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Title: Wau-bun - The Early Day in the Northwest
Author: Kinzie, Juliette Augusta Magill, 1806-1870
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wau-bun - The Early Day in the Northwest" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.







"If we but knew the exact meaning of the word 'WAU-BUN,'
we should be happy."--_Critic_.

"WAU-BUN--The dawn--the break of day."--_Ojibeway Vocabulary_.

       *       *       *       *       *




Every work partaking of the nature of an autobiography is supposed to
demand an apology to the public. To refuse such a tribute, would be to
recognize the justice of the charge, so often brought against our
countrymen--of a too great willingness to be made acquainted with the
domestic history and private affairs of their neighbors.

It is, doubtless, to refute this calumny that we find travellers, for
the most part, modestly offering some such form of explanation as this,
to the reader: "That the matter laid before him was, in the first place,
simply letters to friends, never designed to be submitted to other eyes,
and only brought forward now at the solicitation of wiser judges than
the author himself."

No such plea can, in the present instance, be offered. The record of
events in which the writer had herself no share, was preserved in
compliance with the suggestion of a revered relative, whose name often
appears in the following pages. "My child," she would say, "write these
things down, as I tell them to you. Hereafter our children, and even
strangers, will feel interested in hearing the story of our early lives
and sufferings." And it is a matter of no small regret and
self-reproach, that much, very much, thus narrated was, through
negligence, or a spirit of procrastination, suffered to pass unrecorded.

With regard to the pictures of domestic life and experience (preserved,
as will be seen, in journals, letters, and otherwise), it is true their
publication might have been deferred until the writer had passed away
from the scene of action; and such, it was supposed, would have been
their lot--that they would only have been dragged forth hereafter, to
show to a succeeding generation what "The Early Day" of our Western
homes had been. It never entered the anticipations of the most sanguine
that the march of improvement and prosperity would, in less than a
quarter of a century, have so obliterated the traces of "the first
beginning," that a vast and intelligent multitude would be crying out
for information in regard to the early settlement of this portion of our
country, which so few are left to furnish.

An opinion has been expressed, that a comparison of the present times
with those that are past, would enable our young people, emigrating from
their luxurious homes at "the East," to bear, in a spirit of patience
and contentment, the slight privations and hardships they are at this
day called to meet with. If, in one instance, this should be the case,
the writer may well feel happy to have incurred even the charge of
egotism, in giving thus much of her own history.

It may be objected that all that is strictly personal, might have been
more modestly put forth under the name of a third person; or that the
events themselves and the scenes might have been described, while those
participating in them might have been kept more in the background. In
the first case, the narrative would have lost its air of truth and
reality--in the second, the experiment would merely have been tried of
dressing up a theatre for representation, and omitting the actors.

Some who read the following sketches may be inclined to believe that a
residence among our native brethren and an attachment growing out of our
peculiar relation to them, have exaggerated our sympathies, and our
sense of the wrongs they have received at the hands of the whites. This
is not the place to discuss that point. There is a tribunal at which man
shall be judged for that which he has meted out to his fellow-man.

May our countrymen take heed that their legislation shall never unfit
them to appear "with joy, and not with grief," before that tribunal!

CHICAGO, July, 1855.



Departure from Detroit


Michilimackinac--American Fur Company--Indian Trade--Mission
School--Point St. Ignace


Arrival at Green Bay--Mrs. Arnot--General Root--Political Dispatches--A
Summerset--Shanty-Town--M. Rolette--Indian
Morning Song--Mr. Cadle's Mission--Party at Miss Doty's--Misses
Grignon--Mrs. Baird's Party--Mrs. Beall


Arrangements for Travelling--Fox River--Judge Doty--Judge
Réaume--M. Boilvin--Canadian Voyageurs: their Songs--The
Kakalin--Wish-tay-yun--Rev. Eleazar Williams--Passage through
the Rapids--Grande Chûte--Krissman


Beautiful Encampment--Winnebago Lake--Miss Four-Legs--Garlic
Island--Wild Rice


Breakfast at Betty More's--Judge Law--Fastidiousness; what
came of it


Butte des Morts--French Cognomens--Serpentine Course of Fox
River--Lake Puckaway--Lac de Boeuf--Fort Winnebago.


Major and Mrs. Twiggs--A Davis--An Indian Funeral--Conjugal
Affliction--Indian Chiefs; Talk-English--The Wild-Cat--The


Housekeeping--The First Dinner


Indian Payment--Pawnee Blanc--The Washington Woman--Raising


Louisa--Garrison Life--Dr. Newhall--Affliction--Domestic
Accommodations--Ephraim--New-Year's Day--Native Custom--Day-kau-ray's
Views of Education--Captain Harney's Mince-Pie


Lizzie Twiggs--Preparation for a Journey--The Regimental Tailor


eparture from Fort Winnebago--Duck Creek--Upset in a
Canoe--Pillon--Encamping in Winter--Four Lakes--Indian
Encampment--Blue Mound--Morrison's--A Tennessee Woman


Rev. Mr. Kent--Losing One's Way--A Tent Blown Down--Discovery
of a Fence--Hamilton's Diggings--Frontier Housekeeping--Wm.
S. Hamilton--A Miner--Hard Riding--Kellogg's Grove


Rock River--- Dixon's--John Ogie--Missing the Trail--Hours of
Trouble--Famine in the Camp--Relief


A Pottowattamie Lodge--A Tempest--Piché's--Hawley's--The Du
Page--Mr. Dogherty--The Aux Plaines--Mrs. Lawton--Wolf


Fort Dearborn--Chicago in 1831--First Settlement of Chicago--John
Kinzie, Sen.---Fate of George Forsyth--Trading Posts--Canadian
Voyageurs--M. St. Jean--Louis la Liberté


Massacre at Chicago


Massacre, continued--Mrs. Helm--Ensign Ronan--Captain
Wells--Mrs. Holt--Mrs. Heald--The Sau-ga-nash--Sergeant Griffith--Mrs.
Burns--Black Partridge and Mrs. Lee--Nau-non-gee and Sergeant


Treatment of American Prisoners by the British--Captivity of Mr.
Kinzie--Battle on Lake Erie--Cruelty of General Proctor's
Troops--General Harrison--Rebuilding of Fort Dearborn--Red Bird--A
Humorous Incident--Cession of the Territory around Chicago


Severe Spring Weather--Pistol-Firing--Milk Punch--A Sermon--Pre-emption
to "Kinzie's Addition"--Liberal Sentiments


The Captives


Colonel McKillip--Second-Sight--Ball at Hickory Creek--Arrival
of the "Napoleon"--Troubles of Embarkation


Departure for Port Winnebago--A Frightened Indian--Encampment
at Dunkley's Grove--Horses Lost--Getting Mired--An Ague
cured by a Rattlesnake--Crystal Lake--Story of the Little Rail


Return Journey, continued--Soldiers' Encampment--Big-Foot Lake--Village
of Maunk-suck--A Young Gallant--Climbing--Mountain-Passes--Turtle
Creek--Kosh-ko-nong--Crossing a Marsh--Twenty-Mile Prairie--Hastings's
Woods--Duck Creek--Brunet--Home


The Agency--The Blacksmith's House--Building a Kitchen--Four-Legs, the
Dandy--Indian Views of Civilization--Efforts of M.


The Cut-Nose--The Fawn--Visit of White Crow--Parting with
Friends--Krissman--Louisa again--The Sunday-School


Plante--Removal--Domestic Inconveniences--Indian Presents--Grandmother
Day-kau-ray--Indian Customs--Indian Dances--The Medicine-Dance--Indian
Graves--Old Boilvin's Wake


Indian Tales--Story of the Red Fox


Story of Shee-shee-banze


Visit to Green Bay--Disappointment--Return Journey--Knaggs's--Blind
Indian--Ma-zhee-gaw-gaw Swamp--Bellefontaine


Commencement of the Sauk War--Winnebago
Council--Crély--Follett--Bravery--The Little Elk--An
Alarm--Man-Eater and his
Party--An Exciting Dance


Fleeing from the Enemy--Mâtâ--Old Smoker--Meeting with
Menomonees--Raising the Wind--Garlic Island--Winnebago Rapids--The
Waubanakees--Thunder-Storm--Vitelle--Guardapié--Fort Howard


Panic at Green Bay--Tidings of Cholera--Green Bay Flies--Doyle,
the Murderer--Death of Lieutenant Foster--A Hardened Criminal--Good
News from the Seat of War--Departure for Home--Shipwreck
at the Grand Chûte--A Wet Encampment--An Unexpected
Arrival--Reinforcement of Volunteers--La Grosse Américaine--Arrival
at Home


Conclusion of the War--Treaty at Rock Island--Cholera among the
Troops--Wau-kaun-kah--Wild-Cat's Frolic at the Mee-kan--Surrender
of the Winnebago Prisoners


Delay in the Annual Payment--Scalp-Dances--Groundless Alarm--Arrival
of Governor Porter--Payment--Escape of the Prisoners--Neighbors


Agathe--"Kinzie's Addition"--Tomah--Indian Acuteness--Indian


Famine--Day-kau-ray's Daughter--Noble Resolution of a Chief--Bread
for the Hungry--Rev. Mr. Kent--An Escaped Prisoner--The
Cut-Nose again--Leave-taking with our Red Children--Departure
from Fort Winnebago





It was on a dark, rainy evening in the month of September, 1830, that we
went on board the steamer "Henry Clay," to take passage for Green Bay.
All our friends in Detroit had congratulated us upon our good fortune in
being spared the voyage in one of the little schooners which at this
time afforded the ordinary means of communication with the few and
distant settlements on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Each one had some experience to relate of his own or Of his friends'
mischances in these precarious journeys--long detentions on the St.
Clair flats--furious head-winds off Thunder Bay, or interminable Calms
at Mackinac or the Manitous. That which most enhanced our sense of
peculiar good luck, was the true story of one of our relatives having
left Detroit in the month of June and reached Chicago in the September
following, having been actually three months in performing what is
sometimes accomplished by even a sail-vessel in four days.

But the certainty of encountering similar misadventures would have
weighed little with me. I was now to visit, nay, more, to become a
resident of that land which had, for long years, been to me a region of
romance. Since the time when, as a child, my highest delight had been in
the letters of a dear relative, describing to me his home and mode of
life in the "Indian country," and still later, in his felicitous
narration of a tour with General Cass, in 1820, to the sources of the
Mississippi--nay, even earlier, in the days when I stood at my teacher's
knee, and spelled out the long word Mich-i-li-mack-i-nac, that distant
land, with its vast lakes, its boundless prairies, and its mighty
forests, had possessed a wonderful charm for my imagination. Now I was
to see it!--it was to be my home!

Our ride to the quay, through the dark by-ways, in a cart, the only
vehicle which at that day could navigate the muddy, unpaved streets of
Detroit, was a theme for much merriment, and not less so, our descent of
the narrow, perpendicular stair-way by which we reached the little
apartment called the Ladies' Cabin. We were highly delighted with the
accommodations, which, by comparison, seemed the very climax of comfort
and convenience; more especially as the occupants of the cabin
consisted, beside myself, of but a lady and two little girls.

Nothing could exceed the pleasantness of our trip for the first
twenty-four hours. There were some officers, old friends, among the
passengers. We had plenty of books. The gentlemen read aloud
occasionally, admired the solitary magnificence of the scenery around
us, the primeval woods, or the vast expanse of water unenlivened by a
single sail, and then betook themselves to their cigar, or their game of
euchre, to while away the hours.

For a time the passage over Thunder Bay was delightful, but, alas! it
was not destined, in our favor, to belie its name. A storm came on, fast
and furious--what was worse, it was of long duration. The pitching and
rolling of the little boat, the closeness, and even the sea-sickness, we
bore as became us. They were what we had expected, and were prepared
for. But a new feature of discomfort appeared, which almost upset our

The rain, which fell in torrents, soon made its way through every seam
and pore of deck or moulding. Down the stair-way, through the joints and
crevices, it came, saturating first the carpet, then the bedding, until,
finally, we were completely driven, "by stress of weather," into the
Gentlemen's Cabin. Way was made for us very gallantly, and every
provision resorted to for our comfort, and we were congratulating
ourselves on having found a haven in our distress, when, lo! the seams
above opened, and down upon our devoted heads poured such a flood, that
even umbrellas were an insufficient protection. There was nothing left
for the ladies and children but to betake ourselves to the berths,
which, in this apartment, fortunately remained dry; and here we
continued ensconced the livelong day. Our dinner was served up to us on
our pillows. The gentlemen chose the dryest spots, raised their
umbrellas, and sat under them, telling amusing anecdotes, and saying
funny things to cheer us, until the rain ceased, and at nine o'clock in
the evening we were gladdened by the intelligence that we had reached
the pier at Mackinac.

We were received with the most affectionate cordiality by Mr. and Mrs.
Robert Stuart, at whose hospitable mansion we had been for some days

The repose and comfort of an asylum like this, can be best appreciated
by those who have reached it after a tossing and drenching such as ours
had been. A bright, warm fire, and countenances beaming with kindest
interest, dispelled all sensations of fatigue or annoyance.

After a season of pleasant conversation, the servants were assembled,
the chapter of God's word was solemnly read, the hymn chanted, the
prayer of praise and thanksgiving offered, and we were conducted to our
place of repose.

It is not my purpose here to attempt a portrait of those noble friends
whom I thus met for the first time. To an abler pen than mine should be
assigned the honor of writing the biography of Robert Stuart. All who
have enjoyed the happiness of his acquaintance, or, still more, a
sojourn under his hospitable roof, will carry with them to their latest
hour the impression of his noble bearing, his genial humor, his untiring
benevolence, his upright, uncompromising adherence to principle, his
ardent philanthropy, his noble disinterestedness. Irving in his
"Astoria," and Franchere in his "Narrative," give many striking traits
of his early character, together with events of his history of a
thrilling and romantic interest, but both have left the most valuable
portion unsaid, his after-life, namely, as a Christian gentleman.

Of his beloved partner, who still survives him, mourning on her bereaved
and solitary pilgrimage, yet cheered by the recollection of her long and
useful course as a "Mother in Israel," we will say no more than to offer
the incense of loving hearts, and prayers for the best blessings from
her Father in heaven.



Michilimackinac! that gem of the Lakes! How bright and beautiful it
looked as we walked abroad on the following morning! The rain had passed
away, but had left all things glittering in the light of the sun as it
rose up over the waters of Lake Huron, far away to the east. Before us
was the lovely bay, scarcely yet tranquil after the storm, but dotted
with canoes and the boats of the fishermen already getting out their
nets for the trout and whitefish, those treasures of the deep. Along the
beach were scattered the wigwams or lodges of the Ottawas who had come
to the island to trade. The inmates came forth to gaze upon us. A shout
of welcome was sent forth, as they recognized _Shaw-nee-aw-kee,_ who,
from a seven years' residence among them, was well known to each

A shake of the hand, and an emphatic "_Bon-jour_--_bon-jour_," is the
customary salutation between the Indian and the white man.

"Do the Indians speak French?" I inquired of my husband.

"No; this is a fashion they have learned of the French traders during
many years of intercourse."

Not less hearty was the greeting of each Canadian _engagé_, as he
trotted forward to pay his respects to "Monsieur John," and to utter a
long string of felicitations, in a most incomprehensible _patois_. I was
forced to take for granted all the good wishes showered upon "Madame
John," of which I could comprehend nothing but the hope that I should
be happy and contented in my "_vie sauvage_."

The object of our early walk was to visit the Mission-house and school
which had been some few years previously established at this place by
the Presbyterian Board of Missions. It was an object of especial
interest to Mr. and Mrs. Stuart, and its flourishing condition at this
period, and the prospects of extensive future usefulness it held out,
might well gladden their philanthropic hearts. They had lived many years
on the island, and had witnessed its transformation, through God's
blessing on Christian efforts, from a worldly, dissipated community to
one of which it might almost be said, "Religion was every man's
business." This mission establishment was the beloved child and the
common centre of interest of the few Protestant families clustered
around it. Through the zeal and good management of Mr. and Mrs. Ferry,
and the fostering encouragement of the congregation, the school was in
great repute, and it was pleasant to observe the effect of mental and
religious culture in subduing the mischievous, tricky propensities of
the half-breed, and rousing the stolid apathy of the genuine Indian.

These were the palmy days of Mackinac. As the head-quarters of the
American Fur Company, and the entrepôt of the whole Northwest, all the
trade in supplies and goods on the one hand, and in furs and products of
the Indian country on the other, was in the hands of the parent
establishment or its numerous outposts scattered along Lakes Superior
and Michigan, the Mississippi, or through still more distant regions.

Probably few are ignorant of the fact, that all the Indian tribes, with
the exception of the Miamis and the Wyandots, had, since the transfer of
the old French possessions to the British Crown, maintained a firm
alliance with the latter. The independence achieved by the United
States did not alter the policy of the natives, nor did our Government
succeed in winning or purchasing their friendship. Great Britain, it is
true, bid high to retain them. Every year the leading men of the
Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottowattamies, Menomonees, Winnebagoes, Sauks, and
Foxes, and even still more remote tribes, journeyed from their distant
homes to Fort Malden in Upper Canada, to receive their annual amount of
presents from their Great Father across the water. It was a
master-policy thus to keep them in pay, and had enabled those who
practised it to do fearful execution through the aid of such allies in
the last war between the two countries.

The presents they thus received were of considerable value, consisting
of blankets, broadcloths or _strouding_, calicoes, guns, kettles, traps,
silver-works (comprising arm-bands, bracelets, brooches; and ear-bobs),
looking-glasses, combs, and various other trinkets distributed with no
niggardly hand.

The magazines and store-houses of the Fur Company at Mackinac were the
resort of all the upper tribes for the sale of their commodities, and
the purchase of all such articles as they had need of, including those
above enumerated, and also ammunition, which, as well as money and
liquor, their British friends very commendably omitted to furnish them.

Besides their furs, various in kind and often of great value--beaver,
otter, marten, mink, silver-gray and red fox, wolf, bear, and wild-cat,
musk-rat, and smoked deer-skins--the Indians brought for trade
maple-sugar in abundance, considerable quantities of both Indian corn
and _petit-blé_,[1] beans and the _folles avoines_,[2] or wild rice;
while the squaws added to their quota of merchandise a contribution in
the form of moccasins, hunting-pouches, mococks, or little boxes of
birch-bark embroidered with porcupine-quills and filled with
maple-sugar, mats of a neat and durable fabric, and toy-models of Indian
cradles, snow-shoes, canoes, etc., etc.

It was no unusual thing, at this period, to see a hundred or more canoes
of Indians at once approaching the island, laden with their articles of
traffic; and if to these we add the squadrons of large Mackinac boats
constantly arriving from the outposts, with the furs, peltries, and
buffalo-robes collected by the distant traders, some idea may be formed
of the extensive operations and important position of the American Fur
Company, as well as of the vast circle of human beings either
immediately or remotely connected with it.

It is no wonder that the philanthropic mind, surveying these, races of
uncultivated heathen, should stretch forward to the time when, through
an unwearied devotion of the white man's energies, and an untiring
sacrifice of self and fortune, his red brethren might rise in the scale
of social civilization--when Education and Christianity should go hand
in hand, to make "the wilderness blossom as the rose."

Little did the noble souls at that day rejoicing in the success of their
labors at Mackinac, anticipate that in less than a quarter of a century
there would remain of all these numerous tribes but a few scattered
bands, squalid, degraded, with scarce a vestige remaining of their
former lofty character--their lands cajoled or wrested from them, the
graves of their fathers turned up by the ploughshare--themselves chased
farther and farther towards the setting sun, until they were literally
grudged a resting-place on the face of the earth!

Our visit to the Mission-school was of short duration, for the Henry
Clay was to leave at two o'clock, and in the mean time we were to see
what we could of the village and its environs, and after that dine with
Mr. Mitchell, an old friend of my husband. As we walked leisurely along
over the white, gravelly road, many of the residences of the old
inhabitants were pointed out to me. There was the dwelling of Madame
Laframboise, an Ottawa woman, whose husband had taught her to read and
write, and who had ever after continued to use the knowledge she had
acquired for the instruction and improvement of the youth among her own
people. It was her custom to receive a class of young pupils daily at
her house, that she might give them lessons in the branches mentioned,
and also in the principles of the Roman Catholic religion, to which she
was deeply devoted. She was a woman of a vast deal of energy and
enterprise--of a tall and commanding figure, and most dignified
deportment. After the death of her husband, who was killed while away at
his trading-post by a Winnebago named _White Ox_, she was accustomed to
visit herself the trading-posts, superintend the clerks and engagés, and
satisfy herself that the business was carried on in a regular and
profitable manner.

The Agency-house, with its unusual luxuries of piazza and gardens, was
situated at the foot of the hill on which the fort was built. It was a
lovely spot, notwithstanding the stunted and dwarfish appearance of all
cultivated vegetation in this cold northern latitude.

The collection of rickety, primitive-looking buildings, occupied by the
officials of the Fur Company, reflected no great credit on the
architectural skill of my husband, who had superintended their
construction, he told me, when little more than a boy.

There were, besides these, the residences of the Dousmans, the Abbotts,
the Biddles, the Drews, and the Lashleys, stretching away along the
base of the beautiful hill, crowned with the white walls and buildings
of the fort, the ascent to which was so steep that on the precipitous
face nearest the beach staircases were built by which to mount from

My head ached intensely, the effect of the motion of the boat on the
previous day, but I did not like to give up to it; so, after I had been
shown all that could be seen of the little settlement in the short time
allowed us, we repaired to Mr. Mitchell's.

We were received by Mrs. M., an extremely pretty, delicate woman, part
French and part Sioux, whose early life had been passed at Prairie du
Chien, on the Mississippi. She had been a great belle among the young
officers at Fort Crawford; so much so, indeed, that the suicide of the
post-surgeon was attributed to an unsuccessful attachment he had
conceived for her. I was greatly struck with her soft and gentle
manners, and the musical intonation of her voice, which I soon learned
was a distinguishing peculiarity of those women in whom are united the
French and native blood.

A lady, then upon a visit to the Mission, was of the company. She
insisted on my lying down upon the sofa, and ministered most kindly to
my suffering head. As she sat by my side, and expatiated upon the new
sphere opening before me, she inquired:

"Do you not realize very strongly the entire deprivation of religious
privileges you will be obliged to suffer in your distant home?"

"The deprivation," said I, "will doubtless be great, but not _entire_;
for I shall have my Prayer-Book, and, though destitute of a church, we
need not be without a _mode_ of worship."

How often afterwards, when cheered by the consolations of that precious
book in the midst of the lonely wilderness, did I remember this
conversation, and bless God that I could never, while retaining it, be
without "religious privileges."

We had not yet left the dinner-table, when the bell of the little
steamer sounded to summon us on board, and we bade a hurried farewell to
all our kind friends, bearing with us their hearty wishes for a safe and
prosperous voyage.

A finer sight can scarcely be imagined than Mackinac, from the water. As
we steamed away from the shore, the view came full upon us--the sloping
beach with the scattered wigwams, and canoes drawn up here and
there--the irregular, quaint-looking houses--the white walls of the
fort, and, beyond, one eminence still more lofty crowned with the
remains of old Fort Holmes. The whole picture completed, showed the
perfect outline that had given the island its original Indian name,
_Mich-i-li-mack-i-nac_, the Big Turtle.

Then those pure, living waters, in whose depths the fish might be seen
gliding and darting to and fro; whose clearness is such that an object
dropped to the bottom may be discerned at the depth of fifty or sixty
feet, a dollar lying far down on its green bed, looking no larger than a
half dime! I could hardly wonder at the enthusiastic lady who exclaimed:
"Oh! I could wish to be drowned in these pure, beautiful waters!"

As we passed the extreme western point of the island, my husband pointed
out to me, far away to the northwest, a promontory which he told me was
Point St. Ignace. It possessed great historic interest, as one of the
earliest white settlements on this continent. The Jesuit missionaries
had established here a church and school as early as 1607, the same year
in which a white settlement was made at St. Augustine, in Florida, and
one year before the founding of Jamestown, Virginia.

All that remains of the enterprises of these devoted men, is the
remembrance of their labors, perpetuated, in most instances, only by the
names of the spots which witnessed their efforts of love in behalf of
their savage brethren. The little French church at Sandwich, opposite
Detroit, alone is left, a witness of the zeal and self-sacrifice of
these pioneers of Christianity.

Passing "Old Mackinac," on the main land, which forms the southern
border of the straits, we soon came out into the broad waters of Lake
Michigan. Every traveller, and every reader of our history, is familiar
with the incidents connected with the taking of the old fort by the
Indians, in the days of Pontiac. How, by means of a game of ball, played
in an apparently friendly spirit outside the walls, and of which the
officers and soldiers had come forth to be spectators, the ball was
dexterously tossed over the wall, and the savages rushing in, under
pretext of finding it, soon got possession and massacred the garrison.

The little Indian village of L'Arbre Croche gleamed far away south, in
the light of the setting sun. With that exception, there was no sign of
living habitation along that vast and wooded shore. The gigantic
forest-trees, and here and there the little glades of prairie opening to
the water, showed a landscape that would have gladdened the eye of the
agriculturist, with its promise of fertility; but it was evidently
untrodden by the foot of man, and we left it, in its solitude, as we
took our course westward across the waters.

The rainy and gusty weather, so incident to the equinoctial season,
overtook us again before we reached the mouth of Green Bay, and kept us
company until the night of our arrival upon the flats, about three miles
below the settlement. Here the little steamer grounded "fast and hard."
As almost every one preferred braving the elements to remaining cooped
up in the quarters we had occupied for the past week, we decided to
trust ourselves to the little boat, spite of wind, and rain, and
darkness, and in due time we reached the shore.



Our arrival at Green Bay was at an unfortunate moment. It was the time
of a treaty between the United States Government and the Menomonees and
Waubanakees. Consequently, not only the commissioners of the treaty,
with their clerks and officials, but traders, claimants, travellers, and
idlers innumerable were upon the ground. Most of these were congregated
in the only hotel the place afforded. This was a tolerably-sized house
near the river-side, and as we entered the long dining-room, cold and
dripping from the open boat, we were infinitely amused at the motley
assemblage it contained. Various groups were seated around. New comers,
like ourselves, stood here and there, for there were not seats enough to
accommodate all who sought entertainment. The landlord sat calm and
indifferent, his hands in his pockets, exhibiting all the phlegm of a
Pennsylvania Dutchman.

His fat, notable spouse was trotting round, now stopping to scold about
some one who, "burn his skin!" had fallen short in his duty; now
laughing good-humoredly until her sides shook, at some witticism
addressed to her.

She welcomed us very cordially, but to our inquiry, "Can you
accommodate us?" her reply was, "Not I. I have got twice as many people
now as I know what to do with. I have had to turn my own family out of
their quarters, what with the commissioners and the lot of folks that
has come in upon us."

"What are we to do, then? It is too late and stormy to go up to
Shanty-town to seek for lodgings."

"Well, sit you down and take your supper, and we will see what we can

And she actually did contrive to find a little nook, in which we were
glad to take refuge from the multitudes around us.

A slight board partition separated us from the apartment occupied by
General Root, of New York, one of the commissioners of the treaty. The
steamer in which we came had brought the mail, at that day a rare
blessing to the distant settlements. The opening and reading of all the
dispatches, which the General received about bed-time, had, of course,
to be gone through with, before he could retire to rest. His eyes being
weak, his secretaries were employed to read the communications. He was a
little deaf withal, and through the slight division between the two
apartments the contents of the letters, and his comments upon them, were
unpleasantly audible, as he continually admonished his secretary to
raise his voice.

"What is that, Walter? Read that over again."

In vain we coughed and hemmed, and knocked over sundry pieces of
furniture. They were too deeply interested to hear aught that passed
around them, and if we had been politicians we should have had all the
secrets of the _working-men's party_ at our disposal, out of which to
have made capital.

The next morning it was still rain! rain! nothing but rain! In spite of
it, however, the gentlemen would take a small boat to row to the
steamer, to bring up the luggage, not the least important part of that
which appertained to us being sundry boxes of silver for paying the
annuities to the Winnebagoes at the Portage.

I went out with some others of the company upon the piazza, to witness
their departure. A gentleman pointed out to me Fort Howard, on a
projecting point of the opposite shore, about three-quarters of a mile
distant--the old barracks, the picketed inclosure, the walls, all
looking quaint, and, considering their modern erection, really ancient
and venerable. Presently we turned our attention to the boat, which had
by this time gained the middle of the river. One of the passengers was
standing up in the stern, apparently giving some directions.

"That is rather a venturesome fellow," remarked one; "if he is not
careful he will lose his balance." And at this moment we saw him
actually perform a summerset backward, and disappear in the water.

"Oh!" cried I, "he will be drowned!"

The gentlemen laughed. "No, there he is; they are helping him in again."

The course of the boat was immediately changed, and the party returned
to the shore. It was not until one disembarked and came dripping and
laughing towards me, that I recognized him as my own peculiar property.
He was pleased to treat the matter as a joke, but I thought it rather a
sad beginning of Western experience.

He suffered himself to be persuaded to intrust the care of his effects
to his friends, and having changed his dress, prepared to remain quietly
with me, when just at this moment a vehicle drove up to the door, and we
recognized the pleasant, familiar face of our old friend, Judge Doty.

He had received the news of our arrival, and had come to take us at
once to his hospitable mansion. We were only too happy to gather
together our bags and travelling-baskets and accompany him without
farther ceremony.

Our drive took us first along the edge of Navarino, next through
Shanty-town (the latter a far more appropriate name than the former),
amid mud and mire, over bad roads, and up and down hilly, break-neck
places, until we reached the little brick dwelling of our friends. Mrs.
Doty received us with such true, sisterly kindness, and everything
seemed so full of welcome, that we soon felt ourselves at home.

We found that, expecting our arrival, invitations had already been
prepared to assemble the whole circle of Green Bay society to meet us at
an evening party--this, in a new country, being the established mode of
doing honor to guests or strangers.

We learned, upon inquiry, that Captain Harney, who had kindly offered to
come with a boat and crew of soldiers from Fort Winnebago, to convey us
to that place, our destined home, had not yet arrived; we therefore felt
at liberty to make arrangements for a few days of social enjoyment at
"the Bay."

It was pleasant to people, secluded in such a degree from the world at
large, to bear all the news we had brought--all the particulars of life
and manners--the thousand little items that the newspapers of that day
did not dream of furnishing--the fashions, and that general gossip, in
short, which a lady is erroneously supposed more _au fait_ of, than a

I well remember that, in giving and receiving information, the day
passed in a pretty uninterrupted stream of communication. All the party
except myself had made the journey, or rather voyage, up the Fox River
and down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi.

There were plenty of anecdotes of a certain trip performed by the
three, in company with a French trader and his two sisters, then making
their debut as Western travellers. The manner in which Mademoiselle
Julie would borrow, without leave, a fine damask napkin or two, to wipe
out the ducks in preparation for cooking--the difficulty of persuading
either of the sisters of the propriety of washing and rinsing their
table apparatus nicely before packing it away in the mess-basket, the
consequence of which was, that another nice napkin must be stealthily
whisked out, to wipe the dishes when the hour for meals arrived--the fun
of the young gentleman in hunting up his stray articles, thus
misappropriated, from the nooks and corners of the boat, tying them with
a cord, and hanging them over the stern, to make their way down the
Wisconsin to Prairie du Chien.

Then there was a capital story of M. Rolette himself. At one point on
the route (I think in crossing Winnebago Lake) the travellers met one of
the Company's boats on its way to Green Bay for supplies. M. Rolette was
one of the agents of the Company, and the people in the boat were his
employés. Of course after an absence of some weeks from home, the
meeting on these lonely waters and the exchanging of news was an
occasion of great excitement.

The boats were stopped--earnest greetings interchanged--question
followed question.

"_Eh bien_--have they finished the new house?"

"_Oui, Monsieur_."

"_Et la cheminée, fume-t-elle?_" (Does the chimney smoke?)

"_Non, Monsieur_."

"And the harvest--how is that?"

"Very fine, indeed."

"Is the mill at work?"

"Yes, plenty of water."

"How is Whip?" (his favorite horse.)

"Oh! Whip is first-rate."

Everything, in short, about the store, the farm, the business of various
descriptions being satisfactorily gone over, there was no occasion for
farther delay. It was time to proceed.

"_Eh bien--adieu! bon voyage!_"

"_Arrachez, mes gens!_" (Go ahead, men!)

Then suddenly--"_Arrêtez! arrêtez!_" (Stop, stop!)

"_Comment se portent Madame Rolette et les enfans?_" (How are Mrs.
Rolette and the children?)

       *       *       *       *       *

This day, with its excitement, was at length over, and we retired to our
rest, thankful that we had not General Root and his secretary close to
our bed's head, with their budget of political news.

My slumbers were not destined, however, to be quite undisturbed. I was
awakened, at the first slight peep of dawn, by a sound from an apartment
beneath our own--a plaintive, monotonous chant, rising and then falling
in a sort of mournful cadence. It seemed to me a wail of something
unearthly--so wild--so strange--so unaccountable. In terror I awoke my
husband, who reassured me by telling me it was the morning salutation of
the Indians to the opening day.

Some Menomonees had been kindly given shelter for the night in the
kitchen below, and, having fulfilled their unvarying custom of chanting
their morning hymn, they now ceased, and again composed themselves to
sleep. But not so their auditor. There was to me something inexpressibly
beautiful in this morning song of praise from the untaught sons of the
forest. What a lesson did it preach to the civilized, Christianized
world, too many of whom lie down and rise up without an aspiration of
thanksgiving to their Almighty Preserver--without even a remembrance of
His care, who gives His angels charge concerning them! Never has the
impression of that simple act of worship faded from my mind. I have
loved to think that, with some, these strains might be the outpouring of
a devotion as pure as that of the Christian when he utters the inspiring
words of the sainted Ken--

"Awake, my soul! and with the sun," etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the visitors who called to offer me a welcome to the West, were
Mr. and Miss Cadle, who were earnestly engaged in the first steps of
their afterwards flourishing enterprise for the education of Indian and
half-breed children. The school-houses and chapel were not yet erected,
but we visited their proposed site, and listened with great interest to
bright anticipations of the future good that was to be accomplished--the
success that was to crown their efforts for taming the heathen and
teaching them the knowledge of their Saviour and the blessings of
civilized life. The sequel has shown how little the zeal of the few can
accomplish, when opposed to the cupidity of the many.

Our evening party went off as parties do elsewhere. The most interesting
feature to me, because the most novel, was the conversation of some
young ladies to whom I was introduced, natives of Green Bay or its
vicinity. Their mother was a Menomonee, but their father was a
Frenchman, a descendant of a settler some generations back, and who,
there is reason to believe, was a branch of the same family of Grignon
to which the daughter of Madame de Sévigné belonged. At least, it is
said there are in the possession of the family many old papers and
records which would give that impression, although the orthography of
the name has become slightly changed. Be that as it may, the Miss
Grignons were strikingly dignified, well-bred young ladies, and there
was a charm about their soft voices, and original, unsophisticated
remarks, very attractive to a stranger.

They opened to me, however, a new field of apprehension; for, on my
expressing my great impatience to see my new home, they exclaimed, with
a look of wonder,--

"_Vous n'avez donc pas peur des serpens_?"

"Snakes! was it possible there were snakes at Fort Winnebago?"

"At the Portage! oh! yes--one can never walk out for
them--rattle-snakes--copper-heads--all sorts!"

I am not naturally timid, but I must confess that the idea of the
_serpens sonnettes_ and the _siffleurs_ was not quite a subject of

There was one among these young ladies whose tall, graceful figure,
rich, blooming complexion, and dark, glancing eye, would have
distinguished her in any drawing-room--and another, whose gentle
sweetness and cultivated taste made it a matter of universal regret that
she was afterwards led to adopt the seclusion of a convent.

Captain Harney and his boat arrived in due time, and active preparations
far the comfort of our journey commenced under the kind supervision of
Mrs. Doty. The mess-basket was stowed with good things of every
description--ham and tongue--biscuit and plum-cake--not to mention the
substantiate of crackers, bread, and boiled pork, the latter of which,
however, a lady was supposed to be too fastidious to think of touching,
even if starving in the woods.

We had engaged three Canadian voyageurs to take charge of our tent,
mess-basket, and matters and things in general. Their business it was to
be to cut the wood for our fires, prepare our meals, and give a helping
hand to whatever was going forward. A messenger had also been sent to
the Kakalin, or rapids, twenty-one miles above, to notify
_Wish-tay-yun_,[3] the most accomplished guide through the difficult
passes of the river, to be in readiness for our service on a specified

In the mean time, we had leisure for one more party, and it was to be a
"real Western hop." Everybody will remember that dance at Mrs. Baird's.
All the people, young and old, that would be gathered throughout, or, as
it was the fashion to express it, _on_ Green Bay, were assembled. The
young officers were up from Fort Howard, looking so smart in their
uniforms--treasures of finery, long uncalled forth, were now brought to
light--everybody was bound to do honor to the strangers by appearing in
their very best. It was to be an entertainment unequalled by any given
before. All the house was put in requisition for the occasion. Desks and
seats were unceremoniously dismissed from Mr. B.'s office, which formed
one wing, to afford more space for the dancers. Not only the front
portion of the dwelling, but even the kitchen was made fit for the
reception of company, in case any primitive visitor, as was sometimes
the case, should prefer sitting down quietly there and smoking his
cigar. This was an emergency that, in those days, had always to be
provided for.

Nothing could exceed the mirth and hilarity of the company. No
restraint, but of good manners--no excess of conventionalities--genuine,
hearty good-humor and enjoyment, such as pleasant, hospitable people,
with just enough of the French element to add zest to anything like
amusement, could furnish, to make the entertainment agreeable. In a
country so new, and where, in a social gathering, the number of the
company was more important than the quality, the circle was not always,
strictly speaking, select.

I was aware of this, and was therefore more amused than surprised when a
clumsy little man, with a broad, red, laughing face, waddled across the
room to where I had taken my seat after a dance, and thus addressed me:

"_Miss_ K----, nobody hain't never introduced you to me, but I've seen
you a good many times, and I know your husband very well, so I thought I
might just as well come and speak to you--my name is A----."

"Ah! Mr. A----, good-evening. I hope you are enjoying yourself. How is
your sister?"

"Oh! she is a great deal worse--her cold has got into her eye, and it is
all _shot up_."

Then turning full upon a lady[4] who sat near, radiant with youth and
beauty, sparkling with wit and genuine humor:

"Oh! Mrs. Beall," he began, "what a beautiful gown you have got on, and
how handsome you do look! I declare you're the prettiest woman in the
room, and dance the handsomest."

"Indeed, Mr. A----," replied she, suppressing her love of fun and
assuming a demure look, "I am afraid you flatter me."

"No, I don't--I'm in earnest. I've just come to ask you to dance."

Such was the penalty of being too charming.



It had been arranged that Judge Doty should accompany us in our boat as
far as the Butte des Morts, at which place his attendant would be
waiting with horses to convey him to Mineral Point, where he was to hold

It was a bright and beautiful morning when we left his pleasant home, to
commence our passage up the Fox River Captain Harney was proposing to
remain a few days longer at "the Bay," but he called to escort us to the
boat and instal us in all its comforts.

As he helped me along over the ploughed ground and other inequalities in
our way to the river-bank, where the boat lay, he told me how
impatiently Mrs. Twiggs, the wife of the commanding officer, who since
the past spring had been the only white lady at Fort Winnebago, was now
expecting a companion and friend. We had met in New York, shortly after
her marriage, and were, therefore, not quite unacquainted. I, for my
part, felt sure that when there were two of our sex--when my piano was
safely there--when the Post Library which we had purchased should be
unpacked--when all should be fairly arranged and settled, we should be,
although far away in the wilderness, the happiest little circle
imaginable. All my anticipations were of the most sanguine and cheerful

It was a moderate-sized Mackinac boat, with a crew of soldiers, and our
own three voyageurs in addition, that lay waiting for us--a dark-looking
structure of some thirty feet in length. Placed in the centre was a
frame-work of slight posts, supporting a roof of canvas, with curtains
of the same, which might be let down at the sides and ends, after the
manner of a country stage-coach, or rolled up to admit the light and

In the midst of this little cabin or saloon was placed the box
containing my piano, and on it a mattress, which was to furnish us a
divan through the day and a place of repose at night, should the weather
at any time prove too wet or unpleasant for encamping. The boxes of
silver, with which my husband was to pay the annuities due his red
children, by treaty-stipulation, were stowed next. Our mess-basket was
in a convenient vicinity, and we had purchased a couple of large square
covered baskets of the Waubanakees, or New York Indians, to hold our
various necessary articles of outward apparel and bedding, and at the
same time to answer as very convenient little work or dinner-tables.

As a true daughter of New England, it is to be taken for granted I had
not forgotten to supply myself with knitting-work and embroidery. Books
and pencils were a matter of course.

The greater part of our furniture, together with the various articles
for housekeeping with which we had supplied ourselves in New York and
Detroit, were to follow in another boat, under the charge of people
whose business it professed to be to take cargoes safely up the rapids
and on to Fort Winnebago. This was an enterprise requiring some three
weeks of time and a great amount of labor, so that the owners of the
goods transported might think themselves happy to receive them at last,
however wet, broken, and dilapidated their condition might be. It was
for this reason that we took our choicest possessions with us, even at
the risk of being a little crowded.

Until now I had never seen a gentleman attired in a colored shirt, a
spotless white collar and bosom being one of those "notions" that
"Boston," and consequently New England "folks," entertained of the
becoming in a gentleman's toilette. Mrs. Cass had laughingly forewarned
me that not only calico shirts but patch-work pillow-cases were an
indispensable part of a travelling equipment; and, thanks to the taste
and skill of some tidy little Frenchwoman, I found our divan-pillows all
accommodated in the brightest and most variegated garb.

The Judge and my husband were gay with the deepest of blue and pink.
Each was prepared, besides, with a bright red cap (a _bonnet rouge_, or
_tuque_, as the voyageurs call it), which, out of respect for the lady,
was to be donned only when a hearty dinner, a dull book, or the want of
exercise made an afternoon nap indispensable.

The Judge was an admirable travelling companion. He had lived many years
in the country, had been with General Cass on his expedition to the
head-waters of the Mississippi, and had a vast fund of anecdote
regarding early times, customs, and inhabitants.

Some instances of the mode of administering justice in those days, I
happen to recall.

There was an old Frenchman at the Bay, named Réaume, excessively
ignorant and grasping, although otherwise tolerably good-natured. This
man was appointed justice of the peace. Two men once appeared before
him, the one as plaintiff, the other as defendant. The justice listened
patiently to the complaint of the one and the defence of the other;
then rising, with dignity, he pronounced his decision:

"You are both wrong. You, Bois-vert," to the plaintiff, "you bring me
one load of hay; and you, Crély," to the defendant, "you bring me one
load of wood; and now the matter is settled." It does not appear that
any exceptions were taken to this verdict.

This anecdote led to another, the scene of which was Prairie du Chien,
on the Mississippi.

There was a Frenchman, a justice of the peace, who was universally known
by the name of "Old Boilvin." His office was just without the walls of
the fort, and it was much the fashion among the officers to lounge in
there of a morning, to find sport for an idle hour, and to take a glass
of brandy-and-water with the old gentleman, which he called "taking a
little _quelque-chose."_

A soldier, named Fry, had been accused of stealing and killing a calf
belonging to M. Rolette, and the constable, a bricklayer of the name of
Bell, had been dispatched to arrest the culprit and bring him to trial.

While the gentlemen were making their customary morning visit to the
justice, a noise was heard in the entry, and a knock at the door.

"Come in," cried Old Boilvin, rising and walking toward the door.

_Bell_,--Here, sir, I have brought Fry to you, as you ordered.

_Justice_--Fry, you great rascal! What for you kill M. Rolette's calf?

_Fry_,--I did not kill M. Rolette's calf.

_Justice_ (shaking his fist).--You lie, you great ---- rascal! Bell,
take him to jail. Come, gentlemen, come, _let us take a leetle

       *       *       *       *       *

The Canadian boatmen always sing while rowing or paddling, and nothing
encourages them so much as to hear the "bourgeois"[5] take the lead in
the music. If the passengers, more especially those of the fair sex,
join in the refrain, the compliment is all the greater.

Their songs are of a light, cheerful character, generally embodying some
little satire or witticism, calculated to produce a spirited, sometimes
an uproarious, chorus.

The song and refrain are carried on somewhat in the following style:

  BOURGEOIS.--Par-derrière chez ma tante,
              Par-derrière chez ma tante.

        CHORUS.--Par-derrière chez ma tante,
                 Par-derrière chez ma tante.

  BOURGEOIS.--Il y a un coq qui chante,
              Des pommes, des poires, des raves, des choux,
              Des figues nouvelles, des raisins doux.

        CHORUS.--Des pommes, des poires, des raves, des choux,
                 Des figues nouvelles, des raisins doux.

  BOURGEOIS.--Il y a un coq qui chante,
              Il y a un coq qui chante.

        CHORUS.--Il y a un coq qui chante, etc.

  BOURGEOIS.--Demande une femme à prendre,
              Des pommes, des poires, des raves, des choux, etc.

        CHORUS.--Des pommes, dos poires, etc.

  BOURGEOIS.--Demande une femme à prendre,
              Demande une femme à, etc.

And thus it continues until the advice is given successively,

  Ne prenez pas une noire,
  Car elles aiment trop à boire,
  Ne prenez pas une rousse,
  Car elles sont trop jalouses.

And by the time all the different qualifications are rehearsed and
objected to, lengthened out by the interminable repetition of the
chorus, the shout of the bourgeois is heard--

"Whoop la! à terre, à terre--pour la pipe!"

It is an invariable custom for the voyageurs to stop every five or six
miles to rest and smoke, so that it was formerly the way of measuring
distances--"so many pipes," instead of "so many miles."

The Canadian melodies are sometimes very beautiful, and a more
exhilarating mode of travel can hardly be imagined than a voyage over
these waters, amid all the wild magnificence of nature, with the
measured strokes of the oar keeping time to the strains of "_Le Rosier
Blanc_," "En roulant ma Boule_," or "_Lève ton pied, ma jolie Bergère."_

The climax of fun seemed to be in a comic piece, which, however oft
repeated, appeared never to grow stale. It was somewhat after this

  BOURGEOIS.--Michaud est monté dans un prunier,
              Pour treiller des prunes.
              La branche a cassé--

        CHORUS.--Michaud a tombé?

  BOURGEOIS.--Ou est-ce qu'il est?

        CHORUS.--Il est en bas.

  BOURGEOIS.--Oh! reveille, reveille, reveille,
              Oh! reveille, Michaud est en haut![6]

It was always a point of etiquette to look astonished at the luck of
Michaud in remaining in the tree, spite of the breaking of the branch,
and the joke had to be repeated through all the varieties of
fruit-trees that Michaud might be supposed able to climb.

By evening of the first day we arrived at _the Kakalin_, where another
branch of the Grignon family resided. We were very pleasantly
entertained, although, in my anxiety to begin my forest life, I would
fain have had the tent pitched on the bank of the river, and have laid
aside, at once, the indulgences of civilization. This, however, would
have been a slight, perhaps an affront; so we did much better, and
partook of the good cheer that was offered us in the shape of hot
venison steaks and crêpes, and that excellent cup of coffee which none
can prepare like a Frenchwoman, and which is so refreshing after a day
in the open air.

The Kakalin is a rapid of the Fox River, sufficiently important to make
the portage of the heavy lading of a boat necessary; the boat itself
being poled or dragged up with cords against the current. It is one of a
series of rapids and _chûtes_, or falls, which occur between this point
and Lake Winnebago, twenty miles above.

The next morning, after breakfast, we took leave of our hosts, and
prepared to pursue our journey. The bourgeois, from an early hour, had
been occupied in superintending his men in getting the boat and its
loading over the Kakalin. As the late rains had made the paths through
the woods and along the banks of the river somewhat muddy and
uncomfortable for walking, I was put into an ox-cart, to be jolted over
the unequal road; saluting impartially all the stumps and stones that
lay in our way, the only means of avoiding which seemed to be when the
little, thick-headed Frenchman, our conductor, bethought him of suddenly
guiding his cattle into a projecting tree or thorn-bush, to the great
detriment not only of my straw bonnet, but of my very eyes.

But we got through at last, and, arriving at the head of the rapids, I
found the boat lying there, all in readiness for our re-embarking.

Our Menomonee guide, _Wish-tay-yun_, a fine, stalwart Indian, with an
open, good-humored, one might almost say _roguish_ countenance, came
forward to be presented to me.

"_Bon-jour, bon-jour, maman_," was his laughing salutation. Again I was
surprised, not as before at the French, for to that I had become
accustomed, but at the respectable title he was pleased to bestow upon

"Yes," said my husband, "you must make up your mind to receive a very
numerous and well-grown family, consisting of all the Winnebagoes,
Pottowattamies, Chippewas, and Ottawas, together with such Sioux, Sacs
and Foxes, and Iowas, as have any point to gain in applying to me. By
the first-named tribe in virtue of my office, and by the others as a
matter of courtesy, I am always addressed as '_father_'--you, of course,
will be their '_mother_.'"

Wish-tay-yun and I were soon good friends, my husband interpreting to me
the Chippewa language in which he spoke. We were impatient to be off,
the morning being already far advanced, and, all things being in
readiness, the word was given:

"_Pousse au large, mes gens!_" (Push out, my men).

At this moment a boat was seen leaving the opposite bank of the river
and making towards us. It contained white men, and they showed by signs
that they wished to detain us until they came up. They drew near, and we
found them to be Mr. Marsh, a missionary among the Waubanakees, or the
New York Indians, lately brought into this country, and the Rev. Eleazar
Williams,[7] who was at that time living among his red brethren on the
right bank of the Fox River.

To persons so situated, even more emphatically than to those of the
settlements, the arrival of visitors from the "east countrie" was a
godsend indeed. We had to give all the news of various kinds that we had
brought--political, ecclesiastical, and social--as well as a tolerably
detailed account of what we proposed to do, or rather what we hoped to
be able to do, among our native children at the Portage.

I was obliged, for my part, to confess that, being almost entirely a
stranger to the Indian character and habits, I was going among them with
no settled plans of any kind--general good-will, and a hope of making
them my friends, being the only principles I could lay claim to at
present. I must leave it for time and a better acquaintance to show me
in what way the principle could be carried out for their greatest good.

Mr. Williams was a dark-complexioned, good-looking man. Having always
heard him spoken of, by his relations in Connecticut, as "our Indian
cousin," it never occurred to me to doubt his belonging to that race,
although I now think that if I had met him elsewhere I should have taken
him for a Spaniard or a Mexican. His complexion had decidedly more of
the olive than the copper hue, and his countenance was grave, almost
melancholy. He was very silent during this interview, asking few
questions, and offering no observations except in reply to some question
addressed to him.

It was a hard pull for the men up the rapids. Wish-tay-yun, whose clear,
sonorous voice was the bugle of the party, shouted and whooped--each one
answered with a chorus, and a still more vigorous effort. By-and-by the
boat would become firmly set between two huge stones--

"Whoop la! whoop! whoop!"

Another pull, and another, straining every nerve--in vain.

"She will not budge!"

"Men, overboard!" and instantly every rower is over the side and into
the water.

By pulling, pushing, and tugging, the boat is at length released from
her position, and the men walk along beside her, helping and guiding
her, until they reach a space of comparatively smooth water, when they
again take their seats and their oars.

It will be readily imagined that there were few songs this day, but very
frequent _pipes_, to refresh the poor fellows after such an arduous

It was altogether a new spectacle to me. In fact, I had hardly ever
before been called upon to witness severe bodily exertion, and my
sympathies and sensibilities were, for this reason, the more enlisted on
the occasion. It seemed a sufficient hardship to have to labor in this
violent manner; but to walk in cold water up to their waists, and then
to sit down in their soaking garments without going near a fire! Poor
men! this was too much to be borne! What, then, was my consternation to
see my husband, who, shortly after our noon-tide meal, had surprised me
by making his appearance in a pair of duck trowsers and light jacket, at
the first cry of "Fast, again!" spring over into the water with the men,
and "bear a hand" throughout the remainder of the long stretch!

When he returned on board, it was to take the oar of a poor,
delicate-looking boy, one of the company of soldiers, who from the first
had suffered with bleeding at the nose on every unusual exertion. I was
not surprised, on inquiring, to find that this lad was a recruit just
entered the service. He passed by the name of Gridley, but that was
undoubtedly an assumed name. He had the appearance of having been
delicately nurtured, and had probably enlisted without at all
appreciating the hardships and discomforts of a soldier's life. This is
evident from the dissatisfaction he always continued to feel, until at
length he deserted from his post. This was some months subsequent to the
time of which I am writing. He was once retaken, and kept for a time in
confinement, but immediately on his release deserted again, and his
remains were found the following spring, not many miles from the fort.
He had died, either of cold or starvation. This is a sad interlude--we
will return to our boating.

With all our tugging and toiling, we had accomplished but thirteen miles
since leaving the Kakalin, and it was already late when we arrived in
view of the "Grande Chûte," near which we were to encamp.

We had passed the "Little Chûte" (the spot where the town of Appleton
now stands) without any further observation than that it required a vast
deal of extra exertion to buffet with the rushing stream and come off,
as we did, victorious.

The brilliant light of the setting sun was resting on the high wooded
banks through which broke the beautiful, foaming, dashing waters of the
Chûte. The boat was speedily turned towards a little headland projecting
from the left bank, which had the advantage of a long strip of level
ground, sufficiently spacious to afford a good encamping ground. I
jumped ashore before the boat was fairly pulled up by the men, and with
the Judge's help made my way as rapidly as possible to a point lower
down the river, from which, he said, the best view of the Chûte could be
obtained. I was anxious to make a sketch before the daylight quite faded

The left bank of the river was to the west, and over a portion less
elevated than the rest the sun's parting rays fell upon the boat, the
men with their red caps and belts, and the two tents already pitched.
The smoke now beginning to ascend from the evening fires, the high
wooded bank beyond, up which the steep portage path could just be
discerned, and, more remote still, the long stretch of waterfall now
darkening in the shadow of the overhanging forests, formed a lovely
landscape, to which the pencil of an artist could alone do justice.

This was my first encampment, and I was quite enchanted with the novelty
of everything about me.

The fires had been made of small saplings and underbrush, hastily
collected, the mildness of the weather rendering anything beyond what
sufficed for the purposes of cooking and drying the men's clothes,
superfluous. The soldiers' tent was pitched at some distance from our
own, but not too far for us to hear distinctly their laughter and
apparent enjoyment after the fatigues of the day.

Under the careful superintendence of Corporal Kilgour, however, their
hilarity never passed the bounds of respectful propriety, and, by the
time we had eaten our suppers, cooked in the open air with the simple
apparatus of a tea-kettle and frying-pan, we were, one and all, ready to
retire to our rest.

The first sound that saluted our ears in the early dawn of the following
morning, was the far-reaching call of the bourgeois:

"How! how! how!" uttered at the very top of his voice.

All start at that summons, and the men are soon turning out of their
tents, or rousing from their slumbers beside the fire, and preparing for
the duties of the day.

The fire is replenished, the kettles set on to boil, the mess-baskets
opened, and a portion of their contents brought forth to be made ready
for breakfast. One Frenchman spreads our mat within the tent, whence the
bedding has all been carefully removed and packed up for stowing in the
boat. The tin cups and plates are placed around on the new-fashioned
table-cloth. The heavy dews make it a little too damp for us to
breakfast in the open air; otherwise our preparations would be made
outside, upon the green grass. In an incredibly short time our smoking
coffee and broiled ham are placed before us, to which are added, from
time to time, slices of toast brought hot and fresh from the glowing

There is, after all, no breakfast like a breakfast in the woods, with a
well-trained Frenchman for master of ceremonies.

It was a hard day's work to which the men now applied themselves, that
of dragging the heavy boat up the Chûte. It had been thought safest to
leave the piano in its place on board, but the rest of the lading had to
be carried up the steep bank, and along its summit, a distance of some
hundreds of rods, to the smooth water beyond, where all the difficulties
of our navigation terminated.

The Judge kindly took charge of me while "the bourgeois" superintended
this important business, and with reading, sketching, and strolling
about, the morning glided away. Twelve o'clock came, and still the
preparations for starting were not yet completed.

In my rambles about to seek out some of the finest of the wild flowers
for a bouquet, before my husband's return, I came upon the camp-fire of
the soldiers. A tall, red-faced, light-haired young man in fatigue dress
was attending a kettle of soup, the savory steams of which were very

Seeing that I was observing his occupation, he politely ladled out a
tin-cupful of the liquid and offered it to me.

I declined it, saying we should have our dinner immediately.

"They left me here to get their dinner," said he, apparently not
displeased to have some one to talk to; "and I thought I might as well
make some soup. Down on the German Flats, where I come from, they always
like soup."

"Ah! you are from the German Flats--then your name must be Bellinger or

"No, it isn't--it's Krissman."

"Well, Krissman, how do you like the service?"

"Very well. I was only recruited last summer. I used to ride horse on
the _Canawl_, and, as I can blow a horn first-rate, I expect I will soon
be able to play on a bugle, and then, when I get to be musician, you
know, I shall have extra pay."

I did not know it, but I expressed due pleasure at the information, and
wishing Krissman all manner of success in his dreams of ambition, or
rather, I should say, of avarice, for the hopes of "extra pay" evidently
preponderated over those of fame, I returned to my own quarters.

My husband, with his French tastes, was inclined to be somewhat
disappointed when I told him of this little incident, and my refusal of
Krissman's soup; but we were soon gratified by seeing his tall, awkward
form bearing a kettle of the composition, which he set down before the
two gentlemen, by whom, to his infinite satisfaction, it was pronounced

Everything being at length in readiness, the tents were struck and
carried around the Portage, and my husband, the Judge, and I followed at
our leisure.

The woods were brilliant with wild flowers, although it was so late in
the season that the glory of the summer was well-nigh past. But the
lupin, the moss-pink, and the yellow wallflower, with all the varieties
of the helianthus, the aster, and the solidago, spread their gay charms
around. The gentlemen gathered clusters of the bittersweet (celastrus
scandens) from the overhanging boughs to make a wreath for my hat, as we
trod the tangled pathway, which, like that of Christabel, was

"Now in glimmer and now in gloom,"

through the alternations of open glade and shady thicket. Soon, like the
same lovely heroine,

"We reached the place--right glad we were,"

and, without further delay, we were again on board our little boat and
skimming over the now placid waters.



Our encampment this night was the most charming that can be imagined.
Owing to the heavy service the men had gone through in the earlier part
of the day, we took but a short stage for the afternoon, and, having
pulled some seven or eight miles to a spot a short distance below the
"little Butte," we drew in at a beautiful opening among the trees.

The soldiers now made a regular business of encamping, by cutting down a
large tree for their fire and applying themselves to the preparing of a
sufficient quantity of food for their next day's journey, a long
stretch, namely, of twenty-one miles across Winnebago Lake. Our
Frenchmen did the same. The fire caught in the light dry grass by which
we were surrounded, and soon all was blaze and crackle.

Fortunately the wind was sufficient to take the flames all in one
direction, and, besides, there was not enough fuel to have made them a
subject of any alarm. We hopped upon the fallen logs, and dignified the
little circumscribed affair with the name of "a prairie on fire." The
most serious inconvenience was its having consumed all the dry grass,
some armfuls of which, spread under the bear-skin in my tent, I had
found, the night before, a great improvement to my place of repose.

Our supper was truly delightful, at the pleasant sunset hour, under the
tall trees beside the waters that ran murmuring by; and when the bright,
broad moon arose, and shed her flood of light over the scene, so wild
yet so beautiful in its vast solitude, I felt that I might well be an
object of envy to the friends I had left behind.

But all things have an end, and so must at last my enthusiasm for the
beauties around me, and, albeit unwillingly, I closed my tent and took
my place within, so near the fall of canvas that I could raise it
occasionally and peep forth upon the night.

In time all was quiet. The men had become silent, and appeared to have
retired to rest, and we were just sinking to our slumbers, when a heavy
tread and presently a bluff voice were heard outside.

"Mr. Kinzie! Mr. Kinzie!"

"Who is there? What is it?"

"I'm Krissman; didn't you mean, sir, that the men should have any liquor

"Of course I did. Has not Kilgour given out your rations?"

"No: he says you did not say anything particular about it, and he was
not coming to ask you if you forgot it; but I thought I wouldn't be
bashful--I'd just come and ask.'"

"That is right. Tell Kilgour I should like to have him serve out a
ration apiece."

"Thank you, sir," in a most cheerful tone; "I'll tell him."

Krissman was getting to be quite a character with us.

A row of a few miles, on the following morning, brought us to Four-Legs'
village,[8] at the entrance to Winnebago Lake, a picturesque cluster of
Indian huts, spread around on a pretty green glade, and shaded by fine
lofty trees.

We were now fairly in the Winnebago country, and I soon learned that the
odd-sounding name of the place was derived from the principal chief of
the nation, whose residence it was. The inhabitants were absent, having,
in all probability, departed to their wintering grounds. We here took
leave of our friend Wish-tay-yun, at the borders of whose country we had
now arrived.

"_Bon-jour, Chon!_" (John:) "_bon-jour, maman_." A hearty shake of the
hand completed his adieu, as we pushed off into the lake, and left him
smoking his kin-nee-kin-nick[9] and waiting until the spirit should move
him to take up his long _Indian trot_ towards his home in the Menomonee

With him our sunshine seemed to have departed. The skies, hitherto so
bright and serene, became overcast, and, instead of the charming voyage
we had anticipated over the silver waters of the lake, we were obliged
to keep ourselves housed under our canvas shelter, only peeping out now
and then to catch a glimpse of the surrounding prospect through the
pouring rain.

It was what might have been expected on an autumnal day, but we were
unreasonable enough to find it tedious; so, to beguile the time and
lessen my disappointment, my husband related to me some incidents of his
early history, apropos to the subject of "Four-Legs."

While he was living at Prairie du Chien, in the employ of the American
Fur Company, the chiefs and other Indians from the Upper Mississippi
used frequently to come to the place to sell their furs and peltries,
and to purchase merchandise, ammunition, trinkets, etc.

As is usual with all who are not yet acclimated, he was seized with
chills and fever. One day, while suffering with an unusually severe
access of the latter, a chief of the Four-Legs family, a brother to the
one before mentioned, came in to the Company's warehouse to trade. There
is no ceremony or restraint among the Indians: so, hearing that
Shaw-nee-aw-kee was sick, Four-Legs instantly made his way to him, to
offer his sympathy and prescribe the proper remedies.

Every one who has suffered from ague and the intense fever that succeeds
it, knows how insupportable is the protracted conversation of an
inconsiderate person, and will readily believe that the longer Four-Legs
continued his pratings the higher mounted the fever of the patient, and
the more intolerable became the pain of head, back, and limbs.

At length the old man arrived at the climax of what he had to say. "It
was not good for a young man, suffering with sickness, and away from his
family, to be without a home and a wife. He had a nice daughter at home,
handsome and healthy, a capital nurse, the best hand in all the tribe at
trapping beaver and musk-rats. He was coming down again in the spring,
and he would bring her with him, and Shaw-nee-aw-kee should see that he
had told no falsehood about her. Should he go now, and bring his
daughter the next time he came?"

Stunned with his importunate babble, and anxious only for rest and
quiet, poor Shaw-nee-aw-kee eagerly assented, and the chief took his

So nearly had his disorder been aggravated to delirium, that the young
man forgot entirely, for a time, the interview and the proposal which
had been made him. But it was recalled to his memory some months after,
when Four-Legs made his appearance, bringing with him a squaw of mature
age, and a very Hecate for ugliness. She carried on her shoulders an
immense pack of furs, which, approaching with her awkward _criss-cross_
gait, she threw at his feet, thus marking, by an Indian custom, her
sense of the relation that existed between them.

The conversation with her father now flashed across his mind, and he
began to be sensible that he had got into a position that it would
require some skill to extricate himself from.

He bade one of the young clerks take up the pack and carry it into the
magazine where the furs were stored; then he coolly went on talking with
the chief about indifferent matters.

_Miss Four-Legs_ sat awhile with a sulky, discontented air; at length
she broke out,--

"Humph! he seems to take no more notice of me than if I was nobody!"

He again turned to the clerk.--"Give her a calico shirt and half a dozen

This did not dissipate the gloom on her countenance. Finding that he
must commence the subject, the father says,--

"Well, I have brought you my daughter, according to our agreement. How
do you like her?"

"Ah, yes--she is a very nice young woman, and would make a first-rate
wife, I have no doubt. But do you know a very strange thing has happened
since you were here? Our father, Governor Cass,[10] has sent for me to
come to Detroit, that he may send me among the Wyandottes and other
nations to learn their customs and manners. Now, if I go, as I shall be
obliged to do, I shall be absent two or three years,--perhaps four. What
then? Why, the people will say, Shaw-nee-aw-kee has married Four-Legs'
daughter, and then has hated her and run away from her, and so everybody
will laugh at her, and she will be ashamed. It will be better to take
some good, valuable presents, blankets, guns, etc., and to marry her to
one of her own people, who will always stay by her and take care of

The old man was shrewd enough to see that it was wisest to make the best
bargain he could. I have no doubt it cost a round sum to settle the
matter to the satisfaction of the injured damsel, though I have never
been able to ascertain how much. This I know, that the young gentleman
took care not to make his next bargain while in a fit of the ague. The
lady up on the Mississippi is called, in derision, by his name to this

About midway of the lake we passed Garlic Island--a lovely spot,
deserving of a more attractive name. It belonged, together with the
village on the opposite shore, to "Wild Cat," a fat, jolly, good-natured
fellow, by no means the formidable animal his name would imply.

He and his band were absent, like their neighbors of Four-Legs'
village, so there was nothing to vary the monotony of our sail. It was
too wet to sing, and the men, although wrapped in their overcoats,
looked like drowned chickens. They were obliged to ply their oars with
unusual vigor to keep themselves warm and comfortable, and thus probably
felt less than we, the dulness and listlessness of the cold, rainy,
October day.

Towards evening the sun shone forth. We had passed into the Fox River,
and were just entering that beautiful little expanse known as Butte des
Morts Lake, at the farther extremity of which we were to encamp for the

The water along its shores was green with the fields of wild rice, the
gathering of which, just at this season, is an important occupation of
the Indian women. They push their canoes into the thick masses of the
rice, bend it forward over the side with their paddles, and then beat
the ripe husks off the stalks into a cloth spread in the canoe. After
this, it is rubbed to separate the grain from the husk, and fanned in
the open air. It is then put in their cordage bags and packed away for
winter use. The grain is longer and more slender than the Carolina
rice--it is of a greenish-olive color, and, although it forms a pleasant
article of food, it is far from being particularly nutritive. The
Indians are fond of it in the form of soup, with the addition of birds
or venison.



The earth, the trees, and the shrubbery were all too much filled with
the heavy rain which had fallen to allow us to think of encamping, so we
made arrangements to bestow ourselves in our little saloon for the
night. It was rather a difficult matter to light a fire, but among the
underbrush, in a wild, undisturbed spot, there will always be found some
fragments of dried branches, and tufts of grass which the rain has not
reached, and by the assistance of the spunk, or light-wood, with which
travellers always go well provided, a comforting fire was at length
blazing brightly.

After our chilling, tedious day, it was pleasant to gather round it, to
sit on the end of the blazing logs, and watch the Frenchmen preparing
our supper--the kettle nestling in a little nook of bright glowing
coals--the slices of ham browning and crisping on the forked sticks, or
"broches," which the voyageurs dexterously cut, and set around the
burning brands--- the savory messes of "pork and onions" hissing in the
frying-pan, always a tempting regale to the hungry Frenchmen. Truly, it
needs a wet, chilly journey, taken nearly fasting, as ours had been, to
enable one to enjoy to its full extent that social meal--a supper.

The bright sun, setting amid brilliant masses of clouds, such as are
seen only in our Western skies, gave promise of a fine day on the
morrow, with which comforting assurance we were glad to take our leave
of him, and soon after of each other.

We had hardly roused up the following morning, in obedience to the call
of the bourgeois, when our eyes were greeted with the sight of an
addition to our company--a tall, stalwart, fine-looking young _mitiff_,
or half-breed, accompanied by two or three Indians. Vociferous and
joyous were the salutations of the latter to their "father" and their
new "mother." They were the first Winnebagoes I had seen, and they were
decidedly not the finest specimens of their tribe. The mitiff, a scion
of the wide-spreading tree of the Grignons, was the bearer of an
invitation to us from Judge Law, who, with one or two Green Bay friends,
was encamped a few miles above, to come and breakfast with him in his
tent. We had not dreamed of finding white neighbors here, but our
vicinity could be no secret to them, as long as there was an Indian in
the neighborhood. So, delaying only for the soldiers to finish their
breakfast, we pushed on for the "Butte des Morts," or, as Mrs. A always
persisted in calling it, _Betty More's_.

The white tent of the Judge gleamed in the morning sun as we approached
the little rising ground on which it stood. The river was filled with
canoes, paddled principally by squaws. Many Indians were to be seen on
the banks, all with their guns and hunting accoutrements, for the air
was filled in every direction with flocks of teal, which at this season
are most abundant and delicious. The immense fields of wild rice
abounding here and in the little lake below, make this vicinity their
favorite place of resort in the autumn months. The effect of this
nourishing food is to make the flesh of the birds so fat, so white, and
so tender, that a caution is always given to a young sportsman to fire
only at such as fly very low, for if shot high in the air they are
bruised to pieces and rendered unfit for eating by their fall to the

We were hemmed in by a little fleet of canoes which surrounded us, the
women chattering, laughing, and eagerly putting forward their little
wooden bowls of fresh cranberries as an offering of welcome to me.

I amused myself with tossing crackers to them, some of which would reach
them, others would fall into the water, and then such a scrambling and
shouting! Hands and paddles were in requisition, and loud was the
triumph of her who was successful in reaching a floating one.

Among the Indians with whom Shaw-nee-aw-kee was now engaged in shaking
hands, and who all seemed old friends, were many fine, straight,
well-formed figures, all of them exhibiting frames capable of enduring
fatigue and the hardships of their mode of life. One was describing with
much gesticulation the abundance of the game in the neighborhood, and he
seemed greatly delighted at receiving a quantity of ammunition, with
which he instantly departed to make good his boasts in the matter.

After walking a short distance, we reached the tent, where I was
introduced to Judge Law and a pleasant little gray-haired French
gentleman of the name of Porlier. Several voyageurs and half-breeds were
near, the former busily at work, the latter lounging for the most part,
and going through with what they had to do with a sort of listless

The contrast between the "all-alive" air of the one class and the
apathetic manner of the other, was quite striking.

After a short conversation among the members of the party, breakfast was
announced, and we entered the tent and took our seats on the ground
around the Indian mat which supplied the place of a table.

The post of honor, namely, the _head_ of the table, was of course given
to me, so that I could not only look around upon the circle of the
company, but also enjoy a fine view out of the open door of the tent,
and take an observation of all that was going on at the _side-table_
outside. Judge Doty sat opposite me, with his back to the opening of the
tent, and the other gentlemen on either hand. We had for our waiter the
tall "mitiff" who had been the messenger of the morning. He was still in
the same garb--calico shirt, bright-colored scarf around his waist, and
on his head a straw hat encircled with a band of black ostrich feathers,
the usual dress of his class.

The tin cups which were to hold our coffee were duly set around, then
breakfast-plates of the same metal, with knives and forks; then followed
the viands, among the most conspicuous of which was a large tin pan of
boiled ducks.

The Judge, wishing to show, probably, that, although we were in the vast
wilderness, all fastidious nicety had not been left behind, took up the
plate which had been set before him, and, seeing something adhering to
it which did not exactly please him, handed it over his shoulder to
Grignon, requesting him to wipe it carefully. Grignon complied by
pulling a black silk barcelona handkerchief out of his bosom, where it
had been snugly tucked away to answer any occasion that might present
itself, and, giving the tin a furious polishing, handed it back again.
The Judge looked at it with a smile of approbation, and giving a glance
around the table as much as to say, "You see how I choose to have things
done," applied himself to his breakfast.

The trail for Fort Winnebago then led from the shore opposite Butte des
Morts, through _Ma-zhee-gaw-gaw_ swamp, and past Green Lake, and it was
well for the Judge that his horses stood waiting for him to "mount and
away" as early as possible after breakfast, or I am afraid the story I
should have been tempted to tell would have made his ride an
uncomfortable one throughout the day.

We had hardly finished breakfast when our hunter, who had received the
ammunition, returned, bringing with him about fifty fine ducks, which he
had shot in little more than an hour. From that time until the close of
our journey our supply of these delicate birds was never wanting.



The Butte des Morts, or Hillock of the Dead, was the scene long
since[11] of a most sanguinary battle between the French and the
Mis-qua-kees, or Foxes. So great was the carnage in this engagement,
that the memory of it has been perpetuated by the gloomy appellation
given to the mound where the dead were buried. The Foxes up to this time
had inhabited the shores of the river to which they had given their
name, but, being completely overwhelmed and beaten in this conflict,
they retired to the neighborhood of the Mississippi, and sought an
asylum among their allies, the Saukies, or, as they are now called, the
Sauks, with whom they became gradually incorporated, until the combined
tribes came to be known, as at present, by the name of "Sauks and

Among the French inhabitants of the upper country, each tribe of Indians
has a particular appellation, descriptive of some peculiarity of either
their habits or their personal appearance. Thus, the Chippewas, from
their agility, are denominated "Sauteurs," or Jumpers; the Ottawas, the
"Courtes-oreilles," or Short-ears. The Menomonees, from the wild rice so
abundant in their country, are called "Folles Avoines;"--the
Winnebagoes, from their custom of wearing the fur of a polecat on their
legs when equipped for war, are termed "les Puans;"--the Pottowattamies,
from their uncleanly habits, "les Poux;"--the Foxes are "les Renards,"
etc. etc.

Hence you will never hear a French or half-breed resident of the country
mention an Indian in any other style. "Such a person is a
'Court-oreille.'" "Is that woman a 'Winnebago'?" "No, she is a 'Folle
Avoine.'" In this manner a stranger is somewhat puzzled at first to
classify the acquaintances he forms.

All the native friends with whom we were here surrounded were "les
Puans," or, to use their own euphonious appellation, the

Having with great regret said adieu to our friend Judge Doty, whose
society had contributed so much to the pleasure of our trip, and whose
example, moreover, had given us a valuable lesson to take things as we
find them, we bade good-bye at an early hour after breakfast to our kind
hosts, and set forward on our journey.

From Butte des Morts to the Portage, the distance by land is about
seventy miles; by water, it is not less than a hundred and thirty, so
serpentine is the course of the river through the low swampy prairies
which stretch over a great portion of this part of the country.

About six miles above the Butte, a tolerably broad stream, called Wolf
River, joins the Fox, and as it is much the more direct and promising of
the two, strangers have sometimes mistaken it for the main stream, and
journeyed up it a considerable distance before discovering, to their
great chagrin, that they must retrace their steps.

Beyond this place, the river begins to play its pranks with the compass.
As I was always looking out for pretty scenery to sketch, I was at one
spot much attracted by a picturesque group on a bank quite close to the
stream. There were broad overhanging trees, and two or three wigwams
nestled under their shade. Bright-looking little children, quite
unencumbered with clothing, were sporting about, and their two mothers
were sitting on the ground, engaged in the manufacture of a mat for
their lodge. It was a pretty scene, and I commenced a sketch. As usual,
the whole party on the bank set up a shout when they recognized

"Ee-awn-chee-wee-rah, Hee-nee-kar-ray-kay-noo."[12]

It was an occasion on which they became demonstrative. After a little
time we proceeded, and I went on to complete my drawing. The sun kept
coming more and more into the wrong place. He had been just behind me,
presently he was on my left hand, now he was straight ahead. I moved
from time to time; at length the sun was decidedly on my right hand.
What could be the matter? I looked up. "Oh, here is a pretty scene; I
must have this too! But how surprisingly like the one I have just
finished, only in a different direction." Again we were greeted with
shouts and laughter; it was the same spot which we had passed not an
hour before, and, having taken a circuit of nearly four miles, we had
returned to find that we had made an actual progress of only the width
of the bank on which the trees and wigwams stood. Decidedly not very
encouraging to an impatient traveller.

We reached Lake Puckaway late in the evening of our second day from
Butte des Morts. Here lived a white man named Gleason, the same
concerning whom, owing to his vast powers of exaggeration, poor Hooe was
fond of uttering his little pun, "All is not gold that Gleasons." We did
not seek shelter at his house, for, late as the season was, we found the
shore so infested with mosquitoes that we were glad to choose a spot as
far as possible from the bank, and make ourselves comfortable in our

This lake has its name from the long flags or rushes which are found in
its waters in great abundance, and of which the squaws manufacture the
coarse matting used in covering their wigwams. Their mode of fabricating
this is very primitive and simple. Seated on the ground, with the rushes
laid side by side, and fastened at each extremity, they pass their
shuttle, a long flat needle made of bone, to which is attached a piece
of cordage formed of the bark of a tree, through each rush, thus
confining it very closely, and making a fine substantial mat. These mats
are seldom more than five or six feet in length, as a greater size would
be inconvenient in adjusting and preparing the lodges.

It is a species of labor usually assigned to the elder women of the
family. When they become broken down and worn out with exposure and
hardship, so that they cannot cut down trees, hoe corn, or carry heavy
burdens, they are set to weaving mats, taking care of the children, and
disciplining the dogs, with which every Indian lodge abounds.

Lac de Boeuf, or Buffalo Lake, into which our course next brought us, is
a lovely sheet of water. In some places its banks are exceedingly
picturesque, with beautiful headlands jutting out into the clear depths,
where they, and the magnificent groups of trees which crown them, lie
reflected as in a mirror. Now and then we would catch a glimpse of deer
darting across the glades which at intervals opened through the
woodlands, or a pair of sand-hill cranes would rise, slowly flapping
their wings, and seek a place of more undisturbed repose. The flocks of
teal now skimming the surface of the water, now rising higher towards
the shelter of the forests, tempted our sportsman sorely; but, as there
was little prospect of finding his game when it was brought down, he did
not give way to the wanton pleasure of shooting merely to destroy life.

In quitting this charming lake, and again entering the narrow, tortuous
course of the river, we bade adieu to everything like scenery, until we
should reach our journey's end.

We had now seventy miles to pass through a country perfectly monotonous
and uninteresting, the distastefulness of which was aggravated by the
knowledge that we could, had we been provided with horses or a carriage
of any kind, have crossed over to the Portage from Gleason's, through a
pleasant country, in little more than three hours. Even our great
resource, the cheering, animating songs of our voyageurs, was out of the
question; for the river, though deep, is so narrow that, in many places,
there is no room for the regular play of the oars; and the voices of
Frenchmen can never "keep tune" unless their oars can "keep time."
Lapierre, one of our men, did his best with a paddle, or, as he called
it, the "_little row_," but it was to no purpose--it _would not go_.
Besides this, the wild rice abounds to such an extent in many places,
that it almost completely obstructs the progress of even a
moderate-sized boat, so that a passage through its tangled masses is
with difficulty forced by the oars. Tedious and monotonous as was the
whole course of the two following days, the climax of impatience and
discouragement was not reached until we arrived in sight of the white
walls of Fort Winnebago, looking down from a rising ground upon the vast
expanse of low land through which the river winds.

The Indians have a tradition that a vast serpent once lived in the
waters of the Mississippi, and that, taking a freak to visit the Great
Lakes, he left his trail through the prairies, which, collecting the
waters from the meadows and the rains of heaven as they fell, at length
became the Fox River.

The little lakes along its course were probably the spots where he
flourished about in his uneasy slumbers at night. He must have played
all the antics of a kitten in the neighborhood of the Portage. When the
fort was first pointed out to me, I exclaimed, with delight, "Oh, we
shall be there in half an hour!"

"Not quite so soon," said my husband, smiling. "Wait and see." We sat
and watched. We seemed approaching the very spot where we were to
disembark. We could distinguish the officers and a lady on the bank
waiting to receive us. Now we were turning our backs on them, and
shooting out into the prairie again. Anon we approached another bank, on
which was a range of comfortable-looking log houses. "That's the
Agency," said my husband; "the largest house belongs to Paquette, the
interpreter, and the others are the dwellings of our Frenchmen. The
little building, just at the foot of the hill, is the blacksmith's shop,
kept there by the Government, that the Indians may have their guns and
traps mended free of expense."

"But are we going to stop there?"

"No; do you not see we are going back to the fort?"

And, to be sure, our course had now turned, and we were setting in our
first direction. In this manner, after tacking to the right and left and
putting backwards and forwards during the greater part of two hours, we
at length reached the little landing, on which the assembled party stood
ready to greet us.



Major and Mrs. Twiggs, and a few of the younger officers (for nearly all
of the older ones were absent), with our brother Robert, or, as he is
called throughout all the Indian tribes, "Bob," gave us a cordial
welcome--how cordial those alone can know who have come, like us, to a
remote, isolated home in the wilderness. The Major insisted on our
taking possession at once of vacant quarters in the fort, instead of at
"the Agency," as had been proposed.

"No--we must be under the same roof with them. Mrs. Twiggs had been
without a companion of her own sex for more than four months, and would
certainly not hear of a separation now. But we must be their guests
until the arrival of the boats containing our furniture," which, under
the care of our old acquaintance, Hamilton Arndt, was making its way
slowly up from Green Bay.

A dinner had been prepared for us. This is one of the advantages of the
zigzag approach by the Fox River--travellers never take their friends by
surprise; and when the whole circle sat down to the hospitable board, we
were indeed a merry company.

After dinner Mrs. Twiggs showed me the quarters assigned to us, on the
opposite side of the spacious hall. They consisted of two large rooms on
each of the three floors or stories of the building. On the ground-floor
the front room was vacant. The one in the rear was to be the
sleeping-apartment, as was evident from a huge, unwieldy bedstead, of
proportions amply sufficient to have accommodated Og, the King of
Bashan, with Mrs. Og and the children into the bargain. We could not
repress our laughter; but the bedstead was nothing to another structure
which occupied a second corner of the apartment.

This edifice had been built under the immediate superintendence of one
of our young lieutenants, and it was plain to be seen that upon it both
he and the soldiers who fabricated it had exhausted all their
architectural skill. The timbers of which it was composed had been
grooved and carved; the pillars that supported the front swelled in and
out in a most fanciful manner; the doors were not only panelled, but
radiated in a way to excite the admiration of all unsophisticated eyes.
A similar piece of workmanship had been erected in each set of quarters,
to supply the deficiency of closets, an inconvenience which had never
occurred, until too late, to the bachelors who planned them. The three
apartments of which each structure was composed, were unquestionably
designed for clothes-press, store-room, and china-closet; such, at
least, were the uses to which Mrs. Twiggs had appropriated the one
assigned to her. There was this slight difficulty, that in the latter
the shelves were too close to admit of setting in even a gravy-boat, but
they made up in number what was wanting in space. We christened the
whole affair, in honor of its projector, a "Davis," thus placing the
first laurel on the brow of one who was afterwards to signalize himself
in _Cabinet_ making of quite a different character.

The bold promontory on which Fort Winnebago was built looked down upon
the extended prairie and the Fox River on one side, and on the other
stretched away into the thickly-wooded ridge that led off to Belle
Fontaine and Lake Puckaway.

In front lay an extent of meadow, across which was the Portage road, of
about two miles in length, leading between the Fox and the Wisconsin
Rivers. Teams of oxen and a driver were kept at the Agency by the
Government, to transport the canoes of the Indians across this place,
which at many seasons was wet, miry, and almost impassable.

The woods were now brilliant with the many tints of autumn, and the
scene around was further enlivened by groups of Indians, in all
directions, and their lodges, which were scattered here and there, in
the vicinity of the Agency buildings. On the low grounds might be seen
the white tents of the traders, already prepared to furnish winter
supplies to the Indians, in exchange for the annuity money they were
about to receive.

A great concourse had been for many days assembling in anticipation of
the payment, which was expected to take place as soon as Shaw-nee-aw-kee
should arrive with the silver.

Preparatory to this event, the great chief of the nation, Four-Legs,
whose village we had passed at the entrance to Winnebago Lake, had
thought proper to take a little carouse, as is too apt to be the custom
when the savages come into the neighborhood of a sutler's establishment.
In the present instance, the facilities for a season of intoxication had
been augmented by the presence on the ground of some traders, too
regardless of the very stringent laws prohibiting the sale of liquor to
the Indians.

Poor Four-Legs could not stand this full tide of prosperity. Unchecked
by the presence of his Father, the agent, he carried his indulgence to
such excess that he fell a victim in the course of a few days. His
funeral had been celebrated with unusual pomp the day before our
arrival, and great was my disappointment at finding myself too late to
witness all the ceremonies.

His body, according to their custom, having been wrapped in a blanket,
and placed in a rude coffin, along with his guns, tomahawk, pipes, and a
quantity of tobacco, had been carried to the most elevated point of the
hill opposite the fort, followed by an immense procession of his people,
whooping, beating their drums, howling, and making altogether what is
emphatically termed a "_pow-wow_"

After the interment of the body, a stake was planted at its head, on
which was painted in vermilion a series of hieroglyphics, descriptive of
the great deeds and events of his life The whole was then surrounded
with pickets of the trunks of the tamarack-trees, and hither the friends
would come for many successive days to renew the expression of their
grief, and to throw over the grave tobacco and other offerings to the
Great Spirit.

It was a consolation to find that, although delayed, we were yet in time
to furnish a quantity of white cotton for a flag to wave over the grave,
and also to pay a considerable bill at the sutler's for the different
articles that had been found necessary for the funeral parade--it being
a duty expected of their Father to bury the dead suitably.

The funeral observances in honor of the chief had not yet ceased.
Throughout the day, and all that night, the sound of instruments,
mingled with doleful lamentations, and with the discordant whoops and
yells of those in a partial state of intoxication, filled the air, and
disturbed our repose. To these were added occasionally the plaintive
sounds of the Indian flute, upon which the young savage plays when he is
in love. Grief and whiskey had made their hearts tender, and the woods
resounded to their melancholy strains.

Early the following morning, before I left my room, I was startled by
the sounds of lamentation and woe proceeding from the adjoining
apartment. On entering it, I found several squaws seated on the floor,
with downcast looks expressive of condolence and sympathy, while in
their midst sat a little ugly woman, in tattered garments, with
blackened face and dishevelled hair, sobbing and wailing bitterly.

Not doubting they were the family of the deceased chief, I was quite
troubled at my inability to express, otherwise than by gestures, my
participation in their sorrows.

Unacquainted as I was with their customs, I took it for granted from
their wretched appearance that poverty and destitution formed one of the
sources of their affliction. One of the party, at least, seemed in the
very depths of misery. "Can it be possible," said I to myself, "that
this poor creature has only these scanty rags to cover her?"

Stepping back to my own room, I brought out a pretty calico wrapper,
which I presented to the little, dirty, blackened object. She took it,
and commenced a fresh series of sobbing and sighing. I made signs to her
to put it on, opening it and explaining to her how it was to be worn,
and recommending to her, by gestures, to lose no time in making herself
more comfortable.

At this, the other women burst into a laugh.

"Very mal-à-propos," thought I, "and somewhat unfeeling." At that moment
my husband, entering, explained to me that the chief mourner was Madame
Four-Legs, the widow; that she had undoubtedly a comfortable wardrobe at
home, but that it was part of the etiquette of mourning to go for a
season with neglected persons and blackened faces. All this was told me
in the intervals of shaking hands, and offering and receiving
condolences in the most uncouth, guttural language I had ever heard.
Their Father at length dismissed them, with a promise of some presents
to help dry up their tears. It must not be inferred that the grief of
the poor little widow was not sincere. On the contrary, she was greatly
attached to her husband, and had had great influence not only with him
but with the nation at large. She was a Fox woman, and spoke the
Chippewa, which is the court language among all the tribes, so that she
was often called upon to act as interpreter, and had, in fact, been in
the habit of accompanying her husband, and assisting him by her counsels
upon all occasions. She was a person of great shrewdness and judgment,
and, as I afterwards experienced, of strong and tenacious affections.

After breakfast I received a visit from the principal chiefs, who had
put on their best of apparel and paint to receive their new mother.

There was Naw-kaw, or Kar-ray-mau-nee, "the Walking Turtle," now the
principal chief of the nation, a stalwart Indian, with a broad, pleasant
countenance, the great peculiarity of which was an immense under lip,
hanging nearly to his chin. There was the old Day-kau-ray, the most
noble, dignified, and venerable of his own, or indeed of any tribe. His
fine Roman countenance, rendered still more striking by his bald head,
with one solitary tuft of long silvery hair neatly tied and falling back
on his shoulders; his perfectly neat, appropriate dress, almost without
ornament, and his courteous demeanor, never laid aside under any
circumstances, all combined to give him the highest place in the
consideration of all who knew him. It will hereafter be seen that his
traits of character were not less grand and striking than were his
personal appearance and deportment.

There was Black-Wolf, whose lowering, surly face was well described by
his name. The fierce expression of his countenance was greatly
heightened by the masses of heavy black hair hanging round it, quite
contrary to the usual fashion among the Winnebagoes. They, for the most
part, remove a portion of their hair, the remainder of which is drawn to
the back of the head, clubbed and ornamented with beads, ribbons, cock's
feathers, or, if they are so entitled, an eagle's feather for every
scalp taken from an enemy.

There was _Talk-English,_ a remarkably handsome, powerful young Indian,
who received his name in the following manner. He was one of a party of
sixteen Winnebagoes who had, by invitation, accompanied their Agent and
Major Forsyth (or the Chippewa, as he was called) on a visit to the
President at Washington, the year previous.

On the journey, the question naturally addressed to them by people not
familiar with Western Indians was,--

"Do you talk English?"

The young fellow, being very observant, came to his Father. "What do
they mean by this? Everybody says to me, _talk English!_"

The Agent interpreted the words to him. "Ah, very well."

The next place they arrived at was Lockport, in the State of New York.
Jumping off the canal-boat upon the lock, he ran up to the first man he
met, and, thrusting forward his face, cried out, "Talk Eengeesh?"

"Yes," said the man; "do you talk English?"


From that time forward he always bore the name of _Talk-English_, and
was registered on the pay-rolls by a title of which he was not a little

Hoo-wau-ne-kah, "the Little Elk," was another of the distinguished men
of the tribe. He had likewise been at Washington. Henry Clay, when he
visited them, after looking carefully at the countenances and bearing
of all the members of the deputation, had indicated him as the one
possessing the greatest talent; and he was greatly pleased when informed
that he was the principal orator of the nation, and decidedly superior
in abilities to any other individual of the tribe.

Wild-Cat, our Indian Falstaff in all save the cowardice and falsehood, I
have already mentioned.

Then there was Kau-ray-kaw-saw-kaw, "the White Crow," a Rock River
Indian, who afterwards distinguished himself as the friend of the whites
during the Sauk war. He was called by the French "le Borgne," from
having lost an eye; and the black silk handkerchief which he wore
drooping over the left side of his face to disguise the blemish, taken
with his native costume, gave him a very singular appearance.

There was a nephew of the defunct chief Four-Legs, to whom with justice
was given, by both whites and Indians, the appellation of "the Dandy."
When out of mourning his dress was of the most studied and fanciful
character. A shirt (when he condescended to wear any) of the brightest
colors, ornamented with innumerable rows of silver brooches set thickly
together; never less than two pairs of silver arm-bands; leggings and
moccasins of the most elaborate embroidery in ribbons and
porcupine-quills; everything that he could devise in the shape of
ornament hanging to his club of hair behind; a feather fan in one hand,
and in the other a mirror, in which he contemplated himself every five
minutes; these, with the variety and brilliancy of the colors upon his
face, the suitable choice and application of which occupied no small
portion of the hours allotted to his toilet, made up the equipment of
young Four-Legs.

This devotion to dress and appearance seemed not altogether out of
place in a youthful dandy; but we had likewise an old one of the same
stamp. Pawnee Blanc, or the White Pawnee, surpassed his younger
competitor, if possible, in attention to his personal attractions.

Upon the present occasion he appeared in all his finery, and went
through the customary salutations with an air of solemn dignity, then
walked, as did the others, into the parlor (for I had received them in
the hall), where they all seated themselves upon the floor. Fortunately,
the room was now bare of furniture, but "alas!" thought I, "for my
pretty carpet, if this is to be the way they pay their respects to me!"
I watched the falling of the ashes from their long pipes, and the other
inconveniences of the use of tobacco, or kin-nee-kin-nick, with absolute

The visit of the chiefs was succeeded by one from the interpreter and
his wife, with all the Canadian and half-breed women, whose husbands
found employment at the Agency or at the American Fur Company's

By this time my piano had been taken from its case and set up in our
quarters. To our great joy, we found it entirely uninjured. Thanks to
the skill of Nunns and Clark, not a note was out of tune.

The women, to whom it was an entire novelty, were loud in their
exclamations of wonder and delight.

"_Eh-h-h! regardez donc! Quelles inventions! Quelles merveilles!_"[13]

One, observing the play of my fingers reflected in the nameboard, called
in great exultation to her companions. She had discovered, as she
thought, the hidden machinery by which the sounds were produced, and was
not a little mortified when she was undeceived.



As the boats might be expected in a few days, it was thought best to
begin at once what preparations were in my power towards housekeeping.
These were simply the fitting and sewing of my carpets, in which I was
kindly assisted by Mrs. Twiggs; and, the wife of one of our Frenchmen
having come over from the Agency and made everything tidy and
comfortable, the carpets were soon tacked down, and the rooms were ready
for the reception of the rest of the furniture.

I had made many fruitless attempts, both in Detroit and Green Bay, to
procure a servant-woman to accompany me to my new home. Sometimes one
would present herself, but, before we could come to a final agreement,
the thoughts of the distance, of the savages, the hardships of the
journey, or, perhaps, the objections of friends, would interfere to
break off the negotiation; so that I had at length been obliged to rest
satisfied with the simple hope held out by my husband, that one of his
French employés, with his wife, would be contented to take up their
abode with us.

In this state of things, all difficulties seemed to be obviated by the
proposal of Major Twiggs, that we should take into our service a young
colored girl whom he had brought from Buffalo, in the spring, to wait on
Mrs. T. until her own servants should arrive from the South.

Louisa was accordingly sent for, an uncommonly handsome young negress,
with an intelligent but very demure countenance, who called herself
fifteen years of age, but who, from the progress in vice and iniquity I
afterwards discovered her to have made, must have been at least several
years older. Be that as it may, she now seemed to have no fault but
carelessness and inexperience, both of which I had great hopes she would
get the better of, under careful training.

My first week's visit with Mrs. Twiggs had just expired when word was
given that the boats were in sight--the boats that contained our
furniture--and the expected arrival of Louis Philippe to visit Queen
Victoria could scarcely have created a more universal sensation, than
did this announcement in our little community. Although we knew that
some hours must yet elapse before they could reach the spot for
disembarkation, we were constantly on the watch, and at length all the
young officers, followed by as many of the soldiers as were off duty,
accompanied Mr. Kinzie down the bank to the landing, to witness and, if
necessary, to assist in helping everything safe to land.

Sad was the plight in which matters were found. The water poured out of
the corners of the boxes as they were successively hoisted on shore. Too
impatient to wait until they could be carried up to the fort, the
gentlemen soon furnished themselves with, hammers and hatchets, and fell
eagerly to work, opening the boxes to explore the extent of the damage.
Alas for the mahogany! not a piece from which the edges and veneering
were not starting. It had all the appearance of having lain under the
Grande Chûte for days. Poor Hamilton was load in his protestations and

It was the fault of the men, of the weather, of the way the things were
packed. "Confound it! he had taken the best care of the things he
possibly could--better than he had ever taken before--it _would_ get

There was nothing but to be patient and make the best of it. And when
the pretty sideboard and work-table had been thoroughly rubbed and set
up, and all the little knick-knacks arranged on the mantel-piece--when
the white curtains were hung at the windows, and the chairs and
dining-table each in its proper place in relation to the piano, our
parlor was pronounced "magnificent." At least so seemed to think
Hamilton, who came to give one admiring look, and to hear the music of
the piano, which was a perfect novelty to him. His description of it to
the young officers, after his return to the Bay, was expressive of his
admiration and wonder--"There it stood on its four legs! Anybody might
go up and touch it!"

In due time the dinner- and tea-sets were carefully bestowed in the
"Davis," together with sundry jars of sweetmeats that I had prepared in
Detroit; the iron and tin utensils were placed in a neat cupboard in the
kitchen, of which my piano-box supplied the frame; the barrel of eggs
and tubs of butter, brought all the way from Ohio, were ranged in the
store-room; a suitable quantity of salt pork and flour was purchased
from the commissary; and, there being no lack of game of every
description, the offering of our red children, we were ready to commence

The first dinner in her own home is an era in the life of a young
housekeeper. I shall certainly never forget mine. While I was in the
lower regions superintending my very inexpert little cook, my husband
made his appearance, to say that, as the payment (then the all-absorbing
topic of interest) would not commence until afternoon, he had invited M.
Rolette, Mr. Hempstead, and four other gentlemen to dine with us.

"So unexpected--so unprepared for?"

"Never mind; give them anything you have. They have been living for
some days in tents, and anything will taste well to them."

My dinner had been intended to consist chiefly of a venison pasty, and
fortunately the only dish among my store was of very large proportions,
so that there was already smoking in the oven a pie of a size nearly
equal to the famous Norwich pudding; thus, with some trifling additions
to the bill of fare, we made out very well, and the master of the house
had the satisfaction of hearing the impromptu dinner very much commended
by his six guests.



There were two divisions of the Winnebago Indians, one of which was paid
by the Agent, at the Portage, the other at Prairie du Chien, by General
Street. The first, between four and five thousand in number, received,
according to treaty stipulations, fifteen thousand dollars annually,
besides a considerable amount of presents, and a certain number of
rations of bread and pork, to be issued in times of emergency throughout
the year.

The principal villages of this division of the tribe were at Lake
Winnebago, Green and Fox Lakes, the Barribault, Mud Lake, the Four
Lakes, Kosh-ko-nong, and Turtle Creek. Messengers were dispatched, at or
before the arrival of the annuity-money, to all the different villages,
to notify the heads of families or lodges to assemble at "the Portage."

When arrived, the masters of families, under their different chiefs,
give in their names, and the number in their lodges, to be registered.
As, in paying, a certain sum of money is apportioned to each individual,
it is, of course, an object to the head of a lodge to make the number
registered as great as possible. Each one brings his little bundle of
sticks, and presents it to the Agent to register. Sometimes a dialogue
like the following occurs:

"How many have you in your lodge?"

The Indian carefully, and with great ceremony, counts his bundle of

"How many men?"

"Two." The Agent lays aside two sticks

"How many women?"

"Three." Three more sticks are separated.

"How many children?"

"Eight" Eight sticks are added to the heap.

"What is the meaning of these two sticks that remain?"

The culprit, whose arithmetic has not served him to carry out his
deception, disappears amid the shouts and jeers of his companions, who
are always well pleased at the detection of any roguery in which they
have had no share.

The young officers generally assisted in counting out and delivering the
money at these payments, and it was no unusual thing, as the last band
came up, for the chiefs to take a quantity of silver out of the box and
request their Father to pay his friends for their trouble, seeming
really disturbed at his refusal. In this, as in almost every instance,
we see the native courtesy and politeness, which are never lost sight of
among them. If a party comes to their Father to beg for provisions, and
food is offered them, however hungry they may be, each waits patiently
until one of the company makes an equal distribution of the whole, and
then, taking his share, eats it quietly, with the greatest moderation. I
never saw this rule violated, save in one instance.

Our friend, Pawnee Blanc, _the Old Dandy_, once came with a party of
Indians, requesting permission to dance for us in the open space before
the door. It was a warm, dusty afternoon, and as our friends grew heated
and fatigued with the violent and long-continued exercise, a pitcher of
raspberry negus was prepared and sent out to them. Pawnee received the
pitcher and tumbler, and, pouring the latter about half full, gave it to
the first of the circle, then filled the same for the next, and so on,
until it suddenly occurred to him to look into the pitcher. What he saw
there determined his course of action; so, setting the tumbler upon the
ground, he raised the pitcher with both hands to his lips and gave a
hearty pull, after which he went on, giving less and less, until he was
called to have the pitcher replenished. All present agreed it was the
only instance they had ever witnessed, of an Indian's appearing afraid
of getting less of a thing than his share.

During the payment a good many kegs of whiskey find their way into the
lodges of the Indians, notwithstanding the watchfulness of both officers
and Agent. Where there is a demand there will always be a supply, let
the legal prohibitions be what they may. The last day of the payment is,
invariably, one of general carousing.

When the men begin their _frolic_, the women carefully gather all the
guns, knives, tomahawks, and weapons of every description, and secrete
them, that as little mischief as possible may be done in the absence of
all restraint and reason. I am sorry to record that our little friend,
Pawnee Blanc, was greatly addicted to the pleasures of the bottle.

Among the presents for the chiefs, which Shaw-nee-aw-kee had brought
from the East, was a trunk of blue cloth coats, trimmed with broad gold
lace, and a box of round black hats, ornamented in a similar manner. All
who are familiar with Indians, of whatever tribe, will have observed
that their first step towards civilization, whether in man or woman, is
mounting a man's hat, decorated with tinsel; ribbons, or feathers.
Pawnee was among the happy number remembered in the distribution; so,
donning at once his new costume, and tying a few additional bunches of
gay-colored ribbons to a long spear, that was always his baton of
ceremony, he came at once, followed by an admiring train, chiefly of
women, to pay me a visit of state.

The solemn gravity of his countenance, as he motioned away those who
would approach too near and finger his newly-received finery--the
dignity with which he strutted along, edging this way and that to avoid
any possible contact from homely, every-day wardrobes--augured well for
a continuance of propriety and self-respect, and a due consideration of
the good opinion of all around. But, alas for Pawnee! late in the day we
saw him assisted towards his lodge by two stout young Indians, who had
pulled him out of a ditch, his fine coat covered with mud, his hat
battered and bruised, his spear shorn of its gay streamers, and poor
Pawnee himself weeping and uttering all the doleful lamentations of a
tipsy Indian.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the women with whom I early made acquaintance was the wife of
Wau-kaun-zee-kah, _the Yellow Thunder_. She had accompanied her husband,
who was one of the deputation to visit the President, and from that time
forth she had been known as "the Washington woman." She had a pleasant,
old-acquaintance sort of air in greeting me, as much as to say, "You
and I have seen something of the world." No expression of surprise or
admiration escaped her lips, as her companions, with childlike, laughing
simplicity, exclaimed and clapped their hands at the different wonderful
objects I showed them. Her deportment said plainly, "Yes, yes, my
children, I have seen all these things before." It was not until I put
to her ear a tropical shell, of which I had a little cabinet, and she
heard its murmuring sound, that she laid aside her apathy of manner. She
poked her finger into the opening to get at the animal within, shook it
violently, then raised it to her ear again, and finally burst into a
hearty laugh, and laid it down, acknowledging, by her looks, that this
was beyond her comprehension.

I had one shell of peculiar beauty--my favorite in the whole
collection--a small conch, covered with rich, dark veins. Each of the
visitors successively took up this shell, and by words and gestures
expressed her admiration, evidently showing that she had an eye for
beauty--this was on the occasion of the parting visit of my red

Shortly after the payment had been completed, and the Indians had left,
I discovered that my valued shell was missing from the collection. Could
it be that one of the squaws had stolen it? It was possible--they would
occasionally, though rarely, do such things under the influence of
strong temptation. I tried to recollect which, among the party, looked
most likely to have been the culprit. It could not have been the
Washington woman--she was partly civilized, and knew better.

A few weeks afterwards Mrs. _Yellow Thunder_ again made her appearance,
and carefully unfolding a gay-colored chintz shawl, which she carried
rolled up in her hand, she produced the shell, and laid it on the table
before me. I did not know whether to show, by my countenance,
displeasure at the trick she had played me, or joy at receiving my
treasure back again, but at length decided that it was the best policy
to manifest no emotion whatever.

She prolonged her visit until my husband's return, and he then
questioned her about the matter.

"She had taken the shell to her village, to show to some of her people,
who did not come to the payment."

"Why had she not asked her mother's leave before carrying it away?"

"Because she saw that her mother liked the shell, and she was afraid she
would say, No."

This was not the first instance in which Madame Washington had displayed
the shrewdness which was a predominant trait in her character. During
the visit of the Indians to the Eastern cities, they were taken to
various exhibitions, museums, menageries, theatres, etc. It did not
escape their observation that some silver was always paid before
entrance, and they inquired the reason. It was explained to them. The
woman brightened up, as if struck with an idea.

"How much do you pay for each one?"

Her Father told her.

"How do you say that in English?"

"Two shillings."

"_Two shinnin--humph_" (good).

The next day, when, as usual, visitors began to flock to the rooms where
the Indians were sojourning, the woman and a young Indian, her
confederate, took their station by the door, which they kept closed.
When any one knocked, the door was cautiously opened, and the woman,
extending her hand, exclaimed--"_Two shinnin_."

This was readily paid in each instance, and the game went on, until she
had accumulated a considerable sum. But this did not satisfy her. At the
first attempt of a visitor to leave the room, the door was held close,
as before, the hand was extended, and "_Two shinnin_" again met his ear.
He tried to explain that, having paid for his entrance, he must go out
free. With an innocent shake of the head, "_Two shinnin_," was all the
English she could understand.

The Agent, who had entered a short time before, and who, overhearing the
dialogue, sat laughing behind his newspaper, waiting to see how it would
all end, now came forward and interfered, and the guests were permitted
to go forth without a further contribution.

The good woman was moreover admonished that it was far from the custom
of white people to tax their friends and visitors in this manner, and
that the practice must be laid aside in future.

Another instance of the disposition of the Indians to avail themselves
of all the goods that fortune throws in their way, was the following:

Upon the same trip, while passing through Ohio, one of the party
inquired of the Agent,--

"Do you pay for all those provisions that are set before us at the

"Yes. Why do you ask?"

"Nothing: I thought you perhaps paid for just what we ate of them."

At the next stopping-place a fine breakfast was set upon the table, of
which, as usual, they partook plentifully. Just as they had finished,
the horn sounded for all to take their places in the stage-coaches. Each
sprang to his feet. One seized the plates of biscuits and poured them
into the corner of his blanket; another the remains of a pair of
chickens; a third emptied the sugar-bowls; each laid hold of what was
nearest him, and in a trice nothing was left upon the table but the
empty plates and dishes. The landlord and waiters, meanwhile, stood
laughing and enjoying the trick as much as any of the spectators.

Upon another occasion, their Father had endeavored to impress upon them
the unseemliness of throwing their refuse pieces, bones, and fragments
of food about on the table-cloth, pointing out to them the orderly
manner of the whites at table, and the propriety of keeping everything
neat and nice around them.

At their next meal, they were served first with a chicken-pie, of which
they ate very heartily, and the accumulation of bones on their plates
was very abundant. Presently another and more favorite dish appeared,--a
fine, large, roasted turkey. A gentleman sat near, and was evidently
preparing to carve it. No time was to be lost. What was to be done with
the bones? They looked around in some perplexity. A large apple-pie was
standing near. The most eager drew it towards him, and quick as thought
all the bones were deposited upon it, while, with a triumphant laugh at
the happy idea, he coolly transferred the bird to his own dish, and
proceeded to distribute it among his companions. The amazed stranger
soon joined in the laugh at the unceremonious manner in which his share
of the dinner had vanished.



The payment was now over, and the Indians had dispersed and gone to
their wintering grounds. The traders, too, had departed, laden with a
good share of the silver, in exchange for which each family had provided
itself, as far as possible, with clothing, guns, traps, ammunition, and
the other necessaries for their winter use. The Indians are good at a
bargain. They are not easily overreached. On the contrary, they
understand at once when a charge is exorbitant; and a trader who tries
his shrewdness upon them is sure to receive an expressive _sobriquet_,
which ever after clings to him.

For instance, M. Rolette was called by them "Ah-kay-zaup-ee-tah," _five
more_--because, as they said, let them offer what number of skins they
might, in bartering for an article, his terms were invariably "five

Upon one occasion a lady remarked to him, "Oh, M. Rolette, I would not
be engaged in the Indian trade; it seems to me a system of cheating the
poor Indians."

"Let me tell you, madame," replied he, with great _naïveté_, "it is not
so easy a thing to cheat the Indians as you imagine. I have tried it
these twenty years, and have never succeeded!"

       *       *       *       *       *

We were now settled down to a quiet, domestic life. The military system
under which everything was conducted--the bugle-call, followed by the
music of a very good band, at reveille; the light, animated strains for
"sick-call," and soon after for "breakfast;" the longer ceremony of
"guard-mounting;" the "Old English Roast-Beef," to announce the
dinner-hour; the sweet, plaintive strains of "Lochaber no more,"
followed most incongruously by "The Little Cock-Sparrow," at retreat;
and, finally, the long, rolling "tattoo," late in the evening--made
pleasant divisions of our time, which, by the aid of books, music, and
drawing, in addition to household occupations, seemed to fly more
swiftly than ever before. It was on Sunday that I most missed my Eastern
home. I had planned beforehand what we should do on the first recurrence
of this sacred day, under our own roof. "We shall have at least," said I
to myself, "the Sabbath's quiet and repose, and I can, among other
things, benefit poor Louisa by giving her some additional lessons of a
serious character."

So, while she was removing the breakfast-things, I said to her,--

"Now, Louisa, get your work all finished, and everything put neatly
aside, and then come here to me again."

"Yes, ma'am."

We sat down to our books, and read and waited; we waited and read
another hour--no Louisa.

There was music and the sound of voices on the parade in front of our
windows, but that did not disturb us; it was what we were daily
accustomed to.

I must go at length, and see what could be keeping my damsel so. I
descended to the kitchen. The breakfast-things stood upon the table--the
kettles and spider upon the hearth--the fire was out--the kitchen empty.

Passing back into the hall, which extended the whole length of the house
and opened in front upon the parade, I perceived a group collected in
the area, of all shades and colors, and in the midst, one round, woolly
head which I could not mistake, bobbing up and down, now on this side,
now on that, while peals of laughter were issuing from the whole group.

"Louisa," I called, "come here. What are you doing there?"

"Looking at inspection."

"But why are not your breakfast-things washed, and your kitchen swept?
Did I not tell you I wished you to come up and learn your lessons?"

"Yes, ma'am; but I had to see inspection first. Everybody looks at
inspection on Sunday."

I found it was in vain to expect to do more for Louisa than give her an
afternoon's lesson, and with that I was obliged to content myself.

I felt that it would be very pleasant, and perhaps profitable, for all
the inmates of the garrison to assemble on this day; one of our number
might be found who would read a portion of the church-service, with a
sermon from one of our different selections.

I approached the subject cautiously, with an inquiry to this effect:

"Are there none among the officers who are religiously disposed?"

"Oh, yes," replied the one whom I addressed, "there is S----; when he is
half tipsy, he takes his Bible and 'Newton's Works,' and goes to bed and
cries over them; he thinks in this way he is excessively pious."

S---- was among the officers who had never called upon us; it was fair
to infer that if his religious principles did not correct his own evil
habits they would not aid much in improving others; therefore it seemed
useless to call in his co-operation in any scheme for a better
observance of the Lord's day.

We had to content ourselves with writing to our friends at the East to
interest themselves in getting a missionary sent to us, who should
officiate as chaplain in the garrison--a plan that seemed to find favor
with the officers. The hope of any united religious services was, for
the present, laid aside.

The post-surgeon having obtained a furlough, his place was supplied by
Dr. Newhall, of Galena, and thus, by the addition of his gentle, quiet
wife, our circle of ladies was now enlarged to three. Here we were, in a
wilderness, but yet how contented and happy!

A gloom was soon to replace this envied tranquillity in our home. A
Frenchman, named Letendre, one day suddenly presented himself. He had
come from Chicago, with the distressing intelligence of the
extreme--indeed, hopeless--illness of our dear relative, Dr. Wolcott. My
husband immediately commenced his preparations for instant departure. I
begged to be permitted to accompany him, but the rapidity with which he
proposed to journey obliged him to refuse my entreaties. In a few hours
his provisions, horses, and all other things necessary for the journey
were in readiness, and he set off with Petaille Grignon, his usual
attendant on such expeditions, leaving Letendre to follow as soon as
recruited from his fatigue.

Sad and dreary were the hours of his absence, notwithstanding the kind
efforts of our friends to cheer me. In a few days I received the news of
the fatal termination of Dr. W.'s illness, brought by another messenger.
That noble heart, so full of warm and kindly affections, had ceased to
beat, and sad and desolate indeed were those who had so loved and
honored him.

As soon as he could possibly leave his family, my husband returned; and
it was fortunate that he had delayed no longer, for the winter now began
to set in, and with severity.

Our quarters were spacious, but having been constructed of the green
trees of the forest, cut down and sawed into boards by the bands of the
soldiers, they were considerably given to shrinking and warping, thus
leaving many a yawning crevice. Stuffing the cracks with cotton batting,
and pasting strips of paper over them, formed the employment of many a
leisure hour.

Then the chimneys, spite of all the currents of air, which might have
been expected to create a draught, had a sad habit of smoking. To remedy
this, a couple of gun-barrels were, by order of the commanding officer,
sawed off and inserted in the hearth, one on each side of the
fire-place, in the hope that the air from the room below might help to
carry the smoke into its proper place, the chimney.

The next morning after this had been done, Louisa was washing the

"Pray, ma'am," said she, "what are these things put in here for?"

I explained their use.

"Oh, I am so glad it is only that! Uncle Ephraim (Major Twiggs's
servant) said they were to be filled with powder and fired off Christmas
Day, and he was terribly afraid they would blow the house up, and we in

Ephraim, who was a most faithful and valuable servant, often amused
himself with playing upon the credulity of the younger portions of the
colored fraternity.

"Is it true," asked Louisa, one day, "that Pillon and Plante were once

"Prairie-wolves! what an idea! Why do you ask such a foolish question?"

"Because Uncle Ephraim says they, and all the Frenchmen about here, were
once prairie-wolves, and that, living so near the white people, they
grow, after a time, to be like them, and learn to talk and dress like
them. And then, when they get to be old, they turn back into
prairie-wolves again, and that all the wolves that the officers bait
with their dogs used to be Frenchmen, once."

After a time, however, I ceased to straighten out these stories of Uncle
Ephraim, for I was gradually arriving at the conviction that my little
colored damsel was by no means so simple and unsophisticated as she
would have me believe, and that I was, after all, the one who was
imposed upon.

The snow this winter was prodigious, and the cold intense. The water
would freeze in our parlors at a very short distance from the fire, for,
although the "fatigue-parties" kept the halls filled with wood, almost
up to the ceiling, that did not counterbalance the inconvenience of
having the wide doors thrown open to the outer air for a great portion
of the day, to allow of their bringing it in. We Northerners should have
had wood-houses specially for the purpose, and not only have kept our
great hall-doors closed, but have likewise protected them with a
"hurricane-house." But the Florida frontier was not a climate in which
our Southern bachelors could have acquired the knowledge available when
the thermometer was twenty-five degrees below zero--a point at which
brandy congealed in the sideboard.

The arrival of Christmas and New-Year's brought us our Indian friends
again. They had learned something of the observance of these holidays
from their French neighbors, and I had been forewarned that I should see
the squaws kissing every white man they met. Although not crediting this
to its full extent, I could readily believe that they would each expect
a present, as a "compliment of the season," so I duly prepared myself
with a supply of beads, ribbons, combs, and other trinkets. Knowing
them to be fond of dainties, I had also a quantity of crullers and
doughnuts made ready the day before, as a treat to them.

To my great surprise and annoyance, only a moderate share of the cakes,
the frying of which had been intrusted to Louisa, were brought up to be
placed in the "Davis."

"Where are the rest of the cakes, Louisa?"

"That great fellow, Hancock, came in with the fatigue-party to fill the
water-barrels, and while I had just stepped into the store-room to get
some more flour, he carried off all I had got cooked."

And Louisa made a face and whined, as if she had not herself treated
every soldier who had set his foot in the premises.

At an early hour the next morning I had quite a levee of the
Ho-tshung-rah matrons. They seated themselves in a circle on the floor,
and I was sorry to observe that the application of a little soap and
water to their blankets had formed no part of their holiday
preparations. There being no one to interpret, I thought I would begin
the conversation in a way intelligible to themselves, so I brought out
of the sideboard a china dish, filled with the nice brown crullers, over
which I had grated, according to custom, a goodly quantity of white
sugar. I handed it to the first of the circle. She took the dish from my
hand, and, deliberately pouring all the cakes into the corner of her
blanket, returned it to me empty. "She must be a meat voracious person,"
thought I; "but I will manage better the next time." I refilled the
dish, and approached the next one, taking care to keep a fast hold of it
as I offered the contents, of which I supposed she would modestly take
one. Not so, however. She scooped out the whole with her two hands, and,
like the former, bestowed them in her blanket. My sense of politeness
revolted at handing them out one by one, as we do to children, so I sat
down to deliberate what was to be done, for evidently the supply would
not long answer such an ample demand, and there would be more visitors

While I was thus perplexed, those who had received the cakes commenced a
distribution, and the whole number was equitably divided among the
company. But I observed they did not eat them. They passed their fingers
over the grated sugar, looked in each other's faces, and muttered in low
tones--there was evidently something they did not understand. Presently
one more adventurous than the rest wet her fingers, and taking up a few
grains of the sugar put it cautiously to her mouth.

"Tah-nee-zhoo-rah!" (Sugar!) was her delighted exclamation, and they all
broke out into a hearty laugh. It is needless to say that the cakes
disappeared with all the celerity they deemed compatible with
good-breeding. Never having seen any sugar but the brown or yellow
maple, they had supposed the white substance to be salt, and for that
reason had hesitated to taste it.

Their visit was prolonged until Shaw-nee-aw-kee made his appearance, and
then, having been made happy by their various gifts, they all took their

About this time, Mr. Kinzie received a letter from Colonel Richard M.
Johnson, of Kentucky. This gentleman had interested himself greatly in a
school established in that State for the education of Indian youths and
children. The purport of his letter was to request the Agent to use
every endeavor to induce the Winnebagoes not only to send their children
to this institution for their education, but also (what was still more
important) to set apart a portion of their annuity-money to assist in
sustaining it.

There happened to be, at this holiday season, a number of the chiefs in
the neighborhood of the Portage, and a messenger was sent to convene
them all at the house of Paquette, the interpreter, that their Father
might hold a talk with them.

On the day appointed they all assembled. The subject-matter of the
letter was laid before them, and all the advantages of civilization and
education duly set forth--the benefits which would arise to their
nation, if even a small portion of the younger members could be well
taught by the whites, and then return to their tribe, to instruct them
in the learning, the arts, manufactures, and habits of civilized life.
To each paragraph, as it was uttered to them, they responded with a
unanimous "Humph!" (Good!)

When their Father's address was ended, _Day-kau-ray_, the oldest and
most venerable among the chiefs, rose and spoke as follows:

"Father,--The Great Spirit made the white man and the Indian. He did not
make them alike. He gave the white man a heart to love peace, and the
arts of a quiet life. He taught him to live in towns, to build houses,
to make books, to learn all things that would make him happy and
prosperous in the way of life appointed him. To the red man the Great
Spirit gave a different character. He gave him a love of the woods, of a
free life, of hunting and fishing, of making war with his enemies and
taking scalps. The white man does not live like the Indian--it is not
his nature. Neither does the Indian love to live like the white man--the
Great Spirit did not make him so.

"Father,--We do not wish to do anything contrary to the will of the
Great Spirit. If he had made us with white skins, and characters like
the white men, then we would send our children to this school to be
taught like the white children.

"Father,--We think that if the Great Spirit had wished us to be like
the whites, he would have made us so. As he has not seen fit to do so,
we believe he would be displeased with us, to try and make ourselves
different from what he thought good.

"Father,--I have nothing more to say. This is what we think. If we
change our minds, we will let you know."

It will be seen from these remarks of Day-kau-ray that the Indians
entertain a conviction that the Great Spirit himself teaches the white
man the arts and sciences, and since he has given the red man no
instruction in these branches, it would be unbecoming in him to attempt
to acquire them in an irregular manner.

With little incidents of this kind, and with an occasional dinner- or
tea-party to the young officers, sometimes given at the Major's
quarters, sometimes at our own, our course of life passed pleasantly on.
At times I would amuse myself by making something _very nice_, in the
form of a fruit cake or pie, to send to the quarters of the young
officers as a present, it being supposed that possibly, without a lady
to preside over their mess, it might be sometimes deficient in these
delicacies. Mrs. Twiggs was so fortunate as to have well-trained
servants to do for her that which, thanks to my little dark handmaid,
always fell to my share.

One day I had made some mince pies, which the Major and my husband
greatly approved, and I thought I would send one to each of the young

It happened that my husband, that day, in returning from superintending
his men on the other side of the river, had occasion to call on some
errand at Captain Harney's quarters.

Dinner had just been placed upon the table, and the Captain insisted on
his visitor's sitting down and partaking with him and another gentleman
who was present. The pork and beans were pronounced excellent, and being
removed there followed a mince pie.

The Captain cut it, and helped his guests, then taking a piece himself,
he commenced tasting it. Pushing back his plate with an exclamation and
a sudden jerk, he called to his servant, a little thick-set mulatto who
waited--"David, you yellow rascal, how dare you put such a pie on my
table?" And, turning to the company apologetically, he said,--

"If there is anything on earth David _does_ understand, it is how to
make a mince pie, and here he has filled this with brandy, so we cannot
eat a morsel of it!"

"Please, sir," said David, modestly, "I did not make the pie--it is one
Mrs. Kinzie sent as a present."

The poor Captain was now in a predicament. He raved at himself, at the
same time conjuring my husband most earnestly not to tell me what a
mistake he had made--an injunction that was lost sight of as soon as the
latter returned to his home. As for the unlucky Captain, he did not
venture to call on me again until he felt sure I had forgotten the



Early in January the snow fell in great abundance. We had an unusual
quantity at the Portage, but in "the diggings," as the lead-mining
country was called, it was of an unheard-of depth--five or six feet upon
a level.

An express had been dispatched to Chicago by the officers to take our
letters, and bring back the mail from that place. A tough, hardy
soldier, named Sulky, acted as messenger, and he had hitherto made light
of his burden or the length of the way, notwithstanding that his task
was performed on foot with his pack upon his shoulders. But now Sulky
had been absent some weeks, and we had given him up entirely, persuaded
that he must have perished with cold and starvation.

At length he appeared, nearly blind from travelling in the snow. He had
lain by three weeks in an Indian lodge, the snow being too deep to
permit him to journey. The account he gave put an end to the hopes I had
begun to entertain of being able to visit our friends at Chicago in the
course of this winter.

We had, before the last heavy fall of snow, been forming plans to that
effect. Captain Harney had kindly commenced preparing some trains, or
boxes placed on sledges, which it was thought would, when lined with
buffalo-skins, furnish a very comfortable kind of vehicle for the
journey; and I was still inclined to think a good, deep bed of snow over
the whole country no great obstacle to a sleigh-ride. The whole matter
was, however, cut short by the commanding officer, who from the first
had violently opposed the scheme, declaring that he would order the
sentinels to fire on us if we attempted to leave the fort. So, finding
the majority against us, we were obliged to yield.

The arrival of sweet, lovely little Lizzie Twiggs, before January was
quite past, was an event that shed light and joy in at least two
dwellings. It seemed as if she belonged to all of us, and as she
increased in size and beauty it was hard to say who, among us all, was
most proud of her. If we had ever felt any languid hours before, we
could have none now--she was the pet, the darling, the joint property of
both households.

Whatever regret I might have had, previous to this event, at the idea
of leaving my friend for the three weeks to which we proposed to limit
our visit to Chicago, I felt now that she would scarcely miss me, and
that we might hold ourselves in readiness to take advantage of the first
improvement in the weather, to put this favorite project in execution.

During the latter part of February the cold became less severe. The
snows melted away, and by the beginning of March the weather was so warm
and genial, that we were quite confident of being able to make the
journey on horseback without any serious difficulty.

Our plans once settled upon, the first thing to be provided was warm and
comfortable apparel. A riding-habit of stout broadcloth was pronounced
indispensable to my equipment. But of such an article I was destitute.
Nothing among my wedding travelling gear seemed in any way to offer a
substitute. What was to be done? The requisite material was to be found
in abundance at the sutler's store (_the shantee_, as it was technically
termed), but how to get it manufactured into a suitable garment was the

The regimental tailor was summoned. He was cook to one of the companies,
and there were at first some doubts whether he could be permitted to
forsake the spit for the needle, during the time I should require his
services. All his tailoring-work had, heretofore, been done at odd times
on a bench in the company kitchen, and thither he now proposed to carry
the riding-habit. I suggested that, in order to superintend the work, I
should thus be driven to take up my abode for the time being in the
barracks, which would be a decided inconvenience.

To remedy the difficulty, he was finally so happy as to find a soldier
in "Company D," who consented to officiate in his place as cook until
his term of service to me should expire.

Behold, then, a little, solemn-looking man in his stocking-feet, seated
cross-legged on an Indian mat by my parlor window. He had made all his
arrangements himself, and I deemed it wisest not to interfere with him.
The cutting-out was the most difficult part, and, as he had never made a
lady's riding-habit, that task fell to my share. I was as great a novice
as himself, and I must admit that this, my first effort, was open to
criticism. But the little tailor was of a different opinion. He was in
an ecstasy with our joint performance.

"Upon my word, madam," he would exclaim, surveying it with admiring
eyes, "we shall have a very respectable garment!" I do not know how many
times he repeated this during the three days that the work was in

I believe he had not perfect confidence in the culinary powers of his
comrade of "Company D," for regularly a half-hour before beat of drum
his work was folded and laid aside, his snips gathered up, and, all
things being restored to order, he would slip out, resume his shoes,
which, _Turk-like_, he had left outside the door, and speed over to the
barrack-kitchen to see how matters were going on.

In the mean time, great preparations were making below, under the
supervision of our tidy, active little French servant, Mrs. Pillon, the
wife of one of the _engagés_, by whom the irregular and unmanageable
Louisa had been replaced.

Biscuits were baked, a ham, some tongues, and sundry pieces of salt pork
were boiled, coffee roasted and ground, sugar cracked, isinglass cut in
pieces of the size requisite for a pot of coffee. For the reception of
all these different articles cotton bags of different sizes had been
previously prepared. Large sacks of skin, called by the Canadians
_porches_, were also provided to hold the more bulky provisions, for our
journey was to be a long one.

The distance from Fort Winnebago to Chicago was not very formidable, it
is true, if the direct route were taken; but that we knew to be
impossible at this season of the year. The route by Kosh-ko-nong was out
of the question; all the Indians being absent from their villages in the
winter, and the ice being now gone, we could have no means of crossing
the Rock River at that place.

There remained therefore no alternative but to proceed south to Dixon,
or, as it was then called, Ogie's Ferry, the only certain means of
crossing this broad and rapid stream. This route being so much out of
our direct course that we could not hope to accomplish it in less than
six days, it was necessary to prepare accordingly.

While the wardrobe and provisions were thus in preparation, arrangements
were also being made as to our retinue and mode of conveyance.

Mr. Kinzie decided to take with him but two men: Plante and Pierre
Roy,--the former to act as guide, on the assurance that he knew every
mile of the way, from the Portage to Ogie's Ferry, and from Ogie's Ferry
to Chicago.

The claims of the different saddle-horses were discussed, and the most
eligible one was selected for my use. We hesitated for a time between
"Le Gris" and "Souris," two much-vaunted animals, belonging to Paquette,
the interpreter. At length, being determined, like most of my sex, by a
regard for exterior, I chose "Le Gris," and "Souris" was assigned to
young Roy; my own little stumpy pony, "Brunet," being pronounced just
the thing for a pack-saddle. My husband rode his own bay horse "Tom,"
while Plante, the gayest and proudest of the party, bestrode a fine,
large animal called "Jerry," which had lately been purchased for my use;
and thus was our _cortége_ complete.



Having taken a tender leave of our friends, the morning of the 8th of
March saw us mounted and equipped for our journey. The weather was
fine--the streams, already fringed with green, were sparkling in the
sun--everything gave promise of an early and genial season. In vain,
when we reached the ferry at the foot of the hill on which the fort
stood, did Major Twiggs repeat his endeavors to dissuade us from
commencing a journey which he assured me would be perilous beyond what I
could anticipate. I was resolute.

Our party was augmented by an escort of all the young officers, who
politely insisted on accompanying us as far as Duck Creek, four miles
distant. Indeed, there were some who would gladly have prosecuted the
whole journey with us, and escaped the monotony of their solitary,
uneventful life. In our rear followed an ox cart, on which was perched a
canoe, destined to transport us over the creek, and also an extensive
marsh beyond it, which was invariably, at this season, overflowed with
water to a considerable depth. We had much amusement in watching the
progress of this vehicle as it bumped and thumped over the road,
unconscious hitherto of the dignity of a wheeled carriage.

Our little, shock-headed, sunburnt, thick-lipped Canadian (who happened
most miraculously to be the husband of my pretty servant, Mrs. Pillon)
shouted vociferously as the animals lagged in their pace, or jolted
against a stump, "_Marchez, don-g_," "_regardez_," "_prenez garde_," to
our infinite diversion. I was in high spirits, foreseeing no hardships
or dangers, but rather imagining myself embarked on a pleasure excursion
across the prairies. It had not even suggested itself to me that a straw
bonnet and kid gloves were no suitable equipment for such an expedition.
Never having travelled at so inclement a season, I was heedlessly
ignorant of the mode of preparing against it, and had resisted or
laughed at my husband's suggestions to provide myself with blanket
socks, and a woollen _capuchon_ for my head and shoulders. And now,
although the wind occasionally lifted my head-gear with a rude puff, and
my hands ere long became swollen and stiffened with the cold, I
persuaded myself that these were trifling evils, to which I should soon
get accustomed. I was too well pleased with the novelty of my outfit,
with my hunting-knife in a gay scabbard hanging from my neck, and my tin
cup at my saddle-bow, to regard minor inconveniences.

On reaching Duck Creek, we took leave of our young friends, who remained
on the bank long enough to witness our passage across--ourselves in the
canoe, and the poor horses swimming the stream, now filled with cakes of
floating ice.

Beyond the rising ground which formed the opposite bank of the stream,
extended a marsh of perhaps three hundred yards across. To this the men
carried the canoe which was to bear us over. The water was not deep, so
our attendants merely took off the pack from Brunet and my side-saddle
from Le Gris, for fear of accidents, and then mounted their own steeds,
leading the two extra ones. My husband placed the furniture of the
pack-horse and my saddle in the centre of the canoe, which he was to
paddle across.

"Now, wifie," said he, "jump in, and seat yourself flat in the bottom of
the canoe."

"Oh, no," said I; "I will sit on the little trunk in the centre; I shall
be so much more comfortable, and I can balance the canoe exactly."

"As you please; but I think you will find it is not the best way."

A vigorous push sent us a few feet from the bank. At that instant two
favorite greyhounds whom we had brought with us, and who had stood
whining upon the bank, reluctant to take to the water as they were
ordered, gave a sudden bound, and alighted full upon me. The canoe
balanced a moment--then yielded--and, quick as thought, dogs, furniture,
and lady were in the deepest of the water.

My husband, who was just preparing to spring into the canoe when the
dogs thus unceremoniously took precedence of him, was at my side in a
moment, and, seizing me by the collar of my cloak, begged me not to be
frightened. I was not, in the least, and only laughed as he raised and
placed me again upon the bank.

The unfortunate saddle and little trunk were then rescued, but not until
they had received a pretty thorough wetting. Our merriment was still
further increased by the sight of the maladroit Pillon, who was
attempting to ride my spirited Jerry across the marsh. He was clinging
to the neck of the animal, with a countenance distorted with terror, as
he shouted forth all manner of French objurgations. Jerry pranced and
curveted, and finally shot forward his rider, or rather his _burden_,
headforemost, a distance of several feet into the water.

A general outcry of mirth saluted the unfortunate Frenchman, which was
redoubled as he raised himself puffing and snorting from his watery bed
and waddled back to his starting-place, the horse, meanwhile, very
sensibly making his way to join his companions, who had already reached
the farther bank.

"Well, wifie," said Mr. Kinzie, "I cannot trust you in the canoe again.
There is no way but to carry you across the marsh like a pappoose. Will
you take a ride on my shoulders?"

"With all my heart, if you will promise to take me safely." And I was
soon mounted.

I most confess that the gentleman staggered now and then under his
burden, which was no slight one, and I was sadly afraid, more than once,
that I should meet a similar fate to old Pillon, but happily we reached
the other side in safety.

There my husband insisted on my putting on dry shoes and stockings, and
(must I confess it?) drinking a little brandy, to obviate the effects of
my icy bath. He would fain have made a halt to kindle a fire and dry my
apparel and wardrobe properly, but this I would not listen to. I
endeavored to prove to him that the delay would expose me to more cold
than riding in my wet habit and cloak, and so indeed it might have been,
but along with my convictions upon the subject there was mingled a spice
of reluctance that our friends at the fort should have an opportunity,
as they certainly would have done, of laughing at our inauspicious

Soon our horses were put in order, and our march recommenced. The day
was fine for the season. I felt no inconvenience from my wet garments,
the exercise of riding taking away all feeling of chilliness. It was to
me a new mode of travelling, and I enjoyed it the more from having been
secluded for more than five months within the walls of the fort,
scarcely varying the tenor of our lives by an occasional walk of half a
mile into the surrounding woods.

We had still another detention upon the road, from meeting Lapierre, the
blacksmith, from Sugar Creek, who with one of his associates was going
to the Portage for supplies, so that we had not travelled more than
twenty-three miles when we came to our proposed encamping-ground. It was
upon a beautiful stream, a tributary of one of the Four Lakes,[14] that
chain whose banks are unrivalled for romantic loveliness.

I could not but admire the sagacity of the horses, who seemed, with
human intelligence, to divine our approach to the spot where their toils
were to cease. While still remote from the point of woods which foretold
a halt, they pricked up their ears, accelerated their pace, and finally
arrived at the spot on a full gallop.

We alighted at an open space, just within the verge of the wood, or, as
it is called by Western travellers, "the timber." My husband recommended
to me to walk about until a fire should be made, which was soon
accomplished by our active and experienced woodsmen, to whom the felling
of a large tree was the work of a very few minutes. The dry grass around
furnished an excellent tinder, which, ignited by the sparks from the
flint (there were no _loco-focos_ in those days), and aided by the
broken branches and bits of light-wood, soon produced a cheering flame.
"The bourgeois," in the mean time, busied himself in setting up the
tent, taking care to place it opposite the fire, but in such a direction
that the wind would carry the smoke and flame away from the opening or
door. Within upon the ground were spread, first a bear-skin, then two
or three blankets (of which each equestrian had carried two, one under
the saddle and one above it), after which, the remainder of the luggage
being brought in, I was able to divest myself of all my wet clothing and
replace it with dry. Some idea of the state of the thermometer may be
formed from the fact that my riding-habit, being placed over the end of
the huge log against which our fire was made, was, in a very few
minutes, frozen so stiff as to stand upright, giving the appearance of a
dress out of which a lady had vanished in some unaccountable manner.

It would be but a repetition of our experience upon the Fox River to
describe the ham broiled upon the "broches," the toasted bread, the
steaming coffee, the primitive table-furniture. There is, however, this
difference, that of the latter we carry with us in our journeys on
horseback only a coffee-pot, a tea-kettle, and each rider his tin cup
and hunting-knife. The deportment at table is marked by an absence of
ceremony. The knife is drawn from the scabbard--those who remember to do
so, vouchsafe it a wipe upon the napkin. Its first office is to stir the
cup of coffee--next, to divide the piece of ham which is placed on the
half of a travelling biscuit, held in the left hand, to fulfil the
office of a plate. It is an art only to be acquired by long practice, to
cut the meat so skilfully as not at the same time to destroy the dish.

We take our places around the mat to enjoy what, after our fatiguing
ride, we find delicious food. The Frenchmen are seated at a little
distance, receiving their supplies of coffee, meat, and bread, and
occasionally passing jokes with the bourgeois, who is their demi-god,
and for whom their respect and devotion are never lessened by his
affability or condescension.

The meal being finished, the table-furniture is rinsed in hot water and
set aside until morning. A wisp of dry prairie-grass is supposed in most
cases to render the knife fit to be restored to the scabbard, and there
being, at this season of the year, no amusement but that of watching the
awkward movements of the spancelled horses in their progress from spot
to spot in search of pasturage, we are usually soon disposed to arrange
our blankets and retire to rest.

At break of day we are aroused by the shout of the bourgeois,--

"How! how! how!"

All start from their slumbers. The fire, which has been occasionally
replenished through the night, is soon kindled into a flame. The horses
are caught and saddled, while a breakfast, similar in kind to the meal
of the preceding evening, is preparing--the tent is struck--the
pack-horse loaded--"_tout démanché_," as the Canadian says. The
breakfast finished, we rinse our kettles and cups, tie them to our
saddle-bows, and then mount and away, leaving our fire, or rather our
smoke, to tell of our visit.

March 9th.--Our journey this day led us past the first of the Four
Lakes. Scattered along its banks was an encampment of Winnebagoes. They
greeted their Father with vociferous joy--"_Bon-jour, bon-jour,
Shaw-nee-aw-kee_," "_Hee-nee-kar-ray-kay-noo?_" (how do you do?)

To this succeeded the usual announcement, "_Wys-kap-rah
tshoonsh-koo-nee-noh!_" (I have no bread.)

This is their form of begging; but we could not afford to be generous,
for the uncertainty of obtaining a supply, should our own be exhausted,
obliged us to observe the strictest economy.

How beautiful the entrapment looked in the morning sun! The matted
lodges, with the blue smoke curling from their tops--the trees and
bushes powdered with a light snow which had fallen through the
night--the lake, shining and sparkling, almost at our feet--even the
Indians, in their peculiar costume, adding to the picturesque!

I was sorry to leave it, as we were compelled to do, in all haste,
Souris, the pack-horse, having taken it into his head to decamp while we
were in conversation with our red friends. As he had, very sensibly,
concluded to pursue his journey in the right direction, we had the good
fortune to overtake him after a short race, and, having received much
scolding and some blows from young Roy, whose charge he specially was,
he was placed in the middle of the cavalcade, as a mark of disgrace for
his breach of duty.

Our road, after leaving the lake, lay over a "rolling prairie," now bare
and desolate enough. The hollows were filled with snow, which, being
partly thawed, furnished an uncertain footing for the horses, and I
could not but join in the ringing laughter of oar Frenchmen as
occasionally Brunet and Souris, the two ponies, would flounder, almost
imbedded, through the yielding mass. Even the vainglorious Plante, who
piqued himself on his equestrian skill, was once or twice nearly
unhorsed, from having chosen his road badly. Sometimes the elevations
were covered with a thicket or copse, in which our dogs would generally
rouse up one or more deer. Their first bound, or "lope," was the signal
for a chase. The horses seemed to enter into the spirit of it, as
"halloo" answered "halloo;" but we were never so fortunate as to get a
shot at one, for although the dogs once or twice caught they were not
strong enough to hold them. It was about the middle of the afternoon
when we reached the Blue Mound. I rejoiced much to have got so far, for
I was sadly fatigued, and every mile now seemed like two to me. In fact,
the miles are unconscionably long in this country. When I was told that
we had still seven miles to go, to "Morrison's," where we proposed
stopping for the night, I was almost in despair. It was my first journey
on horseback, and I had not yet become inured to the exercise.

When we reached Morrison's I was so much exhausted that, as my husband
attempted to lift me from the saddle, I fell into his arms.

"This will never do," said he. "To-morrow we must turn our faces towards
Fort Winnebago again."

The door opened hospitably to receive us. We were welcomed by a lady
with a most sweet, benignant countenance, and by her companion, some
years younger. The first was Mrs. Morrison--the other, Miss Elizabeth
Dodge, daughter of General Dodge.

My husband laid me upon a small bed, in the room where the ladies had
been sitting at work. They took off my bonnet and riding-dress, chafed
my hands, and prepared me some warm wine and water, by which I was soon
revived. A half-hour's repose so refreshed me that I was able to
converse with the ladies, and to relieve my husband's mind of all
anxiety on my account. Tea was announced soon after, and we repaired to
an adjoining building, for Morrison's, like the establishment of all
settlers of that period, consisted of a group of detached log houses or
_cabins_, each containing one or at most two apartments.

The table groaned with good cheer, and brought to mind some that I had
seen among the old-fashioned Dutch residents on the banks of the Hudson.

I had recovered my spirits, and we were quite a cheerful party. Mrs.
Morrison told us that during the first eighteen months she passed in
this country she did not speak with a white woman, the only society she
had being that of her husband and two black servant-women.

A Tennessee woman had called in with her little son just before tea,
and we amused Mr. Kinzie with a description of the pair. The mother's
visit was simply one of courtesy. She was a little, dumpy woman, with a
complexion burned perfectly red by the sun, and hair of an exact
tow-color, braided up from her forehead in front and from her neck
behind. These tails, meeting on the top of her head, were fastened with
a small tin comb. Her dress was of checkered homespun, a "very tight
fit," and, as she wore no ruff or handkerchief around her neck, she
looked as if just prepared for execution. She was evidently awestruck at
the sight of visitors, and seemed inclined to take her departure at
once; but the boy, not so easily intimidated, would not understand her
signs and pinches until he had sidled up to Mrs. Morrison, and, drawing
his old hat still farther over his eyes, begged for a _whang_, meaning a
narrow strip of deer-skin. The lady very obligingly cut one from a large
smoked skin, which she produced from its receptacle, and mother and son
took their leave, with a smiling but rather a scared look.

After tea we returned to Mrs. Morrison's parlor, where she kindly
insisted on my again reposing myself on the little bed, to recruit me,
as she said, for the ensuing day's journey. My husband, in the mean
time, went to look after the accommodation of his men and horses.

During the conversation that ensued, I learned that Mrs. Morrison had
passed much time in the neighborhood of my recent home in Oneida County,
that many of the friends I had loved and valued were likewise her
friends, and that she had even proposed to visit me at Fort Winnebago on
hearing of my arrival there, in order to commence an acquaintance which
had thus been brought about by other and unexpected means.

Long and pleasant was the discourse we held together until a late hour,
and mutual was the satisfaction with which we passed old friends and
by-gone events in review, much to the edification of Miss Dodge, and of
the gentlemen when they once more joined us.



The next morning, after a cheerful breakfast, at which we were joined by
the Rev. Mr. Kent, of Galena, we prepared for our journey. I had
reconciled my husband to continuing our route towards Chicago, by
assuring him that I felt as fresh and bright as when I first set out
from home.

There seemed some apprehension, however, that we might have difficulty
in "striking the trail" to Hamilton's _diggings_, our next point of

The directions we received were certainly obscure. We were to pursue a
given trail for a certain number of miles, when we should come to a
crossing into which we were to turn, taking an easterly direction; after
a time, this would bring us to a deep trail leading straight to
Hamilton's. In this open country there are no landmarks. One elevation
is so exactly like another, that if you lose your trail there is almost
as little hope of regaining it as of finding a pathway in the midst of
the ocean.[15]

The trail, it must be remembered, is not a broad highway, but a narrow
path, deeply indented by the hoofs of the horses on which the Indians
travel in single file. So deeply is it sunk in the sod which covers the
prairies, that it is difficult, sometimes, to distinguish it at a
distance of a few rods.

It was new ground to Mr. Kinzie, whose journeys from the Portage to
Chicago had hitherto been made in the direct route by Kosh-ko-nong. He
therefore obliged Mr. Morrison to repeat the directions again and again,
though Plante, our guide, swaggered and talked big, averring that "he
knew every hill and stream and point of woods from that spot to

We had not proceeded many miles on our journey, however, before we
discovered that Monsieur Plante was profoundly ignorant of the country,
so that Mr. Kinzie was obliged to take the lead himself, and make his
way as he was best able, according to the directions he had received.
Nothing, however, like the "cross trails" we had been promised met our
view, and the path on which we had set out diverged so much from what we
knew to be the right direction, that we were at length compelled to
abandon it altogether.

We travelled the livelong day, barely making a halt at noon to bait our
horses and refresh ourselves with a luncheon. The ride was as gloomy and
desolate as could well be imagined. A rolling prairie, unvaried by
forest or stream--hillock rising after hillock, at every ascent of which
we vainly hoped to see a distant fringe of "_timber_." But the same
cheerless, unbounded prospect everywhere met the eye, diversified only
here and there by the oblong openings, like gigantic graves, which
marked an unsuccessful search for indications of a lead-mine.

So great was our anxiety to recover our trail, for the weather was
growing more cold, and the wind more sharp and piercing, that we were
not tempted to turn from our course even by the appearance, more than
once, of a gaunt prairie-wolf, peering over the nearest rising-ground
and seeming to dare us to an encounter. The Frenchmen, it is true, would
instinctively give a shout and spur on their horses, while the hounds,
Kelda and Cora, would rush to the chase; but the bourgeois soon called
them back, with a warning that we must attend strictly to the
prosecution of our journey. Just before sunset we crossed, with some
difficulty, a muddy stream, which was bordered by a scanty belt of
trees, making a tolerable encamping-ground; and of this we gladly
availed ourselves, although we knew not whether it was near or remote
from the place we were in search of.

We had ridden at least fifty miles since leaving Morrison's, yet I was
sensible of very little fatigue; there was, however, a vague feeling of
discomfort at the idea of being lost in this wild, cold region,
altogether different from anything I had ever before experienced. The
encouraging tones of my husband's voice, however, "Cheer up, wifie--we
will find the trail to-morrow," served to dissipate all uneasiness.

The exertions of the men soon made our "camp" comfortable,
notwithstanding the difficulty of driving the tent-pins into the frozen
ground, and the want of trees sufficiently large to make a _rousing_
fire. The place was a _stony side-hill,_ as it would be called in New
England, where such things abound; but we were not disposed to be
fastidious, so we ate our salt ham and toasted our bread, and lent a
pleased ear to the chatter of our Frenchmen, who could not sufficiently
admire the heroism of "Madame John" amid the vicissitudes that befell

The wind, which at bed-time was sufficiently high to be uncomfortable,
increased during the night. It snowed heavily, and we were every moment
in dread that the tent would be carried away; but the matter was settled
differently by the snapping of the poles, and the falling of the whole,
with its superincumbent weight of snow, in a mass upon us.

Mr. Kinzie roused up his men, and at their head he sallied into the
neighboring wood to cut a new set of poles, leaving me to bear the
burden of the whole upon my shoulders, my only safety from the storm
being to keep snugly housed beneath the canvas.

With some difficulty a sort of support was at length adjusted for the
tent-covering, which answered our purpose tolerably well until the break
of day, when our damp and miserable condition made us very glad to rise
and hang round the fire until breakfast was dispatched, and the horses
once more saddled for our journey.

The prospect was not an encouraging one. Around us was an unbroken sheet
of snow. We had no compass, and the air was so obscured by the driving
sleet, that it was often impossible to tell in which direction the sun
was. I tied my husband's silk pocket-handkerchief over my veil, to
protect my face from the wind and icy particles with which the air was
filled, and which cut like a razor; but, although shielded in every way
that circumstances rendered possible, I suffered intensely from the

We pursued our way, mile after mile, entering every point of woods, in
hopes of meeting with, at least, some Indian wigwam at which we could
gain intelligence. Every spot was solitary and deserted; not even the
trace of a recent fire, to cheer us with the hope of human beings within
miles of us.

Suddenly, a shout from the foremost of the party made each heart bound
with joy.

"_Une clôture! une clôture!_" (A fence! a fence!)

It was almost like life to the dead.

We spurred on, and indeed perceived a few straggling rails crowning a
rising ground at no great distance.

Never did music sound so sweet as the crowing of a cock which at this
moment saluted our ears.

Following the course of the inclosure down the opposite slope, we came
upon a group of log cabins, low, shabby, and unpromising in their
appearance, but a most welcome shelter from the pelting storm.

"Whose cabins are these?" asked Mr. Kinzie, of a man who was cutting
wood at the door of one.

"Hamilton's," was his reply; and he stepped forward at once to assist us
to alight, hospitality being a matter of course in these wild regions.

We were shown into the most comfortable-looking of the buildings. A
large fire was burning in the clay chimney, and the room was of a genial
warmth, notwithstanding the apertures, many inches in width, beside the
doors and windows. A woman in a tidy calico dress, and shabby black silk
cap trimmed with still shabbier lace, rose from her seat beside a sort
of bread-trough, which fulfilled the office of cradle to a fine, fat
baby. She made room for us at the fire, but was either too timid or too
ignorant to relieve me of wrappings and defences, now heavy with the

I soon contrived, with my husband's aid, to disembarrass myself of them;
and, having seen me comfortably disposed of, and in a fair way to be
thawed after my freezing ride, he left me, to see after his men and

He was a long time absent, and I expected he would return accompanied by
our host; but when he reappeared it was to tell me, laughing, that Mr.
Hamilton hesitated to present himself before me, being unwilling that
one who had been acquainted with his family at the East should see him
in his present mode of life. However, this feeling apparently wore off,
for before dinner he came in and was introduced to me, and was as
agreeable and polite as the son of Alexander Hamilton would naturally

The housekeeper, who was the wife of one of the miners, prepared us a
plain, comfortable dinner, and a table as long as the dimensions of the
cabin would admit was set out, the end nearest the fire being covered
with somewhat nicer furniture and more delicate fare than the remaining

The blowing of a horn was the signal for the entrance of ten or twelve
miners, who took their places below us at the table. They were the
roughest-looking set of men I ever beheld, and their language was as
uncouth as their persons. They wore hunting-shirts, trowsers, and
moccasins of deer-skin, the former being ornamented at the seams with a
fringe of the same, while a colored belt around the waist, in which was
stuck a large hunting-knife, gave each the appearance of a brigand.

Mr. Hamilton, although so much their superior, was addressed by them
uniformly as "Uncle Billy;" and I could not but fancy there was
something desperate about them, that it was necessary to propitiate by
this familiarity. This feeling was further confirmed by the remarks of
one of the company who lingered behind after the rest of the _gang_ had
taken their departure. He had learned that we came from Fort Winnebago,
and, having informed us that "he was a discharged soldier, and would
like to make some inquiries about his old station and comrades," he
unceremoniously seated himself and commenced questioning us.

The bitterness with which he spoke of his former officers made me quite
sure he was a deserter, and I rather suspected he had made his escape
from the service in consequence of some punishment. His countenance was
fairly distorted as he spoke of Captain H., to whose company he had
belonged. "There is a man in the mines," said he, "who has been in his
hands, and if he ever gets a chance to come within shot of him, I guess
the captain will remember it. He knows well enough he darsn't set his
foot in the diggings. And there's T. is not much better. Everybody
thought it a great pity that fellow's gun snapped when he so nearly
_had_ him at Green Bay."

Having delivered himself of these sentiments, he marched out, to my
great relief.

Mr. Hamilton passed most of the afternoon with us; for the storm raged
so without, that to proceed on our journey was out of the question. He
gave us many pleasant anecdotes and reminiscences of his early life in
New York, and of his adventures since he had come to the Western
wilderness. When obliged to leave us for awhile, he furnished us with
some books to entertain us, the most interesting of which was the
biography of his father.

Could this illustrious man have foreseen in what a scene--the dwelling
of his son--this book was to be one day perused, what would have been
his sensations?

The most amusing part of our experience was yet to come. I had been
speculating, as evening approached, on our prospects for the night's
accommodation. As our pale, melancholy-looking landlady and her fat baby
were evidently the only specimens of the feminine gender about the
establishment, it was hardly reasonable to suppose that any of the other
cabins contained wherewithal to furnish us a comfortable lodging, and
the one in which we were offered nothing of the sort to view, but two
beds, uncurtained, extended against the farther wall. My doubts were
after a time resolved, by observing the hostess stretch a cord between
the two, on which she hung some petticoats and extra garments, by way
of a partition, after which she invited us to occupy one of them.

My only preparation was, to wrap my cloak around me and lie down with my
face to the wall; but the good people were less ceremonious, for at the
distance of scarcely two feet, we could not be mistaken in the sound of
their garments being, not "laid aside," but whipped over the
partition-wall between us.

Our waking thoughts, however, were only those of thankfulness for so
comfortable a lodging after the trials and fatigues we had undergone;
and even these were of short duration, for our eyes were soon closed in

The next day's sun rose clear and bright. Refreshed and invigorated, we
looked forward with pleasure to a recommencement of our journey,
confident of meeting no more mishaps by the way. Mr. Hamilton kindly
offered to accompany us to his next neighbor's, the trifling distance of
twenty-five miles. From Kellogg's to Ogie's Ferry, on the Rock River,
the road being much travelled, we should be in no danger, Mr. H. said,
of again losing our way.

The miner who owned the wife and baby, and who, consequently, was
somewhat more humanized than his comrades, in taking leave of us "wished
us well out of the country, and that we might never have occasion to
return to it!"

"I pity a body," said he, "when I see them making such an awful mistake
as to come out this way; for comfort _never touched_ this Western

We found Mr. Hamilton as agreeable a companion as on the preceding day,
but a most desperate rider. He galloped on at such a rate that, had I
not exchanged my pony for the fine, noble Jerry, I should have been in
danger of being left behind.

Well mounted as we all were, he sometimes nearly distanced us. We were
now among the branches of the Pickatonick, and the country had lost its
prairie character and become rough and broken. We went dashing on,
sometimes down ravines, sometimes through narrow passes, where, as I
followed, I left fragments of my veil upon the projecting and interwoven
branches. Once my hat became entangled, and, had not my husband sprung
to my rescue, I must have shared the fate of Absalom, Jerry's ambition
to keep his place in the race making it probable he would do as did the
mule who was under the unfortunate prince.

There was no halting upon the route, and, as we kept the same pace until
three o'clock in the afternoon, it was beyond a question that when we
reached "Kellogg's" we had travelled at least thirty miles. One of my
greatest annoyances during the ride had been the behavior of the little
beast Brunet. He had been hitherto used as a saddle-horse, and had been
accustomed to a station in the file near the guide or leader. He did not
relish being put in the background as a pack-horse, and accordingly,
whenever we approached a stream, where the file broke up to permit each
horseman to choose his own place of fording, it was, invariably the case
that just as I was reining Jerry into the water, Brunet would come
rushing past and throw himself into our very footsteps. Plunging,
snorting, and splashing me with water, and sometimes even starting Jerry
into a leap aside, he more than once brought me into imminent danger of
being tossed into the stream. It was in vain that, after one or two such
adventures, I learned to hold back and give the vexatious little animal
the precedence. His passion seemed to be to go into the water precisely
at the moment Jerry did; and I was obliged at last to make a bargain
with young Roy to dismount and hold him at every stream until I had got
safely across.

"Kellogg's"[16] was a comfortable mansion, just within the verge of a
pleasant "grove of timber," as a small forest is called by Western
travellers. We found Mrs. Kellogg a very respectable-looking matron, who
soon informed us she was from the city of New York. She appeared proud
and delighted to entertain Mr. Hamilton, for whose family, she took
occasion to tell us, she had, in former days, been in the habit of doing

The worthy woman provided us an excellent dinner, and afterwards
installed me in a rocking-chair beside a large fire, with the "Life of
Mrs. Fletcher" to entertain me, while the gentlemen explored the
premises, visited Mr. Kellogg's stock, and took a careful look at their
own. We had intended to go to Dixon's the same afternoon, but the snow,
beginning again to fall, obliged us to content ourselves where we were.

In the mean time, finding we were journeying to Chicago, Mr. Kellogg
came to the determination to accompany us, having, as he said, some
business to accomplish at that place: so Mrs. Kellogg busied herself in
preparing him to set off with us the following morning. I pleaded hard
to remain yet another day, as the following was Sunday, on which I
objected to travel; but in view of the necessities of the case, the
uncertainty of the weather, and the importance of getting as quickly as
possible through this wild country, my objections were overruled, and I
could only obtain a delay in starting until so late in the afternoon as
would give us just time to ride the sixteen miles to "Dixon's" before

No great time was required for Mr. Kellogg's preparations. He would
take, he said, only two days' provisions, for at his brother-in-law
Dixon's we should get our supper and breakfast, and the route from there
to Chicago could, he well knew, be accomplished in a day and a half.

Although, according to this calculation, we had sufficient remaining of
our stores to carry us to the end of our journey, yet my husband took
the precaution of begging Mrs. Kellogg to bake us another bag of
biscuits, in case of accidents, and he likewise suggested to Mr. Kellogg
the prudence of furnishing himself with something more than his limited
allowance; but the good man objected that he was unwilling to burden his
horse more than was absolutely necessary, seeing that, at this season of
the year, we were obliged to carry fodder for the animals, in addition
to the rest of their load. It will be seen that we had reason to rejoice
in our own foresight.

My experience of the previous night had rendered me somewhat less
fastidious than when I commenced my journey, so that, when introduced to
our sleeping-apartment, which I found we were to share with six men,
travellers like ourselves, my only feeling was one of thankfulness that
each bed was furnished with a full suit of blue checked curtains, which
formed a very tolerable substitute for a dressing-room.



It was late on the following day (March 13th) when we took leave of our
kind hostess. She loaded us with cakes, good wishes, and messages to her
sister Dixon and the children. We journeyed pleasantly along through a
country beautiful in spite of its wintry appearance.

There was a house at Buffalo Grove, at which we stopped for half an
hour, and where a nice-looking young girl presented us with some
maple-sugar of her own making. She entertained us with the history of a
contest between two rival claimants for the patronage of the
stage-wagon, the proprietors of which had not decided whether to send it
by Buffalo Grove or by another route, which she pointed out to us, at no
great distance. The _driver_, she took care to inform us, was in favor
of the former; and the blush with which she replied in the affirmative
to our inquiry, "Is he a young man?" explained the whole matter

At length, just at sunset, we reached the dark, rapid waters of the Rock
River. The ferry which we had travelled so far out of our way to take
advantage of, proved to be merely a small boat or skiff, the larger one
having been swept off into the stream, and carried down in the
breaking-up of the ice, the week previous.

My husband's first care was to get me across. He placed me with the
saddles, packs, etc. in the boat, and as, at that late hour, no time was
to be lost, he ventured, at the same time, to hold the bridles of the
two most docile horses, to guide them in swimming the river.

When we had proceeded a few rods from the shore, we were startled by a
loud puffing and blowing near us, and looking around, to our great
surprise, discovered little Brunet just upon our "weather-bow."
Determined not to be outdone by his model, Jerry, he had taken to the
water on his own responsibility, and arrived at the opposite shore as
soon as any of the party.

All being safely landed, a short walk brought us to the house of Mr.
Dixon. Although so recently come into the country, he had contrived to
make everything comfortable around him; and when he ushered us into Mrs.
Dixon's sitting-room, and seated us by a glowing wood fire, while Mrs.
Dixon busied herself in preparing us a nice supper, I felt that the
comfort overbalanced the inconvenience of such a journey.

Mrs. Dixon was surrounded by several children. One leaning against the
chimney-piece was dressed in the full Indian costume--calico shirt,
blanket, and leggings. His dark complexion, and full, melancholy eyes,
which he kept fixed upon the ashes in which he was making marks with a
stick, rarely raising them to gaze on us, as children are wont to do,
interested me exceedingly, and I inquired of an intelligent little girl,
evidently a daughter of our host,--

"Who is that boy?"

"Oh, that is John Ogie," answered she.

"What is the matter with him? he looks very sad."

"Oh, he is fretting after his mother."

"Is she dead, then?"

"Some say she is dead, and some say she is gone away. I guess she is
dead, and buried up in one of those graves yonder"--pointing to two or
three little picketed inclosures upon a rising ground opposite the

I felt a strong sympathy with the child, which was increased when the
little spokeswoman, in answer to my inquiry, "Has he no father?"

"Oh, yes, but he goes away, and drinks, and don't care for his

"And what becomes of John then?"

"He stays here with us, and we teach him to read, and he learns
_dreadful_ fast."

When the boy at length turned his large dark eyes upon me, it went to my
heart. It was such a _motherless_ look. And it was explained when, long
afterwards, I learned his further history. His mother was still living,
and he knew it, although, with the reserve peculiar to his people, he
never spoke of her to his young companions. Unable to endure the
continued ill treatment of her husband, a surly, intemperate Canadian,
she had left him, and returned to her own family among the
Pottowattamies. Years after, this boy and a brother who had also been
left behind with their father found their way to the Upper Missouri, to
join their mother, who, with the others of her tribe, had been removed
by the Government from the shores of Lake Michigan.

A most savory supper of ducks and venison, with their accompaniments,
soon smoked upon the board, and we did ample justice to it. Travelling
is a great sharpener of the appetite, and so is cheerfulness; and the
latter was increased by the encouraging account Mr. Dixon gave us of the
remainder of the route yet before us.

"There is no difficulty," said he, "if you keep a little to the north,
and strike the great _Sauk trail_. If you get too far to the south, you
will come upon the Winnebago Swamp, and, once in that, there is no
telling when you will ever get out again. As for the distance, it is
nothing at all to speak of. Two young men came out here from Chicago,
on foot, last fall. They got here the evening of the second day; and,
even with a lady in your party, you could go on horseback in less time
than that. The only thing is to be sure and get on the great track that
the Sauks have made, in going every year from the Mississippi to Canada,
to receive their presents from the British Indian Agent."

The following morning, which was a bright and lovely one for that season
of the year, we took leave of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon, in high spirits. We
travelled for the first few miles along the beautiful, undulating banks
of the Rock River, always in an easterly direction, keeping the beaten
path, or rather road, which led to Fort Clark, or Peoria. The Sauk
trail, we had been told, would cross this road at the distance of about
six miles.

After having travelled, as we judged, fully that distance, we came upon
a trail bearing northeast, and a consultation was held as to the
probability of its being the one we were in search of.

Mr. Kinzie was of opinion that it tended too much to the north, and was,
moreover, too faint and obscure for a trail so much used, and by so
large a body of Indians in their annual journeys.

Plante was positive as to its being the very spot where he and "Piché"
in their journey to Port Winnebago, the year before, struck into the
great road. "On that very rising-ground at the point of woods, he
remembered perfectly well stopping to shoot ducks, which they ate for
their supper."

Mr. Kellogg was non-committal, but sided alternately with each speaker.

As Plante was "the guide," and withal so confident of being right, it
was decided to follow him, not without some demurring, however, on the
part of the bourgeois, who every now and then called to halt, to
discuss the state of affairs.

"Now, Plante," he would say, "I am sure you are leading us too far
north. Why, man, if we keep on in this direction, following the course
of the river, we shall bring up at Kosh-ko-nong, instead of Chicago."

"Ah! mon bourgeois," would the light-hearted Canadian reply, "would I
tell you this is the road if I were not quite certain? Only one year ago
I travelled it, and can I forget so soon? Oh, no--I remember every foot
of it."

But Monsieur Plante was convinced of his mistake when the trail brought
us to the great bend of the river with its bold rocky bluffs.

"Are you satisfied now, Plante?" asked Mr. Kinzie. "By your leave, I
will now play pilot myself." And he struck off from the trail, in a
direction as nearly east as possible.

The weather had changed and become intensely cold, and we felt that the
detention we had met with, even should we now be in the right road, was
no trifling matter. We had not added to our stock of provisions at
Dixon's, wishing to carry as much forage as we were able for our horses,
for whom the scanty picking around our encamping-grounds afforded an
insufficient meal. But we were buoyed up by the hope that we were in the
right path at last, and we journeyed on until night, when we reached a
comfortable "encampment," in the edge of a grove near a small stream.

Oh, how bitterly cold that night was! The salted provisions, to which I
was accustomed, occasioned me an intolerable thirst, and my husband was
in the habit of placing the little tin coffee-pot filled with water at
my bed's head when we went to rest, but this night it was frozen solid
long before midnight. We were so well wrapped up in blankets that we
did not suffer from cold while within the tent, but the open air was
severe in the extreme.

March 15th.--We were roused by the bourgeois at peep of day to make
preparations for starting. We must find the Sauk trail this day at all
hazards. What would become of us should we fail to do so? It was a
question no one liked to ask, and certainly one that none could have

On leaving our encampment, we found ourselves entering a marshy tract of
country. Myriads of wild geese, brant, and ducks rose up screaming at
our approach. The more distant lakes and ponds were black with them, but
the shallow water through which we attempted to make our way was frozen,
by the severity of the night, to a thickness not quite sufficient to
bear the horses, but just such as to cut their feet and ankles at every
step as they broke through it. Sometimes the difficulty of going forward
was so great that we were obliged to retrace our steps and make our way
round the head of the marsh, thus adding to the discomforts of our
situation by the conviction that, while journeying diligently, we were,
in fact, making very little progress.

This swampy region at length passed, we came upon more solid ground,
chiefly the open prairie. But now a new trouble assailed us. The weather
had moderated, and a blinding snow-storm came on. Without a trail that
we could rely upon, and destitute of a compass, our only dependence had
been the sun to point out our direction; but the atmosphere was now so
obscure that it was impossible to tell in what quarter of the heavens he

We pursued our way, however, and a devious one it must have been. After
travelling in this way many miles, we came upon an Indian trail, deeply
indented, running at right angles with the course we were pursuing. The
snow had ceased, and, the clouds becoming thinner, we were able to
observe the direction of the sun, and to perceive that the trail ran
north and south. What should we do? Was it safest to pursue our easterly
course, or was it probable that by following this new path we should
fall into the direct one we had been so long seeking? If we decided to
take the trail, should we go north or south? Mr. Kinzie was for the
latter. He was of opinion we were still too far north--somewhere about
the Grand Marais, or Kish-wau-kee. Mr. Kellogg and Plante were for
taking the northerly direction. The latter was positive his bourgeois
had already gone too far south--in fact, that we must now be in the
neighborhood of the Illinois River. Finding himself in the minority, my
husband yielded, and we turned our horses' heads north, much against his
will. After proceeding a few miles, however, he took a sudden
determination. "You may go north, if you please," said he, "but I am
convinced that the other course is right, and I shall face about--follow
who will."

So we wheeled round and rode south again, and many a long and weary mile
did we travel, the monotony of our ride broken only by the querulous
remarks of poor Mr. Kellogg. "I am really afraid we are wrong, Mr.
Kinzie. I feel pretty sure that the young man is right. It looks most
natural to me that we should take a northerly course, and not be
stretching away so far to the south."

To all this, Mr. Kinzie turned a deaf ear. The Frenchmen rode in
silence. They would as soon have thought of cutting off their right hand
as showing opposition to the bourgeois when he had once expressed his
decision. They would never have dreamed of offering an opinion or remark
unless called upon to do so.

The road, which had continued many miles through the prairie, at
length, in winding round a point of woods, brought us suddenly upon an
Indian village. A shout of joy broke from the whole party, but no
answering shout was returned--not even a bark of friendly welcome--as we
galloped up to the wigwams. All was silent as the grave. We rode round
and round, then dismounted and looked into several of the spacious huts.
They had evidently been long deserted. Nothing remained but the bare
walls of bark, from which everything in the shape of furniture had been
stripped by the owners and carried with them to their wintering-grounds,
to be brought back in the spring, when they returned to make their
corn-fields and occupy their summer cabins.

Our disappointment may be better imagined than described. With heavy
hearts, we mounted and once more pursued our way, the snow again falling
and adding to the discomforts of our position. At length we halted for
the night. We had long been aware that our stock of provisions was
insufficient for another day, and here we were--nobody knew where--in
the midst of woods and prairies--certainly far from any human
habitation, with barely enough food for a slender evening's meal.

The poor dogs came whining round us to beg their usual portion, but they
were obliged to content themselves with a bare bone, and we retired to
rest with the feeling that if not actually hungry then, we should
certainly be so to-morrow.

The morrow came. Plante and Roy had a bright fire and a nice pot of
coffee for us. It was our only breakfast, for, on shaking the bag and
turning it inside out, we could make no more of our stock of bread than
three crackers, which the rest of the party insisted I should put in my
pocket for my dinner. I was much touched by the kindness of Mr. Kellogg,
who drew from his wallet a piece of tongue and a slice of fruit-cake,
which he said "he had been saving for _the lady_ since the day before,
for he saw how matters were a going."

Poor man! it would have been well if he had listened to Mr. Kinzie and
provided himself at the outset with a larger store of provisions. As it
was, those he brought with him were exhausted early in the second day,
and he had been _boarding_ with us for the last two meals.

We still had the trail to guide us, and we continued to follow it until
about nine o'clock, when, in emerging from a wood, we came upon a broad
and rapid river. A collection of Indian wigwams stood upon the opposite
bank, and, as the trail led directly to the water, it was fair to infer
that the stream was fordable. We had no opportunity of testing it,
however, for the banks were so lined with ice, which was piled up tier
upon tier by the breaking-up of the previous week, that we tried in vain
to find a path by which we could descend the bank to the water.

The men shouted again and again, in hopes some straggling inhabitant of
the village might be at hand with his canoe. No answer was returned,
save by the echoes. What was to be done? I looked at my husband and saw
that care was on his brow, although he still continued to speak
cheerfully. "We will follow this cross-trail down the bank of the
river," said he. "There must be Indians wintering near, in some of these
points of wood."

I must confess that I felt somewhat dismayed at our prospects, but I
kept up a show of courage, and did not allow my despondency to be seen.
All the party were dull and gloomy enough.

We kept along the bank, which was considerably elevated above the water,
and bordered at a little distance with a thick wood. All at once my
horse, who was mortally afraid of Indians, began to jump and prance,
snorting and pricking up his ears as if an enemy were at hand. I
screamed with delight to my husband, who was at the head of the file,
"Oh, John! John! there are Indians near--look at Jerry!"

At this instant a little Indian dog ran out from under the bushes by the
roadside, and began barking at us. Never were sounds more welcome. We
rode directly into the thicket, and, descending into a little hollow,
found two squaws crouching behind the bushes, trying to conceal
themselves from our sight.

They appeared greatly relieved when Mr. Kinzie addressed them in the
Pottowattamie language,--

"What are you doing here?"

"Digging Indian potatoes"--(a species of artichoke.)

"Where is your lodge?"

"On the other side of the river."

"Good--then you have a canoe here. Can you take us across?"

"Yes--the canoe is very small."

They conducted us down the bank to the water's edge where the canoe was.
It was indeed _very small_. My husband explained to them that they must
take me across first, and then return for the others of the party.

"Will you trust yourself alone over the river?" inquired he. "You see
that but one can cross at a time."

"Oh, yes"--and I was soon placed in the bottom of the canoe, lying flat
and looking up at the sky, while the older squaw took the paddle in her
hand, and placed herself on her knees at my head, and the younger, a
girl of fourteen or fifteen, stationed herself at my feet. There was
just room enough for me to lie in this position, each of the others
kneeling in the opposite ends of the canoe.

While these preparations were making, Mr. Kinzie questioned the women as
to our whereabout. They knew no name for the river but "Saumanong."
This was not definite, it being the generic term for any large stream.
But he gathered that the village we had passed higher up, on the
opposite side of the stream, was Wau-ban-see's, and then he knew that we
were on the Fox River, and probably about fifty miles from Chicago.

The squaw, in answer to his inquiries, assured him that Chicago was
"close by."

"That means," said he, "that it is not so far off as Canada. We must not
be too sanguine."

The men set about unpacking the horses, and I in the mean time was
paddled across the river. The old woman immediately returned, leaving
the younger one with me for company. I seated myself on the fallen trunk
of a tree, in the midst of the snow, and looked across the dark waters.
I am not ashamed to confess my weakness--for the first time on my
journey I shed tears. It was neither hunger, nor fear, nor cold, which
extorted them from me. It was the utter desolation of spirit, the
sickness of heart which "hope deferred" ever occasions, and which of all
evils is the hardest to bear.

The poor little squaw looked into my face with a wondering and
sympathizing expression. Probably she was speculating in her own mind
what a person who rode so fine a horse, and wore so comfortable a
broadcloth dress, could have to cry about. I pointed to a seat beside me
on the log, but she preferred standing and gazing at me, with the same
pitying expression. Presently she was joined by a young companion, and,
after a short chattering, of which I was evidently the subject, they
both trotted off into the woods, and left me to my own solitary

"What would my friends at the East think," said I to myself, "if they
could see me now? What would poor old Mrs. Welsh say? She who warned me
that _if I came away so far to the West, I should break my heart?_
Would she not rejoice to find how likely her prediction was to be

These thoughts roused me. I dried up my tears, and by the time my
husband with his party and all his horses and luggage were across, I had
recovered my cheerfulness, and was ready for fresh adventures.



We followed the old squaw to her lodge, which was at no great distance
in the woods. I had never before been in an Indian lodge, although I had
occasionally peeped into one of the many always clustered round the
house of the Interpreter at the Portage.

This one was very nicely arranged. Four sticks of wood placed to form a
square in the centre, answered the purpose of a hearth, within which the
fire was built, the smoke escaping through an opening in the top. The
mats of which the lodge was constructed were very neat and new, and
against the sides, depending from the poles or frame-work, hung various
bags of Indian manufacture, containing their dried food and other
household treasures. Sundry ladles, small kettles, and wooden bowls also
hung from the cross-poles; and dangling from the centre, by an iron
chain, was a large kettle in which some dark, suspicious-looking
substance was seething over the scanty fire. On the floor of the lodge,
between the fire and the outer wall, were spread mats, upon which my
husband invited me to be seated and make myself comfortable.

The first demand of an Indian on meeting a white man is for _bread_, of
which they are exceedingly fond, and I knew enough of the Pottowattamie
language to comprehend the timid "_pe-qua-zhe-gun choh-kay-go_" (I have
no bread) with which the squaw commenced our conversation after my
husband had left the lodge.

I shook my head, and endeavored to convey to her that, so far from being
able to give, I had had no breakfast myself. She understood me, and
instantly produced a bowl, into which she ladled a quantity of Indian
potatoes from the kettle over the fire, and set them before me. I was
too hungry to be fastidious, and, owing partly, no doubt, to the
sharpness of my appetite, I really found them delicious.

Two little girls, inmates of the lodge, sat gazing at me with evident
admiration and astonishment, which were increased when I took my little
Prayer book from my pocket and began to read. They had, undoubtedly,
never seen a book before, and I was amused at the care with which they
looked _away_ from me, while they questioned their mother about my
strange employment and listened to her replies.

While thus occupied, I was startled by a sudden sound of "hogh!" and the
mat which hung over the entrance of the lodge was raised, and an Indian
entered with that graceful bound which is peculiar to themselves. It was
the master of the lodge, who had been out to shoot ducks, and was just
returned. He was a tall, finely-formed man, with a cheerful, open
countenance, and he listened to what his wife in a quiet tone related to
him, while he divested himself of his accoutrements, in the most
unembarrassed, well-bred manner imaginable.

Soon my husband joined us. He had been engaged in attending to the
comfort of his horses, and assisting his men in making their fire, and
pitching their tent, which the rising storm made a matter of some

From the Indian he learned that we were in what was called the Big
Woods,[17] or "Piché's Grove," from a Frenchman of that name living not
far from the spot--that the river we had crossed was the Fox River--that
he could guide us to _Piché's_, from which the road was perfectly plain,
or even into Chicago if we preferred--but that we had better remain
encamped for that day, as there was a storm coming on, and in the mean
time he would go and shoot some ducks for our dinner and supper. He was
accordingly furnished with powder and shot, and set off again for game
without delay.

I had put into my pocket, on leaving home, a roll of scarlet ribbon, in
case a stout string should be wanted, and I now drew it forth, and with
the knife which hung around my neck I cut off a couple of yards for each
of the little girls. They received it with great delight, and their
mother, dividing each portion into two, tied a piece to each of the
little clubs into which their hair was knotted on the temples. They
laughed, and exclaimed "Saum!" as they gazed at each other, and their
mother joined in their mirth, although, as I thought, a little unwilling
to display her maternal exultation before a stranger.

The tent being all in order, my husband came for me, and we took leave
of our friends in the wigwam, with grateful hearts.

The storm was raging without. The trees were bending and cracking around
us, and the air was completely filled with the wild-fowl screaming and
_quacking_ as they made their way southward before the blast. Our tent
was among the trees not far from the river. My husband took me to the
bank to look for a moment at what we had escaped. The wind was sweeping
down from the north in a perfect hurricane. The water was filled with
masses of snow and ice, dancing along upon the torrent, over which were
hurrying thousands of wild-fowl, making the woods resound to their
deafening clamor.

Had we been one hour later, we could not possibly have crossed the
stream, and there would have been nothing for us but to have remained
and starved in the wilderness. Could we be sufficiently grateful to that
kind Providence that had brought us safely through such dangers?

The men had cut down an immense tree, and built a fire against it, but
the wind shifted so continually that every five minutes the tent would
become completely filled with smoke, so that I was driven into the open
air for breath. Then I would seat myself on one end of the huge log, as
near the fire as possible, for it was dismally cold, but the wind seemed
actuated by a kind of caprice, for in whatever direction I took my seat,
just that way came the smoke and hot ashes, puffing in my face until I
was nearly blinded. Neither veil nor silk handkerchief afforded an
effectual protection, and I was glad when the arrival of our huntsmen,
with a quantity of ducks, gave me an opportunity of diverting my
thoughts from my own sufferings, by aiding the men to pick them and get
them ready for our meal.

We borrowed a kettle from our Indian friends. It was not remarkably
clean; but we heated a little water in it, and _prairie-hay'd_ it out,
before consigning our birds to it, and with a bowl of Indian potatoes, a
present from our kind neighbors, we soon had an excellent soup.

What with the cold, the smoke, and the driving ashes and cinders, this
was the most uncomfortable afternoon I had yet passed, and I was glad
when night came, and I could creep into the tent and cover myself up in
the blankets, out of the way of all three of these evils.

The storm raged with tenfold violence during the night. We were
continually startled by the crashing of the falling trees around us, and
who could tell but that the next would be upon us? Spite of our fatigue,
we passed an almost sleepless night. When we arose in the morning, we
were made fully alive to the perils by which we had been surrounded. At
least fifty trees, the giants of the forest, lay prostrate within view
of the tent.

When we had taken our scanty breakfast, and were mounted and ready for
departure, it was with difficulty we could thread our way, so completely
was it obstructed by the fallen trunks.

Our Indian guide had joined us at an early hour, and after conducting us
carefully out of the wood, and pointing out to us numerous
bee-trees,[18] for which he said that grove was famous, he set off at a
long trot, and about nine o'clock brought us to _Piché's_, a log cabin
on a rising ground, looking off over the broad prairie to the east. We
had hoped to get some refreshment here, Piché being an old acquaintance
of some of the party; but, alas! the master was from home. We found his
cabin occupied by Indians and travellers--the latter few, the former

There was no temptation to a halt, except that of warming ourselves at a
bright fire that was burning in the clay chimney. A man in Quaker
costume stepped forward to answer our inquiries, and offered to become
our escort to Chicago, to which place he was bound--so we dismissed our
Indian friend, with a satisfactory remuneration for all the trouble he
had so kindly taken for us.

A long reach of prairie extended from Piché's to the Du Page, between
the two forks of which, Mr. Dogherty, our new acquaintance, told us, we
should find the dwelling of a Mr. Hawley, who would give us a
comfortable dinner.

The weather was intensely cold; the wind, sweeping over the wide prairie
with nothing to break its force, chilled our very hearts. I beat my feet
against the saddle to restore the circulation, when they became benumbed
with the cold, until they were so bruised I could beat them no longer.
Not a house or wigwam, not even a clump of trees as a shelter, offered
itself for many a weary mile. At length we reached the west fork of the
Du Page. It was frozen, but not sufficiently so to bear the horses. Our
only resource was to cut a way for them through the ice. It was a work
of time, for the ice had frozen to several inches in thickness during
the last bitter night. Plante went first with an axe, and cut as far as
he could reach, then mounted one of the hardy little ponies, and With
some difficulty broke the ice before him, until he had opened a passage
to the opposite shore.

How the poor animals shivered as they were reined in among the floating
ice! And we, who sat waiting in the piercing wind, were not much better
off. Probably Brunet was of the same opinion; for, with his usual
perversity, he plunged in immediately after Plante, and stood shaking
and quaking behind him, every now and then looking around him, as much
as to say, "I've got ahead of you, this time!" We were all across at
last, and spurred on our horses, until we reached Hawley's[19]--a
large, commodious dwelling, near the east fork of the river.

The good woman welcomed us kindly, and soon made us warm and
comfortable. We felt as if we were in a civilized land once more. She
proceeded immediately to prepare dinner for us; and we watched her with
eager eyes, as she took down a huge ham from the rafters, out of which
she cut innumerable slices, then broke a dozen or more of fine fresh
eggs into a pan, in readiness for frying--then mixed a _johnny-cake_,
and placed it against a board in front of the fire to bake. It seemed to
me that even with the aid of this fine, bright fire, the dinner took an
unconscionable time to cook; but cooked it was, at last, and truly might
the good woman stare at the travellers' appetites we had brought with
us. She did not know what short commons we had been on for the last two

We found, upon inquiry, that we could, by pushing on, reach Lawton's, on
the Aux Plaines, that night--we should then be within twelve miles of
Chicago. Of course we made no unnecessary delay, but set off as soon
after dinner as possible.

The crossing of the east fork of the Du Page was more perilous than the
former one had been. The ice had become broken, either by the force of
the current, or by some equestrians having preceded us and cut through
it, so that when we reached the bank, the ice was floating down in large
cakes. The horses had to make a rapid dart through the water, which was
so high, and rushing in such a torrent, that if I had not been mounted
on Jerry, the tallest horse in the cavalcade, I must have got a terrible

As it was, I was well frightened, and grasped both bridle and mane with
the utmost tenacity. After this we travelled on as rapidly as possible,
in order to reach our place of destination before dark.

Mr. Dogherty, a tall, bolt-upright man, half Quaker, half Methodist, did
his best to entertain me, by giving me a thorough schedule of his
religious opinions, with the reasons from Scripture upon which they were
based. He was a good deal of a perfectionist, and evidently looked upon
himself with no small satisfaction, as a living illustration of his
favorite doctrine.

"St. John says," this was the style of his discourse, "St. John says,
'He that is born of God, doth not commit sin' Now, _if_ I am born of
God, I do not commit sin."

I was too cold and too weary to argue the point, so I let him have it
all his own way. I believe he must have thought me rather a dull
companion; but at least he gave me the credit of being a good listener.

It was almost dark when we reached Lawton's. The Aux Plaines[20] was
frozen, and the house was on the other side. By loud shouting, we
brought out a man from the building, and he succeeded in cutting the
ice, and bringing a canoe over to us; but not until it had become
difficult to distinguish objects in the darkness.

A very comfortable house was Lawton's, after we did reach it--carpeted,
and with a warm stove--in fact, quite in civilized style, Mr. Weeks, the
man who brought us across, was the major-domo, during the temporary
absence of Mr. Lawton.

Mrs. Lawton was a young woman, and not ill-looking. She complained
bitterly of the loneliness of her condition, and having been "brought
out there into the woods; which was a thing she had not expected, when
she came from the East." We did not ask her with what expectations she
had come to a wild, unsettled country; but we tried to comfort her with
the assurance that things would grow better in a few years. She said,
"She did not mean to wait for that. She should go back to her family in
the East, if Mr. Lawton did not invite some of her young friends to come
and stay with her, and make it agreeable."

We could hardly realize, on rising the following morning, that only
twelve miles of prairie intervened between us and _Chicago le Désiré_,
as I could not but name it.

We could look across the extended plain, and on its farthest verge were
visible two tall trees, which my husband pointed out to me as the
planting of his own hand, when a boy. Already they had become so lofty
as to serve as landmarks, and they were constantly in view as we
travelled the beaten road. I was continually repeating to myself, "There
live the friends I am so longing to see! There will terminate all our
trials and hardships!"

A Mr. Wentworth joined us on the road, and of him we inquired after the
welfare of the family, from whom we had, for a long time, received no
intelligence. When we reached Chicago, he took us to a little tavern at
the forks of the river. This portion of the place was then called _Wolf
Point_, from its having been the residence of an Indian named
"_Moaway_," or "the Wolf."

"Dear me," said the old landlady, at the little tavern, "what dreadful
cold weather you must have had to travel in! Why, two days ago the river
was all open here, and now it's frozen hard enough for folks to cross

Notwithstanding this assurance, my husband did not like to venture, so
he determined to leave his horses and proceed on foot to the residence
of his mother and sister, a distance of about half a mile.

We set out on our walk, which was first across the ice, then down the
northern bank of the river. As we approached the house we were espied by
Genevieve, a half-breed servant of the family. She did not wait to
salute us, but flew into the house, crying,--

"Oh! Madame Kinzie, who do you think has come? Monsieur John and Madame
John, all the way from Fort Winnebago on foot!"

Soon we were in the arms of our dear, kind friends. A messenger was
dispatched to "the garrison" for the remaining members of the family,
and for that day, at least, I was the wonder and admiration of the whole
circle, "for the dangers I had seen."



Fort Dearborn at that day consisted of the same buildings as at
present.[21] They were, of course, in a better state of preservation,
though still considerably dilapidated. They had been erected in 1816,
under the supervision of Captain Hezekiah Bradley, and there was a story
current that, such was his patriotic regard for the interests of the
Government, he obliged the soldiers to fashion wooden pins, instead of
spikes and nails, to fasten the timbers of the buildings, and that he
even called on the junior officers to aid in their construction along
with the soldiers, whose business it was. If this were true, the captain
must have labored under the delusion (excusable in one who had lived
long on the frontier) that Government would thank its servants for any
excess of economical zeal.

The fort was inclosed by high pickets, with bastions at the alternate
angles. Large gates opened to the north and south, and there were small
posterns here and there for the accommodation of the inmates. The bank
of the river which stretches to the west, now covered by the light-house
buildings, and inclosed by docks, was then occupied by the root-houses
of the garrison. Beyond the parade-ground, which extended south of the
pickets, were the company gardens, well filled with currant-bushes and
young fruit-trees.

The fort stood at what might naturally be supposed to be the mouth of
the river. It was not so, however, for in those days the latter took a
turn, sweeping round the promontory on which the fort was built, towards
the south, and joining the lake about half a mile below. These buildings
stood on the right bank of the river, the left being a long spit of land
extending from the northern shore, of which it formed a part. After the
cutting through of this portion of the left bank in 1833 by the United
States Engineers employed to construct a harbor at this point, and the
throwing out of the piers, the water overflowed this long tongue of
land, and, continually encroaching on the southern bank, robbed it of
many valuable acres; while, by the same action of the vast body of the
lake, an accretion was constantly taking place on the north of the

The residence of Jean Baptiste Beaubien stood at this period between the
gardens and the river-bank, and still farther south was a rickety
tenement, built many years before by Mr. John Dean, the sutler of the
post. A short time after the commencement of the growth of Chicago, the
foundations of this building were undermined by the gradual encroachment
of the lake, and it tumbled backward down the bank, where it long lay, a
melancholy spectacle.

On the northern bank of the river, directly facing the fort, was the
family mansion of my husband.[22] It was a long, low building, with a
piazza extending along its front, a range of four or five rooms. A broad
green space was inclosed between it and the river, and shaded by a row
of Lombardy poplars. Two immense cottonwood-trees stood in the rear of
the building, one of which still remains as an ancient landmark. A fine,
well-cultivated garden extended to the north of the dwelling, and
surrounding it were various buildings appertaining to the
establishment--dairy, bake-house, lodging-house for the Frenchmen, and

A vast range of sand-hills, covered with stunted cedars, pines, and
dwarf-willow-trees, intervened between the house and the lake, which
was, at this time, not more than thirty rods distant.

Proceeding from this point along the northern bank of the river, we came
first to the Agency House, "Cobweb Castle," as it had been denominated
while long the residence of a bachelor, and the _sobriquet_ adhered to
it ever after. It stood at what is now the southwest corner of
Wolcott[23] and N. Water Streets. Many will still remember it, a
substantial, compact little building of logs hewed and squared, with a
centre, two wings, and, strictly speaking, two _tails_, since, when
there was found no more room for additions at the sides, they were
placed in the rear, whereon a vacant spot could be found.

These appendages did not mar the symmetry of the whole, as viewed from
the front, but when, in the process of the town's improvement, a street
was maliciously opened directly in the rear of the building, the whole
establishment, with its comical little adjuncts, was a constant source
of amusement to the passers-by. No matter. There were pleasant, happy
hours passed under its odd-shaped roof, as many of Chicago's early
settlers can testify.

Around the Agency House were grouped a collection of log buildings, the
residences of the different persons in the employ of Government,
appertaining to that establishment--blacksmith, striker, and laborers.
These were for the most part Canadians or half-breeds, with occasionally
a stray Yankee, to set all things going by his activity and enterprise.

There was still another house on the north side of the river, built by a
former resident by the name of Miller, but he had removed to "Rivière du
Chemin," or Trail Creek, which about this time began to be called
"Michigan City."[24] This house, which stood near the forks of the
river, was at this time vacant.

There was no house on the southern bank of the river, between the fort
and "The Point," as the forks of the river were then called. The land
was a low wet prairie, scarcely affording good walking in the dryest
summer weather, while at other seasons it was absolutely impassable. A
muddy streamlet, or, as it is called in this country, a _slew_,[25]
after winding around from about the present site of the Tremont House,
fell into the river at the foot of State Street.[26]

At the Point, on the south side, stood a house just completed by Mark
Beaubien. It was a pretentious white two-story building, with
bright-blue wooden shutters, the admiration of all the little circle at
Wolf Point. Here a canoe ferry was kept to transport people across the
south branch of the river.

Facing down the river from the west was, first a small tavern kept by
Mr. Wentworth, familiarly known as "Old Geese," not from any want of
shrewdness on his part, but in compliment to one of his own cant
expressions. Near him were two or three log cabins occupied by Robinson,
the Pottowattamie chief, and some of his wife's connexions. Billy
Caldwell, the Sau-ga-nash, too, resided here occasionally, with his
wife, who was a daughter of Nee-scot-nee-meg, one of the most famous
chiefs of the nation. A little remote from these residences was a small
square log building, originally designed for a school-house, but
occasionally used as a place of worship whenever any itinerant minister
presented himself.

The family of Clybourn had, previous to this time, established
themselves near their present residence on the North Branch--they called
their place _New Virginia_. Four miles up the South Branch was an old
building which was at one time an object of great interest as having
been the theatre of some stirring events during the troubles of
1812.[27] It was denominated Lee's Place, or Hardscrabble. Here lived,
at this time, a settler named Heacock.

Owing to the badness of the roads a greater part of the year, the usual
mode of communication between the fort and the Point was by a boat rowed
up the river, or by a canoe paddled by some skilful hand. By the latter
means, too, an intercourse was kept up between the residents of the fort
and the Agency House.

There were, at this time, two companies of soldiers in the garrison, but
of the officers one, Lieutenant Furman, had died the autumn previous,
and several of the others were away on furlough. In the absence of Major
Fowle and Captain Scott, the command devolved on Lieutenant Hunter.
Besides him, there were Lieutenants Engle and Foster--the latter
unmarried. Dr. Finley, the post surgeon, was also absent, and his place
was supplied by Dr. Harmon, a gentleman from Vermont.

My husband's mother, two sisters, and brother resided at the Agency
House--the family residence near the lake being occupied by J.N. Bailey,
the postmaster.

In the Dean House lived a Mr. and Mrs. Forbes, who kept a school.
Gholson Kercheval had a small trading establishment in one of the log
buildings at Wolf Point, and John S.C. Hogan superintended the sutler's
store in the garrison.

There was also a Mr. See lately come into the country, living at the
Point, who sometimes held forth in the little school-house on a Sunday,
less to the edification of his hearers than to the unmerciful slaughter
of the "King's English."

I think this enumeration comprises all the white inhabitants of Chicago
at a period less than half a century ago. To many who may read these
pages the foregoing particulars will, doubtless, appear uninteresting.
But to those who visit Chicago, and still more to those who come to make
it their home, it may be not without interest to look back to its first
beginnings; to contemplate the almost magical change which a few years
have wrought; and from the past to augur the marvellous prosperity of
the future.

The origin of the name Chicago is a subject of discussion, some of the
Indians deriving it from the fitch or polecat, others from the wild
onion with which the woods formerly abounded; but all agree that the
place received its name from an old chief who was drowned in the stream
in former times. That this event, although so carefully preserved by
tradition, must have occurred in a very remote period, is evident from
an old French manuscript brought by General Cass from France.

In this paper, which purports to be a letter from M. de Ligney, at Green
Bay, to M. de Siette, among the Illinois, dated as early as 1726, the
place is designated as "Chica-goux." This orthography is also found in
old family letters of the beginning of the present century.

       *       *       *       *       *

In giving the early history of Chicago, the Indians say, with great
simplicity, "the first white man who settled here was a negro."

This was Jean Baptiste Point-au-Sable, a native of St. Domingo, who,
about the year 1796, found his way to this remote region, and commenced
a life among the Indians. There is usually a strong affection between
these two races, and Jean Baptiste imposed upon his new friends by
making them believe that he had been a "great chief" among the whites.
Perhaps he was disgusted at not being elected to a similar dignity by
the Pottowattamies, for he quitted this vicinity, and finally terminated
his days at Peoria, under the roof of his friend Glamorgan, another St.
Domingo negro, who had obtained large Spanish grants in St. Louis and
its environs, and who, at one time, was in the enjoyment of an extensive
landed estate.

Point-au-Sable had made some improvements at Chicago, which were taken
possession of by a Frenchman named Le Mai, who commenced trading with
the Indians. After a few years Le Mai's establishment was purchased by
John Kinzie, Esq., who at that time resided at Bertrand, or _Parc aux
Vaches_, as it was then called, near Niles, in Michigan. As this
gentleman was for nearly twenty years, with the exception of the
military, the only white inhabitant of Northern Illinois, some
particulars of his early life may not be uninteresting.

He was born in Quebec in 1163. His mother had been previously married to
a gentleman of the name of Haliburton. The only daughter of this
marriage was the mother of General Fleming, Nicholas Low, Esq., and Mrs.
Charles King, of New York. She is described as a lady of remarkable
beauty and accomplishments. Mr. Kinzie was the only child of the second
marriage. His father died in his infancy, and his mother married a third
time a Mr. Forsyth, after which they removed to the city of New York.

At the age of ten or eleven years he was placed at school with two of
his half-brothers at Williamsburg, L.I. A negro servant was sent from
the city every Saturday, to bring the children home, to remain until the
following Monday morning. Upon one occasion, when the messenger arrived
at the school he found all things in commotion. Johnny Kinzie was
missing! Search was made in all directions; every place was ransacked.
It was all in vain; no Johnny Kinzie could be found.

The heavy tidings were carried home to his mother. By some it was
supposed the lad was drowned; by others that he had strayed away, and
would return. Weeks passed by, and months, and he was at length given up
and mourned as lost. In the mean time the boy was fulfilling a
determination he had long formed, to visit his native city of Quebec,
and make his way in life for himself.

He had by some means succeeded in crossing from Williamsburg to the city
of New York, and finding at one of the docks on the North River a sloop
bound for Albany, he took passage on board of her. While on his way up
the river, he was noticed by a gentleman, who, taking an interest in the
little lonely passenger, questioned him about his business.

"He was going to Quebec, where he had some friends."

"Had he the means to carry him there?"

"Not much, but he thought he could get along."

It happened, fortunately, that the gentleman himself was going to
Quebec. He took the boy under his care, paid his expenses the whole
distance, and finally parted with him in the streets of the city, where
he was, in truth, a stranger.

He wandered about for a time, looking into various "stores" and
workshops. At length, on entering the shop of a silversmith, he was
satisfied with the expression he read in the countenance of the master,
and he inquired if he wanted an apprentice.

"What, you, my little fellow! What can you do?"

"Anything you can teach me."

"Well, we will make a trial and see."

The trial was satisfactory. He remained in the family of his kind
friend for more than three years, when his parents, who, in removing to
Detroit, had necessarily returned to Canada, discovered his place of
abode, and he was restored to them.

There were five younger half-brothers, of the name of Forsyth. In the
old family Bible, we find the following touching record of an event that
occurred after the family had removed to Detroit:--

"George Forsyth was lost in the woods 6th August, 1775, when Henry Hays
and Mark Stirling ran away and left him. The remains of George Forsyth
were found by an Indian the 2d of October, 1776, close by the Prairie

It seems a singular fatality that the unhappy mother should have been
twice called to suffer a similar affliction--the loss of a child in a
manner worse than death, inasmuch as it left room for all the horrors
that imagination can suggest. The particulars of the loss of this little
brother were these. As he came from school one evening, he met the
colored servant-boy on horseback, going to the common for the cows. The
school-house stood quite near the old fort, and all beyond that, towards
the west, was a wild, uncultivated tract called "the Common." The child
begged of the servant to take him up and give him a ride, but the other
refused, bidding him return home at once. He was accompanied by two
other boys, somewhat older, and together they followed the negro for
some distance, hoping to prevail upon him to give them a ride. As it
grew dark, the two older boys turned back, but the other kept on. When
the negro returned he had not again seen the child, nor were any tidings
ever received of him, notwithstanding the diligent search made by the
whole little community, until, as related in the record, his remains
were found the following year by an Indian. There was nothing to
identify them, except the auburn curls of his hair, and the little boots
he had worn. He must have perished very shortly after having lost his
way, for the Prairie Ronde was too near the settlement to have prevented
his bearing the calls and sounding horns of those in search of him, had
he been living.

Mr. Kinzie's enterprising and adventurous disposition led him, as he
grew older, to live much on the frontier. He early entered into the
Indian trade, and had establishments at Sandusky and Maumee. About the
year 1800 he pushed farther west, to St. Joseph's, Michigan. In this
year he married Mrs. McKillip, the widow of a British officer, and in
1804 came to make his home at Chicago. It was in this year that the
first fort was built by Major John Whistler.

By degrees more remote trading-posts were established by him, all
contributing to the parent one at Chicago; at Milwaukie with the
Menomonees; at Rock River with the Winnebagoes and the Pottowattamies;
on the Illinois River and Kankakee with the Pottowattamies of the
Prairies, and with the Kickapoos in what was called "_Le Large_," being
the widely extended district afterwards erected into Sangamon County.

Each trading-post had its superintendent, and its complement of
engagés--its train of pack-horses and its equipment of boats and canoes.
From most of the stations the furs and peltries were brought to Chicago
on pack-horses, and the goods necessary for the trade were transported
in return by the same method.

The vessels which came in the spring and fall (seldom more than two or
three annually), to bring the supplies and goods for the trade, took the
furs that were already collected to Mackinac, the depôt of the Southwest
and American Fur Companies. At other seasons they were sent to that
place in boats, coasting around the lake.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the Canadian voyageurs or engagés, a race that has now so nearly
passed away, some notice may very properly here be given.

They were unlike any other class of men. Like the poet, they seemed born
to their vocation. Sturdy, enduring, ingenious, and light-hearted, they
possessed a spirit capable of adapting itself to any emergency. No
difficulties baffled, no hardships discouraged them; while their
affectionate nature led them to form attachments of the warmest
character to their "bourgeois," or master, as well as to the native
inhabitants, among whom their engagements carried them.

Montreal, or, according to their own pronunciation, _Marrialle_, was
their depôt. It was at that place that the agents commissioned to make
up the quota for the different companies and traders found the material
for their selections.

The terms of engagement were usually from four to six hundred livres
(ancient Quebec currency) per annum as wages, with rations of one quart
of lyed corn, and two ounces of tallow per diem, or "its equivalent in
whatever sort of food is to be found in the Indian country." Instances
have been known of their submitting cheerfully to fare upon fresh fish
and maple-sugar for a whole winter, when cut off from other supplies.

It was a common saying, "Keep an engagé to his corn and tallow, he will
serve you well--give him pork and bread, and he soon gets beyond your
management." They regard the terms of their engagement as binding to the
letter. An old trader, M. Berthelet, engaged a crew at Montreal. The
terms of agreement were, that they should eat when their bourgeois did,
and what he did. It was a piece of fun on the part of the old gentleman,
but the simple Canadians believed it to be a signal instance of good
luck that had provided them such luxurious prospects. The bourgeois
stuffed his pockets with crackers, and, when sure of being quite
unobserved, would slily eat one. Pipe after pipe passed--the men grew
hungry, but, observing that there were no preparations of a meal for the
bourgeois, they bore their fast without complaining.

At length the matter became too serious--they could stand it no longer.
In their distress they begged off from the bargain, and gladly
compounded to take the customary rations, instead of the dainty fare
they had been promising themselves with their master.

On arriving at Mackinac, which was the entrepôt of the fur trade, a
small proportion of the voyageur's wages was advanced him, to furnish
his winter's outfit, his pipes and tobacco, his needles and thread, some
pieces of bright-colored ribbons, and red and yellow gartering (quality
binding), with which to purchase their little necessaries from the
Indians. To these, if his destination were Lake Superior, or a post far
to the north where such articles could not be readily obtained, were
added one or two smoked deer-skins for moccasins.

Thus equipped, he entered upon his three years' service, to toil by day,
and laugh, joke, sing, and tell stories when the evening hour brought
rest and liberty.

There was not wanting here and there an instance of obstinate adherence
to the exact letter of the agreement in regard to the nature of
employment, although, as a general thing, the engagé held himself ready
to fulfil the behests of his bourgeois, as faithfully as ever did vassal
those of his chief.

A Story is told of M. St. Jean, a trader on the Upper Mississippi, who
upon a certain occasion ordered one of his Frenchmen to accompany a
party to the forest to chop wood. The man refused. "He was not hired,"
he said, "to chop wood."

"Ah! for what, then, were you hired?"

"To steer a boat."

"Very well; steer a boat, then, since you prefer it."

It was mid-winter. The recusant was marched to the river-side, and
placed in the stern of the boat, which lay fastened in the ice.

After serving a couple of hours at his legitimate employment, with the
thermometer below zero, he was quite content to take his place with the
chopping-party, and never again thought it good policy to choose work
for himself.

There is an aristocracy in the voyageur service which is quite amusing.
The engagement is usually made for three years. The engagé of the first
year, who is called a "_mangeur-de-lard_," or pork-eater, is looked down
upon with the most sovereign contempt by an "_hivernant_," or one who
has already passed a winter in the country. He will not only not
associate with him, but if invited by him to join him in a friendly
glass, he will make some excuse for declining. The most inveterate
drunkard, while tortured by a longing to partake his favorite
indulgence, will yet never suffer himself to be enticed into an
infringement of this custom.

After the first winter, the _mangeur-de-lard_ rises from his freshman
class, and takes his place where he can in turn lord it over all

Another peculiarity of the voyageurs is their fancy for transforming the
names of their bourgeois into something funny, which resembles it in
sound. Thus, Kinzie would be called by one "_Quinze nez_" (fifteen
noses), by another "_Singé_" (monkeyfied). Mr. Kercheval was denominated
_Mons. Court-cheval_ (short horse), the Judge of Probate, "_le Juge
Trop-bête"_ (too foolish), etc. The following is an instance in point.

Mr. Shaw, one of the agents of the Northwest Fur Company, had passed
many years on the frontier, and was by the voyageurs called Monsieur Le
Chat.[28] On quitting the Indian country he married a Canadian lady and
became the father of several children. Some years after his return to
Canada, his old foreman, named Louis la Liberté, went to Montreal to
spend the winter. He had heard of his old bourgeois' marriage, and was
anxious to see him.

Mr. Shaw was walking in the Champ de Mars with a couple of officers,
when La Liberté espied him. He immediately ran up, and, seizing him by
both hands, accosted him,--

"_Ah! mon cher Monsieur le Chat: comment vous portez-vous_?" (My dear
Mr. Cat, how do you do?)

"_Très-bien, Louizon_."

"_Et comment se porte Madame la Chatte_?" (How is the mother cat?)

"_Bien, bien, Louizon; elle est très-bien_" (She is very well.)

"_Et tous les petits Chatons_?" (And all the kittens?)

This was too much for Mr. Shaw. He answered shortly that the _kittens
were all well_, and turned away with his military friends, leaving poor
Louizon quite astonished at the abruptness of his departure.

Cut off, in the manner described, from the world at large, with no
society but the military, thus lived the family of Mr. Kinzie, in great
contentment, and in the enjoyment of all the comforts, together with
most of the luxuries, of life.

The Indians reciprocated the friendship that was shown them, and formed
for them an attachment of no ordinary strength, as was manifested during
the scenes of the year 1812, eight years after Mr. Kinzie first came to
live among them.

Some of the most prominent events of that year are recorded in the
following Narrative.



It was the evening of the 7th of April, 1812. The children of Mr. Kinzie
were dancing before the fire to the music of their father's violin. The
tea-table was spread, and they were awaiting the return of their mother,
who had gone to visit a sick neighbor about a quarter of a mile up the

Suddenly their sports were interrupted. The door was thrown open, and
Mrs. Kinzie rushed in, pale with terror, and scarcely able to
articulate, "The Indians! the Indians!"

"The Indians? What? Where?" eagerly demanded they all.

"Up at Lee's Place, killing and scalping!"

With difficulty Mrs. Kinzie composed herself sufficiently to give the
information, "That, while she was up at Burns's, a man and a boy were
seen running down with all speed on the opposite side of the river; that
they had called across to give notice to Barns's family to save
themselves, for _the Indians_ were at Lee's Place, from which they had
just made their escape. Having given this terrifying news, they had made
all speed for the fort, which was on the same side of the river that
they then were."

All was now consternation and dismay. The family were hurried into two
old _pirogues_, that lay moored near the house, and paddled with all
possible haste across the river to take refuge in the fort.

All that the man and boy who had made their escape were able to tell,
was soon known; but, in order to render their story more intelligible,
it is necessary to describe the scene of action.

_Lee's Place_, since known by the name of Hardscrabble, was a farm
intersected by the Chicago River, about four miles from its mouth. The
farm-house stood on the western bank of the south branch of this river.
On the north side of the main stream, but quite near its junction with
Lake Michigan, stood (as has already been described) the dwelling-house
and trading-establishment of Mr. Kinzie.

The fort was situated on the southern bank, directly opposite this
mansion--the river, and a few rods of sloping green turf on either side,
being all that intervened between them.

The fort was differently constructed from the one erected on the same
site in 1816. It had two block-houses on the southern side, and on the
northern a sally-port, or subterranean passage from the parade-ground to
the river. This was designed either to facilitate escape in case of an
emergency, or as a means of supplying the garrison with water during a

The officers in the fort at this period were Captain Heald, the
commanding officer, Lieutenant Helm, the son-in-law of Mr. Kinzie, and
Ensign Ronan--the two last were very young men--and the surgeon, Dr. Van

The command numbered about seventy-five men; very few of whom were

A constant and friendly intercourse had been maintained between these
troops and the Indians. It is true that the principal men of the
Pottowattamie nation, like those of most other tribes, went yearly to
Fort Malden, in Canada, to receive a large amount of presents, with
which the British Government had, for many years, been in the habit of
purchasing their alliance; and it was well known that many of the
Pottowattamies, as well as Winnebagoes, had been engaged with the
Ottawas and Shawnees at the battle of Tippecanoe, the preceding autumn;
yet, as the principal chiefs of all the bands in the neighborhood
appeared to be on the most amicable terms with the Americans, no
interruption of their harmony was at any time anticipated.

After the 15th of August, however, many circumstances were recollected
that might have opened the eyes of the whites, had they not been lulled
in a fatal security. One instance in particular may be mentioned.

In the spring preceding the destruction of the fort, two Indians of the
Calumet band came to the fort on a visit to the commanding officer. As
they passed through the quarters, they saw Mrs. Heald and Mrs. Helm
playing at battledoor.

Turning to the interpreter, one of them, Nau-non-gee, remarked, "The
white chiefs' wives are amusing themselves very much; it will not be
long before they are hoeing in our corn-fields!"

This was considered at the time an idle threat, or, at most, an
ebullition of jealous feeling at the contrast between the situation of
their own women and that of the "white chiefs' wives." Some months
after, how bitterly was it remembered!

       *       *       *       *       *

The farm at Lee's Place was occupied by a Mr. White and three persons
employed by him in the care of the farm.

In the afternoon of the day on which our narrative commences, a party of
ten or twelve Indians, dressed and painted, arrived at the house, and,
according to the custom among savages, entered and seated themselves
without ceremony.

Something in their appearance and manner excited the suspicions of one
of the family, a Frenchman, who remarked, "I do not like the appearance
of these Indians--they are none of our folks. I know by their dress and
paint that they are not Pottowattamies."

Another of the family, a discharged soldier, then said to the boy who
was present, "If that is the case, we had better get away from them if
we can. Say nothing; but do as you see me do."

As the afternoon was far advanced, the soldier walked leisurely towards
the canoes, of which there were two tied near the bank. Some of the
Indians inquired where he was going. He pointed to the cattle which were
standing among the haystacks on the opposite bank, and made signs that
they must go and fodder them, and then they should return and get their

He got into one canoe, and the boy into the other. The stream was
narrow, and they were soon across. When they had gained the opposite
side, they pulled some hay for the cattle--made a show of collecting
them--and when they had gradually made a circuit, so that their
movements were concealed by the haystacks, they took to the woods, which
were close at hand, and made for the fort.

They had run about a quarter of a mile, when they heard the discharge of
two guns successively, which they supposed to have been levelled at the
companions they had left behind.

They stopped not nor stayed until they arrived opposite Burns's,[30]
where, as before related, they called across to advertise the family of
their danger, and then hastened on to the fort.

It now occurred to those who had secured their own safety, that the
family of Burns was at this moment exposed to the most imminent peril.
The question was, who would hazard his own life to bring them to a place
of safety? A gallant young officer, Ensign Ronan, volunteered, with a
party of five or six soldiers, to go to their rescue.

They ascended the river in a scow, and took the mother, with her infant
of scarcely a day old, upon her bed to the boat, in which they carefully
conveyed her and the other members of the family to the fort.

A party of soldiers, consisting of a corporal and six men, had that
afternoon obtained leave to go up the river to fish.

They had not returned when the fugitives from Lee's Place arrived at
the fort, and, fearing that they might encounter the Indians, the
commanding officer ordered a cannon to be fired, to warn them of danger.

They were at the time about two miles above Lee's Place. Hearing the
signal, they took the hint, put out their torches (for it was now
night), and dropped down the river towards the garrison, as silently as
possible. It will be remembered that the unsettled state of the country
since the battle of Tippecanoe, the preceding November, had rendered
every man vigilant, and the slightest alarm was an admonition to "beware
of the Indians."

When the fishing-party reached Lee's Place, it was proposed to stop and
warn the inmates to be upon their guard, as the signal from the fort
indicated danger of some kind. All was still as death around the house.
They groped their way along, and as the corporal jumped over the small
enclosure he placed his hand upon the dead body of a man. By the sense
of touch he soon ascertained that the head was without a scalp, and
otherwise mutilated. The faithful dog of the murdered man stood guarding
the lifeless remains of his master.

The tale was now told. The men retreated to their canoes, and reached
the fort unmolested about eleven o'clock at night. The next morning a
party of the citizens and soldiers volunteered to go to Lee's Place, to
learn further the fate of its occupants. The body of Mr. White was found
pierced by two balls, and with eleven stabs in the breast. The
Frenchman, as already described, lay dead, with his dog still beside
him. Their bodies were brought to the fort and buried in its immediate

It was subsequently ascertained, from traders out in the Indian country,
that the perpetrators of this bloody deed were a party of Winnebagoes,
who had come into this neighborhood to "take some white scalps." Their
plan had been, to proceed down the river from Lee's Place, and kill
every white man without the walls of the fort. Hearing, however, the
report of the cannon, and not knowing what it portended, they thought it
best to remain satisfied with this one exploit, and forthwith retreated
to their homes on Rock River.

The inhabitants outside the fort, consisting of a few discharged
soldiers and some families of half-breeds, now intrenched themselves in
the Agency House. This stood west of the fort, between the pickets and
the river, and distant about twenty rods from the former.

It was an old-fashioned log building, with a hall running through the
centre, and one large room on each side. Piazzas extended the whole
length of the building in front and rear. These were planked up, for
greater security, port-holes were cut, and sentinels posted at night.

As the enemy were believed to be lurking still in the neighborhood, or,
emboldened by former success, likely to return at any moment, an order
was issued prohibiting any soldier or citizen from leaving the vicinity
of the garrison without a guard.

One night a sergeant and private, who were out on a patrol, came
suddenly upon a party of Indians in the pasture adjoining the esplanade.
The sergeant fired his piece, and both retreated towards the fort.
Before they could reach it, an Indian threw his tomahawk, which missed
the sergeant and struck a wagon standing near. The sentinel from the
block-house immediately fired, and with effect, while the men got safely
in. The next morning it was ascertained, from traces of blood to a
considerable distance into the prairie, and from the appearance of a
body having been laid among the long grass, that some execution had been

On another occasion the enemy entered the esplanade to steal horses.
Not finding them in the stable, as they had expected, they made
themselves amends for their disappointment by stabbing all the sheep in
the stable and then letting them loose. The poor animals flocked towards
the fort. This gave the alarm--the garrison was aroused--parties were
sent out, but the marauders escaped unmolested.

       *       *       *       *       *

The inmates of the fort experienced no farther alarm for many weeks.

On the afternoon of the 7th of August, Winnemeg, or _Catfish_, a
Pottowattamie chief, arrived at the post, bringing despatches from
General Hull. These announced the declaration of war between the United
States and Great Britain, and that General Hull, at the head of the
Northwestern army, had arrived at Detroit; also, that the island of
Mackinac had fallen into the hands of the British.

The orders to Captain Heald were, "to evacuate the fort, if practicable,
and, in that event, to distribute all the United States' property
contained in the fort, and in the United States' factory or agency,
among the Indians in the neighborhood."

After having delivered his despatches, Winnemeg requested a private
interview with Mr. Kinzie, who had taken up his residence in the fort.
He stated to Mr. K. that he was acquainted with the purport of the
communications he had brought, and begged him to ascertain if it were
the intention of Captain Heald to evacuate the post. He advised strongly
against such a step, inasmuch as the garrison was well supplied with
ammunition, and with provisions for six months. It would, therefore, be
far better, he thought, to remain until a reinforcement could be sent to
their assistance. If, however, Captain Heald should decide upon leaving
the post, it should by all means be done immediately. The
Pottowattamies, through whose country they must pass, being ignorant of
the object of Winnemeg's mission, a forced march might be made, before
those who were hostile in their feelings were prepared to interrupt

Of this advice, so earnestly given, Captain Heald was immediately
informed. He replied that it was his intention to evacuate the post, but
that, inasmuch as he had received orders to distribute the United
States' property, he should not feel justified in leaving it until he
had collected the Indians of the neighborhood and made an equitable
division among them.

Winnemeg then suggested the expediency of marching out, and leaving all
things standing--possibly while the Indians were engaged in the
partition of the spoils, the troops might effect their retreat
unmolested. This advice was strongly seconded by Mr. Kinzie, but did not
meet the approbation of the commanding officer.

The order for evacuating the post was read next morning upon parade. It
is difficult to understand why Captain Heald, in such an emergency,
omitted the usual form of calling a council of war with his officers. It
can only be accounted for by the fact of a want of harmonious feeling
between himself and one of his junior officers--Ensign Ronan, a
high-spirited and somewhat overbearing, but brave and generous young

In the course of the day, finding that no council was called, the
officers waited on Captain Heald to be informed what course he intended
to pursue. When they learned his intentions, they remonstrated with him,
on the following grounds:

First--It was highly improbable that the command would be permitted to
pass through the country in safety to Fort Wayne. For although it had
been said that some of the chiefs had opposed an attack upon the fort,
planned the preceding autumn, yet it was well known that they had been
actuated in that matter by motives of private regard to one family, that
of Mr. Kinzie, and not to any general friendly feeling towards the
Americans; and that, at any rate, it was hardly to be expected that
these few individuals would be able to control the whole tribe, who were
thirsting for blood.

In the next place--Their march must necessarily be slow, as their
movements must be accommodated to the helplessness of the women and
children, of whom there were a number with the detachment. That of their
small force, some of the soldiers were superannuated, others invalid;
therefore, since the course to be pursued was left discretional, their
unanimous advice was, to remain where they were, and fortify themselves
as strongly as possible. Succors from the other side of the peninsula
might arrive before they could be attacked by the British from Mackinac;
and even should they not, it were far better to fall into the hands of
the latter than to become the victims of the savages.

Captain Heald argued in reply, that a special order had been issued by
the War Department, that no post should be surrendered without battle
having been given, and his force was totally inadequate to an engagement
with the Indians; that he should unquestionably be censured for
remaining, when there appeared a prospect of a safe march through; and
that, upon the whole, he deemed it expedient to assemble the Indians,
distribute the property among them, and then ask of them an escort to
Fort Wayne, with the promise of a considerable reward upon their safe
arrival--adding, that he had full confidence in the friendly professions
of the Indians, from whom, as well as from the soldiers, the capture of
Mackinac had been kept a profound secret.

From this time the officers held themselves aloof, and spoke but little
upon the subject, though they considered the project of Captain Heald
little short of madness. The dissatisfaction among the soldiers hourly
increased, until it reached a high pitch of insubordination.

Upon one occasion, as Captain Heald was conversing with Mr. Kinzie upon
the parade, he remarked, "I could not remain, even if I thought it best,
for I have but a small store of provisions."

"Why, captain," said a soldier who stood near, forgetting all etiquette
in the excitement of the moment, "you have cattle enough to last the
troops six months."

"But," replied Captain Heald, "I have no salt to preserve it with."

"Then jerk[31] it," said the man, "as the Indians do their venison."

The Indians now became daily more unruly. Entering the fort in defiance
of the sentinels, they made their way without ceremony into the
officers' quarters. On one occasion an Indian took up a rifle and fired
it in the parlor of the commanding officer, as an expression of
defiance. Some were of opinion that this was intended among the young
men as a signal for an attack. The old chiefs passed backwards and
forwards among the assembled groups, with the appearance of the most
lively agitation, while the squaws rushed to and fro, in great
excitement, and evidently prepared for some fearful scene.

Any further manifestation of ill feeling was, however, suppressed for
the present, and Captain Heald, strange as it may seem, continued to
entertain a conviction of having created so amicable a disposition among
the Indians as would insure the safety of the command on their march to
Fort Wayne.

Thus passed the time until the 12th of August. The feelings of the
inmates of the fort during this time may be better imagined than
described. Each morning that dawned seemed to bring them nearer to that
most appalling fate--butchery by a savage foe--and at night they
scarcely dared yield to slumber, lest they should be aroused by the
war-whoop and tomahawk. Gloom and mistrust prevailed, and the want of
unanimity among the officers debarred them the consolation they might
have found in mutual sympathy and encouragement.

The Indians being assembled from the neighboring villages, a council was
held with them on the afternoon of the 12th. Captain Heald alone
attended on the part of the military. He requested his officers to
accompany him, but they declined. They had been secretly informed that
it was the intention of the young chiefs to fall upon the officers and
massacre them while in council, but they could not persuade Captain
Heald of the truth of their information. They waited therefore only
until he had left the garrison, accompanied by Mr. Kinzie, when they
took command of the block-houses which overlooked the esplanade on which
the council was held, opened the port-holes, and pointed the cannon so
as to command the whole assembly. By this means, probably, the lives of
the whites who were present in council were preserved.

In council, the commanding officer informed the Indians that it was his
intention to distribute among them, the next day, not only the goods
lodged in the United States' factory, but also the ammunition and
provisions, with Which the garrison was well supplied. He then
requested of the Pottowattamies an escort to Fort Wayne, promising them
a liberal reward on arriving there, in addition to the presents they
were now about to receive. With many professions of friendship and good
will, the savages assented to all be proposed, and promised all he

After the council, Mr. Kinzie, who understood well, not only the Indian
character, but the present tone of feeling among them, had a long
interview with Captain Heald, in hopes of opening his eyes to the
present posture of affairs.

He reminded him that since the troubles with the Indians upon the Wabash
and its vicinity, there had appeared a settled plan of hostilities
towards the whites, in consequence of which it had been the policy of
the Americans to withhold from them whatever would enable them to carry
on their warfare upon the defenceless inhabitants of the frontier.

Mr. Kinzie also recalled to Captain Heald how that, having left home for
Detroit, the preceding autumn, on receiving, when he had proceeded as
far as De Charme's,[32] the intelligence of the battle of Tippecanoe, he
had immediately returned to Chicago, that he might dispatch orders to
his traders to furnish no ammunition to the Indians; in consequence of
which all they had on hand was secreted, and such of the traders as had
not already started for their wintering-grounds, took neither powder nor
shot with them.

Captain Heald was struck with the impolicy of furnishing the enemy (for
such they must now consider their old neighbors) with arms against
himself, and determined to destroy all the ammunition except what should
be necessary for the use of his own troops.

On the 13th, the goods, consisting of blankets, broadcloths, calicoes,
paints, etc., were distributed, as stipulated. The same evening the
ammunition and liquor were carried, part into the sally-port, and thrown
into a well which had been dug there to supply the garrison with water
in case of emergency; the remainder was transported as secretly as
possible through the northern gate, the heads of the barrels knocked in,
and the contents poured into the river.

The same fate was shared by a large quantity of alcohol belonging to Mr.
Kinzie, which had been deposited in a warehouse near his residence
opposite the fort.

The Indians suspected what was going on, and crept, serpent-like, as
near the scene of action as possible, but a vigilant watch was kept up,
and no one was suffered to approach but those engaged in the affair. All
the muskets not necessary for the command on the march were broken up
and thrown into the well, together with the bags of shot, flints,
gunscrews, and, in short, everything relating to weapons of offence.

Some relief to the general feeling of despondency was afforded, by the
arrival, on the 14th of August, of Captain Wells[33] with fifteen
friendly Miamis.

Of this brave man, who forms so conspicuous a figure in our frontier
annals, it is unnecessary here to say more than that he had been
residing from his boyhood among the Indians, and consequently possessed
a perfect knowledge of their character and habits.

He had heard, at Fort Wayne, of the order for evacuating the fort at
Chicago, and, knowing the hostile determination of the Pottowattamies,
he had made a rapid march across the country, to prevent the exposure
of his relative, Captain Heald, and his troops, to certain destruction.

But he came "all too late." When he reached the post he found that the
ammunition had been destroyed, and the provisions given to the Indians.
There was, therefore, now no alternative, and every preparation was made
for the march of the troops on the following morning.

On the afternoon of the same day, a second council was held with the
Indians. They expressed great indignation at the destruction of the
ammunition and liquor.

Notwithstanding the precautions that had been taken to preserve secrecy,
the noise of knocking in the heads of the barrels had betrayed the
operations of the preceding night; indeed, so great was the quantity of
liquor thrown into the river, that the taste of the water the next
morning was, as one expressed it, "strong grog."

Murmurs and threats were everywhere heard among the savages. It was
evident that the first moment of exposure would subject the troops to
some manifestation of their disappointment and resentment.

Among the chiefs were several who, although they shared the general
hostile feeling of their tribe towards the Americans, yet retained a
personal regard for the troops at this post, and for the few white
citizens of the place. These chiefs exerted their utmost influence to
allay the revengeful feelings of the young men, and to avert their
sanguinary designs, but without effect.

On the evening succeeding the council, _Black Partridge_, a conspicuous
chief, entered the quarters of the commanding officer.

"Father," said he, "I come to deliver up to you the medal I wear. It was
given me by the Americans, and I have long worn it in token of our
mutual friendship. But our young men are resolved to imbrue their hands
in the blood of the whites. I cannot restrain them, and I will not wear
a token of peace while I am compelled to act as an enemy."

Had further evidence been wanting, this circumstance would have
sufficiently proved to the devoted band the justice of their melancholy
anticipations. Nevertheless, they went steadily on with the necessary
preparations; and, amid the horrors of their situation, there were not
wanting gallant hearts, who strove to encourage, in their desponding
companions, the hopes of escape they were far from indulging themselves.

Of the ammunition there had been reserved but twenty-five rounds,
besides one box of cartridges, contained in the baggage-wagons. This
must, under any circumstances of danger, have proved an inadequate
supply; but the prospect of a fatiguing march, in their present
ineffective state, forbade the troops embarrassing themselves with a
larger quantity.



The morning of the 15th arrived. All things were in readiness, and nine
o'clock was the hour named for starting.

Mr. Kinzie, having volunteered to accompany the troops in their march,
had intrusted his family to the care of some friendly Indians, who
promised to convey them in a boat around the head of Lake Michigan to a
point[34] on the St. Joseph's River, there to be joined by the troops,
should the prosecution of their march be permitted them.

Early in the morning Mr. Kinzie received a message from To-pee-nee-bee,
a chief of the St. Joseph's band, informing him that mischief was
intended by the Pottowattamies who had engaged to escort the detachment,
and urging him to relinquish his design of accompanying the troops by
land, promising him that the boat containing himself and family should
be permitted to pass in safety to St. Joseph's.

Mr. Kinzie declined acceding to this proposal, as he believed that his
presence might operate as a restraint upon the fury of the savages, so
warmly were the greater part of them attached to himself and his family.

The party in the boat consisted of Mrs. Kinzie and her four younger
children, their nurse Josette, a clerk of Mr. Kinzie's, two servants and
the boatmen, besides the two Indians who acted as their protectors. The
boat started, but had scarcely reached the mouth of the river, which, it
will be recollected, was here half a mile below the fort, when another
messenger from To-pee-nee-bee arrived to detain them where they were.
There was no mistaking the reason of this detention.

In breathless anxiety sat the wife and mother. She was a woman of
uncommon energy and strength of character, yet her heart died within her
as she folded her arms around her helpless infants, and gazed upon the
march of her husband and eldest child to certain destruction.

As the troops left the fort, the band struck up the Dead March. On they
came, in military array, but with solemn mien. Captain Wells took the
lead at the head of his little band of Miamis. He had blackened his face
before leaving the garrison, in token of his impending fate. They took
their route along the lake shore. When they reached the point where
commenced a range of sand-hills intervening between the prairie and the
beach, the escort of Pottowattamies, in number about five hundred, kept
the level of the prairie, instead of continuing along the beach with the
Americans and Miamis.

They had marched perhaps a mile and a half, when Captain Wells, who had
kept somewhat in advance with his Miamis, came riding furiously back.

"They are about to attack us," shouted he; "form instantly, and charge
upon them."

Scarcely were the words uttered, when a volley was showered from among
the sand-hills. The troops were hastily brought into line, and charged
up the bank. One man, a veteran of seventy winters, fell as they
ascended. The remainder of the scene is best described in the words of
an eye-witness and participator in the tragedy, Mrs. Helm, the wife of
Captain (then Lieutenant) Helm, and step-daughter of Mr. Kinzie.

       *       *       *       *       *

"After we had left the bank the firing became general. The Miamis fled
at the outset. Their chief rode up to the Pottowattamies, and said:

"'You have deceived the Americans and us. You have done a bad action,
and (brandishing his tomahawk) I will be the first to head a party of
Americans to return and punish your treachery.' So saying, he galloped
after his companions, who were now scouring across the prairies.

"The troops behaved most gallantly. They were but a handful, but they
seemed resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Our horses
pranced and bounded, and could hardly be restrained as the balls
whistled among them. I drew off a little, and gazed upon my husband and
father, who were yet unharmed. I felt that my hour was come, and
endeavored to forget those I loved, and prepare myself for my
approaching fate.

"While I was thus engaged, the surgeon, Dr. Van Voorhees, came up. He
was badly wounded. His horse had been shot under him, and he had
received a ball in his leg. Every muscle of his face was quivering with
the agony of terror. He said to me, 'Do you think they will take our
lives? I am badly wounded, but I think not mortally. Perhaps we might
purchase our lives by promising them a large reward. Do you think there
is any chance?'

"'Dr. Van Voorhees,' said I, 'do not let us waste the few moments that
yet remain to us in such vain hopes. Our fate is inevitable. In a few
moments we must appear before the bar of God. Let us make what
preparation is yet in our power.'

"'Oh, I cannot die!' exclaimed he, 'I am not fit to die--if I had but a
short time to prepare--death is awful!'

"I pointed to Ensign Ronan, who, though mortally wounded and nearly
down, was still fighting with desperation on one knee.[35]

"'Look at that man!' said I. 'At least he dies like a soldier.'

"'Yes,' replied the unfortunate man, with a convulsive gasp, 'but he has
no terrors of the future--he is an unbeliever!'

"At this moment a young Indian raised his tomahawk at me. By springing
aside, I partially avoided the blow, which was intended for my skull,
but which alighted on my shoulder. I seized him around the neck, and
while exerting my utmost efforts to get possession of his
scalping-knife, which hung in a scabbard over his breast, I was dragged
from his grasp by another and older Indian.

"The latter bore me struggling and resisting towards the lake.
Notwithstanding the rapidity with which I was harried along, I
recognized, as I passed them, the lifeless remains of the unfortunate
surgeon. Some murderous tomahawk had stretched him upon the very spot
where I had last seen him.

"I was immediately plunged into the water and held there with a forcible
hand, notwithstanding my resistance. I soon perceived, however, that the
object of my captor was not to drown me, for he held me firmly in such a
position as to place my head above water. This reassured me, and,
regarding him attentively, I soon recognized, in spite of the paint with
which he was disguised, _The Black Partridge_.

"When the firing had nearly subsided, my preserver bore me from the
water and conducted me up the sand-banks. It was a burning August
morning, and walking through the sand in my drenched condition was
inexpressibly painful and fatiguing. I stooped and took off my shoes to
free them from the sand with which they were nearly filled, when a squaw
seized and carried them off, and I was obliged to proceed without them.

"When we had gained the prairie, I was met by my father, who told me
that my husband was safe and but slightly wounded. They led me gently
back towards the Chicago River, along the southern bank of which was the
Pottowattamie encampment. At one time I was placed upon a horse without
a saddle, but, finding the motion insupportable, I sprang off. Supported
partly by my kind conductor, _Black Partridge_, and partly by another
Indian, Pee-so-tum, who held dangling in his hand a scalp, which by the
black ribbon around the queue I recognized as that of Captain Wells, I
dragged my fainting steps to one of the wigwams.

"The wife of Wau-bee-nee-mah, a chief from the Illinois River, was
standing near, and, seeing my exhausted condition, she seized a kettle,
dipped up some water from a stream that flowed near,[36] threw into it
some maple-sugar, and, stirring it up with her hand, gave it me to
drink. This act of kindness, in the midst of so many horrors, touched me
most sensibly; but my attention was soon diverted to other objects.

"The fort had become a scene of plunder to such as remained after the
troops marched out. The cattle had been shot down as they ran at large,
and lay dead or dying around. This work of butchery had commenced just
as we were leaving the fort. I well remembered a remark of Ensign Ronan,
as the firing went on. 'Such,' turning to me, 'is to be our fate--to be
shot down like brutes!'

"'Well, sir,' said the commanding officer, who overheard him, 'are you

"'No,' replied the high-spirited young man, 'I can march up to the enemy
where you dare not show your face.' And his subsequent gallant behavior
showed this to be no idle boast.

"As the noise of the firing grew gradually less and the stragglers from
the victorious party came dropping in, I received confirmation of what
my father had hurriedly communicated in our _rencontre_ on the lake
shore; namely, that the whites had surrendered, after the loss of about
two-thirds of their number. They had stipulated, through the
interpreter, Peresh Leclerc, for the preservation of their lives, and
those of the remaining women and children, and for their delivery at
some of the British posts, unless ransomed by traders in the Indian
country. It appears that the wounded prisoners were not considered as
included in the stipulation, and a horrid scene ensued upon their being
brought into camp.

"An old squaw, infuriated by the loss of friends, or excited by the
sanguinary scenes around her, seemed possessed by a demoniac ferocity.
She seized a stable-fork and assaulted one miserable victim, who lay
groaning and writhing in the agony of his wounds, aggravated by the
scorching beams of the sun. With a delicacy of feeling scarcely to have
been expected under such circumstances, Wau-bee-nee-mah stretched a mat
across two poles, between me and this dreadful scene. I was thus spared
in some degree a view of its horrors, although I could not entirely
close my ears to the cries of the sufferer The following night five more
of the wounded prisoners were tomahawked."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Americans, it appears, after their first attack by the Indians,
charged upon those who had concealed themselves in a sort of ravine,
intervening between the sand-banks and the prairie. The latter gathered
themselves into a body, and after some hard fighting, in which the
number of whites had become reduced to twenty-eight, this little band
succeeded in breaking through the enemy, and gaining a rising ground,
not far from the Oak Woods. Further contest now seeming hopeless,
Lieutenant Helm sent Peresh Leclerc, a half-breed boy in the service of
Mr. Kinzie, who had accompanied the detachment and fought manfully on
their side, to propose terms of capitulation. It was stipulated that the
lives of all the survivors should be spared, and a ransom permitted as
soon as practicable.

But in the mean time a horrible scene had been enacted. One young
savage, climbing into the baggage-wagon containing the children of the
white families, twelve in number, tomahawked the entire group. This was
during the engagement near the sand-hills. When Captain Wells, who was
fighting near, beheld it, he exclaimed,--

"Is that their game, butchering the women and children? Then I will
kill, too!"

So saying, he turned his horse's head, and started for the Indian camp,
near the fort, where had been left their squaws and children.

Several Indians pursued him as he galloped along. He laid himself flat
on the neck of his horse, loading and firing in that position, as he
would occasionally turn on his pursuers. At length their balls took
effect, killing his horse, and severely wounding himself. At this moment
he was met by _Winnemeg_ and _Wau-ban-see_, who endeavored to save him
from the savages who had now overtaken him. As they supported him along,
after having disengaged him from his horse, he received his death-blow
from another Indian, _Pee-so-tum_, who stabbed him in the back.

The heroic resolution of one of the soldiers' wives deserves to be
recorded. She was a Mrs. Corbin, and had, from the first, expressed the
determination never to fall into the hands of the savages, believing
that their prisoners were always subjected to tortures worse than death.

When, therefore, a party came upon her, to make her a prisoner, she
fought with desperation, refusing to surrender, although assured, by
signs, of safety and kind treatment, and literally suffered herself to
be cut to pieces, rather than become their captive.

There was a Sergeant Holt, who, early in the engagement, received a ball
in the neck. Finding himself badly wounded, he gave his sword to his
wife, who was on horseback near him, telling her to defend herself; he
then made for the lake, to keep out of the way of the balls. Mrs. Holt
rode a very fine horse, which the Indians were desirous of possessing,
and they therefore attacked her, in hopes of dismounting her.

They fought only with the butt-ends of their guns, for their object was
not to kill her. She hacked and hewed at their pieces as they were
thrust against her, now on this side, now that. Finally, she broke loose
from them, and dashed out into the prairie. The Indians pursued her,
shouting and laughing, and now and then calling out,--

"The brave woman! do not hurt her!"

At length they overtook her again, and, while she was engaged with two
or three in front, one succeeded in seizing her by the neck behind, and
dragging her, although a large and powerful woman, from her horse.
Notwithstanding that their guns had been so hacked and injured, and even
themselves cut severely, they seemed to regard her only with admiration.
They took her to a trader on the Illinois River, by whom she was
restored to her friends, after having received every kindness during her

Those of the family of Mr. Kinzie who had remained in the boat, near the
mouth of the river, were carefully guarded by Kee-po-tah and another
Indian. They had seen the smoke--then the blaze--and immediately after,
the report of the first tremendous discharge sounded in their ears. Then
all was confusion They realized nothing until they saw an Indian come
towards them from the battle-ground, leading a horse on which sat a
lady, apparently wounded.

"That is Mrs. Heald," cried Mrs. Kinzie. "That Indian will kill her.
Run, Chandonnai," to one of Mr. Kinzie's clerks, "take the mule that is
tied there, and offer it to him to release her."

Her captor, by this time, was in the act of disengaging her bonnet from
her head, in order to scalp her. Chandonnai ran up, and offered the mule
as a ransom, with the promise of ten bottles of whiskey as soon as they
should reach his village. The latter was a strong temptation.

"But," said the Indian, "she is badly wounded--she will die. Will you
give me the whiskey at all events?"

Chandonnai promised that he would, and the bargain was concluded. The
savage placed the lady's bonnet on his own head, and, after an
ineffectual effort on the part of some squaws to rob her of her shoes
and stockings, she was brought on board the boat, where she lay moaning
with pain from the many bullet-wounds she had received in both arms.

The horse Mrs. Heald had ridden was a fine, spirited animal, and, being
desirous of possessing themselves of it uninjured, the Indians had aimed
their shots so as to disable the rider, without injuring her steed.

She had not lain long in the boat, when a young Indian of savage aspect
was seen appapproaching buffalo robe was hastily drawn over her, and she
was admonished to suppress all sound of complaint, as she valued her

The heroic woman remained perfectly silent, while the savage drew near.
He had a pistol in his hand, which he rested on the side of the boat,
while, with a fearful scowl, he looked pryingly around. Black Jim, one
of the servants, who stood in the bow of the boat, seized an axe that
lay near, and signed to him that if he shot, he would cleave his skull;
telling him that the boat contained only the family of Shaw-nee-aw-kee.
Upon this, the Indian retired. It afterwards appeared that the object of
his search was Mr. Burnett, a trader from St. Joseph's, with whom he
had some account to settle.

When the boat was at length permitted to return to the mansion of Mr.
Kinzie, and Mrs. Heald was removed to the house, it became necessary to
dress her wounds.

Mr. K. applied to an old chief who stood by, and who, like most of his
tribe, possessed some skill in surgery, to extract a ball from the arm
of the sufferer.

"No, father," replied he. "I cannot do it--it makes me sick
here"--(placing his hand on his heart.)

Mr. Kinzie then performed the operation himself, with his penknife.

At their own mansion the family of Mr. Kinzie were closely guarded by
their Indian friends, whose intention it was to carry them to Detroit
for security. The rest of the prisoners remained at the wigwams of their

The following morning, the work of plunder being completed, the Indians
set fire to the fort. A very equitable distribution of the finery
appeared to have been made, and shawls, ribbons, and feathers fluttered
about in all directions. The ludicrous appearance of one young fellow,
who had arrayed himself in a muslin gown and the bonnet of one of the
ladies, would, under other circumstances, have afforded matter of

Black Partridge, Wau-ban-see, and Kee-po-tah, with two other Indians,
having established themselves in the porch of the building as sentinels,
to protect the family from any evil that the young men might be excited
to commit, all remained tranquil for a short space after the

Very soon, however, a party of Indians from the Wabash made their
appearance. These were, decidedly, the most hostile and implacable of
all the tribes of the Pottowattamies.

Being more remote, they had shared less than some of their brethren in
the kindness of Mr. Kinzie and his family, and consequently their
sentiments of regard for them were less powerful.

Runners had been sent to the villages to apprise them of the intended
evacuation of the post, as well as of the plan of the Indians assembled
to attack the troops.

Thirsting to participate in such a scene, they hurried on; and great was
their mortification, on arriving at the river Aux Plaines, to meet with
a party of their friends having with them their chief Nee-scot-nee-meg,
badly wounded, and to learn that the battle was over, the spoils
divided, and the scalps all taken.

On arriving at Chicago they blackened their faces, and proceeded towards
the dwelling of Mr. Kinzie.

From his station on the piazza Black Partridge had watched their
approach, and his fears were particularly awakened for the safety of
Mrs. Helm (Mr. Kinzie's step-daughter), who had recently come to the
post, and was personally unknown to the more remote Indians. By his
advice she was made to assume the ordinary dress of a Frenchwoman of the
country; namely, a short gown and petticoat, with a blue cotton
handkerchief wrapped around her head. In this disguise she was conducted
by Black Partridge himself to the house of Ouilmette, a Frenchman with a
half-breed wife, who formed a part of the establishment of Mr. Kinzie
and whose dwelling was close at hand.

It so happened that the Indians came first to this house, in their
search for prisoners. As they approached, the inmates, fearful that the
fair complexion and general appearance of Mrs. Helm might betray her for
an American, raised a large feather bed and placed her under the edge of
it, upon the bedstead, with her face to the wall. Mrs. Bisson, a
half-breed, the sister of Ouilmette's wife, then seated herself with
her sewing upon the front of the bed.

It was a hot day in August, and the feverish excitement of fear and
agitation, together with her position, which was nearly suffocating,
became so intolerable, that Mrs. Helm at length entreated to be released
and given up to the Indians.

"I can but die," said she; "let them put an end to my misery at once."

Mrs. Bisson replied, "Your death would be the destruction of us all, for
Black Partridge has resolved that if one drop of the blood of your
family is spilled, he will take the lives of all concerned in it, even
his nearest friends; and if once the work of murder commences, there
will be no end of it, so long as there remains one white person or
half-breed in the country."

This expostulation nerved Mrs. Helm with fresh resolution.

The Indians entered, and she could occasionally see them from her
hiding-place, gliding about, and stealthily inspecting every part of the
room, though without making any ostensible search, until, apparently
satisfied that there was no one concealed, they left the house.

All this time Mrs. Bisson had kept her seat upon the side of the bed,
calmly sorting and arranging the patch-work of the quilt on which she
was engaged, and preserving an appearance of the utmost tranquillity,
although she knew not but that the next moment she might receive a
tomahawk in her brain. Her self-command unquestionably saved the lives
of all present.

From Ouilmette's house the party of Indians proceeded to the dwelling of
Mr. Kinzie. They entered the parlor in which the family were assembled
with their faithful protectors, and seated themselves upon the floor in
silence. Black Partridge perceived from their moody and revengeful
looks what was passing in their minds, but he dared not remonstrate with
them. He only observed in a low tone to Wau-ban-see,--

"We have endeavored to save our friends, but it is in vain--nothing will
save them now."

At this moment a friendly whoop was heard from a party of new-comers on
the opposite bank of the river. Black Partridge sprang to meet their
leader, as the canoes in which they had hastily embarked touched the
bank near the house.

"Who are you?" demanded he.

"A man. Who are _you_?"

"A man like yourself. But tell me _who_ you are,"--meaning, Tell me your
disposition, and which side you are for.

"I am a _Sau-ga-nash_!"

"Then make all speed to the house--your friend is in danger, and you
alone can save him."

_Billy Caldwell_[38] for it was he, entered the parlor with a calm step,
and without a trace of agitation in his manner. He deliberately took off
his accoutrements and placed them with his rifle behind the door, then
saluted the hostile savages.

"How now, my friends! A good-day to you. I was told there were enemies
here, but I am glad to find only friends. Why have you blackened your
faces? Is it that you are mourning for the friends you have lost in
battle?" (purposely misunderstanding this token of evil designs.)

"Or is it that you are fasting? If so, ask our friend, here, and he
will give you to eat. He is the Indian's friend, and never yet refused
them what they had need of."

Thus taken by surprise, the savages were ashamed to acknowledge their
bloody purpose. They, therefore, said modestly that they came to beg of
their friends some white cotton in which to wrap their dead before
interring them. This was given to them, with some other presents, and
they took their departure peaceably from the premises.

Along with Mr. Kinzie's party was a non-commissioned officer who had
made his escape in a singular manner. As the troops were about leaving
the fort, it was found that the baggage-horses of the surgeon had
strayed off. The quartermaster-sergeant, Griffith, was sent to collect
them and bring them on, it being absolutely necessary to recover them,
since their packs contained part of the surgeon's apparatus, and the
medicines for the march.

This man had been for a long time on the sick report and for this reason
was given the charge of the baggage, instead of being placed with the
troops. His efforts to recover the horses being unsuccessful, he was
hastening to rejoin his party, alarmed at some appearances of disorder
and hostile indications among the Indians, when he was met and made
prisoner by To-pee-nee-bee.

Having taken from him his arms and accoutrements, the chief put him into
a canoe and paddled him across the river, bidding him make for the woods
and secrete himself. This he did; and the following day, in the
afternoon, seeing from his lurking-place that all appeared quiet, he
ventured to steal cautiously into the garden of Ouilmette, where he
concealed himself for a time behind some currant-bushes.

At length he determined to enter the house, and accordingly climbed up
through a small back window into the room where the family were. This
was just as the Wabash Indians had left the house of Ouilmette for that
of Mr. Kinzie. The danger of the sergeant was now imminent. The family
stripped him of his uniform and arrayed him in a suit of deer-skin, with
belt, moccasins, and pipe, like a French engagé. His dark complexion and
large black whiskers favored the disguise. The family were all ordered
to address him in French, and, although utterly ignorant of the
language, he continued to pass for a _Weem-tee-gosh_,[39] and as such to
accompany Mr. Kinzie and his family, undetected by his enemies, until
they reached a place of safety.

On the third day after the battle, the family of Mr. Kinzie, with the
clerks of the establishment, were put into a boat, under the care of
François, a half-breed interpreter, and conveyed to St. Joseph's, where
they remained until the following November, under the protection of
To-pee-nee-bee's band. They were then conducted to Detroit, under the
escort of Chandonnai and their trusty Indian friend, Kee-po-tah, and
delivered up, as prisoners of war, to Colonel McKee, the British Indian

Mr. Kinzie was not allowed to leave St. Joseph's with his family, his
Indian friends insisting on his remaining and endeavoring to secure some
remnant of his scattered property. During his excursions with them for
that purpose, he wore the costume and paint of the tribe, in order to
escape capture and perhaps death at the hands of those who were still
thirsting for blood. In time, however, his anxiety for his family
induced him to follow them to Detroit, where, in the month of January,
he was received and paroled by General Proctor.

Captain and Mrs. Heald were sent across the lake to St. Joseph the day
after the battle. The former had received two wounds, the latter seven,
in the engagement.

Lieutenant Helm, who was likewise wounded, was carried by some friendly
Indians to their village on the Au Sable, and thence to Peoria, where he
was liberated by the intervention of Mr. Thomas Forsyth, the
half-brother of Mr. Kinzie. Mrs. Helm accompanied her parents to St.
Joseph, where they resided in the family of Alexander Robinson,[40]
receiving from them all possible kindness and hospitality for several

After their arrival in Detroit, Mrs. Helm was joined by her husband,
when they were both arrested by order of the British commander, and sent
on horseback, in the dead of winter, through Canada to Fort George, on
the Niagara frontier. When they arrived at that post, there had been no
official appointed to receive them, and, notwithstanding their long and
fatiguing journey in weather the most cold and inclement, Mrs. Helm, a
delicate woman of seventeen years, was permitted to sit waiting in her
saddle, outside the gate, for more than an hour, before the refreshment
of fire or food, or even the shelter of a roof, was offered them. When
Colonel Sheaffe, who had been absent at the time, was informed of this
brutal inhospitality, he expressed the greatest indignation. He waited
on Mrs. Helm immediately, apologized in the most courteous manner, and
treated both her and Lieutenant Helm with the most considerate kindness,
until, by an exchange of prisoners, they were liberated, and found means
to reach their friends in Steuben County, N.Y.

Captain Heald had been taken prisoner by an Indian from the Kankakee,
who had a strong personal regard for him, and who, when he saw the
wounded and enfeebled state of Mrs. Heald, released her husband that he
might accompany his wife to St. Joseph. To the latter place they were
accordingly carried, as has been related, by Chandonnai and his party.
In the mean time, the Indian who had so nobly released his prisoner
returned to his village on the Kankakee, where he had the mortification
of finding that his conduct had excited great dissatisfaction among his
band. So great was the displeasure manifested, that he resolved to make
a journey to St. Joseph and reclaim his prisoner.

News of his intention being brought to To-pee-nee-bee and Kee-po-tah,
under whose care the prisoners were, they held a private council with
Chandonnai, Mr. Kinzie, and the principal men of the village, the result
of which was a determination to send Captain and Mrs. Heald to the
island of Mackinac, and deliver them up to the British.

They were accordingly put in a bark canoe, and paddled by Robinson and
his wife a distance of three hundred miles along the coast of Michigan,
and surrendered as prisoners of war to the commanding officer at

As an instance of the procrastinating spirit of Captain Heald, it may be
mentioned that, even after he had received certain intelligence that his
Indian captor was on his way from the Kankakee to St. Joseph to retake
him, he would still have delayed another day at that place, to make
preparation for a more comfortable journey to Mackinac.

The soldiers, with their wives and surviving children, were dispersed
among the different villages of the Pottowattamies upon the Illinois,
Wabash, Rock River, and at Milwaukie, until the following spring, when
they were, for the most part, carried to Detroit and ransomed.

Mrs. Burns, with her infant, became the prisoner of a chief, who carried
her to his village and treated her with great kindness. His wife, from
jealousy of the favor shown to "the white woman" and her child, always
treated them with great hostility. On one occasion she struck the infant
with a tomahawk, and narrowly missed her aim of putting an end to it
altogether.[41] They were not left long in the power of the old hag
after this demonstration, but on the first opportunity were carried to a
place of safety.

The family of Mr. Lee had resided in a house on the Lake shore, not far
from the fort. Mr. Lee was the owner of Lee's Place, which he cultivated
as a farm. It was his son who ran down with the discharged soldier to
give the alarm of "Indians," at the fort, on the afternoon of the 7th of
April. The father, the son, and all the other members of the family had
fallen victims on the 15th of August, except Mrs. Lee and her young
infant. These were claimed by Black Partridge, and carried to his
village on the Au Sable. He had been particularly attached to a little
girl of Mrs. Lee's, about twelve years of age. This child had been
placed on horseback for the march; and, as she was unaccustomed to the
exercise, she was tied fast to the saddle, lest by any accident she
should slip off or be thrown.

She was within reach of the balls at the commencement of the engagement,
and was severely wounded. The horse set off on a full gallop, which
partly threw her, but she was held fast by the bands which confined her,
and hung dangling as the animal ran violently about. In this state she
was met by Black Partridge, who caught the horse and disengaged her from
the saddle. Finding her so much wounded that she could not recover, and
that she was suffering great agony, he put the finishing stroke to her
at once with his tomahawk. He afterwards said that this was the hardest
thing he ever tried to do, but he did it because he could not bear to
see her suffer.

He took the mother and her infant to his village, where he became warmly
attached to the former--so much so, that he wished to marry her; but, as
she very naturally objected, he treated her with the greatest respect
and consideration. He was in no hurry to release her, for he was in
hopes of prevailing on her to become his wife. In the course of the
winter her child fell ill. Finding that none of the remedies within
their reach were effectual, Black Partridge proposed to take the little
one to Chicago, where there was now a French trader living in the
mansion of Mr. Kinzie, and procure some medical aid from him. Wrapping
up his charge with the greatest care, he set out on his journey.

When he arrived at the residence of M. Du Pin, he entered the room where
he was, and carefully placed his burden on the floor.

"What have you there?" asked M. Du Pin.

"A young raccoon, which I have brought you as a present," was the reply;
and, opening the pack, he showed the little sick infant.

When the trader had prescribed for its complaint, and Black Partridge
was about to return to his home, he told his friend of the proposal he
had made to Mrs. Lee to become his wife, and the manner in which it had
been received.

M. Du Pin, entertaining some fears that the chief's honorable resolution
to leave it to the lady herself whether to accept his addresses or not,
might not hold out, entered at once into a negotiation for her ransom,
and so effectually wrought upon the good feelings of Black Partridge
that he consented to bring his fair prisoner at once to Chicago, that
she might be restored to her friends.

Whether the kind trader had at the outset any other feeling in the
matter than sympathy and brotherly kindness, we cannot say; we only know
that in process of time Mrs. Lee became Madame Du Pin, and that the
worthy couple lived together in great happiness for many years after.

The fate of Nau-non-gee, one of the chiefs of the Calumet village, and
who is mentioned in the early part of the narrative, deserves to be

Daring the battle of the 15th of August, the chief object of his attack
was one Sergeant Hays, a man from whom he had received many acts of

After Hays had received a ball through the body, this Indian ran up to
him to tomahawk him, when the sergeant, collecting his remaining
strength, pierced him through the body with his bayonet. They fell
together. Other Indians running up soon dispatched Hays, and it was not
until then that his bayonet was extracted from the body of his

The wounded chief was carried after the battle to his village on the
Calumet, where he survived for several days. Finding his end
approaching, he called together his young men, and enjoined them, in the
most solemn manner, to regard the safety of their prisoners after his
death, and to take the lives of none of them from respect to his memory,
as he deserved his fate from the hands of those whose kindness he had so
ill requited.



It had been a stipulation of General Hull at the surrender of Detroit,
which took place the day after the massacre at Chicago, that the
inhabitants should be permitted to remain undisturbed in their homes.
Accordingly, the family of Mr. Kinzie took up their quarters with their
friends in the old mansion, which many will still recollect as standing
on the northwest corner of Jefferson Avenue and Wayne Street.

The feelings of indignation and sympathy were constantly aroused in the
hearts of the citizens during the winter that ensued. They were almost
daily called upon to witness the cruelties practised upon the American
prisoners brought in by their Indian captors. Those who could scarcely
drag their wounded, bleeding feet over the frozen ground, were compelled
to dance for the amusement of the savages; and these exhibitions
sometimes took place before the Government House, the residence of
Colonel McKee. Some of the British officers looked on from their windows
at these heart-rending performances; for the honor of humanity, we will
hope such instances were rare.

Everything that could be made available among the effects of the
citizens was offered, to ransom their countrymen from the hands of these
inhuman beings. The prisoners brought in from the River Raisin--those
unfortunate men who were permitted, after their surrender to General
Proctor, to be tortured and murdered by inches by his savage
allies--excited the sympathies and called for the action of the whole
community. Private houses were turned into hospitals, and every one was
forward to get possession of as many as possible of the survivors. To
effect this, even the articles of their apparel were bartered by the
ladies of Detroit, as they watched from their doors or windows the
miserable victims carried about for sale.

In the dwelling of Mr. Kinzie one large room was devoted to the
reception of the sufferers. Few of them survived. Among those spoken of
as objects of the deepest interest were two young gentlemen of Kentucky,
brothers, both severely wounded, and their wounds aggravated to a mortal
degree by subsequent ill usage and hardships. Their solicitude for each
other, and their exhibition in various ways of the most tender fraternal
affection, created an impression never to be forgotten.

The last bargain made was by black Jim, and one of the children, who had
permission to redeem a negro servant of the gallant Colonel Allen, with
an old white horse, the only available article that remained among their

A brother of Colonel Allen afterwards came to Detroit, and the negro
preferred returning to servitude rather than remaining a stranger in a
strange land.

Mr. Kinzie, as has been related, joined his family at Detroit in the
month of January. A short time after, suspicions arose in the mind of
General Proctor that he was in correspondence with General Harrison, who
was now at Fort Meigs, and who was believed to be meditating an advance
upon Detroit. Lieutenant Watson, of the British army, waited upon Mr.
Kinzie one day with an invitation to the quarters of General Proctor on
the opposite side of the river, saying he wished to speak with him, on
business. Quite unsuspicious, he complied with the invitation, when to
his surprise he was ordered into confinement, and strictly guarded in
the house of his former partner, Mr. Patterson, of Sandwich. Finding
that he did not return to his home, Mrs. Kinzie informed some of the
Indian chiefs, his particular friends, who immediately repaired to the
head-quarters of the commanding officer, demanded "their friend's"
release, and brought him back to his home. After waiting a time until a
favorable opportunity presented itself, the General sent a detachment of
dragoons to arrest Mr. Kinzie. They had succeeded in carrying him away,
and crossing the river with him. Just at this moment a party of friendly
Indians made their appearance.

"Where is the Shaw-nee-aw-kee?" was the first question.

"There," replied his wife, pointing across the river, "in the hands of
the red-coats, who are taking him away again."

The Indians ran to the river, seized some canoes that they found there,
and, crossing over to Sandwich, compelled General Proctor a second time
to forego his intentions.

A third time this officer made the attempt, and succeeded in arresting
Mr. Kinzie and conveying him heavily ironed to Fort Malden, in Canada,
at the mouth of the Detroit River. Here he was at first treated with
great severity, but after a time the rigor of his confinement was
somewhat relaxed, and he was permitted to walk on the bank of the river
for air and exercise.

On the 10th of September, as he was taking his promenade under the close
supervision of a guard of soldiers, the whole party were startled by the
sound of guns upon Lake Erie, at no great distance below. What could it
mean? It must be Commodore Barclay firing into some of the Yankees. The
firing continued. The time allotted the prisoner for his daily walk
expired, but neither he nor his guard observed the lapse of time, so
anxiously were they listening to what they now felt sure was an
engagement between ships of war. At length Mr. Kinzie was reminded that
the hour for his return to confinement had arrived. He petitioned for
another half-hour.

"Let me stay," said he, "till we can learn how the battle has gone."

Very soon a sloop appeared under press of sail, rounding the point, and
presently two gun-boats in chase of her.

"She is running--she bears the British colors," cried he--"yes, yes,
they are lowering--she is striking her flag! Now," turning to the
soldiers, "I will go back to prison contented--I know how the battle has

The sloop was the Little Belt, the last of the squadron captured by the
gallant Perry on that memorable occasion which he announced in the
immortal words:

"We have met the enemy, and they are ours!"

Matters were growing critical, and it was necessary to transfer all
prisoners to a place of greater security than the frontier was now
likely to be. It was resolved therefore to send Mr. Kinzie to the
mother-country. Nothing has ever appeared which would explain the course
of General Proctor in regard to this gentleman. He had been taken from
the bosom of his family, where he was living quietly under the parole
which he had received, and protected by the stipulations of the
surrender. He was kept for months in confinement. Now he was placed on
horseback under a strong guard, who announced that they had orders to
shoot him through the head if he offered to speak to a person upon the
road. He was tied upon the saddle to prevent his escape, and thus they
set out for Quebec. A little incident occurred, which will help to
illustrate the course invariably pursued towards our citizens, at this
period, by the British army on the Northwestern frontier.

The saddle on which Mr. Kinzie rode had not been properly fastened, and,
owing to the rough motion of the animal on which it was, it turned, so
as to bring the rider into a most awkward and painful position. His
limbs being fastened, he could not disengage himself, and in this manner
he was compelled by those who had charge of him to ride until he was
nearly exhausted, before they had the humanity to release him.

Arrived at Quebec, he was put on board a small vessel to be sent to
England. The vessel when a few days out at sea was chased by an American
frigate and driven into Halifax. A second time she set sail, when she
sprung a leak and was compelled to put back.

The attempt to send him across the ocean was now abandoned, and he was
returned to Quebec. Another step, equally inexplicable with his arrest,
was soon after taken. This was, his release and that of Mr. Macomb, of
Detroit, who was also in confinement in Quebec, and the permission given
them to return to their friends and families, although the war was not
yet ended. It may possibly be imagined that in the treatment these
gentlemen received, the British commander-in-chief sheltered himself
under the plea of their being "native-born British subjects," and
perhaps when it was ascertained that Mr. Kinzie was indeed a citizen of
the United States it was thought safest to release him.

In the mean time, General Harrison at the head of his troops had reached
Detroit. He landed on the 29th of September. All the citizens went forth
to meet him--Mrs. Kinzie, leading her children by the hand, was of the
number. The General accompanied her to her home, and took up his abode
there. On his arrival he was introduced to Kee-po-tah, who happened to
be on a visit to the family at that time. The General had seen the chief
the preceding year, at the Council at Vincennes, and the meeting was one
of great cordiality and interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1816, Mr. Kinzie and his family again returned to Chicago. The fort
was rebuilt on a somewhat larger scale than the former one. It was not
until the return of the troops that the bones of the unfortunate
Americans who had been massacred four years before, were collected and

An Indian Agency, under the charge of Charles Jewett, Esq., of Kentucky,
was established. He was succeeded in 1820 by Dr. Alexander Wolcott, of
Connecticut, who occupied that position until his death in 1830.

The troops were removed from the garrison in 1823, but restored in 1828,
after the Winnebago war. This was a disturbance between the Winnebagoes
and white settlers on and near the Mississippi. After some murders had
been committed, the young chief, Red Bird, was taken and imprisoned at
Prairie du Chien to await his trial, where he committed suicide in
consequence of chagrin and the irksomeness of confinement. It was feared
that the Pottowattamies would make common cause with the Winnebagoes,
and commence a general system of havoc and bloodshed on the frontier.
They were deterred from such a step, probably, by the exertions of Billy
Caldwell, Robinson, and Shaw-bee-nay, who made an expedition among the
Rock River bands, to argue and persuade them into remaining tranquil.

The few citizens of Chicago in those days, lived for the most part a
very quiet, unvaried life. The great abundance of game, and the immense
fertility of the lands they cultivated, furnished them with a
superabundance of all the luxuries of garden, corn-field, and dairy The
question was once asked by a friend in the "East countrie,"

"How do you dispose of all the good things you raise? You have no
market?" "No." "And you cannot consume them all yourselves?" "No." "What
then do you do with them?"

"Why, we manage, when a vessel arrives, to persuade the captain to
accept a few kegs of butter, and stores of corn and vegetables, as a
present, and that helps us to get rid of some of our overplus."

The mails arrived, as may be supposed, at very rare intervals. They were
brought occasionally from Fort Clark (Peoria), but more frequently from
Fort Wayne, or across the peninsula of Michigan, which was still a
wilderness peopled with savages. The hardy adventurer who acted as
express was, not unfrequently, obliged to imitate the birds of heaven
and "lodge among the branches," in order to insure the safety of himself
and his charge.

Visitors were very rare, unless it was a friend who came to sojourn for
several months and share a life in the wilderness. A traveller, however,
occasionally found his way to the spot, in passing to or from "parts
unknown," and such a one was sure of a hospitable and hearty welcome.

A gentleman journeying from the southern settlements once arrived late
in the evening at Wolf Point, where was then the small
trading-establishment of George Hunt and a Mr. Wallace. He stopped and
inquired if he could have accommodation for the night for himself and
his horse. The answer was, that they were ill provided to entertain a
stranger--the house was small, and they were keeping "bachelor's hall."

"Is there no place," inquired the traveller, "where I can obtain a

"Oh, yes--you will find a very comfortable house, Mr. Kinzie's, about
half a mile below, near the mouth of the river."

The stranger turned his horse's head and took the road indicated.
Arrived at the spot, his first inquiry was,--

"Is this the residence of Mr. Kinzie?"

"Yes, sir."

"I should be glad to get accommodation for myself and horse."

"Certainly, sir--walk in."

The horse was taken to the stable, while the gentleman was ushered into
a parlor where were two ladies. The usual preliminary questions and
answers were gone through, for in a new country people soon become
acquainted, and the gentleman ere long found himself seated at a
comfortable hot supper--we will venture to say a fine supper, since the
table in this domestic establishment has always been somewhat famous.

Apparently, the gentleman enjoyed it, for he made himself quite at home.
He even called for a boot-jack after tea, and drew off his boots. The
ladies were a little surprised, but they had lived a good while out of
the world, and they did not know what changes in etiquette might have
taken place during their retirement.

Before taking his leave for the night, the traveller signified what it
would please him to have for breakfast, which was duly prepared. The
next day proved stormy. The gentleman was satisfied with his quarters,
and, having taken care to ascertain that there was no neglect or
deficiency of accommodation so far as his horse was concerned, he got
through the day very comfortably.

Now and then, when he was tired of reading, he would converse with the
family, and seemed, upon the whole, by no means disposed to hold himself
aloof, but to indulge in a little becoming sociability, seeing they were
all there away in the woods.

The second day the weather brightened. The traveller signified his
intention to depart. He ordered his horse to the door--then he called
for his bill.

"My house is not a tavern, sir," was the astounding reply.

"Not a tavern! Good heavens! have I been making myself at home in this
manner in a private family?"

He was profuse in his apologies, which, however, were quite unnecessary,
for the family had perceived from the first the mistake he had fallen
into, and they had amused themselves during his whole visit in
anticipating the consternation of their guest when he should be

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the year 1816 (the year of the rebuilding of the fort, after
its destruction by the Indians) that the tract of land on which Chicago
stands, together with the surrounding country, was ceded to the United
States by the Pottowattamies. They remained the peaceful occupants of
it, however, for twenty years longer. It was not until 1836 that they
were removed by Government to lands appropriated for their use on the
Upper Missouri.

In the year 1830 the town of Chicago was laid out into lots by
Commissioners appointed by the State. At this time the prices of these
lots ranged from ten to sixty dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Kinzie, who, from the geographical position of this place, and the
vast fertility of the surrounding country, had always foretold its
eventual prosperity and importance, was not permitted to witness the
realization of his predictions. He closed his useful and energetic life
on the 6th of January, 1828, having just completed his sixty-fifth year.



Chicago was not, at the period of my first visit, the cheerful, happy
place it had once been. The death of Dr. Wolcott, of Lieutenant Furman,
and of a promising young son of Mr. Beaubien, all within a few weeks of
each other, had thrown a gloom over the different branches of the social

The weather, too, was inclement and stormy beyond anything that had been
known before. Only twice, during a period of two months, did the sun
shine out through the entire day. So late as the second week in April,
when my husband had left to return to Fort Winnebago, the storms were so
severe that he and his men were obliged to lie by two or three days in
an Indian lodge.

Robert Kinzie, Medard Beaubien, and Billy Caldwell had gone at the same
time to the Calumet to hunt, and, as they did not make their appearance
for many days, we were persuaded they had perished with cold. They
returned at length, however, to our infinite joy, having only escaped
freezing by the forethought of Robert and Caldwell in carrying each two
blankets instead of one.

Our only recreation was an occasional ride on horseback, when the
weather would permit, through the woods on the north side of the river,
or across the prairie, along the lake shore on the south.

When we went in the former direction, a little bridle-path took us along
what is now Rush Street. The thick boughs of the trees arched over our
heads, and we were often compelled, as we rode, to break away the
projecting branches of the shrubs which impeded our path. The little
prairie west of Wright's Woods was the usual termination of our ride in
this direction.

When we chose the path across the prairie towards the south, we
generally passed a new-comer, Dr. Harmon, superintending the
construction of a _sod fence_, at a spot he had chosen, near the shore
of the lake. In this inclosure he occupied himself, as the season
advanced, in planting fruit-stones of all descriptions, to make ready a
garden and orchard for future enjoyment.

We usually stopped to have a little chat. The two favorite themes of the
Doctor were horticulture, and the certain future importance of Chicago.
That it was destined to be a great city, was his unalterable conviction;
and in deed, by this time, all forest and prairie as it was, we half
began to believe it ourselves.

On the pleasant afternoons which we occasionally enjoyed as the season
advanced, we found no small amusement in practising pistol-firing. The
place appropriated to this sport was outside the pickets, the mark being
placed on a panel in one of the bastions. The gentlemen must not be
offended if I record that, in process of time, the ladies acquired a
degree of skill that enabled them, as a general thing, to come off
triumphant. One of the ladies, Mrs. Hunter, was a great shot, having
brought down her grouse on the wing, to the no small delight of one of
the officers, Captain Martin Scott, of raccoon celebrity.

Now and then there was a little excitement within the fort, aroused by
the discovery that _a settler_ had been engaged in selling milk-punch,
instead of milk, to the soldiers, thereby interfering in no small degree
with the regularity and perfect discipline of the service. The first
step was to "drum out" the offender with all the honors of war--that is,
with a party-colored dress, and the Rogue's March played behind him. The
next, to place all the victims of this piece of deception in the
guard-house, where the commanding officer's lady supplied them
bountifully with coffee and hot cakes, by way of opening their eyes to
the enormity of their offence. It is not to be wondered at that the
officers sometimes complained of its being more of a strife with the
soldiers who should get into the guard-house, than who should keep out
of it. The poor fellows knew when they were well off.

Once, upon a Sunday, we were rowed up to Wolf Point to attend a
religious service, conducted by Father See, as he was called.

We saw a tall, slender man, dressed in a green frock-coat, from the
sleeves of which dangled a pair of hands giving abundant evidence,
together with the rest of his dress, that he placed small faith in the
axiom--"cleanliness is a part of holiness."

He stepped briskly upon a little platform behind a table, and commenced
his discourse. His subject was, "The fear of God."

"There was a kind of fear," he told us, "that was very nearly
a_lee_-a-nated to love: so nearly, that it was not worth while splitting
hairs for the difference." He then went on to describe this kind of
fear. He grew more and more involved as he proceeded with his
description until at length, quite bewildered, he paused, and exclaimed,
"Come, let's stop a little while, and clear away the brush." He
unravelled, as well as he was able, the tangled thread of his ideas,
and went on with his subject. But soon, again losing his way, he came to
a second halt. "Now," said he, wiping the perspiration from his forehead
with a red cotton handkerchief many degrees from clean, "now, suppose we
drive back a little piece." Thus he recapitulated what he wished to
impress upon us, of the necessity of cherishing a fear that maketh wise
unto salvation, "which fear," said he, "may we all enjoy, that together
we may soar away, on the rolling clouds of aether, to a boundless and
happy eternity, which is the wish of your humble servant." And,
flourishing abroad his hands, with the best of dancing-school bows, he
took his seat.

It will be readily imagined that we felt our own religious exercises at
home to be more edifying than such as this, and that we confined
ourselves to them for the future.

The return of our brother, Robert Kinzie, from Palestine (not the Holy
Land, but the seat of the Land Office), with the certificate of the
title of the family to that portion of Chicago since known as "Kinzie's
Addition," was looked upon as establishing a home for us at some future
day, if the glorious dreams of good Dr. Harmon, and a few others, should
come to be realized. One little incident will show how moderate were the
anticipations of most persons at that period.

The certificate, which was issued in Robert's name (he representing the
family in making the application), described only a fractional
quarter-section of one hundred and two acres, instead of one hundred and
sixty acres, the river and Lake Michigan cutting off fifty-eight acres
on the southern and eastern lines of the quarter. The applicants had
liberty to select their complement of fifty-eight acres out of any
unappropriated land that suited them.

"Now, my son," said his mother to Robert, "lay your claim on the
corn-field at Wolf Point. It is fine land, and will always be valuable
for cultivation; besides, as it faces down the main river, the situation
will always be a convenient one."

The answer was a hearty laugh. "Hear mother!" said Robert. "We have just
got a hundred and two acres--more than we shall ever want, or know what
to do with, and now she would have me go and claim fifty-eight acres

"Take my advice, my boy," repeated his mother, "or you may live one day
to regret it."

"Well, I cannot see how I can ever regret not getting more than we can
possibly make use of." And so the matter ended. The fifty-eight acres
were never claimed, and there was, I think, a very general impression
that asking for our just rights in the case would have a very grasping,
covetous look. How much wiser five-and-twenty years have made us!

       *       *       *       *       *

During my sojourn of two months at Chicago, our mother often entertained
me with stories of her early life and adventures. The following is her
history of her captivity among the Senecas, which I have put in the form
of a tale, although without the slightest variation from the facts as I
received them from her lips, and those of her sister, Mrs. William
Forsyth, of Sandwich (C.W.), the little Maggie of the story.



It is well known that previous to the war of the Revolution the whole of
the western portion of Pennsylvania was inhabited by different Indian
tribes. Of these, the Delawares were the friends of the whites, and,
after the commencement of the great struggle, took part with the United
States. The Iroquois, on the contrary, were the friends and allies of
the mother-country.

Very few white settlers had ventured beyond the Susquehanna. The
numerous roving bands of Shawanoes, Nanticokes, etc., although at times
professing friendship with the Americans and acting in concert with the
Delawares or Lenape as allies, at others suffered themselves to be
seduced by their neighbors, the Iroquois, to show a most sanguinary
spirit of hostility.

For this reason, the life of the inhabitants of the frontier was one of
constant peril and alarm. Many a scene of dismal barbarity was enacted,
as the history of the times testifies, and even those who felt
themselves in some measure protected by their immediate neighbors, the
Delawares, never lost sight of the caution required by their exposed

The vicinity of the military garrison at Pittsburg--or Fort Pitt, as it
was then called--gave additional security to those who had pushed
farther west, among the fertile valleys of the Alleghany and
Monongahela. Among these were the family of Mr. Lytle, who, some years
previous to the opening of our story, had removed from Baltimore to
Path Valley, near Carlisle, and subsequently settled himself on the
banks of Plum River, a tributary of the Alleghany. Here, with his wife
and five children, he had continued to live in comfort and security,
undisturbed by any hostile visit, and only annoyed by occasional false
alarms from his more timorous neighbors, who, having had more experience
in frontier life, were prone to anticipate evil, as well as to magnify
every appearance of danger.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a bright afternoon in the autumn of 1779, two children of Mr. Lytle,
a girl of nine, and her brother, two years younger, were playing in a
little dingle or hollow in the rear of their father's house. Some large
trees, which had been recently felled, were lying here and there, still
untrimmed of their branches, and many logs, prepared for fuel, were
scattered around. Upon one of these the children, wearied with their
sports, seated themselves, and to beguile the time they fell into
conversation upon a subject that greatly perplexed them.

While playing in the same place a few hours previous, they had imagined
they saw an Indian lurking behind one of the fallen trees. The Indians
of the neighborhood were in the habit of making occasional visits to the
family, and they had become familiar and even affectionate with many of
them, but this seemed a stranger, and after the first hasty glance they
fled in alarm to the house.

Their mother chid them for the report they brought, which she endeavored
to convince them was without foundation. "You know," said she, "you are
always alarming us unnecessarily: the neighbors' children have
frightened you to death. Go back to your play, and learn to be more

So the children returned to their sports, hardly persuaded by their
mother's arguments. While they were thus seated upon the trunk of the
tree, their discourse was interrupted by the note, apparently, of a
quail not far off.

"Listen," said the boy, as a second note answered the first; "do you
hear that?"

"Yes," was the reply, and, after a few moments' silence, "do you not
hear a rustling among the branches of the tree yonder?"

"Perhaps it is a squirrel--but look! what is that? Surely I saw
something red among the branches. It looked like a fawn popping up its

At this moment, the children, who had been gazing so intently in the
direction of the fallen tree that all other objects were forgotten, felt
themselves seized from behind and pinioned in an iron grasp. What were
their horror and dismay to find themselves in the arms of savages, whose
terrific countenances and gestures plainly showed them to be enemies!

They made signs to the children to be silent, on pain of death, and
hurried them off, half dead with terror, in a direction leading from
their father's habitation. After travelling some distance in profound
silence, the severity of their captors somewhat relaxed, and as night
approached the party halted, after adopting the usual precautions to
secure themselves against a surprise.

In an agony of uncertainty and terror, torn from their beloved home and
parents, and anticipating all the horrors with which the rumors of the
times had invested a captivity among the Indians--perhaps even a
torturing death--the poor children could no longer restrain their grief,
but gave vent to sobs and lamentations.

Their distress appeared to excite the compassion of one of the party, a
man of mild aspect, who approached and endeavored to soothe them. He
spread them a couch of the long grass which grew near the
encamping-place, offered them a portion of his own stock of dried meat
and parched corn, and gave them to understand by signs that no farther
evil was intended them.

These kindly demonstrations were interrupted by the arrival of another
party of the enemy, bringing with them the mother of the little
prisoners, with her youngest child, an infant of three months old.

It had so happened that the father of the family, with his serving-men,
had gone early in the day to a _raising_ at a few miles' distance, and
the house had thus been left without a defender. The long period of
tranquillity which they had enjoyed, free from all molestation or alarm
from the savages, had thrown the settlers quite off their guard, and
they had recently laid aside some of the caution they had formerly
deemed necessary.

These Indians, by lying in wait, had found the favorable moment for
seizing the defenceless family and making them prisoners. Judging from
their paint, and other marks by which the early settlers learned to
distinguish the various tribes, Mrs. Lytle conjectured that those into
whose hands she and her children had fallen were Senecas. Nor was she
mistaken. It was a party of that tribe who had descended from their
village with the intention of falling upon some isolated band of their
enemies, the Delawares, but failing in this, had made themselves amends
by capturing a few white settlers.

It is to be attributed to the generally mild disposition of this tribe,
together with the magnanimous character of the chief who accompanied the
party, that their prisoners in the present instance escaped the fate of
most of the Americans who were so unhappy as to fall into the hands of
the Iroquois.

The children learned from their mother that she was profoundly ignorant
of the fate of their remaining brother and sister, a boy of six and a
little girl of four years of age, but she was in hopes they had made
good their escape with the servant-girl, who had likewise disappeared
from the commencement.

After remaining a few hours to recruit the exhausted frames of the
prisoners, the savages again started on their march, one of the older
Indians offering to relieve the mother from the burden of her infant,
which she had hitherto carried in her arms. Pleased with the unexpected
kindness, she resigned to him her tender charge.

Thus they pursued their way, the savage who carried the infant lingering
somewhat behind the rest of the party, until, finding a spot convenient
for his purpose, he grasped his innocent victim by the feet, and, with
one whirl, to add strength to the blow, dashed out its brains against a
tree. Leaving the body upon the spot, he rejoined the party.

The mother, unsuspicious of what had passed, regarded him earnestly as
he reappeared without the child--then gazed wildly around on the rest of
the group. Her beloved little one was not there. Its absence spoke its
fate; but, suppressing the shriek of agony, for she knew that the lives
of the remaining ones depended upon her firmness in that trying hour,
she drew them yet closer to her and pursued her melancholy way without a
word spoken or a question asked.

From the depths of her heart she cried unto Him who is able to save, and
He comforted her with hopes of deliverance for the surviving ones, for
she saw that if blood had been their sole object the scalps of herself
and her children would have been taken upon the spot where they were
made prisoners.

She read too in the eyes of one who was evidently the commander of the
party an expression more merciful than she had even dared to hope.
Particularly had she observed his soothing manner and manifest
partiality towards her eldest child, the little girl of whom we have
spoken, and she built many a bright hope of escape or ransom upon these
slender foundations.

After a toilsome and painful march of many days, the party reached the
Seneca village, upon the head-waters of the Alleghany, near what is now
called Olean Point. On their arrival the chief, their conductor, who was
distinguished by the name of the _Big White Man_[42] led his prisoners
to the principal lodge. This was occupied by his mother, the widow of
the head-chief of that band, and who was called by them the _Old Queen_.

On entering her presence, her son presented her the little girl,

"My mother, I bring you a child to supply the place of my brother, who
was killed by the Lenape six moons ago. She shall dwell in my lodge, and
be to me a sister. Take the white woman and her children and treat them
kindly--our father will give us many horses and guns to buy them back

He referred to the British Indian Agent of his tribe, Colonel Johnson,
an excellent and benevolent gentleman, who resided at Port Niagara, on
the British side of the river of that name.

The old queen fulfilled the injunctions of her son. She received the
prisoners, and every comfort was provided them that her simple and
primitive mode of life rendered possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must now return to the place and period at which our story commences.

Late in the evening of that day the father returned to his dwelling. All
within and around was silent and desolate. No trace of a living creature
was to be found throughout the house or grounds. His nearest neighbors
lived at a considerable distance, but to them he hastened, frantically
demanding tidings of his family.

As he aroused them from their slumbers, one and another joined him in
the search, and at length, at the house of one of them, was found the
servant-maid who had effected her escape. Her first place of refuge, she
said, had been a large brewing-tub in an outer kitchen, under which she
had, at the first alarm, secreted herself until the departure of the
Indians, who were evidently in haste, gave her an opportunity of fleeing
to a place of safety. She could give no tidings of her mistress and the
children, except that they had not been murdered in her sight or

At length, having scoured the neighborhood without success, Mr. Lytle
remembered an old settler who lived alone, far up the valley. Thither he
and his friends immediately repaired, and from him they learned that,
being at work in his field just before sunset, he had seen a party of
strange Indians passing at a short distance from his cabin. As they
wound along the brow of the hill, he could perceive that they had
prisoners with them--a woman and a child. The woman he knew to be a
white, as she carried her infant in her arms, instead of upon her back,
after the manner of the savages.

Day had now begun to break, for the night had been passed in fruitless
searches, and the agonized father, after a consultation with his kind
friends and neighbors, accepted their offer to accompany him to Fort
Pitt to ask advice and assistance of the commandant and Indian Agent at
that place.

Proceeding down the valley, as they approached a hut which the night
before they had found apparently deserted, they were startled by
observing two children standing upon the high bank in front of it. The
delighted father recognized two of his missing flock, but no tidings
could they give him of their mother and the other lost ones. Their story
was simple and touching.

They were playing in the garden, when they were alarmed by seeing the
Indians enter the yard near the house. Unperceived by them, the brother,
who was but six years of age, helped his little sister over the fence
into a field overrun with bushes of the blackberry and wild raspberry.
They concealed themselves among these for awhile, and then, finding all
quiet, they attempted to force their way to the side of the field
farthest from the house. Unfortunately, the little girl in her play in
the garden had pulled off her shoes and stockings, and the briers
tearing and wounding her tender feet, she with difficulty could refrain
from crying out. Her brother took off his stockings and put them on her
feet. He attempted, too, to protect them with his shoes, but they were
too large, and kept slipping off, so that she could not wear them. For a
time, they persevered in making what they considered their escape from
certain death, for, as I have said, the children had been taught, by the
tales they had heard, to regard all strange Indians as ministers of
torture, and of horrors worse than death. Exhausted with pain and
fatigue, the poor little girl at length declared she could go no

"Then, Maggie," said her brother, "I must kill you, for I cannot let
you be killed by the Indians."

"Oh, no, Thomas!" pleaded she, "do not, pray do not kill me! I do not
think the Indians will find us."

"Oh, yes, they will, Maggie, and I could kill you so much easier than
they would.'"

For a long time he endeavored to persuade her, and even looked about for
a stick sufficiently large for his purpose; but despair gave the little
creature strength, and she promised her brother that she would neither
complain nor falter, if he would assist her in making her way out of the

The idea of the little boy that he could save his sister from savage
barbarity by taking her life himself, shows what tales of horror the
children of the early settlers were familiar with.

After a few more efforts, they made their way out of the field, into an
uninclosed pasture-ground, where, to their great delight, they saw some
cows feeding. They recognized them as belonging to Granny Myers, an old
woman who lived at some little distance, but in what direction from the
place they then were, they were utterly ignorant.

With a sagacity beyond his years, the boy said,--

"Let us hide ourselves till sunset, when the cows will go home, and we
will follow them."

They did so, but, to their dismay, when they reached Granny Myers's they
found the house deserted. The old woman had been called by some business
down the valley, and did not return that night.

Tired and hungry, they could go no farther, but, after an almost
fruitless endeavor to get some milk from the cows, they laid themselves
down to sleep under an old bedstead that stood behind the house. Their
father and his party had caused them additional terror in the night. The
shouts and calls which had been designed to arouse the inmates of the
house, they had mistaken for the whoop of the Indians, and, not being
able to distinguish friends from foes, they had crept close to one
another, as far out of sight as possible. When found the following
morning, they were debating what course to take next, for safety.

The commandant at Fort Pitt entered warmly into the affairs of Mr.
Lytle, and readily furnished him with a detachment of soldiers, to aid
him and his friends in the pursuit of the marauders. Some circumstances
having occurred to throw suspicion upon the Senecas, the party soon
directed their search among the villages of that tribe.

Their inquiries were prosecuted in various directions, and always with
great caution, for all the tribes of the Iroquois, or, as they pompously
called themselves, the Five Nations, being allies of Great Britain, were
inveterate in their hostility to the Americans. Thus, some time elapsed
before the father with his attendants reached the village of the _Big
White Man_.

A treaty was immediately entered into for the ransom of the captives,
which was easily accomplished in regard to Mrs. Lytle and the younger
child. But no offers, no entreaties, no promises, could procure the
release of the little Eleanor, the adopted child of the tribe. "No," the
chief said, "she was his sister; he had taken her to supply the place of
his brother who was killed by the enemy--she was dear to him, and he
would not part with her."

Finding every effort unavailing to shake this resolution, the father was
compelled to take his sorrowful departure with such of his beloved ones
as he had had the good fortune to recover.

We will not attempt to depict the grief of parents compelled thus to
give up a darling child, and to leave her in the hands of savages, whom
until now they had too much reason to regard as merciless. But there was
no alternative. Commending her to the care of their heavenly Father, and
cheered by the manifest tenderness with which she had thus far been
treated, they set out on their melancholy journey homeward, trusting
that some future effort would be more effectual for the recovery of
their little girl.

Having placed his family in safety at Pittsburg, Mr. Lytle, still
assisted by the commandant and the Indian Agent, undertook an expedition
to the frontier to the residence of the British Agent, Colonel Johnson.
His representation of the case warmly interested the feelings of that
benevolent officer, who promised him to spare no exertions in his
behalf. This promise he religiously performed. He went in person to the
village of the Big White Man, as soon as the opening of the spring
permitted, and offered him many splendid presents of guns and horses,
but the chief was inexorable.

Time rolled on, and every year the hope of recovering the little captive
became more faint. She, in the mean time, continued to wind herself more
and more closely around the heart of her Indian brother. Nothing could
exceed the consideration and affection with which she was treated, not
only by himself, but by his mother, the _Old Queen_. All their stock of
brooches and wampum was employed in the decoration of her person. The
principal seat and the most delicate viands were invariably reserved for
her, and no efforts were spared to promote her happiness, and to render
her forgetful of her former home and kindred.

Thus, though she had beheld, with a feeling almost amounting to despair,
the departure of her parents and dear little brother, and had for a long
time resisted every attempt at consolation, preferring even death to a
life of separation from all she loved, yet time, as it ever does,
brought its soothing balm, and she at length grew contented and happy.

From her activity and the energy of her character, qualities for which
she was remarkable to the latest period of her life, the name was given
her of _The Ship under full sail_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The only drawback to the happiness of the little prisoner, aside from
her longings after her own dear home, was the enmity she encountered
from the wife of the Big White Man. This woman, from the day of her
arrival at the village, and adoption into the family as a sister, had
conceived for her the greatest animosity, which, at first, she had the
prudence to conceal from the observation of her husband.

It was perhaps natural that a wife should give way to some feelings of
jealousy at seeing her own place in the heart of her husband usurped by
the child of their enemy, the American. But these feelings were
aggravated by a bad and vindictive temper, and by the indifference with
which her husband listened to her complaints and murmurings.

As she had no children of her own to engage her attention, her mind was
the more engrossed and inflamed with her fancied wrongs, and with
devising means for their redress. An opportunity of attempting the
latter was not long wanting.

During the absence of the Big White Man upon some war-party or
hunting-excursion, his little sister was taken ill with fever and ague.
She was nursed with the utmost tenderness by the Old Queen; and the wife
of the chief, to lull suspicion, and thereby accomplish her purpose,
was likewise unwearied in her assiduities to the little favorite.

One afternoon, during the temporary absence of the Old Queen, her
daughter-in-law entered the lodge with a bowl of something she had
prepared, and, stooping down to the mat on which the child lay, said, in
an affectionate accent,--

"Drink, my sister, I have brought you that which will drive this fever
far from you."

On raising her head to reply, the little girl perceived a pair of eyes
peeping through a crevice in the lodge, and fixed upon her with a very
peculiar and significant expression. With the quick perception acquired
partly from nature and partly from her intercourse with this people, she
replied, faintly,--

"Set it down, my sister. When this fit of the fever has passed, I will
drink your medicine."

The squaw, too cautious to use importunity, busied herself about in the
lodge for a short time, then withdrew to another, near at hand.
Meantime, the bright eyes continued peering through the opening, until
they had watched their object fairly out of sight; then a low voice, the
voice of a young friend and playfellow, spoke:

"Do not drink that which your brother's wife has brought you. She hates
you, and is only waiting an opportunity to rid herself of you. I have
watched her all the morning, and have seen her gathering the most deadly
roots and herbs. I knew for whom they were intended, and came hither to
warn you."

"Take the bowl," said the little invalid, "and carry it to my mother's

This was accordingly done. The contents of the bowl were found to
consist principally of a decoction of the root of the May-apple, the
most deadly poison known among the Indians.

It is not in the power of language to describe the indignation that
pervaded the little community when this discovery was made known. The
squaws ran to and fro, as is their custom when excited, each vying with
the other in heaping invectives upon the culprit. No further punishment
was, however, for the present inflicted upon her, but, the first burst
of rage over, she was treated with silent abhorrence.

The little patient was removed to the lodge of the Old Queen, and
strictly guarded, while her enemy was left to wander in silence and
solitude about the fields and woods, until the return of her husband
should determine her punishment.

In a few days, the excursion being over, the Big White Man and his party
returned to the village. Contrary to the usual custom of savages, he did
not, in his first transport at learning the attempt on the life of his
little sister, take summary vengeance on the offender. He contented
himself with banishing her from his lodge, never to return, and
condemning her to hoe corn in a distant part of the large field or
inclosure which served the whole community for a garden.

Although she would still show her vindictive disposition whenever, by
chance, the little girl with her companions wandered into that vicinity,
by striking at her with her hoe, or by some other spiteful
manifestation, yet she was either too well watched, or stood too much in
awe of her former husband, to repeat the attempt upon his sister's life.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four years had now elapsed since the capture of little Nelly. Her heart
was by nature warm and affectionate, so that the unbounded tenderness of
those she dwelt among had called forth a corresponding feeling in her
heart. She regarded the chief and his mother with love and reverence,
and had so completely learned their language and customs as almost to
have forgotten her own.

So identified had she become with the tribe, that the remembrance of her
home and family had nearly faded from her memory; all but her
mother--her mother, whom she had loved with a strength of affection
natural to her warm and ardent character, and to whom her heart still
clung with a fondness that no time or change could destroy.

The peace of 1783 between Great Britain and the United States now took
place. A general pacification of the Indian tribes was the consequence,
and fresh hopes were renewed in the bosoms of Mr. and Mrs. Lytle.

They removed with their family to Fort Niagara, near which, on the
American side, was the Great _Council-Fire_ of the Senecas. Colonel
Johnson readily undertook a fresh negotiation with the chief, but, in
order to make sure every chance of success, he again proceeded in person
to the village of the Big White Man.

His visit was most opportune. It was the "Feast of the Green Corn," when
he arrived among them. This observance, which corresponds so strikingly
with the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles that, together with other customs,
it has led many to believe the Indian nations the descendants of the
lost ten tribes of Israel, made it a season of general joy and
festivity. All other occupations were suspended to give place to social
enjoyment in the open air or in arbors formed of the green branches of
the trees. Every one appeared in his gala-dress. That of the little
adopted child consisted of a petticoat of blue broadcloth, bordered with
gay-colored ribbons; a sack or upper garment of black silk, ornamented
with three rows of silver brooches, the centre ones from the throat to
the hem being of large size, and those from the shoulders down being no
larger than a shilling-piece, and set as closely as possible. Around
her neck were innumerable strings of white and purple wampum--an Indian
ornament manufactured from the inner surface of the muscle-shell. Her
hair was clubbed behind and loaded with beads of various colors.
Leggings of scarlet cloth, and moccasins of deer-skin embroidered with
porcupine-quills, completed her costume.

Colonel Johnson was received with all the consideration due to his
position, and to the long friendship that had subsisted between him and
the tribe.

Observing that the hilarity of the festival had warmed and opened all
hearts, he took occasion in an interview with the chief to expatiate
upon the parental affection which had led the father and mother of his
little sister to give up their friends and home, and come hundreds of
miles away, in the single hope of sometimes looking upon and embracing
her. The heart of the chief softened as he listened to this
representation, and he was induced to promise that at the Grand Council
soon to be held at Fort Niagara, on the British side of the river, he
would attend, bringing his little sister with him.

He exacted a promise, however, from Colonel Johnson, that not only no
effort should be made to reclaim the child, but that even no proposition
to part with her should be offered him.

The time at length arrived when, her heart bounding with joy, little
Nelly was placed on horseback to accompany her Indian brother to the
Great Council of the Senecas. She had promised him that she would never
leave him without his permission, and he relied confidently on her word
thus given.

As the chiefs and warriors arrived in successive bands to meet their
Father, the agent, at the council-fire, how did the anxious hearts of
the parents beat with alternate hope and fear! The officers of the fort
had kindly given them quarters for the time being, and the ladies, whose
sympathies were strongly excited, had accompanied the mother to the
place of council, and joined in her longing watch for the first
appearance of the band from the Alleghany River.

At length they were discerned, emerging from the forest on the opposite
or American side. Boats were sent across by the commanding officer, to
bring the chief and his party. The father and mother, attended by all
the officers and ladies, stood upon the grassy bank awaiting their
approach. They had seen at a glance that the _little captive_ was with

When about to enter the boat, the chief said to some of his young men,
"Stand here with the horses, and wait until I return."

He was told that the horses should be ferried across and taken care of.

"No," said he; "let them wait."

He held his darling by the hand until the river was passed--until the
boat touched the bank--until the child sprang forward into the arms of
the mother from whom she had been so long separated.

When the chief witnessed that outburst of affection, he could withstand
no longer.

"She shall go," said he. "The mother must have her child again. I will
go back alone."

With one silent gesture of farewell he turned and stepped on board the
boat. No arguments or entreaties could induce him to remain at the
council, but, having gained the other side of the Niagara, he mounted
his horse, and with his young men was soon lost in the depths of the

After a sojourn of a few weeks at Niagara, Mr. Lytle, dreading lest the
resolution of the Big White Man should give way, and measures be taken
to deprive him once more of his child, came to the determination of
again changing his place of abode. He therefore took the first
opportunity of crossing Lake Erie with his family, and settled himself
in the neighborhood of Detroit, where he continued afterwards to reside.

_Little Nelly_ saw her friend the chief no more, but she never forgot
him. To the day of her death she remembered with tenderness and
gratitude her brother the Big White Man, and her friends and playfellows
among the Senecas.



At the age of fourteen the heroine of the foregoing story married
Colonel McKillip, a British officer. This gentleman was killed near Fort
Defiance, as it was afterwards called, at the Miami Rapids, in 1794. A
detachment of British troops had been sent down from Detroit to take
possession of this post. General Wayne was then on a campaign against
the Indians, and the British Government thought proper to make a few
demonstrations in behalf of their allies. Having gone out with a party
to reconnoitre, Colonel McKillip was returning to his post after dark,
when he was fired upon and killed by one of his own sentinels. Mrs. Helm
was the daughter of this marriage.

During the widowhood of Mrs. McKillip, she resided with her parents, at
Grosse Pointe, eight miles above Detroit, and it was during this period
that an event occurred which, from the melancholy and mysterious
circumstances attending it, was always dwelt upon by her with peculiar

Her second brother, Thomas Lytle, was, from his amiable and affectionate
character, the most dearly beloved by her of all the numerous family
circle. He was paying his addresses to a young lady who resided at the
river Trench,[43] as it was then called, now the river Thames, a stream
emptying into Lake St. Clair about twenty miles above Detroit. In
visiting this young lady, it was his custom to cross the Detroit River
by the ferry with his horse, and then proceed by land to the river
Trench, which was, at some seasons of the year, a fordable stream.

On a fine forenoon, late in the spring, he had taken leave of his mother
and sister for one of these periodical visits, which were usually of two
or three days' duration.

After dinner, as his sister was sitting at work by an open window which
looked upon a little side inclosure filled with fruit-trees, she was
startled by observing some object opposite the window, between her and
the light. She raised her eyes and saw her brother Thomas. He was
without his horse, and carried his saddle upon his shoulders.

Surprised that she had not heard the gate opening for his entrance, and
also at his singular appearance, laden in that manner, she addressed
him, and inquired what had happened, and why he had returned so soon. He
made her no reply, but looked earnestly in her face, as he moved slowly
along the paved walk that led to the stables.

She waited a few moments, expecting he would reappear to give an account
of himself and his adventures, but at length, growing impatient at his
delay, she put down her work and went towards the rear of the house to
find him.

The first person she met was her mother. "Have you seen Thomas?" she

"Thomas! He has gone to the river Trench."

"No, he has returned--I saw him pass the window not fifteen minutes

"Then he will be in presently."

His sister, however, could not wait. She proceeded to the stables, she
searched in all directions. No Thomas--no horse--no saddle. She made
inquiry of the domestics. No one had seen him. She then returned and
told her mother what had happened.

"You must have fallen asleep and dreamed it," said her mother.

"No, indeed! I was wide awake--I spoke to him, and he gave me no answer,
but such a look!"

All the afternoon she felt an uneasiness she could not reason herself
out of.

The next morning came a messenger from the river Trench with dismal

The bodies of the young man and his horse had been found drowned a short
distance below the ford of the river.

It appeared that, on arriving at the bank of the river, he found it
swollen beyond its usual depth by the recent rains. It being necessary
to swim the stream with his horse, he had taken off his clothes and made
them into a packet which he fastened upon his shoulders. It was supposed
that the strength of the rapid torrent displaced the bundle, which thus
served to draw his head under water and keep it there, without the power
of raising it. All this was gathered from the position and appearance of
the bodies when found.

From the time at which he had been seen passing a house which stood near
the stream, on his way to the ford, it was evident that he must have
met his fate at the very moment his sister saw, or thought she saw him,
passing before her.

I could not but suggest the inquiry, when these sad particulars were
narrated to me,--

"Mother, is it not possible this might have been a dream?"

"A dream? No, indeed, my child. I was perfectly wide awake--as much so
as I am at this moment. I am not superstitious. I have never believed in
ghosts or witches, but nothing can ever persuade me that this was not a
warning sent from God, to prepare me for my brother's death."

And those who knew her rational good sense--her freedom from fancies or
fears, and the calm self-possession that never deserted her under the
most trying circumstances--would almost be won to view the matter in the
light she did.

       *       *       *       *       *

The order for the evacuation of Port Dearborn, and the removal of the
troops to Fort Howard (Green Bay), had now been received. The family
circle was to be broken up. Our mother, our sister Mrs. Helm, and her
little son, were to return with us to Fort Winnebago; the other members
of the family, except Robert, were to move with the command to Green

The schooner Napoleon was to be sent from Detroit to convey the troops
with their goods and chattels to their destined post. Our immediate
party was to make the journey by land--we were to choose, however, a
shorter and pleasanter route than the one we had taken in coming hither.
My husband, with his Frenchmen, Petaille Grignon and Simon Lecuyer, had
arrived, and all hands were now busily occupied with the necessary
preparations for breaking up and removal.

I should be doing injustice to the hospitable settlers of Hickory Creek
were I to pass by without notice an entertainment with which they
honored our Chicago beaux about this time. The merry-making was to be a
ball, and the five single gentlemen of Chicago were invited. Mr. Dole,
who was a new-comer, declined; Lieutenant Foster was on duty, but he did
what was still better than accepting the invitation, he loaned his
beautiful horse to Medard Beaubien, who with Robert Kinzie and Gholson
Kercheval promised himself much fun in eclipsing the beaux and creating
a sensation among the belles of Hickory Creek.

Chicago was then, as now, looked upon as the City _par excellence_. Its
few inhabitants were supposed to have seen something of the world, and
it is to be inferred that the arrival of the smart and dashing young men
was an event looked forward to with more satisfaction by the fair of the
little settlement than by the swains whose rivals they might become.

The day arrived, and the gentlemen set off in high spirits. They took
care to be in good season, for the dancing was to commence at two
o'clock in the afternoon. They were well mounted, each priding himself
upon the animal he rode, and they wore their best suits, as became city
gallants who were bent on cutting out their less fashionable neighbors
and breaking the hearts of the admiring country damsels.

When they arrived at the place appointed, they were received with great
politeness--their steeds were taken care of, and a dinner was provided
them, after which they were ushered into the dancing-hall.

All the beauty of the neighboring precincts was assembled. The ladies
were for the most part white, or what passed for such, with an
occasional dash of copper color. There was no lack of bombazet gowns and
large white pocket-handkerchiefs, perfumed with oil of cinnamon; and as
they took their places in long rows on the puncheon floor, they were a
merry and a happy company.

But the city gentlemen grew more and more gallant--the girls more and
more delighted with their attentions--the country swains, alas! more and
more scowling and jealous. In vain they pigeon-winged and
double-shuffled--in vain they nearly dislocated hips and shoulders at
"hoe corn and dig potatoes"--they had the mortification to perceive that
the smart young sprigs from Chicago had their "pick and choose" among
their very sweethearts, and that they themselves were fairly danced off
the ground.

The revelry lasted until daylight, and it was now time to think of
returning. There was no one ready with obliging politeness to bring them
their horses from the stable.

"Poor fellows!" said one of the party, with a compassionate sort of
laugh, "they could not stand it. They have gone home to bed!"

"Serves them right," said another; "they'd better not ask us down among
their girls again!"

They groped their way to the stable and went in. There were some animals
standing at the manger, but evidently not their horses. What could they
be? Had the rogues been trying to cheat them, by putting these strange
nondescripts into their place?

They led them forth into the gray of the morning, and then--such a trio
as met their gaze!

There were the original bodies, it is true, but where were their manes
and tails? A scrubby, pickety ridge along the neck, and a bare stump
projecting behind, were all that remained of the flowing honors with
which they had come gallivanting down to "bear away the bell" at
Hickory Creek, or, in the emphatic language of the country, "to take the
rag off the bush."

Gholson sat down on a log and cried outright. Medard took the matter
more philosophically--the horse was none of his--it was Lieutenant

Robert characteristically looked around to see whom he could knock down
on the occasion; but there was no one visible on whom to wreak their

The bumpkins had stolen away, and, in some safe, quiet nook, were snugly
enjoying their triumph, and doubtless the deceitful fair ones were by
this time at their sides, sharing their mirth and exultation.

The unlucky gallants mounted their steeds, and set their faces homeward.
Never was there a more crestfallen and sorry-looking cavalcade. The poor
horses seemed to realize that they had met the same treatment as the
messengers of King David at the hands of the evil-disposed Hanun. They
hung their heads, and evidently wished that they could have "tarried at
Jericho" for a season. Unfortunately, there was in those days no back
way by which they could steal in, unobserved. Across the prairie, in
view of the whole community, must their approach be made; and to add to
their confusion, in the rarity of stirring events, it was the custom of
the whole settlement to turn out and welcome the arrival of any

As hasty a retreat as possible was beaten, amid the shouts, the jeers,
and the condolences of their acquaintances; and it is on record that
these three young gentlemen were in no hurry to accept, at any future
time, an invitation to partake of the festivities of Hickory Creek.

       *       *       *       *       *

In due time the Napoleon made her appearance. (Alas that this great
name should be used in the feminine gender!) As there was at this period
no harbor, vessels anchored outside the bar, or tongue of land which
formed the left bank of the river, and the lading and unlading were
carried on by boats, pulling in and out, through the mouth of the river,
some distance below.

Of course it always was a matter of great importance to get a vessel
loaded as quickly as possible, that she might be ready to take advantage
of the first fair wind, and be off from such an exposed and hazardous

For this reason we had lived _packed up_ for many days, intending only
to see our friends safe on board, and then commence our own journey back
to Fort Winnebago.

Our heavy articles of furniture, trunks, etc. had been sent on board the
Napoleon, to be brought round to us by way of Fox River. We had retained
only such few necessaries as could be conveniently carried on a
pack-horse, and in a light dearborn wagon lately brought by Mr.
Kercheval from Detroit (the first luxury of the kind ever seen on the
prairies), and which my husband had purchased as an agreeable mode of
conveyance for his mother and little nephew.

It was a matter requiring no small amount of time and labor to
transport, in the slow method described, the effects of so many families
of officers and soldiers, with the various etceteras incident to a total
change and removal. It was all, however, happily
accomplished--everything, even to the last article, sent on
board--nothing remaining on shore but the passengers, whose turn it
would be next.

It was a moment of great relief; for Captain Hinckley had been in a
fever and a fuss many hours, predicting a change of weather, and
murmuring at what he thought the unnecessary amount of boat-loads to be
taken on board.

Those who had leisure to be looking out towards the schooner, which had
continued anchored about half a mile out in the lake, had, at this
crisis, the satisfaction to see her hoist sail and leave her station for
the open lake; those who were a little later could just discern her
bearing away to a distance, as if she had got all on board that she had
any idea of taking. Here we were, and here we might remain a week or
more, if it so pleased Captain Hinckley and the schooner Napoleon, and
the good east wind which was blowing with all its might.

There was plenty of provisions to be obtained, so the fear of starvation
was not the trouble; but how were the cooking and the table to be
provided for? Various expedients were resorted to. Mrs. Engle, in her
quarters above-stairs, ate her breakfast off a shingle with her
husband's jack-knife, and when she had finished, sent them down to
Lieutenant Foster for his accommodation.

We were at the old mansion on the north side, and the news soon flew up
the river that the Napoleon had gone off with "the plunder" and left the
people behind. It was not long before we were supplied by Mrs. Portier
(our kind Victoire) with dishes, knives, forks, and all the other
conveniences which our mess-basket failed to supply.

This state of things lasted a couple of days, and then, early one fine
morning, the gratifying intelligence spread like wild-fire that the
Napoleon was at anchor out beyond the bar.

There was no unnecessary delay this time, and at an early hour in the
afternoon we had taken leave of our dear friends, and they were sailing
away from Chicago.[44]



A great part of the command, with the cattle belonging to the officers
and soldiers, had, a day or two previous to the time of our departure,
set out on their march by land to Green Bay, _via_ Fort Winnebago.
Lieutenant Foster, under whose charge they were, had lingered behind
that he might have the pleasure of joining our party, and we, in turn,
had delayed in order to see the other members of our family safely on
board the Napoleon. But now, all things being ready, we set our faces
once more homeward.

We took with us a little _bound-girl,_ Josette, a bright, pretty child
of ten years of age, a daughter of Ouilmette, a Frenchman who had lived
here at the time of the Massacre, and of a Pottowattamie mother. She had
been at the St. Joseph's mission-school, under Mr. McCoy, and she was
now full of delight at the prospect of a journey all the way to the
Portage with Monsieur and Madame John.

We had also a negro boy, Harry, brought a year before from Kentucky, by
Mr. Kercheval. In the transfer at that time from a slave State to a free
one, Harry's position became somewhat changed--he could be no more than
an indentured servant. He was about to become a member of Dr. Wolcott's
household, and it was necessary for him to choose a guardian. All this
was explained to him on his being brought into the parlor, where the
family were assembled. My husband was then a young man, on a visit to
his home. "Now, Harry," it was said to him, "you must choose your
guardian;" and the natural expectation was that Harry would select the
person of his acquaintance of the greatest age and dignity. But, rolling
round his great eyes, and hanging his head on one side, he said,--

"I'll have Master John for my guardian."

From that day forward Harry felt as if he belonged, in a measure, to
Master John, and at the breaking-up of the family in Chicago he was,
naturally, transferred to our establishment.

There were three ladies of our travelling party--our mother, our sister
Mrs. Helm, and myself. To guard against the burning effect of the sun
and the prairie winds upon our faces, I had, during some of the last
days of my visit, prepared for each of us a mask of brown linen, with
the eyes, nose, and mouth fitted to our features; and, to enhance their
hideousness, I had worked eyebrows, eyelashes, and a circle around the
opening for the mouth, in black silk. Gathered in plaits under the chin,
and with strings to confine them above and below, they furnished a
complete protection against the sun and wind, though nothing can be
imagined more frightful than the appearance we presented when fully
equipped. It was who should be called the ugliest.

We left amid the good wishes and laughter of our few remaining
acquaintances. Our wagon had been provided with a pair of excellent
travelling horses, and, sister Margaret and myself being accommodated
with the best pacers the country could afford, we set off in high
spirits towards the Aux Plaines--our old friend, Billy Caldwell (the
Sau-ga-nash), with our brother Robert, and Gholson Kercheval,
accompanying us to that point of our journey.

There was no one at Barney Lawton's when we reached there, save a
Frenchman and a small number of Indians. My sister and I dismounted, and
entered the dwelling, the door of which stood open. Two Indians were
seated on the floor, smoking. They raised their eyes as we appeared, and
never shall I forget the expression of wonder and horror depicted on the
countenances of both. Their lips relaxed until the pipe of one fell upon
the floor. Their eyes seemed starting from their heads, and raising
their outspread hands, as if to wave us from them, they slowly
ejaculated, "_Manitou!"_ (a spirit.)

As we raised our masks, and, smiling, came forward to shake hands with
them, they sprang to their feet and fairly uttered a cry of delight at
the sight of our familiar faces.

"Bon-jour, bon-jour, Maman!" was their salutation, and they instantly
plunged out of doors to relate to their companions what had happened.

Our afternoon's ride was over a prairie stretching away to the northeast
No living creature was to be seen upon its broad expanse, but flying and
circling over our heads were innumerable flocks of curlews,

"Screaming their wild notes to the listening waste."

Their peculiar, shrill cry of "crack, crack, crack--rackety, rackety,
rackety," repeated from the throats of dozens, as they sometimes stooped
quite close to our ears, became at length almost unbearable. It seemed
as if they had lost their senses in the excitement of so unusual and
splendid a cortége in their hitherto desolate domain.

The accelerated pace of our horses, as we approached a beautiful,
wooded knoll, warned us that this was to be our place of repose for the
night. These animals seem to know by instinct a favorable
encamping-ground, and this was one of the most lovely imaginable.

The trees, which near the lake had, owing to the coldness and tardiness
of the season, presented the pale-yellow appearance of unfledged
goslings, were here bursting into full leaf. The ground around was
carpeted with flowers--we could not bear to have them crushed by the
felling of a tree and the pitching of our tent among them. The birds
sent forth their sweetest notes in the warm, lingering sunlight, and the
opening buds of the young hickory and sassafras filled the air with

Nothing could be more perfect than our enjoyment of this sylvan and
beautiful retreat[45] after our ride in the glowing sun. The children
were in ecstasies. They delighted to find ways of making themselves
useful--to pile up the saddles--to break boughs for the fire--to fill
the little kettles with water for Petaille and Lecuyer, the Frenchmen,
who were preparing our supper.

Their amusement at the awkward movements of the horses after they were
spancelled knew no bounds. To our little nephew Edwin everything was
new, and Josette, who had already made more than one horseback journey
to St. Joseph, manifested all the pride of an old traveller in
explaining to him whatever was novel or unaccountable.

They were not the last to spring up at the call "how! how!" on the
following morning.

The fire was replenished, the preparations for breakfast commenced, and
the Frenchmen dispatched to bring up the horses in readiness for an
early start.

Harry and Josette played their parts, under our direction, in preparing
the simple meal, and we soon seated ourselves, each with cup and knife,
around the _table-mat._ The meal was over, but no men, no horses
appeared. When another half-hour had passed, my husband took Harry and
commenced exploring in search of the missing ones.

The day wore on, and first one and then another would make his
appearance to report progress. Petaille and Lecuyer at length brought
two of the horses, but the others could nowhere be found. In time, Mr.
Kinzie and Harry returned, wet to their knees by the dew upon the long
prairie-grass, but with no tidings. Again the men were dispatched after
having broken their fast, but returned unsuccessful as before.

The morning had been passed by our party at the encampment in
speculating upon the missing animals. Could they have been stolen by the
Indians? Hardly: these people seldom committed robberies in time of
peace--never upon our family, whom they regarded as their best friends.
The horses would doubtless be found. They had probably been carelessly
fastened the preceding evening, and had therefore been able to stray
farther than was their wont.

A council was held, at which it was decided to send Grignon back to
Chicago to get some fresh horses from Gholson Kercheval, and return as
speedily as possible. If on his return our encampment were deserted, he
might conclude we had found the horses and proceeded to Fox River, where
he would doubtless overtake us.

He had not been gone more than an hour before, slowly hopping out of a
point of woods to the north of us (a spot which each of the seekers
averred he had explored over and over again), and making directly for
the place where we were, appeared the vexatious animals. They came up
as demurely as if nothing had happened, and seemed rather surprised to
be received with a hearty scolding, instead of being patted and caressed
as usual.

It was the work of a very short half-hour to strike and pack the tent,
stow away the mats and kettles, saddle the horses, and mount for our

"Whoever pleases may take my place in the carriage," said our mother. "I
have travelled so many years on horseback, that I find any other mode of
conveyance too fatiguing."

So, spite of her sixty years, she mounted sister Margaret's pacer with
the activity of a girl of sixteen.

Lieutenant Foster had left us early in the morning, feeling it necessary
to rejoin his command, and now, having seen us ready to set off, with a
serene sky above us, and all things "right and tight" for the journey,
our friend the Sau-ga-nash took leave of us, and retraced his steps
towards Chicago.

We pursued our way through a lovely country of alternate glade and
forest, until we reached the Fox River. The current ran clear and
rippling along, and, as we descended the steep bank to the water, the
question, so natural to a traveller in an unknown region, presented
itself, "Is it fordable?"

Petaille, to whom the ground was familiar, had not yet made his
appearance Lecuyer was quite ignorant upon the subject. The troops had
evidently preceded us by this very trail. True, but they were on
horseback--the difficulty was, could we get the carriage through? It
must be remembered that the doubt was not about the depth of the water,
but about the hardness of the bottom of the stream.

It was agreed that two or three of the equestrians should make the
trial first. My mother, Lecuyer, and myself advanced cautiously across
to the opposite bank, each choosing a different point for leaving the
water, in order to find the firmest spot. The bottom was hard and firm
until we came near the shore; then it yielded a little. With one step,
however, we were each on dry ground.

"Est-il beau?" called my husband, who was driving.

"Oui, monsieur."

"Yes, John, come just here, it is perfectly good."

"No, no--go a little farther down. See the white gravel just there--it
will be firmer still, there."

Such were the contradictory directions given. He chose the latter, and
when it wanted but one step more to the bank, down sunk both horses,
until little more than their backs were visible.

The white gravel proved to be a bed of treacherous yellow clay, which,
gleaming through the water, had caused so unfortunate a deception.

With frantic struggles, for they were nearly suffocated with mud and
water, the horses made desperate efforts to free themselves from the
harness. My husband sprang out upon the pole. "Some one give me a
knife," he cried. I was back in the water in a moment, and, approaching
as near as I dared, handed him mine from the scabbard around my neck.

"Whatever you do, do not cut the traces," cried his mother.

He severed some of the side-straps, when, just as he had reached the
extremity of the pole, and was stretching forward to separate the
head-couplings, one of the horses gave a furious plunge, which caused
his fellow to rear, and throw himself nearly backwards. My husband was
between them. For a moment we thought he was gone--trampled down by the
excited animals; but he presently showed himself, nearly obscured by the
mud and water. With the agility of a cat, Harry, who was near him, now
sprang forward on the pole, and in an instant, with his sharp jack-knife
which he had ready, divided the straps that confined their heads.

The horses were at this moment lying floating on the water--one
apparently dead, the other as if gasping out his last breath. But hardly
did they become sensible of the release of their heads from bondage,
than they made, simultaneously, another furious effort to free
themselves from the pole, to which they were still attached by the

Failing in this, they tried another expedient, and, by a few judicious
twists and turns, succeeded in wrenching the pole asunder, and finally
carried it off in triumph across the river again, and up the bank, where
they stood waiting to decide what were the next steps to be taken.

Here was a predicament! A few hours before, we had thought ourselves
uncomfortable enough, because some of our horses were missing. Now, a
greater evil had befallen us. The wagon was in the river, the harness
cut to pieces, and, what was worse, carried off in the most independent
manner, by Tom and his companion; the pole was twisted to fragments, and
there was not so much as a stick on our side of the river with which to
replace it.

At this moment, a whoop from the opposite bank, echoed by two or three
hearty ones from our party, announced the reappearance of Petaille
Grignon. He dismounted and took charge of the horses, who were resting
themselves after their fatigues under a shady tree, and by this time
Lecuyer had crossed the river, and now joined him in bringing back the

In the mean time we had been doing our best to minister to our sister
Margaret. She, with her little son Edwin, had been in the wagon at the
time of the accident, and it had been a work of some difficulty to get
them out and bring them on horseback to shore. The effect of the
agitation and excitement was to throw her into a fit of the ague, and
she now lay blue and trembling among the long grass of the little
prairie which extended along the bank. The tent, which had been packed
in the rear of the wagon, was too much saturated with mud and water to
admit of its being used as a shelter; it could only be stretched in the
sun to dry. We opened an umbrella over our poor sister's head, and now
began a discussion of ways and means to repair damages. The first thing
was to cut a new pole for the wagon, and for this, the master and men
must recross the river and choose an _iron-tree_ out of the forest.

Then, for the harness. With provident care, a little box had been placed
under the seat of the wagon, containing an awl, waxed ends, and various
other little conveniences exactly suited to an emergency like the

It was question and answer, like Cock Robin:

"Who can mend the harness?"

"I can, for I learned when I was a young girl to make shoes as _an
accomplishment_, and I can surely now, as a matter of usefulness and
duty, put all those wet, dirty pieces of leather together."

So we all seated ourselves on the grass, under the shade of the only two
umbrellas we could muster.

I stitched away diligently, blistering my hands, I must own, in no small

A suitable young tree had been brought, and the hatchets, without which
one never travels in the woods, were busy fashioning it into shape, when
a peculiar hissing noise was heard, and instantly the cry,--

"_Un serpent sonnette_! A rattlesnake!"

All sprang to their feet, even the poor, shaking invalid, just in time
to see the reptile glide past within three inches of my mother's feet,
while the men assailed the spot it had left with whips, missiles, and
whatever would help along the commotion.

This little incident proved an excellent remedy for the ague. One
excitement drives away another, and by means of this (upon the
homoeopathic principle) sister Margaret was so much improved that by the
time all the mischiefs were repaired, she was ready to take her place in
the cavalcade, as bright and cheerful as the rest of us.

So great had been the delay occasioned by all these untoward
circumstances, that our afternoon's ride was but a short one, bringing
us no farther than the shores of a beautiful sheet of water, now known
as Crystal Lake. Its clear surface was covered with loons, and _Poules
d'Eau_, a species of rail; with which, at certain seasons, this region

The Indians have the genius of Aesop for depicting animal life and
character, and there is among them a fable or legend illustrative of
every peculiarity in the personal appearance, habits, or dispositions of
each variety of the animal creation.

The back of the little rail is very concave, or hollow. The Indians tell
us that it became so in the following manner:--


There is supposed, by most of the Northwestern tribes, to exist an
invisible being, corresponding to the "Genie" of Oriental story. Without
being exactly the father of evil, _Nan-nee-bo-zho_ is a spirit whose
office it is to punish what is amiss. He is represented, too, as
constantly occupied in entrapping and making examples of all the
animals that come in his way.

One pleasant evening, as he walked along the banks of a lake, he saw a
flock of ducks, sailing and enjoying themselves on the blue waters. He
called to them:

"Ho! come with me into my lodge, and I will teach you to dance!" Some of
the ducks said among themselves, "It is Nan-nee-bo-zho; let us not go."
Others were of a contrary opinion, and, his words being fair, and his
voice insinuating, a few turned their faces towards the land--all the
rest soon followed, and, with many pleasant quackings, trooped after
him, and entered his lodge.

When there, he first took an Indian sack, with a wide mouth, which he
tied by the strings around his neck, so that it would hang over his
shoulders, leaving the mouth unclosed. Then, placing himself in the
centre of the lodge, he ranged the ducks in a circle around him.

"Now," said he, "you must all shut your eyes _tight_; whoever opens his
eyes at all, something dreadful will happen to him. I will take my
Indian flute and play upon it, and you will, at the word I shall give,
open your eyes, and commence dancing, as you see me do."

The ducks obeyed, shutting their eyes _tight_, and keeping time to the
music by stepping from one foot to the other, all impatient for the
dancing to begin.

Presently a sound was heard like a smothered "quack," but the ducks did
not dare to open their eyes.

Again, and again, the sound of the flute would be interrupted, and a
gurgling cry of "qu-a-a-ck" be heard. There was one little duck, much
smaller than the rest, who, at this juncture, could not resist the
temptation to open one eye, cautiously. She saw Nan-nee-bo-zho, as he
played his flute, holding it with one hand, stoop a little at intervals
and seize the duck nearest him, which he throttled and stuffed into the
bag on his shoulders. So, edging a little out of the circle, and getting
nearer the door, which had been left partly open, to admit the light,
she cried out,--

"Open your eyes--Nan-nee-bo-zho is choking you all and putting you into
his bag!"

With that she flew, but Nan-nee-bo-zho pounced upon her. His hand
grasped her back, yet, with desperate force, she released herself and
gained the open air. Her companions flew, quacking and screaming, after
her. Some escaped, and some fell victims to the sprite.

The little duck had saved her life, but she had lost her beauty. She
ever after retained the attitude she had been forced into in her moment
of danger--her back pressed down in the centre, and her head and neck
unnaturally stretched forward into the air.



The third day of our journey rose brilliantly clear, like the two
preceding ones, and we shaped our course more to the north than we had
hitherto done, in the direction of _Big-foot_ Lake, now known by the
somewhat hackneyed appellation, Lake of Geneva.

Our journey this day was without mishaps or disasters of any kind. The
air was balmy, the foliage of the forests fresh and fragrant, the little
brooks clear and sparkling--everything in nature spoke the praises of
the beneficent Creator.

It is in scenes like this, far removed from the bustle, the strife, and
the sin of civilized life, that we most fully realize the presence of
the great Author of the Universe. Here can the mind most fully adore his
majesty and goodness, for here only is the command obeyed, "Let all the
earth keep silence before Him!"

It cannot escape observation that the deepest and most solemn devotion
is in the hearts of those who, shut out from the worship of God in
temples made with hands, are led to commune with him amid the boundless
magnificence that his own power has framed.

This day was not wholly without incident. As we stopped for our
noon-tide refreshment, and dismounting threw ourselves on the fresh
herbage just at the verge of a pleasant thicket, we were startled by a
tender _bleating_ near us, and presently, breaking its way through the
low branches, there came upon us a sweet little dappled fawn, evidently
in search of its mother. It did not seem in the least frightened at the
sight of us. As poor Selkirk might have been parodied,--

  It was so unacquainted with man,
  Its tameness was charming to us.

But the vociferous delight of the children soon drove it bounding again
into the woods, and all hopes of catching it for a pet were at once at
an end.

We had travelled well this day, and were beginning to feel somewhat
fatigued, when, just before sunset, we came upon a ridge, overlooking
one of the loveliest little dells imaginable. It was an oak opening, and
browsing under the shade of the tall trees which were scattered around
were the cattle and horses of the soldiers, who had got thus far on
their journey. Two or three white tents were pitched in the bottom of
the valley, beside a clear stream. The camp-fires were already lighted,
and the men, singly or in groups, were busied in their various
preparations for their own comfort, or that of their animals.

Lieutenant Foster came forward with great delight to welcome our
arrival, and accepted without hesitation an invitation to join our mess
again, as long as we should be together.

We soon found a pleasant encamping-ground, far enough removed from the
other party to secure us against all inconvenience, and our supper
having received the addition of a kettle of fine fresh milk, kindly
brought us by Mrs. Gardiner, the hospital matron, who with her little
covered cart formed no unimportant feature in the military group, we
partook of our evening meal with much hilarity and enjoyment.

If people are ever companionable, it is when thrown together under
circumstances like the present. There has always been sufficient
incident through the day to furnish themes for discourse, and subjects
of merriment, as long as the company feel disposed for conversation,
which is, truth to tell, not an unconscionable length of time after
their supper is over.

The poor Lieutenant looked grave enough when we set out in advance of
him the next morning. None of his party were acquainted with the road;
but, after giving him directions both general and particular, Mr. Kinzie
promised to _blaze_ a tree, or _set up a chip_ for a guide, at every
place which appeared more than usually doubtful.

We now found ourselves in a much more diversified country than any we
had hitherto travelled. Gently swelling hills, lovely valleys, and
bright sparkling streams were the features of the landscape. But there
was little animate life. Now and then a shout from the leader of the
party (for, according to custom, we travelled Indian file) would call
our attention to a herd of deer "loping," as the Westerners say,
through the forest; or an additional spur would be given to the horses
on the appearance of some small dark object, far distant on the trail
before us. But the game invariably contrived to disappear before we
could reach it, and it was out of the question to leave the beaten track
for a regular hunt.

Soon after mid-day, we descended a long, sloping knoll, and by a sudden
turn came full in view of the beautiful sheet of water denominated
Gros-pied by the French, _Maunk-suck_ by the natives, and by ourselves
Big-foot, from the chief whose village overlooked its waters. Bold,
swelling hills jutted forward into the clear blue expanse, or retreated
slightly to afford a green, level nook, as a resting-place for the
dwelling of man. On the nearer shore stretched a bright, gravelly beach,
across which coursed here and there a pure, sparkling rivulet to join
the larger sheet of water.

On a rising ground at the foot of one of the bold bluffs in the middle
distance, a collection of neat wigwams formed, with their surrounding
gardens, no unpleasant feature in the picture.

A shout of delight burst involuntarily from the whole party, as this
charming landscape met our view. "It was like the Hudson, only less
bold--no, it was like the lake of the Forest Cantons, in the picture of
the Chapel of William Tell! What could be imagined more enchanting? Oh I
if our friends at the East could but enjoy it with us!"

We paused long to admire, and then spurred on, skirting the head of the
lake, and were soon ascending the broad platform on which stood the
village of Maunk-suck, or Big-foot.

The inhabitants, who had witnessed our approach from a distance, were
all assembled in front of their wigwams to greet us, if friends--if
otherwise, whatever the occasion should demand. It was the first time
such a spectacle had ever presented itself to their wondering eyes.
Their salutations were not less cordial than we expected.
"Shaw-nee-aw-kee" and his mother, who was known throughout the tribe by
the touching appellation "Our friend's wife," were welcomed most kindly,
and an animated conversation commenced, which I could understand only so
far as it was conveyed by gestures; so I amused myself by taking a
minute survey of all that met my view.

The chief was a large, raw-boned, ugly Indian, with a countenance
bloated by intemperance, and with a sinister, unpleasant expression. He
had a gay-colored handkerchief upon his head, and was otherwise attired
in his best, in compliment to the strangers.

It was to this chief that Chambly, or, as he is now called,
Shaw-bee-nay, Billy Caldwell, and Robinson were dispatched, by Dr.
Wolcott, their Agent, during the Winnebago war, in 1821, to use their
earnest endeavors to prevent this chief and his band from joining the
hostile Indians. With some difficulty they succeeded, and were thus the
means, doubtless, of saving the lives of all the settlers who lived
exposed upon the frontier.

Among the various groups of his people, there was none attracted my
attention so forcibly as a young man of handsome face, and a figure that
was striking even where all were fine and symmetrical. He too had a gay
handkerchief on his head, a shirt of the brightest lemon-colored calico,
an abundance of silver ornaments, and, what gave his dress a most
fanciful appearance, one legging of blue and the other of bright
scarlet. I was not ignorant that this peculiar feature in his toilet
indicated a heart suffering from the tender passion. The flute, which
he carried in his hand, added confirmation to the fact, while the
joyous, animated expression of his countenance showed with equal
plainness that he was not a despairing lover.

I could have imagined him to have recently returned from the chase,
laden with booty, with which he had, as is the custom, entered the lodge
of the fair one, and thrown his burden at the feet of her parents, with
an indifferent, superb sort of air, as much as to say, "Here is some
meat--it is a mere trifle, but it will show you what you might expect
with me for a son-in-law." I could not doubt that the damsel had stepped
forward and gathered it up, in token that she accepted the offering, and
the donor along with it. There was nothing in the appearance or manner
of any of the maidens by whom we were surrounded, to denote which was
the happy fair, neither, although I peered anxiously into all their
countenances, could I there detect any blush of consciousness; so I was
obliged to content myself with selecting the youngest and prettiest of
the group, and go on weaving my romance to my own satisfaction.

The village stood encircled by an amphitheatre of hills, so precipitous,
and with gorges so steep and narrow, that it seemed almost impossible to
scale them, even on horseback; how, then, could we hope to accomplish
the ascent of the four-wheeled carriage? This was the point now under
discussion between my husband and the Pottowattamies. There was no
alternative but to make the effort, selecting the pass that the
inhabitants pointed out as the most practicable. Petaille went first,
and I followed on my favorite Jerry. It was such a scramble as is not
often taken,--almost perpendicularly, through what seemed the dry bed of
a torrent, now filled with loose stones, and scarcely affording one
secure foothold from the bottom to the summit! I clang fast to the
mane, literally at times clasping Jerry around his neck, and, amid the
encouraging shouts and cheers of those below, we at length arrived
safely, though nearly breathless, on the pinnacle, and sat looking down,
to view the success of the next party.

The horses had been taken from the carriage, the luggage it contained
being placed upon the shoulders of some of the young Indians, to be
_toted_ up the steep. Ropes were now attached to its sides, and a
regular bevy of our red friends, headed by our two Frenchmen, placed to
man them. Two or three more took their places in the rear, to hold the
vehicle and keep it from slipping backwards--then the labor commenced.
Such a pulling! such a shouting! such a clapping of hands by the
spectators of both sexes! such a stentorian word of command or
encouragement from the bourgeois! Now and then there would be a slight
halt, a wavering, as if carriage and men were about to tumble backwards
into the plain below; but no--they would recover themselves, and after
incredible efforts they too safely gained the table-land above. In
process of time all were landed there, and, having remunerated our
friends to their satisfaction, the goods and chattels were collected,
the wagon repacked, and we set off for our encampment at Turtle Creek.

The exertions and excitement of our laborious ascent, together with the
increasing heat of the sun, made this afternoon's ride more
uncomfortable than anything we had previously felt. We were truly
rejoiced when the whoop of our guide, and the sight of a few scattered
lodges, gave notice that we had reached our encamping-ground. We chose a
beautiful sequestered spot by the side of a clear, sparkling stream,
and, having dismounted and seen that our horses were made comfortable,
my husband, after giving his directions to his men, led me to a retired
spot where I could lay aside my hat and mask and bathe my flushed face
and aching head in the cool, refreshing waters. Never had I felt
anything so grateful, so delicious. I sat down, and leaned my head
against one of the tall, overshadowing trees, and was almost dreaming,
when summoned to partake of our evening meal.

The Indians had brought us, as a present, some fine brook trout, which
our Frenchmen had prepared in the most tempting fashion, and before the
bright moon rose and we were ready for oar rest, all headache and
fatigue had alike disappeared.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most charming features of this mode of travelling is the
joyous, vocal life of the forest at early dawn, when all the feathered
tribe come forth to pay their cheerful salutations to the opening day.

The rapid, chattering flourish of the bob-o'-link, the soft whistle of
the thrush, the tender coo of the wood-dove, the deep, warbling bass of
the grouse, the drumming of the partridge, the melodious trill of the
lark, the gay carol of the robin, the friendly, familiar call of the
duck and the teal, resound from tree and knoll and lowland, prompting
the expressive exclamation of the simple half-breed,--

"Voilà la forêt qui parle!"[46]

It seems as if man must involuntarily raise his voice, to take part in
the general chorus--the mating song of praise.

Birds and flowers, and the soft balmy airs of morning! Must it not have
been in a scene like this that Milton's Adam poured out his beautiful
hymn of adoration,--

"These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good"?

This day we were journeying in hopes to reach, at an early hour, that
broad expanse of the Rock River which here forms the Kosh-ko-nong. The
appellation of this water, rendered doubly affecting by the subsequent
fate of its people, imports "_the lake we live on_."

Our road for the early part of the day led through forests so thick and
tangled that Grignon and Lecuyer were often obliged to go in advance as
pioneers with their axes, to cut away the obstructing shrubs and
branches. It was slow work, and at times quite discouraging, but we were
through with it at last, and then we came into a country of altogether a
different description,--low prairies, intersected with deep, narrow
streams like canals, the passage of which, either by horses or
carriages, was often a matter of delay and even difficulty.

Several times in the course of the forenoon the horses were to be taken
from the carriage and the latter pulled and pushed across the deep
narrow channels as best it might.

The wooded banks of the Kosh-ko-nong were never welcomed with greater
delight than by us when they at length broke upon our sight. A ride of
five or six miles through the beautiful oak openings brought us to
_Man-Eater's_ village, a collection of neat bark wigwams, with extensive
fields on each side of corn, beans, and squashes, recently planted, but
already giving promise of a fine crop. In front was the broad blue lake,
the shores of which, to the south, were open and marshy, but near the
village, and stretching far away to the north, were bordered by fine
lofty trees. The village was built but a short distance below the point
where the Rock River opens into the lake, and during a conversation
between our party and the Indians at the village, an arrangement was
made with them to take us across at a spot about half a mile above.

After a short halt, we again took up our line of march through the
woods, along the bank of the river.

A number of the Winnebagoes (for we had been among our own people since
leaving Gros-pied Lake) set out for the appointed place by water,
paddling their canoes, of which they had selected the largest and

Arrived at the spot indicated, we dismounted, and the men commenced the
task of unsaddling and unloading. We were soon placed in the canoes, and
paddled across to the opposite bank. Next, the horses were swum
across--after them was to come the carriage. Two long wooden canoes were
securely lashed together side by side, and being of sufficient width to
admit of the carriage standing within them, the passage was commenced.
Again and again the tottering barks would sway from side to side, and a
cry or a shout would arise from our party on shore, as the whole mass
seemed about to plunge sideways into the water, but it would presently
recover itself, and at length, after various deviations from the
perpendicular, it reached the shore in safety.

We now hoped that our troubles were at an end, and that we had nothing
to do but to mount and trot on as fast as possible to Fort Winnebago.
But no. Half a mile farther on was a formidable swamp, of no great width
it is true, but with a depth of from two to three feet of mud and water.
It was a question whether, with the carriage, we could get through it at
all. Several of the Indians accompanied us to this place, partly to give
us their aid and counsel, and partly to enjoy the fun of the spectacle.

On reaching the swamp, we were disposed to laugh at the formidable
representations which had been made to us. We saw only a strip of what
seemed rather low land, covered with tall, dry rushes.

It is true the ground looked a little wet, but there seemed nothing to
justify all the apprehensions that had been excited. Great was my
surprise, then, to see my husband, who had been a few minutes absent,
return to our circle attired in his duck trousers, and without shoes or

"What are you going to do?" inquired I.

"Carry you through the swamp on my shoulders. Come, Petaille, you are
the strongest--you are to carry Madame Kinzie, and To-shun-nuck there
(pointing to a tall, stout Winnebago), he will take Madame Helm."

"Wait a moment," said I, and, seating myself on the grass, I
deliberately took off my own boots and stockings.

"What is that for?" they all asked.

"Because I do not wish to ride with wet feet all the rest of the day."

"No danger of that," said they, and no one followed my example.

By the time they were in the midst of the swamp, however, they found my
precaution had been by no means useless. The water through which our
bearers had to pass was of such a depth that no efforts of the ladies
were sufficient to keep their feet above the surface; and I had the
satisfaction of feeling that my burden upon my husband's shoulders was
much less, from my being able to keep my first position instead of
changing constantly to avoid a contact with the water.

The laugh was quite on my side when I resumed my equipment and mounted,
_dry-shod_, into my saddle.

It will be perceived that journeying in the woods is, in some degree, a
deranger of ceremony and formality; that it necessarily restricts us
somewhat in our conventionalities. The only remedy is, to make ourselves
amends by a double share when we return to the civilized walks of life.

By dint of much pulling, shouting, encouraging, and threatening, the
horses at length dragged the carriage through the difficult pass, and
our red friends were left to return to their village, with, doubtless, a
very exaggerated and amusing account of all that they had seen and
assisted in.

We had not forgotten our promise to Lieutenant Foster to put up a
"guide-board" of some sort, for his accommodation in following us. We
therefore, upon several occasions, carried with us from the woods a few
pieces, of three or four feet in length, which we planted at certain
points, with a transverse stick through a cleft in the top, thus marking
the direction he and his party were to take.

We therefore felt sure that, although a few days later, he would find
our trail, and avail himself of the same assistance as we had, in
getting through the difficulties of the way.

Our encamping-ground, this night, was to be not far distant from the
Four Lakes. We were greatly fatigued with the heat and exercise of the
day, and most anxiously did we look out for the clumps of willows and
alders which were to mark the spot where water would be found. We felt
hardly equal to pushing on quite to the bank of the nearest lake.
Indeed, it would have taken us too much off our direct course.

When we, at a late hour, came upon a spot fit for our purpose, we
exchanged mutual congratulations that this was to be our last night upon
the road. The next day we should be at Winnebago!

Our journey had been most delightful--a continued scene of exhilaration
and enjoyment; for the various mishaps, although for the moment they had
perplexed, yet, in the end, had but added to our amusement. Still, with
the inconstancy of human nature, we were pleased to exchange its
excitement for the quiet repose of home.

Our next morning's ride was of a more tranquil character than any that
had preceded it; for at an early hour we entered upon what was known as
the "Twenty-mile Prairie,"--and I may be permitted to observe that the
miles are wonderfully long on the prairies. Our passage over this was,
except the absence of the sand, like crossing the desert. Mile after
mile of unbroken expanse--not a tree--not a living object except

The sun, as if to make himself amends for his two months' seclusion,
shone forth with redoubled brilliancy. There is no such thing as
carrying an umbrella on horseback, though those in the wagon were able
to avail themselves of such a shelter.

Our mother's energies had sustained her in the saddle until this day,
but she was now fairly obliged to give in, and yield her place on little
Brunet to sister Margaret.

Thus we went on, one little knoll rising beyond another, from the summit
of each of which, in succession, we hoped to descry the distant woods,
which were to us as the promised land.

"Take courage," were the cheering words, often repeated; "very soon you
will begin to see the timber."

Another hour would pass heavily by.

"Now, when we reach the rising ground just ahead, look _sharp_."

We would look sharp--nothing but the same unvarying landscape.

There were not even streams to allay the feverish thirst occasioned by
fatigue and impatience.

At length a whoop from Shaw-nee-aw-kee broke the silence in which we
were pursuing our way.

"Le voilà!" (There it is!)

Our less practised eye could not at first discern the faint blue strip
edging the horizon, but it grew and grew upon our vision, and fatigue
and all discomfort proportionably disappeared.

We were in fine spirits by the time we reached "Hastings's Woods," a
noble forest, watered by a clear, sparkling stream.

Grateful as was the refreshment of the green foliage and the cooling
waters, we did not allow ourselves to forget that the day was wearing
on, and that we must, if possible, complete our journey before sunset;
so we soon braced up our minds to continue our route, although we would
gladly have lingered another hour.

The marsh of Duck Creek was, thanks to the heat of the past week, in a
very different state from what it had been a few months previous, when I
had been so unfortunately submerged in its icy waters.

We passed it without difficulty, and soon found ourselves upon the banks
of the creek.

The stream, at this point, was supposed to be always fordable; and even
were it not so, that to the majority of our party would have been a
matter of little moment. To the ladies, however, the subject seemed to
demand consideration.

"This water looks very deep--are you sure we can cross it on horseback?"

"Oh, yes! Petaille, go before, and let us see how the water is."

Petaille obeyed. He was mounted on a horse like a giraffe, and,
extending his feet horizontally, he certainly managed to pass through
the stream without much of a wetting.

It seemed certain that the water would come into the wagon, but that was
of the less consequence as, in case of the worst, the passengers could
mount upon the seats.

My horse, Jerry, was above the medium height, so that I soon passed
over, with no inconvenience but that of being obliged to disengage my
feet from the stirrups and tuck them up snugly against the mane of the

Sister Margaret was still upon Brunet. She was advised to change him for
one of the taller horses, but while the matter was under debate, it was
settled by the perverse little wretch taking to the water most
unceremoniously, in obedience to the example of the other animals.

He was soon beyond his depth, and we were at once alarmed and diverted
at seeing his rider, with surprising adroitness, draw her feet from the
stirrups and perch herself upon the top of the saddle, where she held
her position, and navigated her little refractory steed safely to land.

This was the last of our adventures. A pleasant ride of four miles
brought us to the Fort, just as the sun was throwing his last beams over
the glowing landscape; and on reaching the ferry we were at once
conducted, by the friends who were awaiting us, to the hospitable roof
of Major Twiggs.



The companies of the First Infantry, which had hitherto been stationed
at Fort Winnebago, had before our arrival received orders to move on to
the Mississippi as soon as relieved by a portion of the Fifth, now at
Fort Howard.

As many of the officers of the latter regiment were married, we had
reason to expect that all the quarters at the post would be put in
requisition. For this reason, although strongly pressed by Major Twiggs
to take up our residence again in the Fort until he should go on
furlough, we thought it best to establish ourselves at once at "the

It seemed laughable to give so grand a name to so very insignificant a
concern. We had been promised, by the heads of department at Washington,
a comfortable dwelling so soon as there should be an appropriation by
Congress sufficient to cover any extra expense in the Indian Department.
It was evident that Congress had a great spite at us, for it had delayed
for two sessions attending to our accommodation. There was nothing to be
done, therefore, but to make ourselves comfortable with the best means
in our power.

The old log barracks, which had been built for the officers and soldiers
on the first establishment of the post, two years previous, had been
removed by our French engagés and put up again upon the little hill
opposite the Fort. To these some additions were now made in the shape
of dairy, stables, smoke-house, etc., constructed of tamarack logs
brought from the neighboring swamp. The whole presented a very rough and
primitive appearance.

The main building consisted of a range of four rooms, no two of which
communicated with each other, but each opened by a door into the outward
air. A small window cut through the logs in front and rear, gave light
to the apartment. An immense clay chimney for every two rooms, occupied
one side of each, and the ceiling overhead was composed of a few rough
boards laid upon the transverse logs that supported the roof.

It was surprising how soon a comfortable, homelike air was given to the
old dilapidated rooms, by a few Indian mats spread upon the floor, the
piano and other furniture ranged in their appropriate places, and even a
few pictures hung against the logs. The latter, alas! had soon to be
displaced, for with the first heavy shower the rain found entrance
through sundry crevices, and we saw ourselves obliged to put aside,
carefully, everything that could be injured by the moisture. We made
light of these evils, however--packed away our carpets and superfluous
furniture upon the boards above, which we dignified with the name of
attic, and contentedly resolved to await the time when Government should
condescend to remember us. The greatest inconvenience I experienced, was
from the necessity of wearing my straw bonnet throughout the day, as I
journeyed from bedroom to parlor, and from parlor to kitchen. I became
so accustomed to it that I even sometimes forgot to remove it when I sat
down to table, or to my quiet occupations with my mother and sister.

Permission was, however, in time, received to build a house for the
blacksmith--that is, the person kept in pay by the Government at this
station to mend the guns, traps, etc. of the Indians.

It happened most fortunately for us that Monsieur Isidore Morrin was a
bachelor, and quite satisfied to continue boarding with his friend Louis
Frum, _dit_ Manaigre, so that when the new house was fairly commenced we
planned it and hurried it forward entirely on our own account.

It was not very magnificent, it is true, consisting of but a parlor and
two bedrooms on the ground-floor, and two low chambers under the roof,
with a kitchen in the rear; but compared with the rambling old
stable-like building we now inhabited, it seemed quite a palace.

Before it was completed, Mr. Kinzie was notified that the money for the
annual Indian payment was awaiting his arrival in Detroit to take it in
charge and superintend its transportation to the Portage; and he was
obliged to set off at once to fulfil this part of his duty.

The workmen who had been brought from the Mississippi to erect the main
building, were fully competent to carry on their work without an
overseer; but the kitchen was to be the task of the Frenchmen, and the
question was, how could it be executed in the absence of the

"You will have to content yourselves in the old quarters until my
return," said my husband, "and then we will soon have things in order."
His journey was to be a long and tedious one, for the operations of
Government were not carried on by railroad and telegraph in those days.

After his departure I said to the men, "Come, you have all your logs cut
and hauled--the squaws have brought the bark for the roof--what is to
prevent our finishing the house and getting all moved and settled to
surprise Monsieur John on his return?"

"Ah! to be sure, Madame John," said Plante, who was always the
spokesman, "provided the one who plants a green bough on the chimney-top
is to have a treat."

"Certainly. All hands fall to work, and see who will win the treat."

Upon the strength of such an inducement to the one who should put the
finishing stroke to the building, Plante, Pillon, and Manaigre, whom the
waggish Plante persisted in calling "mon nègre," whenever he felt
himself out of the reach of the other's arm, all went vigorously to

Building a log house is a somewhat curious process. First, as will be
conceived, the logs are laid one upon another and jointed at the
corners, until the walls have reached the required height. The chimney
is formed by four poles of the proper length, interlaced with a
wicker-work of small branches. A hole or pit is dug, near at hand, and,
with a mixture of clay and water, a sort of mortar is formed. Large
wisps of hay are filled with this thick substance, and fashioned with
the hands into what are technically called "_clay cats_," and these are
filled in among the frame-work of the chimney until not a chink is left.
The whole is then covered with a smooth coating of the wet clay, which
is denominated "plastering."

Between the logs which compose the walls of the building, small bits of
wood are driven, quite near together; this is called "chinking," and
after it is done, clay cats are introduced, and smoothed over with the
plaster. When all is dry, both walls and chimney are whitewashed, and
present a comfortable and tidy appearance.

The roof is formed by laying upon the transverse logs thick sheets of
bark. Around the chimney, for greater security against the rain, we took
care to have placed a few layers of the palisades that had been left
when Mr. Peach, an odd little itinerant genius, had fenced in our
garden, the pride and wonder of the surrounding settlement and wigwams.

While all these matters were in progress, we received frequent visits
from our Indian friends. First and foremost among them was "the young
Dandy," Four-Legs.

One fine morning he made his appearance, accompanied by two squaws, whom
he introduced as his wives. He could speak a little Chippewa, and by
this means he and our mother contrived to keep up something of a
conversation. He was dressed in all his finery, brooches, wampum, fan,
looking-glass and all. The paint upon his face and chest showed that he
had devoted no small time to the labors of his toilet.

He took a chair, as he had seen done at Washington, and made signs to
his women to sit down upon the floor.

The custom of taking two wives is not very general among the Indians.
They seem to have the sagacity to perceive that the fewer they have to
manage, the more complete is the peace and quiet of the wigwam.

Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that a husband takes a foolish fancy
for a second squaw, and in that case he uses all his cunning and
eloquence to reconcile the first to receiving a new inmate in the lodge.
Of course it is a matter that must be managed adroitly, in order that
harmony may be preserved.

"My dear, your health is not very good; it is time you should have some
rest. You have worked very hard, and it grieves me that you should have
to labor any longer. Let me get you some nice young squaw to wait upon
you, that you may live at ease all the rest of your life."

The first wife consents; indeed, she has no option. If she is of a
jealous, vindictive disposition, what a life the new-comer leads! The
old one maintains all her rights of dowager and duenna, and the
husband's tenderness is hardly a compensation for all the evils the
young rival is made to suffer.

It was on Sunday morning that this visit of the Dandy was made to us. We
were all seated quietly, engaged in reading. Four-Legs inquired of my
mother, why we were so occupied, and why everything around us was so

My mother explained to him our observance of the day of rest--that we
devoted it to worshipping and serving the Great Spirit, as he had
commanded in his Holy Word.

Four-Legs gave a nod of approbation. That was very right, he said--he
was glad to see us doing our duty--he was very religious himself, and he
liked to see others so. He always took care that his squaws attended to
their duties,--not reading, perhaps, but such as the Great Spirit liked,
and such as he thought proper and becoming.

He seemed to have no fancy for listening to any explanation of our
points of difference. The impression among the Winnebagoes "that if the
Great Spirit had wished them different from what they are, he would have
made them so," seems too strong to yield to either argument or

Sometimes those who are desirous of appearing somewhat civilized will
listen quietly to all that is advanced on the subject of Christianity,
then, coolly saying, "Yes, we believe that too," will change the
conversation to other subjects.

As a general thing, they do not appear to perceive that there is
anything to be gained by adopting the religion and the customs of the
whites. "Look at them," they say, "always toiling and striving--always
wearing a brow of care--shut up in houses--afraid of the wind and the
rain--suffering when they are deprived of the comforts of life! We, on
the contrary, live a life of freedom and happiness. We hunt and fish,
and pass our time pleasantly in the open woods and prairies. If we are
hungry, we take some game; or, if we do not find that, we can go
without. If our enemies trouble us, we can kill them, and there is no
more said about it. What should we gain by changing ourselves into white

Christian missionaries, with all their efforts to convert them, had at
this day made little progress in enlightening their minds upon the
doctrines of the Gospel. Mr. Mazzuchelli, a Roman Catholic priest,
accompanied by Miss Elizabeth Grignon as interpreter, made a missionary
visit to the Portage during our residence there, and, after some
instruction from him, about forty consented to be baptized. Christian
names were given to them, with which they seemed much pleased; and not
less so with the little plated crucifixes which each received, and which
the women wore about their necks. These they seemed to regard with a
devotional feeling; but I was not sufficiently acquainted with their
language to gather from them whether they understood the doctrine the
symbol was designed to convey. Certain it is, they expressed no wish to
learn our language, in order that they might gain a fuller knowledge of
the Saviour, nor any solicitude to be taught more about him than they
had received during the missionary's short visit.

One woman, to whom the name of Charlotte had been given, signified a
desire to learn the domestic ways of the whites, and asked of me as a
favor through Madame Paquette that she might be permitted to come on
"washing-day," and learn of my servants our way of managing the
business. A tub was given her, and my woman instructed her, by signs and
example, how she was to manage. As I was not a little curious to observe
how things went on, I proceeded after a time to the kitchen where they
all were. Charlotte was at her tub, scouring and rubbing with all her
might at her little crucifix. Two other squaws sat upon the floor near
her, watching the operation.

"That is the work she has been at for the last half-hour," said Josette,
in a tone of great impatience. "_She'll_ never learn to wash."

Charlotte, however, soon fell diligently to work, and really seemed as
if she would tear her arms off, with her violent exertions.

After a time, supposing that she must feel a good deal fatigued and
exhausted with the unaccustomed labor, I did what it was at that day
very much the fashion to do,--what, at home, I had always seen done on
washing-day,--what, in short, I imagine was then a general custom among
housekeepers. I went to the dining-room closet, intending to give
Charlotte a glass of wine or brandy and water. My "cupboard" proved to
be in the state of the luckless "Mother Hubbard's"--nothing of the kind
could I find but a bottle of orange shrub.

Of this I poured out a wineglassful, and, carrying it out, offered it to
the woman. She took it with an expression of great pleasure; but, in
carrying it to her lips, she stopped short, and exclaiming, "Whiskey!"
immediately returned it to me. I would still have pressed it upon her;
for, in my inexperience, I really believed it was a cordial she needed;
but, pointing to her crucifix, she shook her head and returned to her

I received this as a lesson more powerful than twenty sermons. It was
the first time in my life that I had ever seen spirituous liquors
rejected upon a religious principle, and it made an impression upon me
that I never forgot.



Among the women of the tribe with whom we early became acquainted, our
greatest favorite was a daughter of one of the Day-kau-rays. This
family, as I have elsewhere said, boasted in some remote generation a
cross of the French blood, and this fact might account for the fair
complexion and soft curling hair which distinguished our friend. She had
a noble forehead, full, expressive eyes, and fine teeth. Unlike the
women of her people, she had not grown brown and haggard with advancing
years. Indeed, with the exception of one feature, she might be called

She had many years before married a Mus-qua-kee, or Fox Indian, and,
according to the custom among all the tribes, the husband came home to
the wife's family, and lived among the Winnebagoes.

It is this custom, so exactly the reverse of civilized ways, that makes
the birth of a daughter a subject of peculiar rejoicing in an Indian
family. "She will bring another hunter to our lodge," is the style of
mutual congratulation.

The Mus-qua-kee continued, for some few years, to live among his wife's
relations; but, as no children blessed their union, he at length became
tired of his new friends, and longed to return to his own people. He
tried, for a time, to persuade his wife to leave her home, and accompany
him to the Mississippi, on the banks of which the Sauks and Foxes lived,
but in vain. She could not resolve to make the sacrifice.

One day, after many fruitless efforts to persuade her, he flew into a
violent passion.

"Then, if you will not go with me," said he, "I will leave you; but you
shall never be the wife of any other man--I will mark you!"

Saying this, he flew upon her, and bit off the end of her nose. This,
the usual punishment for conjugal infidelity, is the greatest disgrace a
woman can receive--it bars her forever from again entering the pale of
matrimony. The wretch fled to his own people; but his revenge fell short
of its aim. Day-kau-ray was too well known and too universally respected
to suffer opprobrium in any member of his family. This bright, loving
creature in particular, won all hearts upon a first acquaintance--she
certainly did ours, from the outset.

She suffered much from rheumatism, and a remedy we gave her soon
afforded her almost entire relief. Her gratitude knew no bounds.
Notwithstanding that from long suffering she had become partially
crippled, she would walk all the way from the Barribault, a distance of
ten miles, as often as once in two or three weeks, to visit us. Then, to
sit and gaze at us, to laugh with childish glee at everything new or
strange that we employed ourselves about--to pat and stroke us every
time we came near her--sometimes to raise our hand or arm and kiss
it--these were her demonstrations of affection. And we loved her in
return. It was always a joyful announcement when, looking out over the
Portage road, somebody called out, "The _Cut-Nose_ is coming!" In time,
however, we learned to call her by her baptismal name of Elizabeth, for
she, too, was one of Mr. Mazzuchelli's converts.

She came one day, accompanied by a half-grown boy, carrying a young fawn
she had brought me as a present. I was delighted with the pretty
creature--with its soft eyes and dappled coat; but having often heard
the simile, "as wild as a fawn," I did not anticipate much success in
taming it. To my great surprise, it soon learned to follow me like a
dog. Wherever I went, there Fan was sure to be. At breakfast, she would
lie down at my feet, under the table. One of her first tokens of
affection was to gnaw off all the trimming from my black silk apron, as
she lay pretending to caress and fondle me. Nor was this her only style
of mischief.

One day we heard a great rattling among the crockery in the kitchen. We
ran to see what was the matter, and found that Miss Fan had made her way
to a shelf of the dresser, about two feet from the ground, and was
endeavoring to find a comfortable place to lie down, among the plates
and dishes. I soon observed that it was the shelter of the shelf above
her head that was the great attraction, and that she was in the habit of
seeking out a place of repose under a chair, or something approaching to
an "umbrageous bower." So after this I took care, as the hour for her
morning nap approached, to open a large green parasol, and set it on the
matting in the corner--then when I called "Fan, Fan," she would come and
nestle under it, and soon fall fast asleep.

One morning Fan was missing. In vain we called and sought her in the
garden--in the enclosure for the cattle--at the houses of the
Frenchmen--along the hill towards Paquette's--no Fan was to be found. We
thought she had asserted her own wild nature and sped away to the woods.

It was a hot forenoon, and the doors were all open. About dinner-time,
in rushed Fan, panting violently, and threw herself upon her side, where
she lay with her feet outstretched, her mouth foaming, and exhibiting
all the signs of mortal agony. We tried to give her water, to soothe
her, if perhaps it might be fright that so affected her; but in a few
minutes, with a gasp and a spasm, she breathed her last. Whether she had
been chased by the greyhounds, or whether she had eaten some poisonous
weed, which, occasioning her suffering, had driven her to her best
friends for aid, we never knew; but we lost our pretty pet, and many
were the tears shed for her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Very shortly after the departure of my husband, we received a visit from
"the White Crow," the "Little Priest," and several others of the
principal chiefs of the Bock River Indians. They seemed greatly
disappointed at learning that their Father was from home, even though
his errand was to get "the silver." We sent for Paquette, who
interpreted for us the object of their visit.

They had come to inform us that the Sauk chief Black Hawk and his band,
who, in compliance with a former treaty, had removed some time previous
to the west of the Mississippi, had now returned to their old homes and
hunting-grounds, and expressed a determination not to relinquish them,
but to drive off the white settlers who had begun to occupy them.

The latter, in fact, the chief had already done, and having, as it was
said, induced some of the Pottowattamies to join him, there was reason
to fear that he might persuade some of the Winnebagoes to follow their

These chiefs had come to counsel with their Father, and to assure him
that they should do all in their power to keep their young men quiet.
They had heard that troops were being raised down among the whites in
Illinois, and they had hopes that their people would be wise enough to
keep out of difficulty. Furthermore, they begged that their Father, on
his return, would see that the soldiers did not meddle with them, so
long as they remained quiet and behaved in a friendly manner.

White Crow seemed particularly anxious to impress it upon me, that if
any danger should arise in Shaw-nee-aw-kee's absence, he should come
with his people to protect me and my family. I relied upon his
assurances, for he had ever shown himself an upright and honorable

Notwithstanding this, the thoughts of Indian troubles so near us, in the
absence of our guardian and protector, occasioned us many an anxious
moment, and it was not until we learned of the peaceable retreat of the
Sauks and Foxes west of the Mississippi, that we were able wholly to lay
aside our fears.

We were now called to part with our friends, Major Twiggs and his
family, which we did with heartfelt regret. He gave me a few parting
words about our old acquaintance, Krissman.

"When I went into the barracks the other day," said he, "about the time
the men were taking their dinner, I noticed a great six-foot soldier
standing against the window-frame, crying and blubbering. 'Halloo,' said
I, 'what on earth does this mean?'

"'Why, that fellow there,' said Krissman (for it was he), 'has scrowged
me out of my place!' A pretty soldier your protége will make, madam!"
added the Major.

I never heard more of my hero. Whether he went to exhibit his prowess
against the Seminoles and Mexicans, or whether he returned to till the
fertile soil of his native German Flats and blow his favorite boatman's
horn, must be left for some future historian to tell.

There is one more character to be disposed of--Louisa. An opportunity
offering in the spring, the Major placed her under the charge of a
person going to Buffalo, that she might be returned to her parents. In
compliment to the new acquaintances she had formed, she shortened her
skirts, mounted a pair of scarlet leggings embroidered with
porcupine-quills, and took her leave of military life, having deposited
with the gentleman who took charge of her sixty dollars, for safe
keeping, which she remarked "she had _saved up_, out of her wages at a
dollar a week, through the winter."

       *       *       *       *       *

A very short time after we were settled in our new home at the Agency,
we attempted the commencement of a little Sunday-school. Edwin, Harry
and Josette were our most reliable scholars, but besides them there were
the two little Manaigres, Thérèse Paquette, and her mother's
half-sister, Florence Courville, a pretty young girl of fifteen. None of
these girls had even learned their letters. They spoke only French, or
rather the Canadian _patois_, and it was exceedingly difficult to give
them at once the sound of the words, and their signification, which they
were careful to inquire. Besides this, there was the task of correcting
the false ideas, and remedying the ignorance and superstition which
presented so formidable an obstacle to rational improvement. We did our
best, however, and had the satisfaction of seeing them, after a time,
making really respectable progress with their spelling-book, and, what
was still more encouraging, acquiring a degree of light and knowledge in
regard to better things.

In process of time, however, Florence was often absent from her class.
"Her sister," she said, "could not always spare her. She wanted her to
keep house while she herself went over oil Sunday to visit her friends
the Roys, who lived on the Wisconsin."

We reasoned with Madame Paquette on the subject. "Could she not spare
Florence on some hour of the day? We would gladly teach her on a
week-day, for she seemed anxious to learn, but we had always been told
that for that there was no time."

"Well--she would see. Madame Alum (Helm) and Madame John were so kind!"

There was no improvement, however, in regularity. After a time Manaigre
was induced to send his children to Mr. Cadle's mission-school at Green
Bay. Thérèse accompanied them, and very soon Florence discontinued her
attendance altogether.

We were obliged, from that time forward, to confine our instructions to
our own domestic circle.



Before we had any right to look for my husband's return, I one day
received a message inviting me to come up to the new house. We all went
in a body, for we had purposely stayed away a few days, expecting this
summons, of which we anticipated the meaning.

Plante, in full glee, was seated astride of a small keg on the roof,
close beside the kitchen chimney, on the very summit of which he had
planted a green bough. To this he held fast with one hand, while he
exultingly waved the other and called out,--

"_Eh ban, Madame John! à cette heure, pour le régal!_"

"Yes, Plante, you are entitled to a treat, and I hope you will not enjoy
it the less that Pillon and Manaigre are to share it with you."

A suitable gratification made them quite contented with their
"_bourgeoise_," against whom Plante had sometimes been inclined to
grumble, "because," as he said, "she had him called up too early in the
morning." He might have added, because, too, she could not understand
the philosophy of his coming in to work in his own garden, under the
plea that it was too rainy to work in Monsieur John's.

It was with no ordinary feelings of satisfaction that we quitted the old
log tenement and took possession of our new dwelling, small and
insignificant though it was.

I was only too happy to enjoy the luxury of a real bedchamber, in place
of the parlor floor which I had occupied as such for more than two
months. It is true that our culinary arrangements were still upon no
greatly improved plan. The clay chimney was not of sufficient strength
to hold the trammel and pot-hooks, which at that day had not been
superseded by the cooking-stove and kitchen-range. Our fire was made as
in the olden time, with vast logs behind, and smaller sticks in front,
laid across upon the andirons or _dogs_. Upon these sticks were placed
such of the cooking-utensils as could not be accommodated on the hearth;
but woe to the dinner or the supper, if through a little want of care or
scrutiny one treacherous piece was suffered to burn away. Down would
come the whole arrangement--kettles, saucepans, burning brands, and
cinders, in one almost inextricable mass. How often this happened under
the supervision of Harry or little Josette, while the mistress was
playing lady to some visitor in the parlor, "'twere vain to tell."

Then, spite of Monsieur Plante's palisades round the chimney, in a hard
shower the rain would come pelting down, and, the hearth unfortunately
sloping a little the wrong way, the fire would become extinguished;
while, the bark on the roof failing to do its duty, we were now and then
so completely deluged, that there was no resource but to catch up the
breakfast or dinner and tuck it under the table until better times--that
is, till fair weather came again. In spite of all these little adverse
occurrences, however, we enjoyed our new quarters exceedingly.

Our garden was well furnished with vegetables, and even the
currant-bushes which we had brought from Chicago with us, tied in a
bundle at the back of the carriage, had produced us some fruit.

The Indian women were very constant in their visits and their presents.
Sometimes it was venison--sometimes ducks or pigeons--whortleberries,
wild plums, or cranberries, according to the season--neat pretty mats
for the floor or the table--wooden bowls or ladles, fancy work of
deer-skin or porcupine-quills. These they would bring in and throw at my
feet. If through inattention I failed to appear pleased, to raise the
articles from the floor and lay them carefully aside, a look of
mortification and the observation, "Our mother hates our gifts," showed
how much their feelings were wounded. It was always expected that a
present would be received graciously, and returned with something twice
its value.

Meantime, week after week wore on, and still was the return of "the
master" delayed.

The rare arrival of a schooner at Green Bay, in which to take passage
for Detroit, made it always a matter of uncertainty what length of time
would be necessary for a journey across the lakes and back--so that it
was not until the last of August that he again reached his home. Great
was his surprise to find us so nicely moved and settled; and under his
active supervision the evils of which we had had to complain were soon

My husband had met at Fort Gratiot, and brought with him, my young
brother Julian, whom my parents were sending, at our request, to reside
with us. Edwin was overjoyed to have a companion once more, for he had
hitherto been very solitary. The boys soon had enough to occupy their
attention, as, in obedience to a summons sent to the different villages,
the Indians very shortly came flocking in to the payment.

There was among their number, this year, one whom I had never before
seen--the mother of the elder Day-kau-ray. No one could tell her age,
but all agreed that she must have seen upwards of a hundred winters. Her
eyes dimmed, and almost white with age--her face dark and withered, like
a baked apple--her voice tremulous and feeble, except when raised in
fury to reprove her graceless grandsons, who were fond of playing her
all sorts of mischievous tricks, indicated the very great age she must
have attained.

She usually went upon all-fours, not having strength to hold herself
erect. On the day of the payment, having received her portion, which she
carefully hid in the corner of her blanket, she came crawling along and
seated herself on the door-step, to count her treasure.

My sister and I were watching her movements from the open window.

Presently, just as she had, unobserved, as she thought, spread out her
silver before her, two of her descendants came suddenly upon her. At
first they seemed begging for a share, but she repulsed them with angry
gestures, when one of them made a sudden swoop, and possessed himself of
a handful.

She tried to rise, to pursue him, but was unable to do more than clutch
the remainder and utter the most unearthly screams of rage. At this
instant the boys raised their eyes and perceived us regarding them. They
burst into a laugh, and with a sort of mocking gesture they threw her
the half-dollars, and ran back to the pay-ground.

In spite of their vexatious tricks, she seemed very fond of them, and
never failed to beg something of her Father, that she might bestow upon

She crept into the parlor one morning, then straightening herself up,
and supporting herself by the frame of the door, she cried, in a most
piteous tone,--"Shaw-nee-aw-kee! Wau-tshob-ee-rah Thsoonsh-koo-nee-noh!"
(Silver-man, I have no looking-glass.) My husband, smiling and taking up
the same little tone, cried, in return,--

"Do you wish to look at yourself, mother?"

The idea seemed to her so irresistibly comic that she laughed until she
was fairly obliged to seat herself upon the floor and give way to her
enjoyment. She then owned that it was for one of the boys that she
wanted the little mirror. When her Father had given it to her, she found
that she had "no comb," then that she had "no knife," then that she had
"no calico shawl," until it ended, as it generally did, by
Shaw-nee-aw-kee paying pretty dearly for his joke.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Indians arrived and when they departed, my sense of "woman's
rights" was often greatly outraged. The master of the family, as a
general thing, came leisurely bearing his gun and perhaps a lance in his
hand; the woman, with the mats and poles of her lodge upon her
shoulders, her pappoose, if she had one, her kettles, sacks of corn, and
wild rice, and, not unfrequently, the household dog perched on the top
of all. If there is a horse or pony in the list of family possessions,
the man rides, the squaw trudges after.

This unequal division of labor is the result of no want of kind,
affectionate feeling on the part of the husband. It is rather the
instinct of the sex to assert their superiority of position and
importance, when a proper occasion offers. When out of the reach of
observation, and in no danger of compromising his own dignity, the
husband is willing enough to relieve his spouse from the burden that
custom imposes on her, by sharing her labors and hardships.

The payment had not passed without its appropriate number of
complimentary and medicine dances. The latter take place only at rare
intervals--the former whenever an occasion demanding a manifestation of
respect and courtesy presents itself.

It is the custom to ask permission of the person to be complimented, to
dance for him. This granted, preparation is made by painting the face
elaborately, and marking the person, which is usually bare about the
chest and shoulders, after the most approved pattern. All the ornaments
that can be mustered are added to the hair, or headdress. Happy is he
who, in virtue of having taken one or more scalps, is entitled to
proclaim it by a corresponding number of eagle's feathers.

The less fortunate make a substitute of the feathers of the wild turkey,
or, better still, of the first unlucky "rooster" that falls in their
way. My poor fowls, during the time of payment, were always thoroughly

When their preparations are completed, the dancers assemble at some
convenient place, whence they come marching to the spot appointed,
accompanied by the music of the Indian drum and shee-shee-qua or rattle.
They range themselves in a circle and dance with violent contortions and
gesticulations, some of them graceful, others only energetic, the
squaws, who stand a little apart and mingle their discordant voices with
the music of the instruments, rarely participating in the dance.
Occasionally, however, when excited by the general gaiety, a few of them
will form a circle outside and perform a sort of ungraceful, up-and-down
movement, which has no merit, save the perfect time which is kept, and
for which the Indians seem, without exception, to possess a natural ear.
The dance finished, which is only when the strength of the dancers is
quite exhausted, a quantity of presents are brought and placed in the
middle of the circle, by order of the party complimented. An equitable
distribution is made by one of their number; and, the object of all this
display having been accomplished, they retire.

The medicine dance is carried on chiefly to celebrate the skill of the
"Medicine-man" in curing diseases. This functionary belongs to a
fraternity who are supposed to add to their other powers some skill in
interpreting the will of the Great Spirit in regard to the conduct of
his people. He occasionally makes offerings and sacrifices which are
regarded as propitiatory. In this sense, the term "priest" may be deemed
applicable to him. He is also a "prophet" in so far as he is, in a
limited degree, an instructor; but he does not claim to possess the gift
of foretelling future events.

A person is selected to join the fraternity of the "Medicine-man" by
those already initiated, chiefly on account of some skill or sagacity
that has been observed in him. Sometimes it happens that a person who
has had a severe illness which has yielded to the prescriptions of one
of the members, is considered a proper object of choice from a sort of
claim thus established.

When he is about to be initiated, a great feast is made, of course at
the expense of the candidate, for in simple as in civilized life the
same principle of politics holds good, "honors must be paid for." An
animal is killed and dressed, of which the people at large
partake--there are dances and songs and speeches in abundance. Then the
chief Medicine-man takes the candidate and privately instructs him in
all the ceremonies and knowledge necessary to make him an accomplished
member of the fraternity. Sometimes the new member selected is still a
child. In that case he is taken by the Medicine-man so soon as he
reaches a proper age, and qualified by instruction and example to become
a creditable member of the fraternity.

Among the Winnebagoes there seems a considerable belief in magic. Each
Medicine-man has a bag or sack, in which is supposed to be inclosed some
animal, to whom, in the course of their _pow-wows_, he addresses
himself, crying to him in the note common to his imagined species. And
the people seem to be persuaded that the answers which are announced are
really communications, in this form, from the Great Spirit.

The Indians appear to have no idea of a retribution beyond this life.
They have a strong appreciation of the great fundamental virtues of
natural religion--the worship of the Great Spirit, brotherly love,
parental affection, honesty, temperance, and chastity. Any infringement
of the laws of the Great Spirit, by a departure from these virtues, they
believe will excite his anger and draw down punishment. These are their
principles. That their practice evinces more and more a departure from
them, under the debasing influences of a proximity to the whites, is a
melancholy truth, which no one will admit with so much sorrow as those
who lived among them, and esteemed them, before this signal change had
taken place.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the first improvements that suggested itself about our new
dwelling, was the removal of some very unsightly pickets surrounding two
or three Indian graves, on the esplanade in front of the house. Such,
however, is the reverence in which these burial-places are held, that we
felt we must approach the subject with great delicacy and consideration.

My husband at length ventured to propose to Mrs. "Pawnee Blanc," the
nearest surviving relative of the person interred, to replace the
pickets with a neat wooden platform.

The idea pleased her much, for, through her intimacy in Paquette's
family, she had acquired something of a taste for civilization.
Accordingly, a little platform about a foot in height, properly finished
with a moulding around the edge, was substituted for the worn and
blackened pickets; and it was touching to witness the mournful
satisfaction with which two or three old crones would come regularly
every evening at sunset, to sit and gossip over the ashes of their
departed relatives.

On the fine moonlight nights, too, there might often be seen a group
sitting there, and enjoying what is to them a solemn hour, for they
entertain the poetic belief that "the moon was made to give light to the

The reverence of the Indians for the memory of their departed friends,
and their dutiful attention in visiting and making offerings to the
Great Spirit, over their last resting-places, is an example worthy of
imitation among their more enlightened brethren. Not so, however, with
some of their customs in relation to the dead.

The news of the decease of one of their number is a signal for a general
mourning and lamentation; it is also in some instances, I am sorry to
say, when the means and appliances can be found, the apology for a
general carouse.

The relatives weep and howl for grief--the friends and acquaintance bear
them company through sympathy. A few of their number are deputed to wait
upon their Father, to inform him of the event, and to beg some presents
"to help them," as they express it, "dry up their tears."

We received such a visit one morning, not long after the payment was

A drunken little Indian, named, by the French people around, "Old
Boilvin," from his resemblance to an Indian Agent of that name at
Prairie du Chien, was the person on account of whose death the
application was made. "He had been fishing," they said, "on the shores
of one of the little lakes near the Portage, and, having taken a little
too much '_whiskee_,' had fallen into the water and been drowned."
Nothing of him had been found but his blanket on the bank, so there
could be no funeral ceremonies, but his friends were prepared to make a
great lamentation about him.

Their Father presented them with tobacco, knives, calico, and
looking-glasses, in proportion to what he thought might be their
reasonable grief at the loss of such a worthless vagabond, and they

There was no difficulty, notwithstanding the stringent prohibitions on
the subject, in procuring a keg of whiskey from some of the traders who
yet remained. Armed with that and their other treasures, they assembled
at an appointed spot, not far from the scene of the catastrophe, and,
sitting down with the keg in their midst, they commenced their
affliction. The more they drank, the more clamorous became their grief,
and the faster flowed their tears.

In the midst of these demonstrations, a little figure, bent and
staggering, covered with mud and all in disorder, with a countenance
full of wonder and sympathy, approached them, and began,--

"Why? what? what? Who's dead?"

"Who's dead?" repeated they, looking up in astonishment. "Why, you're
dead! you were drowned in Swan Lake! Did not we find your blanket there?
Come, sit down and help us mourn."

The old man did not wait for a second invitation. He took his seat and
cried and drank with the rest, weeping and lamenting as bitterly as any
of them, and the strange scene was continued as long as they had power
to articulate, or any portion of the whiskey was left.



The Indians, of whatever tribe, are exceedingly fond of narrating or
listening to tales and stories, whether historical or fictitious. They
have their professed storytellers, like the Oriental nations, and these
go about, from village to village, collecting an admiring and attentive
audience, however oft-told and familiar the matter they recite.

It is in this way that their traditions are preserved and handed down
unimpaired from generation to generation. Their knowledge of the
geography of their country is wonderfully exact. I have seen an Indian
sit in his lodge, and draw a map, in the ashes, of the Northwestern
States, not of their statistical but their geographical features, lakes,
rivers, and mountains, with the greatest accuracy, giving their relative
distances, by days' journeys, without hesitation, and even extending his
drawings and explanations as far as Kentucky and Tennessee.

Of biography they preserve not only the leading events in the life of
the person, but his features, appearance, and bearing, his manners, and
whatever little trait or peculiarity characterized him.

The women are more fond of fiction, and some of their stories have a
strange mingling of humor and pathos. I give the two which follow as
specimens. The Indian names contained in them are in the Ottawa or
"Courte-Oreilles" language, but the same tales are current in all the
different tongues and dialects.

       *       *       *       *       *


This is an animal to which many peculiarities are attributed. He is said
to resemble the jackal in his habit of molesting the graves of the dead,
and the Indians have a superstitious dread of hearing his bark at night,
believing that it forebodes calamity and death. They say, too, that he
was originally of one uniform reddish-brown color, but that his legs
became black in the manner related in the story.

There was a chief of a certain village who had a beautiful daughter. He
resolved upon one occasion to make a feast and invite all the animals.
When the invitation was brought to the red fox, he inquired, "What are
you going to have for supper?"

"_Mee-dau-mee-nau-bo_," was the reply. (This is a porridge made of
parched corn, slightly cracked.)

The fox turned up his little sharp nose. "No, I thank you," said he; "I
can get plenty of that at home."

The messenger returned to the chief, and reported the contemptuous
refusal of the fox.

"Go back to him," said the chief, "and tell him we are going to have a
nice fresh body,[48] and we will have it cooked in the most delicate
manner possible."

Pleased with the prospect of such a treat, the fox gave a very hearty
assent to the second invitation.

The hour arrived, and he set off for the lodge of the chief to attend
the feast. The company were all prepared for him, for they made common
cause with their friend who had been insulted. As the fox entered, the
guest next the door, with great courtesy, rose from his place, and
begged the new-comer to be seated. Immediately the person next him also
rose, and insisted that the fox should occupy his place, as it was still
nearer the fire--the post of honor. Then the third, with many
expressions of civility, pressed him to exchange with him; and thus,
with many ceremonious flourishes, he was passed along the circle, always
approaching the fire, where a huge cauldron stood, in which the good
cheer was still cooking. The fox was by no means unwilling to occupy the
highest place in the assembly, and, besides, he was anxious to take a
peep into the kettle, for he had his suspicions that he might be
disappointed of the delicacies he had been expecting.

So, by degrees, he was ushered nearer and nearer the great blazing
fire, until by a dexterous push and shove he was hoisted into the
seething kettle.

His feet were dreadfully scalded, but he leaped out, and ran home to his
lodge, howling and crying with pain. His grandmother, with whom,
according to the custom of animals, he lived, demanded of him an account
of the affair. When he had faithfully related all the circumstances
(for, unlike the civilized animals, he did not think of telling his
grandmother a story), she reproved him very strongly.

"You have committed two great faults," said she. "In the first place,
you were very rude to the chief who was so kind as to invite you, and by
returning insult for civility you made yourself enemies who were
determined to punish you. In the next place, it was very unbecoming in
you to be so forward to take the place of honor. Had you been contented
modestly to keep your seat near the door, you would have escaped the
misfortune that has befallen you."

All this was not very consolatory to the poor fox, who continued to
whine and cry most piteously, while his grandmother, having finished her
lecture, proceeded to bind up his wounds. Great virtue is supposed to be
added to all medical prescriptions and applications by a little dancing;
so, the dressing having been applied, the grandmother fell to dancing
with all her might, round and round in the lodge.

When she was nearly exhausted, the fox said, "Grandmother, take off the
bandages and see if my legs are healed."

She did as he requested, but no--the burns were still fresh. She danced
and danced again. Now and then, as he grew impatient, she would remove
the coverings to observe the effect of the remedies. At length, towards
morning, she looked, and, to be sure, the burns were quite healed. "But,
oh!" cried she, "your legs are as black as a coal! They were so badly
burned that they will never return to their color!"

The poor fox, who, like many another brave, was vain of his legs, fell
into a transport of lamentation.

"Oh! my legs! My pretty red legs! What shall I do? The young girls will
all despise me. I shall never dare to show myself among them again!"

He cried and sobbed until his grandmother, fatigued with her exercise,
fell asleep. By this time he had decided upon his plan of revenge.

He rose and stole softly out of his lodge, and, pursuing his way rapidly
towards the village of the chief, he turned his face in the direction of
the principal lodge and barked. When the inhabitants heard this sound in
the stillness of the night, their hearts trembled. They knew that it
foreboded sorrow and trouble to some one of their number.

A very short time elapsed before the beautiful daughter of the chief
fell sick, and she grew rapidly worse and worse, spite of medicines,
charms, and dances. At length she died. The fox had not intended to
bring misfortune on the village in this shape, for he loved the
beautiful daughter of the chief, so he kept in his lodge and mourned and
fretted for her death.

Preparations were made for a magnificent funeral, but the friends of the
deceased were in great perplexity. "If we bury her in the earth," said
they, "the fox will come and disturb her remains. He has barked her to
death, and he will be glad to come and finish his work of revenge."

They took counsel together, and determined to hang her body high in a
tree as a place of sepulture. They thought the fox would go groping
about in the earth, and not lift up his eyes to the branches above his

But the grandmother had been at the funeral, and she returned and told
the fox all that had been done.

"Now, my son," said she, "listen to me. Do not meddle with the remains
of the chief's daughter. You have done mischief enough already. Leave
her in peace."

As soon as the grandmother was asleep at night, the fox rambled forth.
He soon found the place he sought, and came and sat under the tree where
the young girl had been placed. He gazed and gazed at her all the
livelong night, and she appeared as beautiful as when in life. But when
the day dawned, and the light enabled him to see more clearly, then he
observed that decay was doing its work--that instead of a beautiful she
presented only a loathsome appearance.

He went home sad and afflicted, and passed all the day mourning in his

"Have you disturbed the remains of the chief's beautiful daughter?" was
his parent's anxious question.

"No, grandmother,"--and he uttered not another word.

Thus it went on for many days and nights. The fox always took care to
quit his watch at the early dawn of day, for he knew that her friends
would suspect him, and come betimes to see if all was right.

At length he perceived that, gradually, the young girl looked less and
less hideous in the morning light, and that she by degrees resumed the
appearance she had presented in life, so that in process of time her
beauty and look of health quite returned to her.

One day he said, "Grandmother, give me my pipe, that I may take a

"Ah!" cried she, "you begin to be comforted. You have never smoked
since the death of the chief's beautiful daughter. Have you heard some
good news?"

"Never you mind," said he; "bring the pipe."

He sat down and smoked, and smoked. After a time he said, "Grandmother,
sweep your lodge and put it all in order, for this day you will receive
a visit from your daughter-in-law."

The grandmother did as she was desired. She swept her lodge, and
arranged it with all the taste she possessed, and then both sat down to
await the visit.

"When you hear a sound at the door," said the fox, "you must give the
salutation, and say, Come in."

When they had been thus seated for a time, the grandmother heard a
faint, rustling sound. She looked towards the door. To her surprise, the
mat which usually hung as a curtain was rolled up, and the door was

"Peen-tee-geen n'dau-nis!"[49] cried she.

Something like a faint, faint shadow appeared to glide in. It took
gradually a more distinct outline. As she looked and looked, she began
to discern the form and features of the chief's beautiful daughter, but
it was long before she appeared like a reality, and took her place in
the lodge like a thing of flesh and blood.

They kept the matter hid very close, for they would not for the world
that the father or friends of the bride should know what had happened.
Soon, however, it began to be rumored about that the chief's beautiful
daughter had returned to life, and was living in the Red Fox's lodge.
How it ever became known was a mystery, for, of course, the grandmother
never spoke of it.

Be that as it may, the news created great excitement in the village.
"This must never be," said they all. "He barked her to death once, and
who knows what he may do next time?"

The father took at once a decided part. "The Red Fox is not worthy of my
daughter," he said. "I had promised her to the Hart, the finest and most
elegant among the animals. Now that she has returned to life, I shall
keep my word."

So the friends all went in a body to the lodge of the Red Fox. The
bridegroom, the bride, and the grandmother made all the resistance
possible, but they were overpowered by numbers, and, the Hart having
remained conveniently waiting on the outside where there was no danger,
the beautiful daughter of the chief was placed upon his back, and he
coursed away through the forest to carry her to his own home. When he
arrived at the door of his lodge, however, he turned his head, but no
bride was in the place where he expected to see her. He had thought his
burden very light from the beginning, but that he supposed was natural
to spirits returned from the dead. He never imagined she had at the
outset glided from her seat, and in the midst of the tumult slipped
back, unobserved, to her chosen husband.

One or two attempts were made by the friends, after this, to repossess
themselves of the young creature, but all without success. Then they
said, "Let her remain where she is. It is true the Red Fox occasioned
her death, but by his watchfulness and care he caressed her into life
again; therefore she rightfully belongs to him." So the Red Fox and his
beautiful bride lived long together in great peace and happiness.



There was a young man named Shee-shee-banze (the Little Duck) paddling
his canoe along the shore of the lake.

Two girls came down to the edge of the water, and, seeing him, the elder
said to the younger, "Let us call to him to take us a sail."

It must be remarked that in all Indian stories where two or more sisters
are the _dramatis personae_, the elder is invariably represented as
silly, ridiculous, and disgusting--the younger, as wise and beautiful.

In the present case the younger remonstrated. "Oh, no," said she, "let
us not do such a thing. What will he think of us?"

But the other persevered, and called to him, "Ho! come and take us into
your canoe." The young man obeyed, and, approaching the shore, he took
them with him into the canoe.

"Who are you?" asked the elder sister.

"I am _Way-gee-mar-kin_," replied he, "the great chief."

This Way-gee-mar-kin was something of a fairy, for when surrounded by
his followers, and wishing to confer favors on them, he had a habit of
coughing slightly, when there would fly forth from his mouth quantities
of silver brooches, ear-bobs, and other ornaments, for which it was the
custom of his people to scramble, each striving, as in more civilized
life, to get more than his share.

Accordingly, the elder sister said, "If you are Way-gee-mar-kin, let us
see you cough."

Shee-shee-banze had a few of these silver ornaments which he had got by
scrambling, and which he kept stowed away in the sides of his mouth in
case of emergency. So he gave some spasmodic coughs and brought forth a
few, which the girl eagerly seized.

After a time, as they paddled along, a fine noble elk came forth from
the forest, and approached the water to drink.

"What is that?" asked the spokeswoman; for the younger sister sat silent
and modest all the time.

"It is my dog that I hunt with."

"Call him to us, that I may see him."

Shee-shee-banze called, but the elk turned and fled into the woods.

"He does not seem to obey you, however."

"No; it is because you inspire him with disgust, and therefore he flies
from you."

Soon a bear made his appearance by the water's edge.

"What is that?"

"One of my servants."

Again he was requested to call him, and, as the call was disregarded,
the same reason as before was assigned.

Their excursion was at length ended. There had been a little magic in
it, for although the young girls had supposed themselves to be in a
canoe, there was, in reality, no canoe at all. They only imagined it to
have been so.

Now, Shee-shee-banze lived with his grandmother, and to her lodge he
conducted his young friends.

They stood outside while he went in.

"Grandmother," said he, "I have brought you two young girls, who will be
your daughters-in-law. Invite them into your lodge."

Upon this, the old woman called, "Ho! come in," and they entered. They
were made welcome and treated to the best of everything.

In the mean time, the real Way-gee-mar-kin, the great chief, made
preparations for a grand feast. When he was sending his messenger out
with the invitations, he said to him, "Be very particular to bid
Shee-shee-banze to the feast, for, as he is the smallest and meanest
person in the tribe, you must use double ceremony with him, or he will
be apt to think himself slighted."

Shee-shee-banze was sitting in his lodge with his new friends, when the
messenger arrived.

"Ho! Shee-shee-banze," cried he, "you are invited to a great feast that
Way-gee-mar-kin is to give to-night, to all his subjects."

But Shee-shee-banze took no notice of the invitation. He only whistled,
and pretended not to hear. The messenger repeated his words, then,
finding that no attention was paid to them, he went his way.

The young girls looked at each other, during the scene, greatly
astonished. At length the elder spoke.

"What does this mean?" said she. "Why does he call you Shee-shee-banze,
and invite you to visit Way-gee-mar-kin?"

"Oh," said Shee-shee-banze, "it is one of my followers that always likes
to be a little impudent. I am obliged to put up with it sometimes, but
you observed that I treated him with silent contempt."

The messenger returned to the chief, and reported the manner in which
the invitation had been received.

"Oh," said the good-natured chief, "it is because he feels that he is
poor and insignificant. Go back again--call him by my name, and make a
flourishing speech to him."

The messenger fulfilled his mission as he was bid.

"Way-gee-mar-kin," said he, pompously, "a great feast is to be given
to-night, and I am sent most respectfully to solicit the honor of your

"Did I not tell you?" said Shee-shee-banze to the maidens Then, nodding
with careless condescension, he added, "Tell them I'll come."

At night, Shee-shee-banze dressed himself in his very best paint,
feathers, and ornaments--but before his departure he took his
grandmother aside.

"Be sure," said he, "that you watch these young people closely until I
come back. Shut up your lodge tight, _tight_. Let no one come in or go
out, and, above all things, do not go to sleep."

These orders given, he went his way.

The grandmother tried her best to keep awake, but finding herself
growing more and more sleepy, as the night wore on, she took a strong
cord and laced across the mat which hung before the entrance to the
lodge, as the Indians lace up the mouths of their bags, then, having
seen all things secure and the girls quiet in bed, she lay down and soon
fell into a comfortable sleep.

The young girls, in the mean while, were dying with curiosity to know
what had become of Shee-shee-banze, and as soon as they were sure the
old lady was asleep, they prepared to follow him and see what was going
on. Fearing, however, that the grandmother might awake and discover
their absence, they took two logs of wood, and, putting them under the
blanket, so disposed them as to present the appearance of persons
sleeping quietly. They then cut the cords that fastened the door, and,
guided by the sounds of the music, the dancing, and the merry-making,
they soon found their way to the dwelling of Way-gee-mar-kin.

When they entered, they saw the chief seated on a throne, surrounded by
light and splendor. Everything was joy and amusement. Crowds of
courtiers were in the apartment, all dressed in the most brilliant
array. The strangers looked around for their friend Shee-shee-banze, but
he was nowhere to be seen.

Now and then the chief would cough, when a shower of silver ornaments
and precious things would fly in all directions, and instantly a
scramble would commence among the company, to gather them up and
appropriate them.

As they thus rushed forward, the brides-elect saw their poor little
friend crowded up into a corner, where nobody took any notice of him,
except to push him aside, or step on him whenever he was in the way. He
uttered piteous little squeaks as one and another would thus maltreat
him, but he was too busy taking care of himself to perceive that those
whom he had left snug at home in the lodge were witnesses of all that
was going on.

At length the signal was given for the company to retire, all but the
two young damsels, upon whom Way-gee-mar-kin had set his eye, and to
whom he had sent, by one of his assistants, great offers to induce them
to remain with him and become his wives.

Poor Shee-shee-banze returned to his lodge, but what was his
consternation to find the door open!

"Ho! grandmother," cried he, "is this the way you keep watch?"

The old woman started up. "There are my daughters-in-law," said she,
pointing to the two logs of wood. Shee-shee-banze threw himself on the
ground between them. His back was broken by coming so violently in
contact with them, but that he did not mind--he thought only of revenge,
and the recovery of his sweethearts.

He waited but to get some powerful poison and prepare it, and then he
stole softly back to the wigwam of Way-gee-mar-kin. All was silent, and
he crept in without making the slightest noise. There lay the chief,
with a young girl on each side of him.

They were all sound asleep, the chief lying on his back, with his mouth
wide open. Before he was aware of it, the poison was down his throat,
and Shee-shee-banze had retreated quietly to his own lodge.

The next morning the cry went through the village that Way-gee-mar-kin
had been found dead in his bed. Of course it was attributed to
over-indulgence at the feast. All was grief and lamentation. "Let us go
and tell poor Shee-shee-banze," said one, "he was so fond of

They found him sitting on a bank, fishing. He had been up at peep of
day, to make preparation for receiving the intelligence.

He had caught two or three fish, and, extracting their bladders, had
filled them with blood, and tied them under his arm. When the friends of
Way-gee-mar-kin saw him, they called out to him,--

"Oh! Shee-shee-banze--your friend, Way-gee-mar-kin, is dead!"

With a gesture of despair, Shee-shee-banze drew his knife and plunged
it--not into his heart, but into the bladders filled with blood that he
had prepared. As he fell, apparently lifeless, to the ground, the
messengers began to reproach themselves: "Oh! why did we tell him so
suddenly? We might have known he would not survive it. Poor
Shee-shee-banze! he loved Way-gee-mar-kin so."

To their great surprise, the day after the funeral, Shee-shee-banze came
walking towards the wigwam of the dead chief. As he walked, he sang, or
rather chaunted to a monotonous strain,[50] the following:--

  "Way-gee-mar-kin is dead, is dead,
  I know who killed him.
  I guess it was I--I guess it was I."

All the village was aroused. Everybody flew in pursuit of the murderer,
but he evaded them, and escaped to a place of safety.

Soon after, he again made his appearance, mincing as he walked, and
singing to the same strain as before,--

  "If you wish to take and punish me,
  Let the widows come and catch me."

It seemed a good idea, and the young women were recommended to go and
entice the culprit into the village, so that the friends of the deceased
could lay hold of him.

They went forth on their errand. Shee-shee-banze would suffer them to
approach, then he would dance off a little--now he would allow them to
come quite near; anon he would retreat a little before them, all the
time singing,

"Come, pretty widows, come and catch me."

Thus he decoyed them on, occasionally using honeyed words and flattering
speeches, until he had gained their consent to return with him to his
lodge, and take up their abode with him.

The friends of the murdered chief were scandalized at such inconstancy,
and resolved to punish all three, as soon as they could catch them.

They surrounded his lodge with cries and threatenings, but
Shee-shee-banze and his two brides had contrived to elude their
vigilance and gain his canoe, which lay in the river, close at hand.

Hardly were they on board when their escape was discovered. The whole
troop flew after them. Some plunged into the stream, and seized the
canoe. In the struggle it was upset, but immediately on touching the
water, whether from the magical properties of the canoe, or the
necromantic skill of the grandmother, they were transformed into ducks,
and flew quacking away.

Since that time the water-fowl of this species are always found in
companies of three--two females and a male.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Canard de France_, or Mallard, and the _Brancheuse_, or Wood Duck,
are of different habits from the foregoing, flying in pairs. Indeed, the
constancy of the latter is said to be so great that if he loses his mate
he never takes another partner, but goes mourning to the end of his



The payment over, and the Indians dispersed, we prepared ourselves to
settle down quietly in our little home. But now a new source of
disturbance arose.

My husband's accounts of disbursements as Agent of the Winnebagoes,
which he had forwarded to the Department at Washington, had failed to
reach there, of which he received due notice--that is to say, such a
notice as could reach us by the circuitous and uncertain mode of
conveyance by which intercourse with the Eastern world was then kept up.
If the vouchers for the former expenditures, together with the recent
payment of $15,000 annuity money, should not be forthcoming, it might
place him in a very awkward position; he therefore decided to go at once
to Washington, and be the bearer himself of his duplicate accounts.

"Should you like to go and see your father and mother," said he to me,
one morning, "and show them how the West agrees with you?"

It was a most joyful suggestion after a year's separation, and in a few
days all things were in readiness for our departure.

There was visiting us, at that time, Miss Brush, of Detroit, who had
come from Green Bay with Mr. and Mrs. Whitney and Miss Frances Henshaw,
on an excursion to the Mississippi. Our little India-rubber house had
contrived to expand itself for the accommodation of the whole party
during the very pleasant visit they made us.

The arrival of two young ladies had been, as may be imagined, quite a
godsend to the unmarried lieutenants, and when, tired of the journey, or
intimidated by the snow, which fell eight inches on the 4th of October,
Miss Brush determined to give up the remainder of her excursion, and
accept our pressing invitation to remain with us until the return of her
friends, we were looked upon as public benefactors. She was now to
accompany us to Green Bay, and possibly to Detroit.

Our voyage down the river was without incident, and we reached Green Bay
just as all the place was astir in the expectation of the arrival of one
of Mr. Newbery's schooners. This important event was the subject of
interest to the whole community, from Fort Howard to "Dickenson's." To
some its arrival would bring friends, to some supplies--to the ladies,
the fashions, to the gentlemen, the news, for it was the happy bearer of
the mails, not for that place alone, but for all the "upper country."

In a few days the vessel arrived. She brought a mail for Fort Winnebago,
it being only in the winter season that letters were carried by land to
that place, via _Niles's Settlement_ and Chicago.

In virtue of his office as Postmaster, my husband opened the mail-bag,
and took possession of his own letters. One informed him of the
satisfactory appearance at the Department of the missing accounts, but
oh! sad disappointment, another brought the news that my parents had
gone to Kentucky for the winter--not to any city or accessible place,
but "up the Sandy," and over among the mountains of Virginia, hunting up
old land-claims belonging to my grandfather's estate.

It was vain to hope to follow them. We might hardly expect to find them
during the short period we could be absent from home--not even were we
to receive the lucid directions once given my father by an old settler
during his explorations through that wild region.

"You must go up _Tug_," said the man, "and down _Troublesome_, and fall
over on to _Kingdom-come_."[51]

We did not think it advisable to undertake such an expedition, and
therefore made up our minds to retrace our steps to Fort Winnebago.

No boats were in readiness to ascend the river. Our old friend Hamilton
promised to have one in preparation at once, but time passed by, and no
boat was made ready.

It was now the beginning of November. We were passing our time very
pleasantly with the Irwins and Whitneys, and at the residence of
Colonel Stambaugh, the Indian Agent, but still this delay was
inconvenient and vexatious.

I suggested undertaking the journey on horseback. "No, indeed," was the
answer I invariably received. "No mortal woman has ever gone that road,
unless it was some native on foot, nor ever could."

"But suppose we set out in the boat and get frozen in on the way. We can
neither pass the winter there, nor possibly find our way to a human
habitation. We have had one similar experience already. Is it not better
to take it for granted that I can do what you and others of your sex
have done?"

Dr. Finley, the post-surgeon at Fort Howard, on hearing the matter
debated, offered me immediately his favorite horse Charlie. "He is very
sure-footed," the doctor alleged, "and capital in a marsh or troublesome

By land, then, it was decided to go; and as soon as our old Menomonee
friend "Wish-tay-yun," who was as good a guide by land as by water,
could be summoned, we set off, leaving our trunks to be forwarded by
Hamilton whenever it should please him to carry out his intention of
sending up his boat.

We waited until a late hour on the morning of our departure for our
fellow-travellers, Mr. Wing, of Monroe, and Dr. Philleo, of Galena; but,
finding they did not join us, we resolved to lose no time, confident
that we should all meet at the Kakalin in the course of the evening.

After crossing the river at what is now Depere, and entering the wild,
unsettled country on the west of the river, we found a succession of
wooded hills, separated by ravines so narrow and steep that it seemed
impossible that any animals but mules or goats could make their way
among them.

Wish-tay-yun took the lead. The horse he rode was accustomed to the
country, and well trained to this style of road. As for Charlie, he was
perfectly admirable. When he came to a precipitous descent, he would set
forward his forefeet, and slide down on his haunches in the most
scientific manner, while my only mode of preserving my balance was to
hold fast by the bridle and lay myself braced almost flat against his
back. Then our position would suddenly change, and we would be scaling
the opposite bank, at the imminent risk of falling backward into the
ravine below.

It was amusing to see Wish-tay-yun, as he scrambled on ahead, now and
then turning partly round to see how I fared. And when, panting and
laughing, I at length reached the summit, he would throw up his hands,
and shout, with the utmost glee, "Mamma Manitou!" (My mother is a

Our old acquaintances, the Grignons, seemed much surprised that I should
have ventured on such a journey. They had never undertaken it, although
they had lived so long at the Kakalin; but then there was no reason why
they should have done so. They could always command a canoe or a boat
when they wished to visit "the Bay."

As we had anticipated, our gentlemen joined us at supper. "They had
delayed to take dinner with Colonel Stambaugh--had had a delightful
gallop up from: the Bay--had seen no ravines, nor anything but fine
smooth roads--might have been asleep, but, if so, were not conscious of
it." This was the account they gave of themselves, to our no small

From the Kakalin to the Butte des Morts, where lived a man named Knaggs,
was our next day's stage. The country was rough and wild, much like that
we had passed through the spring before, in going from Hamilton's
diggings to Kellogg's Grove, but we were fortunate in having
Wish-tay-yun, rather than "Uncle Billy," for our guide, so that we could
make our way with some degree of moderation.

We had travelled but forty miles when we reached Knaggs's, yet I was
both cold and fatigued, so that the cosy little room in which we found
Mrs. Knaggs, and the bright fire, were most cheering objects; and, as we
had only broken our fast since morning with a few crackers we carried in
our pockets, I must own we did ample justice to her nice coffee and
cakes, not to mention venison-steaks and bear's meat, the latter of
which I had never before tasted.

Our supper over, we looked about for a place of repose. The room in
which we had taken our meal was of small dimensions, just sufficient to
accommodate a bed, a table placed against the wall, and the few chairs
on which we sat. There was no room for any kind of a "shakedown."

"Where can you put us for the night?" inquired my husband of Mr. Knaggs,
when he made his appearance.

"Why, there is no place that I know of, unless you can camp down in the
old building outside."

We went to look at it. It consisted of one room, bare and dirty. A huge
chimney, in which a few brands were burning, occupied nearly one side of
the apartment. Against another was built a rickety sort of bunk. This
was the only vestige of furniture to be seen. The floor was thickly
covered with mud and dirt, in the midst of which, near the fire, was
seated an old Indian with a pan of boiled corn on his lap, which he was
scooping up with both hands and devouring with the utmost voracity.

We soon discovered that he was blind. On hearing footsteps and voices,
he instinctively gathered his dish of food close to him, and began some
morose grumblings; but when he was told that it was "Shaw-nee-aw-kee"
who was addressing him, his features relaxed into a more agreeable
expression, and be even held forth his dish and invited us to share its

"But are we to stay here?" I asked. "Can we not sleep out-of-doors?"

"We have no tent," replied my husband, "and the weather is too cold to
risk the exposure without one."

"I could sit in a chair all night, by the fire."

"Then you would not be able to ride to Bellefontaine to-morrow."

There was no alternative. The only thing Mr. Knaggs could furnish in the
shape of bedding was a small bear-skin. The bunk was a trifle less
filthy than the floor; so upon its boards we spread first the skin, then
our saddle-blankets, and, with a pair of saddle-bags for a bolster, I
wrapped myself in my cloak, and resigned myself to my distasteful

The change of position from that I had occupied through the day,
probably brought some rest, but sleep I could not. Even on a softer and
more agreeable couch, the snoring of the old Indian and two or three
companions who had joined him, and his frequent querulous exclamations
as he felt himself encroached upon in the darkness, would have
effectually banished slumber from my eyes.

It was a relief to rise with early morning and prepare for the journey
of the day. Where our fellow-travellers had bestowed themselves I knew
not, but they evidently had fared no better than we. They were in fine
spirits, however, and we cheerfully took our breakfast and were ferried
over the river to continue on the trail from that point to
Bellefontaine, twelve miles distant from Fort Winnebago.

The great "bug-bear" of this road, Ma-zhee-gaw-gaw Swamp, was the next
thing to be encountered. We reached it about nine o'clock. It spread
before us, a vast expanse of morass, about half a mile in width, and of
length interminable, partly covered with water, with black knobs rising
here and there above the surface, affording a precarious foothold for
the animals in crossing it. Where the water was not, there lay in place
of it a bed of black oozy mud, which looked as if it might give way
under the foot, and let it, at each step, sink to an unknown depth.

This we were now to traverse. All three of the gentlemen went in advance
of me, each hoping, as he said, to select the surest and firmest path
for me to follow. One and another would call, "Here, madam, come this
way!" "This is the best path, wifie; follow me," but often Charlie knew
better than either, and selected a path according to his own judgment,
which proved the best of the whole.

On he went, picking his way so slowly and cautiously, now pausing on one
little hillock, now on another, and anon turning aside to avoid a patch
of mud which seemed more than usually suspicious, that all the company
had got some little distance ahead of me. On raising my eyes, which had
been kept pretty closely on my horse's footsteps, I saw my husband on
foot, striving to lead his horse by the bridle from a difficult position
into which he had got, Mr. Wing and his great white floundering animal
lying sideways in the mud, the rider using all his efforts to extricate
himself from the stirrups, and Dr. Philleo standing at a little distance
from his steed, who was doing his best to rise up from a deep bog into
which he had pitched himself. It was a formidable sight! They all called
out with one accord,--

"Oh, do not come this way!"

"Indeed," cried I, "I have no thought of it. Charlie and I know better."
And, trusting to the sagacious creature, he picked his way carefully
along, and carried me safely past the dismounted company. I could not
refrain from a little triumphant flourish with my whip, as I looked back
upon them and watched their progress to their saddles once more.

Three hours had we been thus unpleasantly engaged, and yet we were not
over the "Slough of Despond." At length we drew near its farthest verge.
Here ran a deep stream some five or six feet in width. The gentlemen, as
they reached it, dismounted, and began debating what was to be done.

"Jump off, jump off, madam," cried Mr. Wing, and "Jump off, jump off,"
echoed Dr. Philleo; "we are just consulting how we are to get you

"What do you think about it?" asked my husband.

"Charlie will show you," replied I. "Come, Charlie." And as I raised his
bridle quickly, with a pat on his neck and an encouraging chirp, he
bounded over the stream as lightly as a deer, and landed me safe on
_terra firma_.

Poor Mr. Wing had fared the worst of the company; the clumsy animal he
rode seeming to be of opinion when he got into a difficulty that he had
nothing to do but to lie down and resign himself to his fate; while his
rider, not being particularly light and agile, was generally undermost,
and half imbedded in the mire before he had quite made up his mind as to
his course of action.

It was therefore a wise movement in him, when he reached the little
stream, to plunge into it and wade across, thus washing out, as much as
possible, the traces of the morning's adventures from himself and his
steed; and the other gentlemen, having no alternative, concluded to
follow his example.

We did not halt long on the rising ground beyond the morass, for we had
a long stretch before us to Bellefontaine, forty-five miles, and those
none of the shortest.

Our horses travelled admirably the whole afternoon, Charlie keeping a
canter all the way; but it was growing dark, and there were no signs of
the landmarks which were to indicate our near approach to the desired

"Can we not stop and rest for a few moments under one of the trees?"
inquired I, for I was almost exhausted with fatigue, and, to add to our
discomfort, a cold, November rain was pouring upon us.

"If it were possible, we would," was the reply; "but see how dark it is
growing. If we should lose our way, it would be worse than being wet and

So we kept on. Just at dark we crossed a clear stream. "That," said my
husband, "is, I think, two miles from Bellefontaine. Cheer up--we shall
soon be there." Quite encouraged, we pursued our way more cheerfully.
Mile after mile we passed, but still no light gleamed friendly through
the trees.

"We have certainly travelled more than six miles now," said I.

"Yes--that could not have been the two-mile creek."

It was eight o'clock when we reached Bellefontaine. We were ushered into
a large room made cheerful by a huge blazing fire. Mr. Wing and Dr.
Philleo had arrived before us, and there were other travellers, on their
way from the Mississippi. I was received with great kindness and
volubility by the immense hostess, "la grosse Américaine," as she was
called, and she soon installed me in the arm-chair, in the warmest
corner, and in due time set an excellent supper before us.

But her hospitality did not extend to giving up her only bed for my
accommodation. She spread all the things she could muster on the hard
floor before the fire, and did what she could to make me comfortable;
then, observing my husband's solicitude lest I might feel ill from the
effects of the fatigue and rain, she remarked, in tones of admiring
sympathy, "How kind your _companion_ is to you!"--an expression which,
as it was then new to us, amused us not a little.

Our travelling companions started early in the morning for the Fort,
which was but twelve miles distant, and they were so kind as to take
charge of a note to our friends at home, requesting them to send Plante
with the carriage to take us the rest of the distance.

We reached the Portage in safety; and thus ended the first journey by
land that any white woman had made from Green Bay to Fort Winnebago. I
felt not a little raised in my own esteem when my husband informed me
that the distance I had the previous day travelled, from Knaggs's to
Bellefontaine, was sixty-two miles!



A few weeks after our return, my husband took his mother to Prairie du
Chien for the benefit of medical advice from Dr. Beaumont, of the U.S.
Army. The journey was made in a large open boat down the Wisconsin
River, and it was proposed to take this opportunity to bring back a good
supply of corn for the winter's use of both men and cattle.

The ice formed in the river, however, so early, that after starting
with his load he was obliged to return with it to the Prairie, and wait
until the thick winter's ice enabled him to make a second journey and
bring it up in sleighs--with so great an expense of time, labor, and
exposure were the necessaries of life conveyed from one point to another
through that wild and desolate region!

       *       *       *       *       *

The arrival of my brother Arthur from Kentucky, by way of the
Mississippi, in the latter part of April, brought us the uncomfortable
intelligence of new troubles with the Sauks and Foxes. Black Hawk had,
with the flower of his nation, recrossed the Mississippi, once more to
take possession of their old homes and corn-fields.[52]

It was not long before our own Indians came flocking in, to confirm the
tidings, and to assure us of their intention to remain faithful friends
to the Americans. We soon heard of the arrival of the Illinois Rangers
in the Rock River country, also of the progress of the regular force
under General Atkinson, in pursuit of the hostile Indians, who, by the
reports, were always able to elude their vigilance. It not being their
custom to stop and give battle, the Sauks soon scattered themselves
through the country, trusting to some lucky accident (and such arrived,
alas! only too often) to enable them to fall upon their enemies

The experience of the pursuing army was, for the most part, to make
their way, by toilsome and fatiguing marches, to the spot where they
imagined the Sauks would be waiting to receive them, and then to
discover that the rogues had scampered off to quite a different part of
the country.

Wherever these latter went, their course was marked by the most
atrocious barbarities, though the worst had not, at this time, reached
our ears. We were only assured that they were down in the neighborhood
of the Rock River and Kishwaukee, and that they lost no opportunity of
falling upon the defenceless inhabitants and cruelly murdering them.

As soon as it became certain that the Sauks and Foxes would not pursue
the same course they had on the previous year, that is, retreat
peaceably across the Mississippi, Mr. Kinzie resolved to hold a council
with all the principal chiefs of the Winnebagoes who were accessible at
this time. He knew that the Sauks would use every effort to induce their
neighbors to join them, and that there existed in the breasts of too
many of the young savages a desire to distinguish themselves by "taking
some white scalps." They did not love the Americans--why should they? By
them they had been gradually dispossessed of the broad and beautiful
domains of their forefathers, and hunted from place to place, and the
only equivalent they had received in exchange had been a few thousands
annually in silver and presents, together with the pernicious example,
the debasing influence, and the positive ill treatment of too many of
the new settlers upon their lands.

With all these facts in view, therefore, their Father felt that the
utmost watchfulness was necessary, and that the strongest arguments must
be brought forward, to preserve the young men of the Winnebagoes in
their allegiance to the Americans. Of the older members he felt quite
sure. About fifty lodges had come at the commencement of the
disturbances and encamped around our dwelling, saying that if the Sauks
attacked us it must be after killing them; and, knowing them well, we
had perfect confidence in their assurances.

But their vicinity, while it gave us a feeling of protection, likewise
furnished us with a channel of the most exciting and agitating daily
communications. As the theatre of operations approached nearer and
nearer, intelligence was brought in by their runners--now, that "Captain
Barney's head had been recognized in the Sauk camp, where it had been
brought the day previous," next, that "the Sauks were carrying
Lieutenant Beall's head on a pole in front of them as they marched to
meet the whites." Sometimes it was a story which we afterwards found to
be unhappily true, as that of the murder of their Agent, M. St Vrain, at
Kellogg's Grove, by the Sauks themselves, who ought to have protected

It was after the news of this last occurrence that the appointed council
with the Winnebagoes was to be held at the Four Lakes, thirty-five miles
distant from Fort Winnebago.

In vain we pleaded and remonstrated against such an exposure. "It was
his duty to assemble his people and talk to them," my husband said, "and
he must run the risk, if there were any. He had perfect confidence in
the Winnebagoes. The enemy, by all he could learn, were now far distant
from the Four Lakes--probably at Kosh-ko-nong. He would set off early in
the morning with Paquette, bold his council, and return to us the same

It were useless to attempt to describe our feelings during that long and
dreary day. When night arrived, the cry of a drunken Indian, or even the
barking of a dog, would fill our hearts with terror.

As we sat, at a late hour, at the open window, listening to every sound,
with what joy did we at length distinguish the tramp of horses! We knew
it to be Griffin and Jerry ascending the hill, and a cheerful shout soon
announced that all was well. My husband and his interpreter had ridden
seventy miles that day, besides holding a long "talk" with the Indians.

The Winnebagoes in council had promised to use their utmost endeavors to
preserve peace and good order among their young men. They informed their
Father that the bands on the Rock River, with the exception of
Win-no-sheek's, were all determined to remain friendly and keep aloof
from the Sauks. To that end, they were abandoning their villages and
corn-fields and moving north, that their Great Father, the President,
might not feel dissatisfied with them. With regard to Win-no-sheek and
his people, they professed themselves unable to answer.

Time went on, and brought with it stories of fresh outrages. Among these
were the murders of Auberry, Green, and Force, at Blue Mound, and the
attack on Apple Fort. The tidings of the latter were brought by old
Crély,[53] the father of Mrs. Paquette, who rode express from Galena,
and who averred that he once passed a bush behind which the Sauks were
hiding, but that his horse smelt the sweet-scented grass with which they
always adorn their persons when on a war-party, and set out on such a
gallop that he never stopped until he arrived at the Portage.

Another bearer of news was a young gentleman named Follett, whose eyes
had become so protruded and set from keeping an anxious look-out for the
enemy, that it was many days after his arrival at a place of safety
before they resumed their accustomed limits and expression.

Among other rumors which at this time reached us, was one that an attack
upon Fort Winnebago was in contemplation among the Sauks. That this was
in no state of defence the Indians very well knew. All the effective
men had been withdrawn, upon a requisition from General Atkinson, to
join him at his newly-built fort at Kosh-ko-nong.

Fort Winnebago was not picketed in; there were no defences to the
barracks or officers' quarters, except slight panelled doors and
Venetian blinds--nothing that would long resist the blows of clubs or
hatchets. There was no artillery, and the Commissary's store was without
the bounds of the Fort, under the hill.

Mr. Kinzie had, from the first, called the attention of the officers to
the insecurity of their position in case of danger, but he generally
received a scoffing answer.

"Never fear," they would say; "the Sauks are not coming here to attack

One afternoon we were over on a visit to some ladies in the garrison,
and, several officers being present, the conversation, as usual, turned
upon the present position of affairs.

"Do you not think it wiser," inquired I of a blustering young officer,
"to be prepared against possible danger?"

"Not against these fellows," replied he, contemptuously.

"I do not think I would even take the trouble to fasten the blinds to my

"At least," said I, "if you some night find a tomahawk raised to cleave
your skull, you will have the consolation of remembering that you have
not been one of those foolish fellows who keep on the safe side."

He seemed a little nettled at this, and still more so when sister
Margaret observed,--

"For my part, I am of Governor Cass's opinion. He was at Chicago during
the Winnebago war. We were all preparing to move into the fort on the
first alarm. Some were for being brave and delaying, like our friends
here. 'Come, come,' said the Governor, 'hurry into the fort as fast as
possible--there is no merit in being brave with the Indians. It is the
height of folly to stay and meet danger which you may by prudence

In a few days our friends waked up to the conviction that something must
be done at once The first step was to forbid any Winnebago coming within
the garrison, lest they should find out what they had known as well as
ourselves for three months past--namely, the feebleness of the means of
resistance. The next was to send fatigue-parties into the woods, under
the protection of a guard, to cut pickets for inclosing the garrison.

There was every reason to believe that the enemy were not very far
distant, and that their object in coming north was to break a way into
the Chippewa country, where they would find a place of security among
their friends and allies. The story that our Indian runners brought in
most frequently was, that the Sauks were determined to fall upon the
whites at the Portage and Fort, and massacre all, except the families of
the Agent and Interpreter.

Plante and Pillon with their families had departed at the first word of
danger. There only remained with us Manaigre, whose wife was a
half-Winnebago, Isidore Morrin, and the blacksmiths from Sugar
Creek--Mâtâ and Turcotte.

At night we were all regularly armed and our posts assigned us. After
every means had been taken to make the house secure, the orders were
given. Sister Margaret and I, in case of attack, were to mount with the
children to the rooms above, while my husband and his men were to make
good their defence as long as possible against the enemy. Since I had
shown my sportsmanship by bringing down accidentally a blackbird on the
wing, I felt as if I could do some execution with my little pistols,
which were regularly placed beside my pillow at night; and I was fully
resolved to use them, if necessity required. I do not remember to have
felt the slightest compunction at the idea of taking the lives of two
Sauks, as I had no doubt I should do; and this explains to me what I had
before often wondered at, the indifference, namely, of the soldier on
the field of battle to the destruction of human life Had I been called
upon, however, to use my weapons effectually, I should no doubt have
looked back upon it with horror.

Surrounded as we were by Indian lodges, which seldom became perfectly
quiet, and excited as our nerves had become by all that we were daily in
the habit of hearing, we rarely slept very soundly. One night, after we
had as much as possible composed ourselves, we were startled at a late
hour by a tap upon the window at the head of our bed, and a call of
"Chon! Chon!"[54] (John! John!)

"Tshah-ko-zhah?" (What is it?)

It was Hoo-wau-ne-kah, the Little Elk. He spoke rapidly, and in a tone
of great agitation. I could not understand him, and I lay trembling, and
dreading to hear his errand interpreted. Now and then I could
distinguish the words Sau-kee (Sauks) and Shoonk-hat-tay-rah (horse),
and they were not very reassuring.

The trouble, I soon learned, was this. A fresh trail had been observed
near the Petit Rocher, on the Wisconsin, and the people at the villages
on the Barribault were in a state of great alarm, fearing it might be
the Sauks. There was the appearance of a hundred or more horses having
passed by this trail. Hoo-wau-ne-kah had been dispatched at once to
tell their Father, and to ask his advice.

After listening to all he had to communicate, his Father told him the
trail was undoubtedly that of General Henry's troops, who were said to
have come north, looking for the enemy; that as the marks of the horses'
hoofs showed them, by this report, to have been shod, that was
sufficient proof that it was not the trail of the Sauks. He thought that
the people at the villages need not feel any uneasiness.

"Very well, Father," replied Hoo-wau-ne-kah; "I will go back and tell my
people what you say. They will believe you, for you always tell them the
truth. You are not like us Indians, who sometimes deceive each other."
So saying, he returned to his friends, much comforted.

The completion of the picketing and other defences, together with the
arrival of a detachment of troops from Fort Howard under Lieutenant
Hunter, at our fort, now seemed to render the latter the place of
greatest safety. We therefore regularly, every evening immediately
before dusk, took up our line of march for the opposite side of the
river, and repaired to quarters that had been assigned us within the
garrison, leaving our own house and chattels to the care of the
Frenchmen and our friends the Winnebagoes.

It was on one of these days that we were sitting at the windows which
looked out over the Portage--indeed, we seldom sat anywhere else, our
almost sole occupation being to look abroad and see what was coming
next--when a loud, long, shrill whoop from a distance gave notice of
something to be heard. "The news-halloo! what could it portend? What
were we about to hear?" By gazing intently towards the farthest
extremity of the road, we could perceive a moving body of horsemen,
which, as they approached, we saw to be Indians. They were in full
costume. Scarlet streamers fluttered at the ends of their lances--their
arms glittered in the sun. Presently, as they drew nearer, their paint
and feathers and brooches became visible. There were fifty or more
warriors. They passed the road which turns to the Fort, and rode
directly up the hill leading to the Agency. Shaw-nee-aw-kee was absent.
The Interpreter had been sent for on the first distant appearance of the
strangers, but had not yet arrived. The party, having ascended the hill,
halted near the blacksmith's shop, but did not dismount.

Our hearts trembled--it must surely be the enemy. At this moment my
husband appeared from the direction of the Interpreter's house. We
called to entreat him to stop, but he walked along towards the

To our infinite joy, we saw the chief of the party dismount, and all the
others following his example and approaching to shake hands.

A space was soon cleared around the leader and my husband, when the
former commenced an oration, flourishing his sword and using much
violent gesticulation. It was the first time I had seen an Indian armed
with that weapon, and I dreaded to perceive it in such hands. Sometimes
he appeared as if he were about to take off the head of his auditor at a
blow; and our hearts sank as we remembered the stratagems at Mackinac
and Detroit in former days. At length the speech was concluded, another
shaking of hands took place, and we saw my husband leading the way to
his storehouse, from which some of his men presently brought tobacco and
pipes and laid them at the feet of the chief.

Our suspense was soon relieved by being informed that the strangers were
Man-Eater, the principal chief of the Rock River Indians, who had come
with his band to "hold a talk" and bring information.

These Indians were under the special care of Mr. Henry Gratiot, and his
efforts had been most judicious and unremitting in preserving the good
feeling of this the most dangerous portion of the Winnebagoes.

The intelligence that Man-Eater, who was a most noble Indian in
appearance and character, brought us, confirmed that already received,
namely, that the Sauks were gradually drawing north, towards the
Portage, although he evidently did not know exactly their whereabouts.

There was, soon after they had taken leave, an arrival of another party
of Winnebagoes, and these requested permission to dance for their

The compliment having been accepted, they assembled, as usual, on the
esplanade in front of the house. My sister, the children, and myself
stationed ourselves at the open windows, according to custom, and my
husband sat on the broad step before the door, which opened from the
outer air directly into the parlor where we were.

The performance commenced, and as the dancers proceeded, following each
other round and round in the progress of the dance, my sister, Mrs.
Helm, remarked to me, "Look at that small, dark Indian, with the green
boughs on his person--that is _a Sauk!_ They always mark themselves in
this manner with white clay, and ornament themselves with leaves when
they dance!" In truth, I had never seen this costume among our own
Indians, and as I gazed at this one with green chaplets round his head
and his legs, and even his gun wreathed in the same manner, while his
body displayed no paint except the white transverse streaks with which
it was covered, I saw that he was, indeed, a stranger. Without owing
anything to the exaggeration of fear, his countenance was truly

He held his gun in his hand, and every time the course of the dance
brought him directly in front of where we sat, he would turn his gaze
full upon us, and club his weapon before him with what we interpreted
into an air of defiance. We sat as still as death, for we knew it would
not be wise to exhibit any appearance of fear; but my sister remarked,
in a low tone, "I have always thought that I was to lose my life by the
hands of the Indians. This is the third Indian war I have gone through,
and now, I suppose, it will be the last."

It was the only time I ever saw her lose her self-possession. She was
always remarkably calm and resolute, but now I could see that she
trembled. Still we sat there--there was a sort of fascination as our
imaginations became more and more excited. Presently some rain-drops
began to fall. The Indians continued their dance for a few minutes
longer, then, with whoopings and shoutings, they rushed simultaneously
towards the house. We fled into my apartment and closed the door, which
my sister at first held fast, but she presently came and seated herself
by me on the bed, for she saw that I could not compose myself. Of all
forms of death, that by the hands of savages is the most difficult to
face calmly; and I fully believed that our hour was come.

There was no interruption to the dance, which the Indians carried on in
the parlor, leaping and yelling as if they would bring down the roof
over our heads. In vain we tried to persuade my husband and the
children, through a crevice of the door, to come and join us. The
latter, feeling no danger, were too much delighted with the exhibition
to leave it, and the former only came for a moment to reassure me, and
then judged it wisest to return, and manifest his satisfaction at the
compliment by his presence. He made light of our fears, and would not
admit that the object of our suspicions was in fact a Sauk, but only
some young Winnebago, who had, as is sometimes the custom, imitated them
in costume and appearance.

It may have been "good fun" to him to return to his village and tell how
he frightened "the white squaws." Such a trick would not be unnatural in
a white youth, and perhaps, since human nature is everywhere the same,
it might not be out of the way in an Indian.



The danger had now become so imminent that my husband determined to send
his family to Fort Howard, a point which was believed to be far out of
the range of the enemy. It was in vain that I pleaded to be permitted to
remain; he was firm.

"I must not leave my post," said he, "while there is any danger. My
departure would perhaps be the signal for an immediate alliance of the
Winnebagoes with the Sauks. I am certain that as long as I am here my
presence will act as a restraint upon them. You wish to remain and share
my dangers! Your doing so would expose us both to certain destruction in
case of attack By the aid of my friends in both tribes, I could hope to
preserve my own life if I were alone; but surrounded by my family, that
would be impossible--we should all fall victims together. My duty
plainly is, to send you to a place of safety."

An opportunity for doing this soon occurred. Paquette, the Interpreter,
who was likewise an agent of the American Fur Company, had occasion to
send a boat-load of furs to Green Bay, on their way to Mackinac. Mr.
Kinzie, having seen it as comfortably fitted up as an open boat of that
description could be, with a tent-cloth fastened on a frame-work of
hoop-poles over the centre and lined with a dark-green blanket, and
having placed on board an abundant store of provisions and other
comforts, committed us to the joint care of my brother Arthur and our
faithful blacksmith, Mâtâ.

This latter was a tall, gaunt Frenchman, with a freckled face, a
profusion of crisp, sandy hair, and an inveterate propensity to speak
English. His knowledge of the language was somewhat limited, and he
burlesqued it by adding an s to almost every word, and giving out each
phrase with a jerk.

"Davids," he was wont to say to the little yellow fiddler, after an
evening's frolic at the Interpreter's, "Davids, clear away the tables
and the glasses, and play _fishes-hornspikes."_[55] He was a kind,
affectionate creature, and his devotion to "Monsieur Johns" and "Madame
Johns" knew no bounds.

Besides these two protectors, three trusty Indians, the chief of whom
was called _Old Smoker_, were engaged to escort our party. The crew of
the boat consisted entirely of French engagés in the service of the Fur
Company. They were six gay-hearted, merry fellows, lightening their
labor with their pipe and their songs, in which latter they would have
esteemed it a great compliment to be joined by the ladies who listened
to them; but our hearts, alas! were now too heavy to participate in
their enjoyment.

The Fourth of July, the day on which we left our home, was a gloomy one
indeed to those who departed and to the one left behind. Who knew if we
should ever meet again? The experience which some of the circle had had
in Indian warfare was such as to justify the saddest forebodings. There
was not even the consolation of a certainty that this step would secure
our safety. The Sauks might, possibly, be on the other side of us, and
the route we were taking might perhaps, though not probably, carry us
into their very midst. It was no wonder, then, that our leave-taking was
a solemn one--a parting which all felt might be for this world.

Not _all_, however; for the gay, cheerful Frenchmen laughed and sang and
cracked their jokes, and "assured Monsieur John that they would take
Madame John and Madame Alum safe to the bay, spite of Sauks or wind or

Thus we set out on our journey. For many miles the Fort was in sight, as
the course of the river alternately approached and receded from its
walls, and it was not until nearly mid-day that we caught the last
glimpse of our home.

At the noon-tide meal, or pipe, of the voyageurs, an alarming discovery
was made: no bread had been put on board for the crew! How this
oversight had occurred, no one could tell. One was certain that a large
quantity had been brought from the garrison-bakery for their use that
very morning--another had even seen the sacks of loaves standing in
Paquette's kitchen. Be that as it may, there we were, many miles on our
journey, and with no provisions for the six Frenchmen, except some
salted pork, a few beans, and some onions. A consultation was held in
this emergency. Should they return to the Portage for supplies? The
same danger that made their departure necessary, still existed, and the
utmost dispatch had been enjoined upon them. We found upon examination
that the store of bread and crackers with which our party had been
provided was far-beyond what we could possibly require, and we thought
it would be sufficient to allow of rations to the Frenchmen until we
should reach Powell's, at the Butte des Morts, the day but one
following, where we should undoubtedly be able to procure a fresh

This decided on, we proceeded on our journey, always in profound
silence, for a song or a loud laugh was now strictly prohibited until we
should have passed the utmost limits of country where the enemy might
possibly be. We had been warned beforehand that a certain point, where
the low marshy meadows, through which the river had hitherto run, rises
into a more firm and elevated country, was the border of the Menomonee
territory, and the spot where the Sauks, if they had fled north of the
Wisconsin towards the Chippewa country, would be most likely to be

As we received intimation on the forenoon of the second day that we were
drawing near this spot, I must confess that "we held our breath for

The three Winnebagoes were in the bow of the boat. Old Smoker, the
chief, squatted upon his feet on the bench of the foremost rowers. We
looked at him. He was gazing intently in the direction of the wooded
point we were approaching. Our eyes followed his, and we saw three
Indians step forward and stand upon the bank. We said in a low voice to
each other, "If they are Sauks, we are lost, for the whole body must be
in that thicket." The boat continued to approach; not a word was spoken;
the dip of the paddle, and perhaps the beating hearts of some, were the
only sounds that broke the stillness. Again we looked at the chief. His
nostrils were dilated--his eyes almost glaring.

Suddenly, with a bound, he sprang to his feet and uttered his long,
shrill whoop.

"Hoh! hoh! hoh! Neechee (friend) _Muh-no-mo-nee!_"

All was now joy and gladness. Every one was forward to shake hands with
the strangers as soon as we could reach them, in token of our
satisfaction that they were Menomonees and not Sauks, of the latter of
whom, by the way, they could give us no intelligence.

By noon of that day we considered ourselves to be out of the region of
danger. Still, caution was deemed necessary, and when at the mid-day
pipe the boat was pushed ashore under a beautiful overhanging bank,
crowned with a thick wood, the usual vigilance was somewhat relaxed, and
the young people, under the escort of Arthur and Mâtâ, were permitted to
roam about a little, in the vicinity of the boat.

They soon came back, with the report that the woods were "alive with
pigeons,"--they could almost knock them down with sticks; and earnestly
did they plead to be allowed to shoot at least enough for supper. But
no--the enemy might be nearer than we imagined--the firing of a gun
would betray our whereabouts--it was most prudent to give no notice to
friend or foe. So, very reluctantly, they were compelled to return to
the boat without their game.

The next morning brought us to Powell's, at the Butte des Morts. Sad
were the faces of the poor Frenchmen at learning that not a loaf of
bread was to be had. Our own store, too, was by this time quite
exhausted. The only substitute we could obtain was a bag of dark
looking, bitter flour. With this provision for our whole party, we were
forced to be contented, and we left the Hillock of the Dead, feeling
that it had been indeed the grave of our hopes.

By dint of good rowing, our crew soon brought us to the spot where the
river enters that beautiful sheet of water, Winnebago Lake. Though there
was but little wind when we reached the lake, the Frenchmen hoisted
their sail, in hopes to save themselves the labor of rowing across; but
in vain did they whistle, with all the force of their lungs--in vain did
they supplicate _La Vierge_, with a comical mixture of fun and
reverence. As a last resource, it was at length suggested by some one
that their only chance lay in propitiating the goddess of the winds with
an offering of some cast-off garment.

Application was made all round by Guardapié, the chief spokesman of the
crew. Alas! not one of the poor voyageurs could boast a spare article. A
few old rags were at length rummaged out of the little receptacle of
food, clothing, and dirt in the bow of the boat, and cast into the waves
For a moment all flattered themselves that the experiment had been
successful--the sail fluttered, swelled a little, and then flapped idly
down against the mast. The party were in despair, until, after a
whispered consultation together, Julian and Edwin stepped forward as
messengers of mercy. In a trice they divested themselves of jacket and
vest and made a proffer of their next garment to aid in raising the

At first there seemed a doubt in the minds of the boatmen whether they
ought to accept so magnificent an offer; but finding, on giving them a
preparatory shake, that the value of the contribution was less than they
had imagined, they, with many shouts and much laughter, consigned them
to the waves. To the great delight and astonishment of the boys, a
breeze at this moment sprang up, which carried the little vessel
beautifully over the waters for about half the distance to Garlic
Island. By this time the charm was exhausted, nor was it found possible
to renew it by a repetition of similar offerings. All expedients were
tried without success, and, with sundry rather disrespectful reflections
upon the lady whose aid they had invoked, the Frenchmen were compelled
to betake themselves to their oars, until they reached the island.

Two or three canoes of Winnebagoes arrived at the same moment, and their
owners immediately stepped forward with an offering of some sturgeon
which they had caught in the lake. As this promised to be an agreeable
variety to the noon-tide meal (at least for the Frenchmen), it was
decided to stop and kindle a fire for the purpose of cooking it. We took
advantage of this interval to recommend to the boys a stroll to the
opposite side of the island, where the clear, shallow water and pebbly
beach offered temptation to a refreshing bath. While they availed
themselves of this, under the supervision of Harry, the black boy, we
amused ourselves with gathering the fine red raspberries with which the
island abounded.

Our enjoyment was cut short, however, by discovering that the whole
place, vines, shrubs, and even, apparently, the earth itself, was
infested with myriads of the wood-tick, a little insect, that, having
fastened to the skin, penetrates into the very flesh, causing a swelling
and irritation exceeding painful, and even dangerous. The alarm was
sounded, to bring the boys back in all haste to the open and more
frequented part of the island. But we soon found we had not left our
tormentors behind. Throughout the day we continued to be sensible of
their proximity. From the effects of their attacks we were not relieved
for several succeeding days; those which had succeeded in burying
themselves in the flesh having to be removed with the point of a
penknife or a large needle. After partaking of our dinner, we stepped on
board our boat, and, the wind having risen, we were carried by the
breeze to the farther verge of the lake, and into the entrance of the
river, or, as it was called, the Winnebago Rapids.

On the point of land to the right stood a collection of neat bark
wigwams--this was Four-Legs' village.

It was an exciting and somewhat hazardous passage down the rapids and
over the Grand Chûte, a fall of several feet; but it was safely passed,
and at the approach of evening the boat reached the settlement of the
Waubanakees at the head of the Little Chûte. These are the Stockbridge
or Brothertown Indians, the remains of the old Mohicans, who had, a few
years before, emigrated from Oneida County, in the State of New York, to
a tract granted them by the United States, on the fertile banks of the
Fox River. They had already cleared extensive openings in the forest,
and built some substantial and comfortable houses near the banks of the
river, which were here quite high, and covered for the most part with
gigantic trees.

It was determined to ask hospitality of these people, to the extent of
borrowing a corner of their fire to boil our tea-kettle, and bake the
short-cake which had been now, for nearly two days, our substitute for
bread. Its manufacture had been a subject of much merriment. The
ingredients, consisting of Powell's black flour, some salt, and a little
butter, were mixed in the tin box which had held our meat. This was then
reversed, and, having been properly cleansed, supplied the place of a
dough-board. The vinegar-bottle served the office of rolling-pin, and a
shallow tin dish formed the appliance for baking. The Waubanakees were
so good as to lend us an iron bake-kettle, and superintend the cooking
of our cake after Harry had carried it up to their dwelling.

So kind and hospitable did they show themselves, that the crew of the
boat took the resolution of asking a lodging on shore, by way of relief
after their crowded quarters in the boat for the last three nights.
Arthur and Mâtâ soon adopted the same idea, and we were invited to
follow their example, with the assurance that the houses were extremely
neat and orderly.

We preferred, however, as it was a fine night, and all things were so
comfortably arranged in the boat, to remain on board, keeping Edwin and
Josette with us.

The boat was tightly moored, for the little Chûte was just below, and if
our craft should break loose in the rapid current, and drift down over
the falls, it would be a very serious matter. As an additional
precaution, one man was left on board to keep all things safe and in
order, and, these arrangements having been made, the others ascended the
bank, and took up their night's lodgings in the Waubanakee cabins.

It was a beautiful, calm, moonlight night, the air just sufficiently
warm to be agreeable, while the gentle murmur of the rapids and of the
fall, at no great distance, soon lulled our party to repose. How long we
had slumbered we knew not, when we were aroused by a rushing wind. It
bent the poles supporting the awning, snapped them, and, another gust
succeeding, tent and blanket were carried away on the blast down the
stream. The moonlight was gone, but a flash of lightning showed them
sailing away like a spectre in the distance.

The storm increased in violence. The rain began to pour in torrents, and
the thunder and lightning to succeed each other in fearful rapidity. My
sister sprang to waken the Frenchman. "Get up, Vitelle, quick," cried
she, in French, "run up the bank for Mâtâ and Mr. Arthur--tell them to
come and get us instantly."

The man made her no reply, but fell upon his knees, invoking the Virgin
most vociferously.

"Do not wait for the Virgin, but go as quickly as possible. Do you not
see we shall all be killed?"

"Oh! not for the world, madame, not for the world," said Vitelle,
burying his head in a pack of furs, "would I go up that bank in this
storm." And here he began crying most lustily to all the saints in the

It Was indeed awful. The roaring of the thunder and the flashing of the
lightning around us were like the continued discharge of a park of
artillery. I with some difficulty drew forth my cloak, and enveloped
myself and Josette--sister Margaret did the same with Edwin.

"Oh I madame," said the poor little girl, her teeth chattering with cold
and fright, "won't we be drowned?"

"Very well," said my sister to the Frenchman, "you see that Madame John
is at the last agony--if you will not go for help I must, and Monsieur
John must know that you left his wife to perish."

This was too much for Vitelle. "If I must, I must," said he, and with a
desperate bound he leaped on shore and sped up the hill with might and

In a few minutes, though it seemed ages to us, a whole posse came flying
down the hill. The incessant lightning made all things appear as in the
glare of day. Mâtâ's curly hair fairly stood on end, and his eyes rolled
with ghastly astonishment at the spectacle.

"Oh, my God, Madame Johns! what would Monsieur Johns say, to see you
nows?" exclaimed he, as he seized me in his arms and bore me up the
hill. Arthur followed with sister Margaret, and two others with Edwin
and Josette. Nobody carried Vitelle, for he had taken care not to risk
his precious life by venturing again to the boat.

On arriving at the cabin where Arthur and Mâtâ had been lodged, a fire
was, with some difficulty, kindled, and our trunks having been brought
up from the boat, we were at length able to exchange our drenched
garments, and those of the children, for others more comfortable, after
which we laid ourselves upon the clean but homely bed, and slept until

As it was necessary to ascertain what degree of damage the cargo of furs
had sustained, an early start was proposed. Apparently, the inhabitants
of the cottages had become weary in well-doing, for they declined
preparing breakfast for us, although we assured them they should be well
compensated for their trouble. We, consequently, saw ourselves compelled
to depart with very slender prospects of a morning meal.

When we reached the boat, what a scene presented itself! Bedclothes,
cloaks, trunks, mess-basket, packs of furs, all bearing the marks of a
complete deluge! The boat ankle-deep in water--literally no place on
board where we could either stand or sit. After some bailing out, and an
attempt at disposing some of the packs of furs which had suffered least
from the flood, so as to form a sort of divan in the centre of the boat,
nothing better seemed to offer than to re-embark, and endure what could
not be cured.

Our position was not an enviable one. Wherever a foot or hand was
placed, the water gushed up, with a bubbling sound, and, oh! the state
of the bandboxes and work-baskets! Breakfast there was none, for on
examining the mess-basket everything it contained was found mingled in
one undistinguishable mass. Tea, pepper, salt, short-cake, all floating
together--it was a hopeless case.

But this was not the worst. As the fervid July sun rose higher in the
heavens, the steam which exhaled from every object on board was nearly
suffocating. The boat was old--the packs of skins were old--their
vicinity in a dry day had been anything but agreeable--now it was
intolerable. There was no retreating from it, however; so we encouraged
the children to arm themselves with patience, for the short time that
yet remained of our voyage.

Seated on our odoriferous couch, beneath the shade of a single umbrella,
to protect our whole party from the scorching sun, we glided wearily
down the stream, through that long, tedious day. As we passed
successively the Kakalin, the Rapids, Dickenson's, the Agency, with what
longing eyes did we gaze at human habitations, where others were
enjoying the shelter of a roof and the comforts of food--and how eagerly
did we count the hours which must elapse before we could reach Port

There were no songs from the poor Frenchmen this day. Music and fasting
do not go well together. At length we stopped at Shanty-town, where the
boat was to be unloaded. All hands fell to work to transfer the cargo to
the warehouse of the Fur Company, which stood near the landing. It was
not a long operation, for all worked heartily. This being accomplished,
the voyageurs, one and all, prepared to take their leave. In vain Mâtâ
stormed and raved--in vain Arthur remonstrated.

"No," they said, "they had brought the boat and cargo to the
warehouse--that was all of their job." And they turned to go.

"Guardapié," said I, "do you intend to leave us here?"

"Bien, madame! it is the place we always stop at."

"Does Monsieur John pay you for bringing his family down?"

"Oh, yes, Monsieur John has given us an order on the sutler, at the
Fort down below."

"To be paid when you deliver us safe at the Fort down below. It seems I
shall be there before you, and I shall arrange that matter. Monsieur
John never dreamed that this would be your conduct."

The Frenchmen consulted together, and the result was that Guardapié with
two others jumped into the boat, took their oars, and rather sulkily
rowed us the remaining two miles to Fort Howard.



We soon learned that a great panic prevailed at Green Bay on account of
the Sauks. The people seemed to have possessed themselves with the idea
that the enemy would visit this place on their way to Canada to put
themselves under the protection of the British Government. How they were
to get there from this point--whether they were to stop and fabricate
themselves bark canoes for the purpose, or whether they were to charter
one of Mr. Newbery's schooners for the trip, the good people did not
seem fully to have made up their minds. One thing is certain, a portion
of the citizens were nearly frightened to death, and were fully
convinced that there was no safety for them but within the walls of the
old dilapidated fort, from which nearly all the troops had been
withdrawn and sent to Fort Winnebago some time previous.

Their fears were greatly aggravated by a report, brought by some
traveller, that he had slept at night on the very spot where the Sauks
breakfasted the next morning. Now, as the Sauks were known to be reduced
to very short commons, there was every reason to suppose that if the man
had waited half an hour longer they would have eaten him; so he was
considered to have made a wonderful escape.

Our immediate friends and acquaintances were far from joining in these
fears. The utter improbability of such a movement was obvious to all who
considered the nature of the country to be traversed, and the efficient
and numerous body of whites by whom they must be opposed on their
entrance into that neighborhood. There were some, however, who could not
be persuaded that there was any security but in flight, and eagerly was
the arrival of the "Mariner" looked for, as the anxiety grew more and
more intense.

The "Mariner" appeared at last. It was early in the morning. In one hour
from the time of her arrival the fearful news she brought had spread the
whole length of the settlement--"the cholera was in this country! It was
in Detroit--it was among the troops who were on their way to the seat of
war! Whole companies had died of it in the river St. Clair, and the
survivors had been put on shore at Port Gratiot, to save their lives as
best they might!" We were shut in between the savage foe on one hand and
the pestilence on the other!

To those who had friends at the East the news was most appalling. It
seemed to unman every one who heard it. An officer who had exhibited the
most distinguished prowess in the battle-field, and also in some private
enterprises demanding unequalled courage and daring, was the first to
bring us the news. When he had communicated it, he laid his head
against the window-sill and wept like a child.

Those who must perforce rejoin friends near and dear, left the Bay in
the "Mariner;" all others considered their present home the safest; and
so it proved, for the dreadful scourge did not visit Green Bay that

The weather was intensely hot, and the mosquitoes so thick that we did
not pretend to walk on the parade after sunset, unless armed with two
fans, or green branches to keep constantly in motion, in order to
disperse them. This, by the way, was the surest method of attracting
them. We had somehow forgotten the apathetic indifference which had
often excited our wonder in Old Smoker, as we had observed him calmly
sitting and allowing his naked arms and person to become literally
_gray_ with the tormenting insects. Then he would quietly wipe off a
handful, the blood following the movement of the hand over his skin, and
stoically wait for an occasion to repeat the movement. It is said that
the mosquito, if undisturbed until he has taken his fill, leaves a much
less inflamed bite than if brushed away in the midst of his feast.

By day, the air was at this season filled with what is called the Green
Bay fly, a species of dragon-fly, with which the outer walls of the
houses are at times so covered that their color is hardly
distinguishable. Their existence is very ephemeral, scarcely lasting
more than a day. Their dead bodies are seen adhering to the walls and
windows within, and they fall without in such numbers that after a high
wind has gathered them into rows along the sides of the quarters, one
may walk through them and toss them up with their feet like the dry
leaves in autumn.

As we walked across the parade, our attention was sometimes called to a
tapping upon the bars of the dungeon in which a criminal was
confined--it was the murderer of Lieutenant Foster.

It may be remembered that this amiable young officer had been our
travelling companion in our journey from Chicago the preceding year.
Some months after his arrival at Port Howard, he had occasion to order a
soldier of his company, named Doyle, into confinement for intoxication.
The man, a few days afterwards, prevailed on the sergeant of the guard
to escort him to Lieutenant Foster's quarters on the plea that he wished
to speak to him. He ascended the stairs to the young officer's room,
while the sergeant and another soldier remained at the foot, near the

Doyle entered, and, addressing Lieutenant Foster, said, "Will you please
tell me, lieutenant, what I am confined for?"

"No, sir," replied the officer; "you know your offence well enough;
return to your place of confinement."

The man ran down-stairs, wrenched the gun from the sergeant's hand, and,
rushing back, discharged it at the heart of Lieutenant Foster.

He turned to go to his inner apartment, but exclaiming, "Ah me!" he fell
dead before the entrance.

Doyle, having been tried by a civil court, was now under sentence,
awaiting his execution. He was a hardened villain, never exhibiting the
slightest compunction for his crime.

The commanding officer, Major Clark, sent to him one day to inquire if
he wanted anything for his comfort.

"If the Major pleased," he replied, "he should like to have a light and
a copy of Byron's Works."

Some fears were entertained that he would contrive to make way with
himself before the day of execution, and, to guard against it, he was
deprived of everything that could furnish him a weapon. His food was
served to him in a wooden bowl, lest a bit of broken crockery might he
used as a means of self destruction.

One morning he sent a little package to the commanding officer as a
present. It contained a strong rope, fabricated from strips of his
blanket, that he had carefully separated, and with a large stout spike
at the end of it. The message accompanying it was, "He wished Major
Clark to see that if he chose to put an end to himself, he could find
means to do it in spite of him."

And this hardened frame of mind continued to the last. When he was led
out for execution, in passing beyond the gate, he observed a quantity of
lumber recently collected for the construction of a new Company's

"Ah, captain, what are you going to build here?" inquired he of Captain
Scott, who attended him.

"Doyle," replied his captain, "you have but a few moments to live--- you
had better employ your thoughts about something else."

"It is for that very reason, captain," said he, "that I am inquiring--as
my time is short, I wish to gain all the information I can while it

       *       *       *       *       *

We were not suffered to remain long in suspense in regard to the friends
we had left behind. In less than two weeks Old Smoker again made his
appearance. He was the bearer of letters from my husband, informing me
that General Dodge was then with him at Port Winnebago, that Generals
Henry and Alexander were likewise at the Fort, and that as soon as they
had recruited their men and horses, which were pretty well worn out with
scouring the country after Black Hawk, they would march again in pursuit
of him towards the head-waters of the Rock River, where they had every
reason, from information lately brought in by the Winnebagoes, to
believe he would be found.

As he charged us to lay aside all uneasiness on his account, and
moreover held forth the hope of soon coming or sending for us, our minds
became more tranquil.

Not long after this, I was told one morning that "_a lady_" wished to
see me at the front door. I obeyed the summons, and, to my surprise, was
greeted by my friend _Madame Four-Legs._ After much demonstration of joy
at seeing me, such as putting her two hands together over her forehead
and then parting them in a waving kind of gesture, laughing, and patting
me on my arms, she drew from her bosom a letter from my husband, of
which she was the bearer. It was to this effect--"Generals Dodge and
Henry left here a few days since, accompanied by Paquette; they met the
Sauks near the Wisconsin, on the 21st. A battle ensued, in which upwards
of fifty of the enemy were killed--our loss was one killed, and eight
wounded. The _citizens_ are well pleased that all this has been
accomplished without any aid from _Old White Beaver._[56] The war must
be near its close, for the militia and regulars together will soon
finish the remaining handful of fugitives."

The arrival of Lieutenant Hunter, who had obtained leave of absence in
order to escort us, soon put all things in train for our return to Fort
Winnebago. No Mackinac boat was to be had, but in lieu of it a Durham
boat was procured. This is of a description longer and shallower than
the other, with no convenience for rigging up an awning, or shelter of
any kind, over the centre; but its size was better fitted to accommodate
our party, which consisted, besides our own family, of Lieutenant and
Mrs. Hunter, the wife of another officer now stationed at Port
Winnebago, and our cousin, Miss Forsyth. We made up our minds, as will
be supposed, to pretty close quarters.

Our crew was composed partly of Frenchmen and partly of soldiers, and,
all things being in readiness, we set off one fine bright morning in the
latter part of July.

Our second day's alternate rowing and poling brought us to the Grande
Chûte early in the afternoon.

Here, it is the custom to disembark at the foot of the rapids, and,
ascending the high bank, walk around the fall, while the men pull the
boat up through the foaming waters.

Most of our party had already stepped on shore, when a sudden thought
seized one of the ladies and myself.

"Let us stay in the boat," said we, "and be pulled up the Chûte." The
rest of the company went on, while we sat and watched with great
interest the preparations the men were making. They were soon overboard
in the water, and, attaching a strong rope to the bow of the boat, all
lent their aid in pulling as they marched slowly along with their heavy
load. The cargo, consisting only of our trunks and stores, which were of
no very considerable weight, had not been removed.

We went on, now and then getting a tremendous bump against a hidden
rock, and frequently splashed by a shower of foam as the waves roared
and boiled around us.

The men kept as close as possible to the high, precipitous bank, where
the water was smoothest. At the head of the _cordel_ was a merry
simpleton of a Frenchman, who was constantly turning his head to grin
with delight at our evident enjoyment and excitement.

We were indeed in high glee. "Is not this charming?" cried one. "I only

The wish, whatever it was, was cut short by a shout and a crash. "Have
a care, Robineau! Mind where you are taking the boat!" was the cry, but
it came too late. More occupied with the ladies than with his duty, the
leader had guided us into the midst of a sharp, projecting tree that
hung from the bank. The first tug ripped out the side of the boat, which
immediately began to fill with water.

My companion and I jumped upon the nearest rocks that showed their heads
above the foam. Our screams and the shouts of the men brought Lieutenant
Hunter and some Indians, who were above on the bank, dashing down to our
rescue. They carried us in their arms to land, while the men worked
lustily at fishing up the contents of the boat, now thoroughly saturated
with water.

We scrambled up the high bank, in a miserable plight, to join in the
general lamentation over the probable consequences of the accident.

"Oh! my husband's new uniform!" cried one, and "Oh! the miniatures in
the bottom of my trunk!" sighed another--while, "Oh! the silk dresses,
and the ribbons, and the finery!" formed the general chorus.

No one thought of the provisions, although we had observed, in our
progress to shore, the barrel of bread and the tub of ice, which
Lieutenant Hunter had providently brought for our refreshment, sailing
away on the dancing waves. Among the boxes brought to land, and "toted"
up the steep bank, was one containing some loaves of sugar and packages
of tea, which I had bought for our winter's supply from the sutler at
the post. The young Indian who was the bearer of it set it upon the
ground, and soon called my attention to a thick, white stream that was
oozing from the corners. I made signs for him to taste it. He dipped his
finger in it, and exclaimed with delight to his companions, when he
perceived what it was. I then pointed to his hatchet, and motioned him
to open the box. He did not require a second invitation--it was soon
backed to pieces.

Then, as I beckoned up all the rest of the youngsters who were looking
on, full of wonder, such a scrambling and shouting with delight
succeeded as put us all, particularly the boys, into fits of laughter.
Bowls, dippers, hands, everything that could contain even the smallest
quantity, were put in requisition. The squaws were most active. Those
who could do no better took the stoutest fragments of the blue paper in
which the sugar had been enveloped, and in a trice nothing remained but
the wet, yellow bundles of tea, and the fragments of the splintered box
which had contained it.

By this time fires had been made, and the articles from the trunks were
soon seen covering every shrub and bush in the vicinity. Fortunately,
the box containing the new uniform had been piled high above the others,
in the centre of the boat, and had received but little damage; but sad
was the condition of the wardrobes in general.

Not a white article was to be seen. All was mottled; blue, green, red,
and black intermingling in streaks, and dripping from ends and corners.

To add to the trouble, the rain began to fall, as rain is apt to do, at
an inconvenient moment, and soon the half-dried garments had to be
gathered out of the smoke and huddled away in a most discouraging

The tent was pitched, wet as it was, and the blankets, wrung out of the
water, and partially dried, were spread upon the ground for our
accommodation at night.

A Hamburg cheese, which had been a part of my stores, was voted to me
for a pillow, and, after a supper the best part of which was a portion
of one of the wet loaves which had remained in a barrel too tightly
wedged to drift away, we betook ourselves to our repose.

The next morning rose hot and sultry. The mosquitoes, which the rain
had kept at bay through the night, now began to make themselves amends,
and to torment us unmercifully.

After our most uncomfortable and unpalatable breakfast, the first
question for consideration was, what we were to do with ourselves. Our
boat lay submerged at the foot of the hill, half-way up the rapids. The
nearest habitation among the Waubanakees was some miles distant, and
this there was no means of reaching but by an Indian canoe, if some of
our present friends and neighbors would be so obliging as to bring one
for our use. Even then it was doubtful if boats could be found
sufficient to convey all our numerous party back to Green Bay.

In the midst of these perplexing consultations a whoop was heard from
beyond the hill, which here sloped away to the north, at the head of the

"There is John! that is certainly his voice!" cried more than one of the

It was, indeed, my husband, and in a moment he was among us. Never was
arrival more opportune, more evidently providential.

Not having learned our plans (for the unsettled state of the country had
prevented our sending him word), he had come provided with a boat, to
take us back to Fort Winnebago.

Our drying operations, which we had recommenced this morning, were soon
cut short. Everything was shuffled away in the most expeditious manner
possible, and in an incredibly short time we were transferred to the
other boat, which lay quietly above the Chûte, and were pulling away
towards Winnebago Lake.

We had resolved to go only so far as the vicinity of the lake, where the
breeze would render the mosquitoes less intolerable, and then to stop
and make one more attempt at drying our clothing. Accordingly, when we
reached a beautiful high bank near the Little Butte, we stopped for that
purpose again, unpacked our trunks, and soon every bush and twig was
fluttering with the spoils of the cruel waves.

Hardly had we thus disposed of the last rag or ribbon when the tramp of
horses was heard, followed by loud shouts and cheers ringing through the

A company of about twenty-five horsemen, with banners flying, veils
fluttering from their hats, and arms glittering in the sun, rode into
our midst, and, amid greetings and roars of laughter, inquired into the
nature and reasons of our singular state of confusion.

They were Colonel Stambough and Alexander Irwin, of Green Bay, with a
company of young volunteers, and followed by a whooping band of
Menomonees, all bound for the seat of war. We comforted them with the
assurance that the victories were by this time all won and the scalps
taken; but, expressing the hope that there were yet a few laurels to be
earned, they bade us adieu, and rapidly pursued their march.

We crossed Lake Winnebago by the clear, beautiful light of a summer
moon. The soft air was just enough to swell the sail, and thus save the
men their labor at the oar.

The witchery of the hour was not, however, sufficient to induce us to
forego our repose after the heat and annoyances of the day--we therefore
disposed ourselves betimes, to be packed away in the centre of the boat.
How it was accomplished no one of the numerous company could tell. If
any accident had occurred to disturb our arrangement, I am sure it would
have been a Chinese puzzle to put us back again in our places. The men
on the outside had much the best of it, and we rather envied those who
were off watch, their ability to snore and change position as the humor
took them.

We reached Powell's just in time to have gone ashore and prepare our
breakfast had we had wherewithal to prepare it. We had hoped to be able
to procure some supplies here, for hitherto we had been living on the
remains of my husband's ample stock. That was now so nearly exhausted
that when we found the mess-basket could not be replenished at this
place we began to talk of putting ourselves on allowance.

The wet bread, of which there had remained an ample store, had, as may
be readily imagined, soon fermented under the influence of a July sun.
The tea, too, notwithstanding our careful efforts at drying it on
newspapers and pieces of board, ere long became musty and unfit for use.
There was, literally, nothing left, except the salted meat and a few
crackers, hardly sufficient for the present day.

The men were therefore urged to make all the speed possible, that we
might reach Gleason's, at Lake Puckaway, in good season on the following

At evening, when we stopped to take our tea at a beautiful little
opening among the trees, we found our old enemies, the mosquitoes, worse
than ever. It was necessary to put on our cloaks and gloves, and tie our
veils close around our throats, only venturing to introduce a cracker or
a cup of tea under this protection in the most stealthy manner.

The men rowed well, and brought us to Gleason's about eleven o'clock the
next day. We were greeted with the most enthusiastic demonstrations by
my old friend _La Grosse Américaine,_ who had removed here from

"Oh, Mrs. Armstrong," cried we, "get us some breakfast--we are

At that instant who should appear but our faithful Mâtâ, driving the old
calèche in which we were in the habit of making our little excursions in
the neighborhood of the Port. He had ridden over, hoping to meet us, in
the idea that some of us would prefer this method of reaching our home.

With provident thoughtfulness, he had brought tea, roasted coffee, fresh
butter, eggs, etc., lest we should be short of such luxuries in that
advanced stage of our journey.

His "Good-morning, Madame Johns! How do you dos?" was a pleasant and
welcome sound.

We could not wait for our breakfast, but gathered round La Grosse
Américaine like a parcel of children while she cut and spread slices of
bread-and-butter for us.

After our regular meal was finished, it was decided that sister Margaret
should take Josette, and return with Mâtâ to open the house and make it
ready for our reception. It had been the head-quarters of militia,
Indians, and stragglers of various descriptions during our absence, and
we could easily imagine that a little "misrule and unreason" might have
had sway for that period.

We had yet seventy-two miles, by the devious winding course of the
river, over first the beautiful waters of Lac de Boeuf, and then through
the low, marshy lands that spread away to the Portage. An attempt was
made on the part of one of the gentlemen to create a little excitement
among the ladies as we approached the spot where it had been supposed
the Sauks might pass on their way to the Chippewa country.

"Who knows," said he, gravely, "but they may be lurking in this
neighborhood yet? If so, we shall probably have some signal. We must be
on the alert!"

Some of the ladies began to turn pale and look about them. After an
interval of perfect silence, a low, prolonged whistle was heard. There
was so much agitation, and even actual terror, that the mischievous
author of the trick was obliged to confess at once, and receive a hearty
scolding for the pain he had caused.

Just before sunset of the second day from Gleason's we reached our home.
Every thing was _radiant_ with neatness and good order. With the
efficient aid of our good Manaigre and his wife, the house had been
whitewashed from the roof to the door-sill, a thorough scrubbing and
cleansing effected, the carpets unpacked and spread upon the floors, the
furniture arranged, and, though last not least, a noble supper smoked
upon the board by the time we had made, once more, a civilized toilet.

Many of our friends from the Fort were there to greet us, and a more
happy or thankful party has seldom been assembled.



The war was now considered at an end. The news of the battle of the Bad
Axe, where the regulars, the militia, and the steamboat Warrior
combined, had made a final end of the remaining handful of Sauks, had
reached us and restored tranquillity to the hearts and homes of the
frontier settlers.

It may seem wonderful that an enemy so few in number and so
insignificant in resources could have created such a panic, and
required so vast an amount of opposing force to subdue them. The
difficulty had been simply in never knowing where to find them, either
to attack or guard against them. Probably at the outset every military
man thought and felt like the noble old veteran General Brady. "Give me
two infantry companies mounted," said he, "and I will engage to whip the
Sauks out of the country in one week!"

True, but to whip the enemy you must first meet him; and in order to
pursue effectually and _catch_ the Indians, a peculiar training is
necessary--a training which, at that day, few, even of the frontier
militia, could boast.

In some portions of this campaign there was another difficulty,--the
want of concert between the two branches of the service. The regular
troops looked with contempt upon the unprofessional movements of the
militia; the militia railed at the dilatory and useless formalities of
the regulars. Each avowed the conviction that matters could be much
better conducted without the other, and the militia, being prompt to
act, sometimes took matters into their own hands, and brought on defeat
and disgrace, as in the affair of "Stillman's Run."

The feeling of contempt which the army officers entertained for the
militia, extended itself to their subordinates and dependants. After the
visit of the Ranger officers to Fort Winnebago, before the battle of the
Wisconsin, the officer of the mess where they had been entertained
called up his servant one day to inquire into the sutler's accounts, He
was the same little "Yellow David" who had formerly appertained to
Captain Harney.

"David," said the young gentleman, "I see three bottles of cologne-water
charged in the month's account of the mess at the sutler's. What does
that mean?"

"If you please, lieutenant," said David, respectfully, "it was to
sweeten up the dining-room and quarters after them milish' officers were
here visiting."

Black Hawk and a few of his warriors had escaped to the north, where
they were shortly after captured by the One-eyed Day-kau-ray and his
party, and brought prisoners to General Street at Prairie du Chien. The
women and children of the band had been put in canoes and sent down the
Mississippi, in hopes of being permitted to cross and reach the rest of
that tribe.

The canoes had been tied together, and many of them were upset, and the
children drowned, their mothers being too weak and exhausted to rescue
them. The survivors were taken prisoners, and, starving and miserable,
were brought to Prairie du Chien. Our mother was at the Port at the time
of their arrival. She described their condition as wretched and reduced
beyond anything she had ever witnessed. One woman who spoke a little
Chippewa gave her an account of the sufferings and hardships they had
endured--it was truly appalling.

After having eaten such of the horses as could be spared, they had
subsisted on acorns, elm-bark, or even grass. Many had died of
starvation, and their bodies were found lying in their trail by the
pursuing whites. This poor woman had lost her husband in battle, and all
her children by the upsetting of the canoe in which they were, and her
only wish now was, to go and join them. Poor Indians! who can wonder
that they do not love the whites?

But a very short time had we been quietly at home when a summons came to
my husband to collect the principal chiefs of the Winnebagoes and meet
General Scott and Governor Reynolds at Rock Island, where it was
proposed to bold a treaty for the purchase of all the lands east and
south of the Wisconsin. Messengers were accordingly sent to collect the
principal men, and, accompanied by as many as chose to report
themselves, he set off on his journey.

He had been gone about two weeks, and I was beginning to count the days
which must elapse before I could reasonably expect his return, when, one
afternoon, I went over to pay a visit to my sister at the Fort. As I
passed into the large hall of one range of quarters, Lieutenant Lacy
came suddenly in from the opposite direction, and, almost without
stopping, cried,--

"Bad news, madam! Have you heard it?"

"No. What is it?"

"The cholera has broken out at Rock Island, and they are dying by five
hundred a day. Dr. Finley has just arrived with the news." So saying, he
vanished, without stopping to answer a question.

The cholera at Rock Island, and my husband there! I flew to the other
door of the hall, which looked out upon the parade-ground. A sentinel
was walking near. "Soldier," cried I, "will you run to the young
officers' quarters and ask Dr. Finley to come here for a moment?"

The man shook his head--he was not allowed to leave his post.

Presently Mrs. Lacy's servant-girl appeared from a door under the steps.
She was a worthless creature, but where _help_ was so scarce ladies
could not afford to keep a scrupulous tariff of moral qualification.

"Oh! Catharine," said I, "will you run over and ask Dr. Finley to come
here a moment? I must hear what news he has brought from Rock Island."
She put on a modest look, and said,--

"I do not like to go to the young officers' quarters."

I was indignant at her hypocrisy, but I was also wild with impatience,
when to my great joy Dr. Finley made his appearance.

"Where is my husband?" cried I.

"On his way home, madam, safe and sound. He will probably be here
to-morrow." He then gave me an account of the ravages the cholera was
making among the troops, which were indeed severe, although less so than
rumor had at first proclaimed.

Notwithstanding the doctor's assurance of his safety, my husband was
seized with cholera on his journey. By the kind care of Paquette and the
plentiful use of chicken-broth which the poor woman at whose cabin he
stopped administered to him, he soon recovered, and reached his home in
safety, having taken Prairie du Chien in his route and brought his
mother with him again to her home.

The Indians had consented to the sale of their beautiful domain. Indeed,
there is no alternative in such cases. If they persist in retaining
them, and become surrounded and hemmed in by the white settlers, their
situation is more deplorable than if they surrendered their homes
altogether. This they are aware of, and therefore, as a general thing,
they give up their lands at the proposal of Government, and only take
care to make the best bargain they can for themselves. In this instance
they were to receive as an equivalent a tract of land[57] extending to
the interior of Iowa, and an additional sum of ten thousand dollars

One of the stipulations of the treaty was, the surrender by the
Winnebagoes of certain individuals of their tribe accused of having
participated with the Sauks in some of the murders on the frontier, in
order that they might be tried by our laws, and acquitted or punished as
the case might be.

Wau-kaun-kah (the Little Snake) voluntarily gave himself as a hostage
until the delivery of the suspected persons. He was accordingly received
by the Agent, and marched over and placed in confinement at the Fort
until the seven accused should appear to redeem him.

It was a work of some little time on the part of the nation to persuade
these suspected individuals to place themselves in the hands of the
whites, that they might receive justice according to the laws of the
latter. The trial of Red Bird, and his languishing death in prison, were
still fresh in their memories, and it needed a good deal of resolution,
as well as a strong conviction of conscious innocence, to brace them up
to such a step.

It had to be brought about by arguments and persuasions, for the nation
would never have resorted to force to compel the fulfilment of their

In the mean time a solemn talk was held with the principal chiefs
assembled at the Agency. A great part of the nation were in the
immediate neighborhood, in obedience to a notice sent by Governor
Porter, who, in virtue of his office of Governor of Michigan Territory,
was also Superintendent of the Northwest Division of the Indians.
Instead of calling upon the Agent to take charge of the annuity money,
as had heretofore been the custom, the Governor had announced his
intention of bringing it himself to Fort Winnebago and being present at
the payment. The time appointed had now arrived, and with it the main
body of the Winnebagoes.

Such of the Indians as had not attended the treaty at Rock Island and
been instrumental in the cession of their country, were loud in their
condemnation of the step, and their lamentations over it. Foremost among
these was Wild-Cat, the Falstaff of Garlic Island and its vicinity. It
was little wonder that he should shed bitter tears, as he did, over the
loss of his beautiful home on the blue waters of Winnebago Lake.

"If he had not been accidentally stopped," he said, "on his way to the
treaty, and detained until it was too late, he would never, never have
permitted the bargain."

His Father, who knew that a desperate frolic, into which Wild-Cat had
been enticed by the way, was the cause of his failing to accompany his
countrymen to Rock Island, replied, gravely,--

"That he had heard of the chief's misfortune on this occasion. How that,
in ascending the Fox River, a couple of kegs of _whiskey_ had come
floating down the stream, which, running foul of his canoe with great
force, had injured it to such a degree that he had been obliged to stop
several days at the _Mee-kan,_ to repair damages."

The shouts of laughter which greeted this explanation were so contagious
that poor Wild-Cat himself was compelled to join in it, and treat his
misfortune as a joke.

The suspected Indians having engaged the services of Judge Doty to
defend them on their future trial, notice was at length given that on a
certain day they would be brought to the Portage and surrendered to
their Father, to be by him transferred to the keeping of the military
officer appointed to receive them.

It was joyful news to poor Wau-kaun-kah, that the day of his release was
at hand. Every time that we had been within the walls of the Fort we had
been saluted by a call from him, as he kept his station at the
guard-room window:

"Do you hear anything of those Indians? When are they coming, that I may
be let out?"

We had endeavored to lighten his confinement by seeing that he was well
supplied with food, and his Father and Paquette had paid him occasional
visits; but, notwithstanding these attentions and the kindness he had
received at the Fort, his confinement was inexpressibly irksome.

On the morning of a bright autumnal day the authorities were notified
that the chiefs of the nation would present themselves at the Agency to
deliver the suspected persons as prisoners to the Americans.

At the hour of ten o'clock, as we looked out over the Portage road, we
could descry a moving concourse of people, in which brilliant color,
glittering arms, and, as they approached still nearer, certain white
objects of unusual appearance could be distinguished.

General Dodge, Major Plympton, and one or two other officers took their
seats with Mr. Kinzie on the platform in front of the door of our
mansion to receive them, while we stationed ourselves at the window
where we could both see and hear.

The procession wound up the hill, and approached, marching slowly
towards us. It was a grand and solemn sight. First came some of the
principal chiefs in their most brilliant array. Next, the prisoners, all
habited in white cotton, in token of their innocence, with girdles round
their waists. The music of the drum and the shee-shee-qua accompanied
their death-song, which they were chaunting. They wore no paint, no
ornaments--their countenances were grave and thoughtful. It might well
be a serious moment to them, for they knew but little of the customs of
the whites, and that little was not such as to inspire cheerfulness.
Only their Father's assurance that they should receive strict justice,
would probably have induced them to comply with the engagements of the
nation in this manner.

The remainder of the procession was made up of a long train of
Winnebagoes, all decked out in their holiday garb.

The chiefs approached and shook hands with the gentlemen, who stood
ready to receive their greeting. Then the prisoners came forward, and
went through the same salutation with the officers. When they offered
their hands to their Father, he declined.

"No," said he. "You have come here accused of great crimes--of having
assisted in taking the lives of some of the defenceless settlers. When
you have been tried by the laws of the land, and been proved innocent,
then your Father will give you his hand."

They looked still more serious at this address, as if they thought it
indicated that their Father, too, believed them guilty, and stepping
back a little, they seated themselves, without speaking, in a row upon
the ground, facing their Father and the officers. The other Indians all
took seats in a circle around them, except the one-eyed chief,
Kau-ray-kau-say-kah (the White Crow), who had been deputed to deliver
the prisoners to the Agent.

He made a speech in which he set forth that, "although asserting their
innocence of the charges preferred against them, his countrymen were
quite willing to be tried by the laws of white men. He hoped they would
not be detained long, but that the matter would be investigated soon,
and that they would come out of it clear and white."

In reply he was assured that all things would be conducted fairly and
impartially, exactly as if the accused were white men, and the hope was
added that they would be found to have been good and true citizens, and
peaceful children of their Great Father, the President.

When this was over, White Crow requested permission to transfer the
medal he had received as a mark of friendship from the President, to his
son, who stood beside him, and who had been chosen by the nation to fill
his place as chief, an office he was desirous of resigning. The
speeches made upon this occasion, as interpreted by Paquette, the modest
demeanor of the young man, and the dignified yet feeling manner of the
father throughout, made the whole ceremony highly impressive; and when
the latter took the medal from his neck and hung it around that of his
son, addressing him a few appropriate words, I think no one could have
witnessed the scene unmoved.

I had watched the countenances of the prisoners as they sat on the
ground before me, while all these ceremonies were going forward. With
one exception they were open, calm, and expressive of conscious
innocence. Of that one I could not but admit there might be reasonable
doubts. One was remarkably fine-looking--another was a boy of certainly
not more than seventeen, and during the transfer of the medal he looked
from one to the other, and listened to what was uttered by the speakers,
with an air and expression of even childlike interest and satisfaction.

Our hearts felt sad for them as, the ceremonies finished, they were
conducted by a file of soldiers and committed to the dungeon of the
guard-house until such time as they should be summoned to attend the
court appointed to try their cause.



The Indians did not disperse after the ceremonies of the surrender had
been gone through. They continued still in the vicinity of the Portage,
in the constant expectation of the arrival of the annuity money, which
they had been summoned there to receive. But the time for setting out
on his journey to bring it was postponed by Governor Porter from week to
week. Had he foreseen all the evils this delay was to occasion, he
would, possibly, have been more prompt in fulfilling his appointment.

Many causes conspired to make an early payment desirable. In the first
place, the Winnebagoes, having been driven from their homes by their
anxiety to avoid all appearance of fraternizing with the Sauks, had made
this year no gardens nor corn-fields They had, therefore, no provisions
on hand, either for present use or for their winter's consumption,
except their scanty supplies of wild rice. While this was disappearing
during their protracted detention at the Portage, they were running the
risk of leaving themselves quite unprovided with food, in case of a bad
hunting-season during the winter and spring.

In the next place, the rations which the Agent had been accustomed, by
the permission of Government, to deal out occasionally to them, were now
cut off by a scarcity in the Commissary's department. The frequent
levies of the militia during the summer campaign, and the reinforcement
of the garrison by the troops from Port Howard, had drawn so largely on
the stores at this post that there was necessity for the most rigid
economy in the issuing of supplies.

Foreseeing this state of things, Mr. Kinzie, as soon as the war was at
an end, commissioned Mr. Kercheval, then sutler at Fort Howard, to
procure him a couple of boat-loads of corn, to be distributed among the
Indians. Unfortunately, there was no corn to be obtained from Michigan;
it was necessary to bring it from Ohio, and by the time it at length
reached Green Bay (for in those days business was never done in a hurry)
the navigation of the Fox River had closed, and it was detained there,
to be brought up the following spring.

As day after day wore on and "the silver" did not make its appearance,
the Indians were advised by their Father to disperse to their
hunting-grounds to procure food, with the promise that they should be
summoned immediately on the arrival of Governor Porter; and this advice
they followed.

While they had been in our neighborhood, they had more than once asked
permission to dance the _scalp-dance,_ before our door. This is the most
frightful, heart-curdling exhibition that can possibly be imagined. The
scalps are stretched on little hoops, or frames, and carried on the end
of slender poles. These are brandished about in the course of the dance,
with cries, shouts, and furious gestures. The women, who commence as
spectators, becoming excited with the scene and the music which their
own discordant notes help to make more deafening, rush in, seize the
scalps from the hands of the owners, and toss them frantically about,
with the screams and yells of demons. I have seen as many as forty or
fifty scalps figuring in one dance. Upon one occasion one was borne by
an Indian who approached quite near me, and I shuddered as I observed
the long, fair hair, evidently that of a woman. Another Indian had the
skin of a human hand, stretched and prepared with as much care as if it
had been some costly jewel. When these dances occurred, as they
sometimes did, by moonlight, they were peculiarly horrid and revolting.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amid so many events of a painful character there were not wanting
occasionally some that bordered on the ludicrous.

One evening, while sitting at tea, we were alarmed by the sound of guns
firing in the direction of the Wisconsin. All started up, and prepared,
instinctively, for flight to the garrison. As we left the house we found
the whole bluff and the meadow below in commotion,--Indians running with
their guns and spears across their shoulders to the scene of
alarm--squaws and children standing in front of their lodges and looking
anxiously in the direction of the unusual and unaccountable
sounds--groups of French and half-breeds, like ourselves, fleeing to
gain the bridge and place themselves within the pickets so lately

As one company of Indians passed us hurriedly, some weapon carelessly
carried hit one of our party on the side of the head. "Oh!" shrieked
she, "I am killed! an Indian has tomahawked me!" and she was only
reassured by finding she could still run as fast as the best of us.

When we reached the parade-ground, within the Fort, we could not help
laughing at the grotesque appearance we presented. Some without hats or
shawls--others with packages of valuables hastily secured at the
moment--one with her piece of bread-and-butter in hand, which she had
not had the presence of mind to lay aside when she took to flight.

The alarm was, in the end, found to have proceeded from a party of
Winnebagoes from one of the Barribault villages, who, being about to
leave their home for a period, were going through the ceremony of
burying the scalps which they and their fathers had taken.

Like the military funerals among civilized nations, their solemnities
were closed on this occasion by the discharge of several volleys over
the grave of their trophies.

       *       *       *       *       *

At length, about the beginning of November, two months after the time
appointed, Governor Porter, accompanied by Major Forsyth and Mr.
Kercheval, arrived with the annuity money. The Indians were again
assembled, the payment was made, and having supplied themselves with a
larger quantity of ammunition than usual,--for they saw the necessity of
a good hunt to remedy past and present deficiencies,--they set off for
their wintering grounds.

We were, ourselves, about changing our quarters, to our no small
satisfaction. Notwithstanding the Indian disturbances, the new Agency
House (permission to build which had, after much delay, been accorded by
Government) had been going steadily on, and soon after the departure of
the Governor and his party, we took possession of it.

We had been settled but a few weeks, when one morning Lieutenant Davies
appeared just as we were sitting down to breakfast, with a face full of
consternation. "_The Indian prisoners had escaped from the black-hole_!
The commanding officer, Colonel Cutler, had sent for Mr. Kinzie to come
over to the Fort and counsel with him what was to be done."

The prisoners had probably commenced their operations very soon after
being placed in the _black-hole_, a dungeon in the basement of the
guard-house. They observed that their meals were brought regularly,
three times a day, and that in the intervals they were left entirely to
themselves. With their knives they commenced excavating an opening, the
earth from which, as it was withdrawn, they spread about on the floor of
their prison. A blanket was placed over the hole, and one of the company
was always seated upon it, before the regular time for the soldier who
had charge of them to make his appearance. When the periodical visit was
made, the Indians were always observed to be seated, smoking in the most
orderly and quiet manner. There was never anything in their appearance
to excite suspicion.

The prisoners had never read the memoirs of Baron Trenck, but they had
watched the proceedings of the badgers; so, profiting by their example,
they worked on, shaping the opening spirally, until, in about six weeks,
they came out to the open air beyond the walls of the Fort.

That they might be as little encumbered as possible in their flight,
they left their blankets behind them, and although it was bitter
December weather, they took to the woods and prairies with only their
calico shirts and leggings for covering. We can readily believe that
hope and exultation kept them comfortably warm until they reached an
asylum among their friends.

It would be compromising our own reputation as loyal and patriotic
citizens to tell of the secret rejoicing this news occasioned us.

The question now was, how to get the fugitives back again. The Agent
could promise no more than that he would communicate with the chiefs,
and represent the wishes of the officers that the prisoners should once
more surrender themselves, and thus free those who had had the charge of
them from the imputation of carelessness, which the Government would be
very likely to throw upon them.

When, according to their custom, many of the chiefs assembled at the
Agency on New-Year's Day, their Father laid the subject before them.

The Indians replied, that _if they saw the young men_ they would tell
them what the officers would like to have them do. They could,
themselves, do nothing in the matter. They had fulfilled their
engagement by bringing them once and putting them in the hands of the
officers. The Government had had them in its power once and could not
keep them--it must now go and catch them itself.

The Government, having had some experience the past summer in "catching
Indians," wisely concluded to drop the matter.

About this time another event occurred which occasioned no small
excitement in our little community. Robineau, the striker from the
blacksmith establishment at Sugar Creek, near the Four Lakes, arrived
one very cold day at the Agency. He had come to procure medical aid for
Mâtâ's eldest daughter, Sophy, who, while sliding on the lake, had
fallen on the ice and been badly hurt. Her father was absent, having
gone to Prairie du Chien to place his youngest daughter at school. Two
or three days had elapsed since the accident had happened; a high fever
had set in, and the poor girl was in a state of great suffering; it had
therefore been thought best to send Robineau to us for advice and aid,
leaving Turcotte and a friendly Indian woman from a neighboring lodge to
take charge of poor Sophy.

The commanding officer did not think it prudent, when the subject was
laid before him, to permit the surgeon to leave the post, but he very
cheerfully granted leave of absence to Currie, the hospital steward, a
young man who possessed some knowledge of medicine and surgery.

As it was important that Sophy should have an experienced nurse, we
procured the services of Madame Bellaire, the wife of the Frenchman who
was generally employed as express to Chicago; and, as an aid and
companion, Agathe, a daughter of Day-kau-ray, who lived in Paquette's
family, was added to the party.

Of Agathe I shall have more to say hereafter.

The weather was excessively cold when Robineau, Currie, and the two
women set out for Sugar Creek, a distance of about forty miles. We had
provided them with a good store of rice, crackers, tea, and sugar, for
the invalid, all of which, with their provisions for the way, were
packed on the horse Robineau had ridden to the Portage. It was expected
they would reach their place of destination on the second day.

What, then, was our surprise to see Turcotte make his appearance on the
fourth day after their departure, to inquire why Robineau had not
returned with aid for poor Sophy! There was but one solution of the
mystery. Robineau had guided them as ill as he had guided the boat at
the Grande Chûte the summer before, and, although he could not shipwreck
them, he had undoubtedly lost them in the woods or prairies. One comfort
was, that they could not well starve, for the rice and crackers would
furnish them with several days' provisions, and with Agathe, who must be
accustomed to this kind of life, they could not fail in time of finding
Indians, and being brought back to the Portage.

Still, day after day went on and we received no tidings of them.
Turcotte returned to Sugar Creek with comforts and prescriptions for
Sophy, and Colonel Cutler sent out a party to hunt for the missing ones,
among whom poor Currie, from his delicate constitution, was the object
of our greatest commiseration.

As the snow fell and the winds howled, we could employ ourselves about
nothing but walking from window to window, watching, in hopes of seeing
some one appear in the distance. No Indians were at hand whom we could
dispatch upon the search, and by the tenth day we had almost given up in

It was then that the joyful news was suddenly brought us, "They are
found! They are at the Fort!" A party of soldiers who had been exploring
had encountered them at Hastings's Woods, twelve miles distant, slowly
and feebly making their way back to the Portage. They knew they were on
the right track, but had hardly strength to pursue it.

Exhausted with cold and hunger, for their provisions had given out two
days before, they had thought seriously of killing the horse and eating
him. Nothing but Currie's inability to proceed on foot, and the dread of
being compelled to leave him in the woods to perish, had deterred them.

Agathe had from the first been convinced that they were on the wrong
track, but Robineau, with his usual obstinacy, persevered in keeping it
until it brought them to the Rock River, when he was obliged to
acknowledge his error, and they commenced retracing their steps.

Agathe, according to the custom of her people, had carried her hatchet
with her, and thus they had always had a fire at night, and boughs to
shelter them from the storms; otherwise they must inevitably have

There were two circumstances which aroused in us a stronger feeling even
than that of sympathy. The first was, the miserable Robineau's having
demanded of Currie, first, all his money, and afterwards his watch, as a
condition of his bringing the party back into the right path, which he
averred he knew perfectly well.

The second was, Bellaire's giving his kind, excellent wife a hearty
flogging "for going off," as he said, "on such a fool's errand."

The latter culprit was out of our jurisdiction, but Mons. Robineau was
discharged on the spot, and warned that he might think himself happy to
escape a legal process for swindling.

I am happy to say that Sophy Mâtâ, in whose behalf all these sufferings
had been endured, was quite recovered by the time her father returned
from the Prairie.



Agathe was the daughter of an Indian who was distinguished by the name
of _Rascal_ Day-kau-ray. Whether he merited the appellation must be
determined hereafter. He was brother to the grand old chief of that
name, but as unlike him as it is possible for those of the same blood to

The Day-kau-rays were a very handsome family, and this daughter was
remarkable for her fine personal endowments. A tall, well-developed
form, a round, sweet face, and that peculiarly soft, melodious voice
which belongs to the women of her people, would have attracted the
attention of a stranger, while the pensive expression of her countenance
irresistibly drew the hearts of all towards her, and prompted the wish
to know more of her history. As I received it from her friend, Mrs.
Paquette, it was indeed a touching one.

A young officer at the Fort had seen her, and had set, I will not say
his heart--it may be doubted if he had one--but his mind upon her. He
applied to Paquette to negotiate what he called a marriage with her. I
am sorry to say that Paquette was induced to enter into this scheme. He
knew full well the sin of making false representations to the family of
Agathe, and he knew the misery he was about to bring upon her.

The poor girl had been betrothed to a young man of her own people, and,
as is generally the case, the attachment on both sides was very strong.
Among these simple people, who have few subjects of thought or
speculation beyond the interests of their daily life, their affections
and their animosities form the warp and woof of their character. All
their feelings are intense, from being concentrated on so few objects.
Family relations, particularly with the women, engross the whole amount
of their sensibilities.

The marriage connection is a sacred and indissoluble tie. I have read,
in a recent report to the Historical Society of Wisconsin, that, in
former times, a temporary marriage between a white man and a Menomonee
woman was no uncommon occurrence, and that such an arrangement brought
no scandal, I am afraid that if such eases were investigated, a good
deal of deceit and misrepresentation would be found to have been added
to the other sins of the transaction; and that the woman would be found
to have been a victim, instead of a willing participant, in such a

At all events, no system of this kind exists among the Winnebagoes. The
strictest sense of female propriety is a distinguishing trait among
them. A woman who transgresses it is said to have "forgotten herself,"
and is sure to be cast off and "forgotten" by her friends.

The marriage proposed between the young officer and the daughter of
Day-kau-ray, was understood as intended to be true and lasting. The
father would not have exposed himself to the contempt of his whole
nation by selling his daughter to become the mistress of any man. The
Day-kau-rays, as I have elsewhere said, were not a little proud of a
remote cross of French blood which mingled with the aboriginal stream in
their veins, and probably in acceding to the proposed connection the
father of Agathe was as much influenced by what he considered the honor
to be derived as by the amount of valuable presents which accompanied
the overtures made to him.

Be that as it may, the poor girl was torn from her lover, and
transferred from her father's lodge to the quarters of the young

There were no ladies in the garrison at that time. Had there been, such
a step would hardly have been ventured. Far away in the wilderness, shut
out from the salutary influences of religious and social cultivation,
what wonder that the moral sense sometimes becomes blinded, and that the
choice is made, "Evil, be thou my good!"

The first step in wrong was followed by one still more aggravated in
cruelty. The young officer left the post, as he said, on furlough, but
_he never returned_. The news came after a time that he was married, and
when he again joined his regiment it was at another post.

There was a natural feeling in the strength of the "woe pronounced
against him" by more tongues than one. "He will never," said my
informant, "dare show himself in this country again! Not an Indian who
knows the Day-kau-rays but would take his life if he should meet him!"

Every tie was broken for poor Agathe but that which bound her to her
infant. She never returned to her father's lodge, for she felt that,
being deserted, she was dishonored. Her sole ambition seemed to be to
bring up her child like those of the whites. She attired it in the
costume of the French children, with a dress of bright calico, and a cap
of the same, trimmed with narrow black lace. It was a fine child, and
the only time I ever saw a smile cross her face was when it was
commended and caressed by some member of our family.

Even this, her only source of happiness, poor Agathe was called upon to
resign. During our absence at Green Bay, while the Sauks were in the
neighborhood, the child was taken violently ill. The house at
Paquette's, which was the mother's home, was thronged with Indians, and
of course there was much noise and disturbance. My husband had a place
prepared for her under our roof, where she could be more quiet, and
receive the attendance of the post physician. It was all in
vain--nothing could save the little creature's life. The bitter agony of
the mother, as she hung over the only treasure she possessed on earth,
was described to me as truly heart-rending. When compelled to part with
it, it seemed almost more than nature could bear. There were friends,
not of her own nation or color, who strove to comfort her. Did the
father ever send a thought or an inquiry after the fate of his child, or
of the young being whose life he had rendered dark and desolate? We will
hope that he did--that he repented and asked pardon from above for the
evil he had wrought.

Agathe had been baptized by M. Mazzuchelli. Perhaps she may have
acquired some religious knowledge which could bring her consolation in
her sorrows, and compensate her for the hopes and joys so early blasted.

She came, some months after the death of her child, in company with
several of the half-breed women of the neighborhood, to pay me a visit
of respect and congratulation on the advent of the _young
Shaw-nee-aw-kee._ When she looked at her "little brother," as he was
called, and took his soft, tiny hand within her own, the tears stood in
her eyes, and she spoke some little words of tenderness, which showed
that her heart was full. I could scarcely refrain from mingling my tears
with hers, as I thought on all the sorrow and desolation that one man's
selfishness had occasioned.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in February, 1833, my husband and Lieutenant Hunter, in company
with one or two others, set off on a journey to Chicago. That place had
become so much of a town (it contained perhaps fifty inhabitants) that
it was necessary for the proprietors of "Kinzie's Addition" to lay out
lots and open streets through their property. All this was accomplished
during the visit in question.

While they were upon the ground with a surveyor, the attention of my
husband was drawn towards a very bright-looking boy in Indian costume,
who went hopping along by the side of the assistant that carried the
chain, mimicking him as in the course of his operations he cried,
"Stick!" "stuck!" He inquired who the lad was, and, to his surprise,
learned that he was the brother of the old family servants Victoire,
Genevieve, and Baptiste. Tomah, for that was his name, had never been
arrayed in civilized costume; he was in blanket and leggings, and had
always lived in a wigwam. My husband inquired if he would like to go to
Fort Winnebago with him and learn to be a white boy. The idea pleased
him much, and, his mother having given her sanction to the arrangement,
he was packed in a wagon, with the two gentlemen and their travelling
gear, when they set forth on their return-journey.

Tomah had been equipped in jacket and trousers, with the other articles
of apparel necessary to his new sphere and character. They were near the
Aux Plaines, and approaching the residence of Glode (Claude)
Laframboise, where Tomah knew he should meet acquaintances. He asked
leave to get out of the wagon and walk a little way. When the gentlemen
next saw him he was in full Pottowattamie costume: although it was
bitter winter weather, he had put on his uncomfortable native garb
rather than show himself to his old friends in a state of

On his arrival at Fort Winnebago, our first care was to furnish him
with a complete wardrobe, which, having been placed in a box in his
sleeping-apartment, was put under his charge. Words cannot express his
delight as the valuable possessions were confided to him. Every spare
moment was devoted to their contemplation. Now and then Tomah would be
missing. He was invariably found seated by the side of his little trunk,
folding and refolding his clothes, laying them now lengthwise, now
crosswise, the happiest of mortals.

Our next step was to teach him to be useful. Such little offices were
assigned to him at first as might be supposed not altogether new to him,
but we soon observed that when there was anything in the shape of work,
Tomah slipped off to bed, even if it were before he had taken his
supper. Some fish were given him one evening to scale; it was just at
dark; but Tom, according to custom, retired at once to bed.

The cook came to inquire what was to be done. I was under the necessity
of calling in my husband's aid as interpreter. He sent for Tomah. When
he came into the parlor Mr. Kinzie said to him, in Pottowattamie,--

"There are some fish, Tomah, in the kitchen, and we want you to scale

"Now?" exclaimed Tom, with an expression of amazement. "It is very

A young lady, Miss Rolette, who was visiting us, and who understood the
language, could not refrain from bursting into a laugh at the simplicity
with which the words were uttered, and we joined her in sympathy, at
which Tom looked a little indignant; but when he understood that it was
the _white custom_ to scale the fish at night, and put salt and pepper
on them, he was soon reconciled to do his duty in the matter.

His next office was to lay the table. There was a best service of
china, which was only used when we had company, and a best set of
teaspoons, which I kept in the drawer of a bureau in my own room
above-stairs. I Was in the habit of keeping this drawer locked, and
putting the key under a small clock on the mantel-piece. The first time
that I had shown Tomah how to arrange matters for visitors, I had
brought the silver and put it on the table myself.

Soon after, we were to have company to tea again, and I explained to
Tomah that the best china must be used. What was my surprise, on going
through the dining-room a short time after, to see not only the new
china, but the "company silver" also, on the table! I requested our
mother, who could speak with him, to inquire into the matter.

Tomah said, very coolly, "He got the silver where it was kept."

"Did he find the drawer open?"

"No--he opened it with a key."

"Was the key in the drawer?"

"No--it was under that thing on the shelf."

"How did he know it was kept there?"

This was what Mr. Tomah declined telling. We could never ascertain
whether he had watched my movements at any time. No one had ever seen
him in that part of the house, and yet scarcely an article could be
mentioned of which Tomah did not know the whereabouts. If any one was
puzzled to find a thing, it was always,--

"Ask Tomah--he will tell you." And so in fact he did.

He was a subject of much amusement to the young officers. We were to
have a tea-party one evening--all the families and young officers from
the Fort. To make Tomah's appearance as professional as possible, we
made him a white apron with long sleeves to put on while he was helping
Mary and Josette to carry round tea--for I must acknowledge that Tomah's
clothes were not kept in as nice order out of the trunk as in it.

Tom was delighted with his new costume, as well as with the new
employment. He acquitted himself to perfection, for he had never any
difficulty in imitating what he saw another do. After tea we had some
music. As I was standing by the piano, at which one of the ladies was
seated, Lieutenant Vancleve said to me, in a low tone,--

"Look behind you a moment."

I turned. There sat Tom between two of the company, as stately as
possible, with his white apron smoothed down, and his hands clasped
before him, listening to the music, and on the best possible terms with
himself and all around him. Julian and Edwin were hardly able to
restrain their merriment, but they were afraid to do or say anything
that would cause him to move before the company had had a full enjoyment
of the scene. It was voted unanimously that Tomah should be permitted to
remain and enjoy the pleasures of society for one evening; but, with
characteristic restlessness, he got tired as soon as the music was over,
and unceremoniously took his leave of the company.



What we had long anticipated of the sufferings of the Indians began to
manifest itself as the spring drew on. Its extent was first brought to
our knowledge by those who came in little parties begging for food.

As long as it was possible to issue occasional rations their Father
continued to do so, but the supplies in the Commissary Department were
now so much reduced that Colonel Cutler did not feel justified in
authorizing anything beyond a scanty relief, and this only in extreme

We had ourselves throughout the winter used the greatest economy with
our own stores, that we might not exhaust our slender stock of flour and
meal before it could be replenished from "below." We had even purchased
some sour flour which had been condemned by the commissary, and had
contrived, by a plentiful use of saleratus and a due proportion of
potatoes, to make of it a very palatable kind of bread. But as we had
continued to give to party after party, when they would come to us to
represent their famishing condition, the time at length arrived when we
had nothing to give.

The half-breed families of the neighborhood, who had, like ourselves,
continued to share with the needy as long as their own stock lasted,
were now obliged, of necessity, to refuse further assistance. These
women often came to lament with us over the sad accounts that were
brought from the wintering grounds. It had been a very open winter. The
snow had scarcely been enough at any time to permit the Indians to track
the deer; in fact, all the game had been driven off by the troops and
war-parties scouring the country through the preceding summer.

We heard of their dying by companies from mere inanition, and lying
stretched in the road to the Portage, whither they were striving to drag
their exhausted frames. Soup made of the bark of the slippery elm, or
stewed acorns, were the only food that many had subsisted on for weeks.

We had for a long time received our own food by daily rations from the
garrison, for things had got to such a pass that there was no
possibility of obtaining a barrel of flour at a time. After our meals
were finished I always went into the pantry, and collecting carefully
every remaining particle of food set it aside, to be given to some of
the wretched applicants by whom we were constantly thronged.

One day as I was thus employed, a face appeared at the window with which
I had once been familiar. It was the pretty daughter of the elder
Day-kau-ray. She had formerly visited us often, watching with great
interest our employments--our sewing, our weeding and cultivating the
garden, or our reading. Of the latter, I had many times endeavored to
give her some idea, showing her the plates in the Family Bible, and
doing my best to explain them to her, but of late I had quite lost sight
of her. Now, how changed, how wan she looked! As I addressed her with my
ordinary phrase, "_Tshah-ko-zhah_?" (What is it?) she gave a sigh that
was almost a sob. She did not beg, but her countenance spoke volumes.

I took my dish and handed it to her, expecting to see her devour the
contents eagerly; but no--she took it, and, making signs that she would
soon return, walked away. When she brought it back, I was almost sure
she had not tasted a morsel herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

Oh! the boats--the boats with the corn! Why did they not come? We both
wrote and sent to hasten them, but, alas! everything and everybody moved
so slowly in those unenterprising times! We could only feel sure that
they would come when they were ready, and not a moment before.

We were soon obliged to keep both doors and windows fast, to shut out
the sight of misery we could not relieve. If a door were opened for the
admission of a member of the family, some wretched mother would rush in,
grasp the hand of my infant, and, placing that of her famishing child
within it, tell us, pleadingly, that he was imploring "his little
brother" for food. The stoutest man could not have beheld with dry eyes
the heart-rending spectacle which often presented itself. It was in vain
that we screened the lower portion of our windows with curtains. They
would climb up on the outside, and tier upon tier of gaunt, wretched
faces would peer in above, to watch us, and see if indeed we were as ill
provided as we represented ourselves.

The noble old Day-kau-ray came one day, from the Barribault, to apprise
us of the state of his village. More than forty of his people, he said,
had now been for many days without food, save bark and roots. My husband
accompanied him to the commanding officer to tell his story and
ascertain if any amount of food could be obtained from that quarter. The
result was, the promise of a small allowance of flour, sufficient to
alleviate the cravings of his own family.

When this was explained to the chief, he turned away. "No," he said,
"if his people could not be relieved, he and his family would starve
with them!" And he refused, for those nearest and dearest to him, the
proffered succor, until all could share alike.

The announcement, at length, that "the boats were in sight," was a
thrilling and most joyful sound.

Hundreds of poor creatures were assembled on the bank, watching their
arrival. Oh! how torturing was their slow approach, by the winding
course of the river, through the extended prairie! As the first boat
touched the land, we, who were gazing on the scene with anxiety and
impatience only equalled by that of the sufferers, could scarcely
refrain from laughing, to see old Wild-Cat, who had somewhat fallen off
in his huge amount of flesh, seize "the Washington Woman" in his arms
and hug and dance with her in the ecstasy of his delight.

Their Father made a sign to them all to fall to work with their
hatchets, which they had long held ready, and in an incredibly short
time barrel after barrel of corn was broken open and emptied, while even
the little children possessed themselves of pans and kettles full, and
hastened to the fires that were blazing around to parch and cook that
which they had seized.

From this time forward, there was no more destitution. The present
abundance was immediately followed by the arrival of supplies for the
Commissary's Department; and, refreshed and invigorated, our poor
children departed once more to their villages, to make ready their crops
for the ensuing season.

In the course of the spring, we received a visit from the Rev. Mr. Kent
and Mrs. Kent, of Galena. This event is memorable, as being the first
occasion on which the gospel, according to the Protestant faith, was
preached at Fort Winnebago. The large parlor of the hospital was fitted
up for the service, and gladly did we each say to the other, "Let us go
to the house of the Lord!"

For nearly three years had we lived here without the blessing of a
public service of praise and thanksgiving. We regarded this commencement
as an omen of better times, and our little "sewing-society" worked with
renewed industry, to raise a fund Which might be available hereafter in
securing the permanent services of a missionary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Not long after this, on a fine spring morning, as we were seated at
breakfast, a party of Indians entered the parlor, and came to the door
of the room where we were. Two of them passed through, and went out upon
a small portico--the third remained standing in the door-way at which he
had at first appeared. He was nearly opposite me, and as I raised my
eyes, spite of his change of dress, and the paint with which he was
covered, I at once recognized him.

I continued to pour the coffee, and, as I did so, I remarked to my
husband, "The one behind you, with whom you are speaking, is one of the
escaped prisoners."

Without turning his head, Mr. Kinzie continued to listen to all the
directions they were giving him about the repairing of their guns,
traps, etc., which they wished to leave with the blacksmith. As they
went on, he carelessly turned towards the parlor door, and replied to
the one speaking to him. When he again addressed me, it was to say,--

"You are right, but it is no affair of ours. We are none of us to look
so as to give him notice that we suspect anything. They are undoubtedly
innocent, and have suffered enough already."

Contrary to his usual custom, their Father did not ask their names, but
wrote their directions, which he tied to their different implements, and
then bade them go and deliver them themselves to M. Morrin.

The rest of our circle were greatly pleased at the young fellow's
audacity, and we quite longed to tell the officers that we could have
caught one of their fugitives for them, if we had had a mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

The time had now come when we began to think seriously of leaving our
pleasant home, and taking up our residence at Detroit, while making
arrangements for a permanent settlement at Chicago.

This intelligence, when communicated to our Winnebago children, brought
forth great lamentations and demonstrations of regret. From the
surrounding country they came flocking in, to inquire into the truth of
the tidings they had heard, and to petition earnestly that we would
continue to live and die among them.

Among them all, no one seemed so overwhelmed with affliction as
Elizabeth, our poor _Cut-Nose_. When we first told her of our intention,
she sat for hours in the same spot, wiping away the tears that would
find their way down her cheeks, with the corner of the chintz shawl she
wore pinned across her bosom.

"No! I never, never, never shall I find such friends again," she would
exclaim. "You will go away, and I shall be left here _all alone_."

Wild-Cat, too, the fat, jolly Wild-Cat, gave way to the most audible

"Oh, my little brother," he said to the baby, on the morning of our
departure, when he had insisted on taking him and seating him on his
fat, dirty knee, "you will never come back to see your poor brother

And having taken an extra glass on the occasion, he wept like an infant.

It was with sad hearts that on the morning of the 1st of July, 1888, we
bade adieu to the long cortége which followed us to the boat, now
waiting to convey us to Green Bay, where we were to meet Governor Porter
and Mr. Brush, and proceed, under their escort, to Detroit.

When they had completed their tender farewells, they turned to accompany
their father across the Portage, on his route to Chicago, and long
after, we could see them winding along the road, and hear their loud
lamentations at a parting which they foresaw would be forever.



As I have given throughout the Narrative of the Sauk War the impressions
we received from our own observation, or from information furnished us
at the time, I think it but justice to Black Hawk and his party to
insert, by way of Appendix, the following account, preserved among the
manuscript records of the late Thomas Forsyth, Esq., of St. Louis, who,
after residing among the Indians many years as a trader, was, until the
year 1830, the Agent of the Sauks and Foxes. The manuscript was written
in 1832, while Black Hawk and his compatriots were in prison at
Jefferson Barracks.

"The United States troops under the command of Major Stoddard arrived
here[58] and took possession of this country in the month of February,
1804. In the spring of that year, a white person (a man or boy) was
killed in Cuivre Settlement, by a Sauk Indian Some time in the summer
following, a party of United States troops were sent up to the Sauk
village on Rocky Biver, and a demand made of the Sauk chiefs for the
murderer. The Sauk chiefs did not hesitate a moment, but delivered him
up to the commander of the troops, who brought him down and delivered
him over to the civil authority in this place (St. Louis).

"Some time in the ensuing autumn some Sauk and Fox Indians came to this
place, and had a conversation with General Harrison (then Governor of
Indiana Territory, and acting Governor of this State, then Territory of
Louisiana) on the subject of liberating their relative, then in prison
at this place for the above-mentioned murder.

"Quash-quame, a Sauk chief, who was the head man of this party, has
repeatedly said, 'Mr. Pierre Chouteau, Sen., came several times to my
camp, offering that if I would sell the lands on the east side of the
Mississippi River, Governor Harrison would liberate my relation (meaning
the Sauk Indian then in prison as above related), to which I at last
agreed, and sold the lands from the mouth of the Illinois River up the
Mississippi River as high as the mouth of Rocky River (now Rock River),
and east to the ridge that divides the waters of the Mississippi and
Illinois Rivers; but I never sold any more lands.' Quash-quame also said
to Governor Edwards, Governor Clarke, and Mr. Auguste Chouteau,
Commissioners appointed to treat with the Chippewas, Ottawas, and
Pottowattamies of Illinois River, in the summer of 1816, for lands on
the west side of Illinois River,--

"'You white men may put on paper what you please, but again I tell you,
I never sold any lands higher up the Mississippi than the mouth of Rocky

"In the treaty first mentioned, the line commences opposite to the mouth
of Gasconade River, and running in a direct line to the head-waters of
Jefferson[59] River, thence down that river to the Mississippi
River--thence up the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Ouisconsin
River--thence up that river thirty-six miles--thence in a direct line to
a little lake in Fox River of Illinois, down Fox River to Illinois
River, down Illinois River to its mouth--thence down the Mississippi
River to the mouth of Missouri River--thence up that river to the place
of beginning. See treaty dated at St. Louis, 4th November, 1804.

"The Sauk and Fox nations were never consulted, nor had any hand in this
treaty, nor knew anything about it. It was made and signed by two Sauk
chiefs, one Fox chief and one warrior.

"When the annuities were delivered to the Sauk and Fox nations of
Indians, according to the treaty above referred to (amounting to $1000
per annum), the Indians always thought they were presents (as the
annuity for the first twenty years was always paid in goods, sent on
from Georgetown, District of Columbia, and poor articles of merchandise
they were, very often damaged and not suitable for Indians), until I, as
their Agent, convinced them of the contrary, in the summer of 1818. When
the Indians heard that the goods delivered to them were annuities for
land sold by them to the United States, they were astonished, and
refused to accept of the goods, denying that they ever sold the lands as
stated by me, their Agent. The Black Hawk in particular, who was present
at the time, made a great noise about this land, and would never receive
any part of the annuities from that time forward. He always denied the
authority of Quash-quame and others to sell any part of their lands, and
told the Indians not to receive any presents or annuities from any
American--otherwise their lands would be claimed at some future day.

"As the United States do insist, and retain the lands according to the
treaty of November 4, 1804, why do they not fulfil _their_ part of that
treaty as equity demands?

"The Sauk and Fox nations are allowed, according to that treaty, 'to
live and hunt on the lands so ceded, as long as the aforesaid lands
belong to the United States.' In the spring of the year 1827, about
twelve or fifteen families of squatters arrived and took possession of
the Sauk village, near the mouth of the Rocky River. They immediately
commenced destroying the Indians' bark boats. Some were burned, others
were torn to pieces, and when the Indians arrived at the village, and
found fault with the destruction of their property, they were beaten and
abused by the squatters.

"The Indians made complaint to me, as their Agent. I wrote to General
Clarke,[60] stating to him from time to time what happened, and giving a
minute detail of everything that passed between the whites (squatters)
and the Indians.

"The squatters insisted that the Indians should be removed from their
village, saying that as soon as the land was brought into market they
(the squatters) would buy it all. It became needless for me to show them
the treaty, and the right the Indians had to remain on their lands. They
tried every method to annoy the Indians, by shooting their dogs,
claiming their horses, complaining that the Indians' horses broke into
their corn-fields--selling them whiskey for the most trifling articles,
contrary to the wishes and request of the chiefs, particularly the Black
Hawk, who both solicited and threatened them on the subject, but all to
no purpose.

"The President directed those lands to be sold at the Land Office, in
Springfield, Illinois. Accordingly, when the time came that they were to
be offered for sale (in the autumn of 1828), there were about twenty
families of squatters at, and in the vicinity of, the old Sauk village,
most of whom attended the sale, and but one of them could purchase a
quarter-section (if we except George Davenport, a trader who resides in
Rocky Island). Therefore, all the land not sold, still belonged to the
United States, and the Indians had still a right, by treaty, to hunt and
live on those lands. This right, however, was not allowed them--they
must move off.

"In 1830, the principal chiefs, and others of the Sauk and Fox Indians
who resided at the old village, near Rocky River, acquainted me that
they would remove to their village on Ihoway River. These chiefs advised
me to write to General Clarke, Superintendent of Indian Affairs at this
place (St. Louis), to send up a few militia--that the Black Hawk and his
followers would then see that everything was in earnest, and they would
remove to the west side of the Mississippi, to their own lands.

"The letter, as requested by the chiefs, was written and sent by me to
General Clarke, but he did not think proper to answer it--therefore
everything remained as formerly, and, as a matter of course, the Black
Hawk and his party thought the whole matter of removing from the old
village had blown over.

"In the spring of 1831, the Black Hawk and his party were augmented by
many Indians from Ihoway River. This augmentation of forces made the
Black Hawk very proud, and he supposed nothing would be done about
removing him and his party.

"General Gaines visited the Black Hawk and his party this season, with a
force of regulars and militia, and compelled them to remove to the west
side of the Mississippi River, on their own lands.

"When the Black Hawk and party recrossed to the east side of the
Mississippi River in 1832, they numbered three hundred and sixty-eight
men. They were hampered with many women and children, and had no
intention to make war. When attacked by General Stillman's detachment,
they defended themselves like men; and I would ask, who would not do
so, likewise? Thus the war commenced.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Indians had been defeated, dispersed, and some of the principal
chiefs are now in prison and in chains, at Jefferson Barracks....

"It is very well known, by all who know the Black Hawk, that he has
always been considered a friend to the whites. Often has he taken into
his lodge the wearied white man, given him good food to eat, and a good
blanket to sleep on before the fire. Many a good meal has _the Prophet_
given to people travelling past his village, and very many stray horses
has he recovered from the Indians and restored to their rightful owners,
without asking any recompense whatever....

"What right have we to tell any people, 'You shall not cross the
Mississippi River on any pretext whatever'? When the Sauk and Fox
Indians wish to cross the Mississippi, to visit their relations among
the Pottowattamies of Fox River, Illinois, they are prevented by us,
_because we have the power_!"

I omit the old gentleman's occasional comments upon the powers that
dictated, and the forces which carried on, the warfare of this unhappy
summer. There is every reason to believe that had his suggestions been
listened to, and had he continued the Agent of the Sauks and Foxes, a
sad record might have been spared,--we should assuredly not have been
called to chronicle the untimely fate of his successor, the unfortunate
M. St. Vrain, who, a comparative stranger to his people, was murdered by
them, in their exasperated fury, at Kellogg's Grove, soon after the
commencement of the campaign.


It seems appropriate to notice in this place the subsequent appearance
before the public of one of the personages casually mentioned in the
foregoing narrative.

In the autumn of 1864 we saw advertised for exhibition at Wood's Museum,
Chicago, "The most remarkable instance of longevity on record--the
venerable Joseph Crély, born on the 13th of September, 1726, and having
consequently reached, at this date, the age of ONE HUNDRED AND
THIRTY-NINE YEARS!" Sundry particulars followed of his life and history,
and, above all, of his recollections.

"Well done for old Crély!" said my husband, when he had gone through the
long array. "Come, let us go over to Wood's Museum and renew our
acquaintance with the venerable gentleman."

I did not need a second invitation, for I was curious to witness the
wonders which the whirligig of time had wrought with our old _employé_.

We chose an early hour for our visit, that we might pay our respects to
both him and the granddaughter who had him in charge, unembarrassed by
the presence of strangers.

In a large room on the second floor of the building, among cages of
birds and animals, some stuffed, others still living, we perceived,
seated by a window, a figure clad in bright cashmere dressing-gown and
gay tasselled cap, tranquilly smoking a tah-nee-hoo-rah, or long Indian
pipe. His form was upright, his face florid, and less changed than might
have been expected by the thirty-one years that had elapsed since we had
last seen him. He was alone, and my husband addressed him at first in

"Good-morning, M. Crély. Do you remember me?"

He shook his head emphatically. "Je ne comprends pas. Je ne me
ressouviens de rien--je suis vieux, vieux--le treize Septembre, mil sept
cent vingt-six, je suis né. Non, non," with a few gentle shakes of the
head, "je ne puis rappeler rien--je suis vieux, vieux."[61]

My husband changed his inquiries to the patois which Crély could not
feign not to comprehend.

"Where is your granddaughter? I am acquainted with her, and would like
to speak with her."

The old man sprang up with the greatest alacrity, and, running to a door
in the wooden partition which cut off a corner of the room and thus
furnished an apartment for the ancient phenomenon, he rapped vigorously,
and called, in accents quite unlike his former feeble, drawling tones,--

"Thérèse, Thérèse--il y a icite un monsieur qui voudrait vous voir."[62]

The granddaughter presently made her appearance. She looked shyly at my
husband from under her brows.

"Do you know me, Thérèse?" he asked.

"Yes, sir. It is Mr. Kinzie."

"And do you know me also?" I said, approaching. She looked at me and
shook her head.

"No, I do not," she replied.

"What, Thérèse! Have you forgotten Madame John, who taught you to
read--you and all the little girls at the Portage?"

"Oh, my heavens, Mrs. Kinzie!--but you have changed so!"

"Yes, Thérèse, I have grown old in all these years; but I have not grown
old quite so fast as your grandpapa here."

There was a flash in her eye that told she felt my meaning. She hung
her head without speaking, while the color deepened over her

"Now," said I, in French, to the grandfather, "you remember me--"

He interrupted me with a protest, "Non, non--je ne puis rappeler
rien--je suis vieux, vieux--le treize Septembre, mil sept cent
vingt-six, je suis né à Detroit."

"And you recollect," I went on, not heeding his formula, "how I came to
the Portage a bride, and lived in the old cabins that the soldiers had

"Eh b'an! oui--oui--"

"And how you helped make the garden for me--and how Plante and Manaigre
finished the new house so nicely while Monsieur John was away for the
silver--and how there was a feast after it was completed--"

"Ah! oui, oui--pour le sûr."

"And where are all our people now?" I asked, turning to Thérèse. "Louis
Frum _dit_ Manaigre--is he living?"

"Oh, Madame Kinzie! You remember that--Manaigre having two names?"

"Yes, Thérèse--I remember everything connected with those old times at
the Portage. Who among our people there are living?"

"Only Manaigre is left," she said.

"Mais, mais, Thérèse," interposed the old man, "Manaigre's daughter
Geneviève is living." It was a comfort to find our visit of such
miraculous benefit to his memory.

"And the Puans--are any of them left?" I asked.

"Not more than ten or twelve, I think--" Again her grandfather promptly
contradicted her:--

"Mais, mais, je compte b'an qu'il y en a quinze ou seize, Thérèse;" and
he went quite glibly over the names of such of his red friends as still
hovered around their old home in that vicinity.

He was in the full tide of gay reminiscence, touching upon experiences
and adventures of long ago, and recalling Indian and half-breed
acquaintances of former days, when footsteps approached, and the
entrance of eager, curious visitors suddenly reminded him of his
appointed rôle. It was marvellous how instantaneously he subsided into
the superannuated driveller who was to bear away the bell from Old Parr
and all the Emperor Alexander's far-sought fossils.

"Je suis vieux, vieux--l'an mil sept cent vingt-six--le treize
Septembre, à Detroit--- je ne puis rappeler rien."

Not another phrase could "all the King's armies, or all the King's men,"
have extorted from him.

So we left him to the admiring comments of the new-comers. I think it
should be added, in extenuation of what would otherwise seem a gross
imposture, that his granddaughter was really ignorant of Crély's exact
age--that he, being ever a gasconading fellow, was quite ready to
personate that certain Joseph Crély whose name appears on the baptismal
records of the Church in Detroit of the year 1726. He was, moreover,
pleased with the idea of being gaily dressed and going on a tour to see
the world, and doubtless rejoiced, also, in the prospect of relieving
his poor granddaughter of a part of the burden of his maintenance. He
was probably at this time about ninety-five years of age. There are
those that knew him from 1830, who maintain that his age was a few years
less; but I take the estimate of Mr. Kinzie and H.L. Dousman, of Prairie
du Chien, who set him down, in 1864, at about the age I have assigned to



[Footnote 1: Corn which has been parboiled, shelled from the cob, and
dried in the sun.]

[Footnote 2: Literally, _crazy oats_. It is the French name for the

[Footnote 3: _Le Forgeron_, or Blacksmith, a Menomonee chief.]

[Footnote 4: A niece of James Fenimore Cooper.]

[Footnote 5: Master--or, to use the emphatic Yankee term, _boss_.]

[Footnote 6: Michaud climbed into a plum-tree, to gather plums. The
branch broke. _Michaud fell_! Where is he? _He is down on the ground_.
No, he is up in the tree.]

[Footnote 7: The supposed Dauphin of France.]

[Footnote 8: The site of the town of Nee-nah.]

[Footnote 9: The bark of the red willow, scraped fine, which is
preferred by the Indians to tobacco.]

[Footnote 10: General Cass was then Governor of Michigan, and
Superintendent of the Northwestern Indians.]

[Footnote 11: In the year 1714.]

[Footnote 12: Father! How do you do?]

[Footnote 13: Only look! what inventions! what wonders!]

[Footnote 14: Between two of these lakes is now situated the town of
Madison--the capital of the State of Wisconsin.]

[Footnote 15: I speak, it will be understood, of things as they existed
a quarter of a century ago.]

[Footnote 16: It was at this spot that the unfortunate St. Vrain lost
his life, during the Sauk war, in 1832.]

[Footnote 17: Probably at what is now Oswego. The name of a portion of
the wood is since corrupted into _Specie's Grove_.]

[Footnote 18: The honey-bee is not known in the perfectly wild countries
of North America. It is ever the pioneer of civilization, and the
Indians call it "_the white man's bird_."]

[Footnote 19: It was near this spot that the brother of Mr. Hawley, a
Methodist preacher, was killed by the Sauks, in 1832, after having been
tortured by them with the most wanton barbarity.]

[Footnote 20: Rivière Aux Plaines was the original French designation,
now changed to _Desplaines_, pronounced as in English.]

[Footnote 21: 1855.]

[Footnote 22: See Frontispiece.]

[Footnote 23: Since called N. State Street (1870).]

[Footnote 24: I can recall a petition that was circulated at the
garrison about this period, for "building a brigg over Michigan City."
By altering the orthography, it was found to mean, not the stupendous
undertaking it would seem to imply, but simply "building a bridge" over
_at_ Michigan City,--an accommodation much needed by travellers at that

[Footnote 25: The proper orthography of this word is undoubtedly
_slough_, as it invariably indicates something like that which Christian
fell into in flying from the City of Destruction. I spell it, however,
as it is pronounced.]

[Footnote 26: A gentleman who visited Chicago at that day, thus speaks
of it: "I passed over the ground from the fort to the Point, on
horseback. I was up to my stirrups in water the whole distance. I would
not have given sixpence an acre for the whole of it."]

[Footnote 27: See Narrative of the Massacre, p. 159.]

[Footnote 28: Mr. Cat.]

[Footnote 29: This Narrative, first published in pamphlet form in 1836,
was transferred, with little variation, to Brown's "History of
Illinois," and to a work called "Western Annals." It was likewise made,
by Major Richardson, the basis of his two tales, "Hardscrabble," and

[Footnote 30: Burns's house stood near the spot where the Agency
Building, or "Cobweb Castle," was afterwards erected, at the foot of N.
State Street.]

[Footnote 31: This is done by cutting the meat in thin slices, placing
it upon a scaffold, and making a fire under it, which dries it and
smokes it at the same time.]

[Footnote 32: A trading-establishment--now Ypsilanti.]

[Footnote 33: Captain Wells, when a boy, was stolen, by the Miami
Indians, from the family of Hon. Nathaniel Pope, in Kentucky. Although
recovered by them, he preferred to return and live among his new
friends. He married a Miami woman, and became a chief of the nation. He
was the father of the late Mrs. Judge Wolcott, of Maumee, Ohio.]

[Footnote 34: The spot now called Bertrand, then known as _Parc aux
Vaches,_ from its having been a favorite "stamping-ground" of the
buffalo which then abounded in the country.]

[Footnote 35: The exact spot of this encounter was about where 21st
Street crosses Indiana Avenue.]

[Footnote 36: Along the present State Street.]

[Footnote 37: Mrs. Holt is believed to be still living, in the State of

[Footnote 38: Billy Caldwell was a half-breed, and a chief of the
nation. In his reply, "_I am a Sau-ga-nash_," or Englishman, he designed
to convey, "I am a _white_ man." Had he said, "_I am a Pottowattamie_,"
it would have been interpreted to mean, "I belong to my nation, and am
prepared to go all lengths with them."]

[Footnote 39: Frenchman.]

[Footnote 40: The Pottowattamie chief, so well known to many of the
citizens of Chicago, now (1870) residing at the Aux Plaines.]

[Footnote 41: Twenty-two years after this, as I was on a journey to
Chicago in the steamer Uncle Sam, a young woman, hearing my name,
introduced herself to me, and, raising the hair from her forehead,
showed me the mark of the tomahawk which had so nearly been fatal to

[Footnote 42: Although this is the name our mother preserved of her
benefactor, it seems evident that this chief was in fact _Corn-Planter_,
a personage well known in the history of the times. There could hardly
have been two such prominent chiefs in the same village.]

[Footnote 43: From the French--_Tranche_, a deep cut.]

[Footnote 44: It is a singular fact that all the martins, of which there
were great numbers occupying the little houses constructed for them by
the soldiers, were observed to have disappeared from their homes on the
morning following the embarkation of the troops. After an absence of
five days they returned. They had perhaps taken a fancy to accompany
their old friends, but, finding they were not Mother Carey's chickens,
deemed it most prudent to return and reoccupy their old dwellings.]

[Footnote 45: It is now known as Dunkley's Grove.]

[Footnote 46: How the woods talk!]

[Footnote 47: It will be remembered that these were the arguments used
at a period when the Indians possessed most of the broad lands on the
Upper Mississippi and its tributaries--when they were still allowed some
share of the blessings of life.]

[Footnote 48: The Indians, in relating a story like this, apologize for
alluding to a revolting subject. "You will think this _unpleasant_,"
they say.]

[Footnote 49: Come in, my daughter.]

[Footnote 50: The Indians sing these words to an air peculiar to

[Footnote 51: Three streams or water courses of that region.]

[Footnote 52: See Appendix.]

[Footnote 53: As "the venerable Joseph Crély" has become historic from
his claim to have reached the age of one hundred and thirty-nine years,
I will state that at this period (1832) he was a hale, hearty man of
sixty years or less.]

[Footnote 54: The Indians who had "been at Washington" were very fond of
calling their Father thus. Black Wolf's son would go further, and
vociferate "K'hizzie," to show his familiarity.]

[Footnote 55: Fisher's Hornpipe.]

[Footnote 56: General Atkinson.]

[Footnote 57: A belt of land termed the Neutral Ground of the different
opposing nations.]

[Footnote 58: St. Louis, Mo.]

[Footnote 59: There is no such river in this country, therefore this
treaty is null and void--of no effect in law or equity. Such was the
opinion of the late Governor Howard. (T.F.)]

[Footnote 60: Superintendent of Indian Affairs at St. Louis.]

[Footnote 61: I do not understand. I remember nothing. I am very, very
old--the thirteenth of September, 1726, I was born. No, no--I can
recollect nothing. I am old, old.]

[Footnote 62: Thérèse, there is a gentleman here who wishes to see you.]

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