for New France, which he reached September 20, 1666.

Early in October, he was placed under the tuition of the celebrated Father Dreuillette at "Three Rivers" to learn the native language.

After a year and a half of preparation, he left for the Sault St. Mary to plant the first permanent mission and settlement within the bounds of our State.

There were then about 2,000 Indians at this point; the facility with which they could live by fishing, making it one of the most populous places in Indian territory.

They were Algonquins, mostly Chippeways, and received the teachings of the good father with great docility, and would gladly have been baptized, but the wise and cautious missionay withheld the rite until he could clearly instruct them in christian duty. In the following year, he was joined by Father Dablou, when the first Christian church on Michigan soil was erected. But he was not long to remain in this first field of his labors. In obedience to orders from his superiors, in the fall of 1669 he went to La Pointe, to take the place of Allouez, who proceeded to found a mission at Green Bay. For a whole month, through much suffering and in constant peril of his life, he coasted along the shores of Lake Superior, contending with fierce winds, ice and snow.

At La Point, he found 400 or 500 Hurons, a company of Ottawas and some other tribes. The Hurons had mostly been baptized; and, he says "still preserve some Christianity." "Other tribes," to use his own language, " were proud and undeveloped" and he had so little hope of them that he (did not baptize healthy infants, watching only for those that were sick.

It was only after long months of trial that he baptized the first adult, after seeing his assiduity in prayer, his frankness in recounting his past life, and his promises for the future.

Here an Illinois captive was given to him, and he immediately commenced to learn the language from this rude teacher, and as he gradually acquired a knowledge of it, his loving heart warmed towards the kind hearted and peaceful nation, and he longed to break to them the bread of life.

"No one," he exclaims, " must hope to escape crosses in our missions, and the best means to live happy is not to fear them; but in the enjoyment of little crosses hope for others still greater. The Illinois desire us, like Indians, to share their miseries and suffer all that can be imagined in barbarism. They are lost sheep, to be sought through woods and thorns."

Here it was, in the heart of this Northern winter, surrounded by his Indians, talking in a broken manner with his Illinois captive, that he conceived the idea of a voyage of discovery.

He hears of a great river, the Mississippi, whose course is southward. He says, this great river can hardly empty into Virginia, and we rather believe that its mouth is in California. He rejoices in the prospect of seeking for this unknown stream, with one Frenchman and this Illinois captive as his only companions, if the Indians will, according to their agreement, make him a canoe. This discovery, he says, will give us a complete knowledge of the southern and western sea.

But his further labors at La Pointe and his plans of present discovery were suddenly terminated by the breaking out of war.

The fierce Dacotahs, those Iroquois of the West, who inspired the feeble tribes about them with an overpowering awe, thi eatened to desolate the region of La Pointe.

The Ottawas first left, and then the Hurons, who seemed destined to be wanderers upon the face of the earth without a spot they could call their own, turned their faces to the east.

Their hearts fondly yearned for that delightful home, from which they had been so cruelly driven twenty years before. And we may well imagine that the devoted missionary longed to labor in that field, made sacred by the blood of Daniel, Brebeuf, Lallemant, and others.

But the dreaded Iroquois were too near and too dangerous neighbors for such an experiment, and with their missionary at their head, they selected for their home the point known as St. Ignace, opposite Mackinaw.

Bleak, barren and inhospitable as was this spot, it had some peculiar and compensatory advantages. It abounded with fish, and was on the great highway of a growing Indian commerce.

Here, in the summer of 1671, a rude church, made of logs, and covered with bark, was erected, and about it clustered the still ruder cabins of the Hurons. Near the chapel and inclosing the cabins was erected a palisade to defend the little colony against the attacks of predatory Indians.

Thus did Marquette become the founder of Mackinaw, as he had before been of Sault St. Mary. Some of the Hurons were still idolators, and the Indians were weak and wayward, but he looked upon them with parental love.

They have," he writes, in 1672, " come regularly to prayers and have listened more readily to the instructions I gave them, consenting to what I required to prevent theirdisorders and abominations. We must have patience with untutored minds who know only the devil; who, like their ancestors, have been his slaves, and who often relapse into the sins in which they were nurtured." "God alone can fix their feeble minds and place and keep them in his grace, and touch their heart while we stammer at their ears."

A large colony of Ottawas, located near the mission, although intractable, received his faithful and loving attention, thus, "stammering at their ears," and trusting that God would reach the heart, the good father, through privation, suffering and incessant toil, subjected to every caprice, insult and petty persecution, labored for two years, cheered by the privilege of occasionally baptising a dying infant, and rejoicing in a simple, mournful, loving faith in its death. Hearing of a sick infant, he says, " I went at once and baptized it, and it died the next night. Some of the other children, too, are dead, and are now in heaven. These are the consolations which God sends us, which make us esteem our life more happy as it is more wretched."

Here, again, his attention was called to the discovery of the Mississippi, which he sought, that new nations might be open to the gospel of peace and good will.

In a letter to his superior, after speaking of his field of labor, he says: "I am ready to leave it in the hands of another missionary, and go, on your order, to seek new nations towards the South Sea, who are still unknown to us, and teach them of our great God, whom they have hitherto unknown."

His fond wishes in this regard were about to be gratified. The news ol the great river at the westward, running to the southern sea, had reached the ears of the great Colbert, and through him, of Louis XIV. himself.

They did not fail to see the infinite advantage of discovering and possessing this great element of territorial power.

The struggle for dominion in America between the English and the French, was then pending. If the English settlements, then feeble and scattered along the Atlantic coast, could be hemmed in by a series of French posts, from the " Great Lakes" to the Southern Sea, France would control the continent, and ambitious schemes of Britain would be nipped in the bud.

Colbert authorized the expedition, and was ably seconded by the wise energy and sagacious forecast of Count Frontenac and of Talon, Governor and Intendant of New France.

Jolliet, a young, intelligent and enterprising merchant, of Quebec, and Marquette, were appointed to execute the project.

In the fall of 1672, Jolliet arrived at Mackinaw with the joyful news. Marquette had, as he says, long invoked the " blessed virgin" that he might obtain of God the grace to be able to visit the nations of the Mississippi.

He is enraptured at the good news that his desires are about to be gratified; that he is to expose his life for the salvation of those nations, and especially of the Illinois.

They were not to leave until spring During that long dreary winter on that desolate point, he spent his leisure time in gathering from the Indians all possible information of the unknown region they were about to visit, and tracing upon the bark of the birch, maps of the courses of rivers, and writing down the names of the nations and tribes inhabiting their banks, and of the villages they should visit.

On the 17th of May, 1673, in two bark canoes, manneri by five men, and stocked with a small supply of Indian corn and dried venison, the two explorers left Mackinaw.

"Our joy at being chosen," says the good father, " for this expedition, roused our courage and sweetened the labor of rowing from morning till night. "And merrily over the clear waters of Lake Michigan did they ply the paddle of their light canoe.

"And the forest life was in it;
All its mystery and magic;
All the brightness of the birch tree,
All the toughness of the cedar,
All the beech's supple sinews,
And it floated on the water
Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
Like a yellow water lily."

At Green Bay, the friendly Indians did all in their power to prevent the further progress of the expedition. They pictured to the courageous explorers, the fierce Dacotahs with their long black hair, their eyes of fire, and their terrible tomahawks of stone; who never spared strangers.

They told of the wars then raging, and the war parties on every trail. They described the danger of navigation, of frightful rapids and sunken rocks, of fearful monsters that swallowed up men and canoes together; of a cruel demon that stops the passage and engulfs the navigator who dares to invade his dominion; of excessive heats that would infallibly cause their death.

The good father told them that the salvation of souls was concerned, and that in such a cause he would gladly lay down his life; that of the dangers they described, they had no fear.

On went the travelers, toilfully ascending the Fox River, dragging their canoes up the rapids, over sharp stones that lacerated their bleeding and unprotected feet.

In ten days from leaving Mackinaw, they had passed the portage; had launched their canoes upon the waters of the Wisconsin and commenced its descent towards the Mississippi.

For seven days they floated down its crystal waters. Vineclad islets, fertile banks, diversified with wood, prairie and hill, alive with deer and moose, delight their vision, but no human being is seen.

On the 17th of June, 1673, with joy, " which," says the good father, "I cannot express," they entered the great river, and the longed-for discovery is made, and the "Father of Waters" is given to the civilized world.

It is true that De Soto, in that fool-hardy and sadly unfortunate expedition, that has added a thrilling chapter to American history, had, 130 years before, discovered the lower Mississippi, but it seems never to have been revisited, and the very knowledge of it had died out.

For seven days more the joyous adventurers floated down its broad bosom, following its gentle curves, before they saw a human being.

The scenery has changed. The islands are more beautiful. There is little wood, and no hill; deer, moose, bustard and wingless swans abound. As they descend, the turkey takes the place of smaller game, and the buffalo of other beasts. Although the solitude becomes alnost insupportable, and they long to see other human faces than their own, yet they move with caution. They light but little fire at night, on shore, just to prepare a meal, then move as far as possible from it, anchor their canoes in the stream and post a sentinel, to warn them of approaching danger.

Finally, on the 26th of June, they discover footprints by the water side, and a well beaten trail leading off through a beautiful prairie, on the west bank.

They are in the region of the wild and dreaded Dacotahs, and they conclude that a village is at hand. Coolly braving the danger, Marquette and Jolliet leave their canoes in charge of the inen; they take to the trail, and in silence for two leagues they follow its gentle windings, until they come in sight of two Indian villages.

Having committed themselves to God, and implored his help, they approach so near that they hear conversation, without being discovered, and then stop and announce their presence by a loud outcry. The Indians rushed from their cabins, and seeing the unarmed travelers, they after a little, depute four old amen to approach them, which they do very slowly.

Father Marquette inquires who they are, and is rejoiced to learn that they are Illinois. He can speak to them in their own language.

They offer the pipe of peace, which is here first named the "calumet." They are most graciously received at the first village.

An old man, perfectly naked, stands at the cabin door, with his hand raised toward the sun, and he exclaims, " How beautiful is the sun, 0 Frenchmen, when thou comest to visit us. Our town awaits thee, and thou shalt enter all our cabins in peace." There was a crowd of people who devoured them with their eyes. They had never before seen a white man. As the travelers passed to another village, to visit the chief sachem, the people ran ahead, threw themselves upon the grass by the wayside, and awaited their coming, then again ran on before in order to get a second and third opportunity to gaze at them.

After several days stay with this kind and hospitable people, our adventurers pass on down the river as far as Arkansas, when finding that they could not safely proceed further, they commenced to retrace their steps on the 17th of July, just one month after entering the Mississippi, and just two months after leaving Mackinaw.

They ascend the beautiful Illinois, which is now, for the first time, navigated by civilized men. They are delighted at the fertility of the soil, with the beautiful prairies and charming forests which swarm with wild cattle, deer, bustards, swans, ducks, and parrots. They stop at an Illinois town of seventyfour cabins and Father Marquette promises to return and instruct them in the truth of religion.

One of the chiefs, with his young men, escort the company to the lake at Chicago, and they return to Green Bay.

Thus ended that eventful voyage that added the delightful region of the upper Msssissippi to the geography of the known world, and gave to France advantages which, had they not been prodigally thrown away, in the wicked folly of the reign of Louis XV., might have given to America a widely different history.

Jolliet, with his journal and maps, passed on to Quebec, but he lost all his papers by the capsizing of his canoe, before reaching there. Marquette remained at Green Bay to recruit from a disease brought on by his exhausting toils and his many exposures. From here he forwarded a report of his journey to his superior. It was drawn up with admirable skill and a genuine modesty that became his magnanimous soul. The map accompanying the report, drawn, as it was, without surveys and without instruments, is wonderful for its accuracy of outline. Indeed, this may be said of most of the maps of that period, which were drawn up by the Jesuits, who, while they seemed mainly to have in view the conversion of the savages, yet proved themselves to be the most valuable of discoverers, and the most careful of observers.

It was not until late in October, 1674, that Marquette was so far recruited as to attempt to perform his promise to the Illinois.

He then left Green Bay with two French voyageurs for his companions, but before he reached Chicago, by the slow process of coasting the shores of a stormy lake, at an inclement season, his disease, a chronic dysentery, returned upon him with its full force.

The streams by which he expected to reach his mission ground were frozen, and he was too weak to go by land. Here, in this then solitude, but where now stands a city with over 300,000 inhabitants, alone with his two voyagers, in a rude cabin which afforded but slender protection from the bitter inclemencies of the season, in feeble health, living on the coarsest food, with a consciousness that he was never to recover, he passed the long winter of 1674-5.

He spent much time in devotion, beginning with the exercises of St. Ignatius, saying mass daily, confessing his companions twice a week, and exhorting them, as his strength allowed. Though earnestly longing to commence his mission amongst his beloved Illinois, yet he was cheerfully resigned to the will of God.

After a season of special prayer, that he might so far recover as to take possession of the land of the Illi:ois, in the name of Christ, his strength increased, and on the 29th of March, he left his solitary and desolate wintering, and in ten days he reached his destination.

The Illinois, to the number of six hundred fires, were awaiting his arrival. They received him with unbounded joy, as an angel from heaven, come to teach them the prayer. After much private teaching from cabin to cabin, and exhortation to the principal chiefs, he gathered them in grand concourse, and there, on a lovely April day, upon a beautiful open plain, with thousands of the tawny sons and daughters of the prairie hanging upon his lips, the dying man preached Christ, and him crucified.

His persuasive words were received with universal approbation, while his fast-failing strength warned him that his own days were numbered.

He desired to reach his former mission of St. Ignatius, at Mackinaw, before his departure, that he might die with his religious brethren, and leave his bones among his beloved Hurons. He promised the Illinois that some other teacher of the prayer should take his place and continue the mission, and bade them a loving and regretful farewell.

They escorted him, with great barbaric pomp to the lake, contending with one another for the honor of carrying his little baggage.

For many days, accompanied only by his two voyageurs, he coasted in his frail canoe along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, his strength rapidly failing and his precious life ebbing away. He became entirely helpless, and was lifted like a child into and from the canoe. His vision also failed, but his gentleness, his cheerful joy in the prospect before him, and his calm trust in God never faltered.

Daily he recited his breviary. He encouraged his desponding companions, and exhorted them to put confidence in the God of their salvation, who would not forsake them.

They read to him, at his request, a meditation on death, which he had long before prepared for this eventful hour. Often did he, with hopeful voice exclaim, "I believe that my Reedemer liveth." On the evening before his death, with a face radiant with joy, he told his companions that on the morrow he should die. Calmly and sweetly, as if talking of the death of another, he gave directions as to the disposition of his body.

On the following day as he approached the mouth of a river, he pointed out the place for his burial, upon an eminence on its bank. The weather was propitious, and the voyageurs passed on. But a wind arose, and they were driven back to the rivers' mouth, which they entered. He was carried on shore; a fire was kindled; a slight shelter of bark raised, and he was laid upon the sand.

Here he gave his last instructions; thanked his followers for their faithful and long service; administered to them the rites of their religion; sent by them his last kind message to his religious brethren, and bade them go and take their rest, until his final hour should come. After two or three hours, and as he was about to enter his agony, he called them, gave them a last embrace, asked for the holy water, handed one of them his crucifix from his neck, asking him to hold it before him, and with his eyes fixed sweetly upon it, pronounced his profession of faith, and thanked God that he had granted him the grace to die a missionary of the cross, in a foreign land alone.

As his spirit was about to pass, one of his companions cried aloud " Jesus Marie!" Aroused by the sound, he repeated the words, and as if some glorious object appeared to him, he fixed his dying gaze beyond, and above the crucifix, and with a countenance all beaming with holy rapture, his soul departed without a struggle, as gently as if he had fallen asleep.

Thus, on the 18th of May, 1675, at the age of 38, and after nine years of faithful service in the missionary field, father Marquette departed, and like his great model, the apostle to the Indies, he died upon a desolate beach, and like him, his dying hour was illuminated by a radiance from a brighter world.

The little stream, upon whose banks he breathed his last, still bears his honored name. And there will ever be connected with that spot tender remembrances and hallowed associations. In 1821, father Richard, the well beloved priest at Detroit, paid to it a loving pilgrimage, and erected thereon a wooden cross, with an inscription traced in rude characters with a pen knife, in its crude simplicity a fit tribute from a fit man.

But no enduring marble is required to preserve in fresh fragrance the memory of his virtues. His is one of those few, those immortal names, "that were not born to die."

But his mortal remains do not repose in their original resting place. Two years after his death, the Indians belonging to his mission of St. Ignatius, returning from their winter huntinggrounds, stopped at his grave, sought his remains, and according to an Indian custom, cleaned his bones, placed them reverentially in a box of birchen bark, and then in a mournful procession, the thirty canoes moved on towards Mackinaw.

Before reaching the mission, they were met by fathers Pierson and Nouvelle, and all the Indians at the Mission, who came out to pay a fond tribute to their best beloved missionary.

Then the solemn De Profundis was intoned, and then, with all appropriate rites the precious remains were deposited in the church, and on the following day, in a vault beneath the church.

The mission was subsequently removed to Old Mackinaw, and the rude church has long since disappeared, and the precise spot where the remains of father Marquette now lie, mingled with the dust, is not known.


When Marquette left the Sault, in 1669, the wise and evangelic Dablon, then principal of all the Ottawa missions,as the missions of the upper lakes were named,-was in charge of the mission at that point.

He was succeeded by father Drouillets, who, full of sanctity and zeal, labored there with most wonderful success, for nine years.

Large numbers were baptized, and in general council, the Indians adopted the God of prayer as their God.

Here, in June, 1671, took place a most impressive ceremony.

In October, 1770, M. Talon, Intendant of New France, commissioned Sieur de St. Lusson, commissioner to search for copper mines, and take possession of the country through which he should pass, in the name of the King of France. M. Perrot, an interpreter well known to the Indians, and of great influence among them, in the Spring of 1671, was directed to gather together the Indian nations of these northern lakes, at the Sault, and a grand council was held on the 14th of June, at which fourteen of these nations were largely represented. St. Lusson caused a cross to be prepared Bnd erected, and near it a cedar pole to which was affixed the arms of France, and then " In the name of the most high, most mighty, and most redoubtable monarch, Louis 14th, of the christian name, King of France and Navarre," he took possession of the whole lake region, and the countries, rivers contiguous and adjacent thereto, whether discovered, or to be discovered, bounded by the Northern and Western Seas, and by the South Sea, declaring that these regions were dependant upon his majesty, and subject to his laws and customs. There were present on this occasion fathers Dablon, Drouillets, Allouez and Andre, together with various officers, soldiers and citizens. Allouez made a famous speech in praise of the greatness of the French King. The ceremony was one calculated to deeply impress the savage mind.


It would be a grateful task to dwell upon the labors and character of those Jesuits who were the compeers of Marquette and Dablou.

But with these men passed away the " golden age" of the Jesuits in the Northwest. They were among the best fruits of that wonderful system which for a century and a half made the order of Jesus one of the greatest powers of the world.

They were placed in circumstances that developed in an extraordinary degree many of the best results of that training and discipline instituted by Loyalla, without at the same time bringing forth those bitter evils that are among their natural fruits.

They exhibited great learning, a high self-control, an inflexibility of purpose, an enduring constancy, an unwearied patience in toil and hardship, a calm courage that despised danger and triumphed over the intensest suffering, a fervent zeal, and an earnestness of devotion that find few parallels in history. They did not develop, nor did the circumstances of their situation tend to develop that bitter intolerance, that hatred of civil and religious freedom, that passion for intrigue, that systematic treachery, that insatiate lust of power, and that unscrupulous and cruel abuse of power when obtained, that marked the Jesuits of Europe, and aroused against them the deep indignation of Protestant and Catholic christendom, and that led to their expulsion from the most enlightened Catholic kingdoms of Europe, and their suppression by the Pope himself.

But the influences that were already operating in the courts of Europe, and undermining Jesuitical power there, began to be felt in the wilds of Canada.

Colbert, the great minister of the grand monarch, liked them not, and Frontenac cordially hated them.

From 1671 to 1681, and from 1689 to his death, in 1698, he was at the head of affairs in Canada. The Recollects, whom he favored, were re-established in the new world.

Jealousies and dissensions sprang up, and in a thousand ways the plans and the purposes of the Jesuits were thwarted. Special efforts were made to ruin their influence at court.

It is a curious study to read the voluminous dispatches that passed between Canada and the court of France.

Louis XIV was at the very culmination of his power, and in the full exercise of that system of centralized absolutism founded by Richelieu and perfected by himself.

He was as minutely informed of the transactions of an insignificant post on the watery wastes of Lake Superior, as if they were taking place on the banks of the Seine. And the minutest orders issued from his ministers, and sometimes from himself in relation to these distant places.

In seeking to give to the Jesuits who distinguished themselves in the earlv annals of the Northwest, their true place upon the pages of history, we cannot place them beside the founders of New England.

They were not, in any sense, the founders of empires. They did not lay foundations broad and deep for free institutions. And even as missionaries among the Indians they seem to have exerted but little permanent influence upon Indian life and character.

"As from the wing the sky no scar retains,
The parted wave, no furrow from the keel;"

So Indian character and destiny show us no distinct trace of the abundant and self-denying labors of these men.

At least those traces are sadly disproportioned to the learning, the piety, the fervent zeal and the precious human life bestowed upon this field of labor.

Doubtless, some of the causes of this result lie deep in Indian character, and the unfavorable circumstances surrounding them. But there are, as we conceive, other causes, growing out of the fundamentally erroneous system of Jesuit Catholicism still more effective; causes that must ever prevent that system from accomplishing any great permanent good for the race.

There is no element of freedom in it; unlimited, unquestioning obedience is of its very essence. To develop the human soul and intellect, it must, like the body, have freedom.

But if they were not founders of empires, if they did little or nothing towards the elevation of Indian character, these men still have a proud place upon the historic page, which all should readily concede.

As discoverers and explorers, they have had few superiors.

Persevering, self-denying, toil-enduring, courageous-no privations disgusted, no hardships appalled, no dangers terrified.

Contemptuous of threatened evil, they boldly placed themselves in the power of untutored and unfriendly savages; living with them in their dirty camps; partaking of their inconceivably filthy food; sleeping with them and their dogs; annoyed by their vermin; poisoned with their stench; submitting meekly to the contumely of the haughty, and the insults and brutality of the mean.

Calmly, persistently they braved the forced toil of paddling the canoe, or over sharp stones and up foaming rapids of dragging its weight, often wading waist deep in water, or plunging through ice and snow.

Piercing winds, bitter cold, dire want, and terrific danger, were among their common trials. Yet they persevered with a ceaseless assiduity and untiring energy, that no suffering could subdue. Industriously they traveled, anxiously they inquired, carefully they observed, and carefully and minutely, under every disadvantage, by the light of the glimmering camp fires, they committed the result of their travels, inquiries and observations to writing. They opened to France and the world a knowledge of the great Northwest, of the mighty lakes and noble rivers, of these beautiful prairies and extensive forests.

They were not only discoverers, but they were pioneers, in the pathway of civilization.

Following in their footsteps came the trader, the voyageur, the soldier, and ultimately the mechanic, the farmer, the merchant and the gentleman.

Delightful French hamlets sprung up by the side of the mission station, and there was reproduced in the forest recesses of the new world a new and delightful edition of rural life, amid the vales and vine-clad hills of France.

But their chiefest claim to admiration lies in their personal character, thtir apostolic zeal, and their sublime and heroic virtues. Actuated by no love of glory, inspired bv no hope of self'-aggrandizement, but panting with an earnest desire to save souls for whom Christ had died, and to open 'the pathway to heaven to benighted heathen, they faced the untold horrors of the missionary life, among wild, wandering, irreverent, brutal savages; and here developed in the midst of trials the most severe, those christian graces of character to which our attention has been called, and which entitle them to a high rank among the christian heroes of the world.

Success could have added nothing to the rich fragrance of their virtues.

It becomes us, who now occupy the soil, enriched and made sacred by their tears, their toil, their suffering and their death, not only to revere, but to perpetuate their memories.


It is probable that the French fur traders had penetrated the region of Lake Superior in advance of the missionaries. But of this we have no authentic record. But the establishment of the missions and the success of the missionaries very largely promoted the fur trade, and it became a source of very great profit and wealth. The settlement of Canada, the growth of Montreal and Quebec, and the prosperity of all the French settlements therein was very largely owing to the importance of this trade. The commerce in beaver skins alone was immense, and the profits enormous.

It is said that two-thirds of the furs that entered into this trade came from the region of the upper lakes.

At first this trade was carried on without restrictions, and especially by a class of persons known as Coureurs de Bois, or rangers of the wood, many of whom were of a most disorderly character.

For the purpose of regulating the trade the Governor-General of Canada, by direction of the King, granted to some twenty-five gentlemen each year, a license to engage in this trade, and all others were strictly prohibited from engaging in it upon pain of death. At first each licensee was permitted to send out two canoes, with six men and a thousand crowns in merchandise suitable for the savage trade. It was expected that this merchandise would purchase one hundred and sixty packs of beaver skins, worth eight thousand crowns.

The profits upon the trade were divided between the licensees, the merchant who furnished the goods, and the Coureurs de Bois, who collected and bought them in. In addition to this, the merchant who took the furs usually made a large profit thereon.

The immense profits of this trade aroused the cupidity of the English traders residing in New York, and they were determined to at least share in the trade of the upper lakes, and if possible, to control it.

For nearly a century the English spared no efforts and no expense to secure this result. They paid higher prices for beaver skins than was paid by the French at Montreal, and they succeeded in corrupting many of the French traders, and induced them to sell their furs to them. Through their allies, the Iroquois, they endeavored to enlist the Ottawas and Chippewas in their interest, sometimes through fear, sometimes through hope of gain.

It was a matter of vital interest to the French of Canada to keep the control of this trade, and especially to retain in their interest the Ottawas and Chippewas, who were among the most successful hunters.

To this end they employed enterprising and active agents to go among the Indians and obtain an influence over them.

One of the most useful and successful of these agents was Duluth, whose name has been perpetuated by naming a town for him. Duluth was a Captain of these Correur de Bois, of great energy, and complete knowledge of Indian character, and of dauntless courage. As early as 1679 he was stationed near the Sault St. Marie for the purpose of preventing the English from engaging in the fur trade of Lake Superior. He subsequently erected a temporary fort near La Pointe. For many years he held the entire confidence of Frontenac, De La Barre and De Nouville, who were successively in command in Canada. And in their dispatches to France they recognize his great influence with the Indians and the important services that he rendered in defeating the English project of securing this trade. In 1682 he was present at a conference of great officers at Montreal for the purpose of concerting measures for this purpose. In 1685 he led a force of Lake Superior Indians to Niagara against the Iroquis. In 1686, under an order from the Governor General, he established what was called the Fort of Detroit, of Lake Erie, where Fort Gratiot now stands at the foot of Lake Huron.

The object of this fort was to command the passage to Mackinaw and Lake Superior, and thus prevent the English from securing the trade of those regions. In this he was so far successful that in 1687 he captured an expedition of sixty Englishmen with an Indian escort who were seeking access to the upper lakes. But the English were not discouraged. They gave eight pounds of powder or six quarts of rum for one Beaver skin while the French gave but two pounds of powder, and not to exceed one quart of brandy. In this way they held out great inducements to the Indians and to the regular French traders to bring their beaver to New York.

The establishment of a permanent fort at Detroit in 1701, aided very much in securing this trade to the French, but it did not put an end to the struggle.

Thus in 1747 one Le Due, a fur trader, was robbed by the Lake Superior Indians of his furs at the instigation of the English, and it is reported that a famous chief had accepted the hatchet from the English and that the Indians had collected to the number of over 100 to waylay the French.

In order to check the English, the Governor General in 1750 granted a large tract of land at the Sault for a signiory to Sieurs de Bonne and Repentigny, the object of which is set forth in an exceedingly interesting letter written by him the following year to the French Minister.
-------------"QUEBEC, CANADA, October 5th, 1751.

---'My Lord: By my letter of the 24th of August last, I had the honor to let you know that in order to thwart the movements that the English do not cease to make in order to seduce the Indian nations of the North, I had sent the Sr. Cheur. de Repentigny to the Sault Ste. Marie, in order to make there an establishment at his own expenses, to build there a palisade fort, (forte depieux) to stop the Indians of the Northern posts who go to and from the English to intercept the commerce they carry on, stop and prevent the continuation of the talks ("paroles") and of the presents which the English send to those nations to corrupt them, to put them entirely in their interests, and inspire them with feelings of hate and aversion for the French.
---'Moreover, I had in view in that establishment, to secure a retreat to the French voyageurs, especially to those who trade in the northern part, and for that purpose to clear the lands which are proper for the production of Indian corn there (bled' Inde) and to subserve thereby the victualing necessary to the people of said post, and even to the needs of the voyagers.

* * * * * * * *
"The said Sr. de Repentigny forbid the Indians of his post to go and winter at Saginaw, which is not little to say, for these nations go thence from there very easily, and in a short time to the English, who load them with presents. These Indians keep the promises which I required fromu them; they all stayed in Lake Superior, whatever were the inducements the English made to attract them to themselves. * * *
He arrived too late last year at the Sault Ste. Marie to fortify himself well; however, he secured himself against insults, in a sort of fort large enough to receive the traders of Michilimackinac."
The weather was dreadful in September, October and November. Snow fell one foot deep on the 10th of October, which caused him a great delay. He employed his hired men during the whole winter in cutting 1,100 pickets, of 15 feet, for his fort, with doublings ("rendoublayes"!) and the timber necessary for the construction of three houses, one of them 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, and the two others 25 feet long, and the same width of the first."
His fort is entirely finished with the exception of a redoute of oak, which he is to have made 12 feet square, and which shall reach the same distance above the gate of the fort. As soon as this work shall be completed, he will send me the plan of his establishment. His fort is 110 feet square.
* * * *

"As for the cultivation of the lands-the Sieur de Repentigny had a bull, two bullocks, three cows, two heifers, one horse, and a mare, from Michilimackinac.
"He could not, on his arrival, make clearing of lands, for the works of his fort had occupied entirely his hired meu, (engages.)
"Last spring he cleared off all the small trees and bushes within the range of the fort.
"He engaged a Frenchman, who married at the Sault Ste. Marie, an Indian woman, to take a farm; they have cleared it up and sowed it, and without a frost they will gather 30 to 35 sacks of corn, (bledinde.)
"The said Sr. de Repentigny so much feels it his duty to devote himself to the cultivation of these lands, that he has already entered into a bargain for two slaves, whom he will employ to take care of the corn that he will gather upon these lands.
"I beg of you, my lord, to be well persuaded that I shall spare no pains to render this establishment equally useful to the service of the King, and to the recommendation of the travelers (voyageurs.)
----------------"I am, with very profound respect,
-------------------------" LA JONQUIERE."

In 1754, a succeeding Governor General writes:

"The Sir Chev'r de Repentigny who commands at the Sault Ste Marie occupies himself much with the establishment of his post, which is essential to stop the Indians who come down from Lake Superior to go to Cheneguen, (Oswego) but I don't hear it said that this post is of [yields him] a great revenue.

"This establishment was erected for the fur trade at 2,000 francs per year from 1755 until it was accidently burned in 1762. At this time Henry gave the following description of the Sault:

"Here was a stockaded fort, in which under the French Government, there was kept a small garrison, commanded by an officer, who was called the governor, but was in fact a clerk, who managed the Indian trade here, on government account. The houses were four in number, of which the first was the governor's, the second the interpreter's, and the other two which were the smallest, had been used for barracks. The only family was that of M. Cadotte, the interpreter, whose wife was a Chippewa."

The fire compelled the garrison to remove to Michilimacinac and the Sault was not again permanently occupied as a military fort until Fort Brady was established in 1822.

Col. and afterwards Gen. Bradstreet in December 1764, after the conquest of Canada, in a letter to Governor Gage, at New York, recommends that the vessels be sent to Lake Superior to engage in the fur trade, and the establishment of two forts upon the banks in addition to that at the Sault, and this recommendation is repeated by Col. Croghan to Sir Wm. Johnson the following year. The fur trade continued to be of great value during the entire century and the first third of the present century. In 1765 the exclusive right to trade in furs on Lake Superior was given to Alexander Henry, an English merchant. He left Michilimacinac in August for the Sault, where he entered into partnership with Mr. Cadotte, a Frenchman who came to the Sault under Repentigny, and was the principal man of the fort, and had been in command there under the British.

He went up the lake, reaching Ontonagon August 19, where he found an Indian village, and proceeded to Chagonemig, or La Pointe, where he found fifty lodges of nearly naked Indians. Here he established himself for the winter. For a winter's stock uf provision he caught 2,000 trout and whitefish, some of the former weighing fifty pounds. These were hung up by the tail in the open air, and were boiled and roasted as wanted, and eaten without bread or salt. As the result of his winter's enterprise he embarked in the spring with one hundred and fifty packs of beavers, weighing fifteen thousand pounds, and the Indians with him had one hundred packs, which he was unable to purchase. In the following winter, he with his men, were driven from the Sault by the want of food; the fish, usually so abundant, having failed. Two succeeding winters he spent on the north shore, engaged in this trade.

At this time specie was so wholly out of the question that beaver skins was the measure of values. Other skins were accepted as payment, being first reduced to their value in beavers. A man in going into a drinking saloon would take a marten's skin to pay the reckoning. The goods Mr. Henry took from Michilimacinac on his first expedition filled four canoes, and were estimated to be of the value of ten thousand pounds of beaver skins.

The magnitude of this fur trade can perhaps be best shown by a few figures. The North West Company, engaged in this trade, according to Mackenzie received in one year, 1798:

106,000 beaver skins, 2,100 bear skins, 1,500 fox skins, 4,000 kitt fox skins, 4,600 otter skins, 17,000 musquash skins, 32,000 marten skins, 1,800 mink skins, 6,000 lynx skins, 600 wolverine skins, 1,650 fisher skins, 100 racoon skins, 3,800 wolf skins, 700 elk skins, 750 deer skins, 1,200 dressed deer skins, 500 Buffalo robes.

Of these, Lake Superior must have furnished a liberal proportion. Its furs were a source of wealth then, as its mines are now. The American Fur Company, organized by John Jacob Astor, in 1816, succeeded to the business of the Northwest Company.


The knowledge that the region of Lake Superior was rich in minerals was almost cotemporaneous with its discovery. As early as 1659-60 the Jesuit missionaries report " that its borders are enriched with lead mines, and copper of such excellent quality, that it is already reduced in pieces as large as the fist," and ten years later father Dablon gives very full account of the various reports of the wealth of copper which existed in various places about the lake.

In September, 1670, M. Talen, Intendant, appointed Sieur de St. Lusson " to search for the copper mine in the countries of the Ontarios', &c., in North America, near Lake Superior or the Fresh Sea," and also, it would seem, to discover the South Sea passage; for in February 1671, M. Colbert, the French Minister, writes: " The resolution you have taken to send Sieur de la Salle toward the South, and Sieur de St. Lusson to the North, to discover the South Sea passage, is very good; but the principal thing to which you ought to apply yourself in discoveries of this nature is to look out for the copper mine."

In 1687, Denorvell, Governor of Canada, writes to the French Minister: "The copper, a sample of which I sent M. Arnore, is found at the head of Lake Superior. The body of the mine has not yet been discovered." He anticipates great results from its discovery, but adds, "This knowledge cannot be acquired from the Indians, who believe they would all die did they show it to us.

The first attempt at mining was made after the conquest of Canada by the British.

Mr. Henry, in 1765-6, found at Ontonagon an abundance of virgin copper in masses of various weights," and among them " a mass of (copper of the weight, according to my estimate, of no less than four tons."

As the result of this discovery, in 1768, an application was made to George III. for a grant of all the copper mines in the country within sixty miles of Lake Superior. A copy of this application was transmitted to Sir Wm. Johuson for the purpose of ascertaining his opinion upon the propriety of the grant, and especially what effect it would have upon the Indians.

In December of the same year Sir. Wm. Johnson reports upon this application that he is assured there is a large quantity of copper in the environs of Lake Superior, and that "it has been found extraordinary good and rich." He suggests some practical difficulties arising from the scarcity and value of white laborers, while " the Indians are indolent and cannot be relied upon." He says some Canadians formerly took away a good deal of ore and lost by it. He says there is no serious objection to the grant so far as the Indians are concerned, if great pains are taken to protect them.

The grant was made, but never issued out of the seal office, and a company was formed, consisting of the Duke of Gloucester, Mr. Secretary Townsend, Mr. Baxter, consul of the Empress of Russia, Sirs Wm. Johnson, Alexander Henry, and others. Mr. Henry, Mr. Bostarch and Mr. Baxter had charge of the mining operations. They spent the winter of 1770 at the Sault and at Point Aux Pins, a few miles above; they built a barge and a sloop of fifty tons. Early in May they set sail and first visited the Island of the Yellow Sands, but found no gold as they had hoped. At a point on the North Shore they found veins of copper and lead. They erected an air furnace at Point Aux Pins, and the assayer found silver in the lead ore. On the South shore one of the company picked up a stone of a blue color, weighing eight pounds, which contained sixty per cent of silver, and which was carried to England and deposited in the British Musnum.

They coasted westward to Ontonagon, built a house, set their miners to work, and left them for the winter. Early in the Spring of 1772 they sent up a boat with provisions, but it soon came back with all the miners, who had found that mining was impracticable without a much greater force and greater conveniences.

That season and the next they experimented on the northern shore, with similar results, and in 1774 they disposed of their sloop and other property, and sent some ore to England. Thus ended this first systematic attempt at mining on Lake Superior, nor was any further effort made in that direction until 1843.

When Michigan became a State, in 1837, the only settlement on Lake Superior within its bounds, was at the Sault, which contained a population of 368. The population must have largely increased from 1820. Schoolcraft thus describes the place as consisting of fifteen or twenty buildings, occupied by five or six families, French and American.

(NOTE.- I have drawn the material for the above sketch from many sources, and in relation to that portion which relates to the Jesuit missionaries, I desire especially to express my obligations to Mr. Shea's admirable work, "The Discoveries and Explorations of the Mississippi, and " Catholic Missions to the Indians.")

To Be Continued
Next Part -- Mines and Furnaces of Lake Superior