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Title: Summary Narrative of an Exploratory Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi River, in 1820 - Resumed and Completed, by the Discovery of its Origin in Itasca Lake, in 1832
Author: Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864
Language: English
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Resumed and Completed, by the Discovery of Its Origin
in Itasca Lake, in 1832.

By Authority of the United States.

With Appendixes,

Comprising the Original Report on the Copper Mines of Lake
Superior, and Observations on the Geology of the Lake Basins,
and the Summit of the Mississippi;

Together with
All the Official Reports and Scientific Papers of Both Expeditions.



Lippincott, Grambo, and Co.

Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year 1854, by
Lippincott, Grambo, and Co.,
in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United
States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.



SIR: Allow me to inscribe to you the following Journals, as an
illustration of my several reports on the mineral geography of the
regions visited by the recent Expedition under Governor Cass.

I beg you will consider it, not only as a proof of my anxiety to be
serviceable in the station occupied, but also as a tribute of individual
respect for those exertions which have been made, during your
administration of the War Department, to develop the physical character
and resources of all parts of our Western country; for the patronage it
has extended to the cause of geographical science; for the protection it
has afforded to a very extensive line of frontier settlements by
stretching a cordon of military posts around them; and for the notice it
has bestowed on one of the humblest cultivators of natural science.

    ALBANY, 1821.


The following pages embrace the substance of the narratives of two
distinct expeditions for the discovery of the sources of the Mississippi
River, under the authority of the United States. By connecting the
incidents of discovery, and of the facts brought to light during a
period of twelve years, unity is preserved in the prosecution of an
object of considerable importance in the progress of our geography and
natural history, at least, from the new impulse which they received
after the treaty of Ghent.

Geographers deem that branch of a river as its true source which
originates at the remotest distance from its mouth, and, agreeably to
this definition, the combined narratives, to which attention is now
called, show this celebrated stream to arise in Itasca Lake, the source
of the Itasca River.

Owing to the time which has intervened since these expeditions were
undertaken, a mere revision of the prior narrations, in the _journal
form_, was deemed inexpedient. A concise summary has, therefore, been
made, preserving whatever information it was thought important to be
known or remembered, and omitting all matters not partaking of permanent

To this summary, something has been added from the original manuscript
journals in his possession. The domestic organization and social habits
of the parties may thus be more perfectly understood. The sympathies
which bind men together in isolated or trying scenes are sources of
interest long after the link is severed, and the progress of science or
discovery has passed beyond the particular points at which they then
stood. Events pass with so much rapidity at present, in the diffusion of
our population over regions where, but lately, the Indian was the only
tenant, that we are in danger of having but a confused record of them,
if not of losing it altogether. It is some abatement of this fear to
know that there is always a portion of the community who take a pleasure
in remembering individuals; who have either ventured their lives, or
exerted their energies, to promote knowledge or advance discovery. It is
in this manner that, however intent an age may be in the plans which
engross it, the sober progress and attainments of the period are counted
up. An important fact discovered in the physical geography or natural
history of the country, if it be placed on record, remains a fact added
to the permanent stores of information. A new plant, a crystal, an
insect, or the humblest invertebrate object of the zoological chain, is
as incontestable an addition to scientific knowledge, as the finding of
remains to establish a new species of mastodon. They only differ in
interest and importance.

It is not the province of every age to produce a Linnæus, a Buffon, or a
Cuvier; but, such are the almost endless forms of vegetable and animal
life and organization--from the infusoria upward--that not a year
elapses which may not enlarge the boundaries of science. The record of
discovery is perpetually accumulating, and filling the list of
discoverers with humbler, yet worthy names. Whoever reads with care the
scientific desiderata here offered will find matter of description or
comment which has employed the pens of a Torrey, a Mitchell, a Cooper, a
Lea, a Barnes, a Houghton, and a Nicollet.

It is from considerations of this nature, that the author has appended
to this narrative the original observations, reports, and descriptions
made by his companions or himself, while engaged in these exploratory
journeys, together with the determinations made on such scientific
objects as were referred to other competent hands. These investigations
of the physical geography of the West, and the phenomena or resources of
the country, constitute, indeed, by far the most important permanent
acquisitions of the scrutiny devoted to them. They form the elements of
classes of facts which will retain their value, to men of research, when
the incidents of the explorations are forgotten, and its actors
themselves have passed to their final account.

It would have been desirable that what has here been done should have
been done at an earlier period; but it may be sufficient to say that
other objects engrossed the attention of the author for no small part of
the intervening period, and that he could not earlier control the
circumstances which the publication demanded. After his permanent return
from the West--where so many years of his life passed--it was his first
wish to accomplish a long-cherished desire of visiting England and the
Continent, in which America, and its manners and institutions, might be
contemplated at a distance, and compared by ocular proofs. And, when he
determined on the task of preparing this volume, and began to look
around for the companions of his travels, to avail himself of their
notes, he found most of them had descended to the tomb. For the
narrative parts, indeed, the manuscript journals, kept with great
fulness, were still preserved; but the materials for the other division
of the work were widely scattered. Some of them remained in the archives
of the public offices to which they were originally communicated. Other
papers had been given to the pages of scientific journals, and their
reprint was inexpedient. The rich body of topographical data, and the
elaborately drawn map of this portion of the United States, prepared by
Captain Douglass, U. S. A., which would have been received with avidity
at the time, had been in a great measure superseded by subsequent
discoveries.[1] The only part of this officer's observations employed in
this work, are his determinations of the geographical positions. The
latter have been extended and perfected by the subsequent observations
of Mr. Nicollet. At every point, there have been difficulties to
overcome. He has been strenuous to award justice to his deceased
companions, to whose memory he is attached by the ties of sympathy and
former association. If more time has elapsed in preparing the work than
was anticipated, it is owing to the nature of it; and he can only say
that still more time and attention would be required to do justice to

  [1] This remark is limited to the country south of about 46°. North
  of that point, there are no explorations known to me, except those of
  Lieutenant James Allen, who accompanied me above Cass Lake, in 1832,
  and those of J. N. Nicollet, in 1836, which were reported by him to
  the Topographical Bureau, and by the latter transmitted to
  Congress.--Vide _Senate Doc._ No. 237, 1843. These observations
  relate to the line of the Mississippi. Maj. Long's journey, in 1823,
  was _west_ and _north_ of that river.

A word may be added respecting the period of these explorations. The
year 1820 marked a time of much activity in geographical discovery in
the United States. The treaty of Ghent, a few years before, had relieved
the frontiers from a most sanguinary Indian war. This event enlarged the
region for settlement, and created an intense desire for information
respecting the new countries. Government had, indeed, at an earlier
period, shown a disposition to aid and encourage discoveries. The
feeling on this subject cannot be well understood, without allusion to
the name of John Ledyard. This intrepid traveller had accompanied
Captain Cook on his last voyage round the world. In 1786, he presented
himself to Mr. Jefferson, the American minister at Paris, with a plan of
extensive explorations. He proposed to set out from St. Petersburg, and,
passing through Russia and Tartary to Behring's Straits, to traverse the
north Pacific to Oregon, and thence cross the Rocky Mountains to the
Missouri Valley.[2] Mr. Jefferson communicated the matter to the Russian
plenipotentiary at Paris--and to the Baron Grimm, the confidential agent
of the Empress Catherine--through whose influence he received the
required passports. He proceeded on this adventure, and had reached
within two hundred miles of Kamschatka, where he was arrested, and taken
back, in a close carriage, to Moscow, and thence conducted to the
frontiers of Poland. On reaching London, the African Association
selected him to make explorations in the direction of the Niger.
Reaching Egypt, he proceeded up the Nile to Cairo, where, having
completed his preparations for entering the interior of Africa, he
sickened and died, in the month of November, 1788.--_Life of Ledyard_,
Sparks's _Amer. Biog._ vol. xvi.

The suggestion of Ledyard to explore Oregon became the germ of the
voyages of Lewis and Clark. It appears that, in 1792, Mr. Jefferson
proposed the subject to the American Philosophical Society at
Philadelphia.[2] It is not known that its action resulted in anything
practical. After Mr. Jefferson himself, however, came to the presidency,
in 1801, he called the attention of Congress to the matter. Louisiana
had been acquired, under his auspices, in 1803, which furnished a strong
public reason for its exploration. To conduct it, he selected his
private secretary and relative, Merriweather Lewis, of Virginia;
Captain William Clark was named as his assistant. Both these gentlemen
were commissioned in the army, and the expense thus placed on a public
basis. Captain Lewis left the city of Washington, on this enterprise, on
the 5th of July, 1803, and was joined by Captain Clark west of the
Alleghanies. Having organized the expedition at St. Louis, they began
the ascent of the Missouri River on the 14th of May, 1804. They wintered
the first year at Fort Mandan, about 1,800 miles up the Missouri, in the
country of the Mandans. Crossing the Rocky Mountains the next year, and
descending the Columbia to the open shore of the Pacific, they retraced
their general course to the waters of the Missouri, in 1806, and
returned to St. Louis on the 23d of September of that year. (_Lewis and
Clark_, vol. ii. p. 433.)

  [2] Lewis and Clark.

To explore the Missouri to its source, and leave the remote summits of
the Mississippi untouched, would seem to have ill-accorded with Mr.
Jefferson's conceptions. It does not appear, however, from published
data, that he selected the person to perform the latter service, leaving
it to the military commandant of the district. (_Life of Pike_, Sparks's
_Amer. Biog._ vol. xv. pp. 220, 281.) General Wilkinson, who had been
directed to occupy Louisiana, appears to have made the selection. He
designated Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike. This officer left
Bellefontaine, Missouri, on the 9th of August, 1805, with a total force
of twenty men, at least four months too late in the season to reach even
the central part of his destination, without an aid in the command,
without a scientific observer of any description, and without even an
interpreter to communicate with the Indians. That he should have
accomplished what he did, is altogether owing to his activity,
vigilance, and enterprise, his knowledge of hunting and forest life, and
his well-established habits of mental and military discipline. Winter
overtook him, on the 16th of October, in his ascent, when he was about
one hundred and twenty miles (as now ascertained) above the Falls of St.
Anthony.[3] Severe cold, snow, and ice, rendered it impossible to push
his boats further. Devoting twelve days in erecting a blockhouse, and
leaving his heavy stores and disabled men in charge of a non
commissioned officer, he proceeded onwards, on snow shoes, with small
hand-sledges, and, by great energy and perseverance, reached, at
successive periods, Sandy Lake, Leach Lake, and Upper Red Cedar Lake, on
the third great plateau at the sources of the Mississippi. On the
opening of the river, he began his descent, and returned to his
starting-point, at Bellefontaine, on the 30th of April, 1806, having
been absent a little less than nine months. On his visiting the country
above the point where the climate arrested his advance, the whole region
was found to be clothed in a mantle of snow. On his journey, the deer,
elk, buffalo, and wolf, were found on the prairies--the waters were
inhabited by wild fowl; as he acted the part of hunter, and, to some
extent, guide, these furnished abundant employ for his efficient
sportsman-like propensities. Of its distinctive zoology, minerals,
plants, and other physical desiderata, it was not in his power, had he
been ever so well prepared, to make observations. Even for the
topography, above the latitude of about 46°, he was dependent,
essentially, on the information furnished by the factors of the
Northwest British Fur Company, who, at that period, occupied the
country.[4] This information was readily given, and enabled him, with
general accuracy, to present the maps and descriptions which accompany
his account of the region. He was, however, misled in placing the source
of the river in Turtle Lake, and in the topography of the region south
and west of that point.

  [3] Estimated by him at 233 miles.

  [4] The surrender of the lake country by Great Britain, in 1796, at
  the close of what is known as General Wayne's war, extended to
  Michilimackinac, the remotest British garrison. The region northwest
  of this post was occupied by numerous tribes of Indians, who
  continued to be supplied with goods by British traders till after the
  close of the war of 1812. In 1816, Congress passed an act confining
  the trade to American citizens. Under this state of affairs, the
  Northwest Company of Montreal sold out their trading-posts and
  fixtures, northwest of Michilimackinac, to Mr. John Jacob Astor, of
  New York, who, from an account of one of his active factors, invested
  about $300,000 per annum in merchandise adapted to the Indian habits.

Pike's account of his expedition did not issue from the press till 1810.
The narrative of the expedition of Lewis and Clark was still longer
delayed--owing to the melancholy death of Lewis--and was not given till
1814; a period of political commotion by no means favorable to literary
matters. It was, however, at once hailed as a valuable and standard
accession to geographical science. Public opinion had for years been
called to this daring enterprise.

Such was the state of geographical discovery in the United States in
1816. The war with Great Britain had had an exhausting effect upon the
resources and fiscal condition of the country. But, owing to the
information gained by the operation of armies in the ample area west of
the Alleghanies, it opened a new world for enterprise in that quarter.
The treaty of 1814 with Great Britain, which affirmed the original
boundaries of 1783, by terminating, at the same time, the war and the
fallacious hopes of sovereignty set up for the Indian tribes, truly
opened the Mississippi Valley to settlement.

All eyes were turned to the general climate of the West, and its
capacities of growth and expansion. The universal ardor which then arose
and was spread, of its fertility, extent, and resources, has, from that
era, filled the public mind, and fixed the liveliest hopes of the
extension of the Union.

The accession of Mr. Monroe to the presidency, 4th March, 1817, formed
the opening of this new epoch of industrial empire and progress in the
West. This period brought into the administration a man of great grasp
of intellect and energy of character in Mr. Calhoun. By placing the army
in a series of self-sustaining posts on the frontiers, in advance of the
settlements, he gave them efficient protection against the still
feverish tribes, who hovered--feeble and dejected from the results of
the war, but in broken, discordant, and hostile masses--around the long
and still dangerous line of the frontiers, from Florida to Detroit and
the Falls of St. Anthony. He encouraged every means of acquiring true
information of its geography and resources. In 1819, the military line
was extended to Council Bluffs, on the Missouri, and to the Falls of St.
Anthony, on the Mississippi. Major S. H. Long, of the Topographical
Engineers, was directed to ascend the Missouri, for the purpose of
exploring the region west to the Rocky Mountains. During the same year,
he approved a plan for exploring the sources of the Mississippi,
submitted by General Cass, who occupied the northwestern frontiers.

The author having then returned from the exploration of the Ozark
Highlands, and the mine country of Missouri and Arkansas,[5] received
from Mr. Calhoun the appointment of geologist and mineralogist on this
expedition; and having, at a subsequent period, been selected, as the
leader of the expedition of 1832, to resume and complete the discoveries
under the same authority, commenced in 1820, it is to the journals and
notes kept on these separate occasions, that he is indebted for the data
of the narratives and for the body of information now submitted.

  [5] _Vide_ Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Region of the
  Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas, with a View of the
  Lead-Mines of Missouri. New York, 1819. Philadelphia: Lippincott,
  Grambo, and Co. 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 256. 1853.

    WASHINGTON, D. C., October 24, 1854.



INTRODUCTION                                                          17

PRELIMINARY DOCUMENTS                                                 25

NARRATIVE OF THE EXPEDITION                                           37


  Departure--Considerations on visiting the northern summits early in
    the season--Cross the Highlands of the Hudson--Incidents of the
    journey from Albany to Buffalo--Visit Niagara Falls--Their
    grandeur the effect of magnitude--Embark on board the steamer
    Walk-in-the-Water--Passage up Lake Erie--Reach Detroit            39


  Preparations for the expedition--Constitution of the party--Mode of
    travel in canoes--Embarkation, and incidents of the journey across
    the Lake, and up the River St. Clair--Head winds encountered on
    Lake Huron--Point aux Barques--Cross Saganaw Bay--Delays in
    ascending the Huron coast--Its geology and natural history--Reach
    Michilimackinac                                                   47


  Description of Michilimackinac--Prominent scenery--Geology--Arched
    Rock--Sugarloaf Rock--History--Statistics--Mineralogy--Skull
    Cave--Manners--Its fish, agriculture, moral wants--Ingenious
    manufactures of the Indians--Fur trade--Etymology of the
    word--Antique bones disclosed in the interior of the island       59


  Proceed down the north shore of Lake Huron to the entrance of the
    Straits of St. Mary's--Character of the shores, and
    incidents--Ascend the river to Sault Ste. Marie--Hostilities
    encountered there--Intrepidity of General Cass                    72


  Embark at the head of the portage at St. Mary's--Entrance into Lake
    Superior--Journey and incidents along its coasts--Great Sand
    Dunes--Pictured Rocks--Grand Island--Keweena peninsula and
    portage--Incidents thence to Ontonagon River                      83


  Chippewa village at the mouth of the Ontonagon--Organize an expedition
    to explore its mineralogy--Incidents of the trip--Rough nature of
    the country--Reach the Copper Rock--Misadventure--Kill a
    bear--Discoveries of copper--General remarks on the mineral
    affluence of the basin of Lake Superior                           94


  Proceed along the southern coast of Lake Superior from the Ontonagon,
    to Fond du Lac--Porcupine range of mountains--Streams that run
    from it, at parallel distances, into the lake--La Pointe--Group of
    the Federation Islands--River St. Louis--Physical geography of
    Lake Superior                                                    102


  Proceed up the St. Louis River, and around its falls and rapids to
    Sandy Lake in the valley of the Upper Mississippi--Grand
    Portage--Portage aux Coteaux--A main exploring party--Cross the
    great morass of Akeek Scepi to Sandy Lake--Indian mode of
    pictographic writing--Site of an Indian jonglery--Post of Sandy
    Lake                                                             110


   Reunion of the expedition on the Savanna Portage--Elevation of this
     summit--Descent to Sandy Lake--Council with the Chippewa
     tribe--Who are they?--Traits of their history, language,
     and customs--Enter the Mississippi, with the main exploring
     party, and proceed in search of its source--Physical
     characteristics of the stream at this place--Character of
     the Canadian voyageur                                           118


  Proceed up the Mississippi River--Its velocity and character--Swan
    River--Trout River, and Mushcoda or Prairie River--Rapids
    ascended--Reach, and make a portage around Pakagama Falls--Enter
    a vast lacustrine region--Its character and productions, vegetable
    and animal--Tortuous channel--Vermilion and Deer Rivers--Leech
    Lake branch--Lake Winnipek--Ascent of the river to Upper Red
    Cedar, or Cass Lake--Physical character of the Mississippi
    River                                                            126


  Physical traits of the Mississippi--The elevation of its
    sources--Its velocity and mean descent--Etymology of the name
    Mississippi--Descent of the river to Sandy Lake, and thence
    to the Falls of St. Anthony--Recross the great Bitobi
    Savanna--Pakagama formation--Description of the voyage
    from Sandy Lake to Pine River--Brief notices of the natural
    history                                                          137


  Description of the descent from Pine River--Pine tracts--Confluence
    of the Crow-wing River--Enter a sylvan region--prairies and
    groves, occupied by deer, elk, and buffalo--Sport of buffalo
    hunting--Reach elevations of sienitic and metamorphic
    rocks--Discover a pictographic inscription of the Sioux, by
    which they denote a desire for peace--Pass the Osaukes, St.
    Francis's, Corneille, and Rum Rivers--St. Anthony's
    Falls--Etymology of the name--Geographical considerations        145


  Position of the military post established at the mouth of
    the St. Peter's--Beauty, salubrity, and fertility of the
    country--Pictographic letter--Indian treaty--The appearance
    of the offer of frankincense in the burning of
    tobacco--Opwagonite--native pigments--Salt; native copper--The
    pouched or prairie rat--Minnesota squirrel--Etymology of
    the Indian name of St. Peter's River--Antiquities--Sketch
    of the Dacota--Descent of the Mississippi to Little Crow's
    village--Feast of green corn                                     153


  Descent of the river from the site of Little Crow's Village to
    Prairie du Chien--Incidents of the voyage, and notices of
    the scenery and natural history                                  162


  Mr. Schoolcraft makes a visit to the lead mines of
    Dubuque--Incidents of the trip--Description of the
    mines--The title of occupancy, and the mode of the mines
    being worked by the Fox tribe of Indians--Who are the Foxes?     169


  The expedition proceeds from Prairie du Chien up the Wisconsin
    Valley--Incidents of the ascent--Etymology of the name--The low
    state of its waters favorable to the observation of its
    fresh-water conchology--Cross the Wisconsin summit, and descend
    the Fox River to Winnebago Lake                                  178


  Descent of the Fox River from Winnebago Lake to Green
    Bay--Incidents--Etymology, conchology, mineralogy--Falls of the
    Konomic and Kakala--Population and antiquity of the settlement
    of Green Bay--Appearances of a tide, not sustained               186


  The expedition traces the west shores of Lake Michigan southerly
    to Chicago--Outline of the journey along this coast--Sites of
    Manitoowoc, Sheboigan, Milwaukie, Racine, and Chicago, being the
    present chief towns and cities of Wisconsin and Illinois on the
    west shores of that Lake--Final reorganization of the party and
    departure from Chicago                                           193


  South and Eastern borders of Lake Michigan--Their Flora and
    Fauna--Incidents of the journey--Topography--Geology, Botany,
    and Mineralogy--Indian Tribes--Burial-place of Marquette--Ruins
    of the post of old Mackinac--Reach Michilimackinac after a
    canoe journey north of four hundred miles                        200


  Topographical survey of the northern shores of Green Bay and of the
      entire basin of Lake Michigan--Geological and Mineralogical
      indicia of the coast line--Era of sailing vessels and of the
      steamboat on the lakes--Route along the Huron coast, and return of
      the expedition to Detroit 210




  The search for the veritable source of the Mississippi is
    resumed.--Ascent to Cass Lake, the prior point of
    discovery--Pursue the river westerly, through the Andrúsian
    Lakes and up the Metoswa Rapids, forty-five miles--Queen
    Anne's Lake                                                      223


  Ascent of the Mississippi above Queen Anne's Lake--Reach the
    primary forks of the river--Ascend the left-hand, or minor
    branch--Lake Irving--Lake Marquette--Lake La Salle--Lake
    Plantagenet--Encamp at the Naiwa rapids at the base of the
    Height of Land, or Itasca Summit                                 231


  The Expedition having reached the source of the east fork in
    Assawa Lake, crosses the highlands of the Hauteurs de Terre
    to the source of the main or west fork in Itasca Lake            239


  Descent of the west, or Itascan branch--Kakabikoñs Falls--Junction
    of the Chemaun, Peniddiwin, or De Soto, and Allenoga
    Rivers--Return to Cass Lake                                      246


  The expedition proceeds to strike the source of the great
    Crow-Wing River, by the Indian trail and line of interior
    portages, by way of Leech Lake, the seat of the warlike tribe
    of the Pillagers, or Mukundwa                                    251


  Geographical account of Leech Lake--History of its Indians, the
    Mukundwas--The expedition proceeds to the source of the
    Crow-Wing River, and descends that stream, in its whole length,
    to the Mississippi                                               258


  Complete the exploration of the Crow-Wing River of
    Minnesota--Indian council--Reach St. Anthony's Falls--Council
    with the Sioux--Ascent and exploration of the River St. Croix
    and Misakoda, or Broulé, of Lake Superior--Return of the party
    to St. Mary's Falls, Michigan                                    265


  Departmental Reports                                               279
  General Cass's Official Report                                     280
     "      "    Memoir suggesting further Explorations              285
     "      "    Personal Testimonial                                287
     "      "    Communication on Indian Hieroglyphics, &c.          430
     "      "    Queries respecting Indian History, &c.              438
  Indian History and Languages                                       430
  Topography and Astronomy                                           288
  Mineralogy and Geology                                             292
  Mr. Schoolcraft's Report on Copper Mines                           292
     "     "    on Geology and Mineralogy                            303
     "     "    on the Value of the Mineral Lands on Lake Superior   362
     "     Memoir on the Geology of Western New York                 381
     "      on the Elementary Sounds of the Chippewa Language        442
  Botany                                                             408
  Zoology                                                            408
  Meteorology                                                        418


  Indian Language                                                    453
  Mr. Schoolcraft's Essay on the Indian Substantive                  453
         "            "   on the Noun-Adjective                      489
         "            "   on the Principles of the Pronoun           502
  Natural History                                                    515
  Conchology                                                         515
  Botany                                                             519
  Mineralogy and Geology                                             526
  Mr. Schoolcraft's Remarks on the Occurrence of Silver              531
    "  General List of Mineral Localities                            534
    "  Geological Outline of Taquimenon Valley                       537
    "  Suggestions respecting the Epoch of the St. Mary's Sandstone  539


Charlevoix informs us that the discovery of the Mississippi River is due
to father Marquette, a Jesuit missionary, who manifested the most
unwearied enterprise in exploring the north-western regions of New
France; and after laying the foundation of Michilimackinac, proceeded,
in company with Sieur Joliet, up the Fox River of Green Bay, and,
crossing the portage into the Wisconsin, first entered the Mississippi
in 1673.

Robert de la Salle, to whom the merit of this discovery is generally
attributed, embarked at Rochelle, on his first voyage of discovery, July
14, 1678; reached Quebec in September following, and, proceeding up the
St. Lawrence, laid the foundation of Fort Niagara, in the country of the
Iroquois, late in the fall of that year. In the following year, he
passes up the Niagara River; estimates the height of the falls at six
hundred feet; and proceeding through Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Huron,
reaches Michilimackinac in August. He then visits the Sault de St.
Marie, and returning to Michilimackinac, continues his voyage to the
south, with a view of striking the Mississippi River; passes into the
lake of the Illinois; touches at Green Bay; and enters the River St.
Joseph's, of Lake Michigan, where he builds a fort, in the country of
the Miamies.

In December of the same year, he crosses the portage between the St.
Joseph's and the Illinois; descends the latter to the lake, and builds a
fort in the midst of the tribes of the Illinois, which he calls
Crevecoeur. Here he makes a stand; sends persons out to explore the
Mississippi, traffics with the Indians, among all of whom he finds
abundance of Indian corn; and returns to Fort Frontenac, on Lake
Ontario, in 1680. He revisits Fort Crevecoeur late in the autumn of the
following year, and finally descends the Illinois, to its junction with
the Mississippi, and thence to the embouchure of the latter in the Gulf
of Mexico, where he arrives on the 7th of April, 1683, and calculates
the latitude between 23° and 24° north.

The Spaniards had previously sought in vain for the mouth of this
stream, and bestowed upon it, in anticipation, the name of Del Rio
Ascondido. La Salle now returns to Quebec, by way of the Lakes, and from
thence to France, where he is well received by the king, who grants him
an outfit of four ships, and two hundred men, to enable him to continue
his discoveries, and found a colony in the newly discovered territories.
He leaves Rochelle in July, 1684, reaches the Bay of St. Louis, which is
fifty leagues south of the Mississippi, in the Gulf of Mexico, in
February following, where he builds a fort, founds a settlement, and is
finally assassinated by one of his own party. The exertions of this
enterprising individual, and the account which was published of his
discoveries by the Chevalier Tonti, who had accompanied him in all his
perilous expeditions, had a greater effect, in the French capital, in
producing a correct estimate of the extent, productions, and importance
of the Canadas, than all that had been done by preceding tourists; and
this may be considered as the true era, when the eyes of politicians and
divines, merchants and speculators, were first strongly turned towards
the boundless forests, the sublime rivers and lakes, the populous Indian
tribes, and the profitable commerce of New France.

Father Louis Hennepin was a missionary of the Franciscan order of
Catholics, who accompanied La Salle on his first voyage from France; and
after the building of Fort Crevecoeur, on the Illinois, was dispatched
in company with three French voyageurs to explore the Mississippi River.

They departed from Fort Crevecoeur on the 29th of February, 1680, and
dropping down the Illinois to its junction with the Mississippi,
followed the latter an indeterminate distance towards the Gulf, not
believed to be great, where they left some memorial of their visit, and
immediately commenced their return. When they had proceeded up the
Mississippi a hundred and fifty leagues above the confluence of the
Illinois, they were taken prisoners by some Indian tribes, and carried
towards its sources nineteen days' journey into the territories of the
Naudowessies and Issati, where they were detained in captivity three or
four months, and then suffered to return. The account which Hennepin
published of his travels and discoveries, served to throw some new light
upon the topography, and the Indian tribes of the Canadas; and modern
geography is indebted to him for the names which he bestowed upon the
Falls of St. Anthony and the River St. Francis.

In 1703, the Baron La Hontan, an unfrocked monk, published, in London,
his voyages to North America, the result of a residence of six years in
the Canadas. La Hontan served as an officer in the French army, and
first went out to Quebec in 1683. During the succeeding four years he
was chiefly stationed at Chambly, Fort Frontenac, Niagara, St. Joseph,
at the foot of Lake Huron, and the Sault de St. Marie.

He arrives at Michilimackinac in 1688, and there first hears of the
assassination of La Salle. In 1689 he visits Green Bay, and passes
through the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers into the Mississippi. So far, his
work appears to be the result of actual observation, and is entitled to
respect; but what he relates of Long River appears wholly incredible,
and can only be regarded as some flight of the imagination, intended to
gratify the public taste for travels, during an age when it had been
highly excited by the extravagant accounts which had been published
respecting the wealth, population, and advantages of Peru, Mexico, the
English and Dutch colonies, New France, the Illinois, and various other
parts of the New World.

To convey some idea of this part of the Baron's work, it will be
sufficient to observe that after travelling ten days above the mouth of
the Wisconsin, he arrives at the mouth of a large stream, which he calls
Long River, and which he ascends eighty-four days successively, during
which he meets with numerous tribes of savages, as the Eskoros,
Essenapes, Pinnokas, Mozemleeks, &c. He is attended a part of the way by
five or six hundred, as an escort; sees at one time two thousand savages
upon the shore; and states the population of the Essenapes at 20,000
souls; but this tribe is still inferior to the Mozemleeks in numbers, in
arts, and in every other prerequisite for a great people. "The Mozemleek
nation," he observes, "is numerous and puissant. The four slaves of
that country informed me that, at the distance of 150 leagues from the
place where I then was, their principal river empties itself into a salt
lake of three hundred leagues in circumference, the mouth of which is
about two leagues broad; that the lower part of that river is adorned
with six noble cities, surrounded with stone, cemented with fat earth;
that the houses of these cities have no roofs, but are open above like a
platform; that, besides the above-mentioned cities, there are an hundred
towns, great and small, round that sort of sea; that the people of that
country make stuffs, copper axes, and several other manufactures, &c."

In 1721, P. De Charlevoix, the historian of New France, was commissioned
by the French Government to make a tour of observation through the
Canadas, and in addition to his topographical and historical account of
New France, published a journal of his voyage through the Lakes. He was
one of the most learned divines of his age, and although strongly
tinctured with the doctrines of fatality, and disposed to view
everything relative to the Indian tribes with the over-zealous eye of a
Catholic missionary, yet his works bear the impress of a strong and
well-cultivated mind, and abound in philosophical reflections, enlarged
views, and accurate deductions; and, notwithstanding the lapse of a
century, he must still be regarded as the most polished and illustrious
traveller of the region. He first landed at Quebec in the spring of
1721, and immediately proceeded up the St. Lawrence to Fort Frontenac
and Niagara, where he corrects the error into which those who preceded
him had fallen, with respect to the height of the cataract. He proceeds
through Lakes Erie, Huron, and Michigan, descends the Illinois and
Mississippi to New Orleans, then recently settled, and embarks for
France. The period of his visit was that, when the Mississippi Scheme
was in the height of experiment, and excited the liveliest interest in
the French metropolis; people were then engaged, in Louisiana, in
exploring every part of the country, under the delusive hope of finding
rich mines of gold and silver; and the remarks he makes upon the
probability of a failure, were shortly justified by the event.

In 1760, Alexander Henry, Esq. visited the upper lakes, in the character
of a trader, and devoted sixteen years to travelling over different
parts of the north-western region of the Canadas and the United States.
The result of his observations upon the topography, Indian tribes, and
natural history of the country, was first published in 1809, and, as a
volume of travels and adventures, is a valuable acquisition to our means
of information. This work abounds in just and sensible reflections upon
scenes, situations, and objects of the most interesting kind, and is
written in a style of the most charming perspicuity and simplicity. He
was the first English traveller of the region.

The date of Carver's travels over those regions is 1766. Carver, whose
travels have been treated with too indiscriminate censure, was descended
from an ancient and respectable English family in Connecticut, and had
served as a captain in the provincial army, which was disbanded after
the treaty of peace of Versailles, of 1763, and united to great personal
courage a persevering and observing mind. By his bravery and admirable
conduct among the powerful tribes of Sioux and Chippewas, he obtained a
high standing among them; and, after being constituted a chief by the
former, received from them a large grant of land, which was not,
however, ratified by the British government. The fate of this
enterprising traveller cannot but excite regret. After having escaped
the massacre of Fort William Henry, on the banks of Lake George, in
1757, and the perils of a long journey through the American wilderness,
he was spared to endure miseries in the heart of the British metropolis,
which he had never encountered in the huts of the American savages, and
perished of want in the city of London, the seat of literature and

Between the years 1769 and 1772, Samuel Hearne performed a journey from
Prince of Wales's Fort, in Hudson's Bay, to the Coppermine River of the
Arctic Ocean. McKenkie's voyages to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans were
performed in 1789 and 1793. Pike ascended the Mississippi in 1805 and

Such is a brief outline of the progress of discovery in the
north-western regions of the United States, by which our sources of
information have been from time to time augmented, and additional light
cast upon the interesting history of our Indian tribes--their numbers
and condition, and other particulars connected with the regions they
inhabit. Still, it cannot be denied that, amidst much sound and useful
information, there has been mingled no inconsiderable proportion that is
deceptive, hypothetical, or false; and, upon the whole, that the
progress of information has not kept pace with the increased importance
which that section of the Union has latterly assumed--with the great
improvements of society--and with the spirit and the enterprise of the
times. A new era has dawned in the moral history of our country, and, no
longer satisfied with mere geographical outlines and boundaries, its
physical productions, its antiquities, and the numerous other traits
which it presents for scientific research, already attract the attention
of a great proportion of the reading community; and it is eagerly
inquired of various sections of it--whose trade, whose agriculture, and
whose population have been long known--what are its indigenous plants,
its zoology, its geology, its mineralogy, &c. Of no part of it, however,
has the paucity of information upon these, and upon other and more
familiar subjects, been so great, as of the extreme north-western
regions of the Union, of the great chain of lakes, and of the sources of
the Mississippi River, which have continued to be the subject of dispute
between geographical writers.

Impressed with the importance of these facts, Governor Cass, of
Michigan, projected, in the fall of 1819, an expedition for exploring
the regions in question, and presented a memorial to the Secretary of
War upon the subject, in which he proposed leaving Detroit the ensuing
spring, in Indian canoes, as being best adapted to the navigation of the
shallow waters of the upper country, and to the numerous portages which
it is necessary to make from stream to stream.

The specific objects of this journey were to obtain a more correct
knowledge of the names, numbers, customs, history, condition, mode of
subsistence, and dispositions of the Indian tribes; to survey the
topography of the country, and collect the materials for an accurate
map; to locate the site and purchase the ground for a garrison at the
foot of Lake Superior; to investigate the subject of the north-western
copper mines, lead mines, and gypsum quarries, and to purchase from the
Indian tribes such tracts as might be necessary to secure to the United
States the ultimate advantages to be derived from them. To accomplish
these objects, it was proposed to attach to the expedition a
topographical engineer, an astronomer, a physician, and a mineralogist
and geologist, and some other scientific observers.

Mr. Calhoun not only approved of the proposed plan, but determined to
enable the governor to carry it into complete effect, by ordering an
escort of soldiers, and enjoining it upon the commandants of the
frontier garrisons, to furnish every aid that the exigencies of the
party might require, either in men, boats, or supplies.

It is only necessary to add, that I was honored with the appointment of
mineralogist and geologist to the expedition, in which capacity I kept
the following journal. In presenting it to the public, it will not be
deemed improper if I acknowledge the obligations which I have incurred
in transcribing it, by availing myself of a free access to the valuable
library of His Excellency De Witt Clinton, and of the taste and skill of
Mr. Henry Inman, in drawing a number of the views which embellish the


ALBANY, May 14, 1821.










  DETROIT, November 18, 1819.

SIR: The country upon the southern shore of Lake Superior, and upon the
water communication between that Lake and the Mississippi, has been but
little explored, and its natural features are imperfectly known. We have
no correct topographical delineation of it, and the little information
we possess relating to it has been derived from the reports of the
Indian traders.

It has occurred to me that a tour through that country, with a view to
examine the productions of its animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms,
to explore its facilities for water communication, to delineate its
natural objects, and to ascertain its present and future probable value,
would not be uninteresting in itself, nor useless to the Government.
Such an expedition would not be wholly unimportant in the public
opinion, and would well accord with that zeal for inquiries of this
nature which has recently marked the administration of the War

But, however interesting such a tour might be in itself, or however
important in its result, either in a political or geographical point of
view, I should not have ventured to suggest the subject, nor to solicit
your permission to carry it into effect, were it not, in other respects,
intimately connected with the discharge of my official duties.

Mr. Woodbridge, the delegate from this Territory, at my request, takes
charge of this letter, and he is so intimately acquainted with the
subject, and every way so competent to enter into any explanations you
may require, that I shall not be compelled to go as much into detail as,
under other circumstances, might be necessary.

The route which I propose to take, is from here to Michilimackinac, and
from thence, by the Straits of St. Mary's, to the river which contains
the body of copper ore (specimens of which have been transmitted to the
Government), and to the extremity of Lake Superior.

From that point, up the river which forms the water communication
between that lake and the Mississippi, to the latter river, and, by the
way of Prairie du Chien and Green Bay, to Lake Michigan.

The political objects which require attention upon this route are:--

1. A personal examination of the different Indian tribes who occupy the
country; of their moral and social condition; of their feelings towards
the United States; of their numerical strength; and of the various
objects connected with them, of which humanity and sound policy require
that the Government should possess an intimate knowledge. We are very
little acquainted with these Indians, and I indulge the expectation that
such a visit would be productive of beneficial effects.

The extract from the letter of Colonel Leavenworth, herewith inclosed,
and the speech of the Winnebago Indians, transmitted to the War
Department by Mr. Graham, from Rock Island, February 24, 1819, will show
how much we have yet to learn respecting these tribes, which are
comparatively near to us.

2. Another important object is, to procure the extinction of Indian
titles to the land in the vicinity of the Straits of St. Mary's, Prairie
du Chien, Green Bay, and upon the communication between the two latter

I will not trouble you with any observations respecting the necessity of
procuring these cessions. They are the prominent points of the
country--the avenues of communication by which alone it can be

Two of them--Prairie du Chien and Green Bay--are occupied by a
considerable population, and the Straits of St. Mary's by a few
families. The undefined nature of their rights and duties, and the
uncertain tenure by which they hold their lands, render it important
that some step should be taken by the Government to relieve them. I
think, too, that a cession of territory, with a view to immediate sale
and settlement, would be highly important in the event of any
difficulties with the Indians.

My experience at Indian treaties convinces me that reasonable cessions,
upon proper terms, may at any time be procured. At the treaty recently
concluded at Saginaw, the Indians were willing to cede the country in
the vicinity of Michilimackinac, but I did not feel authorized to treat
with them for it.

Upon this subject, I transmit extracts from the letters of Mr. Boyd and
Colonel Bowyer, by which it will be seen that these gentlemen anticipate
no difficulty in procuring these cessions.

3. Another important object is the examination of the body of copper in
the vicinity of Lake Superior. As early as the year 1800, Mr. Tracy,
then a senator from Connecticut, was dispatched to make a similar
examination. He, however, proceeded no farther than Michilimackinac.
Since then, several attempts have been made, which have proved abortive.
The specimens of virgin copper which have been sent to the seat of
Government have been procured by the Indians, or by the half-breeds,
from a large mass, represented to weigh many tons, which has fallen from
the brow of a hill.

I anticipate no difficulty in reaching the spot, and it may be highly
important to the Government to divide this mass, and to transport it to
the seaboard for naval purposes.

It is also important to examine the neighboring country, which is said
to be rich in its mineral productions.

I should propose that the land in the vicinity of this river be
purchased of the Indians. It could doubtless be done upon reasonable
terms, and the United States could then cause a complete examination of
it to be made.

Such a cession is not unimportant in another point of view. Some persons
have already begun to indulge in speculations upon this subject. The
place is remote, and the means of communicating with it are few. By
timely presents to the Indians, illegal possessions might be gained, and
much injury might be done, much time might elapse, and much difficulty
be experienced, before such trespassers could be removed.

4. To ascertain the views of the Indians in the vicinity of Chicago,
respecting the removal of the Six Nations to that district of country,
an extract from the letter of Mr. Kenzie, sub-agent at Chicago, upon
this subject, will show the situation in which this business stands.

5. To explain to the Indians the views of the Government respecting
their intercourse with the British authorities at Malden, and distinctly
to announce to them that their visits must be discontinued.

It is probable that the annunciation of the new system which you have
directed to be pursued upon this subject, and the explanations connected
with it, can be made with more effect by me than by ordinary messengers.

6. To ascertain the state of the British fur trade within that part of
our jurisdiction. Our information upon this subject is very limited,
while its importance requires that it should be fully known.

In addition to these objects, I think it very important to carry the
flag of the United States into those remote regions, where it has never
been borne by any person in a public station.

The means by which I propose to accomplish this tour are simple and
economical. All that will be required is an ordinary birch canoe, and
permission to employ a competent number of Canadian boatmen. The whole
expense will be confined within narrow limits, and no appropriation will
be necessary to defray it. I only request permission to assign to this
object a small part of the sum apportioned for Indian expenditures at
this place, say from 1,000 to 1,500 dollars.

If, however, the Government should think that a small display of force
might be proper, an additional canoe, to be manned with active soldiers,
and commanded by an intelligent officer, would not increase the expense,
and would give greater effect to any representations which might be made
to the Indians.

An intelligent officer of engineers, to make a correct chart for the
information of the Government, would add to the value of the expedition.

I am not competent to speculate upon the natural history of the country
through which we may pass. Should this object be deemed important, I
request that some person acquainted with zoology, botany, and mineralogy
may be sent to join me.

It is almost useless to add that I do not expect any compensation for my
own services, except the ordinary allowance for negotiating Indian
treaties, should you think proper to direct any to be held, and intrust
the charge of them to me.

I request that you will communicate to me, as early as convenient, your
determination upon this subject, as it will be necessary to prepare a
canoe during the winter, to be ready to enter upon the tour as soon as
the navigation of the Lakes is open, should you think proper to approve
the plan.

  Very respectfully, &c.

Hon. JOHN C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.


DEPARTMENT OF WAR, January 14, 1820.

SIR: I have received your letters of the 18th and 21st November last.
The exploring tour you propose has the sanction of the Government,
provided the expenditure can be made out of the sum allotted your
superintendency for Indian affairs, adding thereto one thousand dollars
for that special purpose.

The objects of this expedition are comprised under the five heads stated
in your letter of the 18th of November, and which you will
consider--with the exception of that part which relates to holding
Indian treaties, upon which you will be fully instructed hereafter--as
forming part of the instructions which may be given you by this

Should your reconnoissance extend to the western extremity of Lake
Superior, you will ascertain the practicability of a communication
between the Bad, or Burntwood River, which empties into the Lake, and
the Copper, or St. Croix, which empties into the Mississippi, and the
facility they present for a communication with our posts on the St.

The Montreal rivers will also claim your attention, with a view of
establishing, through them, a communication between Green Bay and the
west end of Lake Superior.

To aid you in the accomplishment of these important objects, some
officers of Topographical Engineers will be ordered to join you. Perhaps
Major Long, now here, will be directed to take that route to join the
expedition which he commands up the Missouri. In that event, a person
acquainted with zoology and botany will be selected to accompany him.
Feeling, as I do, great interest in obtaining a correct topographical,
geographical, and military survey of our country, every encouragement,
consistent with the means in my power, will be given by the Department.
To this end, General Macomb will be ordered to afford you every facility
you may require.

  I have, &c.,

His Excellency, LEWIS CASS, Detroit, M. T.


DEPARTMENT OF WAR, February 25, 1820.

SIR: Mr. Schoolcraft, a gentleman of science and observation, and
particularly skilled in mineralogy, has applied to me to be permitted to
accompany you on your exploring tour upon Lake Superior. I have directed
him to report to you, for that duty, under the belief that he will be
highly useful to you, as well as serviceable to the Government and the
promotion of science.

You will furnish him with the necessary supplies and accommodation while
employed, and every facility necessary to enable him to obtain a
knowledge of the mineralogy of the country as far as practicable.

  I have, &c.,

His Excellency, LEWIS CASS, Detroit.


DETROIT, March 10, 1820.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the
17th ult., inclosing a copy of a letter from Giles Sanford & Co.

Their statement with respect to the discovery of plaster of Paris upon
one or more of the islands in the vicinity of Michilimackinac, to which
the Indian title has not been extinguished, is correct. Specimens of
this plaster have been brought here, and it is reported, by competent
judges, to be of the best and purest kind. The quantity is stated to be
inexhaustible, and, as vessels generally return empty, or nearly so,
from the upper lakes, it could be transported to any part of Lake Erie
at a trifling expense.

I have great doubts, however, whether it would be proper for the
Government to grant any permission to remove this plaster until the
Indian title to the land is extinguished. The power of granting
permission for that purpose is not given in the "act to regulate trade
and intercourse with the Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the
frontiers," and appears, in fact, to be inconsistent with its general
spirit and objects. To authorize these gentlemen to negotiate with the
Indians for such a permission, is contrary to the settled policy which
has always been pursued by the United States. I know of no case in which
individuals have been or should be permitted to hold any councils with
the Indians, except to procure the extinction of their title to lands,
claimed under grants from one of the States. The application here must
be to the tribe, because in all their land there is a community of
interest, which cannot be severed or conveyed by the acts of

But, independent of precedent, there are strong objections to this
course in principle. If private persons are authorized to open such
negotiations for any object, the Government will find it very difficult
to procure from the Indians any cession of land upon reasonable terms.

Were these islands the property of the United States, I think it would
be very proper to permit the plaster upon them to be removed by every
person making application for that purpose. The supply being
inexhaustible, the agricultural interest would be greatly promoted by
such a measure, and the dependence upon a foreign country for this
important article would be removed.

I therefore take the liberty of recommending that a cession of these
islands be procured by the United States from the Indians. I presume
that this may be done without the payment of any annuity to them, and
without any expense, except, perhaps, a few trifling presents. The
plaster would then be at the disposal of Government, and its free
distribution, under such regulations as might be adopted to prevent
disputes between the adventurers, or a monopoly by any of them, would be
equally proper and beneficial.

  Very respectfully, sir,
    I have the honor to be
      Your most obedient servant,
        LEWIS CASS.

Hon. JOHN C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.


Extract of a letter from the Secretary of War to Governor Lewis Cass,

April 5, 1820.

Sir: I have received your letters of the 10th, 11th, and 17th ultimo. In
relation to procuring cessions of land from the Indians, the Government
has decided that it would be inexpedient to obtain any farther
extinguishment of Indian title, except at the Sault de St. Marie, where
it is the wish of the Department, that an inconsiderable cession, not
exceeding ten miles square (unless strong reasons for a greater cession
should present themselves from an actual inspection of the country),
should be acquired upon the most reasonable terms, so as to comprehend
the proposed military position there.

Herewith you will receive a plate of the country about the Sault de St.
Marie, on which is indicated the military site intended to be occupied
for defence. You will also procure the cession of the islands containing
plaster, provided these islands are clearly within the boundary of the
United States, and can be obtained without any considerable expense.

A commission, authorizing you to hold these treaties, will be forwarded
to you in a few days.

As it is desirable to know by what title the people at Green Bay and
Prairie du Chien hold their lands, and whether or not the Indian titles
to those lands were extinguished by the French, at any period subsequent
to their possession of the country (which is the impression of this
Department), you will communicate such information as you possess, or
may obtain, during your tour, on this subject.

In addition to Mr. Schoolcraft, Captain Douglass, of the engineer corps,
has been ordered to join you, and Mr. Whitney (in whose behalf
application has been made for that purpose) may accompany you, if you
can accommodate him. Should he accompany you, he will be allowed the
same compensation made to Mr. Schoolcraft, who will be allowed one
dollar and fifty cents a day for the time actually employed.


  ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, 10th February, 1819.


Major-General Macomb, commandant of the 5th military department, will,
without delay, concentrate at Detroit the 5th regiment of Infantry,
excepting the recruits otherwise directed by the general order herewith
transmitted. As soon as the navigation of the Lakes will admit, he will
cause the regiment to be transported to Fort Howard; from thence, by the
way of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, to Prairie du Chien, and, after
detaching a sufficient number of companies to garrison Forts Crawford
and Armstrong, the remainder will proceed to the mouth of the River St.
Peter's, where they will establish a post, at which the head-quarters of
the regiment will be located. The regiment, previous to its departure,
will receive the necessary supplies of clothing, provisions, arms, and
ammunition. Immediate application will be made to Brigadier-General
Jesup, Quartermaster-General, for funds necessary to execute the
movements required by this order.

By order of Major-General Brown.

  (Signed) JOHN E. WOOL,


DETROIT, April 13, 1819.


The season having now arrived when the lakes may be navigated with
safety, a detachment of the 5th regiment, to consist of Major Marston's
and Captain Fowle's companies, under the command of Major Muhlenburg,
will proceed to Green Bay. Surgeon's mate R. M. Byrne, of the 5th
regiment, will accompany the detachment. The assistant deputy
quartermaster-general will furnish the necessary transport, and will
send by the same opportunity two hundred barrels of provisions, which he
will draw from the contractor at this post. The provisions must be
examined and inspected, and properly put up for transportation. Colonel
Leavenworth will, without delay, prepare his regiment to move to the
posts on the Mississippi, agreeably to the Division order of the 10th of
February. The assistant deputy quartermaster-general will furnish the
necessary transportation, to be ready by the first of May next. The
Colonel will make requisition for such stores, ammunition, tools, and
implements as may be required, and he be able to take with him on the
expedition. Particular instructions will be given to the Colonel,
explaining the objects of his expedition.

Mr. Melvin Dorr is appointed Inspector of Provisions, and he will
inspect all provisions intended for the use of the army, before they are
received and issued. Lieutenant Brooks, of the 3d regiment will forward,
by the first detachment, such recruits as he has for the companies of
the 3d regiment at Mackinac.


(Signed) CHESTER ROOT, _A. D. company, and Actg. Assist. Adjt.-General_.




  Departure--Considerations on visiting the northern summits early in
    the season--Cross the Highlands of the Hudson--Incidents of the
    journey from Albany to Buffalo--Visit Niagara Falls--Their
    grandeur the effect of magnitude--Embark on board the steamer
    Walk-in-the-Water--Passage up Lake Erie--Reach Detroit.

The determination to penetrate to the source of the Mississippi, during
the summer months, made an early departure important. I had, while at
Potosi, in Missouri, during the prior month of February, written to Hon.
J. B. Thomas, U. S. S., Washington, to endeavor to secure an appointment
to explore the mineralogy and natural features of the upper Mississippi
River; and as soon as I had published my treatise on the mines and
minerals of Missouri, I proceeded to Washington, and submitted to the
proper officers of the Government, my account of the mineralogical
wealth of the western domains, with a plan for the management of the
public mines. Mr. Calhoun decidedly favored these views; but, foreseeing
the necessity of congressional action on the subject, and the necessary
delays of departmental references, said to me, that he had just received
a memoir from Governor Cass, of Michigan, proposing an expedition to the
source of the Mississippi, to leave Detroit early in the spring, and
offered me the position of mineralogist and geologist on that service.
This agreeing, as it did, with my prior views of exploring the public
domains, I gladly accepted, and immediately returned to the city of New
York to prepare for the journey.

The year 1820 had commenced with severe weather, the Hudson being frozen
hard, as high as West Point, on the 1st of January; and there was a
fall of snow between the 10th and 11th of February, which laid four feet
deep in the streets of New York. March opened with mildness, and every
appearance denoted an early spring, which led me to hasten my movement
north. I left New York on the 5th of March, in the citizens' post-coach,
on sleighs, for Albany, taking the route through Westchester, and over
the Highlands of Putnam and Dutchess; sleeping at Fishkill and
Kinderhook, the first and second nights, and reaching Albany on the
morning of the 7th, a distance of one hundred and sixty miles. This
distance we made in forty hours actual travelling, averaging four miles
per hour, incidental stops included, which is about the rate of
travelling by the trekschuits of Holland,[6] and by sledges over the
frozen grounds of Russia.[7] In crossing the Highlands, some one, in the
change of the stage-sleighs, pilfered a small box of choice minerals
which I set store by; the thief thinking, probably, from the weight and
looks of the box, which had been a banker's, that it was still filled
with coin. We crossed the Hudson from Greenbush, in a boat drawn through
a channel cut in the ice. Snow still laid in the streets of Albany, and
a cold north wind presaged a change of temperature. Next day there was a
hail-storm from the northwest, with rain and sleet, and on the morning
of the 9th, the hail lay six inches deep in the streets. In the evening,
proceeded by stage to the city of Schenectady, a distance of sixteen
miles, across the arenaceous tract of the Pine Plains, by a turnpike,
which forms the shorter line of a triangle, made by the junction of the
Mohawk with the Hudson River. This tract is bounded southerly by the
blue summits of the Helderberg, a prominent spur of the Catskill
Mountain. At Schenectady, we experienced a night of severe cold, and the
next day, at an early hour, I took a seat in the stage-sleigh for Utica,
which we reached at seven in the evening. The distance is ninety-six
miles, which we passed in seventeen hours, going an average rate of five
miles per hour. The road lies up the valley of the Mohawk, a name which
recalls the history of one of the most celebrated members of the
Iroquois, a confederacy of bold and indomitable tribes, who, at an early
day, either pushed their conquests or carried the terror of their arms
from the St. Lawrence to the Mississippi.

  [6] Professor F. Hall.

  [7] Clarke's Travels.

The winter was still unbroken, and the weather had assumed so
unpropitious an aspect, since leaving New York, that there was no
probability of the navigation of the lakes being open so as to embark at
Buffalo before May. I proceeded seventeen miles west to my father's
residence, in the village of Vernon, to await the development of milder
weather. On the 10th of April, I resumed my journey, taking the western
stage, which had left Utica at two o'clock in the morning. We lodged the
first night at Skeneateles, at the foot of the beautiful and sylvan lake
of the same name, and reached Geneva the next day, at one o'clock in the
afternoon. The roads were now dry and dusty; indeed, the last traces of
snow had been seen in sheltered positions, in passing through Oneida
County, and every appearance in the Ontario country indicated a season
ten days more advanced than the valley of the Mohawk. The field poplar
put forth leaves on the 18th, and apricots were in bloom on the 22d.

At Geneva I remained until the 28th of April, when I again took my seat
in the mail-stage, passing, in the course of the day, the lower margin
of Canandaigua Lake, and through the attractive and tastefully laid-out
village of the same name, and, after continuing the route through a most
fertile country, with a constantly expanding vegetation, reached Avon,
on the banks of the Genesee River. Here we slept. The next morning (the
29th), we crossed this noble stream, and, after a long and fatiguing
day's staging, reached Buffalo in the evening. I was now at an estimated
distance of two hundred and ten miles west of Utica, and three hundred
and twenty-two from Albany. We had found the peach and apple-tree in
blossom, and the vegetation generally in an advanced state, until
reaching within eight or ten miles of Lake Erie, where the force of the
winds, and the bodies of floating ice, evidently had the effect to
retard vegetation. No vessel had yet ventured from the harbor, and
although the steamer Walk-in-the-Water was advertised for the 1st of
May, it was determined to delay her sailing until the 6th. This gave me
time to visit Niagara[8] Falls, and some other places of historical
interest in the neighborhood. This object I executed immediately, taking
a horse and buggy, and keeping down the American shore. The distance is
twenty-two miles, in which the Tonewanda River is crossed by a bridge.
The day was clear and warm, with a light breeze blowing down the river.
I stopped several times to listen for the sound of the Falls, but at the
distance of fifteen, ten, eight, and even five miles, could not
distinguish any; the course of the wind being, indeed, adverse to the
transmission of sound, in that direction, until reaching within some two
or three miles. There is nothing in the character of the country, in the
approach from Buffalo, to apprise the visitor of the difference in its
level and geological stratification, and thus prepare the mind to expect
a cataract. It is different, I afterwards learned, in the approach from
Lewiston, in which quite a mountain must first be ascended, when views
are often had of the most striking parts of the gulf, which has been
excavated by the passage of the Niagara River. It was not easy for me to
erect standards of comparison for the eye to estimate heights. The ear
is at first stunned by the incessant roar, and the eye bewildered by the
general view. I spent two days at the place, and thus became
familiarized with individual traits of the landscape. I found the abyss
at the foot of the Falls to be the best spot for accomplishing that
object. By far the greatest disproportion in the Falls exists between
the height and great width of the falling sheet. The water is most thick
and massy at the Horseshoe Fall, which gives one the most striking and
vivid idea of creative power. In fitting positions in the gulf, with
good incidences of light, the Falls look like a mighty torrent pouring
down from the clouds. At the time of my visit, the wind drove immense
fields of ice out of Lake Erie, with floating trees and other driftwood,
but I never saw any vestiges of these below the Falls. In front of the
column of water falling on the American side, there stood an enormous
pyramid of snow, or congealed spray.

  [8] This is an Iroquois word, said to signify the thunder of waters.
  The word, as pronounced by the Senecas, is Oniágarah. For additional
  information on this subject, see _Notes on the Iroquois_, p. 453. The
  etymology of the word has not, however, been fully examined. It is
  clear the pronunciation of the word in Goldsmith's day was Niagára.

What has been said by Goldsmith, and repeated by others, respecting the
destructive influence of the Rapids above to ducks and water-fowl is
imaginary--at least, as to the American sheet. So far from it, I saw the
wild ducks swim down the Rapid, as if in pursuit of some article of
food, and then rise and fly out at the brink, and repeat the descent,
as if delighted with the gift of wings, which enabled them to sport over
such frightful precipices without danger. I found among the debris in
the abyss, pieces of hornstone, and crystals of calcareous spar,
radiated quartz, sulphuret of zinc, and sulphate of lime. Its geology is
best explained by observing that the river, in falling over the
precipice of the Niagara ridge into the basin of Lake Ontario, leaps
over horizontal strata of limestone, slate, and red sandstone. In this
respect, nothing can be more simple and plain. It is magnitude alone
that makes the cataract sublime.

On returning to Buffalo, I found the lake rapidly discharging its ice,
which had been recently broken up by a storm of wind; and, while
awaiting the motion of the steamer, I was joined by Captain D. B.
Douglass, Professor of Engineering at West Point, who had been appointed
topographer and astronomer of the expedition. We embarked on the 6th of
May, at nine o'clock in the morning, in the steamer Walk-in-the-Water,
an elegant and conveniently-planned vessel, with a low-pressure Fulton
engine. This boat had been put upon the lake two years before, when it
made a trip to Michilimackinac, and was, indeed, the initial boat in the
history of steam navigation on the Lakes. We embarked at Black Rock, and
it was necessary to use a tow-line, drawn by oxen on the shore, to
enable the boat to ascend the Rapids. This Captain Rodgers, a
gentlemanly man, facetiously termed his hornbreeze. The oxen were
dismissed a short distance before reaching the mouth of Buffalo Creek,
where we reached the level of Lake Erie, five hundred and sixty feet
above the tide-waters of the Hudson River.[9] We were favored with clear
weather, and, a part of the time, with a fair wind. The boat touched at
Erie, at the mouth of Grand River, at Cleveland, and at Portland, in
Sandusky Bay, on coming out of which we passed Cunningham Island, and
the Put-in-Bay Islands, from a harbor in which Perry issued to achieve
his memorable naval victory on the 10th of September, 1813. Passing
through another group of islands, called the Three Sisters, we entered
the mouth of the Detroit River late on the afternoon of the 8th, just as
the light became dim and shadowy. The scale of these waters is

  [9] Report of the New York Canal Commissioners.

We had a glimpse of the town and fort of Malden, or Amherstburg, and of
Boisblanc, and Gross Isle, which were the last objects distinctly seen
in our ascent. The boat pushed on her way, under the guidance of good
pilots, although the night was dark, and we reached our destination, and
came to, at the city of Detroit, at twelve o'clock P. M., thus
completing the passage in sixty-two hours.

The next morning, an official from the Executive of the Michigan
Territory came on board with inquiries respecting Captain Douglass and
myself, and we soon found ourselves in a circle where we were received
with marked respect and attention. It was pleasing to behold that this
respect arose, in a great degree, from the high interest which was
manifested, in all classes, for the objects of the expedition, and the
influence which its exploratory labors were expected to have on the
development of the resources and prosperity of the country at large.

General Cass, who was to lead the expedition, received us cordially, and
let us know that we were in season, as some days would still elapse
before the preparations could be completed, and that the canoes in which
we were to travel had not yet reached Detroit. We were also cordially
welcomed by General Macomb, commanding the military district, Major John
Biddle, commanding officer of the fort, and by the citizens generally. I
was now, by the computations, about seven hundred and fifty miles from
my starting-point at New York. We took up our lodgings at the old stone
house occupied by Major Whipple, which, from its prominent position on
the banks of the river, had sustained a random cannonade during the late
war. We were here introduced to Dr. Alexander Wolcot, who filled the
post of physician to the expedition, and to Lieutenant Eneas Mackey,
United States artillery, commanding the escort, Major Robert A. Forsyth,
private secretary of the Executive, and commissary of the expedition,
and superintendent of embarkation; and to James D. Doty and Charles C.
Trowbridge, Esqs., who occupied, respectively, the situations of
official secretary and assistant topographer.

Detroit, the point to which I have now been conducted, is eligibly
situated on the south bank of the straits of the same name, and enjoys
the advantage of a regular plan and spacious streets, which have been
introduced since the burning of the old French town in 1805, not a
building of which, within the walls, was saved. Its main street,
Jefferson Avenue, is elevated about forty feet above the river. The town
consists of about two hundred and fifty houses of all descriptions,
public and private, and has a population of fourteen hundred and
fifty,[10] exclusive of the garrison.

  [10] The census of Detroit in 1850 gives it 21,019.

To the historian it is a point of great interest. It was the site of an
Indian village called Teuchsagondie in 1620, the date of the landing of
the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Quebec was founded in 1608; Albany in 1614.
But no regular settlement or occupancy took place here, till the close
of the seventeenth century. In June, 1687, the French took formal
possession of the straits by erecting the arms of France. On the 24th of
July, 1701, M. Cadillac established the first military post. Charlevoix,
who landed here in 1721, found it the site of Fort Pontchartrain.

In 1763 the garrison, being then under British colors, sustained a
notable siege from the confederate Indians under Pontiac. It remained
under English rule till the close of the American Revolution, and was
not finally surrendered to the United States until 1790, the year
following Wayne's treaty at Greenville. Surrendered by Hull in 1812, it
was reoccupied by General Harrison in October, 1813. It received a city
charter 24th October, 1815. Indeed, the prominent civil and military
events of which Detroit has been the theatre, confer on it a just
celebrity, and it is gratifying to behold that to these events it adds
the charm of a beautiful local site and fertile surrounding country. A
cursory view of the map of the United States, will indicate its
importance as a central military and commercial position. Situated on
the great chain of lakes, connecting with the waters of the Ohio,
Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Hudson, and Red River of the North, and
communicating with the Atlantic at so many points, and with a harbor
free of entrance at all times, its business capacities and means of
expansion are very great. And when the natural channels of communication
of the great lake chain shall be improved, it will afford a choice of
markets between the most distant points of the Atlantic seaboard. It is
thus destined to be to the regions of the northwest, what St. Louis is
rapidly becoming to the southwest, the seat of its commerce, the
repository of its wealth, and the grand focus of its moral, political,
and physical energies.[11]

  [11] MICHIGAN. This Territory contained, at this period, a population
  of 8,896 inhabitants, principally Frenchmen, who were the descendants
  of the original settlers of the time of Louis XIV. In 1835, the
  population had so increased, chiefly by emigration from the older
  States, that the inhabitants applied for admission into the Union.
  The act of Congress admitting it was passed in 1836. In 1846, it had
  212,267 souls. By the seventh national census, in 1850, it is shown
  to have a population of 397,654, entitling it to four representatives
  in Congress, with a large fraction. Its resources, its healthful
  climate, fertile soil, and very advantageous position on the great
  chain of navigable waters of the Upper Lakes, must insure a rapid
  development of its means and resources, and place the State, in a few
  years, in a high rank among the circle of American States.


  Preparations for the expedition--Constitution of the party--Mode of
    travel in canoes--Embarkation, and incidents of the journey across
    the Lake, and up the River St. Clair--Head winds encountered on
    Lake Huron--Point aux barques--Cross Saganaw Bay--Delays in
    ascending the Huron coast--Its geology and natural history--Reach

From the moment of our arrival at Detroit, we devoted ourselves, with
intensity, to the preparation necessary for entering the wilderness. We
were to travel, from this point, by a new mode of conveyance, namely,
the Indian bark canoe, called a chimaun, a vehicle not less novel than
curious. Constructed of large and thick sheets of the rind of the betula
papyracea, or northern birch, which are cut in garment-like folds, and
sewed together with the thin fibrous roots of the spruce, on a thin
framework of cedar ribs, and having gunwales, with a sheathing of the
same material, interposed between the bark and ribs. The seams are
carefully gummed with the pitch of the pine. The largest of these canoes
are thirty-six feet in length, and seven feet wide in the centre,
tapering to a point each way. They carry a mast and sail, and are
steered and propelled with light cedar paddles. They are at once light,
so as to be readily carried over the portages, and so strong as to bear
very considerable burdens. Those intended for us, were ordered from the
Chippewas of Lake Huron, near Saganaw Bay. It was necessary to have
mosquito-bars, portfolios, knapsacks, and various contrivances, and to
make baggage of every sort assume the least possible bulk and space. The
public armorer had orders to furnish me suitable hammers and other
minerological apparatus for preparing and packing specimens. The
expedition was quite an event in a remote town, and everybody seemed to
take an interest in the preparation. A fortnight passed away in these
preparations, and in awaiting the arrival of the canoes, respecting
which there was some delay. It was the 24th of May before we were ready
to embark. Besides the gentlemen mentioned as constituting the
travelling party, ten Canadian _voyageurs_ were taken to manage the
canoes, ten United States soldiers to serve as an escort, and ten
Ottowa, Chippewa, and Shawnee Indians to act as hunters, under the
directions of James Riley, an Anglo-American, and Joseph Parks, a
Shawnee captive (at present, head chief of the Shawnee nation), as
interpreters. This canoe contained a chief called Kewaygooshkum, a
sedate and respectable man, who, a year afterwards, played an important
part at the treaty of Chicago.

The grand point of departure and leave-taking, was at Grose Point, at
the foot of Lake St. Clair, a spot nine miles distant. For this point,
horses and carriages, with the numerous friends of Gov. Cass, pushed
forward at an early hour; and there was as much enthusiasm manifested,
by all classes, as if a new world was about to be discovered. I had a
strong wish to witness the mode of canoe travelling, and, declining an
opportunity to join the cavalcade by land, took my seat beside Major
Forsyth in the Governor's canoe. The Canadians immediately struck up one
of their animating canoe songs, the military escort at the same moment
displayed its flag and left the shore, and the auxiliary Indians, fired
with the animation of the scene, handled their paddles briskly, and shot
their canoe rapidly by us. A boat-race was the consequence. The Indians
at first kept their advantage, but the firmer and more enduring nerves
of the Canadians soon began to tell on our speed, and as we finally
passed them, the Indians gracefully yielded the contest. We were two
hours in going to Grose Point, with the wind slightly ahead.

The banks of the River Detroit present continuous settlements, in which
the appearance of large old orchards and windmills, among farm-houses
and smooth cultivated fields, reminds the visitor that the country has
been long settled. And he will not be long in observing, by the
peculiarity of architecture, dress, manners, and language, that the
basis of the population is French. We found our land party had preceded
us, and as the winds were adverse, we encamped in linen tents along the
open shore. The next day the wind increased, blowing quite a gale down
the Lake. I busied myself by making some meteorological and geological
observations. The shores of Lake St. Clair are formed of a fertile
alluvium, resting on drift. There are some heavy boulders of primitive
rock resting on this, which denote a vast field of former drift action
around the shores of these lakes.

The wind abated about eleven o'clock on the morning of the 26th, when
the men commenced loading the canoes. It was twelve before we embarked.
The mode of their embarkation is peculiar. The canoes, when laden, are
hauled out in deep water; the men then catch up the sitters on their
backs, and deposit them in their respective seats; when this was done,
they struck up one of their animated songs, and we glided over the
smooth surface of the lake with rapidity, holding our course parallel
with its shores, generally, until reaching a prominent point of land
near Huron River.[12]

  [12] Now called Clinton River, a change made by Act of Legislature,
  the frequent repetition of this name by the French having been found
  inconvenient in the lake geography. 1853.

From Point Huron we crossed the lake, to reach the central mouth of the
St. Clair River, thereby saving a tedious circuit; by the time we had
half accomplished the transit, we encountered a head wind, which put the
strength of the men severely to the test, and retarded our reaching the
mouth of the river till dark. The River St. Clair has several mouths,
which branch off above through a broad delta, creating large islands.
These channels discharge a vast amount of argillaceous drift and mud,
which has so far filled up the lake itself, that there is anchorage, I
believe, in every part of it; and the principal ship channel is scooped,
by the force of the current, out of a very compact blue clay--the
geological residuum of ancient formations of clay-slates in the upper

The shores are often but a few inches _above_, and often a few inches
_below_ the surface, where they give origin to a growth of reeds, flags,
and other aquatic plants, which remind the traveller of similar
productions at the Balize of the Mississippi. In this nilotic region,
myriads of water-fowls find a favorite resort. To us, however, these
jets of alluvial formation, bearing high grass and rushes were as so
many friendly arms stretched out to shelter us from the wind; but they
were found to be so low and wet, that we were compelled to urge our way
through them, in search of a dry encampment, till within two hours of
midnight. This brought us to the upper end of Lawson's Island, where we
arrived, wet, weary, and cold. We had advanced about twenty-five miles,
having been ten hours, in a cramped posture, in our canoes. This initial
day's journey was calculated to take away the poetry of travel from the
amateurs of our party, and to let us all know, that there were toils in
our way that required to be conquered.

We slept little this night, and waited for daylight and sunrise, as if
the blessed luminary would have an animating effect upon our actual
condition. We again embarked at seven o'clock in the morning. We now
stowed away things with more handiness than at the first embarkation,
and we began, ourselves, to feel a little more at home in this species
of voyaging.

We had three canoes in our little squadron provided with masts and
sails, and a small United States pennant to each, so that the brigade,
when in motion, and led, as it usually was, by the chanting canoemen,
had a formidable and animated appearance.

The River St. Clair is a broad and noble stream, and impressed us as
justifying the highest encomiums bestowed on it by Charlevoix, La
Hontan, and other early French travellers. We ascended it thirty miles,
which brought us to Fort Gratiot, at the foot of the rapid which marks
the outlet of Lake Huron. In this distance, we passed, at separate
places, nine vessels at anchor, being detained by head winds, and
encountered several Chippewa and Ottowa canoes, each of which were
generally occupied by a single family, with their females, blankets,
guns, fishing apparatus, and dogs. They evinced the most friendly

In landing at Oak Point,[13] I observed a green snake (coluber æstivus)
in the act of swallowing a frog, which he had succeeded in taking down,
except the extremity of its hind legs. A blow was sufficient to relieve
the frog, which still had sufficient animation to hop towards the river.
The snake I made to pay the forfeit of his life.

  [13] Now the site of Algonac.

At Fort Gratiot, we were received by Major Cummins, U. S. A., who
occupied the post with sixty men. The expedition was received with a
salute, which is due to the Governor of a Territory.

Two soldiers who were sickly, were here returned, and five able-bodied
men received to supply their places, thus increasing the aggregate of
the party to forty persons.[14]

  [14] To cover any arrangements of this kind, general orders had been
  issued by Gen. Macomb, to the commandants of the western posts.

The banks of the River St. Clair are wholly alluvial or diluvial. There
is not a particle of rock in place. One idea presses itself prominently
to notice, in reflecting on the formation of the country. It is the vast
quantum of clay, mixed drift, and boulders, which have evidently been
propelled, by ancient forces, down these straits, and afterwards
arranged themselves according to affinities, or gravitation. At the
precipitous banks between the inlet of Black River and Fort Gratiot,
this action has been so clearly within the erratic block period of De la
Buck, that it has imbedded prostrate forest-trees, and even freshwater
shells, beneath the heavy stratum of sand, resting immediately upon the
fundamental clay beds, upon which the city of Detroit, and indeed the
alluvions of the entire straits rest.[15] We again encountered at this
place, blocks of the primitive or crystalline boulders, which were first
seen at Grosse Point. There are some traces of iron sand along the shore
of this river, the only mineral body, indeed, which has thus rewarded my

  [15] In the artesian borings for water, undertaken by Mr. Lucius Lyon,
  at Detroit, in 1833, these clay beds were found to be one hundred and
  fifteen feet deep.--Vide _Historical and Scientific Sketches of
  Michigan_, p. 177.

We left our encampment, at Fort Gratiot, at eight o'clock next morning.
A strong and deep rapid is immediately encountered, up which, however,
vessels having a good wind find no difficulty in making their way. On
surmounting this, we found ourselves on the level of Lake Huron. The
lake here bursts upon the view in one of those magnificent landscapes
which are peculiar to this region. Nature has everywhere operated on the
grandest scale. Wide ocean expanses and long lines of shore spread
before the eye, which gazes admiringly on the broad and often brilliant
horizon, and then turns, for something to rest on, along the shore. Long
ridges of gravel, sand, and boulders, meet it here. Beyond and above
this storm-battered beach, are fringes of woods, or banks of clay. The
monotony of travelling by unvaried scenes is relieved by an occasional
song of the boatmen, or an occasional landing--by changes of
forest-trees--of the wind, or flights of the gull, duck, plover, and
other birds; but the traveller, is apt, before evening comes, to fancy
himself very much in the position of a piece of merchandise which is
transported from place to place. Glad were we when night approached, and
the order to encamp was heard. It was estimated we had advanced
thirty-five miles.

On passing along the Huron coast about fifteen miles, a bank of dark
clay is encountered, which has an elevation of thirty or forty feet, and
extends six or eight miles. We soon after came to the White Rock--an
enormous detached mass, or boulder of transition,[16] or
semi-crystalline limestone. It is a noted landmark for _voyageurs_ and
travellers, and an equally celebrated place of offerings by the Indians.
I requested to be landed on it, and detached some specimens.
Geologically, it is a member of the erratic block group, and we must
look for its parent bed at a more westerly point. There is no formation
of limestone, in this quarter, to which it can be referred. It bears
marks of attrition, which shows that it has been rubbed against other
hard bodies; and if transported down the lake on ice, it is necessary to
consider these marks as pre-existing at the era of its removal.

  [16] This term has disappeared from the geological vocabulary under
  the researches of Sir Roderick J. Murchison, Mr. Lyell, and other
  distinguished generalizers.

On embarking in the morning, the wind was slightly ahead, which
continued during the forenoon, changing in the after-part of the day, so
that we were able to hoist sail. About four o'clock the weather became
cloudy and hazy, the wind increasing, at the same time attended with
thunder and lightning. A storm was rapidly gathering, and the lake
became so much agitated that we immediately effected a landing, which
was not done without some difficulty, on a shallow and dangerous shore,
thickly strewn with boulders. We pitched our tents on a small peninsula,
or narrow neck of land, covered with beautiful forest-trees, which was
nearly separated from the main shore. Shortly after our arrival a vessel
hove in sight, and anchored on the same dangerous lee shore. We were in
momently expectation of her being driven from her moorings, but were
happily relieved, the next morning, to observe that she had rode out the

The lake was still too rough on the following day, and the wind too
high, to permit our embarking. We made an excursion inland. The country
proved low, undulatory, and swampy. The forest consisted of hemlock,
birch, ash, oak, and maple, with several species of mosses, which gave
it a cold, bleak character. The margin of the forest was skirted with
the bulrush, briza canadensis, and other aquatic plants. The whole day
passed, a night, and another day, with nothing but the loud sounding
lake roar in our ears. A heavy bed of the erratic block formation
commences at this point, and continues to Point aux Barques, the eastern
cape of Saganaw Bay.

In one of these displaced masses--a boulder of mica slate, I discovered
well-defined crystals of staurotide. This formed my second mineralogical
acquisition.[17] There were, also, some striking water-worn masses of
granitical and hornblende porphyry.

  [17] In passing along this coast in 1824, an Indian picked up, in
  shallow water, a small boulder imbedding a mass of native silver.
  Breaking off the most prominent mass, he still observed the metal
  forming veins in the rock, and brought both specimens to an officer of
  the British Indian department at Amherst (Lieut. Lewis S. Johnson),
  who presented them to me. This discovery is described in the _Annals
  of the New York Lyceum of Natural History_, vol. i. part 8, page 247.

It was the 1st of June before we could leave the spot where we had been
confined. We embarked at six o'clock, the lake being sufficiently
pacific, though not yet settled. But after proceeding about a league, it
again became agitated, and drove us ashore, where we lay without
encamping. Kewaygushkum was requested to send some of his young men in
quest of game. The soldiers and engagees also formed fishing parties, at
a contiguous river; but about three o'clock in the afternoon all the
parties returned completely unsuccessful. There was neither fish nor
game to be had. At the same time the agitation of the lake ceased, the
wind springing up from an opposite quarter, which enabled us to hoist
sail. This put every one in a pleasant humor, and we proceeded along the
coast till evening, and encamped on a small sandy bay, which puts into
the land, immediately beyond the promontory of Point aux Barques--an
estimated distance of twenty-five miles from our starting-point in the

At the distance of a league before reaching this point, the first
stratum of rock, _in situ_, presents itself. It is a gray friable
sandstone, elevated from ten to twenty feet above the water, but
attaining a greater height in the approach to this noted cape. This
stratum of sandstone rock, which is of a perishable character, is
exposed to receive the shock of the waves of Lake Huron for several
hundred miles from the north and west. It exhibits the force and fury of
the lake action by the numerous cavities which have been worn into it,
at the water's edge, and by the sub-bays which have, in some localities,
been formed in the line of dark opposing cliffs. It was in one of these
sub-bays that we encamped, on a smooth sandy beach, which appears to
have been a favorite encamping ground of the natives. But although we
had met several canoes of Chippewas, on the route between Fort Gratiot
and this point, none were found at the place of our encampment. Such of
them as we approached, on the lake, were invariably in want of food, and
received it with evident marks of gratification.

On going inland, back from our encampment, we found a succession of arid
ridges of sand, which had been evidently produced by the prostrated
sandstone of the coast, which, after comminution by the waves, had been
carried to this position by the winds. These ancient dunes and ridges
were covered sparsely with pitch pines and aspen, and having their
surfaces covered with the uva ursi, pyrola, and smaller shrub-growth
common to arenaceous soils.

On the day following, we ascended along the eastern shores of Saganaw
Bay, a distance of eighteen miles, which brought us to Point aux Chenes.
At this place the guides pointed to a group of islands about midway of
the bay, for which we steered. The calmness of the weather favored the
traverse. We reached and landed on the largest of the group, called
Shawangunk, by the Indians, probably from its southernmost position. I
found it to consist of a dark, compact limestone, imbedding masses of
chalcedony and calcareous spar. I also picked up a detached mass of
argillaceous oxide of iron, and some fragments of striped hornstone.
Anxious to improve the favorable time for effecting the passage, we
pushed on for the opposite western shore, which was safely reached. We
then steered down the bay, skirting a low sandy shore some twenty miles
or more, till entering the open lake, and reaching the River aux Sables.
On entering this river, and after having pitched our camp, we were
visited by a band of Chippewa Indians, with friendly salutations. It
appeared that the arrival of the expedition had been anticipated by
them, they having themselves constructed and furnished the canoes for
it, and being well acquainted with the official position, at Detroit, of
the leader of our party. The principal Chief, the Black Eagle, addressed
a speech to Governor Cass, in which he appropriately recognized these
relations, welcomed him to his village, and recommended the condition of
his people to his notice. The calumet was then smoked in the usual style
of Indian ceremony, the pipe-bearer beginning with persons of first
rank, and handing it in the supposed order of grade, to the lowest
member of the official family. The ceremony was ended by shaking of
hands. All this was done with the ease and dignity of an oriental
sheikh. We had anticipated savages, and savage manners, and armed
ourselves to the teeth, pushing a point with an army official at
Detroit, until we were each provided with a short rifle. But this first
formal council with the sons of the forest, began to open our eyes to
the true character of the Indian manners and diplomacy, in their
intercourse with government officials.

The chiefs, after their departure, sent to our encampment a present of
fresh sturgeon, a species which is caught abundantly in the aux Sables
at this time, for which returns were made of such articles as were most
acceptable to them. Being out of the Bay, we employed the following day
making advances along the Huron coast, an estimated distance of
forty-eight miles. In this distance, we passed Thunder Bay. Encamped on
a low, calcareous shore, bearing cedar and spruce, which the Indians
call Sho-she-ko-naw-be-ko-king, or Flat Rock Point. A few miles after
leaving River aux Sables, the Highlands of Sables present themselves at
a short distance back from the shore. This ridge, which is a landmark
for mariners, runs from southeast to northwest, and is visible as far as
Thunder Bay. The limestone, which is dark and of an earthy fracture, is
very much broken up on the shore, and contains various species of
organic remains. On crossing the Bay, we landed on an island covered
with debris, where we observed one of those imitative, water-worn,
primitive boulders, resembling altars, which are frequently set up by
the Indians as the places of depositing some offering, or out of mere
respect for some local god.

At six o'clock the next morning we were again in our canoes, assiduously
moving along the Huron coast; but, after proceeding about a league, a
storm of wind and rain suddenly arose, driving us from the lake. A few
hours served to restore its calmness, but we had not gone over a couple
of leagues when we were again compelled by the rising wind to take to
the shore, where we were detained the rest of the day, listening to the
capricious murmurs of the lake. This position was directly opposite
Middle Island, a noted anchorage about six miles distant. All night the
waves of the lake were heard. The morning broke without change. Lake
Huron still evinced an angry aspect, threatening to renew the struggle
of yesterday. It was concluded to send the canoes forward, relieved of
our weight, and proceed ourselves on foot along the beach. Walking on
this became difficult on those parts of it where the fossiliferous and
shelly limestone had been broken up and heaped in small fragments. Among
these, we recognized specimens of the cornu-ammonis, and the maderpore,
with some other species. The cedars and brushy growth generally stood so
thick, and grew so closely to this line of debris, that it was
impracticable to take the woods. The toil, however, rewarded us with
some specimens of the organic forms imbedded in the rock, while it
enabled the topographers to secure the data for a very perfect map of
the coast. At ten o'clock in the morning we reached the east cape of
Presque Isle Bay, where the canoes came to take us across to the
peninsula of that name. After completing this, the men landed the canoes
and baggage on the peninsula side, and carried them across the narrow
sandy neck of land; but, on reaching the open lake beyond it, the wind
was found too strongly adverse to permit embarkation. The Canadians have
the not inappropriate term of _degrade_ for this species of detention;
we were here foiled, indeed, in our high hopes of pushing ahead, and
compelled to wait on the naked sands for many weary hours. While thus
detained, the Indians brought in a brown rabbit,[18] a species of lake
tortoise, and some pigeons, being their only fruits of success in
hunting, except a single grouse, or partridge, which had crowned their
efforts since leaving Detroit. It must be borne in mind, however, that
there has been very little opportunity for hunting, that we have had
abundant supplies, and that our mode of travelling is such as to alarm
all game within sound of our track. They have, indeed, brought reports
at several points of seeing the footprints of the deer and black bear,
but they have not had the leisure to pursue them.

  [18] This is presumed to be a variety of the American Hare, and may
  be distinguished by the following characters: Body eighteen inches
  long; color of the hair grayish-brown on the back, grayish-white
  beneath. Neck and body rusty and cenerous. Legs pale rust color. Tail
  short, brown above, white beneath. Hind legs longest, and callous a
  short distance from the paws up. Ears tipped with black. Covering of
  the body rusty fur, beneath long coarse hair. Probable weight six

At five o'clock, the wind abated so much as to permit embarkation, and
our canoemen hastened forward with the intention of travelling all
night, but at eleven o'clock it freshened to such a degree, and at the
same time became so intensely dark, that we were compelled to land and
encamp. Neither the topography, mineralogy, or any branch of the
physical geography of a country can be ascertained without minute
examination; and this constitutes, indeed, the object of the
investigations, which have been, thus far, so toilsomely pursued against
adverse winds since the commencement of the expedition; but they have
disclosed facts which reveal the true structure and physical history of
this bleak, ungenial coast; this hope serves, every day, to give new
impetus to the voyage.

Another day along the Huron coast. It was now the 6th of June. The
_voyageurs_ began now to manifest great anxiety to reach
Michilimackinac, and had their canoes in the water at a very early hour.
We all participated in this feeling, and saw with pleasure the long
lines of sandy shores, strewed with boulders and pebbles, that were
swiftly passed. We had traced about forty miles of the coast when we
reached the foot of Bois Blanc Island, and pushed over the intervening
arm of the lake to get its south or lee shore. This was a labor of
hazard, as the wind was directly ahead, and drove the waves into the
canoes. When accomplished, we had the shelter of this island for twelve
miles, till reaching its southwest part. We then passed, due north,
between it and Isle Ronde, which brought the wind again ahead. But the
men had not kept this course long, when Michilimackinac, with its
picturesque and imposing features, burst upon our view.

Nothing can present a more refreshing and inspiring landscape. From
that moment the _voyageurs_ appeared to disregard the wind. Striking
into the water with bolder paddles, and opening one of their animating
boat-songs, all thought of past toils was forgotten, and, urged forward
with a new impetus, we entered the handsome little crescent-shaped
harbor at four o'clock. The expedition was received with a salute from
the fort, in command of Capt. B. K. Pierce, U. S. A.,[19] in compliment
to the Governor of the Territory, and we landed amid the congratulations
of the citizens, who pressed forward to welcome us.

  [19] Of this officer, who was a brother of Franklin Pierce, President
  of the United States, Gardner's _Army Dictionary_ gives the following
  notice: Benjamin K. Pierce (N. H.), First Lieutenant Third Artillery,
  March, 1812; Adjutant, 1813; Captain, October, 1813; retained May 15,
  in artillery; in Fourth Artillery, May 21; Major ten years fa.
  service, Oct. 1, 1823; Major First Artillery, June 11, 1836
  (Lieutenant-Colonel Eighth Infantry, July 7, 1838, declined); Brevet
  Lieutenant-Colonel "for distinguished service in affair at Fort
  Drane," Aug. 21, 1836 (Oct. 1836), in which he commanded: Colonel
  Regular Creek Mounted Volunteers, in Florida War, Oct. 1836;
  Lieutenant-Colonel First Artillery, March 19, 1842. Died April 1,
  1850, at New York.

Thus terminated the first part of our journey, after a tedious voyage of
fourteen days, in which we had encountered a series of almost continued
head-winds and foul weather. The distance by ship is usually estimated
at three hundred miles; by following the indentations of the coast, and
entering Saganaw Bay, we found it three hundred and sixty.[20] We found
the Huron coast, to the line of which our observations were limited,
bearing, in its vegetation, indubitable marks of its exposure to the
northern winds. As a section of the lake geology, it is simple and
instructive, exhibiting strata of sandstone and non-crystalline and
fossiliferous limestone in horizontal positions, without the slightest
disturbance in their dip or inclinations. Its mineralogy is scanty,
being nearly confined, so far as observed, to some common silicious
minerals, and traces of argillaceous and magnetic oxides of iron. The
erratic block-stratum or drift, is remarkable, and prepares the mind for
the still heavier accumulations of this kind which are perceived to be
spread over the northern latitudes.[21]

  [20] Among the erratic block or drift stratum, I observed on the
  south Huron coast singularly striking, round fragments of white
  quartz, imbedding red fragments of coarse jasper; a rock, which I
  afterwards found in places on the south end of Sugar Island, in St.
  Mary's Straits, which lies directly north of the general position,
  and may serve as a proof of the course of the drift.

  [21] _Vide_ Geo. Report, Appendix.


  Description of Michilimackinac--Prominent scenery--Geology--Arched
    Rock--Sugarloaf Rock--History--Statistics--Mineralogy--Skull
    Cave--Manners--Its fish, agriculture, moral wants--Ingenious
    manufactures of the Indians--Fur trade--Etymology of the
    word--Antique bones disclosed in the interior of the island.

Nothing can exceed the beauty of this island. It is a mass of calcareous
rock, rising from the bed of Lake Huron, and reaching an elevation of
more than three hundred feet above the water. The waters around are
purity itself. Some of its cliffs shoot up perpendicularly, and tower in
pinnacles like ruinous Gothic steeples. It is cavernous in some places;
and in these caverns, the ancient Indians, like those of India, have
placed their dead. Portions of the beach are level, and adapted to
landing from boats and canoes. The harbor, at its south end, is a little
gem. Vessels anchor in it, and find good holding. The little
old-fashioned French town nestles around it in a very primitive style.
The fort frowns above it, like another Alhambra, its white walls
gleaming in the sun. The whole area of the island is one labyrinth of
curious little glens and valleys. Old green fields appear, in some
spots, which have been formerly cultivated by the Indians. In some of
these there are circles of gathered-up stones, as if the Druids
themselves had dwelt here. The soil, though rough, is fertile, being the
comminuted materials of broken-down limestones. The island was formerly
covered with a dense growth of rock-maples, oaks, ironwood, and other
hard-wood species, and there are still parts of this ancient forest
left, but all the southern limits of it exhibit a young growth. There
are walks and winding paths among its little hills, and precipices of
the most romantic character. And whenever the visitor gets on eminences
overlooking the lake, he is transported with sublime views of a most
illimitable and magnificent water prospect. If the poetic muses are ever
to have a new Parnassus in America, they should inevitably fix on
Michilimackinac. Hygeia, too, should place her temple here, for it has
one of the purest, driest, clearest, and most healthful atmospheres.

We remained encamped upon this lovely island six days, while awaiting
the arrival of supplies and provisions for the journey, or their being
prepared for transportation by hand over the northern portages. Meats,
bread, Indian corn, and flour, had to be put in kegs, or stout linen

The traders and old citizens said so much about the difficulties and
toils of these northern portages that we did not know but what we,
ourselves, were to be put in bags; but we escaped that process. This
delay gave us the opportunity of more closely examining the island. It
is about three and a half miles long, two in its greatest width, and
nine in circumference. The site of Fort Holmes, the apex, is three
hundred and twelve feet above the lake. The eastern margin consists of
precipitous cliffs, which, in many places, overhang the water, and
furnish a picturesque rocky-fringe, as it were, to the elevated plain.
The whole rock formation is calcareous. It exhibits the effects of a
powerful diluvial action at early periods, as well as the continued
influence of elemental action, still at work. Large portions of the
cliffs have been precipitated upon the beach, where the process of
degradation has been carried on by the waves. A most striking instance
of such precipitations is to be witnessed at the eastern cliff, called
Robinson's Folly, which fell, by its own gravitation, within the period
of tradition. The formation, at this point, formerly overhung the beach,
commanding a fine view of the lake and islands in all directions, in
consequence of which it was occupied with a summer-house, by the
officers of the British garrison, after the abandonment of the old
peninsular fort, about 1780.

The mineralogical features of the island are not without interest. I
examined the large fragments of debris, which are still prominent, and
which exhibit comparatively fresh fractures. The rock contains a portion
of sparry matter, which is arranged in reticulæ, filled with white
carbonate of lime, in such a state of loose disintegration that the
weather soon converts it to the condition of agaric mineral. These
reticulæ are commonly in the slate of calcspar, crystallized in minute
crystals. The stratum on which this loose formation rests is compact and
firm, and agrees in structure with the encrinal limestone of Drummond
Island and the Manitouline chain. But the vesicular stratum, which may
be one hundred and ten or twenty feet thick, has been deposited in such
a condition that it has not had, in some localities, firmness enough
permanently to sustain itself. The consequence is, that the table-land
has caved in, and exhibits singular depressions, or grass-covered,
cup-shaped cavities, which have no visible outlet for the rain-water
that falls in them, unless it percolates through the shelly strata.
Portions of it, subject to this structure, have been pressed off during
changing seasons, by frosts, and carried away by rains, creating that
castellated appearance of pinnacles, which gives so much peculiarity to
the rocky outlines of the island.

The ARCHED ROCK is an isolated mass of self-sustaining rock, on the
eastern facade of cliffs; it offers one of those coincidences of
geological degradation in which the firmer texture of the silicious and
calcareous portions of it have, thus far, resisted decomposition. Its
explanation, is, however, simple: The apex of this geological monument
is on a level, or nearly so, with the Fort Holmes summit. While the
diluvial action, of which the whole island gives striking proofs,
carried away the rest of the reticulated or magnesian limestone, this
singular point, having a firmer texture, resisted its power, and remains
to tell the visitor who gazes at it, that waters have once held dominion
over the highest part of the island.

Before dismissing the subject of the geological phenomena of this
island, it may be observed that it is covered with the erratic block or
drift stratum. Primitive or crystalline pebbles and boulders are found,
but not plentifully, on the surface. They are observed, however, on the
highest summit, and upon the lower plain; one of the best localities of
these boulders, exists on the depressed ground, leading north, in the
approach to Dousman's Farm, where there is a remarkable accumulation of
blocks of granite and hornblende drift boulders. The principal drift of
the island consists of smooth, small, calcareous pebbles, and, at deeper
positions, angular fragments of limestone. Sandstone boulders are not
rare. Over the plain leading from the fort north by way of the Skull
Rock, are spread extensive beds of finely comminuted calcareous gravel,
the particles of which often not exceeding the size of a buck-shot,
which makes one of the most solid and compact natural macadamized roads
of which it is possible to conceive. Carriage wheels on it run as
smoothly, but far more solid, than they could over a plank floor. This
formation appears to be the diluvial residuum or ultimate wash, which
arranged itself agreeably to the laws of its own gravitation, on the
recession of the watery element, to which its comminution is clearly
due. It would be worth transportation, in boxes, for gravelling
ornamental garden-walks. The soil of the island is highly charged with
the calcareous element, and, however barren in appearance, is favorable
to vegetation. Potatoes have been known to be raised in pure beds of
small limestone pebbles, where the seed potatoes had been merely covered
in a slight way, to shield them from the sun, until they had taken root.

The historical reminiscences connected with this island are of an
interesting character. It appears from concurrent testimony, that the
old town on the peninsula was settled about 1671,[22] which was seven
years before the building of Fort Niagara. In that year, Father
Marquette, a French missionary, prevailed on a party of Hurons to locate
themselves at that spot, and it was therefore the first point of
settlement made northwest of Fort Frontenac, on Lake Ontario. It was
probably first garrisoned by La Salle, in 1678, and continued to be the
seat of the fur trade, and in many respects, the metropolis of the
extreme northwest, during the whole period of French domination in the
Canadas. After the fall of Quebec, in 1759, it passed by treaty to the
British government, but much against the wishes of the Indian tribes,
who retained a strong partiality for their early friends, the French.
Pontiac arose at this time, to dispute the English authority in the
northwest, and with confederates projected a series of bold attacks upon
the forts extending from the Ohio to this post. Most of these were
successful, but he was defeated at Detroit, where he commanded in
person, after a series of extraordinary movements. While he was
pressing the siege of the garrison, he enjoined neutrality upon the
French inhabitants, who were nevertheless called on to furnish cattle
and corn for the subsistence of his warriors. It is remarked on good
authority that, for these supplies, he issued evidences of debt. When
General Bradstreet marched to the relief of the fort, with an army of
three thousand men, the spirit and laconic temper of the warrior were at
the same time evinced. He sent a deputation of chiefs to meet the herald
of the British general, at Maumee, with the laconic and symbolic
message: "I stand in the path."

  [22] Neither Fort Niagara nor Fort Ponchartrain (at the present site
  of Detroit) were then in existence. The foundation of the former was
  laid by La Salle, in 1678; the latter had not been erected when La
  Hontan passed through the country, in 1688.--_Herriot's Travels
  through Canada_, p. 196.

The execution of the plan of attack on Old Fort Mackinac appears to have
been intrusted to Minnawanna, a Chippewa chief, who, in addition to his
own people, was aided by the Sacs. The Ottowas afterwards expressed
displeasure in not having been admitted to a participation in the
attack. The plan was ingeniously laid. The king's birthday, the 4th of
June (1763), having arrived, the Chippewas and Sacs turned out to play,
for a high wager, at ball. Many of the garrison, and the commanding
officer himself, came out to witness the sport; and there was such a
feeling of security that the gates of the fort were left open. To put
the troops more off their guard, the ball had been thrown over the
picket, and when once there, it was natural that it should be followed
by the opposite parties, heated with the contest and eager for victory.
But this artifice was the accomplishment of the plan. The war-whoop was
immediately sounded, and an indiscriminate slaughter commenced. A few
moments of intense anxiety ensued. They were passed by the officers
eagerly listening for the roll of the drum. But they were passed in
disappointment. There was no call of this kind to concentrate
resistance. Panic and slaughter raged in their most fearful forms. None
were spared who were deemed friendly to the English interest but such as
were effectually secreted. Some of the soldiers who escaped the first
onset, were incarcerated in a room, where they were sacrificed to glut
the vengeance of a chief, who did not arrive till the principal work of
slaughter had been accomplished.

This event sealed the fate of the old fort and the town on the
peninsula. The British afterwards took possession of the island, which
had served to give name to the peninsular fort. The town was gradually
removed, by pulling down the buildings, and transporting the timber to
the island, till there was not a building or fixture left; and the site
is now as silent and deserted as if it had never been the scene of an
active resident population.

The Island of Michilimackinac appears to have been occupied first as a
military position by the British, about 1780, say some seven years after
the massacre of the garrison of the old peninsular fort of the same

Wherever Michilimackinac is mentioned in the missionary letters or
history of this period, it is the ancient fort, on the apex of the
Michigan peninsula, that is alluded to.

The present town is pleasantly situated around a little bay that affords
good clay anchorage and a protection from west and north winds. It has a
very antique and foreign look, and most of the inhabitants are, indeed,
of the Canadian type of the French. The French language is chiefly
spoken. It consists of about one hundred and fifty houses and some four
hundred and fifty permanent inhabitants.

It is the seat of justice for the most northerly county of Michigan.
According to the observation of Lieut. Evelith, the island lies in north
latitude 45° 54´, which is only twenty-three minutes north of Montreal,
as stated by Prof. Silliman.[23] It is in west longitude 7° 10´ from

  [23] Tour from Hartford to Quebec, p. 341.

Col. Croghan's attempt to take the island, during the late war, was most
unfortunate. He failed from a double spirit of dissension in his own
forces, being at odds with the commanding officer of the fleet, and at
sword's points with his second in command, Major Holmes. After entering
the St. Mary's, and taking and burning the old post of St. Joseph's,
where nobody resisted, instead of sailing direct to Mackinac, a
marauding expedition was sent up this river to St. Mary's, and when the
fleet and troops finally reached Mackinac, instead of landing at the
town, under the panic of the inhabitants, it sailed about for several
days. In the mean time the island filled with Indians from the
surrounding shores.

Fort "Mackina" is eligibly situated on a cliff overlooking the town and
harbor, and is garrisoned by a company of artillery. The ruin of Fort
Holmes, formerly Fort George, occupies the apex of the island, and has
been dismantled since the British evacuated it in 1815.[24]

  [24] Tour from Hartford to Quebec, p. 341.

It happened that the British authorities on the island of St. Joseph,
got intelligence of the declaration of war, in 1812, through Canada,
before the American commander at Mackinac heard of it. Mustering their
forces with such volunteers, militia, and Indians as could be hastily
got together, they proceeded in boats to the back of the island, where
they secretly landed at night with some artillery, and by daylight the
next morning got the latter in place on the summit of Fort Holmes, which
completely commanded the lower fort, when they sent a summons of
surrender, which Captain Hanks, the American commanding officer, had no
option but to obey.

Colonel Croghan, the hero of Sandusky, attempted to regain possession of
it, in 1814, with a competent force, and after several demonstrations of
his fleet about the island, by which time was lost and panic in the
enemy allayed, he landed on the northern part of it, which is depressed,
and his army marched through thick woods, most favorable for the
operations of the Indians, to the open grounds of Dousman's Farm, where
the army was met by Colonel McDouall, who was eligibly posted on an
eminence with but few regular troops, but a heavy force of Indian
auxiliaries and the village militia. Major Holmes, who gallantly led the
attack, swinging his sword, was killed at a critical moment, and the
troops retreated before Colonel Croghan could reach the field with a
reinforcement. Thus ended this affair.

My attention was directed to the plaster stated to exist on the St.
Martin Islands. These islands compose a small group lying about nine or
ten miles north-northeast of Michilimackinac. Captain Knapp, of the
revenue service, had been requested to take me to the spot with the
revenue cutter under his command. I was accompanied by Captain Douglass,
of the expedition, and by Lieutenant John Pierce, U. S. A., stationed at
the fort.

The gypsum exists in a moist soil, not greatly elevated, during certain
winds above the lake. Pits had been dug by persons visiting the locality
for commercial purposes. It occurs in granular lumps of a gray color, as
also in foliated and fibrous masses, white, gray, chestnut color, or
sometimes red. No difficulty was encountered in procuring as many
specimens as were required. This group of islands is noticeable, also,
for the large boulder masses of hornblende and granite rock, which are
found imbedded in, or lying on the surface, along with fragments of
breccia, quartz, &c. This drift is more abundant, on all the islands I
have seen, as we approach the north shores of Lake Huron. Having
completed the examination of these islands, we returned to the harbor
after an agreeable excursion.

To observe the structure and character of the Island of Michilimackinac,
I determined to walk entirely around it, following the beach at the foot
of the cliffs. This, although a difficult task, from brush and debris,
became a practicable one, except on the north and northwest borders,
where there was, for limited spaces, no margin of debris, at which
points it became necessary to wade in the water at the base of low
precipitous rocks. In addition to the reticulated masses of limestone
covered with calcspar from the fallen cliffs, the search disclosed small
tabular pieces of minutely crystallized quartz and angular masses of a
kind of striped hornstone, gray and lead colored, which had been
liberated from similar positions in the cliffs. On passing the west
margin of the island, I observed a bed of a species of light-blue clay,
which is stated to part with its coloring matter in baking it, becoming

While the British possessed the island, they attempted to procure water
by digging two wells at the site of Fort George (now Holmes), but were
induced to relinquish the work without success, at the depth of about
one hundred feet. Among the fragments of rock thrown out, are
impressions of bivalve and univalve shells, with an impression
resembling the head of a trilobite. These are generally in the condition
of chalcedony, covered with very minute crystals of quartz. I also
discovered a drift specimen of brown oxide of iron, on the north
quarter. This sketch embraces all that is important in its mineralogical

This island appears to have been occupied by the Indians, from an early
period. Human bones have been discovered at more than one point, in the
cavernous structure of the island; but no place has been so much
celebrated for disclosures of this kind, as the SKULL CAVE. This cave
has a prominent entrance, shaded by a few trees, and appears to have
been once devoted to the offices of a charnel-house by the Indians. It
is not mentioned at all, however, by writers, till 1763, in the month of
June of which year the fort of old Mackinac on the peninsula, was
trea-cherously taken by the Sac and Chippewa Indians. An extensive and
threatening confederation of the western Indians had then been matured,
and a large body of armed warriors was then encamped around the walls of
Detroit, under the leadership of Pontiac, who held the garrison in close
siege day and night. The surrender of Canada to Great Britain, which had
followed the victory of General Wolfe at Quebec, was distasteful to
these Indians, and they attempted the mad project of driving back beyond
the Alleghanies the English race; making a simultaneous assault upon all
the military posts west of that great line of demarcation, and preaching
and dealing out vengeance to all who had English blood in their veins.
Alexander Henry, a native of Albany,[25] was one of those enterprising
men who had pushed his fortunes West, with an adventure of merchandise,
on the first exchange of posts, and he was singled out for destruction,
as soon as the fort was taken. He had taken refuge in the house of a
Frenchman named Longlade, where he was concealed in a garret by a Pawnee
slave, and where he hid himself under a heap of birch-bark buckets, such
as are employed in the Indian country, in the spring season, in carrying
the sap of the sugar-maple. But this temporary reprieve from the Indian
knife seemed only the prelude to a series of hairbreadth escapes, which
impressed him as the direct interposition of Providence. At length, when
the scenes of blood and intoxication began to abate a little, an old
Indian friend of his, called Wawetum, who had once pledged his
friendship, but who had been absent during the massacre, sought him out,
and having reclaimed him by presents, in a formal council, took him into
his canoe and conducted the spared witness of these atrocities three
leagues across the waters of Lake Huron in safety to this island.

  [25] _Vide_ Henry's Travels, New York, 1809, 1 vol. 8vo.

To this place they were accompanied by the actors in this tragedy to the
number of three hundred and fifty fighting men,[26] and he would now,
under the protection of Wawetum, have been safe from immediate peril,
but that in a few days a prize of two canoes of merchandise in the hands
of English traders was made, amongst which was a large quantity of
liquor. Hereupon, Wawetum, foreseeing another carousal, and always
fearful of his friend, requested him to go up with him to the mountain
part of the island. Having ascended it, he led him to this cave, and
recommended him to abide here in concealment until the debauch was over,
when he promised to visit him.

  [26] Henry, p. 109.

Breaking some branches at its mouth for a bed, he then sought its
recesses, and spreading his blanket around, laid down and slept till
morning. Daylight revealed to him the fact that he had been reposing on
dry human bones, and that the cave had anciently been devoted by the
Indians as a sepulchre. On announcing this fact to his deliverer, two
days afterward, when he came to seek him, Wawetum expressed his
ignorance of it, and a party of the Indians, who came to examine it in
consequence of the announcement, also concurred in declaring that they
had no tradition on the subject. They conjectured that the bones were
either due to the period when the sea covered the earth--which is a
common belief with them--or to the period of the Huron occupancy of this
island, after that tribe were defeated by the Iroquois, in the St.
Lawrence valley.

So much for tradition.

This island has been long known as a prominent point in the fur trade.
But of this I am not prepared to speak. It was selected by Mr. J. J.
Astor, in 1816, as the central point of outfit for his clerks and agents
in this region; and the warehouses erected for their accommodation
constitute prominent features in its modern architecture. The capital
annually invested in this business is understood to be about three
hundred thousand dollars. This trade was deemed an object of the highest
consequence from the first settlement of Canada, but it was not till
1766, agreeably to Sir Alexander Mackenzie, that it commenced from
Michilimackinac.[27] The number of furred animals taken in a single
year, the same author states to be one hundred and eighty-two thousand
two hundred; of which number, the astonishing proportion of one hundred
and six thousand were beavers.[28] Estimating each skin at but one
pound, and the foreign market price at four dollars per pound, which are
both much below the average at this era, this item of beaver alone would
exceed by more than one-third the whole capital employed, taking the
data before mentioned, and leave the seventy-six thousand smaller furred
animals to be put on the profit side. No wonder that acts of perfidy
arose between rivals, such as the shooting of Mr. Waden at his own
dinner-table, where he was entertaining an opponent or copartner in the
trade; or the foul assassination of Owen Keveny on the Rainy Lakes.[29]
Indeed, the fur trade has for a long period been more productive, if we
are to rely on statements, than the richest silver mines of Mexico or

  [27] Mackenzie's Voyages, Hist. Fur Trade, vii.

  [28] Mackenzie, xxiv.

  [29] Report of the Trials of De Reinhard, &c. Montreal, 1818.

Society at Michilimackinac consists of so many diverse elements, which
impart their hue to it, that it is not easy for a passing traveller to
form any just estimate of it. The Indian, with his plumes, and gay and
easy costume, always imparts an oriental air to it. To this, the
Canadian, gay, thoughtless, ever bent on the present, and caring nothing
for to-morrow, adds another phase. The trader, or interior clerk, who
takes his outfit of goods to the Indians, and spends eleven months of
the year in toil, and want, and petty traffic, appears to dissipate his
means with a sailor-like improvidence in a few weeks, and then returns
to his forest wanderings; and boiled corn, pork, and wild rice again
supply his wants. There is in these periodical resorts to the central
quarters of the Fur Company, much to remind one of the old feudal
manners, in which there is proud hospitality and a show of lordliness on
the one side, and gay obsequiousness and cringing dependence on the
other, at least till the annual bargains for the trade are closed.

We were informed that there is neither school, preaching, a physician
(other than at the garrison), nor an attorney, in the place. There are,
however, courts of law, a post-office, and a jail, and one or more
justices of the peace.

There is a fish market every morning, where may be had the trout--two
species--and the white fish, the former of which are caught with hooks
in deep water, and the latter in gill nets. Occasionally, other species
appear, but the trout and white fish, which is highly esteemed, are
staples, and may be relied on in the shore market daily; whole
canoe-loads of them are brought in.

The name of this island is said to signify a great turtle, to which it
has a fancied resemblance, when viewed from a distance. Mikenok, and
not Mackenok, is, however, the name for a tortoise. The term, as
pronounced by the Indians, is Michinemockinokong, signifying place of
the Great Michinamockinocks, or rock-spirits. Of this word, _Mich_ is
from _Michau_ (adjective-animate), great. The term _mackinok_, in the
Algonquin mythology, denotes in the singular, a species of spirits,
called turtle spirits, or large fairies, who are thought to frequent its
mysterious cliffs and glens. The plural of this word, which is an
animate plural, is _ong_, which is the ordinary form of all nouns ending
in the vowel _o_. When the French came to write this, they cast away the
Indian local in _ong_, changed the sound of _n_ to _l_, and gave the
force _mack_ and _nack_, to _mök_ and _nök_. The vowel _e_, after the
first syllable, is merely a connective in the Indian, and which is
represented in the French orthography in this word by _i_. The ordinary
interpretation of great turtle is, therefore, not widely amiss; but in
its true meaning, the term enters more deeply into the Indian mythology
than is conjectured. The island was deemed, in a peculiar sense, the
residence of spirits during all its earlier ages. Its cliffs, and dense
and dark groves of maples, beech, and ironwood, cast fearful shadows;
and it was landed on by them in fearfulness, and regarded far and near
as the _Sacred Island_. Its apex is, indeed, the true Indian Olympus of
the tribes, whose superstitions and mythology peopled it by gods, or

Since our arrival here, there has been a great number of Indians of the
Chippewa and Ottowa tribes encamped near the town. The beach of the lake
has been constantly lined with Indian wigwams and bark canoes. These
tribes are generally well dressed in their own costume, which is light
and artistic, and exhibit physiognomies with more regularity of features
and mildness of expression than it is common to find among them. This is
probably attributable to a greater intermixture of blood in this
vicinity. They resort to the island, at this season, for the purpose of
exchanging their furs, maple-sugar, mats, and small manufactures. Among
the latter are various articles of ornament, made by the females, from
the fine white deer skin, or yellow birch bark, embroidered with colored
porcupine quills. The floor mats, made from rushes, are generally more
or less figured. Mockasins, miniature sugarboxes, called mo-cocks,
shot-pouches, and a kind of pin and needleholders, or housewives, are
elaborately beaded. But nothing exceeds in value the largest
merchantable mockocks of sugar, which are brought in for sale. They
receive for this article six cents per pound, in merchandise, and the
amount made in a season, by a single family, is sometimes fifteen
hundred pounds. The Ottowas of L'Arbre Croche are estimated at one
thousand souls, which, divided by five, would give two hundred families;
and by admitting each family to manufacture but two hundred pounds per
annum, would give a total of forty thousand pounds; and there are
probably as many Chippewas within the basins of Lakes Huron and
Michigan. This item alone shows the importance of the Indian trade,
distinct from the question of furs.

During the time we remained on this island, the atmosphere denoted a
mean temperature of 55° Fahrenheit. The changes are often sudden and
great. The island is subject to be enveloped in fogs, which frequently
rise rapidly. These fogs are sometimes so dense, as to obscure
completely objects at but a short distance. I visited Round Island one
day with Lieut. Mackay,[30] and we were both engaged in taking views of
the fort and town of Michilimackinac,[31] when one of these dense fogs
came on, and spread itself with such rapidity, that we were compelled to
relinquish our designs unfinished, and it was not without difficulty
that we could make our way across the narrow channel, and return to the
island. This fact enabled me to realize what the old travellers of the
region have affirmed on this topic.

  [30] Lieut. Eneas Mackay. This officer, after the return from this
  expedition, went through the regular grades of promotion in the army,
  and had at the period of his death, which took place in 1850, at St.
  Louis, Missouri, reached the brevet rank of colonel.

  [31] For the view from this point, see Information respecting the
  History, Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United
  States, vol. iv. Plate 42.

We were received during our visit here in the most hospitable manner, as
well as with official courtesy, by Capt. B. K. Pierce, the commanding
officer, Major Puthuff, the Indian agent, and by the active and
intelligent agents of Mr. John Jacob Astor, the great fiscal head of the
Fur Trade in this quarter.


  Proceed down the north shore of Lake Huron to the entrance of the
    Straits of St. Mary's--Character of the shores, and
    incidents--Ascend the river to Sault de Ste. Marie--Hostilities
    encountered there--Intrepidity of General Cass.

Having spent six days on the island, rambling about it, and making
ourselves as well acquainted with its features and inhabitants as
possible, we felt quite recruited and cheered up, after the tedious
delays along the southern shores of Lake Huron. And we all felt the
better prepared for plunging deeper into the northwestern forest. Before
venturing into the stronghold of the Chippewas, whose territories extend
around Lake Superior, it was deemed prudent to take along an additional
military force as far as Sault de Ste. Marie. But five or six years had
then passed since this large tribe had been arrayed in hostilities
against the United States (in the war of 1814), and they were yet
smarting under the wounds and losses which they had received at
Brownstown and the River Thames, where they had lost some prominent men.
Generals Brown and Macomb,[32] when making a reconnoissance, with their
respective staffs, a couple of years before, had been fired on in
visiting Gros Cape, at the foot of Lake Superior, and although no one
was killed on that occasion, the circumstance was sufficient to indicate
their feeling.

  [32] The following are the official data of this distinguished

  Alexander Macomb, Jr., born April 3, 1782, Detroit, N. Y.; Cornet
  Cavalry, January 10, 1799; Second Lieutenant, February, 1801;
  retained, April, 1802, in Second Infantry; First Lieutenant of
  Engineers, October, 1802; Captain, June, 1805; Major of Engineers,
  February 23, 1808; Lieutenant-Colonel, July 23, 1810; Acting
  Adjutant-General of the Army, April 28, 1812; Colonel Third
  Artillery, July 6, 1812; Brigadier-General, January 24, 1814; Brevet
  Major-General, "for distinguished and gallant conduct in defeating
  the enemy at Plattsburg, September 11, 1814" (October 1, 1814);
  received the "thanks of Congress" of November 3, 1814, "for his
  gallantry and good conduct in defeating the enemy at Plattsburg, on
  the 11th of September, repelling with 1,500 men, aided by a body of
  militia and volunteers from New York and Vermont, a British veteran
  army, greatly superior in numbers," with the presentation of a
  _gold medal_, "emblematical of this triumph;" retained, April 8,
  1815; retained, May 21, as Colonel and Principal Engineer, with
  Brevets Major-General and General-in-Chief of the Army, May 24,
  1828; commanded the army of Florida 1836; died June 25, 1841, at
  his head-quarters, Washington City.--_Gardner's Army Dictionary._

This additional force was placed under the command of Lieutenant John S.
Pierce, U. S. A., a brother of the commanding officer,[33] and of
Franklin Pierce, President of the United States. It consisted of
twenty-two men, with a twelve-oared barge. The whole expedition, now
numbering sixty-four persons, embarked at ten o'clock on the 15th, with
a fair wind, for our first destination, at Detour, being the west cape
of the Straits of St. Mary's. The distance is estimated at forty miles,
along a very intricate, masked shore of islands, called Chenos. The
breeze carried us at the rate of five miles per hour. The first traverse
is an arm of the Lake, three leagues across, over which we passed
swimmingly. This traverse is broken near its eastern terminus by Goose
Island, the Nekuhmenis (literally Brant Island) of the Chippewas--a
noted place of encampment for traders. We did not, however, touch at it.
A couple of miles beyond this brought us to Outard Point, where the men
rested a few moments on their oars and paddles. This point forms the
commencement of those intricate channels which constitute the Chenos
group. Our steersman gave them, however, a wide berth, and did not
approach near the shore till it began to be time to look out for the
mouth of the St. Mary's. After passing Point St. Vitel, a distance of
about thirty miles, the guides led into a sandy bay, under the
impression that we had reached the west cape of the St. Mary's; but in
this we were deceived. While landing here a few moments, in a deep bay,
the animal called Kaug by the Chippewas (a porcupine), was discovered
and killed by one of the men, called Baptiste, by a blow from a hatchet.
Buffon gives two engravings of this animal, as found in Canada, under
separate names; but it is apprehended that he has been misled by the
same animal seen in its summer and winter dress. To the Indian, this
animal is valuable for its quills, which are dyed of bright colors, to
ornament their dresses, moccasons, shot-pouches, and other choice
fabrics of deer skin, or birch bark. This animal has four claws on the
fore paw, and five on the hinder ones. It has small ears hid in the
hair, and a bushy tail, with coarse black and white hair. The specimen
killed would weigh eight pounds.

  [33] John Sullivan Pierce (N. H., brother to Colonel Benjamin K.
  Pierce), Third Lieutenant Third Artillery, April 5, and Second
  Lieutenant, May, 1814; retained, May, 1815, in Artillery; First
  Lieutenant, April 1818; resigned February 1, 1823.--_Gardner's Army

Soon after coming out from this indentation of the lake, we came in
sight of Point Detour, on turning which, from E. to N., we found no
longer use for sails. Mackenzie places this point in north latitude 45°

The geology of this coast appears manifest. Secondary compact limestone
appears in place, in low situations, on the reef of Outard Island and
Point, and in the approach to Point Detour. A ridge of calcareous
highlands appears on the mainland east of Michilimackinac, stretching
off towards Sault de Ste. Marie, in a northeast direction. This ridge
appears to belong to a low mountain chain, of which the Island of
Michilimackinac may be deemed as one of the geological links. Just
before turning, we passed a very heavy angular block of limestone, much
covered with moss, which could not have been far removed, in the drift
era, from its parent bed. The largest angle of this stone, which I have
since examined, must be eight or ten feet. This block is of the
ortho-cerite stratum of Drummond Island. The shores are heavily charged
with various members of the boulder drift, with a fringe beyond them of
spruce and firs, giving one the idea of a cold, exposed, and most
unfavorable coast. Turning the Point of Detour, we ascended the strait a
few miles, and encamped on its west shore, off Frying-pan Island, at a
point directly opposite the British post of Drummond Island, which we
could not perceive, but the direction of which was clearly denoted by
the sound of the evening bugles.

The entrance into this strait forms a magnificent scene of waters and
islands, of which a map conveys but a faint conception. The straits here
appeared to be illimitable, we seemed to be in a world of waters. It is
stated to be thirty miles across to Point Thessalon. The large group of
the Manatouline Islands, stretching transversely through Lake Huron,
terminates with the isle Drummond--a name bestowed in compliment to the
bold leader, Col. Drummond, who led the night storming party, and was
blown up on the bastion of Fort Erie, in 1813. This station was first
occupied on the withdrawal of the British troops from Mackinac, in 1815.
This day's trip gave us a favorable idea of canoe travelling. It also
gave us an exalted idea of the gigantic system of these lake waters, and
their connecting straits. We had never done gazing at the prospect
before us, after turning the Detour, and did not retire from our camp
fires early. The next morning we embarked at five o'clock, a light
dreamy mist hanging over the waters. When this cleared away, we descried
the ruined chimneys and buildings of St. Joseph, the abandoned British
post burned by Col. Croghan, in 1814.[34] The day turned out a fine one,
and we proceeded up the straits with pleasurable feelings, excited by
the noble and novel views of scenery continually before us. Keeping the
west side of a high limestone island called Isle a la Crosse, we then
entered a sheet of water called Lac Vaseau, or Muddy Lake. We had
proceeded northwardly perhaps twenty miles, when we encountered another
of those large islands for which these straits are remarkable, called
Nebeesh,[35] or Sailor's Encampment Island. Our guides held up on its
western side, which soon brought us to the first rapids, and the
commencement of St. Mary's River. A formation of sandstone is here
observed in the bed of the stream. The waters are swift and shallow, and
the men encountered quite a struggle in the ascent, and so much injured
one of our canoes that it became necessary to unlade and mend it. In the
mean time, the atmosphere put on a threatening aspect, with heavy peals
of thunder, but no rain followed till we again re-embarked and proceeded
five or six miles, when a shower fell. It did not, however, compel us to
land, and by six o'clock in the afternoon, the sky again became clear.
We had now ascended the strait and river so far, that it became certain
we could reach our destination before night, and the men worked with the
greater alacrity. At eight o'clock we had surmounted the second rapid,
called the Little Rapid, Nebeetung of the Indians, where we encountered
a swift current. We were now within two miles of our destination. The
whole river is here embodied before the eye, and is a mile or
three-fourths of a mile wide, and the two separate villages on the
British and American shores began to reveal themselves to view, with the
cataract of the Sault de Ste. Marie in the distance; and a beautiful
forest of elms, oaks, and maples on either hand. We ascended with our
flags flying, our little squadron being spread out in order, and the
Canadian boatmen raising one of their enlivening songs. Long before
reaching the place, a large throng of Indians had collected on the
beach, who, as we put in towards the shore, fired a salute, and stood
ready to greet us with their customary _bosho_.[36] We landed in front
of the old Nolan house,[37] the ancient headquarters of the Northwest
Company; and immediately formed our encampment on the wide green,
extending along the river. Daylight in this latitude is protracted, and
although we had ascended a computed distance of forty-five miles, and
had had the mishap to break a canoe in the Nebeesh, there was abundant
light to fix our encampment properly. Lieut. Pierce encamped his men on
our extreme right. Leaving an interval, Lieut. Mackay's escort came
next, and our tents formed the northern line of his encampment, nearest
to the Indians. The latter occupied a high plateau, in plain view,
several hundred yards west, with an intervening gulley, and a plain,
well-beat footpath. We had, in case of difficulty, thirty-four muskets,
Pierce's command included, in addition to which, each of the savans, or
Governor's mess, were armed with a short rifle. Our line may have looked
offensively demonstrative to the Chippewas, who regarded it, from their
ancient eminence, with unfriendly feelings. These particulars are given
from the perilous position we were brought into next day.

  [34] This fort was first erected by the British in 1795, the year
  before Michilimackinac was evacuated under Wayne's treaty with the

  [35] From Nebee, water; hence Nebeesh, rapid water, or strong water,
  the name of the rapids which connect the straits with the River St.
  Mary's. This word is the _derogative_ form of the Chippewa noun.

  [36] From the French _bon jour_.

  [37] The present site of Fort Brady.

Meantime, we passed a quiet night in our tents, where the deep sound of
the Falls fell on the wakeful ear, interspersed with the distant
monotonous thump of the Indian täwäegon. It required but little
observation, in the morning, to explore the village of St. Mary's. It
consisted of some fifteen or twenty buildings of all sorts, occupied by
descendants of the original French settlers, all of whom drew their
living from the fur trade. The principal buildings and outhouses were
those of Mr. John Johnston, and the group formerly occupied by the
Northwest Company. Most of the French habitations stood in the midst of
picketed lots. There were about forty or fifty lodges, or two hundred
Chippewas, fifty or sixty of whom were warriors. But, although this
place was originally occupied as a missionary centre, by the Roman
Catholic missionaries of New France, about the middle of the seventeenth
century, no trace of the ancient church could be seen, unless it was in
an old consecrated graveyard, which has continued to be used for
interments. Mr. Johnston, the principal inhabitant, is a native of the
County of Antrim, Ireland, where his connections are persons of rank. He
is a polite, intelligent, and well-bred man, from a manifestly refined
circle; who, soon after the close of the American Revolution, settled
here, and married the daughter of a distinguished Indian chief.[38]
Although now absent on a visit to Europe, his family received us with
marked urbanity and hospitality, and invited the gentlemen composing the
travelling family of Governor Cass to take all our meals with them.
Everything at this mansion was done with ceremonious attention to the
highest rules of English social life; Miss Jane, the eldest daughter,
who had received her education in Ireland, presiding.

  [38] INTER-EUROPEAN AMALGAMATION.--John Johnston was a native of the
  north of Ireland, where his family possessed an estate called
  "Craige," near the celebrated Giant's Causeway. He came to this
  country during the first Presidential term of Washington, and settled
  at St. Mary's, about 1793. He was a gentleman of taste, reading,
  refined feeling, and cultivated manners, which enabled him to direct
  the education of his children, an object to which he assiduously
  devoted himself; and his residence was long known as the seat of
  hospitality and refinement to all who visited the region. In 1814,
  his premises were visited, during his absence, by a part of the force
  who entered the St. Mary's, under Colonel Croghan, and his private
  property subjected to pillage, from a misapprehension, created by
  some evil-minded persons, that he was an agent of the Northwest
  Company. Genial, social, kind, and benevolent, his society was much
  sought, and he was sometimes imposed on by those who had been
  received into his employments and trusts (as in the reports which
  carried the Americans to his domicil in 1814). He died at St. Mary's,
  in 1828, leaving behind, among his papers, evidence that his leisure
  hours were sometimes lightened by literary employments. Mr. Johnston,
  by marrying the daughter of the ruling chief of this region, placed
  himself in the position of another Rolfe. Espousing, in Christian
  marriage, the daughter of Wabjeeg, he became the son-in-law of
  another Powhatan; thus establishing such a connection between the
  Hibernian and Chippewa races, as the former had done between the
  English and Powhetanic stocks.

The Sault (from the Latin _Saltus_, through the French) or Falls of St.
Mary, is the head of navigation for vessels on the lakes, and has been,
from early days, a thoroughfare for the Indian trade. It is equally
renowned for its white fish, which are taken in the rapids with a
scoop-net. The abundance and excellence of these fish has been the
praise of all travellers from the earliest date, and it constitutes a
ready means of subsistence for the Indians who congregate here.

The place was chiefly memorable in our tour, however, as the seat of the
Chippewa power. To adjust the relations of the tribe with the United
States, a council was convened with the chiefs on the day following our
arrival. This council was assembled at the Governor's _marquée_, which
was graced by the national ensign, and prepared for the interview with
the usual presents. The chiefs, clothed in their best habiliments, and
arrayed in feathers and British medals, seated themselves, with their
usual dignity, in great order, and the business was opened with the
usual ceremony of smoking the peace pipe. When this had been finished,
and the interpreter[39] taken his position, he was directed to explain
the views of the Government, in visiting the country, to remind them
that their ancestors had formerly conceded the occupancy of the place to
the French, to whose national rights and prerogatives the Americans had
succeeded, and, by a few direct and well-timed historical and practical
remarks, to secure their assent to its reoccupancy. The utmost attention
was bestowed while this address was being made, and it was evident, from
the glances of the hearers, that it was received with unfriendly
feelings, and several chiefs spoke in reply. They were averse to the
proposition, and first endeavored to evade it by pretending to know
nothing of such former grants. This point being restated by the American
commissioner, and pressed home strongly, was eventually dropped by them.
Still, they continued to speak in an evasive and desultory manner, which
had the effect of a negative. It was evident that there was a want of
agreement, and some animated discussion arose among themselves. Two
classes of persons appeared among the chiefs. Some appeared in favor of
settling a boundary to the ancient precinct of French occupancy,
provided it was not intended to be occupied by a garrison, saying, in
the symbolic language of Indians, that they were afraid, in that case,
their young men might kill the cattle of the garrison. Gov. Cass,
understanding this, replied that, as to the establishment of a garrison,
they need not give themselves any uneasiness--it was a settled point,
and so sure as the sun that was then rising would set, so sure would
there be an American garrison sent to that point, whether they renewed
the grant or not. This decisive language had a sensible effect. High
words followed between the chiefs. The head chief of the band,
Shingabawossin, a tall, stately man, of prudent views, evidently sided
with the moderates, and was evasive in his speech. A chief called
Shingwauk, or the Little Pine, who had conducted the last war party from
the village in 1814, was inclined to side with the hostiles. There was a
chief present called Sassaba, a tall, martial-looking man, of the
reigning family of chiefs of the Crane Totem, who had lost a brother in
the battle of the Thames. He wore a scarlet uniform, with epaulets, and
nourished a deep resentment against the United States. He stuck his war
lance furiously in the ground before him, at the beginning of his
harangue, and, assuming a savage wildness of air, appeared to produce a
corresponding effect upon the other Indian speakers, and employed the
strongest gesticulation. His address brought the deliberations to a
close, after they had continued some hours, by a defiant tone; and, as
he left the _marquée_, he kicked away the presents laid before the
council. Great agitation ensued. The council was then summarily
dissolved, the Indians went to their hill, and we to our tents.

  [39] James Riley, a son of the late J. V. S. Riley, Esq., of
  Schenectady, N. Y., by a Saganaw woman; a man well versed in the
  language, customs, and local traditions of the Chippewas.

It has been stated that the encampment of the Indians was situated on an
eminence a few hundred yards west from our position on the shore, and
separated from us by a small ravine. We had scarcely reached our tents,
when it was announced that the Indians had raised the British flag in
their camp. They felt their superiority in number, and did not disguise
their insolence. Affairs had reached a crisis. A conflict seemed
inevitable. Governor Cass instantly ordered the expedition under arms.
He then called the interpreter, and proceeded with him, naked-handed
and alone, to Sassaba's lodge at the hostile camp. Being armed with
short rifles, we requested to be allowed to accompany him as a
body-guard, but he decidedly refused this. On reaching the lodge of the
hostile chief, before whose door the flag had been raised, he pulled it
down with his own hands. He then entered the lodge, and addressing the
chief calmly but firmly, told him that it was an indignity which they
could not be permitted to offer; that the flag was the distinguishing
symbol of nationality; that two flags of diverse kind could not wave in
peace upon the same territory; that they were forbid the use of any but
our own, and should they again attempt it, the United States would set a
strong foot upon their rock and crush them. He then brought the captured
flag with him to his tent.

In a few moments after his return from the Indian camp, that camp was
cleared by the Indians of their women and children, who fled with
precipitation in their canoes across the river. Thus prepared for
battle, we momently expected to hear the war-whoop. I had myself
examined and filled my shot-pouch, and stood ready, rifle in hand, with
my companions, awaiting their attack. But we waited in vain. It was an
hour of indecision among the Indians. They deliberated, doubtingly, and
it soon became evident that the crisis had passed. Finding no hostile
demonstration from the hill, Lieuts. Pierce and Mackay directed their
respective commands to retire to their tents.

The intrepid act of Governor Cass had struck the Indians with amazement,
while it betokened a knowledge of Indian character of which we never
dreamed. This people possess a singular respect for bravery. The march
of our force, on that occasion, would have been responded to, instantly,
by eighty or a hundred Indian guns; but to behold an unarmed man walk
boldly into their camp and seize the symbol of their power, betokened a
cast of character which brought them to reflection. On one person in
particular the act had a controlling effect. When it was told to the
daughter of Wäbojeeg (Mrs. Johnston), she told the chief that their
meditated scheme of resistance to the Americans was madness; the day for
such resistance was passed; and this man, Cass, had the air of a great
man, and could carry his flag through the country. The party were also
under the hospitality of her roof. She counselled peace. To these words
Shingabowassin responded; he was seconded by Shingwäkonce, or the Little
Pine. Of this effort we knew nothing at the moment, but the facts were
afterwards learned. It was evident, before the day had passed, that a
better state of feeling existed among the Indians. The chief
Shingabowassin, under the friendly influences referred to, renewed the
negotiations. Towards evening a council of the chiefs was convened in
one of the buildings of this Pocahontean counsellor, and the treaty of
the 16th June, 1820 (_vide_ Ind. Treaties United States) signed. In this
treaty every leading man united, except Sassaba. The Little Pine signed
it, under one of his synonymous names, Lavoine Bart. By this treaty the
Chippewas cede four miles square, reserving the right of a place to fish
at the rapids, perpetually. The consideration for this cession, or
acknowledgment of title, was promptly paid in merchandise.

The way being thus prepared for our entry into Lake Superior, it was
decided to proceed the next day. Before leaving this point, it may be
observed that the falls are produced by a stratum of red sandstone rock,
which crosses the bed of the St. Mary's at this place. The last
calcareous formation, seen in ascending the straits, is at Isle a la
Crosse. As we proceed north, the erratic block stratum becomes heavier,
and abraded masses of the granite, trap, sandstone, and hornblende
series are confusedly piled together on the lake shores, and are
abundant at the foot of these falls. In the central or middle channel,
the waters leap from a moderate height, from stratum to stratum, at two
or three points, producing the appearance, when seen from below, of a
mass of tumbling waves. The French word _Sault_ (pronounced _so_)
accurately expresses this kind of pitching rapids or falls. The Indians
call it Bawateeg, or Pawateeg, when speaking of the phenomenon, and
Bawating or Pawating, when referring to the place. Paugwa is an
expression denoting shallow water on rocks. The inflection _eeg_ is an
animate plural. _Ing_ is the local terminal form of nouns. In the south
or American channel, there is no positive leap of the water, but an
intensely swift current, which is parted by violent jets, between rocks,
still permitting canoes, skilfully guided, to descend, and empty boats
to be drawn up. But these falls are a complete check to ship navigation.
The descent of water has been stated by Colonel Gratiot, of the United
States Engineers, at twenty-two feet ten inches.[40] They resemble a
bank of rolling foam, and with their drapery of trees on either shore,
and the mountains of Lake Superior in the distance, and the moving
canoes of fishing Indians in the foreground, present a most animated and
picturesque view.

  [40] ST. MARY'S CANAL.--Thirty-three years have produced an
  astonishing progress. A ship-canal is now (1853) in the process of
  being constructed at these falls, by the State of Michigan, under a
  grant of public land for that purpose, from Congress. It is to
  consist of two locks of equal lift, dividing the aggregate fall. This
  canal will add the basin of Lake Superior to the line of lake
  navigation. It will enable ships and steamers to enter the St. Louis
  River of Fond du Lac, and to reach a point in latitude corresponding
  to Independence, on the Missouri. No other point of the lake chain
  reaches so far by some hundreds of miles towards the Rocky Mountains;
  and this canal will eventually be the outlet to the Atlantic cities
  of the copper and other mines of Lake Superior, and of the
  agricultural and mineral products of all the higher States of the
  Upper Mississippi and of the Missouri, and a part of Oregon and
  Washington on the Pacific.

To the Chippewas, who regard this spot as their ancient capital, it is
doubtless fraught with many associations, and they regard with jealousy
the advance of the Americans to this quarter. This tribe, in the absence
of any older traditions, are regarded as the aboriginal inhabitants of
the place. They are, by their language, Algonquins, and speak a pure
dialect of it. They call themselves Ojibwas. _Bwa_, in this language,
denotes voice, Ojibwamong signifies Chippewa language, or voice. It is
not manifest what the prefixed syllable denotes. They are a numerous
people, and spread over many degrees of latitude and longitude. We have
had them constantly around us, in some form, since leaving Detroit, and
they extend to the Great Winnipeg Lake of Hudson's Bay. They appear, at
the French era of discovery, to have been confined almost exclusively to
the north bank of the St. Lawrence, below the influx of the Ottowa
River, extending to Lake Nepising, and the geographical position seems
to have been the origin of the name Algonquin.

Whilst encamped here, we witnessed the descent down the rapids of eleven
barges and canoes laden with furs from the north. This trade forms the
engrossing topic, at this point, with all classes. Hazardous as it is,
the pursuit does not fail to attract adventurers, who appear to be
fascinated with the wild freedom of life in the wilderness.


  Embark at the head of the portage at St. Mary's--Entrance into Lake
    Superior--Journey and incidents along its coasts--Great Sand
    Dunes--Pictured Rocks--Grand Island--Keweena peninsula and
    portage--Incidents thence to Ontonagon River.

Having accomplished the object of our visit, at this place, no time was
lost in pushing our way into the basin of Lake Superior. The distance to
it is computed to be fifteen miles above the Sault. It was nine o'clock
of the morning following the day of the treaty, when the men began to
take the canoes up the rapids, and transport the provisions and baggage.
This occupied nearly the whole of the day. Taking leave of Lieutenant
Pierce, who returned with his command, from this point and our
hospitable hostess, we proceeded to the head of the portage, long before
the canoes and stores all arrived. To while away the time, while the men
were thus employed, we tried our skill at rifle shooting. It was six
o'clock in the evening before the work of transportation was finished,
and the canoes loaded, when we embarked. The view from the head of the
portage is imposing. The river spreads out like an arm of the sea. In
the distance appear the mountains of Lake Superior.

We proceeded two leagues, and encamped at Point aux Pins, on the
Canadian shore. At six o'clock the next morning we were again in our
canoes, and crossed the strait, which is here several leagues wide, to
the west, or Point Iroquois Cape. In this traverse we first beheld the
entrance into Lake Superior. The scene is magnificent, and I could fully
subscribe to the remark made by Carver, "that the entrance into Lake
Superior affords one of the most pleasing prospects in the world." The
morning was clear and pleasant, with a favoring breeze, but a tempest of
wind and rain arose, with severe thunder, soon after we had
accomplished the passage, which compelled us hastily to land on the
Point Iroquois shore. This storm detained us five or six hours before
the waters were sufficiently calm to embark. Among the boulders, I
picked up a fine specimen of graphic granite, most perfectly
characterized. About two o'clock, we entered this great inland sea. How
feeble and inadequate are all geographical attempts to describe this
vast body of water, with its imposing headlands, shores, and islands.
The St. Mary's River passes out between two prominent capes, called Gros
Cape and Point Iroquois. The former rises up in elevated barren peaks of
sienite and hornblende rock; the latter consists of nearly equally
elevated masses of horizontal red sandstone, covered with a dense
forest. The line of separation is, perhaps, three leagues, forming a
geological gap, through which, at ancient periods, the drift and boulder
strata has been forced, with an amazing power. For we find these
boulders, of the disrupted sienites, hornblende, trap, and sandstone
rocks of these northern latitudes heaped in profusion along the entire
shores of the river, and cast out, far and wide, into the basin of Lake

There is a little island, called Isle des Iroquois, just off the foot of
the American cape, which is a noted stopping-place for boat and canoe
voyagers. On passing this spot, the lake spreads out like a sea. Towards
the north, can be seen on the horizon the blue peaks of distant
mountains. Southerly, the Point Iroquois formation of sandstone appears
skirting the shore, at several miles distance. At the computed distance
of fifteen miles, we passed the mouth of the Taquimenon River. It was
already evening when we came here, but we were far out from shore, and
the guides thought best to keep on their course a league farther, which
brought us, at 11 o'clock at night, into the mouth of the Onzig, or
Shelldrake River. At this spot, we found an encampment of Chippewa
Indians, who were friendly, and quite profuse in their salutation of
_bosho_. At the moment we were ready to embark, the next morning, a
brigade of traders' boats, on the route to Michilimackinac, was
descried, coming in to the same point. This interview detained us till 8
o'clock. Within a league, we met eighteen or twenty Chippewa canoes on
their journey towards the same point; and at the computed distance of
three leagues from the Onzig, we reached, and turned the bleak shores of
White-Fish Point, called Namikong[41] by the Indians. Thus far, we had
been imbayed in an arm of the lake which embraces Parisian Island,
another link of the sandstone formation; but here the lake, stretching
westwardly, displays itself in all its magnificence. On the left,
spreads a long line of sandy coast; on the right, an illimitable expanse
of water, which was bounded only by the horizon. Beyond these features,
there is not a prominent object to catch the eye. The magnificence which
first pleases, at last tires. The change of course brought the wind
ahead, and we were soon compelled to land on these bleak sandy wastes.
While thus detained, an express canoe from St. Mary's reached us with
letters. A couple of hours were employed in dispatching this canoe on
its return; meantime the wind lulled, and we went on ten miles and
encamped on the sands.

  [41] From _na_, excellent; _amik_, beaver; and _ong_, a place.

The next morning, we were again in motion at five o'clock. Twelve miles
coasting along this unvaried shore, brought us to the mouth of a stream
called Neezhoda, Seepe,[42] or Twin River, which is imprecisely called
Two-Hearted River by the traders. The peculiarity of this stream
consists in the union of two separate rivers, near the point of its
outlet. Seven leagues beyond this spot brought us to the inlet called
Grande Marais. Immediately west of this begins an elevated naked coast
of sand-dunes, called Gitche Nägow,[43] or La Grande Sables. To
comprehend the geology of this coast, it is necessary to state that it
consists of several heavy strata of the drift era, reaching a height of
two or three hundred feet, with a precipitous front on the lake. The
sands driven up by the lake are blown over these heights, forming a
heavy deposit. It is this sandy deposit, falling down the face of the
precipice, that appears to convert the whole formation into dunes,
whereon the sandy coating rests, like a veil, over the pebble and
clay-drift. Their desert and Sahara-like appearance is quite impressive
to the travellers who visit these coasts in boats or canoes. The number
of rapacious birds which are observed about these heights, adds to the
interest of the prospect. Dr. Wolcott, and some other members of the
party who ascended the formation, reported a small lake on this
elevation. The sands were observed, in some places, to be deposited over
its vegetation so as to arrest its growth. The largest trees were often
half buried and destroyed. Not less than nine miles of the coast,
agreeably to _voyageur_ estimates, are thus characterized by dunes.

  [42] From _oda_, a heart; _neezh_, two; and _seebe_, a river.

  [43] From _nägow_, sand; and _gitche_, great.

I found the sandstone formation of Cape Iroquois to reappear at the
western termination of these heights on the open shores of the lake,
where I noticed imbedded nodules of granular gypsum. At this point,
known to our men as La Pointe des Grandes Sables, we pitched our tents,
at nightfall, under a very threatening state of the atmosphere. The
winds soon blew furiously, followed by a heavy rain-storm--and sharp
thunder and lightning ensued. Our line of tents stood on a gently rising
beach, within fifty yards of the margin of the lake, where they were
prostrated during the night by the violence of the waves. The rain still
continued at early daylight, the waves dashing in long swells upon the
shore. At sunrise the tempest abated, and by eight o'clock the
atmosphere assumed a calm and delightful aspect. It was eleven o'clock,
however, before the waves sufficiently subsided to permit embarkation.
Indeed, a perfect calm now ensued. This calm proved very favorable--as
we discovered on proceeding three leagues--to our passing the elevated
coast of precipitous rock, called Ishpäbecä,[44] and Pictured Rocks.
This coast, which extends twelve miles, consists of a gray sandstone,
forming a series of perpendicular façades, which have been fretted, by
the action of the waves, into the rude architecture of pillared masses,
and open, cavernous arches. These caverns present their dark mouths to
observation as the voyager passes. At one spot a small stream throws
itself from the cliffs into the lake at one leap. In some instances the
cliffs assume a castellated appearance. At the spot called the Doric
Rock, near the commencement of these picturesque precipices, a vast
entablature rests on two immense rude pillars of the water-worn mass. At
a point called Le Portail, the vast wall of rock had been so completely
excavated and undermined by the lake, that a series of heavy strata of
rock rested solely on a single pillar standing in the lake. The day was
fine as we passed these geological ruins, and we sat silently gazing on
the changing panorama. At one or two points there are small streams
which break the line of rock into quadrangles. A species of dark red
clay overlies this formation, which has been carried by the rains over
the face of the cliffs, where, uniting with the atmospheric sand and
dust, it gives the whole line a pictorial appearance. We almost held our
breath in passing the coast; and when, at night, we compared our
observations around the camp-fire, there was no one who could recall
such a scene of simple novelty and grandeur in any other part of the
world; and all agreed that, if a storm should have arisen while we were
passing, inevitable destruction must have been our lot. We came to Grand
Island at a seasonable hour in the evening, and encamped on the margin
of its deep and land-locked harbor. Our camp was soon filled with
Chippewas from a neighboring village. They honored us in the evening by
a dance. Among these dancers, we were impressed with the bearing of a
young and graceful warrior, who was the survivor of a self-devoted
war-party of thirteen men, who, having marched against their ancient
enemies the Sioux, found themselves surrounded in the plain by superior
numbers, and determined to sell their lives at the dearest rate. To this
end, they dug holes in the earth, each of which thus becoming a
fortification for its inmate, who dared their adversaries till
overpowered by numbers. One person was selected to return with the news
of this heroic sacrifice; this person had but recently returned, and it
was from his lips that we heard the tragic story.

  [44] From _iupa_, high; _aubik_, a rock; and the substantive
  termination, _a_.

My mineralogical searches along the shores this day rewarded me with
several water-worn fragments of agate, carnelian, zeolite, and prase,
which gave me the first intimation of our approach to the trap and
amygdaloidal strata, known to be so abundant in their mineral affluence
in this quarter.

We left Grand Island the next morning at six o'clock, and passing
through a group of sandstone islands, some of which had had their
horizontality disturbed, we came to the mouth of Laughing-fish River,
where a curious flux and reflux of water is maintained. From this place,
a line of sandstone coast was passed, northwardly, till reaching its
terminus on the bay of Chocolate River. This is a large and deep bay,
which it would have required a day's travel to circumnavigate. To avoid
this, the men held their way directly across it, steering N. 70° W.,
which, at the end of three leagues, brought us to Granite Point. Here
we first struck the old crystalline rocks or primitive formation. This
formation stretches from the north shores of the Gitche Sebeeng,[45] or
Chocolate River, to Huron Bay, and gives the traveller a view of rough
conical peaks. These characterize the coast for a couple of days'
travel. They are noted for immense bodies of iron ore, which is chiefly
in the condition of iron glance.[46] At Presque Isle, it assumes the
form of a chromate of iron in connection with serpentine rock. We
encamped on level ground on a sandstone formation, in the rear of
Granite Point, and had an opportunity of observing the remarkable manner
in which the horizontal sandstone rests upon and against the granitical,
or, more truly, sienitic eminences. These sandstone strata lap on the
shoulders of the primitive or crystalline rocks, preserving their
horizontal aspect, and forming distinct cliffs along parts of the coast.
This sandstone appears, from its texture and position, to be the "old
red sandstone" of geologists.

  [45] From _gitche_, great; _sebee_, a river; and the local terminal
  _ng_, signifying place.

  [46] The extensive iron works of Carp River, which are now yielding
  such fine blooms, are seated on the verge of these mountains.

The next morning (23d) we quitted our encampment at an early hour, in a
haze, and urged our way, with some fluctuations of weather, an estimated
distance of eleven leagues. This brought us, at four o'clock in the
afternoon, to Huron River. Sitting in the canoe, in a confined position,
makes one glad at every opportunity to stretch his limbs, and we
embraced the occasion to bathe in the Huron. The shore consists of a
sandy plain, where my attention was called to the Kinnikenik, a plant
much used by the Indians for smoking. It is the _uva ursi_. I had seen
it once before, on the expedition, at Point aux Barques.

We inspected here, with much attention, an Indian grave, as well from
the care with which it was made, as the hieroglyphics cut on the
head-posts. The grave was neatly covered with bark, bent over poles, and
made roof-shaped. A pine stake was placed at the head. Between this and
the head of the grave, there was placed a smooth tablet of cedar wood,
with hieroglyphics. Mr. Riley, our interpreter, explained these. The
figure of a bear denoted the chief or clan. This is the device called a
Totem. Seven red strokes denoted his scalp honors in Indian heraldry, or
that he had been seven times in battle. Other marks were not understood
or interpreted. A paling of saplings inclosed the space.

On the following morning, our camp was astir at the customary early
hour, when we proceeded to Point aux Beignes, a distance of six miles.
Attaining this point, we entered Keweena Bay, coasting up its shores for
an estimated distance of three leagues. We were then opposite the mouth
of Portage River, but separated from it a distance of twelve miles. I
was seated in Lieutenant Mackay's canoe. The whole squadron of five
canoes unhesitatingly put out. The wind was adverse; before much
progress had been made in crossing, three of our flotilla, after
struggling against the billows, put back; but we followed the headmost
one, which bore the Governor's flag, and, seizing hold of the paddles to
relieve the men, we succeeded in gaining the river. The other canoes
came up the next morning, at seven o'clock, when we all proceeded to
cross the Portage Lake, and up an inlet, which soon exhibited a rank
growth of aquatic plants, and terminated, after following a very narrow
channel, in a quagmire. We had, in fact, reached the commencement of the
Keweena Portage.

Before quitting this spot, it may be well to say, that the geology of
the country had again changed. Portage Lake lies, in fact, in the
direction of the great copper-bearing trap dyke. This dyke, estimating
from the end of the peninsula, extends nearly southwest and northeast,
probably seventy miles, with a breadth of ten miles. It is overlaid by
rubblestone and amygdaloid, which latter, by disintegration, yields the
agates, carnelians, and other silicious, and some sparry crystalline
minerals, for which the central shores of Lake Superior are remarkable.
Nearly every part of this broad and extensive dyke which has been
examined, yields veins, and masses of native copper, or copper ores.

The word was, when we had pushed our canoes into the quagmire, that each
of the gentlemen of the party was to carry his own personal baggage
across the portage. This was an awkward business for most of us. The
distance was but two thousand yards, but little over a mile, across
elevated open grounds. I strapped my trunk to my shoulders, and walked
myself out of breath in getting clear of the brushy part of the way,
till reaching the end of the first _pause_, or resting-place. Here I met
the Governor (Cass), who facetiously said: "You see I am carrying _two_
pieces," alluding to his canoe slippers, which he held in his hands. "A
_piece_," in the trade, is the back load of the _engagee_.

On reaching the termination of the second "pause," or rest, we found
ourselves on a very elevated part of the shore of Lake Superior. The
view was limitless, the horizon only bounding the prospect. The waves
rolled in long and furious swells from the west. To embark was
impossible, if we had had our baggage all brought up, which was not the
case. The day was quite spent before the transportation was completed.
This delay gave us an opportunity to ramble about, and examine the
shore. In a boulder of serpentine rock, I found an imbedded mass of
native copper, of two pounds' weight. On breaking the stone, it proved
to be bound together by thin filaments of this metal. Small water-worn
fragments of chalcedony, agate, carnelian, and other species of the
quartz family were found strewn along the beach, together with fragments
of zeolite. Masses of the two former minerals were also found imbedded
in amygdaloid and trap-rock, thus denoting the parent beds of rock. In
the zeal which these little discoveries excited on the subject of
mineralogy, the Chippewa, Ottowa, and Shawnee Indians attached to the
expedition participated, and as soon as they were made acquainted with
the objects sought, they became successful explorers. They had noticed
my devotion to the topic, from the time of our passing the Islands of
Shawangunk, Michilimackinac, and Flat-rock Point, in the basin of Lake
Huron, where organic forms were chiselled from the rock; and bestowed on
me the name of Paguäbëkiegä.[47]

  [47] The equivalent of geologist or mineralogist, from _pagua_, a
  tabular surface; _aubik_, a rock; and _ëga_, the active voice of the
  verb to strike.

It turned out the next morning, that the whole of the baggage and
provisions had not been brought up, nor any of the canoes. This work was
early commenced by the men. About half the day was employed in the
necessary toil. When it was concluded, the wind on the lake had become
too high, blowing in an adverse direction, to permit embarkation.
Nothing remained but to submit to the increased delay, during which we
made ourselves as familiar with the neighboring parts of the lake shore
as possible. During the time the expedition remained encamped at the
portage, I made a short excursion up the peninsula northeastwardly,
accompanied by Captain Douglass, Mr. Trowbridge, and some other persons.
The results of this trip are sufficiently comprehended in what has
already been stated respecting the geology and mineralogy of this
prominent peninsula.

On the following morning (27th) the wind proved fair, and the day was
one of the finest we had yet encountered on this fretful inland sea. We
embarked at half-past four A. M., every heart feeling rejoiced to speed
on our course. The prominent headlands, west of this point, are capped,
as those on its south-eastern border, with red sandstone. The wind
proved full and adequate to bear us on, without endangering our safety,
which enabled the steersmen to hold out boldly, from point to point. We
had not proceeded far beyond the cliffs west of the portage, when the
dim blue outlines of the Okaug or Porcupine Mountains[48] burst on our
view.[49] Their prominent outline seemed to stretch on the line of the
horizon directly across our track. The atmosphere was quite transparent,
and they must have been seen at the distance of sixty miles. Captain
Douglass thought, from the curve of the earth, that they could not be
less than eighteen hundred feet in height. We successively passed the
entrance of Little Salmon-Trout, Graverod, Misery, and Firesteel Rivers,
at the latter of which a landing was made; when we again resumed our
course, and entered the Ontonagon River, at half-past three in the
afternoon. A large body of water enters the lake at the spot, but its
mouth is filled up very much by sands. One of those curious refluxes is
seen here, of which a prior instance has been noticed, in which its
waters, having been impeded and dammed up by gales of wind, react, at
their cessation, with unusual force. The name of the River Ontonagon[50]
is, indeed, due to these refluxes, the prized dish of an Indian female
having, agreeably to tradition, been carried out of the river into the

  [48] From _kaug_, a porcupine.

  [49] For the view of this scene, see Information on the History,
  Condition, and Prospects of the Indian Tribes, vol. iv. Title iv.

  [50] From the expression _nontonagon_, my dish; and _neen_, the
  pronoun _my_.

Captain Douglass made observations for the latitude of the place, and
determined it to be in north latitude 46° 52´ 2´´. The stationary
distances of the route are given in the subjoined list, in which it may
be observed that they are probably exaggerated about one-third by the
voyagers and northwest traders, who always pride themselves on going
great distances; but they denote very well, in all cases, the _relative_

_Stationary Distances between Michilimackinac and the River Ontonagon._

                                                 Miles.  Miles.

    From Michilimackinac to Detour                 40
    Thence to Sault de St. Marie                   45      85
    Point aux Pins                                  6      91
    Point Iroquois, at the entrance into Lake
      Superior                                      9     100
    Taquamenon River                               15     115
    Shelldrake River                                9     124
    White-Fish Point                                9     133
    Two-Hearted River                              24     157
    Grande Marrais, and commencement of
      Grande Sables                                21     178
    La Point la Grande Sables                       9     187
    Pictured Rocks (La Portaille)                  12     199
    Doric Rock, and Miner's River                   6     205
    Grande Island                                  12     217
    River aux Trains                                9     226
    Isle aux Trains                                 3     229
    Laughing-Fish River                             6     235
    Chocolate River                                15     250
    Dead River (in Presque Isle Bay)                6     256
    Granite Point                                   6     262
    Garlic River                                    9     271
    St. John's River, or Yellow Dog Run            15     286
    Salmon-Trout, or Burnt River                   12     298
    Pine River                                      6     304
    Huron River (Huron Islands lie off this
      River)                                        9     313
    Point aux Beignes (east Cape of Keweena Bay)    6     319
    Mouth of Portage River                         21     340
    Head of Portage River (through Keweena
      Lake)                                        24     364
    Lake Superior, at the head of the Portage       1     365
    Little Salmon-Trout River                       9     374
    Graverod's River (small, with flat rocks at
      its mouth)                                    6     380
    Rivière au Misère                              12     392
    Firesteel River                                18     410
    Ontonagon, or Coppermine River                  6     416


  Chippewa village at the mouth of the Ontonagon--Organize an expedition
    to explore its mineralogy--Incidents of the trip--Rough nature of
    the country--Reach the copper rock--Misadventure--Kill a
    bear--Discoveries of copper--General remarks on the mineral
    affluence of the basin of Lake Superior.

A small Chippewa village, under the chieftainship of
Tshwee-tshweesh-ke-wa, or the Plover, and Kundekund, the Net Buoy, was
found on the west bank of the river, near its mouth, the chiefs and
warriors of which received us in the most friendly manner. If not
originally a people of a serene and placid temperament, they have been
so long in habits of intercourse with the white race that they are quite
familiar with their manners and customs, and mode of doing business.
They appeared to regard the Canadian-Frenchmen of our party as if they
were of their own mode of thinking, and, indeed, almost identical with

The Ontonagon River had, from the outset, formed an object of
examination, from the early and continued reports of copper on its
borders. It was determined to lose no time in examining it. Guides were
furnished to conduct a party up the river to the locality of the large
mass of this metal, known from early days. This being one of the
peculiar duties of my appointment, I felt the deepest interest in its
success, and took with me the apparatus I had brought for cutting the
rock and securing proper specimens.

The party consisted of Governor Cass, Dr. Wolcott, Captain Douglass,
Lieutenant Mackay, J. D. Doty, Esq., and myself. We embarked in two
canoes, with their complement of men and guides. It was six o'clock,
when, leaving the balance of the expedition encamped at the mouth of the
river, east shore, we took our departure, in high spirits, for the
copper regions. A broad river with a deep and gentle current, with a
serpentine channel, and heavily wooded banks with their dark-green
foliage overhanging the water, rendered the first few miles of the
trip delightful. At the distance of four miles, we reached a
sturgeon-fishery, formed by extending a weir across the river. This weir
consists of upright and horizontal stakes and poles, along the latter of
which the Indians move and balance themselves, having in their hands an
iron hook on a pole, with which the fish are caught. We stopped a few
moments to look at the process, received some of the fish drawn up
during our stay, which are evidently the _Acipenser oxyrinchus_, and
went on a couple of miles higher, where we encamped on a sandbar. Here
we were welcomed, during the sombre hours off the night, with a
pertinacity we could have well dispensed with, by the mosquitos.

We resumed the ascent at four o'clock in the morning. The river is still
characterized for some miles by rich alluvial banks, bearing a dense
forest of elm, maple, and walnut, with a luxuriant growth of underbrush.
But it was soon perceived that the highlands close in upon it and narrow
its channel, which murmurs over dangerous beds of rocks and stones.
Almost imperceptibly, we found ourselves in an alpine region of a very
rugged character. The first rapid water encountered had been at the
Indian weir, on the 27th. These rapids, though presenting slight
obstacles, became more frequent at higher points. We had been in our
canoes about three hours, the river having become narrower and more
rapid, when the guides informed the party that we had ascended as far
into the mountainous district as was practicable; that there was a
series of bad rapids above; and that, by landing at this spot, the party
could proceed, with guides, to the locality of the copper rock.
Accordingly, arrangements were made to divide the party; Governor Cass
placed at my service the number of men necessary to explore the country
on foot, and carry the implements. Dr. Wolcott and Captain Douglass
joined me. I took my departure with eight persons, including two Indian
guides, in quest of the mineral region, over the highlands on the west
bank of the river; while the Governor, Major Forsyth, and the other
guides, remained with the canoes, which were lightened of half their
burden, in hopes of their being able to ascend the stream quite to the
Rock. Starting with my party with alacrity, this trip was found to be
one of no ordinary toil.

Not only was the country exceedingly rough, carrying us up and down
steep depressions, but the heat of the sun, together with the exercise,
was oppressive, nor did our guides seem to move with a precision which
betokened much familiarity with the region, if they did not feel,
indeed, some compunction on leading whites to view their long
superstitiously concealed mineral treasures. At one o'clock we came to
an Indian path, leading directly to the place. The guides here sat down
to await the party under Governor Cass, who were expected to join us at
this spot. The thermometer at this hour stood at 90° in the shade of the
forest. We had not been long seated when the other party made their
appearance; but the Governor had been so much exhausted by clambering up
the river hills, that he determined to return to his point of landing in
the river. In this attempt he was guided by one of the Ontonagon
Indians, named Wabiskipenais,[51] who missed his way, and wandered about
he knew not whither. We leave him to thread his way back into the
valley, with the Executive of the Territory, wearied and perplexed, at
his heels, while the results of my excursion in search of the copper
rock are detailed. After the reunion at the path, my mineralogical party
proceeded some five or six miles, by estimation, farther, through a more
favorable region, towards the object of search. On approaching the
river, they passed some antique excavations in the forest, overgrown
with saplings, which had the appearance of age, but not of a remote age.
Coming to the brink of the river, we beheld the stream brawling over a
rapid stony bed, at the depth of, perhaps, eighty or a hundred feet
below. Towards this, its diluvial banks, charged with boulders and
pebbles, sloped at a steep angle. At the foot, laid the large mass we
were in search of, partly immersed in the water. Its position may be
inferred from the following sketch:--

  [51] From _wabiska_, white (transitive animate), and _penasee_, a

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

The rock consists of a mass of native copper in a tabular boulder of
serpentine. Its face is almost purely metallic, and more splendent than
appears to consist with its being purely metallic copper. There is no
appearance of oxidation. Its size, roughly measured, is three feet four
inches, by three feet eight inches, and about twelve or fourteen inches
thick in the thickest part. The weight of copper, exclusive of the rock,
is not readily estimated; it may be a ton, or a ton and a half. Old
authors report it at more than double this weight. The quantity has
been, however, much diminished by visitors, who have cut freely from it.
I obtained adequate specimens, but found my chisels too highly tempered,
and my hammer not heavy enough to separate large masses. Having made the
necessary examinations, we took our way back up the elevated banks of
the river, and across the forest about six miles, to the final place of
debarkation of Gov. Cass and his party. But our fears were at once
excited on learning that the Governor, with his guide, Wabishkepenais,
had not reached the camp. It was already beginning to be dark, and the
gloom of night, which is impressive in these solitudes, was fast closing
around us. Guns were fired, to denote our position, and a light canoe
was immediately manned, placed in charge of one of the gentlemen, and
sent up the river in search. This canoe had not proceeded a mile, when
the object of search was descried, with his companions, sitting on the
banks of the river, with a real jaded air, with his Indian guide
standing at no great distance. Wabishkepenais had been bewildered in his
tracks, and finally struck the river by the merest chance. The
Governor, on reaching camp, looked as if he had been carried over steeps
and through gloomy defiles, which had completely exhausted his strength,
and he was not long in retiring to his tent, willing to leave such rough
explorations for the present, at least, to other persons, or, if he ever
resumed them, to do it with better guides. Poor Wabishkepenais looked
chagrined and as woebegone himself as if he had encountered the bad
influences of half the spirits of his Indian mythology; for the fellow
had really been lost in his own woods, and with a charge by whom he had
felt honored, and employed his best skill to conduct. The camp-fires
already threw their red glare among the trees as night spread her sable
pall over us. The tents were pitched; the canoes turned up on the shore
to serve as a canopy for the men to sleep under. Indians and Canadians
were soon engaged at their favorite pipes, and mingled their tones and
hilarious conversation; and we finally all slept the sounder for our
eventful day's toils and misadventures. But deeply printed on our
memory, and long to remain there, are the thrilling scenes of that day
and that night.

At five o'clock the next morning, the entire camp was roused and in
motion, when we began to descend the stream. We had descended about ten
miles, when the Ontonagon Indians stopped the canoes to examine a
bear-fall, on the east bank. It was a fine open forest, elevated some
six or eight feet above the water. It was soon announced that a bear was
entrapped. We all ascended the bank, and visited the locality. The
structure had been so planned that the animal must needs creep lowly
under a crib of logs to get at the bait, which he no sooner disturbed
than a weight of logs fell on his prostrated legs. The animal sat up
partially on his fore paws, when we advanced, the hinder being pressed
heavily to the earth. One of the Indians soon fired a ball through his
head, but it did not kill him, he still kept his upright position. Dr.
Wolcott then requested permission to fire a shot, which was aimed at the
heart, and took effect about that part, but did not kill him. One of the
Indians then dispatched him with an axe. He was no sooner dead than one
of the Indians, stepping up, addressed him by the name _Muk-wah_, shook
him by the paw, with a smiling countenance, saying, in the Indian
language, that he was sorry they had been under the necessity of
killing him, and hoped the offence would be forgiven, as one of the
shots fired had been from an American.[52]

  [52] Chemoquiman, from _gitchee_, great, and _moquiman_, knife.

This act of the Indian addressing the bear, will be better understood,
when it is stated that their mythology tells them, that the spirit of
the animal must be encountered in a future state, when the enchantment
to which it is condemned in this life, will be taken off.

On passing down the river, an Indian had promised to disclose another
mass of native copper, near the river, and we stopped at a spot
indicated, to enable him to bring it. Whether he repented of his too
free offer, agreeably to Indian superstition, or feared some calamity to
follow the disclosure, or really encountered some difficulty in finding
it, I know not, but it is certain that, after some time spent in the
search, or affected search, he came back to the river without producing

Soon after this incident, we reached the mouth of the river, and found
the party left encamped at that point, in charge of Mr. Trowbridge and
Mr. Doty, well, nothing having occurred in our absence. The wind was,
however, adverse to our embarkation, had it been immediately desired.

A council of the Ontonagon Indians was summoned, which met in the after
part of the day; speeches were delivered, and replied to, and presents
distributed. A silver medal was presented to Wabishkepenais.

Head winds continuing, we were farther detained at this spot the
following day. While thus detained, an Ontonagon Indian brought in a
mass of native copper, from the banks of this river, weighing eight or
nine pounds. This mass was of a flattened, orbicular shape, and its
surface coated with a green oxide. At a subsequent part of my
acquaintance with this river, another mass of native copper (still
deposited in my cabinet) was brought to me, from the east fork of the
river, which weighed from forty to fifty pounds. This mass, of a
columnar shape, originally embraced a piece of stone which the Indian
finding it had detached. It was also coated with a dark green oxide of
copper. Both of these masses appeared to have been volcanic. Neither of
them had the slightest traces of gangue, or vein-matter, nor of
attrition in being removed from the parent beds. The following sketches
depict the shapes of these masses.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

With respect to the general question of the mineral character of this
part of the country, and the probable value of its mineral and metallic
deposits to the public domain, the entire class of facts, from which a
judgment must be formed, are favorable.[53] Salts and oxides of copper
are not only seen in various places in its stratification, but these
indications of mineral wealth in this article are confirmed, by the
subsequent discovery of masses of native copper, along the shore, and
imbedded in its traps and amygdaloids. In addition to the opportunities
of observation furnished by this expedition, subsequent public duties
led me to perform seven separate trips along its shores, and each of
these but served to accumulate the evidences of its extraordinary
mineral wealth. Indications of the sulphurets, arseniates, and other
ores of this metal are found in the older class of horizontal rocks; but
it is to the trap-rocks alone that we must look for the veins of native
metal. Some of these masses contain silver, in a state of combination.
Traces of this metal, chiefly in the boulder form, are found in the
metalliferous horizontal strata. Nor is there wanting evidence, that
there are localities of virgin copper, which do not promise a
considerable percentage of the metal. A mass of steatite, imbedding a
heavy mass of pure native silver, which had been probably carried from
the northwest, with the drift stratum, was found cast out quite into the
Huron basin; and this rock, in its intimate associations with the
serpentine formation of Lake Superior, should be closely scrutinized.
There is also a formation of slate and quartz in the primitive district,
which is entitled to particular attention.

  [53] _Vide_ Reports in the Appendix: 1. Report on the Copper Mines of
  Lake Superior, November 6, 1820. 2. Report on the Value of the
  Existing Evidences of Mineral Wealth in the Basin of Lake Superior to
  the Public Domain, October 1, 1822.

Inorganic masses are developed, throughout the globe, without regard to
climate. Russia yields the precious metals in great profusion, and there
are no laws governing the distribution of these metals, which forbid the
expectation that they should be abundantly disclosed by the
stratification of the basin of Lake Superior. With respect to the useful
metals, particularly copper and iron, it is undeniably the richest and
most extensive locality of these metals on the globe.[54]

  [54] Geological Report, _vide_ Appendix.


  Proceed along the southern coast of Lake Superior from the Ontonagon,
    to Fond du Lac--Porcupine range of mountains--Streams that run
    from it, at parallel distances, into the lake--La Pointe--Group of
    the Federation Islands--River St. Louis--Physical geography of
    Lake Superior.

Head winds detained the expedition at the mouth of the Ontonagon, during
the day and the day following that of our arrival from the copper rock.
It was the first of July, at half-past four o'clock, A. M., when the
state of the lake permitted us to embark. Steering west, we now had the
prominent object of the Porcupine Mountains constantly in view. At the
distance of fifteen miles, we passed the Pewabik Seebe, or Iron River.
This stream, after ascending it a couple of miles, is a mere torrent,
pouring from the Porcupine Mountains, over a very rough bed of
grauwakke, which forbids all navigation. At the computed distance of
five leagues beyond this stream, we passed the river called Pusábika, or
Dented River, so called from standing rocks, which resemble broken human
teeth. The Canadians, who, as previously remarked, appear to have had
but a limited geographical vocabulary, called this Carp River,
neglectful of the fact that they had already bestowed the name on a
small river which flows into the bay south of Granite Point.[55] We were
now at the foot of the Kaug range, which is one vast upheaval of
trap-rock, and has lifted the chocolate-colored sandstone, at its base,
into a vertical position. The Pusábika River originates in this high
trap range, from which it is precipitated, at successive leaps, to the
level of the lake, the nearest of which, a cascade of forty feet, is
within three miles of the river's mouth.

  [55] Now the seat of the Marquette Iron Works.

Six miles further brought us to the Presque Isle River of the Canadians,
for which I heard no Indian name. It also originates on this lofty trap
range, and has worn its bed through frightful chasms in the grauwackke,
through which it enters the lake. Within half a mile of its entrance,
the river, hastening from its elevations, drops into a vast cauldron
scooped in the grauwackke rock, whence it glides into the lake. Here are
some picturesque and sublime views, worthy the pencil.

Two leagues beyond this river we reached and passed the entrance of
Black River, another of the streams from the Kaug range. It is stated to
be rapid, and to have its source south of the mountains, in a district
sheltered from the lake winds, and suited to agriculture. Its borders
bear at the same time indications of mineral wealth. Eight miles beyond
this river, we encamped on the open shores of the lake, after travelling
fifty miles. Having been doubled up in the canoe for all this distance,
landing on terra firma, and being able to stretch one's legs, seemed
quite a relief. "I will break a lance with you," quoth A to B,
addressing Mr. Trowbridge, offering him at the same time a dried stalk,
which had been cast up by the waves. We were, in fact, as much pleased
to get ashore, after the day's confinement, as so many boys let loose
from confinement in school. In strolling along the shore, I recognized
the erismatolite, in the dark upheaved sandstone at this locality.

We here observed a phenomenon, which is alluded to by Charlevoix as
peculiar to this lake. Although it was calm, and had been so all day,
save a light breeze for a couple of hours after leaving the Ontonagon,
the waters near shore were in a perfect rage, heaving and lashing upon
the rocks, in a manner which rendered it difficult to land. At the same
time, scarce a breath of air was stirring, and the atmosphere was
beautifully serene.

On passing thirteen miles, the next morning, we reached the mouth of the
Montreal River, which is the last of the mountain streams of the Kaug
range. It throws itself from a high precipice of the vertical sand-rock,
within sight of the lake, creating quite a picturesque view.[56] (Vide
_Information respecting the History, Customs, and Prospects of Indian
Tribes_, vol. iv. plate 26.)

  [56] This river has subsequently been fixed on as the northwestern
  boundary of the state of Michigan, separating it from Wisconsin.

On landing here a few moments, at an early hour, the air being hazy, we
knocked down some pigeons, which flew very low.[57] This bird seems to
be precisely the common pigeon of the Atlantic borders. The Indians had
constructed a fish-weir between the lake and Montreal falls, where the
lake sturgeon are caught.

  [57] BIRDS OF LAKE SUPERIOR.--Of the species that frequent the
  vicinity of this lake, the magpie is found to approach as far north
  as Lac du Flambeau, on the head of the Montreal and Chippewa Rivers.
  This bird is called by the Chippewas Wabish Kagagee, a name derived
  from _Wabishkau_, white animate, and _Kaw-gaw-gee_, a crow. The
  three-toed woodpecker visits its forests. The T. polyglottis has been
  seen as far north as the Island of Michilimackinac. In the spring of
  1823, a species of grosbeak visited St. Mary's, of which I
  transmitted a specimen to the New York Lyceum of Natural History,
  where it received the name of Evening Grosbeak.

After passing about a league beyond the Montreal, the voyager reaches a
curve in the lake shore, at which it bends to the north and northwest.
This curve is observed to extend to the De Tour of the great bay of Fond
du Lac, a computed distance of the _voyageurs_ of thirty-six miles,
which, as before indicated, is about one-third overrated. The immediate
shore is a level plain of sand, which continues to Point Chegoimegon,
say eighteen miles. About two-thirds of this distance, the Muskeego[58]
River enters through the sandy plain from the west. This is a large
stream, consisting of two primary forks, one of which connects it with
Chippewa River, and the other with the River St. Croix of the
Mississippi. The difficulties attending its ascent, from rapids and
portages, have led the French to call it Mauvaise, or Bad River.[59]

  [58] From _Muskeeg_, a swamp or bog, and o, the sign of the genitive.

  [59] MUSKEEGO, or MAUVAIS RIVER.--In 1831, the United States
  government placed under my charge an expedition into the Indian
  country which ascended this river, with a view to penetrate through
  the intervening region to the Mississippi. Indian canoes were
  employed, as being best adapted to its rapids and portages, which
  were managed by _voyageurs_. A detachment of infantry, under Lieut.
  R. Clary, was added. The tribes in this secluded region were then
  meditating the outbreak which eventuated the next year in the Black
  Hawk War. This expedition ascended the river through a most
  embarrassing series of rapids and rafts, which often choked up its
  channel for miles, into a long lake, on its summit, called
  Kagenogumaug. From the northwest end of this, it passed, from lake to
  lake, to the Namakagun fork of the River St. Croix of the Mississippi,
  descended that stream to Yellow River, then retraced the Namakagun to
  a portage to Ottowa Lake, a source of Chippewa River, then to a
  portage into Lac Chetac, the source of the Red Cedar, or Follavoine
  River, and pursued the latter to the main channel of the Chippewa,
  and by the latter into the Mississippi, which it enters at the foot
  of Lake Pepin; thence down the Mississippi to Prairie du Chien, and
  through the present area of the State of Wisconsin, by the Wisconsin
  and Fox Rivers, to Green Bay; thence through Lakes Michigan and Huron
  to Sault de Ste Marie.

Passing this river, we continued along the sandy formation to its
extreme termination, which separates the Bay of St. Charles by a strait
from that remarkable group of islands, called the Twelve Apostles by
Carwer. It is this sandy point, which is called La Pointe
Chagoimegon[60] by the old French authors, a term now shortened to La
Pointe. Instead of "twelve," there are, however, nearer thirty islands,
agreeably to the subjoined sketch, by which it is seen that each State
in the Union may stand sponsor for one of them, and they might be more
appropriately called the _Federation Group_. Touching at the inner or
largest of the group, we found it occupied by a Chippewa village, under
a chief called Bezhike. There was a tenement occupied by a Mr. M.
Cadotte, who has allied himself to the Chippewas. Hence we proceeded
about eleven miles to the main shore, where we encamped at a rather late
hour. I here found a recurrence of the granitic, sienitic, and
hornblende rocks, in high orbicular hills, and improved the brief time
of daylight to explore the vicinity. The evening proved lowering and
dark, and this eventuated in rain, which continued all night, and until
six o'clock the next morning. Embarking at this hour, we proceeded
northwest about eight miles, to Raspberry River, and southwest to Sandy
River. Here we were driven ashore by a threatening tempest, and before
we had unladen the canoes, there fell one of the most copious and heavy
showers of rain. The water seemed fairly to pour from the clouds. We had
not pitched a tent, nor could the slightest shelter be found. There
seemed but one option at our command, namely, that between sitting and
standing. We chose the latter, and looked at each other, it may be,
foolishly, while this rain tempest poured. When it was over, we were as
completely wetted as if it had been our doom to lay at the bottom of the
lake. When the rain ceased, the wind rose directly ahead, which confined
us to that spot the rest of the day. The next day was the Fourth of
July--a day consecrated in our remembrance, but which we could do no
more than remember. The wind continued to blow adversely till about two
o'clock, when we embarked, not without feeling the lake still laboring
under the agitation into which it had been thrown. On travelling three
miles, we turned the prominent point, called De Tour of Fond du Lac. At
this point our course changed from northwest to south-southwest.

  [60] From _Shaugwamegun_, low lands, and _ing_, a place.

The sandstone formation here showed itself for the last time. The shore
soon assumes a diluvial character, bordered with long lines of yellow
sand and pebbles. In some places, heavy beds of pure iron sand were
observed. The agitation which marked the lake soon subsided, under the
change of wind, and our men seemed determined, by the diligence with
which they worked, to make amends for our delay at Sandy River.

At eight o'clock in the evening we came to Cranberry River and encamped,
having, by their estimation, come twenty-three miles. The evening was
perfectly clear and calm, with a striking twilight, which was remarked
all night. These lengthened twilights form a very observable feature as
we proceed north. Mackenzie says that, in lat. 67° 47´, on the 11th of
July, 1789, he saw the sun above the horizon at twelve o'clock P.M.

The calmness and beauty of the night, and our chief's anxiety to press
forward, made this a short night. Gen. Cass aroused the camp at a very
early hour, so that at three o'clock we were again upon the lake, urging
our way up the Fond du Lac Bay. The sun rose above the horizon at ten
minutes before four o'clock. The morning was clear and brilliant. Not a
cloud obscured the sky, and the waves of the lake spread out with the
brightness of a mirror. At the distance of five leagues, we passed the
mouth of the Wisakoda, or Broule River,[61] a stream which forms the
connecting link with the Mississippi River, through the St. Croix. Three
miles beyond this point we landed a short time, on the shore, where we
observed a stratum of iron sand, pure and black, a foot in thickness.

  [61] WISACODA, or BROULE RIVER.--On returning down the Mississippi
  River, from the exploration of its sources, in 1832, I ascended the
  River St. Croix quite to its source in St. Croix Lake. A short
  portage, across a sandy summit, terminated at the head springs of the
  Wisacoda, which, from a very narrow and tortuous channel, is soon
  increased in volume by tributaries, and becomes a copious stream.
  Thus swelled in volume, it is dashed down an inclined plane, for
  nearly seventy miles, over which it roars and foams with the
  impetuosity of a torrent. It is not till within a few miles of Lake
  Superior that it becomes still and deep. The entire length of the
  river may be estimated at one hundred miles. It has two hundred and
  forty distinct rapids, at some of which the river sinks its level
  from eight to ten feet. It cannot fall, in this distance, less than
  500. That it should ever have been used in the fur trade, is to be
  explained by the fact that it has much water.

At eleven o'clock, a northeast wind arose, which enabled the expedition
to hoist sail. Land on the north shore had for some time been in sight,
across the bay, and the line of coast soon closed in front, denoting
that we had reached the head of the lake. At twelve o'clock, we entered
the month of the River St. Louis, having been eighteen days in passing
this lake, including the trip to the Ontonagon.

Before quitting Lake Superior, whose entire length we have now
traversed, one or two generic remarks may be made; and the first
respects its aboriginal name. The Algonquins, who, in the Chippewa
tribe, were found in possession of it, on the arrival of the French,
early in the seventeenth century, applied the same radical word to it
which they bestow on the sea, namely, Gum-ee (Collected water), or, as
it is sometimes pronounced, Gom-ee, or Go-ma; with this difference, that
the adjective big (gitchè) prefixed to this term for Lake Superior, is
repeated when it is applied to the sea. The superlative is formed when
it is meant to be very emphatic, in this language, by the repetition of
the adjective; a principle, indeed, quite common to the Indian grammars
generally. The word did not commend itself to French or English ears, so
much as to lead to its adoption. By taking the syllable Al from
Algonquin, as a prefix, instead of gitchè, we have the more poetic
combination of Algoma.

Geographers have estimated the depth of this lake at nine hundred feet.
By the surveys of the engineers of the New York and Erie Canal, the
surface of Lake Erie is shown to be five hundred and sixty feet above
tide-water, which, agreeably to estimates kept on the present journey,
lies fifty-two feet below the level of Lake Superior. These data would
carry the bottom of the lake two hundred and eighty-eight feet below
tide water. What is more certain is this, that it has been the theatre
of ancient volcanic action, which has thrown its trap-rocks into high
precipices around its northern shores and some of its islands, and
lifted up vast ranges of sandstone rocks into a vertical position, as is
seen at the base of the Porcupine Mountains. Its latest action appears
to have been in its western portion, as is proved by the upheaval of the
horizontal strata; and it may be inferred that its bed is very rough and

The western termination of the lake, in the great bay of Fond du Lac,
denotes a double or masked shore, which appears to have been formed of
pebbles and sands, driven up by the tempests, at the distance of a mile
or two, outside of the original shore. The result is shown by an
elongated piece of water, resembling a lake, which receives at the
north, the River St. Louis, and the _Agoche_, or Lefthand River, at its
south extremity.

About three miles above the mouth of the river, we landed at a Chippewa
village. While exchanging the usual salutations with them, we noticed
the children of an African, who had intermarried with this tribe. These
children were the third in descent from Bongo, a freed man of a former
British commanding officer at the Island of Michilimackinac. They
possessed as black skins as the father, a fact which may be accounted
for by observing, what I afterwards learned, that the marriages were, in
the case of the grandfather and father, with the pure Indian, and not
with Africano-Algonquin blood; so that there had been no direct advance
in the genealogical line.

The St. Louis River discharges a large volume of water, and is destined
hereafter to be a port of entry for the lake shipping, but at present it
has shoals of sand at its mouth which would bar the entrance of large
vessels. Proceeding up the river, we found it very serpentine, and
abounding in aquatic plants, portions of it yielding the wild rice. At
the computed distance of twenty-four miles, we reached the establishment
of the American Fur Company. It was seven o'clock when we came to the
place, where we encamped.

Lake Superior is called by the Chippewas a sea.

The superficial area of the lake has been computed by Mr. Darby at a
little under nine hundred billions of feet, and its depth at nine
hundred feet. By the latest surveys and estimate, the altitude of Lake
Superior above tide water, is about six hundred and forty feet.[62]
Allowing Mr. Darby's computation to be correct, this would sink its bed
far below the surface of the Atlantic.

  [62] _Vide_ Appendix.

This lake has been the theatre of very extensive volcanic action. Vast
dykes of trap traverse its northern shores. One of the principal of
these has apparently extended across its bed, from northeast to
southwest, to the long peninsula of Keweena, producing at the same time,
the elevated range of the Okaug Mountains. One of the most remarkable
features of these dykes is the numerous and extensive veins of native
copper which characterize them. Subsequent convulsions, and the
demolition of these ancient dykes, by storms and tempests, have
scattered along its shores abundant evidence of the metal and its ores
and veinstones, which have attracted notice from the earliest time. The
geology of its southern coasts may be glanced at, and inferred, from the
subjoined outlines.

[Illustration: Geological outline of Lake Superior.]

The teachings of topography, applied to commerce, are wonderful. A
longitudinal line, dropped south, from this point, would cross the
Mississippi at the foot of Lake Pepin, and pass through Jefferson city
on the Missouri. When, therefore, a ship canal shall be made at St.
Mary's Falls, vessels of large tonnage may sail from Oswego (by the
Welland canal) and Buffalo, through a line of inter-oceanic seas, nearer
to the foot of the Rocky Mountains, by several hundred miles, than by
any other possible route. A railroad line from Fond du Lac west to the
Columbia valley, would also form the shortest and most direct transit
route from the Pacific to New York. Such a road would have the advantage
of passing through a region favorable to agriculture, which cannot but
develop abundant resources.


  Proceed up the St. Louis River, and around its falls and rapids to
    Sandy Lake in the valley of the Upper Mississippi--Grand
    Portage--Portage aux Coteaux--A sub-exploring party--Cross the
    great morass of Akeek Scepi to Sandy Lake--Indian mode of
    pictographic writing--Site of an Indian jonglery--Post of Sandy

We had now reached above nine hundred and fifty miles from our
starting-point at Detroit, and had been more than forty days in
traversing the shores of Lakes Huron and Superior. July had already
commenced, and no time was to be lost in reaching our extreme point of
destination. Every exertion was therefore made to push ahead. By ten
o'clock of the morning after our arrival at the Fond du Lac post, we
embarked, and after going two miles reached the foot of the first rapids
of the St. Louis. This spot is called the commencement of the Grand
Portage--over this path all the goods, provisions, and canoes are to be
carried by hand nine miles. During this distance, the St. Louis River, a
stream of prime magnitude, bursts through the high trap range of what
Bouchette calls the Cabotian Mountains, being a continuation of the
upheavals of the north shore of Lake Superior, the river leaping and
foaming, from crag to crag, in a manner which creates some of the most
grand and picturesque views. We sometimes stood gazing at their
precipices and falls, with admiration, and often heard their roar on our
path, when we were miles away from them. Capt. Douglass estimated the
river to fall one hundred and eight feet during the first nine miles;
and from estimates furnished me by Dr. Wolcott, the aggregate fall from
the mouth of the Savannè, to that point, is two hundred and twelve feet.
We found the first part of the ascent of its banks very precipitous and
difficult, particularly for the men who bore burdens, and what rendered
the labor almost insupportable was the heat, which stood at 82°, in the
shade, at noon. We made but five _pauses_ the first day; and were three
days on the portage. It rained the second day, which added much to the
difficulty of our progress. We now found ourselves, at every step,
advancing into a wild and rugged region. Everything around us wore the
aspect of remoteness. Dark forests, swampy grounds, rocky precipices,
and the distant roaring of the river, as it leapt from rock to rock,
would have sufficiently impressed the mind with the presence of the
wilderness, without heavy rains, miry paths, and the train of wild and
picturesque Indians, who constituted a part of our carriers.

The rocks, at the foot of the portage, consisted of horizontal red
sandstone. On reaching the head of it, we found argillite in a vertical
position. I found the latter, in some places, pervaded by thin veins of
quartz, and in one instance by grauwackke. At one spot there was a small
vein of coarse graphite in the argillite. Large blocks of black
crystallized hornblende rock lie along the shores, where we again
reached the river, and are often seen on its bed, amid the swift-running
water, but I did not observe this rock in place. Among the loose stones
at the foot of the portage, I picked up a specimen of micaceous oxide of
iron. Such are the gleams of its geology and mineralogy. The growth of
the forest is pines, hemlock, spruce, birch, oak, and maple. In
favorable situations, I observed the common red raspberry, ripe.

On embarking above the portage, the expedition occupied seven canoes, of
a size most suitable for this species of navigation. Our Indian
auxiliaries from Fond du Lac were here rewarded, and dismissed. On
ascending six miles, we reached the Portage aux Coteaux, so called from
the carrying path lying over a surface of vertical argillite. This rock,
standing up in the bed, or on the banks of the stream, with a scanty
overhanging foliage of cedar, gives a peculiarly wild and abrupt aspect
to the scene; which is by no means lessened by the loud roaring of the
waters. There is a fall and rapid at this portage, where the river, it
may be estimated, sinks its level about fourteen feet.

We encamped at the head of this portage, where the water again permits
the canoes to be put in. Thus far, we had found this stream a broad,
flowing torrent, but owing to its rapids and rocks, anything but
favorable to its navigation by boats, or canoes of heavy burden. His
excellency Gov. Cass, therefore, determined to relieve the river party,
by detaching a sub-expedition across the country to Sandy Lake. It was
thought proper that I should accompany this party. It consisted,
besides, of Lieut. Mackay, with eight soldiers, and of Mr. Doty, Mr.
Trowbridge, and Mr. Chase. We were provided with an interpreter and two
Chippewa guides, being sixteen persons in all.

Thus organized, we left the camp at the head of the portage, the
following morning, at six o'clock. Each one carried provisions for five
days, a knife, a musquito bar, and a blanket or cloak. There were a few
guns taken, but generally this was thought to be an incumbrance, as we
expected to see little game and to encounter a toilsome tramp. The
guides, taking their course by the sun, struck west into a close forest
of pine, hemlock, and underbrush, which required energy to push through.
On travelling a couple of miles, we fell into an Indian path leading in
the required direction; but this path, after passing through two ponds,
and some marshes, eventually lost itself in swamps. These marshes, after
following through them, about four miles, were succeeded by an elevated
dry sandy barren, with occasional clumps of pitch pine, and with a
surface of shrubbery. Walking over this dry tract was quite a relief. We
then entered a thick forest of young spruce and hemlock. Two miles of
this brought us to the banks of a small lake, with clear water, and a
pebbly shore. Having no canoe to cross it, our guides led us around its
southern shores. The fallen timber and brush rendered this a very
difficult march. To avoid these obstructions, as they approached the
head of the lake, we eventually took its margin, occasionally leading
into the water. While passing these shores, I picked up some specimens
of the water-worn agates, for which the diluvians in this quarter are
remarkable. We now fell into an old Indian path, which led to two small
lakes, similar in size, to the former one, but with marshy borders, and
reddish water. These small lakes were filled with pond lilies, rushes,
and wild rice. At the margin of the second lake, the path ceased, and
the guides could not afterwards find it. The path terminated abruptly at
the second lake. While searching about this, Chamees,[63] one of the
Indian guides, found a large green tortoise, which he and his companion
killed in a very ingenious and effectual way, by a blow from a hatchet
on the neck, at the point where the shell or buckler terminates. After
leaving this water, they appeared to be in doubt about the way; almost
imperceptibly, we found ourselves in a great tamarak swamp. The bogs and
moss served to cover up, almost completely, the fallen trees, and formed
so elastic a carpet as to sink deep at every tread. Occasionally they
broke through, letting the foot into the mire. This proved a very
fatiguing tramp. To add to its toils, it rained at intervals all day. We
were eleven hours in passing this swamp, and estimated, and probably
over-estimated ourselves to have past twenty miles. We encamped at five
o'clock near the shores of a third small lake, each one picking out for
himself the most elevated spot possible, and the person who got a
position most completely out of the water was the best man. It is
fatigue, however, that makes sleep a welcome guest, and we awoke without
any cause of complaint on that score.

  [63] The pouncing hawk.

The next morning, as we were about to depart, we observed near the
camp-fire of our guides a pole leaning in the direction we were to go,
with a birch-bark inscription inserted in a slit in the top of the pole.
This was too curious an object not to excite marked attention, and we
took it down to examine the hieroglyphics, or symbols, which had been
inscribed with charcoal on the birch scroll. We found the party minutely
depicted by symbols. The figures of eight muskets denoted that there
were eight soldiers in the party. The usual figure for a man, namely, a
closed cross with a head, thus:--


and one hand holding a sword, told the tale that they were commanded by
an officer. Mr. Doty was drawn with a book, they having understood that
he was a lawyer. I was depicted with a hammer, to denote a mineralogist.
Mr. Trowbridge and Mr. Chase, and the interpreter, were also depicted.
Chamees and his companion were drawn by a camp-fire apart, and the
figure of the tortoise and a prairie-hen denoted the day's hunt. There
were three hacks on the pole, which leaned to the N. W., denoting our
course of travel. Having examined this unique memorial, it was carefully
replaced in its former position, when we again set forward. It appeared
we had rested in a sort of oasis in the swamp, for we soon entered into
a section of a decidedly worse character than that we had passed the day
before. The windfalls and decaying timber were more frequent--the bogs,
if possible, more elastic--the spots dry enough to halt on, more
infrequent, and the water more highly colored with infusions of decaying
vegetable matter. We urged our way across this tract of morass for nine
hours, during which we estimated our progress at fourteen miles, and
encamped about four o'clock P. M., in a complete state of exhaustion.
Even our Indian guides demanded a halt; and what had, indeed, added to
our discouragements, was the uncertainty of their way, which they had

Our second night's repose in this swampy tract, was on ground just
elevated above the water; the mosquitos were so pertinacious at this
spot as to leave us but little rest. From information given by our
guides, this wide tract of morass constitutes the sources of the Akeek
Seebi, or Kettle River, which is one of the remotest sources of the
Mille Lac, and, through that body of water, of Rum River. It is visited
only by the Indians, at the proper season for trapping the beaver,
marten, and muskrat. During our transit through it, we came to open
spaces where the cranberry was abundant. In the same locality, we found
the ripe fruit, green berries, and blossoms of this fruit.

It was five o'clock A. M. when we resumed our march through this
toilsome tract, and we passed out of it, after pressing forward with our
best might, during twelve hours. We had been observant of the perplexity
of our guides, who had unwittingly, we thought, plunged us into this
dreary and seemingly endless morass, and were rejoiced, on a sudden, to
hear them raise loud shouts. They had reached a part of the country
known to them, and took this mode to express their joy, and we soon
found ourselves on the banks of a small clear stream, called by them
Bezhiki Seebi, or Buffalo Creek, a tributary to Sandy Lake. We had, at
length, reached waters flowing into the Mississippi. On this stream we
prepared to encamp, in high spirits, feeling, as those are apt to who
have long labored at an object, a pleasure in some measure proportioned
to the exertions made.

Any other people but the Indians would feel ill at ease in dreary
regions like these. But these sons of the forest appear to carry all
their socialities with them, even in the most forbidding solitudes. They
are so familiarized with the notions of demons and spirits, that the
wildest solitude is replete with objects of hope and fear. We had
evidence of this, just before we encamped on the banks of the Bezhiki,
when we came to a cleared spot, which had been occupied by what the
Canadians, with much force, call a _jonglery_, or place of necromantic
ceremonies of their priests or jossakeeds. There were left standing of
this structure six or eight smooth posts of equal length, standing
perpendicularly. These had been carefully peeled, and painted with a
species of ochrey clay. The curtains of bark, extending between them,
and isolating the powow, or operator, had been removed; but the
precincts had the appearance of having been carefully cleared of brush,
and the ground levelled, for the purposes of these sacred orgies, which
exercise so much influence on Indian society.

We were awaked in our encampment, between four and five o'clock, the
next morning, by a shower of rain. Jumping up, and taking our customary
meal of jerked beef and biscuit, we now followed our guides, with
alacrity, over a dry and uneven surface, towards Sandy Lake. We had now
been three days in accomplishing the traverse over this broad and
elevated, yet sphagnous summit, separating the valley of the St. Louis
of Lake Superior from that of the Upper Mississippi. As we approached
the basin of Sandy Lake, we passed over several sandy ridges, bearing
the white and yellow pine; the surface and its depressions bearing the
wild cherry, poplar, hazel, ledum latifolia, and other usual growth and
shrubs of the latitude. On the dry sandy tracts the uva ursi, or
kinnikinnik of the Indians, was noticed. In the mineral constitution of
the ridges themselves, the geologist recognizes that wide-spreading
drift-stratum, with boulders and pebbles of sienitic and hornblende,
quartz, and sandstone rock, which is so prevalent in the region. As we
approached the lake we ascended one of those sandy ridges which surround
it, and dashing our way through the dense underbrush, were gratified on
gaining its apex to behold the sylvan shores and islands of the lake,
with the trading-post and flag, seen dimly in the distance. The view is
preserved in the following outlines, taken on the spot.

[Illustration: Sandy Lake, from an eminence north of the mouth of the
West Creek of the Portage of Savannah. 15th July, 1820.]

I asked Chamees the Indian name of this lake. He replied,
Ka-metong-aug-e-maug. This is one of those compound terms, in their
languages, of which the particle _ka_ is affirmative. Metongaug, is the
plural form of sandy lake. Maug is the plural form of water,
corresponding, by the usual grammatical duality of meaning, to the
plural form of the noun. The word might, perhaps, be adopted in the form
of Kametonga.

Having heard, on our passage through Lake Superior, that a gun fired in
the basin of Sandy Lake, could be heard at the fort, that experiment was
tried, while we sat down or sauntered about to await the result. Having
waited in vain, the shots were repeated. After the lapse of a long time,
a boat, with two men, was descried in the distance approaching. It
proved to be occupied by two young clerks of the trading establishment,
named Ashmun and Fairbanks. They managed to embark the elite of our
party, in their small vessel, and, as we crossed the lake, amused us
with an account of the excitement our shots had caused. Some Indian
women affirmed to them that they had heard warwhoops, and to make sure
that a Sioux war party were not upon them, they drove off their cattle
to a place of safety. In the actual position of affairs, the hunt being
over for the year, and the avails being sent to Michilimackinac (for
this was the head-quarters of the factor whom we had met at Shelldrake
River), the probabilities of its being a hunting party were less. We
informed them that we were an advance party of an expedition sent out to
explore the sources of the Mississippi River, under the personal order
of his Excellency Governor Cass, who was urging his way up the St. Louis
to the Savanna Portage, through which he intended to descend into Sandy

It was near sunset before we landed at the establishment. We found the
trading fort a stockade of squared pine timber, thirteen feet high, and
facing an area a hundred feet square, with bastions pierced for musketry
at the southeast and northwest angles. There were three or four acres
outside of one of the angles, picketed in, and devoted to the culture of
potatoes. The stockade inclosed two ranges of buildings. This is the
post visited by Lieut. Z. Pike, U. S. A., on snow-shoes, and with
dog-trains, in the winter of 1806, when it was occupied by the British
northwest trading company. As a deep mantle of snow covered the country,
it did not permit minute observations on the topography or natural
history; and there have been no explorations since. Pike's chief error
was in placing the source of the Mississippi in Turtle Lake--a mistake
which is due entirely, it is believed, to the imperfect or false maps
furnished him by the chief traders of the time.

We were received with all the hospitality possible, in the actual state
of things, and with every kindness; and for the first time, since
leaving Detroit, we slept in a house. We were informed that we were now
within two miles of the Mississippi River, into which the outlet of
Sandy Lake emptied itself, and that we were five hundred miles above the
Falls of St. Anthony. We had accomplished the transference of position
from the head of the basin of Lake Superior, that is, from the foot of
the falls of the St. Louis River, in seven days, by a route, too,
certainly one of the worst imaginable, and there can be no temerity in
supposing that it might be effected in light canoes in half that time.


  Reunion of the expedition on the Savanna Portage--Elevation of this
    summit--Descent to Sandy Lake--Council with the Chippewa
    tribe--Who are they?--Traits of their history, language, and
    customs--Enter the Mississippi, with a sub-exploring party, and
    proceed in search of its source--Physical characteristics of the
    stream at this place--Character of the Canadian voyageur!

On rising on the next morning (14th July), our minds were firmly set, at
the earliest moment, to rejoin the main expedition, which had been
toiling its way up the St. Louis River to the Savanna Portage. And as
soon as we had dispatched our breakfast at the Post, we set out,
accompanied by one of the trading clerks, for that noted carrying place
between the waters of the St. Louis and Sandy Lake. We reached its
northwestern terminus at about twelve o'clock, and were surprised to
find Gov. Cass, with some of his party, and a part of the baggage,
already there; and by five o'clock in the afternoon the last of the
latter, together with the canoes, arrived. And it was then, in the
exhausted state of the men, and at so late an hour, concluded to encamp,
and await the morning to commence the descent of the west Savannè to the

The expedition had, after we left them at the Portage aux Coteaux on the
10th, and being thus relieved of our weight, urged its way up the river,
with labor, about fifty-six miles, to the inlet of the east Savannè,
having surmounted, in this distance, rapids of the aggregate estimated
height of two hundred and twelve feet, which occupied two days. They
then ascended the Savannè twenty-four miles, rising eighteen feet. The
portage, from water to water, is six miles. It commences in a tamarak
swamp, from which the bog, in a dry season, has been burnt off, leaving
the path a mass of mire. Trees and sticks have, from time to time, been
laid in this to walk on, which it requires the skill of a balancing
master to keep. For the distance of three _pozes_ [pauses] this is the
condition of the path; afterwards, the footing becomes dry, and there
are ascending sand ridges, which are easily crossed.

Dr. Wolcott, to whom I had handed my geological note-book, made the
following observations. "We left the vertical strata of slate, about two
miles above the Portage aux Coteaux. They were succeeded by rocks of
hornblende, which continued the whole distance to the head of the Grand
Rapid. These rocks were only to be observed in the bed of the river, and
appeared to be much water-worn, and manifestly out of place. Soon after
we left the Portage aux Coteaux, the hills receded from the river, and
its banks for the rest of the way were generally low, often alluvial,
and always covered with a thick growth of birch, elm, sugar-tree (acer
saccharinum), and the whole tribe of pines, with an almost impenetrable
thicket of underbrush.

"The appearances of this day (11th) have been similar to those of
yesterday, except that the country bordering the river became entirely
alluvial, and the poplar became the predominating growth, while the
evergreen almost entirely disappeared. The rocks were seldom visible,
except upon the rapids, and then only in the bed of the river, and were
entirely composed of hornblende, all out of place, and exhibiting no
signs of stratification, but evidently thrown confusedly together by the
force of the current.

"The Savannè River is about twenty yards broad at its junction with the
St. Louis, but soon narrows to about half the breadth, which it retains
until it forks at the distance of about twelve miles from its mouth. Its
whole course runs through a low marshy meadow, the timbered land
occasionally reaching to the banks of the river, but generally keeping a
distance of about twenty rods on either side. The meadow is, for the
most part, covered with tufts of willow and other shrubs, common to
marshes. The woods, which skirt it, are of the same kinds observed on
the preceding days, except that a species of small oak frequently
appears among it. The river becomes so narrow towards its head, that it
is with great difficulty canoes can make their way through its windings;
and the portage commences a mile or two from its source, which is in a
tamarak swamp."

The height of land between the east and west Savannè, Dr. Wolcott
estimates at about thirty feet. Adding to this elevation the estimates
of Capt. Douglass, before mentioned, the entire elevation between the
foot of the falls of the St. Louis and the apex of this summit is three
hundred and sixty-eight feet.[64]

  [64] For heights and distances, _vide_ Appendix.

Having exchanged congratulations, and recited to each other the little
personal incidents which had marked our respective tracks of entry into
the country, we passed the night on the sources of this little stream;
and the next morning, at five o'clock, began its descent. It is a mere
brook, only deep enough, at this spot, to embark the canoes, and two men
to manage them. At the distances of four, and of twelve miles, there are
rapids, where half the loads are carried over portages. At the foot of
the latter rapid, there is a tributary called Ox Creek, and from this
point to the lake, a distance of six miles, the navigation is
practicable with full loads. We entered the lake with pleasurable
feelings, at the accomplishment of our transit over this summit, and
after a passage of three miles over the calm and sylvan surface of the
lake, the expedition reached and landed at the company's fort. It was
now four o'clock in the afternoon of a most serene day, and the Indians,
who were gathered on the shores, received us with a salute _a la mode de
savage_, that is, with balls fired over our heads. Quarters were
provided in the fort for such as did not prefer to lodge in tents.
Understanding that there was to be a day's rest at this post, to
reorganize the party, and hold intercourse with the Indians, each one
prepared to make such use of his time as best subserved his purposes.
Finding my baggage had been wetted and damaged on the portages in the
ascent of the St. Louis, I separated the moulded and ruined from things
still worth saving, and drying the latter in the sun, prepared them for
further use.

On the day after our arrival (16th) a council of the Indians--the
Chippewas--was convened. The principal chiefs were Kadewabedas,[65] or
Broken Teeth, and Babisekundeba,[66] or the Curly Head. This tribe, it
appears, are conquerors in the country, having at an early, or
ante-historical age, advanced from Lake Superior, driving back the
Sioux. The war between these two tribes is known to have existed since
the first entry of the French into the country--then a part of New
France--early in the seventeenth century. Gov. Cass proposed to them to
enter into a firm peace with the Sioux, and to send a delegation with
him to St. Peter's, on his return from the sources of the Mississippi.
To this they assented. Speeches were made by the Indians, which it is
not my purpose to record, as they embraced nothing beyond the ordinary,
every-day style of the native speakers.

  [65] From _ka_, an affirmative particle; _webeed_, teeth; and _eda_,
  a transitive objective inflection.

  [66] _Ba_, a repeating particle; _besaw_, fine, curly; and _kundib_,
  the human head.

It was determined to encamp the heavy part of the expedition at this
place, and to organize a sub-expedition of two light canoes, well
manned, to explore the sources of the Mississippi River. While these
arrangements are in progress, it may be proper to state something more
respecting the condition and history of the Chippewa nation. And first,
they are Algonquins, having migrated, at ante-Cartierian[67] periods,
from the vicinity of Lake Nippesing, on the Outawis summit. Anterior to
this, their own traditions place them further eastward, and their
language bears evidence that the stock from which they are sprung,
occupied the Atlantic from the Chesapeake, extending through New
England. The name Chippewa is derived from the term Ojibwa. The latter
has been variously, but not satisfactorily derived. The particle _bwa_,
in the language, signifies voice. They are a well-formed, active race of
men, and have the reputation of being good hunters and warriors. They
possess the ordinary black shining eyes, black straight hair, and
general physiological traits of the Indian race; and do not differ,
essentially, from the northern tribes in their manners and customs.
Pike, who was the first American officer to visit them, in this region,
estimates the whole number seated on the Upper Mississippi, and
northwest of Lake Superior, in the year 1806, at eleven thousand one
hundred and seventy-seven. This estimate includes the entire population,
extending south to the St. Croix and Chippewa valleys, below St.
Anthony's Falls. It is believed to be much too high, for which it can be
plead in extenuation, that it was the rough estimate of foreign traders,
who were interested in exalting their importance to the United States.
Certain it is, there are not more than half the numbers, in this region,
at present. The number which he assigns to the Sandy Lake band is three
hundred and forty-five.

  [67] Cartier discovered the St. Lawrence in 1534.

The Chippewas of the Upper Mississippi are, in fact, the advanced band
of the widespread Algonquin family, who, after spreading along the
Atlantic from Virginia, as far as the Gulf of St. Lawrence, have
followed up the great chain of lakes, to this region, leaving tribes of
more or less variation of language on the way. There may have been a
thousand years, or more, expended on this ethnological track, and the
names by which they were, at various ages and places, known, are only
important as being derivatives from a generic stock of languages whose
radicals are readily recognized. Furthest removed, in the line of
migration, appear the Mohicans, Lenno Lenawpees, Susquehannocks, and
Powatans, and their congeners. The tribes of this continent appear,
indeed, to have been impelled in circles, resembling the whirlwinds
which have swept over its surface; and, so far as relates to the mental
power which set them in motion, the comparison also holds good, for the
effects of their migrations appear, everywhere, to have been war and
destruction. One age appears to produce no wiser men than another.
Having no mode of recording knowledge, experience dies with the
generation who felt it, all except the doubtful and imprecise data of
tradition; and this is little to be trusted, after a century or two. For
the matter of exact history, they might as well trace themselves to the
moon, as some of their mythological stories do, as to any other planet,
or part of a planet. Of their language, the only certainly reliable
thing in their history, a vocabulary is given in the Appendix. To the
ear, it appears flowing and agreeable, and not of difficult utterance;
and there is abundant reason, on beholding how readily they express
themselves, for the plaudits which the early French writers bestowed on
the Algonquin language.

We observed the custom of these Indians of placing their dead on
scaffolds. The corpse is carefully wrapped in bark, and then elevated on
a platform made by placing transverse pieces in forks of trees, or on
posts, firmly set in the ground. This custom is said to have been
borrowed by the Chippewas, of this quarter, from the Dacotahs or Sioux.
When they bury in the ground, which is the general custom, a roof of
bark is put over the deceased. This inclosure has an aperture cut in it
at the head, through which a dish of food is set for the dead. Oblations
of liquor are also sometimes made. This ancient custom of offering food
and oblations to the dead, reminds the reader of similar customs among
some of the barbarous tribes of the oriental world. We noticed also
symbolic devices similar to those seen at Huron River or Lake Superior,
inscribed on posts set at the head of Indian graves. It seems to be the
prime object of these inscriptions to reveal the family name, or
_totem_, as it is called, of the deceased, together with devices
denoting the number of times he has been in battle, and the number of
scalps he has taken. As this test of bravery is the prime object of an
Indian's life, the greatest efforts are made to attain it.

A word may be said as to the climate and soil of this region, and their
adaptation to the purposes of agriculture. By the tables of temperature
annexed (_vide_ Appendix), the mean solar heat, in the shade, during the
time of our being in the country, is shown to be 67°. It is evident that
it is the idle habits of the Indians, and no adverse circumstances of
climate or soil, that prevent their raising crops for their subsistence.

Arrangements for a light party to ascend the Mississippi, and seek for
its sources, having been made, we left Sandy Lake, in two canoes, at
nine o'clock in the morning on the 17th. This party, in addition to his
Excellency Gov. Cass, consisted of Dr. Alex. Wolcott, Capt. Douglass,
Lieut. Mackay, Maj. Forsyth, and myself, with nineteen voyageurs and
Indians, provisioned for twelve days. A voyage of about a mile across
the western prolongation of the lake, brought us to its outlet--a wide
winding stream, with a very perceptible current, and rich alluvial
banks, bearing a forest. After pursuing it some mile and a half, we
descended a small rapid, where the average descent of water in a short
distance may be perhaps three feet; it appeared, however, to give the
men no concern, for they urged their way down it, with full strength of
paddle and song, and we soon found ourselves in the Mississippi. The
first sight of this stream reminded me of one of its striking
characteristics, at far lower points, namely, its rapidity. Its waters
are slightly turbid, with a reddish tint. Its width, at this point, as
denoted by admeasurements subsequently made,[68] is three hundred and
thirty-one feet. Its banks are alluvial and of a fertile aspect, bearing
a forest of oaks, maples, elms, ash, and pines, with a dense undergrowth
of shrubbery. I observed a species of polyganum in the water's edge, and
wherever we attempted to land it was miry and the borders wet and damp.
We were now, from our notes, a hundred and forty-seven miles due west of
the head of Lake Superior, by the curved lines of travelling, and
probably one hundred in an air line; and had struck the channel of the
Mississippi, not less, by the estimates, than two thousand five hundred
miles above its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico. It could not, from the very
vague accounts we could obtain from the traders, originate, at the
utmost, more than three hundred miles higher, and our Canadian voyageurs
turned up the stream, with that Troubadour air, or _gaite de cour_,
keeping time with song and paddle, with which New France had at first
been traversed by its Champlains, Marquettes, and Frontenacs. To conquer
distance and labor, at the same time, with a song, has occurred to no
other people, and if these men are not happy, in these voyages, they, at
least, have the semblance of it, and are merry. To keep up this flow of
spirits, and bravery of capacity in demolishing distances, they always
overrate the per diem travel, which, as I have before observed, is put
about one-third too high--that is to say, their league is about two
miles. On we went, at this rapid rate, stopping every half hour to rest
five minutes. During this brief rest, their big kettle of boiled corn
and pork was occasionally brought forward, and dipped in, with great
fervency of spoon; but, whether eating or working, they were always gay,
and most completely relieved from any care of what might happen
to-morrow. For the mess kettle was ever most amply supplied, and not
according to the scanty pattern which these couriers de bois often
encounter in the Indian trade on these summits, when they are sometimes
reduced to dine on tripe de Roche and sup on buton de rose; but they
bore in mind that their employer, namely, Uncle Sam, was a full-handed
man, and they kept up a most commendable mental balance, by at once
eating strong and working strong.

  [68] Expedition to Hasca Lake in 1832.

During the first twenty-seven miles, above the inlet of Sandy Lake, we
passed six small rapids, at distances of three, four, three, one, five,
and eleven miles, where the river sinks its level twenty-nine feet, in
the estimated aggregate distance of seven hundred yards.[69] Above the
latter, extending twenty miles, to the point of our encampment, there is
no perceptible rapid. It was eight o'clock when we encamped, having been
eleven hours in our canoes, without stretching our legs, and we had
ascended forty-six miles.

  [69] _Vide_ Appendix--Elevations.


  Proceed up the Mississippi River--Its velocity and character--Swan
    River--Trout River, and Mushkoda or Prairie River--Rapids
    ascended--Reach, and make a portage around Pakagama Falls--Enter a
    vast lacustrine region--Its character and productions, vegetable
    and animal--Tortuous channel--Vermilion and Deer Rivers--Leech
    Lake branch--Lake Winnipek--Ascent of the river to Upper Red
    Cedar, or Cass Lake--Physical character of the Mississippi River.

Our encampment was near the mouth of Swan River, a considerable stream,
originating in Swan Lake, near the head of the St. Louis River of Lake

We had been pushing our way, daily, up to our arrival at Sandy Lake; but
the word, from leaving that point, was, emphatically, push--and we can
hardly be said to have taken proper time to eat or sleep. There was a
shower of rain, during the night; it ceased at four o'clock, and we
again embarked at five, in a cloudy and misty morning, and it continued
cloudy all day. The current of the Mississippi continues to be strong;
its velocity, during the ascent of this day, was computed by Capt.
Douglass at two and a half miles per hour. We passed a rapid about six
miles below Trout River, where there is a computed descent of three feet
in a hundred and fifty yards. A few miles before reaching Trout River,
we passed through a forest of dead pines, occupying ridges of sand,
through which the river has cut its way. Four miles above the entrance
of Trout River, we passed the mouth of a considerable stream, called by
the Chippewas Mushkoda, or Prairie River, and encamped about five
hundred yards above its mouth on a high sandy elevation. It was now
eight o'clock P.M. We had ascended the river fifty-one miles, having
been fifteen hours in our canoes, and we here first took our breakfast.
This severity of fasting was, I think, quite unintentional, the
mess-basket being in the other canoe, which kept ahead of us the entire
day. We had this day observed specimens of the Unio and some other
species of fresh-water shells along the shore. And of birds, besides the
duck, plover, and loon, which frequent the water, we noticed the thrush,
robin, blackbird, and crow. The comparative coolness of the day rendered
the annoyance from mosquitos less severe than we had found them the
preceding day. The night on this sandy and bleak elevation proved cool,
with a heavy dew, which resulted in a dense fog in the morning. We found
ice on the bottoms of the canoes, which are turned up at night, of the
thickness of a knife-blade.

Our third day's ascent witnessed no diminution of the strength and
alacrity with which our canoemen urged our way up the stream. We were
off betimes, in a lowering and dense atmosphere, which obscured objects.
After advancing some six miles, there are a series of small rapids,
which are, taken together, called Ka-ka-bi-ka,[70] where I estimated the
river to sink its level sixteen feet, in a short distance; at none of
these is the navigation, however, impeded. The rock stratification
appears too compact for sand-rock, and is obscured by contiguous
boulders, which are indicative of the strong drift-formation, which has
spread from the north and east over this region. Four miles after
ascending the last of the Kakabika Rapids, we landed at the foot of the
Pakagama Falls. Here the lading was immediately put ashore, the canoes
landed, and the whole carried over an Indian portage path of two hundred
and seventy-five yards. This delay afforded an opportunity to view the
falls. The Mississippi, at this point, forces its way through a
formation of quartzy rock, during which it sinks its level, as
estimated, twenty feet, in a distance of about three hundred yards.
There is no perceptible cascade or abrupt fall, but the river rushes
with the utmost velocity down a highly inclined rocky bed towards the
northeast. It forms a complete interruption to navigation, and must,
hereafter, be the terminus of the navigation of that class of small
steamboats which may be introduced above the Falls of St. Anthony. The
general elevation of the geological stratum at the top of this fall must
be but little under fourteen hundred feet above the Gulf of Mexico.[71]
This summit bears a growth of the yellow pine. I observed, amongst the
shrubs, the vaccinium dumosum. Immediately above the falls is a small
rocky island, bearing a growth of spruce and cedars, being the first
island noticed above Sandy Lake. This island parts the channel into two,
at the precise point of its precipitation. On coming to the head of
these falls, we appear to have reached a vast geological plateau,
consisting of horizontal deposits of clay and drift on the nucleus of
granitical and metamorphic rocks, which underlie the sources of the
Mississippi River. The vast and irregular bodies of water called Leech
Lake, Winnipek, and Cass Lakes, together with a thousand lesser lakes of
a mile or two in circumference, lie on this great diluvial summit. These
lakes spread east and west over a surface of not less than two hundred
miles; most of them are connected with channels of communication forming
a tortuous and intricate system of waters, only well known to the
Indians; and there seems the less wonder that the absolute and most
remote source of the Mississippi has so long remained a matter of doubt.

  [70] From _ka_, a particle affirmative of an adverse quality,
  _aubik_, rock, and _ons_, a diminutive inflection.

  [71] Mr. Nicollet places the summit of the falls at 1,340 feet above
  the Gulf.

By the time we had well seen the falls, and made some sketches and
notes, the indefatigable canoemen announced our baggage all carried over
the portage, and the canoes put into the water. Embarking, at this
point, we found the river had lost its velocity; it was often difficult
to determine that it had any current at all. We wound about, by a most
tortuous channel, through savannas where coarse species of grass, flags,
reeds, and wild rice struggled for the mastery. The whole country
appeared to be one flat surface, where the sameness of the objects, the
heat of the weather, and the excessively serpentine channel of the
river, conspired to render the way tedious. The banks of the river were
but just elevated above these illimitable fields of grass and aquatic
plants. In these banks the gulls had their nests, and as they were
disturbed they uttered deafening screams. Water-fowl were intruded upon
at every turn, the blackbird and rail chattered over their clusters of
reeds and cat-tails; the falcon screamed on high, as he quietly sailed
above our heads, and the whole feathered creation appeared to be
decidedly intruded on by our unwonted advance into the great watery
plateau, to say nothing of the small and unimportant class of reptiles
who inhabit the region.

Forty miles above the falls, the River Vermilion flows in through these
savannas on the left hand; and three miles higher the Deer River is
tributary on the right hand. We ascended six miles above the latter, and
encamped in a dry prairie, on the same side, at a late hour. The men
reported themselves to have travelled sixteen leagues, notwithstanding
their detention on the Pakagama Portage. How far we had advanced, in a
direct line, is very questionable. At one spot, we estimated ourselves
to have passed, by the river's involutions, nine miles, but to have
advanced directly but one mile. I noticed, on the meadow at this spot, a
small and very delicious species of raspberry, the plant not rising
higher than three or four inches. This species, of which I preserved
both the roots and fruit, I referred to Dr. J. Torrey, of New York, who
pronounced it the Rebus Nutkanus of Moçino--a species found by this
observer in the Oregon regions. It is now known to occur eastwardly, to
upper Michigan. As night approached on these elevated prairies, we
observed for the first time the fire-fly.

The next morning (20th) we were again in motion at half-past five
o'clock. It had rained during the night, and the morning was cloudy,
with a dense fog. At the distance of ten miles, we passed the Leech Lake
River. This is a very considerable river, bringing in, apparently,
one-third as much water as the main branch. It is, however, but fifty
miles in length, and is merely the outlet of the large lake bearing that
name. It was thought the current of the Mississippi denoted greater
velocity above this point, while the water exhibited greater clearness.
We had still the same savanna regions, with a serpentine channel to
encounter. Through this the men urged their way for a distance of
thirty-five miles, when Winnipek Lake displayed itself before us. The
waters of this lake have a whitish, slightly turbid aspect, after the
prevalence of storms, which appears to reveal its shallowness, with a
probably whitish clay bottom. The Chippewa name of Winnebeegogish[72]
is, indeed, derivative from this circumstance. This lake is stated to be
ten miles in its greatest length. We crossed it transversely in order to
strike the inlet of the Mississippi, and encamped on the other side. In
this transit we met a couple of Indian women in a canoe, who, being
interrogated by the interpreter, stated that they came to observe
whether the wild rice, which is quite an item of the Indian subsistence
in this quarter, was matured enough to be tied into clusters for beating
out. We estimated our advance this day, by the time denoted by the
chronometer, at fifty-one miles.

  [72] From _weenud_, dirty, _beegog_, waters, and _ish_, a derogative
  inflection of nouns.

We were again in our canoes the next morning at half-past four o'clock.
In coasting along the north shores of Winnipek Lake, an object of limy
whiteness attracted our attention, which turned out to be a small island
composed of granitical and other boulders, which had served as the
resting-place of birds, for which the region above the Pakagama Falls is
so remarkable. On landing, a dead pelican was stretched on the surface.
We had not before observed this species on the river, and named the
island Shayta, from its Chippewa name. The buzzard, cormorant, brant,
eagle, and raven had hitherto constituted the largest species. Along the
shores of the river, the king-fisher and heron had been frequent
objects. With respect to the cormorant, it was observed that the Indians
classify it with the species of duck, their name for it, ka-ga-ge-sheeb,
signifying, literally, crow-duck.

On again reaching the inlet of the Mississippi, its size and appearance
corresponded so exactly to its character below the Winnipek, that it had
evidently experienced but little or no change by passing through this
lake. The same width and volume were observed which it had below this
point; the same moderate velocity; the same borders of grassy savanna,
and the same tendency to redouble its length, by its contortions,
appeared. In some places, however, it approaches those extensive ridges
of sandy formation, bearing pines, which traverse, or rather bound,
these wide savannas. Through these channels the canoemen urged their
course with their usual alacrity--now stopping a few moments to breathe,
and then, striking their paddles again in the water with renewed vigor,
and often starting off with one of their animated canoe-songs. From
about eight o'clock in the morning till two in the afternoon we
proceeded up the winding thread of this channel, when the appearance of
a large body of water in the distance before us attracted attention. It
was the first glimpse we had of the upper Red Cedar Lake. The
Mississippi River here deploys itself in one of those large sheets of
pellucid water which are so characteristic of its sources. On reaching
the estuary at its entrance, a short halt was made. A large body of the
most transparent water spread out before us. Its outlines, towards the
south, were only bounded by the line of the horizon. In the distance
appeared the traces of wooded islands. If Sandy Lake had, on emerging
from the wilderness, impressed us with its rural beauty, this far
transcended it in the variety and extent of outlines, and that oceanic
amplitude of freshness, which so often inspires admiration in beholding
the interior American lakes. It was determined to cross a part of the
lake towards the north-east, in order to strike the site of an ancient
Indian village at the mouth of Turtle River; and under the influences of
a serene day, and one of their liveliest chants, the men pushed for that
point, which was reached at three o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st
July. The spot at which we landed was the verge of a green lawn, rising
in a short distance to a handsome eminence, crowned with oaks and
maples. One or two small log tenements stood on this slope occupied by
two Canadians in the service of the American Fur Company. Several
wigwams of bark and poles lifted their fragile conical forms on either

In one of these tenements, consisting of a small cabin of poles,
sheathed with bark, we found an object of human misery which excited our
sympathies. It was in the person of one of the Canadians, to whom
reference has been made, of the name of Montruille. He had, in the often
severe peregrinations of the fur trade in this quarter, been caught in a
snow-storm during the last winter, and frozen both his feet in so severe
a manner that they eventually sloughed off, and he could no longer stand
upright or walk. He lay on the ground in a most pitiable state of
dejection, with the stumps of his legs bound up with deer skins, with a
gray, long-neglected beard, and an aspect of extreme despair. English he
could not speak; and the French he uttered was but an abuse of the noble
gift of language to call down denunciations on those who had deserted
him, or left him thus to his fate. A rush mat lay under him. He had no
covering. He was emaciated to the last degree, every bone in his body
seemed visible through the skin. His cheeks were fallen in, and his eyes
sunk in their sockets, but darting a look of despair. His Indian wife
had deserted him. Food, of an inadequate quality, was occasionally
thrown in to him. Such were the accounts we received. Governor Cass
directed groceries, ammunition, and presents of clothing to be made to
him, to the latter of which, every member of the party added. He also
engaged a person to convey him to Sandy Lake.

We examined the environs of the place with interest; the village
occupies the north banks of Turtle River Valley. Turtle River, which
cuts its way through this slope and plain, constitutes the direct line
of intercourse for the Indian trade, through Turtle and Red Lakes, to
the Red River Valley of Hudson's Bay. On inquiry, we learned that this
river had constituted the ancient Indian line of communication by canoes
and portages, from time immemorial, with that valley, the distance to
the extreme plateau, or summit, being about sixty miles. On this summit,
within a couple of miles of each other, lie Turtle and Red Lakes, the
one having its discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and the other into
Hudson's Bay. When Canada was settled by the French, this aboriginal
route was adopted. The fur companies of Great Britain, on coming into
possession of the country, after the fall of Quebec, 1759, followed the
same route. The factors of these companies told Lieutenant Pike, in
1806, at Sandy Lake and Leech Lake, that the Turtle portage was the only
practicable route of communication to the Red River, and that it was the
true source of the Mississippi; and they furnished him manuscript maps
of the country conformable to these views. The region has actually been
in possession of the Americans only since 1806, adopting the era of
Pike's visit.

By inquiry from the Chippewa Indians at this village, sanctioned by the
Canadian authorities, we are informed that the Mississippi falls into
the south end of Cass Lake, at the distance of eight or ten miles; that
it reaches that point from the west, by a series of sharp rapids
stretching over an extent of about forty miles from a large lake;[73]
and that this celebrated stream originates in Lac la Biche, about six
days' journey from our present position, and has many small lakes,
rapids, and falls. It is further asserted by the Indians, that the water
in these remote streams, and upon these rapids, is at all times
shallow, but it is particularly so this season; and that it is not
practicable to reach these remote sources of the river with boats, or
large canoes of the size we have.

  [73] Called Andrúsia. Expedition to Starca Lake in 1837.

On submitting these facts to the gentlemen composing his party, Governor
Cass asked each one to give his views, beginning with the youngest, and
to express his opinion on the feasibility of further explorations. They
concurred in opinion that, in the present low state of the water on
these summits, considering the impossibility of ascending them with our
present craft, and in the actual state of our provisions, such an
attempt was impracticable. Thereon, he announced his decision to rejoin
our party at Sandy Lake, and to pursue the exploration of the river down
its channel to the Falls of St. Anthony, to the inlet of the Wisconsin
and Fox Rivers, and to return into the great lake basins, and complete
their circumnavigation.

Having reached the ultimate geographical point visited by the
expedition, I thought it due to the energy and enlightened zeal of the
gentleman who had led us, to mark the event by naming this body of water
in my journal Cassina, or Cass Lake. There was the more reason for this
in the nomenclature of the geography of the upper Mississippi, by
observing that it embraces another Red Cedar Lake. The latitude of upper
Red Cedar, or Cass Lake, is placed by Pike at 47° 42´40´´.[74] Its
distance above Sandy Lake, by the involutions of the river, is two
hundred and seventy miles, and from Fond du Lac, at the head of Lake
Superior, by the travelled route, four hundred and thirty miles. It is
situated seventeen degrees north of the Gulf of Mexico, from which it is
computed to be distant two thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight
geographical miles. Estimating the distance to the actual origin of the
river, as determined at a subsequent period, at one hundred and
eighty-two miles above Cass Lake, the length of the Mississippi River is
shown to be three thousand one hundred and sixty miles,[75] making a
direct line over the earth's surface of more than half the distance from
the arctic circle to the equator. It may also be observed of the
Mississippi, that its sources lie in a region of snows and
long-continued winter, while it enters the ocean under the latitude of
perpetual verdure; and at last, as if disdaining to terminate its career
at the ordinary point of embouchure of other large rivers, has protruded
its banks into the Gulf of Mexico, more than a hundred miles beyond any
other part of the main. To have visited both the source and the mouth of
the stream has fallen to the lot of but few, and I believe there is no
person living beside myself of whom the remark can be made. On the tenth
of July, 1819, I passed out of the mouth of the Mississippi in a brig
bound for New York, after descending it in a steamboat from St. Louis,
but little thinking I should soon visit its waters, yet, on the
twenty-first of July of the following year, I reached its sources in
this lake.

  [74] Nicollet, in the report of his exploration of 1836, places it in
  47° 25´ 23´´.

  [75] _Vide_ Expedition to Stasca Lake in 1832.

In deciding upon the physical character of the Mississippi River, it may
be advantageously considered under four natural divisions, as indicated
by permanent differences in its geological and physical character--its
vegetable productions, and its velocity and general hydrographical
character. Originating in a region of lakes upon the table-lands which
throw their waters north into Hudson's Bay, south into the Gulf of
Mexico, and east into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it pursues its course
south to the Falls of Pakagama, a distance of two hundred and thirty
miles, through natural meadows or savannas covered with wild rice,
rushes, reeds and coarse grasses, and aquatic plants. During the
distance, it is extremely devious in its course and width, often
expanding into lakes which connect themselves through a vast system of
reticulated channels. Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Andrúsia would
themselves be regarded as small interior seas, were they on any other
part of the continent but that which develops Superior, Michigan, Huron,
Erie, and Ontario. Its velocity through the upper plateau is but little,
and it affords every facility for the breeding of water fowl and the
small furred quadrupeds, the favorite reliance of a nomadic population.

At the Falls of Pakagama, the first rock stratum and the first wooded
island is seen. Here the river has an aggregate fall of twenty feet, and
from this point to St. Anthony's Falls, a distance of six hundred miles,
it exhibits its second characteristic division. The granitical and
metamorphic rocks, which support the vast plateaux and beds of draft of
its sources, are only apparent above this point, in boulders. The
permanent strata are but barely concealed at several rapids below the
Pakagama, but appear plainly below the influx of the De Corbeau, at Elk
River, Little Falls, and near Sac River. And this system of rock is
succeeded, before reaching the Falls of St. Anthony, by the horizonal
white sand rock and its superior limestone series of the carboniferous

Vegetation is developed as the river descends towards the south. A
forest of maples, elm, oak, ash, and birch, is interspersed with spruce,
birch, poplar, and pine above the Pakagama, and continues, in favorable
positions, throughout this division. The black walnut is first seen
below Sandy Lake, and the sycamore below the River De Corbeau. The river
in this division has numerous well-wooded islands; its velocity is a
striking feature; it abounds with rapids, none of which, however, oppose
serious obstacles to its navigation. Agreeably to memoranda kept,[76] it
has fifty-six distinct rapids, including the Little and Big Falls, in
all of which the river has an aggregate estimated descent of two hundred
and twenty-four feet, within a distance of fourteen thousand six hundred
and forty yards, or about eight miles. The mean fall of the current,
exclusive of these rapids, may be computed at nearly six inches per

  [76] _Vide_ Appendix.

The course of the river, below the Falls of Pakagama, is still
serpentine, but strikingly less so than above, and its bends are not so
short and abrupt. The general course of this river, till it reaches the
rock formation of Pakagama, is from the west. Thence, to Sandy Lake
inlet, it flows generally southeast; from this point to the inlet of the
De Corbeau or Crow Wing, it is deflected to the southwest; thence almost
due south, to the mouth of the Watab River; and thence again southeast
to the Falls of St. Anthony. A geographical line dropped from the inlet
of Sandy Lake, where the channel is first deflected to the southwest, to
St. Anthony's Falls, or the mouth of the St. Peter's,[77] forms a vast
bow-shaped area of prairie and forest lands of high agricultural
capabilities, whose future products must be carried to a market through
the Fond du Lac of Lake Superior. These prairies and grove lands, which
cannot square less than two by four hundred miles, constitute the
ancient area of the Issati,[78] and are now the resort of great herds of
the buffalo, elk, and deer; and it is a region known as the predatory
border, or battle-ground of the Chippewas and Dacotas.

  [77] Now called Minnesota River.

  [78] _Vide_ Hennepin.


  Physical traits of the Mississippi--The elevation of its sources--Its
    velocity and mean descent--Etymology of the name
    Mississippi--Descent of the river to Sandy Lake, and thence to the
    Falls of St. Anthony--Recross the great Bitobi Savanna--Pakagama
    formation--Description of the voyage from Sandy Lake to Pine
    River--Brief notices of the natural history.

The third geographical division in which it is proposed to consider the
Mississippi, begins at the Falls of St. Anthony. Within half a day's
march, before reaching this point from its sources, the primitive and
crystallized, and the altered and basaltic rocks are succeeded by the
great limestone and sandstone horizontal series of the carboniferous,
magnesian, and metalliferous rocks, which constitute by themselves so
extraordinary a body of geological phenomena. Entering on the level of
the white sandstone stratum, which is fundamental in this column, about
the inlet of Rum River, the Mississippi urges its way over a gently
inclining bed of this rock, to the brink of this cataract, where it
drops perpendicularly about sixteen feet; but the whole descent of its
level from the head to the foot of the portage path, cannot be less than
double that height.

The river, at this point, enters a valley which is defined by rocky
cliffs, which attain various elevations from one to three hundred feet,
presenting a succession of picturesque or sublime views. In some places
these cliffs present a precipitous and abrupt façade, washed by the
current. In far the greatest number of cases, the eminence has lost its
sharp angles through the effects of frosts, rains, and elemental action,
leaving a slope of debris at the foot. As the river descends, it
increases in volume and in the extent of its alluvions. These form, in
an especial manner, its characteristic features from St. Anthony's Falls
to the junction of the Missouri, a distance of not less than eight
hundred miles. The principal tributaries which it receives in this
distance, are, on the right, the St. Peter's, Upper and Lower Iowa,
Turkey River, Desmoines, and Salt Rivers; and, on the left, the St.
Croix, Chippewa, Wisconsin, Rock River, and the Illinois. One hundred
miles below St. Anthony, it expands for a distance of twenty-four miles
into the sylvan sheet of Lake Pepin, at the foot of which it receives
the large volume of the Chippewa River, which originates on the sandy
tracts at the sources of the Wisconsin, Montreal, and Ontonagon; and it
is from this point that its continually widening channel exhibits those
innumerable and changing sand-bars, which so embarrass the navigation.
But in all this distance, it is only at the Desmoines and Rock River
rapids that any permanent serious impediment is found in its navigation,
with the larger craft.

The fourth change in the physical aspect of this river, is at the
junction of the Missouri, and this is an almost total and complete one;
for this river brings down such a vast and turbid flood of commingled
earths and floating matter, that it characterizes this stream to its
entrance into the Gulf of Mexico. If its length of channel, velocity,
and other leading phenomena had been accurately known at an early day,
it should also have carried its name from this point to the ocean. Down
to this point, the Mississippi, at its summer phases, carries the
character of a comparatively clear stream. But the Missouri, which, from
its great length and remote latitude, has a summer freshet, flows in
with a flood so turbid and opaque, that it immediately communicates its
qualities and hue to the milder Mississippi. At certain seasons, the
struggle between the clear and turbid waters of the two streams can be
seen, at opposite sides of the river, at the distance of twenty or
thirty miles. Entire trees, sometimes ninety feet long, with their giant
arms, are swept down the current; and it is not unusual, at its highest
flood, to observe large, spongy masses of a species of pseudo pumice
carried into its channel, from some of its higher western tributaries.

To such a moving, overpowering liquid mass, there are still, below the
Missouri, rocky banks, and occasionally isolated cliffs, to stand up and
resist its sweep; but its alluvions become wider and deeper opposite to
these rocky barriers. Its bends stretch over greater distances, and its
channel grows deeper at every accession of a tributary. The chief of
these, after passing the Missouri, are from the Rocky Mountains and
Ozark slopes, the St. Francis, White, Arkansas, and Red Rivers; and from
the other bank the Kaskaskia, the Ohio, Wolf, and Yazoo. It is estimated
to flow twelve hundred miles below the Missouri. Its width is about one
mile opposite St. Louis. It is narrower but more than twice the depth at
New Orleans, and yet narrower, because more divided, at its embouchure
at the Balize, where a bar prevents ships drawing over eighteen feet of
water from entering.

No attempt has heretofore been made to determine the elevation of that
part of the American continent which gives rise to the Mississippi
River. From the observations made on the expedition, the elevation is
confessedly less than would _à priori_ be supposed. If it is not, like
the Nile, cradled among mountains, whose very altitude and position are
unknown, there is enough of the unknown about its origin to wish for
more information. Originating on a vast continental plateau, or
watershed, the superabundance of its waters are drained off by the three
greatest rivers of North America, namely, the St. Lawrence, the Nelson's
rivers of Hudson's Bay, and the Mississippi. Yet the apex of this height
of land is moderate, although its distance from the sea at either point
is immense. From the best data at command, I have endeavored to come at
the probable altitude of this plateau, availing myself at the same time
of the judgment of the several members of the expedition. Taking the
elevation of Lake Erie above tide-water, as instrumentally determined,
in the New York surveys, as a basis, we find Lake Superior lying at an
altitude of six hundred and forty-one feet above the Atlantic. From
thence, through the valley of the St. Louis, and across the Savanna
summit, to the Mississippi, at the confluence of the Sandy Lake River,
estimates noted on the route, indicate an aggregate rise of four hundred
and ninety feet. The ascent of the river, from this point to Cass Lake,
is estimated to be one hundred and sixty-two feet; giving this lake an
aggregate elevation of thirteen hundred and ninety-three feet above the
Atlantic. Barometrical admeasurements made in 1836, by Mr. Nicollet, in
the service of the United States Topographical Bureau, place the
elevation of this lake at fourteen hundred and two feet above the Gulf
of Mexico,[79] being just twelve feet above these early estimates. The
same authority estimates its length from the Balize, at twenty-seven
hundred and fifty miles. Its velocity below Cass Lake may be estimated
to result from a mean descent of a fraction over five inches per mile.

  [79] Senate Document No. 237, 26 Con. 2d Session, A. D. 1843.

The name of the Mississippi River is derived from the Algonquin
language, through the medium of the French. The term appears first in
the early missionary letters from the west end of Lake Superior about
1660. Sippi, agreeably to the early French annotation of the word,
signifies a river. The prefixed word Missi is an adjective denoting all,
and, when applied to various waters, means the collected or assembled
mass of them. The compound term is then, properly speaking, an adverb.
Thus, Missi-gago, means all things; Missi-gago-gidjetod, He who has made
all things--the Creator. It is a superlative expression, of which great
river simply would be a most lean, impracticable, and inadequate
expression. It is only symbolically that it can be called the father of
American rivers, unless such sense occurs in the other Indian tongues.

Finding it impracticable to proceed higher in the search of the remote
sources of the river at this time, a return from this point was
determined on. The vicinity had been carefully scanned for its drift
specimens, and fresh-water conchology. Wishing to carry along some
further memorial of the visit, members of the party cut walking-canes in
the adjoining thickets, and tied them carefully together; and at five
o'clock in the afternoon (21st July) we embarked on our descent. An
hour's voyage over the surface of this wide lake, with its refreshing
views of northern scenery, brought us to the point where the Mississippi
issues from it. Never did men ply their paddles with greater animation;
and having the descent now in their favor, they proceeded eighteen miles
before they sought for a spot to encamp. Twilight still served, with
almost the clearness of daylight, while we spread our tents on a
handsome eminence on the right-hand shore. Daylight had not yet dawned
the next morning, when we resumed the descent. It was eight o'clock A.
M. when we reached the border of Lake Winnipek. This name, by the way,
is derived from a term heretofore given, which, having the Chippewa
inflection of nouns in _ish_, graphically describes that peculiarity of
its waters created by the disturbance of a clay bottom.

The winds were high and adverse, which caused the canoemen to toil two
hours in crossing. After reaching the river again, we passed its sedgy
borders, to, and through Rush Lake, or the Little Winnipek; then by the
inlet of Leech Lake River, and through the contortions of its channel,
to within a few miles of the spot of our encampment at Deer River, on
the 20th.

The great savannas, through which the Mississippi winds itself above the
Pakagama, are called collectively, the Gatchi Betobeeg, Great Morasses,
or bog meadows.

While descending the river, we encountered nine canoes filled with
Chippewa Indians and their families. They were freighted with heavy
rolls of birch-bark, such as their canoes are made from; together with
bundles of rushes designed for mats. The annoyance suffered from
mosquitos on this great plateau, was almost past endurance. We embarked
again at a quarter past four, and reached the Falls of Pakagama at five
o'clock. Just forty minutes were spent in making the portage. The rock
at this spot is quartzite. The day was cloudy, with some rain. As night
approached an animal, judged to be the wolverine, was seen swimming
across the stream. The efforts of the men to overtake it were
unavailing; it nimbly eluded pursuit, and dashed away into the thickets.
In some queries sent to me by the New York Lyceum, this animal is
alluded to as a species of the glutton. The Indians said there was no
animal in their country deserving this name; the only animal they knew
deserving of it, was the horse; which was eating all the time. We
encamped on an abrupt sandy bank, where, however, sleep was impossible.
Between the humidity of the atmosphere and the denseness of the foliage
around us, the insect world seemed to have been wakened into unusual
activity. Besides, we encamped so late, and were so jaded by a long
day's travel, that the mosquito-nets were neglected. To get up and stand
before a camp-fire at midnight and switch off the mosquitos, requires as
much philosophy as to write a book; and at any rate, ours completely
failed. We were again in our canoes (24th), at an early hour. Daylight
apprised us of the clearing up of the atmosphere, and brought us one of
the most delightful days. Animated by these circumstances, we descended
the stream with rapidity. Soon after midday, we entered and ascended
the short channel of the Sandy Lake River, and, by two o'clock in the
afternoon, we rejoined our camp at the Fur Company's Fort, having been
three days in descending a distance which had consumed four and a half
in the ascent.

We were received with joy and acclamation by the Sandy Lake party, and
felicitated ourselves on the accomplishment of what had all along
appeared as the most arduous part of our route. Nor had we indeed,
overrated its difficulties; the incessant motion of travelling depriving
us of mature opportunities of observation, and also rest at night, the
stings of the mosquitos whenever we attempted to land, and the cravings
of an often unsatisfied appetite, had made this visit one of peculiar
privation and fatigue. Without such an effort, however, it is doubtful
whether the principal objects of the expedition could have been
accomplished. Nothing untoward had happened at the camp, no difficulty
had occurred with the Indians, and all the party were in good health.
Having left my thermometer with Mr. Doty, during my absence, the
observations made by him are denoted in the appendix.

The following day was fixed on for our departure for the Falls of St.
Anthony. The distance to these falls is generally put by the traders at
from five to six hundred miles. These estimates denote, however, rather
the difficulties and time employed by days' journeys in the trade than
any other measurements.[80] Pike states the latitude some thirteen
minutes too far north. It is found to be 46° 47´ 10´´. It appears from
Lieut. Pike (_Expt._ p. 60), that the stockade at this place was erected
in 1794. Its elevation above the Gulf of Mexico is 1,253 feet. The soil
of the environs yields excellent potatoes, and such culinary vegetables
as have been tried. The mean temperature of July is denoted to be 73°.
The post is one of importance in the fur trade. It yields the deer,
moose, bear, beaver, otter, martin, muskrat, and some other species,
whose skins or pelts are valuable.

  [80] Nicollet, in his report to the Top. Bureau, in 1836, states the
  direct distance from St. Peter's to Sandy Lake, at but 334 miles.

It was twelve o'clock on the morning of the 25th, before we were ready
to embark. Our flotilla now consisted of three canoes, of the kind
called _Canoe-allege_ in the trade, and a barge occupied by the
military. To this array, the chief Babesakundiba, or the Curly Head,
added a canoe filled with Chippewa delegates, who accompanied him on a
mission of peace to the Sioux. This chief is the same individual who met
Lieut. Pike in this quarter, in 1806, and he appears to be a man of much
energy and decision of character. His reputation also gives him the
character of great skill, policy, and bravery in conducting the war
against the Sioux. Indian wars are not conducted as with us, by opposing
armies. It is altogether a guerilla affair. War parties are raised,
marched, fight, and disperse in a few days. The war is carried on
altogether by stealth and stratagem. Each one furnishes himself with
food and weapons. In such a warfare, there is great scope for individual
exploits and daring. In these wars the Curly Head had greatly
distinguished himself, and he was, therefore, an ambassador of no mean
power. In every view, the mission assumed an interesting character; and
we kept an eye on the chief's movements, on our journey down the river,
chiefly that we might notice the caution which is observed by the
Indians in entering an enemy's country.

After entering the Mississippi, below Sandy Lake, the stream presents
very much the character it has above. It was below this point that we
first observed the juglans nigra in the forest. Its banks are diluvial
or alluvial formations, elevated from six to ten feet. The elm, maple,
and pine are common. There are some small grassy islands, with tufts of
willows, and driftwood lodged. No rock strata appear. The river winds
its way through vast diluvial beds, exhibiting at its rapids granitical,
quartz, and trappose boulders. It appears to glide wholly over the
primitive or crystalline rocks, which rise in some places through the
soil, or show themselves at rapids. The expedition descended the stream
twenty-eight miles, and encamped on a sandy elevation on the west shore,
near Alder River, which seemed to promise an exemption from the
annoyance of insects; but in this we were mistaken. In the hurry of a
late encampment, it had been omitted to pitch the tents. The first ill
effect of this was felt on being awakened at night by rain. A humid
atmosphere is ever the signal for awakening hordes of insects, and the
mosquitos became so troublesome that it was impossible to sleep at all
after the shower. We got up and whiled away the time as best we could
around the camp-fire.

We embarked a few minutes before 5 A. M., the morning being lowering and
overcast, which eventuated in rain within an hour. The atmosphere
resumed its serenity, and the sun shone out at noon. The river, as on
the preceding day, has its course between alluvial and diluvial banks,
sweeping its way over the smooth orbicular beds of the granitical age.
The influx of rivers, the occurrence of islands, which bear witness of
their entire submersion during the freshets, and the succession of
bends, points, and rapids--these changes, with notices of the wild fowl,
forest birds, and sometimes a quadruped, or a mass of boulders, absorbed
my notices, which it seems unimportant, at this time, to refer to. No
fixed stratification of rocks was encountered this day.

We encamped at about eight o'clock, on the east bank, on an open
eminence, just below the rapids which mark the confluence of Pine River,
having been in our canoes, with very brief and infrequent landings,
fifteen hours. At the points of landing, I observed the rosa parviflora,
and ipomea nil. As night approached, we heard the monotonous notes of
the caprimulgus virginianus. We had also observed during the day, the
bald eagle, king-fisher, turdus polyglottis, teal, plover, robin, and
pigeon. The nimble sciuris vulgaris was also observed on shore. Boulders
of sienite, hornblende rock, silicious slate, sandstone, and quartz,
served as so many monuments to testify that heavy oceanic currents had
heretofore disrupted the northern stratification, and poured down over
these long and gradual geological slopes.

High and open as our position was on this eminence, our old friends the
mosquitos did not forget us. Even the Indians could not endure their
continued attacks. A fine fellow of our original auxiliaries, called
Iaba Waddik, or the Buck, took this occasion to give us a specimen of
his English, exclaiming, as he came to the camp-fire, "Tia![81] no
sneep!" putting the usual interchangeable _n_ of the tribe for the _l_
in the noun.

  [81] An exclamation.


  Description of the descent from Pine River--Pine tracts--Confluence of
    the Crow-wing River--Enter a sylvan region--prairies and groves,
    occupied by deer, elk, and buffalo--Sport of buffalo
    hunting--Reach elevations of sienitic and metamorphic
    rocks--Discover a pictographic inscription of the Sioux, by which
    they denote a desire for peace--Pass the Osaukes, St. Francis's,
    Corneille, and Rum Rivers--St. Anthony's Falls--Etymology of the
    name--Geographical considerations.

The night dew was heavy on this elevation, and a dense fog prevailed at
the hour of our embarkation (5 o'clock A. M., on the 27th). The pine
lands come in with the valley of Pine River, a large and important
stream tributary from the west, which has a connection with Leech Lake.
These lands characterize both banks of the Mississippi to the entrance
of the River De Corbeau. We were seven hours, with a strong current, in
passing through this tract. It is to be observed that ancient fires have
been permitted to run through these forests, destroying immense
quantities of the timber. It was twelve o'clock, A. M., when we came
opposite to the entrance of the great Crow-wing River.[82] This stream,
which has a large island in its mouth, is a prime tributary with a
large, full-flowing current, and must bring in one-third of the entire
volume of water to this point.[83] Such is the effect of this current on
the opposite shore, that, at the distance of a couple of leagues below,
at a spot called _Prairie Perciê_ by the French, it appears to have
forced its way headlong, till, meeting obstructions from the primary
rocks, it was again deflected south. At this point, the whole face of
the country has an exceedingly sylvan aspect. It is made up of
far-stretching plains, covered with grass and wild flowers, interspersed
with groves of oak, maple, and other species. The elevation of these
beautiful plains, above the river, is not less than twenty to thirty
feet, placing them above the reach of high waters. We were now passing
below the latitude of 46°. Everything indicated a climate favorable to
the vegetable kingdom. While passing in the valley, through the fine
bends which the river makes, through these plains, we came to a
hunting-camp of probably one hundred and fifty Indians. They were
Chippewas, who, on landing at their camp, saluted us in the Indian
fashion, and were happy to exchange some dried buffalo meat and
pemmican, for corn and flour. Some miles below we observed several
buffalo, on the eastern shore, on the sub-plains below the open bluffs.
Alarmed by our approach, these animals set out, with a clumsy, shambling
trot, for the upper plains. Clumsy as their gait seemed, they got over
the ground with speed. Our whole force was immediately landed, a little
below, and we eagerly climbed the banks, to engage in the sport of
hunting them. Quite a large drove of this animal was seen on the
prairie. Our best marksmen, and the Indians, immediately divided
themselves, to approach on different sides the herd. Cautiously
approaching, they fired; the effect was to alarm and divide them. Most
of the herd pushed directly to the spot on the banks of the river, where
the non-combatants of the party stood; and there arose a general firing,
and _mêlée_ of men and buffaloes, which made it quite doubtful, for
awhile, who stood in greatest danger of being hit by the bullets, the
men or animals. I am certain the bullets whizzed about the position I
occupied on the top of the alluvial cliffs. None of the herd were,
however, slain at that time; but at our encampment, a short distance
below, the flesh of both the buffalo and elk was profusely brought in by
the Indians. It is stated that this animal lifts both the feet on one
side, at the same time; but this remark, I presume, arises from a mode
of throwing its feet forward, which is decidedly different from other

  [82] CROW-WING RIVER.--In returning from Itasca Lake, in 1832, I
  passed from Leech Lake by a series of old Indian portages into Lake
  Ka-ge-no-ge-maug, or Long Water Lake, which is its source; and from
  thence descended it to its entrance into the Mississippi.--Vide _Exp.
  to Itasca Lake_. N. Y., Harpers, 1834: vol. i. 8vo. with maps.

  [83] The Indian name of this river is Kagiwegwon, or Raven's-wing, or
  Quill, which is accurately translated by the term _Aile de Corbeau_,
  but it is improperly called Crow-Wing. The Chippewa term for crow is
  _andaig_, and the French, _corneille_--terms which are appropriately
  applied to another stream, nearer St. Anthony's Falls.

On descending the river two miles, the next morning, we found ourselves
opposite the mouth of Elk River, a stream coming in from the west. This
point has been determined to be but four minutes north of latitude 46°
[_Sen. Doc._ 237]. A short distance below the river, we passed, on the
west shore, the Painted Rock, an isolated or boulder mass, having Indian
devices, which we had no opportunity of examining. We were now passing
down a channel of manifestly increased velocity, and at the distance of
a couple of miles more, found ourselves hurried through the west channel
of the Little Falls. At this point the primitive or basis stratification
over which we had been so long gliding, crosses the river, rising up and
dividing it, by an abrupt rocky island, into two channels. The breadth
of the stream is much compressed, and the velocity of its current
increased. By what propriety of language it is called "falls" did not,
however, appear; perhaps there are seasons when the descent assumes a
greater degree of disturbance and velocity. To us, it appeared to be
about ten feet in a hundred and fifty yards. Here, then, in N. lat. 46°,
the Mississippi is first visibly crossed by the primary series of rocks.

Being now in the region of buffalo, it was decided to land in the course
of the day, for the purpose of entering into the chase. An occasion for
this was presented soon after passing the Little Falls, by observing one
of these animals on shore. On landing, and reaching the elevation of the
prairies, two herds of them were discovered at a distance. An attack on
them was immediately planned, for which the tall grass and gentle
inequalities of surface, appeared favorable. The fire proved
unsuccessful, but served to distract the herds, giving scope for
individual marksmanship and hunter activity, during which, innumerable
shots were fired, and three animals killed. While this scene was
passing, I had a good stand for witnessing the sport, some of the herd
passing by very near, as with the blindness of fury. The bison is
certainly an animal as clumsy as the ox, or domestic cow; but, unlike
these, it is of a uniform dun color, and ever without being spotted, or
mottled. Its horns are nearly straight, short, very black, and set wide
apart. The male is formidable in look, and ferocious when wounded. Its
ordinary weight is eight hundred to a thousand pounds.

It may be said, in reference to this animal being found in this region,
that it is a kind of neutral ground, between the Chippewas and Sioux,
neither of which tribes permanently occupy the country between the mouth
of the Raven's-wing and Rum Rivers.[84]

  [84] The Chippewas affirm that this was the last time the buffalo
  crossed the Mississippi eastwardly. It did not appear, in the same
  region, in 1821.

Having spent several hours in the chase, we again embarked, and
proceeded down the river until three o'clock in the afternoon. On the
left bank of the river two prominent elevations of the granitical
series, rising through the prairie soil, attracted my attention.
Immediately below this locality, a high and level prairie stretches on
the west shore, which had a striking appearance from its being crowned
with the poles and fixtures of a large, recently abandoned Sioux
encampment. At this spot the expedition landed and encamped. The quick
glances of Babasikundiba and his party of delegates immediately
discovered a pole, at the site of the chief's lodge, bearing a birch
bark scroll, or letter, inscribed with Indian hieroglyphics, or devices.
It turned out that this spot was the northern terminus of a Sioux peace
embassage, dispatched from St. Peter's shortly previous, under the
direction of Col. H. Leavenworth, U. S. A., the newly-arrived commanding
officer at that post. The message was eagerly received and read by the
Chippewa delegates. By it they were informed that the Sioux also desired
a termination of hostilities. The scroll was executed by tracing lines,
with the point of a knife, or some sharp instrument. The pictographic
devices thus drawn denoted the exact number of the party, their chiefs,
and the authority under which these crude negotiations were commenced.

Of this mode of communicating ideas among the Algonquin tribes, we have
before given details in crossing the boggy plateau of Akik Sepi, between
the St. Louis River and Sandy Lake. The present instance of it is
commented on in an interesting communication of the era, in the
appendix, from the pen of Gov. Cass. It was now no longer doubtful that
the Chippewa mission would be successful, and the satisfaction it
produced was evident in the countenances and expressions of
Babasikundiba and his colleagues.

I took a canoe and crossed the Mississippi, to inspect the geology of
the opposite shore. On reaching the summit of the rock formations
rising through the prairies, which had attracted my notice from the
river, I found them to consist of sienite, which was almost exclusively
made up of a trinary compound of white quartz, hornblende, and
feldspar--the two former species predominating. The feldspar exhibited
its splendent black crystals in fine relief in the massy quartz. This
formation extended a mile or more. What excited marked attention, in
surveying these rocks, was their smoothly rubbed surfaces, which seemed
as if they must have been produced by equally hard and heavy masses of
rock, driven over them from the north. I registered this locality, in my
Geological Journal, as the Peace Rock, in allusion to the purport of the
Indian mission, evidences of which were found at the opposite

  [85] In the treaty of Indian boundaries of Prairie du Chien, of 1825,
  this mission of the Sioux became a point of reference by the Sioux
  chiefs Wabishaw, Petite Corbeau, and Wanita, as denoting the limit of
  their excursions north. The Chippewas, on the contrary, by the mouths
  of Babasikundiba, Kadawabeda, and the Broken Arm of Sandy Lake,
  contended for Sac River as the line. I discussed this subject, having
  Indian maps, at length, with the chiefs and Mr. Taliaferro, the Sioux
  agent, of St. Peter's. An intermediate stream, the Watab River, was
  eventually fixed on, as the separating boundary between these two
  warlike tribes.--_Indian Treaties_; Washington, D. C. 1837. Vol. i.
  8vo. p. 370.

During our night's encampment at this spot we heard the howling of a
pack of wolves, on the opposite bank--a sure indication, hunters say,
that there are deer, or objects of prey in the vicinity. There are two
species of wolves on the plains of the Mississippi--the canis lupus, and
the animal called coyote by the Spanish. The latter is smaller, of a
dingy yellow color, and bears the generic name of prairie wolf. I have
also seen a black wolf on the prairies of Missouri and Arkansas, three
feet nine inches long, with coarse, bristly, bear-like hair. As daylight
approached, our ears were saluted with the hollow cry of the strix
nictea, a species which is asserted to be found, sometimes, as far south
as the Falls of St. Anthony.

On embarking, at an early hour, we found the humidity of the night
atmosphere to be such, that articles left exposed to it were completely
saturated. Yet, the temperature stood at 50° at half-past four o'clock,
the moment of our embarkation. On descending six miles we passed the
mouth of the Osakis, or Sac River, a considerable tributary from the
west, which opens a line of communication with the Red River valley.

About ten o'clock we encountered a series of rapids extending some eight
hundred or a thousand yards, in the course of which the river has a
probable aggregate fall of sixteen feet. These rapids bear the
malappropriate title of the Big Falls. Following these, were a series
called Prairie Rapids. At half-past four we passed the entrance of the
River St. Francis, a considerable stream on the left bank. At this spot,
Hennepin terminated his voyage in 1681, and Carver in 1766. There is an
island at the point of confluence. At six o'clock we passed the entrance
on the west shore of the stream called _Corneille_, by the French, which
is the true interpretation of the Sioux name _Karishon_, and the
Chippewa term _Andaig_, which mean the crow, and not the raven. We
encamped five miles below, on the east bank, having been thirteen hours
in our canoes, with a generally strong current. My mineralogical
gleanings, during the day, had given some specimens of the interesting
varieties of the quartz family, for which the geological drift is noted,
and a single piece of agatized wood. The geological floor on which the
river runs, has been indicated.

At five o'clock the following morning (30th) we resumed the descent, and
at the distance of two leagues reached the entrance of the
Missisagiegon, or Rum River. It is Carver, I believe, who first gives us
this name, for a stream which the Indians describe as a river flowing
from a lake of lakes--a term, by the way, which the French, with their
usual adherence to Indian etymology, have called _Mille Lacs_. The term
_missi_, in this word, does not signify great, but a collected mass, or
all kinds, and sometimes everywhere--the allusion being to water.
_Sa-gi-e-gon_ is a lake, and when the prefixed term _missi_, is put to
it, nothing could more graphically describe the large body of water,
interspersed with islands, which give a confused aspect, from which the
river issues. The Dacotas call this lake _Mini Wakan_, meaning
Spirit-water, which is probably the origin of the name of Rum River.

About thirteen miles below Rum River, and when within half a mile of the
Falls,[86] I observed calcareous rocks in horizontal beds, on the left
bank of the river. It was now evident we had passed out of the primitive
range of deposits, and had entered that of the great sedimentary
horizontal and semi-crystalline or silurian system of the Mississippi
Valley; and descending with a strong current, we came, rather suddenly,
it appeared, to the Falls of St. Anthony, where the river drops, by a
cascade, into a rock-bordered valley. Surprise and admiration were the
first emotions on getting out of our canoes and gazing on this
superlative scene; and we were not a little struck with the idea that
the Sioux had named the Falls from manifestly similar impressions,
calling it Rara, from the Dacota verb _irara_, to laugh. By another
authority, the word is written _Ha Ha_, or _Dhaha_, the letters _h_ in
the word representing a strong guttural sound resembling the old Arabic
r.[87] (S. R. Riggs's _Dakota Dict. and Gram._) Nothing can exceed the
sylvan beauty of the country which is here thrown before the eye; and we
should not feel surprised that the Aboriginal mind has fallen on very
nearly identical sounds with the English, to express its impressions. A
not very dissimilar principle has been observed by the Chippewas, who
have a uniform termination of their names in _ish_, which signifies the
very same quality which we express by ish in whitish, blackish,
saltish--meaning a lesser, or defective quality of the noun.

  [86] It is recently asserted that this change in the stratification
  occurs about a mile above the Falls. [_Sen. Doc._ p. 237.] By the
  same authority it is shown that the aggregate fall of the Mississippi
  from the mouth of Sandy Lake River to the Falls of St. Anthony is 397

  [87] Both words are derived from the verb _to laugh_.

The popular name of these Falls, it is known, is due to Father Louis
Hennepin, a missionary who accompanied La Salle to the Illinois, in
1679, and was carried captive into the country of the Issati, a Dacota
tribe, in 1680. Lt. Pike states the portage to be two hundred and sixty
poles. By the time we had taken a good view of the position, and made a
few sketches, the men had completed carrying over our baggage and
canoes. It was now one o'clock, when we embarked to proceed to the
newly-established military encampment, a few miles below. It was a
noticeable feature, in our descent of the river above the Falls, that
Babasikundiba had always kept behind the flotilla of canoes; but the
moment we advanced below the Falls, he shot ahead with his delegates,
each one being dressed out in his best manner. His canoe had its little
flag displayed--the Indian drum was soon heard sending its measured
thumps and murmurs of vocal accompaniment over the water, and ever and
anon guns were fired. All this was done that the enemy might be apprised
of the approach of the delegation in the boldest and most open manner.
It was eight or nine miles to the post, near the influx of the St.
Peter's, and long before we reached Col. Leavenworth's camp, which
occupied a high bluff, the attention of the Sioux was arrested by their
advance, and it was inferable from the friendly answering shouts which
they gave, that the mission was received with joy. Although we had known
nothing of the movement which produced the pictographic letter found on
a pole at the Petite Roche, above Sac River, it was, in fact, regarded
by the Dacotas as an answer to that letter. And the Chippewa chief, and
his followers, were received with a salute by the Sioux, by whom they
were taken by the hand, individually, as they landed.

Col. Leavenworth, the commanding officer, received the expedition in the
most cordial manner, and assigned quarters for the members. Gov. Cass
was received with a salute due to his rank. We learn that the post was
established last fall. Orders for this purpose were issued, as will be
seen by reference to the _Preliminary Documents_, p. 35, early in the
spring. The troops destined for this purpose, were placed under the
orders of Col. Leavenworth, who had distinguished himself as the
commander of the ninth and twenty-second regiments, in the war of 1812.
They left Detroit in the spring (1819), and proceeding by the way of
Green Bay and Prairie du Chien, where garrisons were left, they ascended
to the mouth of the St. Peter's, in season to erect cantonments before
winter. The site chosen, being on the alluvial grounds, proved
unhealthy, in consequence of which the cantonment was removed, in the
spring of 1820, to an eminence and spring on the west bank of the
Mississippi, about a mile from the former position.


  Position of the military post established at the mouth of
    the St. Peter's--Beauty, salubrity, and fertility of
    the country--Pictographic letter--Indian treaty--The
    appearance of the offer of frankincense in the burning of
    tobacco--Opwagonite--native pigments--Salt; native copper--The
    pouched or prairie rat--Minnesota squirrel--Etymology of the
    Indian name of St. Peter's River--Antiquities--Sketch of the
    Dacota--Descent of the Mississippi to Little Crow's village--Feast
    of green corn.

In favor of the soil and climate, and of the salubrity of the position,
the officers speak in terms of the highest admiration. The garrison has
directed its attention to both horticulture and agriculture. About
ninety acres of the choicest bottom land along the St. Peter's Valley,
and the adjacent prairies, have been planted with Indian corn and
potatoes, cereal grains, and esculents, inclusive of a hospital, a
regimental, and private gardens. At the mess-table of Col. Leavenworth,
and in our camp, we were presented with green corn in the ear, peas,
beans, cucumbers, beets, radishes, and lettuce. The earliest garden peas
were eaten here on the 15th of June, and the first green corn on the
20th July. Much of the corn is already too hard for the table, and some
of the ears can be selected which are ripe enough for seed corn. Wheat,
on the prairie lands, is found to be entirely ripe, and melons in the
military gardens nearly so. These are the best practical commentaries on
the soil and climate.[88]

  [88] This is now (1854) the central area of Minnesota Territory--a
  territory in a rapid process of the development of the population and
  resources of a State.

The distance of the St. Peter's from the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to
be about two thousand two hundred miles. Its position above St. Louis is
estimated at nine hundred miles. Its elevation above the Gulf is but 744
feet. The precise latitude of this point is 44° 52´ 46´´.[89] The
atmosphere is represented as serene and transparent during the summer
and spring seasons, and free from the humidity which is so objectionable
a trait of our eastern latitudes. The mean temperature is 45°.[90] Its
geology and mineralogy will be noticed in my official reports. It will
be sufficient here to say that the stratification, at and below St.
Anthony's Falls, consists wholly of formations of sandstones and
limestones, horizontally deposited, whose relative positions and ages
are chiefly inferable from the evidences of organic life, in the shape
of petrifactions, which they embrace. The lowest of this series of rocks
is a white sandstone, consisting of transparent, loosely cohering
grains, special allusion to which is made by Carver, in his travels in
1766, and which may be received as testimony, were there no other, that
this too much discredited author had actually visited this region.

  [89] Ex. Doc., No. 237.

  [90] Army Register.

I have mentioned the interest excited by our Chippewas finding the bark
letter, or pictographic memorial at the deserted Sioux encampment above
Sac River. It turned out, as we were informed, that this Aboriginal
missive was a reply to a similar proposition transmitted from Sandy
Lake, by the Chippewas. The very person, indeed, who inscribed the
Chippewa bark message, was one of the ten persons who had accompanied us
from that lake. Gov. Cass, on learning this fact, requested him to draw
a duplicate of it on a roll of bark. He executed this task immediately.
We thus had before us the proposition in this symbolic character, which
is called _ke ke win_ by the Chippewas, and its answer. By this mode of
communication two nations of the most diverse language found no
difficulty in understanding each other.[91]

  [91] _Vide_ Appendix, for a letter from Gen. Cass to the Secretary of
  War on this curious topic.

On the second day after our arrival, the Indians consummated their
intentions, as signified by the bark letter, and the Sandy-Lake
delegation assembled with the Sioux at the old quarters of the military,
now occupied as an Indian agency, and smoked the pipe of peace. There
were present at this pacification, besides the chiefs Shacopee and
Babasikundiba, and minor chieftains, His Excellency Gov. Cass, Col.
Leavenworth, and sundry officers of the garrison and the expedition.
The ceremonies were conducted under the auspices of the U. S. Indian
Agent, Mr. Taliaferro. Every attention was given to make these
ceremonies impressive, by a compliance with the Aboriginal customs on
these occasions, and it is hoped not without leaving permanent effects
on their minds.

The pipe employed by the native diplomatists, in these negotiations, is
invested with a symbolic and sacred character, as if the fumes of the
weed were offered, in the nature of frankincense, to the Deity. The
genuflections with which it is presented, more than the words expressed,
countenance this idea. The bowl of the pipe used on this occasion
consisted of the well-known red pipe-stone, called opwagonite,[92] so
long known in Indian history as being brought from the _Coteau des
Prairies_. It is furnished with a wooden stem two or three feet long,
and two and a half inches broad, shaved down thin so as to resemble a
spatula. It is then painted with certain blue or green clays, and
ornamented with braids of richly dyed porcupine quills, or the holcus
fragrans, and the tuft feathers of the male duck or red-headed
woodpecker. These state pipes are usually presented by the speakers as
memorials of the speeches, and laid aside by the officials having charge
of Indian affairs. Col. Leavenworth presented us with some of these
carefully ornamented diplomatic testimonials.

  [92] Schoolcraft's View of the Lead Mines of Missouri. Scenes and
  Adventures in the Ozark Mountains, the Catlinite of Dr. Jackson.

I obtained from the Sioux some very carefully moulded pyramidal-shaped
pieces of the blue and green clays from the valley of the St. Peter's,
which they employ in painting their pipe-stems and persons. The coloring
matter of these appears to be carbonate of copper. It is brought from
the Blue Earth River. I also obtained from the Indians very small and
carefully tied leathern bags of the red oxide of iron, which they obtain
in the state of a dry, powdery mass, on the prairies near the Big Stone.
The Indians brought me, from the same region, crystals of salt, scraped
up from the margin of certain waters on the prairies, of a dark cast,
mixed with impurities. The tendency of these crystals to assume a cubic
form was quite distinct. The most interesting development, in the
mineralogical way, consisted of small lumps of native copper, which I
obtained on an eminence on the banks of the Mississippi, directly
opposite the influx of the St. Peter's. They occupy, geologically, a
diluvial position, being at the bottom of the prairie-drift stratum, and
immediately above the superior limestone.

In the luxurious kitchen gardens of Camp Leavenworth, great depredations
have been made by a small quadruped of a burrowing character, called
gopher. By patient watching, gun in hand, one of these was killed, and
its skin preserved and prepared. The animal is ten inches long to the
termination of the tail, with a body very much the size and color of a
large wharf-rat. It has five prominent claws, and two broad cutting
teeth, but its most striking peculiarity is a duplicature of the cheek,
which permits it to carry earth to the mouth of its burrow. It has been
called the pouched rat. Sir Francis Drake found a similar animal in his
visit to the Gulf of California, in 1587. The distribution of this
species, of which this seems to be the northern limit, is very wide
through Atlantic America, and it is known to be destructive to
vegetation throughout Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. I had, two
years ago, been led to notice its ravages in Missouri and Arkansas. But
the animal called gopher, in the southern country, is a burrowing
tortoise, and the name is improperly applied to this species, which is
the _Pseudostoma pinetorum_.

A peculiar species of squirrel was observed in this vicinity, which is
also found to be a destructive visitor to the military gardens. In
appearance, this species resembles the common striped squirrel, but it
has a more elongated body, and shorter legs. The body has six black
stripes, with the same number of intervening lines of spots, on a
reddish-brown skin. This Minnesota squirrel has, since the return of the
Expedition, been named, by the late Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell, _sciurus

The River St. Peter's is called, by the Dacotas, _Watepa Minnesota_. The
prefixed term _watepa_, is their word for river; _minni_ is the name for
water. The term _sota_ has been variously explained. The Canadian
French, who have proved themselves most apt translators of Indian
phrases, render it by the word _brouille_, or _blear_; or, if we regard
this as derivative from the verb _brouiller_, _mixed_, or _mottled_--a
condition of the waters of this river, whenever the Mississippi is in
flood, and consequently at a higher elevation when it rushes into the
mouth of the St. Peter's, producing that addled aspect of the water, to
which the Dacotas, it is believed, apply the term _sota_.

The scenery around St. Peter's is of the most sylvan and delightful
character. About six miles west of the cantonment there are several
beautiful lakes, in the prairies. The largest of these is about four
miles in circumference, and is called Calhoun Lake, in compliment to the
Secretary of War. Its waters are stored with bass and other varieties of
fish. There are several pure springs of sparkling water, issuing from
the picturesque cliffs which face the Mississippi at this place. I
visited one about a mile from the cantonment, which deposits a yellow
sulphurous flocculent mass along its course. On the prairies is found
the _holcus fragrans_, which is braided by the Indian females, and
employed in some instances to decorate their deer-skin clothing. This
aromatic grass retains its scent in the dried state. Along the waters of
the St. Peter's is found the _acer negundo_, the inner bark of which,
mixed with the common nettle, is employed by the natives in the state of
a strong decoction, as a cure for the _lues venerea_.

Mr. Carver having described certain antiquities near the foot of Lake
Pepin, in 1766, inquiries were made after objects of this kind in the
vicinity. I was informed that traces of such remains existed in the
valley of the St. Peter's, but can say nothing concerning them from
actual inspection.[93]

  [93] The last known platform mound in the spread of the
  mound-builders north, is at Prairie du Chien. The monuments, supposed
  to be mounds, in the St. Peter's region, are found by Mr. Owen to be
  geological elevations. The remains on Blue Earth River are attributed
  to a fort or inclosure built by Le Seur, in his search for copper on
  that stream, in 1700. Other remains, in the St. Peter's valley,
  appear to be old trading-houses, fallen in.

Of the Dacotas, or Sioux, for which St. Peter's forms the central point,
some anecdotes have been related which denote that they are, on certain
occasions, actuated by exalted motives. It is related that the chief
Little Crow, going out to the confines of the Chippewa Territory, to
examine his beaver-traps, discovered an individual of that tribe in the
act of taking a beaver from the trap. As he was himself unperceived, the
tribes being at war, and the offence an extreme one, a summary
punishment would have been justified by Indian law. But the Sioux chief
decided differently: "Take no alarm," said he, approaching the offender:
"I come to present you the trap, of which I see you stand in need. Take
my gun, also, as I see you have none of your own, and return to the
land of your countrymen; and linger not here, lest some of my young men
should discover your footsteps."

A still more striking and characteristic incident is related of a chief
called the Red Thunder. Col. Wm. Dixon, a Scotchman of family, who made
his influence felt in the late war of 1812 as a leader of the Sioux and
a merchant among them, married the sister of this notable chief. So
daring were the acts of Red Thunder, that he had put the Chippewa nation
in awe of him. At length, however, after a long series of the bravest
acts, he was taken prisoner, with a favorite dog, and condemned to
expiate his offences at the stake. It was a time of want by his captors.
One day he said to them: "Why do you not feed my dog?" They replied,
"feed him yourself." "Then," he said, "give me a knife." This being
thrown to him, he cut a piece of flesh from one of his large and fleshy
thighs, and threw it to the dog. Admiration of this act ran through the
Indian camp. They immediately released him, and bestowed on him the
highest attentions and honors.

The Dacota or Sioux nation constitute one of the families of America who
speak a peculiar language. Lieut. Pike, who visited them in 1806,
estimated their numerical strength at twenty-one thousand six hundred
and seventy-five; of which number he computed three thousand eight
hundred to be warriors. They consist of six or seven independent tribes,
or sub-tribes, bearing different names, who occupy most of the country
between the Mississippi and Missouri, between N. latitude 43° and 46°.
The Mendawekantoñs are located on the Mississippi, below the Falls of
St. Anthony and the mouth of the St. Peter's. The Sessitoñs and Yanktoñs
occupy the upper waters of the St. Peter's. The Titoñs only extend west
of the Missouri. The several tribes regard themselves as a confederacy,
which is the signification of the term Dacota. They do not acknowledge
the name of Sioux as an Indian word. We first hear of them from the
early French missionaries, who visited the head of Lake Superior about
the middle of the 17th century, under the name of _Nadowasie_.[94] They
speak a language which prevails over an immense area, which is now
occupied by the prairie tribes towards the west and southwest, from
whence, it is inferred, they came. They appear, at a former time, to
have reached and dwelt at the sources of the Mississippi, and to have
approached, if not reached, the west end of Lake Superior; for it is
from these positions that the oldest traditions represent them to have
been driven by the Chippewas. Lieut. Pike thinks they are, undeniably,
descendants of Tartars. If so, I feel inclined to think that they must
have made the circuit of the Mexican provinces before reaching the
Mississippi Valley, for the track of their migration is traced towards
the south certainly as far as the country of the Kansas and Osages;
while they preserve some striking traits and characteristics which
appear to be referable to those intertropical regions.

  [94] This is an Algonquin expression, signifying enemy. It is derived
  from _Nodowa_, an Iroquois, or a Dacota; the word was originally
  applied to a serpent. The termination in _sie_ is from _awasie_, an
  animal or creature. This term is the root, it is apprehended, of the
  French sobriquet _Sioux_.

Having passed the better part of three days in the vicinity of St.
Peter's, adding to our collections and portfolios, we left it on the
second of August, and proceeded down the river to the village of La
Petite Corbeau, or the Little Raven, situated on the east bank not far
above the mouth of the St. Croix. The river, in this distance flows
between lofty cliffs of the white sandstone and neutral-colored
limestones, which are first conspicuously displayed at the Falls of St.
Anthony. Springs of water, not infrequently, issue from these cliffs. We
landed at one of these, flowing in through a gorge at the distance of
four miles below St. Peter's, on the east bank, for the purpose of
visiting a remarkable cave, from the mouth of which a small stream
issues. The cave is seated wholly within the beautiful white crumbling
sandstone rock. It is, in fact, the loose character of the rock which
permits the superincumbent waters of the plains above to permeate
through it, that has originated the cave. The stream consisted of the
purest filtrated water, which is daily carrying away the loosened grains
of sand into the Mississippi, and thus enlarging the boundaries of the
cavern.[95] We had been erroneously informed that this was Carver's
Cave, and looked in vain for this traveller's name on its walls.[96] The
atmosphere in this cave was found to be seven degrees higher than the
water. We noticed nothing in the form of bones or antiquities.

  [95] St. Paul's, the present capital of Minnesota (1854), is situated
  on the high grounds, a few miles below this cave.

  [96] Carver's Cave is four miles lower down, on the same side of the
  river, agreeably to subsequent observation. It is now obstructed by
  fallen rock and debris.

The village of Petite Corbeau consists of twelve large lodges, which are
said to give shelter to two hundred souls. They plant corn, and
cultivate vines and pumpkins. They sallied from their lodges on seeing
us approach, and, gathering along the margin of the river, fired a _feu
de joie_ on our landing. The chief was among the first to greet us. He
is a man below the common size, but brawny and well proportioned, and,
although above fifty years of age, retains the look and vigor of forty.
He invited us to his lodge--a spacious building about sixty feet by
thirty, substantially constructed of logs and bark. Being seated, he
addressed himself to His Excellency Gov. Cass. He said that he was glad
to see him in his village. That, in his extensive journey, he must have
suffered many hardships. He must also have noticed much of the Indian
mode of life, and of the face of the country, which would enable him to
see things in their proper light. He was glad that he had not, like
others who had lately visited the country, passed by his village without
calling. He referred, particularly, to the military force sent to
establish a garrison at St. Peter's, the year before, who had passed up
on the other side of the river. He acquiesced in the treaty that had
been recently concluded with the Chippewas. He referred to a recent
attack of a party of Fox Indians on their people, on the head waters of
the St. Peter's. He said it was dastardly, and that, if that _little_
tribe should continue their attacks, they would at length drive him into
anger, and compel him to do a thing he did not wish.

While this speech was being interpreted, the Indian women were employed
in bringing basketsful of ears of Indian corn from the fields, which
they emptied in a pile. This pile, when it had reached a formidable
height, was offered as a present to the Expedition. It was, indeed, the
beginning of the season of green corn, with them, and we were soon
apprised, by the sound of music from another lodge, that the festival of
the green-corn dance was going forward. Being admitted to see the
ceremonies, the first thing which attracted notice was two large iron
kettles suspended over a fire, filled with green-corn cut from the cob.
The Indians, both men and women, were seated in a large circle around
them; they were engaged in singing a measured chant in the Indian
manner, accompanied by the Sioux cancega or drum and rattles; the utmost
solemnity was depicted on every countenance. When the music paused,
there were certain gesticulations made, as if a mysterious power were
invoked. In the course of these ceremonies, a young man and his sister,
joining hands, came forward to be received into the green corn society,
of whom questions were asked by the presiding official. At the
conclusion of these, the voice of each member was taken as to their
admission, which was unanimous. At the termination of the ceremonies, an
elderly man came forward and ladled out the contents of the kettles into
separate wooden dishes for each head of a family present. As these
dishes were received, the persons retired from the lodge by a backward
movement, still keeping their faces directed to the kettles, till they
had passed out.


  Descent of the river from the site of Little Crow's Village to Prairie
    du Chien--Incidents of the voyage, and notices of the scenery and
    natural history.

The next morning we embarked at 5 o'clock. On descending the river six
miles, we passed the mouth of the St. Croix.[97] This stream heads on
high lands, which form a rim of hills around the southern and western
shores of Lake Superior, where it is connected with the River Misacoda,
or Broulè of Fond du Lac. The Namakagon, its southern branch of it, is
connected with the Maskigo,[98] or Mauvais River of La Pointe, Lake
Superior. Immediately above its point of entrance into the Mississippi
the St. Croix expands into a beautiful lake, which is some twelve miles
long, and about two in width. The borders of the Mississippi about this
point assume an increased height, and more imposing aspect. In many
places, as the voyager descends from this spot to Lake Pepin, he
observes the calcareous cliffs to terminate in pyramids; the crest of
the hills frequently resemble the crumbling ruins of antique towers. At
12 o'clock we came to the vicinity of an isolated calcareous cliff,
called La Grange, which may be regarded as one of those monuments
resulting from geological denudation, which constitute a striking
feature in the St. Peter's region. The top of this cliff affords a fine
view of the scenery of the Mississippi for a long distance above and
below it. It has been found to be three hundred and twenty-two feet
above the river.[99]

  [97] This river was explored by me in 1832. Vide _Schoolcraft's
  Expedition to Itasca Lake_. 1 vol. 8vo. p. 307--1834: N. Y., Harp.

  [98] In 1831, this river was ascended by me with a public expedition,
  dispatched into the Indian country to quell the disturbances which
  eventuated the next year in the Sauk war. Vide _Schoolcraft's Thirty
  Years in the Indian Country_. Lippincott, Grambo, & Co., Philad.: 1
  vol. p. 703, 1851.

  [99] Doc. 237.

This spot is noted as being near the site of Tarangamani, or the Red
Wing's Village. This chief is one of the notable men of his tribe. He
has been long celebrated as a man skilled as a native magician. The
village consists of four large, elongated, and of several small lodges.
Tarangamani is now considered the first chief of his nation. He is noted
for his wisdom and sagacity. He bears the marks of being sixty years of
age. His grand-daughter married Col. Crawford, a man of commercial
activity about Prairie du Chien and Michilimackinac, during the late war
of 1812, who has left descendants in the lake country. We observed, at
this village, several buffalo skins undergoing the Indian process of
dressing. The hair having been removed, they were stretched on the
ground, where they were subjected to a process analogous to tanning by
being covered with a decoction of oak bark.

In ascending the hill of La Grange, we first encountered the
rattlesnake, two of which we killed. This is the highest northern point
at which we have observed this species on the Mississippi. I observed on
this elevation small detached masses of radiated quartz,
cinnamon-colored and white, together with an ore of iron crystallized in
cubes. Having cursorily examined the environs, the expedition again
embarked. It was 1 o'clock when we entered Lake Pepin. This admired lake
is a mere expansion of the Mississippi, having a length of twenty-four
miles by a varying width of from two to four miles. During this distance
there is not the least current during calm weather. The prospects, in
passing through this expanse of water, are of the most picturesque kind.
Its immediate shores are circumscribed with a broad beach of gravel, in
which may be found rolled pieces of the chalcedonies, agates, and other
species of the quartz family, which are characteristic of the
drift-stratum of the upper borders of the Mississippi. On the eastern
shore, at a short distance from the margin, there is a lofty range of
limestone cliffs. On the west, the eye rests on an elevated formation of
prairie, nearly destitute of trees. From this plain several conical
hills ascend, which have the appearance, but only the appearance, of
artificial construction. The lake is quite transparent, and yields
several species of fish. The most remarkable of these is the _acipenser
spatularia_, of which we obtained a specimen. It is also remarkable for
its numerous varieties, and the large size of its fresh-water shells. I
procured several species of _unio_, which, from their size and
character, attracted my attention, particularly to the subject of this
branch of American conchology. Several of these, from the duplicates of
my cabinet, have attracted the attention of conchologists.[100] Lake
Pepin receives a river from the west called the Ocano, or more properly
_Au Canot_; its mouth having been, in former times, a noted place for
concealing canoes during the winter season.[101] At a point, on the east
shore, about half way down the lake, where a small stream enters, we
were informed there existed the remains of an old French fort, or
factory; but we did not land to examine them.

  [100] Silliman's Journal of Science, 1823; also, Trans. Am. Phil.

  [101] Travellers who are disposed to regard La Hontan's fiction of
  his purported discoveries on _Rivier la Longue_, as entitled to
  notice, have suggested _this_ river as the locality intended.
  Nicollet, otherwise reliable, has gone so far as to call it La Hontan

In passing through this lake the interpreters pointed to a high
precipice in the cliffs on the east shore, which Indian tradition
assigns as the locality of a tragical love tale, of which a Dacota girl
was the heroine. To avoid the dilemma of being compelled to accept a
husband of repulsive character, and to sacrifice her affections for
another person, she precipitated herself down this precipice. The tale
has been so differently told to travellers visiting the region, that
nothing but the simple tradition appears worth recording. Olaita and
Winona, have been mentioned as the name of the Dacota Sappho.

At 6 o'clock in the evening we encamped on a gravelly beach on the east
shore of the lake, the weather threatening a storm. Rain commenced at 8
o'clock, and continued at intervals, with severe thunder and most vivid
flashes of lightning during the night. At 5 o'clock the next morning
(4th), the expedition was again in motion. The rain had ceased, but the
morning remained cloudy. The scenery on the borders of the lake
continued to be impressive. The precipices on the east shore shot up
into spiral points; yet the orbicular elevations are covered with grass
and shrubbery. These high grass-crowned elevations, without forest,
terminate near the influx of the Chippewa River in a remarkable isolated
elevation, called _Mont La Garde_, from the fact that it is, and long
has been, a noted look-out station for Chippewa war parties, who descend
this stream, against the Sioux. It commands an extensive view of Lake
Pepin. This lake was thought to be two miles wide opposite our last
night's encampment; it narrows to probably less than half a mile at its
mouth. The west shore along this portion of the lake consists of
singularly striking, picturesque, level, and elevated prairie lands.

Carver, in 1768, places his remains of ancient circumvallations in this
vicinity, but "some miles below Lake Pepin."[102] This was a period when
no attention had been directed to the subject of antiquities in the
United States, and his mind appears to have been impressed strongly by
what he saw. As opportunities did not allow me to land, nor was the
precise spot, indeed, known to any of our guides or men, reference can
only be made to the observations of a man who is known to have been the
first American traveller that has called attention to our western
antiquities. Mr. H. V. Hart, long a resident of this region, verbally
assures me that he has visited these works.[103]

  [102] Carver's Travels, p. 30.

  [103] Mr. G. W. Featherstonehaugh, in his _Geological Reconnoissance_,
  in 1834, landed at the location of these antiquarian remains, and is
  disposed to recognize their authenticity.

Chippewa River, just referred to, comes into the Mississippi on its left
bank, within half a mile of the foot of Lake Pepin. It is a tributary of
prime volume, draining the Chippewa territories lying around the south
and west shores of Lake Superior. Originating on the sandy tracts
extending over the elevated central plains of the Wisconsin, it brings a
large deposit of sand into the Mississippi, the navigation of which is
visibly more embarrassed below this point with sand-bars, willow, and
cotton-wood islands.

At four o'clock in the afternoon we reached and landed at Wabashaw's
village. It is eligibly seated on the west shore, and consists of four
of the large elongated Sioux lodges before mentioned, containing a
population of about sixty souls. The usual intercourse and speeches of
congratulation by the Indians, and acknowledgment of the American
authorities were made, and we again embarked, after a detention of forty
minutes. A few miles below Wabashaw's village, we came to a high rocky
or mountain island, called _La montaigne qui trompe dans l'eau_, a term
which is shortened by western phraseology into TROMPLEDO mountain. This
is a very remarkable feature in the geography of the Upper Mississippi.
The rock is calcareous; it is, in fact, the only fast or rocky island we
have encountered below the little islet at the head of the Packagama
Falls. It is not only striking from its lofty elevation, but is several
miles in circumference; standing in the bed of the river and parting its
channel into two, it appears to be the first bold geological monument
which has effectually resisted its course.

We had passed this island but a short distance, and the approaches of
evening began to be manifest, when a large gray wolf sprang into the
river to cross it. The greatest animation at once arose in our flotilla;
the canoemen bending themselves to their paddles, the auxiliary Indians
of our party shouting, and the whole party assuming an unwonted
excitement. A shot was soon fired from one of our rifles, but either the
distance was too great, or the aim incorrect. The wolf was fully
apprised of his peril, put forth all his strength, outstripped his
pursuers, reached the shore, and nimbly leaped into the woods.

We encamped on the west shore, a few miles below the island at seven
o'clock, having been twelve hours in our canoes. The confinement of the
position nobody can appreciate who has not tried it, and I hastened to
stretch my legs, by ascending the river cliffs in our rear, to have a
glimpse of its geology and scenery. The view westwardly was one of
groves and prairies of most inviting agricultural promise. In front, the
island mountain rises to an elevation which appears to have been the
original geological level of the stratification before the Mississippi
cut its way through it.

At the rapids of Black River, which enters opposite our encampment, a
saw-mill, we were informed, had been erected by an inhabitant of Prairie
du Chien. Thus the empire of the arts has begun to make its way into
these regions, and proclaims the advance of a heavy civilization into a
valley which has heretofore only resounded to the savage war-whoop. Or,
if a higher grade of society and arts has ever before existed in it, as
some of our tumuli and antiquities would lead us to infer, the light of
history has failed to reach us on the subject.[104]

  [104] _American Antiquities._ As the tumuli and earthworks of the
  Mississippi Valley are more closely scrutinized, they do not appear
  to denote a higher degree of civilization than may be assigned to the
  ancestors of the present races of Indians, prior to the epoch of the
  introduction of European arts into America. Certainly there is
  nothing in our earthworks and mounds, to compare with the Toltec and
  Aztec type of arts at the opening of the 16th century; while the
  possession by our tribes of the zea maize, a tropical plant, and
  other facts indicative of a southern migration, appear to denote a
  residence in warmer latitudes. The distribution of the Mexican
  teocalli and pyramid is also plainly traceable from the south.
  Neither the platform nor the solid conical mound has been traced
  higher north than Prairie du Chien; nor have the earthworks (adopting
  Carver's notices) reached higher than Lake Pepin. There are no mounds
  or earthworks at the sources of the Mississippi nor in all British
  America to the shores of the Arctic Seas. We cannot bring arts or
  civilization from that quarter.

At the spot of our encampment, as soon as the shades of night closed in,
we were visited by hordes of ephemera. The candles lighted in our tents
became the points of attraction for these evanescent creations. They
soon, however, began to feel the influence of the sinking of the
thermometer, and the air was imperceptibly cleared of them in an hour or
two. By the hour of three o'clock the next morning (5th) the expedition
was again in motion descending the river. It halted for breakfast at
Painted Rock, on the west shore. While this matter was being
accomplished, I found an abundant locality of unios in a curve of the
shore which produced an eddy. Fine specimens of U. purpureus, elongatus,
and orbiculatus were obtained. With the increased spirit and animation
which the whole party felt on the prospect of our arrival at Prairie du
Chien, we proceeded unremittingly on our descent, and reached that place
at six o'clock in the evening.

Prairie du Chien does not derive its name from the dog, but from a noted
family of Fox Indians bearing this name, who anciently dwelt here. The
old town is said to have been about a mile below the present settlement,
which was commenced by Mr. Dubuque and his associates, in 1783. The
prairie is most eligibly situated along the margin of the stream, above
whose floods it is elevated. It consists of a heavy stratum of diluvial
pebbles and boulders, which is picturesquely bounded by lofty cliffs of
the silurian[105] limestones, and their accompanying column of
stratification. The village has the old and shabby look of all the
antique French towns on the Mississippi, and in the great lake basins;
the dwellings being constructed of logs and barks, and the courtyards
picketed in, as if they were intended for defence. It is called
Kipisagee by the Chippewas and Algonquin tribes generally, meaning the
place of the jet or outflow of the (Wisconsin) River. It is, in popular
parlance, estimated to be 300 miles below St. Peter's, and 600 above St.
Louis.[106] Its latitude is 43° 3´ 6´´. It is the seat of justice for
Crawford County, having been so named in, honor of W. H. Crawford,
Secretary of the Treasury of the U. S. It is, together with all the
region west of Lake Michigan, attached to the territory of Michigan.
There is a large and fertile island in the Mississippi, opposite the

  [105] This term, unknown to geology at the period, has been
  subsequently introduced by Sir Roderic Murchison.

  [106] These distances are reduced by _Ex. Doc._ 237, respectively to
  260 and 542 miles.

We found the garrison to consist of a single company of infantry, under
the command of Capt. J. Fowle, Jun.,[107] who received us courteously,
and offered the salute due to the rank of His Excellency, Gov. Cass. The
fort is a square stockade, with bastions at two angles. There was found
on this part of the prairie, when it came to be occupied with a garrison
by the Americans, in 1819, an ancient platform-mound, in an exactly
square form, the shape and outlines of which were preserved with
exactitude by the prairie sod. This earthwork, the probable evidence of
a condition of ancient society, arts, and events of a race who are now
reduced so low, was, with good taste, preserved by the military, when
they erected this stockade. One of the officers built a dwelling-house
upon it, thus converting it, to the use, and probably the only use, to
which it was originally devoted. No measurements have been preserved of
its original condition; but judging from present appearances, it must
have squared seventy-five feet, and have had an elevation of eight feet.

  [107] This officer entered the army in 1812, serving with reputation.
  He rose, through various grades of the service, to the rank of Lieut.
  Col. of the 6th infantry. He lost his life on the 25th April, 1838,
  by the explosion of the steamer Moselle, on the Ohio River.


  Mr. Schoolcraft makes a visit to the lead mines of Dubuque--Incidents
    of the trip--Description of the mines--The title of occupancy, and
    the mode of the mines being worked by the Fox tribe of
    Indians--Who are the Foxes?

I solicited permission of Gov. Cass to visit the lead mines of Dubuque,
which are situated on the west bank of the Mississippi, at the computed
distance of twenty-five leagues below Prairie du Chien. Furnished with a
light canoe, manned by eight voyageurs, including a guide, I left the
prairie at half past eleven A. M. (6th). Passed the entrance of the
Wisconsin, on the left bank, at the distance of a league.[108] Opposite
this point is the high elevation which Pike, in 1806, recommended to be
occupied with a military work. The suggestion has not, however, been
adopted; military men, probably, thinking that, however eligible the
site might be for a work where civilized nations were likely to come
into contact, a simpler style of defensive works would serve the purpose
of keeping the Indian tribes in check. I proceeded nine leagues below,
and encamped at the site of a Fox village,[109] located on the east
bank, a mile below the entrance of Turkey River from the west. The
village, consisting of twelve lodges, was now temporarily deserted, the
Indians being probably absent on a hunt; but, if so, it was remarkable
that not a soul or living thing was left behind, not even a dog. My
guide, indeed, informed me that the cause of the desertion was the fears
entertained of an attack from the Sioux, in retaliation for the massacre
lately perpetrated by them on the heads of the St. Peter's, which was
alluded to in the speech of the Little Crow, while we were at his
village (_ante_, p. 160).

  [108] It was at this spot, one hundred and thirty-seven years ago,
  that Marquette and M. Joliet, coming from the lakes, discovered the

  [109] Now the site of Cassville, Grant County, Wisconsin. It is a
  post town, pleasantly situated, with a population of 200.

It was seven o'clock P. M. when I landed here, and having some hours of
daylight, I walked back from the river to look at the village, and its
fields, and to examine the geological structure of the adjacent cliffs.
In their gardens I observed squashes, beans, and pumpkins, but the
fields of corn, the principal article of cultivation, had been nearly
all destroyed, probably by wild animals. I found an extensive field of
water and musk melons, situated in an opening in a grove, detached from
the other fields and gardens. None of the fruit was perfectly ripe,
although it had been found so at Prairie du Chien; some of it had been
bitten by wild animals.[110] The cliffs consisted of the same horizontal
strata of sandstones and neutral colored limestone, prevailing at higher
positions in this valley. Returning to the river beach, I perceived the
same pebble drift which characterizes higher latitudes. This seems the
only difference in its structure or form, namely, that the pieces of
quartz pebble, limestone, and other fragments brought down, become
smaller and smaller, as they are carried down.

  [110] Fondness for melons, and annual vine fruits of the garden, is a
  striking trait of the Indians. Some curious facts on this head are
  published in the statistics.--_Indian Information_, vol. iii. p. 624,
  1853, Philadelphia, Lippincott & Co.

There were frequent thunders, and a rain-storm, during the night, which,
with a slight intermission, characterized the morning until noon. I
embarked at half past three A. M. (7th), and landed at the Fox village
of the Kettle chief, at the site of Dubuque's house,[111] at ten
o'clock; a moderate rain having continued all the way. It ceased an hour
after my arrival.

  [111] This is now (1854) the site of the city of Dubuque, State of
  Iowa, which is reputed to be the oldest settlement in that State.
  This city is eligibly situated on a broad plateau, between limestone
  cliffs. The soil rests on a rock foundation, which renders it
  incapable of being undermined by the Mississippi. Its streets are
  broad and laid out at right angles. It has several Protestant
  churches, a Catholic cathedral, a public land office, two banks, four
  printing offices, and by the last census contains a population of
  7,500, the county of which it is the seat of justice, has 10,840. Two
  railroads have their terminal points at this place. At the time of my
  visit, in 1820, the house which had been built by Mr. Dubuque, had
  been burnt down; and there was not a dwelling superior to the Indian
  wigwam within the present limits of Iowa. The State of Iowa was
  admitted into the Union in 1837. By the 7th U. S. census, the
  population of this State, in 1850, is shown to be 192,214. The number
  of square miles is 50,914. No Western State is believed to contain a
  less proportionate quantity of land unsuited to the plough, and its
  population and resources must have a rapid development.

The Kettle chief's village is situated fifteen miles below the entrance
of the Little Makokety River, consisting of nineteen lodges, built in
two rows, pretty compact, and having a population of two hundred and
fifty souls. There is a large island in the Mississippi, directly
opposite this village, which is occupied by traders. I first landed
there to get an interpreter of the Fox language, and obtain some
necessary information respecting the location of the mines, and the best
means of accomplishing my object. Meantime the rain had ceased. I then
proceeded across the Mississippi to the Kettle chief's lodge, to solicit
his permission to visit the mines, and obtain Indian guides. I succeeded
in getting Mr. Gates, as interpreter; and was accompanied by Dr. S.
Muir, a trader, who politely offered to go with me. On entering the
lodge of Aquoqua, the chief, I found him suffering under a severe attack
of bilious fever. As I approached him, he sat upon his pallet, being
unable to stand, and bid me welcome; but soon became exhausted by the
labor of conversation, and was obliged to resume his former position. He
appeared to be a man of eighty years of age, had a venerable look, but
was reduced to the last stage of physical debility. Yet he retained his
faculties of sight and hearing unimpaired, together with his mental
powers. He spoke to me of his death with calm resignation, as a thing to
be desired. On stating the object of my visit, some objections were made
by the chiefs who surrounded him, and they required further time to
consider the proposition. In the mean time, I learned from another
source, that since the death of Dubuque, to whom the Indians had
formerly granted the privilege of working the mines, they had manifested
great jealousy of the whites, were afraid they would encroach on their
rights, denied all former grants, and did not make it a practice even to
allow strangers to view their diggings. Apprehending some difficulties
of this kind, I had provided myself with some presents, and concluding
this to be the time, because of the reluctance manifested, directed one
of my voyageurs to bring in a present of tobacco and whiskey; and in a
few moments I received their assent, and two guides were furnished. One
of these was a minor chief, called Scabass, or the Yelling Wolf; the
other, Wa-ba-say-ah, or the White Foxskin. They led me up the cliff,
where I understood the Indian woman, Peosta, first found lead ore; after
reaching the level of the river bluffs, we pursued a path over
undulating hills, exhibiting a half prairie, and quite picturesque rural
aspect. On reaching the diggings, the most striking part of them, but
not all of them, exhibited excavations such as the Indians only do not
seem persevering enough in labor to have made.

The district of country called Dubuque's Mines, embraces an area of
about twenty-one square leagues, commencing at the mouth of the Little
Maquaquity River, sixty miles below Prairie du Chien, and extending
along the west bank of the Mississippi River, seven leagues in front by
three in depth. The principal mines are situated on a tract of one
square league, beginning immediately at the Fox village of Aquoqua, or
the Kettle chief, and extending westwardly. This is the seat of the
mining operations carried on by Dubuque, as well as of what are called
the Indian Diggings.

Geologically it is the same formation that characterizes the mines of
Missouri; but there are some peculiarities. The ore found is the common
sulphuret of lead, with a broad foliated, or lamellated structure, and
high metallic lustre. It occurs massive and disseminated, in a red loam,
resting on a horizontal limestone rock. Sometimes small veins of the ore
are seen in the rock, but it has been generally explored in the soil. It
generally occurs in narrow beds, which have a fixed direction; these
beds extend three or four hundred feet, when they cease, or are traced
into crevices in the rock. At this stage, the pursuit of ore, at most of
the diggings, has been abandoned, frequently with small veins of the
metal in view. No matrix, so far as I observed, is found with the ore
which is dug out of the soil, unless we may consider such an ochery
oxide of iron, with which it is slightly incrusted. Occasionally, pieces
of calcareous spar are thrown out with the earth in digging after ore. I
picked up from one of these heaps of earth a specimen of transparent
crystallized sulphate of barytes; but this mineral appears to be rare.
There appears to be none of the radiated quartz, or white opaque heavy
spar, which are so abundantly found at the Missouri mines.[112]

  [112] _Vide_ my View of the Lead Mines of Missouri, &c., New York,

The ore at these mines is now exclusively dug by the Indian women. Old
and superannuated men also partake in the mining labor, but the warriors
and men hold themselves above it. In this labor, the persons who engage
in it employ the hoe, shovel, pick-axe, and crow-bar. These implements
are supplied by the traders at the island, who are the purchasers of the
crude ore. With these implements they dig trenches, till they are
arrested by the solid rock. There are no shafts, even of the simplest
kind, and the windlass and bucket are unknown to them--far more so the
use of gunpowder in the mining operations. Their mode of going down into
the deepest pits, and coming up from them, is by digging an inclined
way, which permits the women to keep an erect position in walking.[113]
I descended into one of these inclined excavations, which had probably
been carried down forty feet, at the perpendicular angle.

  [113] This is believed to be an oriental mode of excavation, which
  appears to have been practised in digging wells.

When a quantity of ore has been got out, it is carried in baskets to the
banks of the Mississippi, by the females, who are ferried over to the
island. They receive at the rate of two dollars for a hundred and twenty
pounds, payable in goods. At the profit at which these are usually sold,
it may be presumed to cost the traders at the rate of seventy-five cents
or a dollar, cash value, per hundred weight. The traders smelt the ore
on the island, in furnaces of the same construction which I have
described, and given plates of, in my treatise on the mines.[114] They
observe that it yields the same per centum of metallic lead. Formerly,
the Indians were in the habit of smelting the ore themselves on log
heaps, by which an unusual proportion of it was converted into
lead-ashes and lost. They are now induced to search about the sites of
these old fires to collect these lead-ashes, which consist, for the most
part, of desulphuretted ore, for which they receive a dollar per bushel.

  [114] New York, 1819.

There are three mines in addition to those above mentioned, situated
upon the Upper Mississippi, which are worked by the Indians. They are
located at Sinsinaway, at Rivière au Fevre, and at the Little Makokety.
1. Sinsinaway mines. They are situated fifteen miles below Aquoqua's
Village, on the east shore of the Mississippi, at the junction of the
Sinsinaway River. 2. Mine au Fevre. Situated on the River au Fevre,
which enters the Mississippi on its east banks, twenty-one miles below
Dubuque's mines. The lead ore is found ten miles from its mouth. At this
locality, the ore is accompanied by the sulphate of barytes, and is
sometimes crystallized in cubes or octohedrons.[115] 3. Mine of the
Makokety, or Maquoqueti. This small river enters the Mississippi fifteen
miles above Dubuque's mines. The mineral character and value of the
country has been but little explored.

  [115] The city of Galena has subsequently been built on this river,
  at the distance of six miles from the Mississippi. The river is,
  indeed, thus far, an arm of the Mississippi, which permits steamboats
  freely to enter, converting the place into a commercial depot for a
  vast surrounding country. Not less than 40,000,000 pounds of lead
  were shipped from this place in 1852, valued at one million six
  hundred thousand dollars. It is the terminus of the Chicago and
  Galena Railroad, connecting it by a line of 180 miles with the lakes.
  It contains a bank, three newspaper offices, and several churches of
  various denominations, and has, by the census of 1850, a population
  of 6,004.

The history of the mines of Dubuque is brief and simple. In 1780, a
discovery of lead ore was made by the wife of Peosta, a Fox Indian of
Aquoqua's Village. This gave the hint for explorations, which resulted
in extensive discoveries. The lands were formally granted by the Indians
to Julien Dubuque, at a council held at Prairie du Chien in 1788, by
virtue of which he permanently settled on them, erected buildings and
furnaces, and continued to work them until 1810. In 1796, he received a
confirmation of his grant from Carondelet, the governor of Louisiana, in
which they are called "the mines of Spain." By a stone monument which
stands on a hill near the mines, Dubuque died on the 24th March, 1810,
aged forty-five years and six months. After his death, the Indians burnt
down his house and fences--he leaving, I believe, no family[116]--and
erased every vestige of civilized life; and they have since revoked, or
at least denied the grant, and appear to set a very high value on the
mines. Dubuque's claim was assigned to his creditors, by whom it was
presented to the commissioners for deciding on land titles, in 1806. By
a majority of the board it was determined to be valid, in which
condition it was reported to Washington for final action. At this stage
of the investigation, Mr. Gallatin, who was then Secretary of the
Treasury, made a report on the subject, clearly stating the facts, and
coming to the conclusion that it was not a perfect title, stating that
no patent had ever been issued for it, at New Orleans, the seat of the
Spanish authority, from which transcripts of the records of all grants
had been transmitted to the Treasury.[117]

  [116] There is believed to be no instance, in America, where the
  Indians have disannulled grants or privileges to persons settling
  among them, and leaving families founded on the Indian element.

  [117] For the facts in this case, see _Collection of Land Laws of the
  United States_, printed at Washington, 1817.

On the arrival of Lieut. Pike at Mr. Dubuque's on the 1st of September,
1805, he endeavored to obtain information necessary to judge of the
value and extent and the nature of the grant of the mines; but he was
not able to visit them. To the inquiries which he addressed to Mr.
Dubuque on the subject, the latter replied in writing that a copy of the
grant was filed at the proper office in St. Louis, which would show its
date, together with the date of its confirmation by the Spanish
authority, and the extent of the grant to him. He states the mine to be
twenty-seven or twenty-eight leagues long, and from one to three leagues
broad. He represents the per centum of metal to be yielded from the ore
to be seventy-five, and the quantity smelted per annum at from 20,000 to
40,000 pounds. He stated that the whole product was cast into pig lead,
and that there were no other metals at the mines but copper, of the
value of which he could not judge.

Having examined the mines with as much minuteness as the time allowed me
would permit, and obtained specimens of its ores and minerals, I
returned to the banks of the Mississippi, before the daylight departed,
and, immediately embarking, went up the river two leagues and encamped
on an island.

It may be proper to add to this narrative of my mineralogical visit to
these mines, a few words respecting the Fox Indians, by whom the country
is owned. The first we hear of these people is from early missionaries
of New France, who call them, in a list drawn up for the government in
1736, "Gens du Sang," and Miskaukis. The latter I found to be the name
they apply to themselves. We get nothing, however, by it. It means
Red-earths, being a compound from _misk-wau_, red, and _auki_, earth.
They are a branch of the great Algonquin family. The French, who formed
a bad opinion of them, as their history opened, bestowed on them the
name of Renouard, from which we derive their long-standing popular name.
Their traditions attribute their origin to eastern portions of America.
Mr. Gates, who acted as my interpreter, and is well acquainted with
their language and customs, informs me that their traditions refer to
their residence on the north banks of the St. Lawrence, near the ancient
Cataraqui. They appear to have been a very erratic, spirited, warlike,
and treacherous tribe; dwelling but a short time at a spot, and pushing
westward, as their affairs led them, till they finally reached the
Mississippi, which they must have crossed after 1766, for Carver found
them living in villages on the Wisconsin. At Saginaw, they appear to
have formed a fast alliance with the Saucs, a tribe to whom they are
closely allied by language and history. They figure in the history of
Indian events about old Michilimackinac, where they played pranks under
the not very definite title of Muscodainsug, but are first conspicuously
noted while they dwelt on the river bearing their name, which falls into
Green Bay, Wisconsin.[118] The Chippewas, with whom they have strong
affinity of language, call them Otagami, and ever deemed them a
sanguinary and unreliable tribe. The French defeated them in a
sanguinary battle at Butte de Mort, and by this defeat drove them from
Fox River.

  [118] This name was first applied to a territory in 1836.

Their present numbers cannot be accurately given. I was informed that
the village I visited contained two hundred and fifty souls. They have a
large village at Rock Island, where the Foxes and Saucs live together,
which consists of sixty lodges, and numbers three hundred souls.
One-half of these may be Saucs. They have another village at the mouth
of Turkey River; altogether, they may muster from 460 to 500 souls. Yet,
they are at war with most of the tribes around them, except the Iowas,
Saucs, and Kickapoos. They are engaged in a deadly, and apparently
successful war against the Sioux tribes. They recently killed nine men
of that nation, on the Terre Blue River; and a party of twenty men are
now absent, in the same direction, under a half-breed named Morgan. They
are on bad terms with the Osages and Pawnees of the Missouri, and not on
the best terms with their neighbors the Winnebagoes.

I again embarked at four o'clock A. M. (8th). My men were stout fellows,
and worked with hearty will, and it was thought possible to reach the
Prairie during the day, by hard and late pushing. We passed Turkey River
at two o'clock, and they boldly plied their paddles, sometimes animating
their labors with a song; but the Mississippi proved too stout for us;
and some time after nightfall we put ashore on an island, before
reaching the Wisconsin. In ascending the river this day, observed the
pelican, which exhibited itself in a flock, standing on a low sandy spot
of an island. This bird has a clumsy and unwieldy look, from the
duplicate membrane attached to its lower mandible, which is constructed
so as when inflated to give it a bag-like appearance. A short sleep
served to restore the men, and we were again in our canoes the next
morning (9th) before I could certainly tell the time by my watch.
Daylight had not yet broke when we passed the influx of the Wisconsin,
and we reached the Prairie under a full chorus, and landed at six


  The expedition proceeds from Prairie du Chein up the Wisconsin
    Valley--Incidents of the ascent--Etymology of the name--The low
    state of its waters favorable to the observation of its
    fresh-water conchology--Cross the Wisconsin summit, and descend
    the Fox River to Winnebago Lake.

We were now at the foot of the Wisconsin Valley--at the point, in fact,
where Marquette and Joliet, coming from the forests and lakes of New
France, had discovered the great River of the West, in 1673. Marquette,
led by his rubrics, named it the River "Conception," but, in his
journal, he freely employs the aboriginal term of Mississippi, which was
in use by the whole body of the Algonquin tribes. While awaiting, at
Prairie du Chein, the preparations for ascending the Wisconsin, the
locality was found a very remarkable one for its large unios, and some
other species of fresh-water shells. Some specimens of the unio crassus,
found on the shores of the island in the Mississippi, opposite the
village, were of thrice the size of any noticed in America or Europe,
and put conchologists in doubt whether the species should not be named
_giganteus_.[119] I had, in coming down the Mississippi, procured some
fine and large specimens of the unio purpureus of Mr. Say, at the
Painted Rock, with some other species; and the discovery of such large
species of the crassus served to direct new attention to the subject.

  [119] American Journal of Science, vol. vi. p. 119.

Our sympathies were excited, at this place, by observing an object of
human deformity in the person of an Indian, who, to remedy the want of
the power of locomotion, had adjusted his legs in a large wooden bowl.
By rocking this on the ground, he supplied, in a manner, the lost
locomotive power. This man of the bowl possessed his faculties of mind
unimpaired, spoke several Indian languages, besides the Canadian
French, and appeared cheerful and intelligent. An excursion into the
adjacent country, to view some caves, and a reported mineral locality
made by Mr. Trowbridge, during my descent to the mines of Dubuque,
brought me some concretions of carbonate of lime, but the Indian guides
either faltered to make the promised discoveries, through their
superstitions, or really failed in the effort to find the object. By
tracing the shores of the Mississippi, I found the rolled and hard
agates and other quartz species, which characterize the pebble-drift of
its sources, still present in the down-flowing shore-drift.

The aboriginal name of this place is Kipesági, an Algonquin word, which
is applied to the mouth or outflow of the Wisconsin River. It appears to
be based on the verb _kipa_, to be thick or turbid, and _sauge_,
outflow--the river at its floods, being but little else than a moving
mass of sand and water.

It was the 9th (Aug.) at half-past ten in the morning before the
expedition left the Prairie to ascend the Wisconsin, the mouth of which
we reached after descending the Mississippi three miles. This is an
impressive scene--the bold cliffs of the west bank of the Mississippi,
with Pike's-hill rising in front on the west, while those of the
Wisconsin Valley stand at but little less elevation on the north and
south. At this season of the year the water is clear and placid, and
mingles itself in its mighty recipient without disturbance. But it is
easy to conceive, what the Indians affirm, that in its floods it is a
strong and turbid mass of moving waters, against which nothing can
stand. This character of the stream is believed, indeed, to be the
origin of the Indian name of Wisconsin. Miskawägumi, means a strong or
mixed water, or liquid. By adding to this word _totoshabo_ (milk), the
meaning is coagulated or turning milk; it is often used to mean brandy,
which is then called strong water; by adding _iscodawabo_, the meaning
is fire-water. Marquette, in 1673, spells the name of the river
indifferently Meshkousing, and Mishkousing. Of this term, the inflection
_ing_, is simply a local form, the letter _s_ being thrown in for
euphony. This word appears to be a derivation from the term _mushkowa_,
strong water. By admitting the transmutation of _m_ to _w_, the initial
syllable _mis_ is changed to _wis_, and the interpretation is then river
(or place) of strong waters. The term of _kipesagi_, applied to its
mouth, is but another characteristic feature of it--the one laying
stress on its _turbidity in flood_, and the other on its _strength of
current_. These are certainly the two leading traits of the Wisconsin,
which rushes with a great average velocity over an inclined plane,
without falls, for a great distance. It originates in a remarkable
summit of sandy plains, which send out to the west the Chippewa River of
Lake Pepin, to the north the Montreal and Ontonagon of Lake Superior,
and to the east the Menomonee of Green Bay, while the Wisconsin becomes
its southern off-drain, till it finally turns west at the Portage, and
flows into the Mississippi.

We ascended, the first day, eighteen miles; the next, thirty-six; the
third day, thirty-four miles; the fourth, forty; the fifth,
thirty-eight, and the sixth, sixteen, which brought us to the Fox and
Wisconsin Portage, a spot renowned from the earliest French days of
western discovery. For here, on the waters separating the Mississippi
from the great lakes, there had, at successive intervals, been pitched
the tents of Marquette, La Hontan, Carver, and other explorers, who
have, in their published journals, left traces of their footsteps. La
Salle, who excelled them all in energy of character, proceeded to the
Mississippi from Lake Michigan, down the Illinois.

Our estimates made the distance from the Mississippi to this point one
hundred and eighty-two miles. It is a wide, and (at this season) shallow
stream, with transparent waters, running over a bed of yellow sand,
checkered with numerous small islands, and long spits of sand-bars.
There is not a fall in this distance, and it must be navigable with
large craft during the periodical freshets. It receives the Blue, Pine,
and other tributaries in this distance. Its valley presents a geological
section, on a large scale, of the series of lead-bearing rocks extending
in regular succession from the fundamental sandstone to the topmost
limestones. The water being shallow and warm, we often waded from bar to
bar, and found the scene a fruitful one for its fresh-water conchology.
The Indians frequently amused me by accounts of the lead mines and
mineral productions of its borders; but I followed them in this search
only to be convinced that they were without sincerity in these
representations, and had no higher objects on this head, than, by
assuming a conciliatory manner, to secure temporary advantages while the
expedition was passing through their country. The valley belongs to the
Winnebagoes, whom we frequently met, and received a friendly reception
from. We also encountered Menomonies, who occupy the lower part of the
adjacent Fox River Valley, but rove widely west and north over the
countries of the tribes they are at peace with.

The Wisconsin Valley was formerly inhabited by the Sacs and Foxes, who
raised large quantities of corn and beans on its fertile shores. They
were driven by the French, in alliance with the Chippewas and
Menomonies. It is now possessed exclusively by the Winnebagoes, a savage
and bloodthirsty tribe, who came, according to tradition, many years ago
from the south, and are thought to be related to some of the Mexican
tribes. Their language is cognate with the great Sioux or Dakota stock
west of the Mississippi, who likewise date their origin south. To those
accustomed to hear the softer tones of the Chippewa and Algonquin, it
sounds harsh and guttural. Their name for themselves is Hochungara; the
French call them _Puants_.

In passing up this valley, an almost never-failing object of interest
was furnished by the univalve shells found along its banks, and by the
variety in size, shape, and color which they exhibited. Of these, the
late Mr. Barnes has described, from my duplicates, the U. plicatus, U.
verrucosus, U. ventricosus, U. planus, U. obliqua, and U. gracilis.[120]
We frequently observed the scolipax minor, the plover, the A. alcyon, a
small yellow bird, and C. vociferus, along its sandy shores; and, in
other positions, the brant, the grouse, the A. sponsa, and the summer
duck, and F. melodia. A range of hills extends from the Mississippi, on
each shore, to within twenty miles of the Portage, where it ceases, on
the south side, but continues on the north--receding, however, a
considerable distance. This section is called the Highlands of the
Wisconsin. The stratification is exclusively sandstone and limestone, in
the usual order of the metalliferous series of the West, and lying in
horizontal positions.

  [120] American Journal of Science, vol. vi. p. 120, &c.

There are two kinds of rattlesnake in the Valley of the Wisconsin. The
larger, or barred crotalis, is confined to the hills, and attains a
large size. I killed one of this species at the mouth of a small cave
on the summit of a cliff to which I ascended, which measured four feet
in length, and had nine rattles. Its great thickness attracted notice.
Attaching a twig to its neck, I drew it down into the valley as a
present to our Indians, knowing that they regard the reptile in a
peculiar manner. They found it a female, having eleven young, who had
taken shelter in their maternal abdominal-covering. The Ottowas
carefully took off the skin, and brought it with them. The second kind
of this reptile is called prairie rattlesnake, is confined to the
plains, and does not exceed fifteen or twenty inches in length.

The Indians had reported localities of lead, copper, and silver at
various places, but always failed, as we ascended, to reveal anything of
more value than detached pieces of sulphuret of iron, or brown
iron-stone. When we reached the portage, a Winnebago, who had been the
chief person in making these reports, came with great ceremony to
present a specimen of his reported silver. On taking off the envelop it
turned out to be a small mass of light-colored glistening folia of mica.
We had found the horizontal rocks along the stream thus far, but the
primitive shows itself, within a mile north of the portage, in orbicular
masses in situ, coming through the prairies.

Having reached the summit, we proceeded across it to the banks of Fox
River, where we encamped. It consists of a level plain. The distance is
a mile and a half. It required, however, some time to have our baggage
and canoes transported, which was done by a Frenchman residing at this
summit. Such is the slight difference in the level of the two rivers,
that Indian canoes are pushed through the marshy ridges when the rivers
are swelled by freshets. It was half-past three o'clock of the 15th, the
day following our arrival, before the transportation and loading of our
canoes was completed. It was then necessary to push our canoes through
fields of rushes and other aquatic plants, through which the river
winds. This was a slow mode of progress, and we spent the remainder of
the day in passing fifteen miles, which brought us to the FORKS, so
called, where the northern unites with the southern branch of the river.
At this spot we encamped. Next day we estimated our descent at
sixty-three miles, having found the navigation less intricate and
obstructed from the aquatic growth. In this distance we passed, at
thirty miles below the fork, a piece of clear water of nine miles
extent, called Buffalo Lake; and at the distance of twelve miles lower,
another lake of some twelve miles in extent, called Puckaway Lake. Down
to this point, the Fox River has scarcely a perceptible current. We
found we had not only, in parting from the Wisconsin to the Fox,
exchanged an open, swift, and strong flowing current, for a very quiet
and still one, winding through areas of wild rice and the whole family
of water plants; but had intruded into a region of water-fowl and birds
of every plumage, who, as they rioted upon their cherished zizania
aquatica, made the air resound with their screams. The blackbird
appeared to be lord of these fields. We had also intruded upon a
favorite region of the water-snake, who, coiled up on his bed of plants
at every bend of the stream, slid off with spiteful glance into the
stream. In passing these places of habitation, which the Chippewas call
_wauzh_, we perceptibly smelt an unpleasant odor arising from it.

The next day we descended the river seventy miles. There is a
perceptible current below Puckaway Lake. The river increases in width
and depth, and offers no impediment whatever to its navigation. Fox
River runs, indeed, from the portage to Winnebago Lake on a summit, over
which it winds among sylvan hills, covered with grass and
prairie-flowers, interspersed with groves of oak, elm, ash, and hickory,
and dotted at intervals with lakes of refreshing transparent water. The
height of this summit, above the Mississippi and the lakes, must be
several hundred feet (stated at 234), which permits the stream to flow
with liveliness, insuring, when it comes to be settled,[121] the
erection of hydraulic works; and it would be difficult to point to a
region possessing in its soil, climate, and natural resources, a more
favorable character for an agricultural population. It has a diversified
surface, without mountains; a fine dry atmosphere; an admirable
drainage east, west, north, and south, and a ready access to the great
oceanic marts through the Great Lake and the Mississippi.

  [121] WISCONSIN. This region was separated from Michigan, and formed
  into a separate territory in 1836; and admitted as a State in 1848.
  By the census of 1850, it has a population of 305,391, divided into
  33,517 families, occupying 32,962 dwellings, and cultivating
  1,045,499 acres of land. There are 43 organized counties, and 334
  churches of all denominations, giving one church to every 1,250
  inhabitants. It has three representatives in the popular branch of
  Congress. It was 16 years after my visit, before it had a distinct
  legal existence--it increased to become a State in twelve years; and,
  according to our ordinary rate of increase, will contain one million
  of inhabitants in 1890.

We passed, this day, several encampments and villages of Winnebagoes and
Menomonies--tribes, who, with the erratic habits of the Tartars, or
Bedouins, once spread their tents in the Fox and Wisconsin valleys, but
have now (1853) relinquished them to the European race; and it does not,
at this distance of time, seem important to denote the particular spots
where they once boiled their kettles of corn, or thumped their magic
drums. God have mercy on them in their wild wanderings! We also passed
the entrance of Wolf River, a fine bold stream on the left; and soon
below it the handsome elevation of La Butte de Morts, or the Hillock of
the Dead. This eminence was covered by the frail lodges of the
Winnebagoes. The spot is memorable in Indian history, for a signal
defeat of the Foxes, by the French and their Indian allies in the
seventeenth century, after which, this tribe was finally expelled from
the Fox valley. Our night's encampment (17th) was below this spot. The
night air was remarkably cold, and put an end to our further annoyance
from mosquitos. We embarked at five o'clock the next morning during a
dense fog, which was in due time dissipated by the rising sun. We had
been five hours in our canoes, under the full force of paddles, when we
entered Winnebago Lake. This is a most beautiful and sylvan expanse of
water some twenty-four miles long by ten in width, surrounded by
picturesque prairie and sloping plains. It has a stream at Fond du Lac,
its southern extremity,[122] which is connected by a short portage with
the principal source of Rock River of the Mississippi.

  [122] This spot is now the site of the flourishing town of Fond du
  Lac, which was laid out in 1845. It had a population of 2,014 in
  1850, including two newspaper offices, two banking houses, one iron
  foundry, a car factory, twelve drygoods stores, and sixty other
  stores. It is situated 72 miles N. N. W. from Milwaukie, and 90 N. E.
  from Madison, the capital of the State of Wisconsin. It is the shire
  town of a county containing a population of 14,510, with 17 churches,
  and 2,844 pupils attending public schools, and 85 attending
  academies. It has a plank road to Lake Michigan, and will soon be
  connected by a railroad with Chicago. It is by such means that the
  American wilderness is conquered.

The Fox River, after having displayed itself in the lake, leaves it, at
its northern extremity, flowing by a succession of rapids and falls over
horizontal limestones to the head of Green Bay. There is a Winnebago
village, under Hoo Tshoop, or Four Legs, at the point of outlet, where
we landed, and as the first rapid begins at that point, creating a
delay, I took the occasion to examine its geology more closely, by
procuring fresh fractures of the masses of rock in the vicinity. This
process, it appeared, was narrowly watched by the Indians, who wondered
what such a scrutiny should mean. The French, said the chief to one of
our interpreters, formerly held possession of this country; and,
afterwards, came the British. They contented themselves with common
things, and never disturbed these rocks, which have been laying here
forever. But the moment the Americans get possession of the country,
they must come and knock off pieces of the rock, and look at them. It is

A brilliant mass of native copper, weighing ten or twelve pounds, was
found by an Indian, some years ago, on the shores of this lake. The
moment he espied it, his imagination was fired, and he fancied he beheld
the form of a beautiful female, standing in the water. Glittering in
radiancy, she held out in her hand a lump of gold. He paddled his canoe
towards her, furtively and slow, but, as he advanced, a transformation
gradually ensued. Her eyes lost their brilliancy, her face the glow of
life and health, her arms disappeared; and when he reached the spot, the
object had changed into a stone monument of the human form, with the
tail of a fish. Amazed, he sat awhile in silence; then, lighting his
pipe, he offered it the incense of tobacco, and addressed it, as the
guardian angel of his country. Lifting the miraculous image gently into
his canoe, he took his seat, with his face in an opposite direction, and
paddled towards shore, on reaching which, and turning round to the
object of his regard, he discovered, in its place, nothing but a lump of
shining virgin copper.

Such are the imaginative efforts of this race, who look to the eyes of
civilization as if they had themselves faces of stone, and hearts of


  Descent of the Fox River from Winnebago Lake to Green
    Bay--Incidents--Etymology, conchology, mineralogy--Falls of the
    Konomic and Kakala--Population and antiquity of the settlement of
    Green Bay--Appearances of a tide, not sustained.

A rapid commences at the precise point where Fox River issues from
Winnebago Lake. This rapid, down which canoes descend with half loads,
extends a mile and a half, when the river assumes its usual navigable
form, presenting a noble volume. Nine miles below this, a ledge of the
semi-crystalline limestone rock crosses the entire channel, lifting
itself five feet above the bed of the stream. Over this the Fox River
throws itself by an abrupt cascade. Down this shelf of rock, the canoes,
previously lightened of their burden, are lifted by the men. It was
sometime after dark when we reached and encamped on the north shore, at
the foot of this cascade, which bears the name of Konamik. The syllable
_kon_, in this word, appears to me to be the same as _con_ in Wisconsin,
and is, apparently, a derivative from a term for strong water, which
has, in this case, the meaning of cascade or fall. The word _amik_, its
terminal, means a beaver. We thus have the probable original meaning in
beaver-water, or, by implication, beaver cascade. There is a rapid below
this fall. I judged the water must sink its level, in this vicinity,
about fifteen feet. On examining the character of the limestone, I
discovered crystals of calcareous spar occupying small cavities. At
other localities, at lower points, there were found crystals of black
sulphuret of zinc, and yellow sulphuret of iron. The rock appears to be
of the same age as the lead-bearing limestone of the West; it is also
overlaid by the red marly clay, and I should judge it to contain
deposits of sulphuret of lead.

The next morning, we resumed our descent of the Fox River with
difficulty. It was now the 19th of August, and the waters had reached
their lowest summer stage. The entire distance of twelve miles from the
Konamik to the Kákala fall may be deemed to be, at this season, a
continuous rapid. Our barge was abandoned on the rapids. While the men
toiled in these rapids to get down their canoes, it was found rather a
privilege to walk, for it gave a more ample opportunity to examine the
mineral structure and productions of the country.

It was high noon when we reached the rapids of the Kákala. This is a
formidable rapid, at which the river rushes with furious velocity down a
rocky bed, which it seems impossible boats or canoes should ever safely
descend. It demands a portage to be made, under all circumstances, the
water sweeping round a curve or bow, of which the portage path is the
string. This is the apparent meaning of the term, in the Indian tongue;
but it is disguised by early orthography, in which the letter _l_ has
taken the place of _n_, and the syllable _in_ of _au_. The term _kakina_
is the ancient French form of the Indian transitive-adjective _all_,
inclusive, entirely. There is another root for the term in _kakiwa_,
which is the ordinary term for a portage, or walk across a point of
land, which is rendered local by the usual inflection, _o-nong_.

We found the portage path to be a well-beaten wagon road across a level
fertile plain, which appeared to have been in cultivation from the
earliest Indian period. Probably it had been a locality for the tribes,
where they raised their favorite maize, long before the French first
reached the waters of Green Bay. Evidence of such antiquity in the plain
of Kákala appeared in an ancient cemetery of a circular shape, situated
on one side of the road, on a comparatively large surface, which had
reached the height of some eight or ten feet, by the mere accumulation
of graves. This has all the appearance of a sepulchral mound, in the
slow process of construction; for, on viewing it, I found a recent
grave. We passed, on this plain, a Winnebago village of ten or twelve
lodges, embracing two hundred souls. The portage is continued just one
mile. Embarking again, at this point, we proceeded down the river, and
encamped eight miles below this point, having, with every exertion, made
but twenty miles this day.

The interest which had been excited by the conchology of the
Mississippi and Wisconsin valleys, was renewed in the descent of the Fox
River, particularly in the section of it below Winnebago Lake. Shrunk to
its lowest summer level, its shores disclosed almost innumerable species
of unios, many of which had been manifestly dragged to the shores and
opened by the muskrat, thus serving to give hints for finding the living
species. Among these, the U. obliqua, U. cornutus, U. ellipticus, U.
carinatus, U. Alatus, U. prælongus, and U. parvus, were conspicuous; the
latter of which, it is remarked by Mr. Barnes, is the smallest and most
beautiful of all the genus yet discovered in America.[123] In the
duplicates, from this part of the Fox River, transmitted to Mr. Isaac
Lea, of Philadelphia, he found a species with green-rayed beaks, on a
yellow surface and iridescent nacre, having a peculiar structure, which
he did me the honor to name after me.[124] The description of Mr. Lea is
as follows: "Unio Schoolcraftensis. Shell subrotund, somewhat angular at
posterior dorsal margin, nearly equilateral, compressed, slightly
tuberculate posteriorly to umbonical slope. Substance of the shell
rather thick; beaks elevated; ligament short; epidermis smooth yellow,
with several broad green rays; teeth elevated, and cleft in the left
valve, single, and rising from a pit in the right; lateral teeth
elevated, straight, and lamellar; anterior cicatrices distinct,
posterior cicatrices confluent; dorsal cicatrices within the cavity of
the shell on the base of the cardinal tooth; cavity of the beaks angular
and deep; nacre pearly white and iridescent. Diameter ·7, length 1·1,
breadth 1·3 inches."

  [123] Amer. Journ. Science, vol. vi. pp. 120, 259, &c.

  [124] Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. v. p.
  37; plate 3, fig. 9.

The next morning (20th), a heavy fog in the Fox Valley detained us in
our encampment till 7 o'clock. Six miles brought us to another rapid,
called the Little Kakala, which, however, opposes no obstacle to the
descent of canoes. At this spot, which is the apparent western terminus
of the Bay settlement, we found a party of U. S. soldiers, from Fort
Howard, engaged in digging the foundations for a saw-mill. Our
appearance must have been somewhat rusty at this time, from our
deficiences in the tonsorial and sempstrescal way, for these sons of
Mars did not recognize their superior officers in Capt. Douglass and Lt.
Mackay; glibly saying, in a jolly way, as they handed them a drink of
water: "After me, sir, is manners;" and drinking off the first cup. At
this rapid I got out of my canoe, wishing to see the geological
formation more fully, and walked quite to the Rapide du Pere, where Fox
River finds its level in the broad, elongated, and lake-like tongue of
water, extending up from the head of Green Bay. On reaching this point,
the scene of the settlement first burst on our view, with its
farm-houses and cultivated fields stretching, for five miles, along both
banks of the river; disclosing the flagstaff of the distant fort, and
the bannered masts of vessels, all of which brought vividly to mind our
approach to the civilized world. If the Canadian boat-song was ever
exhilarating and appropriate, it was peculiarly so on the present
occasion; and when our _voyageurs_ burst out, in full chorus, with the
ancient ditty, beginning,

    "_La fille du Roi son vout chassau,
    Avec son grande fusee d'largent_,"

they waked up a responsive feeling, not alone in the breasts of the
French _habitans_, lining the shores of the river, but in our own
breasts. On reaching the fort, the salute due to the governor of a
territory was paid, in honor of our leader, Governor Cass; and in
exchanging congratulations with the officers and citizens, we began
first to feel, in reality, that, after passing among many savage tribes,
our scalps were still safely on our heads. I found, at the fort, letters
from my friends, and was thus reminded that warm sympathies had been
alive for our fate. Weary regions had now been past, and privations
endured, of which we thought little, at the time; the flag of the Union
had been carried among barbarous tribes, who hardly knew there was such
a power as the United States, or, if they knew, despised it; and some
information had been gathered, which it was hoped would enlarge the
boundaries of science, and would at the same time send a thrill of
satisfaction, and impart a feeling of security, along the whole line of
the advanced and extended western settlements. If Berkeley, in the dark
days of the Commonwealth of England, could turn to the West, with
exultation, as the hope of the nation, it must be admitted that it is by
some out-door means, like this, that the way for the car of "empire"
must be prepared.

We found the fort, which bears the name of Howard, in charge of Capt.
W. Wistler, during the absence of Col. Joseph L. Smith. Its strength
consists of three hundred men, together with about the same number of
infantry at Camp Smith, at Rock or Dupere Rapid, a few miles above, who
are engaged in quarrying stone for a permanent fortification at that
point. On visiting this quarry, I found it to consist of a bluish-gray
limestone, semi-crystalline in its structure, containing small
disseminated masses of sulphuret of zinc, calcspar, and iron pyrites,
and corresponding, in every respect, with the beds of this rock observed
along the upper parts of the Fox and Wisconsin valleys.

Fort Howard is seated on a handsome fertile plain, on the north banks of
the Fox, near its mouth. It consists of a stockade of timber, thirty
feet high, inclosing barracks, which face three sides of a quadrangle.
This forms a fine parade. There are blockhouses, mounting guns, at the
angles, and quarters for the surgeon and quartermaster, separately
constructed. The whole is whitewashed, and presents a neat military
appearance. The gardens of the military denote the most fruitful soil
and genial climate. Data observed by the surgeon, indicate the site to
be unexcelled for its salubrity, such a disease as fever, of any kind,
never having visited it, in either an endemic or epidemic form.

The name of Green Bay is associated with our earliest ideas of French
history in America. When La Salle visited the country in the 17th
century, it had been many years known to the French, and was esteemed
one of the prime posts for trading with the Indians. The chief tribes
who were located here, and in the vicinity, making this their central
point of trade, were the _Puants_, i. e. Winnebagoes, Malomonies, or
Folle Avoins, known to us as Menomonies, Sacs, and Foxes, called also
Sakis, Outagami, and Renouards, and it was also the seat of trade for
the equivocal tribe of the Mascoutins. The present inhabitants are, with
few exceptions, descendants of the original French, who intermarried
with Indian women, and who still speak the French and Indian languages.
They are indolent, gay, and illiterate. I was told there were five
hundred inhabitants, and about sixty principal dwellings, beside
temporary structures. There are seventy inhabitants enrolled as
militia-men, and the settlement has civil courts, being the seat of
justice from Brown County, Michigan, so called in honor of Major-General
Jacob Brown, U. S. A. The place is surrounded by the woodlands and
forests, and seems destined to be an important lake-port.[125] The
Algonquin name for this place is Boatchweekwaid, a term which describes
an eccentric or abrupt bay, or inlet. Nothing could more truly depict
its singular position; it is, in fact, a kind of cul-de-sac--a
duplicature of Lake Michigan, with the coast-shore of which it lies
parallel for about ninety miles.

  [125] GREEN BAY. This town has just (1854) been incorporated as a
  city, the anticipations respecting it having been slow in being
  realized. It has now an estimated population of 3,000, with several
  churches in a healthy and flourishing state, two printing presses, a
  post-office, collectorship, and thriving agricultural and commercial
  advantages, which will be fully realized when the internal
  improvements in process of construction through the Fox and Wisconsin
  valleys are finished. Its extreme salubrity has, it seems, been
  disregarded by emigrants.

The singular configuration of this bay appears to be the chief cause of
the appearances of a tide at the point where it is entered by Fox River.
This phenomenon was early noticed by the French. La Hontan mentions it
in 1689. Charlevoix remarks on it in 1721, and suggests its probable
cause, which is, in his opinion, explained by the fact that Lakes
Michigan and Huron, alternately empty themselves into each other through
the Straits of Michilimackinac. The effects of such a flux and reflux,
under the power of the winds, would appear to place Green Bay in the
position of a siphon, on the west of Lake Michigan, and go far to
account for the singular fluctuations of the current at the mouth of the
Fox River. On reaching this spot of the rising and falling of the lake
waters, Governor Cass caused observations to be made, which he greatly
extended at a subsequent period.[126] These give no countenance to the
theory of regular tides, but denote the changes in the level of the
waters to be eccentrically irregular, and dependent, so far as the
observations extend, altogether on the condition of the winds and
currents of the lakes.

  [126] American Journal of Science, vol. xvii.

Something analogous to this is perceived in the Baltic, which has no
regular tides, and therefore experiences no difference of height, except
when the wind blows violently. "At such times," says Pennant,[127]
"there is a current in and out of the Baltic, according to the points
they blow from, which forces the water through the sound, with the
velocity of two or three Danish miles in the hour. When the wind blows
violently from the German Sea, the water rises in several Baltic
harbors, and gives those in the western tract a temporary saltness;
otherwise, the Baltic loses that other property of a sea, by reason of
the want of tide, and the quantity of vast rivers it receives, which
sweeten it so much as to render it, in many places, fit for domestic

  [127] Arctic Geology.


  The expedition traces the west shores of Lake Michigan southerly to
    Chicago--Outline of the journey along this coast--Sites of
    Manitoowoc, Sheboigan, Milwaukie, Racine, and Chicago, being the
    present chief towns and cities of Wisconsin and Illinois on the
    west shores of that Lake--Final reorganization of the party and
    departure from Chicago.

Two days spent in preparations to reorganize the expedition, enabled it
to continue its explorations. For the purpose of tracing the western and
northern shores of Green Bay, and the northern shores of Lake Michigan,
a sub-expedition was fitted out, under Mr. Trowbridge, our
sub-topographer, who was accompanied by Mr. J. D. Doty, Mr. Alex. R.
Chase, and James Riley, the Chippewa interpreter. The auxiliary Indians,
who had, thus far, attended us in a separate canoe, were rewarded for
their services, furnished with provisions to reach their homes, and
dismissed. The escort of soldiers under Lieut. Mackay, U. S. A., were
returned to their respective companies at Fort Howard and Camp Smith.
The Chippewa chief, _Iaba Wawashkash_, or the Buck, who belonged
to Michilimackinac, went with Mr. Trowbridge, together with Jo
Parks, the intelligent Shawnee captive, and assimilated Shawnee of
Waughpekennota,[128] Ohio. The Ottowa chief, Kewaygooshkum, of
Grand-River, took the rest of the party in a separate canoe to their
destination. Our collections in natural history were shipped in the
schooner Decatur, Capt. Burnham (Perry's boatswain in the memorable
naval battle of Lake Erie, Sept. 11, 1813), to Michilimackinac, together
with the extra baggage.

  [128] WAUGHPEKENNOTA. This place was _then_ the residence of the
  Shawnee tribe, under the Prophet Elksattawa, of war memory, the
  celebrated brother of Tecumseh, who, seeing the intrusive tread of
  the Americans, headed, in 1827, the first exploring party of the
  tribe to the west of the Mississippi, where they finally settled.
  After living twenty-seven years at this spot, they found themselves
  within the newly-erected territory of Kansas, and sold their surplus
  lands to the U. States by a treaty concluded at Washington in May,
  1854, the said Parks being at this time first chief of the Shawnee

Thus relieved in numbers and canoe-hamper, we were reduced to two
canoes; the travelling family of Gov. Cass now consisted of Capt.
Douglass, Dr. Wolcott, Maj. Forsyth, Lieut. Mackay, and myself. Leaving
Fort Howard at two o'clock P. M., we parted with Mr. Trowbridge and his
party at the mouth of Fox River, at half past two, and taking the other,
or east side of the bay, proceeded along its shores about twenty-five
miles, and encamped on the coast called Red Banks. This is a term
translated from the Winnebago name, which is renowned in their
traditions as the earliest spot which they can recollect. They dwelt
here when the French first reached Green Bay in their discoveries in the
seventeenth century. Here, then, is a test of the value and continuity
of Indian tradition, so far as this tribe is concerned, for admitting,
what is doubtful, that the French reached this point so early as 1650,
the period of recognized Winnebago history, as proved by geography,
reaches but 170 years prior to the above date.

In a short time after entering the bay, we were overtaken by
Kewaygooshkum and his party, who travelled and encamped with us. In the
course of the evening he pointed out a rocky island, at three or four
miles distance, containing a large cavern, which has been used by the
Indians from early times as a repository for the dead. The chief, as he
pointed to it, as if absorbed in a spirit of ancestral reverence, seemed
to say:--

    "It hath a charm the stranger knoweth not,
    It is the [sepulchre] of mine ancestry;
    There is an inspiration in its shade,
    The echoes of its walls are eloquent,
    The words they speak are of the glorious dead;
    Its tenants are not human--they are more!
    The stones have voices, and the walls do live;
    It is the home of memories dearly honored
    By many a trace of long departed glory."

The appearance of ancient cultivation of this coast is such as to give
semblance to the Winnebago tradition of its having been their former
residence. The lands are fertile, alluvion, bearing a secondary growth
of trees, mingled with older species of the acer saccharinum, elm, and

The next day, after traversing this coast twenty miles further, we
reached and passed up Sturgeon Bay, to a portage path leading to Lake
Michigan. This path begins in low grounds, where several of the swamp
species of plants occur. On reaching the open shores of Lake Michigan,
the wind was found strongly ahead, and we were compelled to encamp. At
this spot we found several species of madreperes, and some other organic
forms, among the shore debris. The next day the wind abated, and,
agreeably to the estimate of Capt. Douglass, we advanced along the
shore, southwardly, forty-six miles. The day following, we made forty
miles, and reached the River Manitowakie,[129] and encamped on the lake
shore, five miles south of it.

  [129] From _Manito_, a spirit, _auk_, a standing or hollow tree that
  is under a mysterious influence, and the generic inflection _ie_,
  which is applied to vital or animate nouns. A town, at present,
  exists at the spot called Manitoowoc. It is the shire town of a
  county of the same name in Wisconsin; it has a good harbor, and by
  the census of 1850 contains four churches, twelve stores, two steam
  mills, two ship-yards, a newspaper, post-office, and 2,500
  inhabitants. We found the site inhabited by a village Monomonees of
  six lodges.

In passing along the lake shore this day (25th), we observed it to be
strewed abundantly with the carcasses of dead pigeons. This bird, we
were told, is often overcome by the fatigue of long flights, or storms,
in crossing the lake, and entire flocks drowned. This causes the shores
to be visited by great numbers of hawks, eagles, and other birds of
prey. The Indians only make use of those carcasses of pigeons, as food,
when they are first cast on shore.

The next day the expedition passed the mouth of the Sheboigan River, a
stream originating not remotely from the banks of Winnebago Lake, with
which, as the name indicates, there is a portage or passage
through.[130] Pushing forward with every force during the day, we
reached the mouth of the Milwaukie River, and encamped on the beach some
time after dark. This is a large and important river, and is connected
by an Indian portage with the Rock River of the Mississippi. The next
morning adverse winds confined us to this spot, where we remained a
considerable part of the day, which enabled us to explore the locality.
We found it to be the site of a Pottawattomie village. There were two
American families located at that place, engaged in the Indian trade.

  [130] _Shebiau_, is to look critically; _shebiabunjegun_, a spy-glass
  or instrument to look through. Sheboigan appears to have its
  termination from the word _gan_, a lake, and the combination denotes
  a river, or water pass from lake to lake. This place is now (1854) a
  town and county site of Wisconsin. The county was organized in 1839,
  and by the last census has seven churches, two newspapers, 624 pupils
  at schools, and a population of 8,379. The town of this name contains
  2,000 inhabitants. It is 62 miles N. from Milwaukie, and 110 N. E.
  from Madison, the State capital. It has a plank road of 40 miles to
  Fond du Lac, and is noted for its lumber trade.

The name of Milwaukie,[131] exhibits an instance of which there are many
others, in which the French have substituted the sound of the letter _l_
in place of _n_, in Indian words. _Min_, in the Algonquin languages
signifies _good_. _Waukie_, is a derivative from _auki_, earth or land,
the fertility of the soil, along the banks of that stream, being the
characteristic trait which is described in the Indian compound.

  [131] Milwaukie is the principal city of the State of Wisconsin. It
  lies in latitude 43° 3´ 45´´ North. It is ninety miles north of
  Chicago and seventy-five east from Madison. It contains thirty
  churches, five public high schools, two academies, five orphan
  asylums, and other benevolent institutions, seven daily and seven
  weekly newspapers, four banks, and, by the census of 1850, 20,161

When the wind lulled so as to permit embarkation, we proceeded on our
course. At the computed distance of five miles, we observed a bed of
light-colored tertiary clay, possessing a compactness, tenacity, and
feel, which denote its utility in the arts. This bed, after a break of
many miles in the shores, reappears in thicker and more massive layers,
at eight or ten miles distance. The waves dashing against this elevated
bank of clay,[132] have liberated balls and crystallized-masses of
sulphuret of iron.

  [132] An admired kind of cream-colored bricks are manufactured from
  portions of the clay found near Milwaukie.

Some of the more recently exposed masses of this mineral are of a bright
brass color. The tendency of their crystallization is to restore
octahedral and cubical forms. We advanced along this shore about
thirty-five miles, encamping on an eligible part of the beach before
dark. I found, in examining the mineralogy of the coast, masses of
detached limestone, containing fissures filled with asphaltum. On
breaking these masses, and laying open the fissures, the substance
assumed the form of naphtha. We observed among the plants along this
portion of coast, the tradescantia virginica, and T. liatris, and
squarrosa scariosa.[133] By scrutinizing the wave-moved pebble-drift
along shore, it is evident that inferior positions, in the geological
basin of Lake Michigan, contain slaty, or bituminous coal, masses of
which were developed.

  [133] Dr. J. Torrey, _Am. Journ. Science_, vol. 4, p. 56.

The next day's journey, 28th, carried us forty miles, in which distance,
the most noticeable fact in the topography of the coast, was the
entrance of the Racine, or Root River;[134] its eligible shores being
occupied by some Pottawattomie lodges. Having reached within ten or
twelve miles of Chicago, and being anxious to make that point, we were
in motion at a very early hour on the morning of the 29th, and reached
the village at five o'clock A. M. We found four or five families living
here, the principal of which were those of Mr. John Kinzie, Dr. A.
Wolcott, J. B. Bobian, and Mr. J. Crafts, the latter living a short
distance up the river. The Pottawattomies, to whom this site is the
capital of their trade, appeared to be lords of the soil, and truly are
entitled to the epithet, if laziness, and an utter inappreciation of the
value of time, be a test of lordliness. Dr. Wolcott, being the U. S.
Agent for this tribe, found himself at home here, and constitutes no
further, a member of the expedition. Gov. Cass determined to return to
Detroit from this point, on horseback, across the peninsula of Michigan,
accompanied by Lt. Mackay, U. S. A., Maj. Forsyth, his private
secretary, and the necessary number of men and pack horses to prepare
their night encampments. This left Capt. Douglass and myself to continue
the survey of the Lakes, and after reaching Michilimackinac and
rejoining the party of Mr. Trowbridge, to return to Detroit from that

  [134] RACINE.--This is now the second city in size in the State of
  Wisconsin. By the census of 1850, its population is 5,110. It has a
  harbor which admits vessels drawing twelve feet water; it has
  fourteen churches, a high school, college, bank, several newspapers,
  three ship-yards, and exhibits more than two millions of imports and
  exports. The settlement was commenced in 1835.

The preparation for these ends occupied a couple of days, which gave us
an opportunity to scan the vicinity. We found the post (Fort Dearborn)
under the command of Capt. Bradley, with a force of one hundred and
sixty men. The river is ample and deep for a few miles, but is utterly
choked up by the lake sands, through which, behind a masked margin, it
oozes its way for a mile or two, till it percolates through the sands
into the lake. Its banks consist of a black arenaceous fertile soil,
which is stated to produce abundantly, in its season, the wild species
of cepa, or leek. This circumstance has led the natives to name it the
place of the wild leek. Such is the origin of the term Chicago,[135]
which is a derivative, by elision and French annotation, from the word
_Chi-kaug-ong_. _Kaug_, is the Algonquin name for the hystrix, or
porcupine. It takes the prefix _Chi_, when applied to the mustela
putorius. The particle _Chi_, is the common prefix of nouns to denote
greatness in any natural object, but it is also employed, as here, to
mean increase, or excess, as acridness, or pungency, in quality. The
penultimate _ong_, denotes locality. The putorius is so named from this
plant, and not, as has been thought, the plant from it. I took the
sketch, which is reproduced in the fourth vol. of my _Ethnological
Researches_, Plate xxvii., from a standpoint on the flat of sand which
stretched in front of the place. This view embraces every house in the
village, with the fort; and if the reproduction of the artist in vol.
iv. may be subjected to any criticism, it is, perhaps, that the stockade
bears too great a proportion to the scene, while the precipice observed
in the shore line of sand, is wholly wanting in the original.

  [135] CHICAGO is the largest city of the State of Illinois, excelling
  all others in its commercial and business capacities, and public and
  moral influences. Standing on the borders of the great western
  prairies, it is the great city of the plains, and its growth cannot
  be limited, or can scarcely be estimated. It began to be built about
  1831, eleven years after this visit. It was incorporated as a city in
  1836, with 4,853 inhabitants. In 1850, it had 29,963, and it is now
  estimated to exceed 60,000. This city lies in lat. 41° 52´ 20´´. It
  is connected by lakes, canals, and railroads, with the most distant
  regions. Its imports and exports the last year, were twenty millions.
  Like all the cities and towns of America, its political and moral
  influence, are seen to keep an exact pace with its sound religious
  influences; the number of churches and newspapers, having a certain
  fixed relation. More than any other city of the West, its position
  destines it to be another Nineveh.

The country around Chicago is the most fertile and beautiful that can be
imagined. It consists of an intermixture of woods and prairies,
diversified with gentle slopes, sometimes attaining the elevation of
hills, and it is irrigated with a number of clear streams and rivers,
which throw their waters partly into Lake Michigan, and partly into the
Mississippi River. As a farming country, it presents the greatest
facilities for raising stock and grains, and it is one of the most
favored parts of the Mississippi Valley; the climate has a delightful
serenity, and it must, as soon as the Indian title is extinguished,[136]
become one of the most attractive fields for the emigrant. To the
ordinary advantages of an agricultural market town, it must add that of
being a depot for the commerce between the northern and southern
sections of the Union, and a great thoroughfare for strangers,
merchants, and travellers.

  [136] This was done in 1821; having been, myself, secretary to the
  Commissioners, Gov. Cass and Hon. Sol. Sibley, who were appointed to
  treat with the Indians. Vide _Indian Treaties_, p. 297.

The Milwaukie clays to which I have adverted, do not extend thus far,
although the argillaceous deposits found, appear to be destitute of the
oxide of iron, for the bricks produced from them burn white. There is a
locality of bituminous coal on Fox River, about forty miles south. Near,
the junction of the Desplaines River with the Kankakee, there exists in
the semi-crystalline or sedimentary limestone, a remarkable

  [137] FOSSIL FLORA OF THE WEST.--Of this gigantic specimen of the
  geological flora of the newer rocks of the Mississippi Valley, I
  published a memoir in 1822, founded on a personal examination of the
  phenomena. Albany, E. and E. Hosford, 24 pp. 8vo. This paper (_Vide_
  Appendix) was prepared for the American Geological Society, at New
  Haven. See _American Journ. Science_, vol. 4, p. 285; See also, vol.
  5, p. 23, for appreciating testimony of the value of geological
  science (then coming into notice), from Ex-Presidents John Adams,
  Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, to whom copies of it were


  South and Eastern borders of Lake Michigan--Their Flora and
    Fauna--Incidents of the journey--Topography--Geology, Botany, and
    Mineralogy--Indian Tribes--Burial-place of Marquette--Ruins of the
    post of old Mackinac--Reach Michilimackinac after a canoe journey
    north of four hundred miles.

It was now the last day of August. Having partaken of the hospitalities
of Mr. Kinzie, and of Captains Bradley and Green, of Fort Dearborn,
during our stay at Chicago, and completed the reorganization of our
parties, we separated on the last day of the month, at two o'clock P.
M.; Gov. Cass and his party, on horseback, taking the old Indian trail
to Detroit, and Capt. Douglass and myself being left, with two canoes,
to complete the circumnavigation of the lakes. We did not delay our
departure over thirty minutes, but bidding adieu to Dr. Wolcott, whose
manners, judgment, and intelligence had commanded our respect during the
journey, embarked with two canoes; our steersmen immediately hoisted
their square sails, and, favored by a good breeze, we proceeded twenty
miles along the southern curve, at the head of Lake Michigan, and

Within two miles of Chicago, we passed, on the open shores of the lake,
the scene of the massacre of Chicago, of the 15th of August, 1812, being
the day after the surrender of Detroit by Gen. Hull. Gloom hung, at that
eventful period, over every part of our western borders. Michilimackinac
had already been carried by surprise; and the ill-advised order to
evacuate Chicago, was deemed by the Indians an admission that the
Americans were to be driven from the country. The Pottawattomies
determined to show the power of their hostility on this occasion. Capt.
Heald, the commanding officer, having received Gen. Hull's order to
abandon the post, and having an escort of thirty friendly Miamis, from
Fort Wayne, under Captain Wells, had quitted the fort at nine o'clock
in the morning, with fifty-four regulars, a subaltern, physician, twelve
militia, and the necessary baggage wagons for the provisions and
ammunition, which contained eighteen soldiers, women and children. They
had not proceeded more than a mile and a half along the shore of the
lake, when an ambuscade of Indians was discovered behind the sand-hills
which encompass the flat sandy shore. The horrid yell, which rose on the
discovery being made, was accompanied by a general and deadly fire from
them. Several men fell at the first fire, but Capt. Heald formed his
men, and effected a charge up the bank, which dispersed his assailants.
It was only, however, to find the enemy return by a flank movement, in
which their numbers gave them the victory. In a few moments, out of his
effective force of sixty-six men, but sixteen survived. With these, he
succeeded in drawing off to a position in the prairie, where he was not
followed by the Indians. On a negotiation, opened by a chief called
Mukudapenais, he surrendered, under promise of security for their lives.
This promise was afterwards violated, with the exception of himself and
three or four men. Among the slain was Ensign Ronan, Dr. Voorhis, and
Capt. Wells. The latter had his heart cut out, and his body received
other shocking indignities. The saddest part of the tragedy was the
attack on the women and children who occupied the baggage wagons, and
were all slain. Several of the women fought with swords. During the
action, a sergeant of infantry ran his bayonet through the heart of an
Indian who had lifted his tomahawk to strike him; not being able to
withdraw the instrument, it served to hold up the Indian, who actually
tomahawked him in this position, and both fell dead together.[138] The
Miamis remained neuter in this massacre. Mr. Kinzie, of Chicago, of
whose hospitalities we had partaken, was a witness of this transaction,
and furnished the principal facts of this narrative.

  [138] Gouverneur Morris recites a similar incident at the battle of
  Oriskany, in 1777.--_Coll. New York Hist. Soc._

The morning (Sept. 1) opened with a perfect gale, and we were _degradè_,
to use a Canadian term, all day; the waves dashed against the shore with
a violence that made it impossible to take the lake with canoes, and
would have rendered it perilous even to a large vessel. This violence
continued, with no perceptible diminution, during the day. As a mode of
relief from the tedium of delay, a short excursion was made into the
prairie. I found a few species of the unio, in a partially choked up
branch of the Konamek. Capt. Douglass improved the time by taking
observations for the latitude, and we footed around ten miles of the
extreme southern head of the lake. It is edged with sand-hills, bearing
pines. A few dead valves of the fresh-water muscle were found on the

On the following day the wind lulled, when we proceeded fifty-four
miles, passing in the distance the remains of the schooner Hercules,
which went ashore in a gale, in November, 1816, and all on board
perished; her mast, pump, spars, and the graves of the passengers, among
which, was that of Lieut. W. S. Eveleth, U. S. A., were pointed out to
us. We landed a few moments at the entrance of the River du Chemin,[139]
where the trail to Detroit leaves the lake shore. The distance to that
city is estimated at three hundred miles. Ten miles beyond this spot we
passed the little River Galien, where, at this time, the town and harbor
of New Buffalo, of Michigan, is situated, and we encamped on the shore
twelve miles beyond it.

  [139] Michigan City, of the State of Indiana, is located near this
  spot. This city has its harbor communicating with Lake Michigan
  through this creek. It has a newspaper, branch bank, railroad, and
  (in 1853) 2,353 inhabitants.

We had been travelling on a slightly curved line from Chicago to the
spot, in the latitude of 41° 52´ 20´´, and had now reached a point where
the course tends more directly to the northeast and north. By the best
accounts, the length of Lake Michigan, lying directly from south to
north, is four hundred miles. There is no other lake in America, north
or south, which traverses so many degrees of latitude, and we had reason
to expect its flora and fauna to denote some striking changes. We had
passed down its west, or Wisconsin shore, from Sturgeon Bay, finding it
to present a clear margin of forest, with many good harbors, and a
fertile, gently undulating surface. But we were now to encounter another
cast of scenery. It is manifest, from a survey of the eastern shore of
this lake, that the prevalent winds are from the west and northwest, for
they have cast up vast sand dunes along the coast, which give it an arid
appearance. These dunes are, however, but a hem on the fertile prairie
lands, not extending more than half a mile or more, and thus masking the
fertile lands. Water, in the shape of lagoons, is often accumulated
behind these sand-banks, and the force of the winds is such as to choke
and sometimes entirely shut up the mouth of its rivers. We had found
this hem of sand-hills extending around the southern shore of the lake
from the vicinity of Chicago, and soon found that it gave an appearance
of sterility to the country that it by no means merited. On reaching the
mouth of St. Joseph's River (3d), a full exemplification of this
striking effect of the lake action was exhibited. This is one of the
largest rivers of the peninsula, running for more than a hundred and
twenty miles through a succession of rich plains and prairies; yet its
mouth, which carries a large volume of water into the lake, is rendered
difficult of entrance to vessels, and its lake-borders are loaded with
drifts of shifting sand.

The next day's journey carried us fifty miles; and, on proceeding ten
miles further on the 4th, we reached the mouth of the Kalamazoo.[140]
Before reaching this river, I discovered on the beach a body of detached
orbicular masses of the calcareous marl called septaria--the ludus
helmontii of the old mineralogists. On breaking some of these masses,
they disclosed small crystalline seams of sulphuret of zinc. The
Kalamazoo irrigates a fine tract of the most fertile and beautiful
prairies of Michigan, which, at the date of the revision of this
journal, is studded with flourishing towns and villages.

  [140] KALAMAZOO. This word is the contraction of an Indian phrase
  descriptive of the stones seen through the water in its bed, which,
  from a refractive power in the current, resembles an otter swimming
  under water. Hence the original term, Negikanamazoo. This term has
  its root forms in _negik_, an otter, the verb _kana_, to hide, and
  _ozoo_, a quadruped's tail. The letter _l_ is the mere transposition
  of _l_ in native words passing from the Indian to the Indo-French

Fifteen miles further progress towards the north, brought us to the
mouth of Grand River--the Washtenong of the Indians--which is, I believe
the largest and longest stream of the Michigan peninsula. It is the
boundary between the hunting-grounds of the Pottowattomies (who have
thus far claimed jurisdiction from Chicago) and the Ottowas. The latter
live in large numbers at its rapids and on its various tributaries.[141]
The next stream of note we encountered was the Maskigon, twelve miles
north of Grand River, where we encamped, having travelled, during the
day, fifty-four miles. The view of this scene was impressive from its
bleakness, the dunes of sand being more at the mercy of the winds. I
found here a large, branching specimen of the club-fungus, attached to a
dead specimen of the populus tremuloides, which had been completely
penetrated by these drifting sands, so as to present quite the
appearance, and no little part of the hardness and consistency, of a
fossil. The following figure of this transformation from a fungus to a
semi-stony body, presents a perfect outline of it as sketched in its
original position.

  [141] OTTOWAS. So late as 1841, the number of the tribe, reported to
  the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Michigan, was 1,391, which
  was divided into 13 villages, scattered over its whole
  valley.--_Schoolcraft's Report on Indian Affairs_, Detroit, A. S.
  Bagg, 1840.


On the day of our departure from the Maskigon, we enjoyed fine weather
and favorable winds, and proceeded, from the data of Captain Douglass,
seventy miles, and encamped a few miles beyond the Sandy River. In this
line of coast, we passed, successively, the White, Pentwater, and
Marquette. Of these, the latter, both from its size and its historical
associations, is by far the most important; for it was at this spot,
after having spent years of devotion in the cause of missions in New
France--in the course of which he discovered the Mississippi River--that
this zealous servant of God laid down in his tent, after a hard day's
travel, and surrendered up his life. The event occurred on the 8th of
May, 1675, but two years after his grand discovery. Marquette was a
native of Laon, in Picardy, where his family was of distinguished rank.
The precise moment of his death was not witnessed, his men having
retired to leave him to his devotions, but returning, in a short time,
found him lifeless. They carried his body to the mission of old
Michilimackinac, of which he was the founder, where it was

  [142] PLACE OF INTERMENT OF MARQUETTE. It is known that the mission
  of Michilimackinac fell on the downfall of the Jesuits. When the post
  of Michilimackinac was removed from the peninsula to the island,
  about 1780, the bones of the missionary were transferred to the old
  Catholic burial-ground, in the village on the island. There they
  remained till a land or property question arose to agitate the
  church, and, when the crisis happened, the whole graveyard was
  disturbed, and his bones, with others, were transferred to the Indian
  village of La Crosse, which is in the vicinity of L'Arbre Croche,

It rained the next morning (6th), by which we lost two hours, and we had
some unfavorable winds, but, by dint of hard pushing, we made forty-five
miles, and slept at Gravelly Point. In this line we passed successively,
at distances of seventeen and thirty miles, the rivers Manistic and
_Becsie_, which is the Canadian phrase for the anas canadensis. Clouds
and murky weather still hovered around us on the next morning, but we
left our encampment at an early hour. Thirteen miles brought us to the
Omicomico, or Plate River, nine miles beyond which found us in front of
a remarkable and very elevated sand June, called the Sleeping Bear--a
fanciful term, derived from the Indian, through the French _l'ours qui
dormis_. Opposite this feature in the coast geology, lie the two large
wooded islands called the Minitos--well-known objects to all mariners
who venture into the vast unsheltered basin of the southern body of Lake
Michigan. Thirty miles beyond this sandy elevation, brought us to the
southern cape of Grand Traverse Bay, where we encamped, having advanced
fifty-two miles. This was the first place where we had noticed rocks in
situ, since passing the little Konamic River, near Chicago. It proved to
be limestone, of the same apparent era of the calcareous rock which we
had observed at Sturgeon Bay and the contiguous west shore of Lake
Michigan. The line of lake coast included in this remark is three
hundred and twenty miles; during all which distance the coast seems, but
only seems, to be the sport of the fierce gales and storms, for there is
reason to believe that the formations of drift clay, sand, and gravel
rest, at various depths, on a stratification of solid, permanent rock.
To us, however, it proved a barren field for the collection of both
geological and mineralogical specimens. There were gleaned some rolled
specimens of organic remains, of no further use than to denote the
occurrence of these in some part of a vast basin. There was a specimen
of gypsum from Grand River. The few patches of iron sand I had noticed,
were hardly worthy of record after the heavy beds of this mineral which
we had passed in Lake Superior. The same remark may be made of the few
rolled fragments of calcedonies, and other varieties of the quartz
family, gleaned up along its shores, for neither of these constitute a
reliable locality.

[Illustration: Petrified leaf of the _Fagus Ferruginea_.]

Of the floræ and fauna we had been observant, but the sandy character of
the mere coast line greatly narrowed the former, in which Captain
Douglass found but little to preserve, beyond the parnassia caroliniana
and seottia cerna.[143] The fury of the waves renders it a region wholly
unfitted to the whole tribe of fresh-water shells. A petrifaction of the
fagus ferruginia, brought from a spring on the banks of the St. Joseph's
River by Gov. Cass, on his home route, on horseback, presented the
petrifying process in one of its most perfect forms (_vide_ p. 206).
Surfeited with a species of scenery in which the naked sand dunes were
often painful to the eye, from their ophthalmic influence, and of
geological prostrations which seemed to lay the coast in ruins, we were
glad to reach the solid rock formations, supporting, as they did, a soil
favorable to green forests.

  [143] Dr. John Torrey, _Am. Journ. Science_, vol. iv.

A partial eclipse of the sun had been calculated for the 5th of
September (1820), to commence at seven o'clock, twenty minutes; but,
though we were on the lake, and anxious to note it, the weather proved
to be too much overcast, and no effects of it were observed. This
eclipse was observed, according to the predictions, at Philadelphia.

The morning of the 8th proved calm, which permitted us to cross the
mouth of Grand Traverse Bay. This piece of water is nine miles across,
with an unexplored depth, and has some 300 Chippewas living on its
borders. Six miles north of this point, we reached and crossed Little
Traverse Bay, which is occupied by Ottawas. These two tribes are close
confederates, speak dialects of the same language which is readily
understood by both, and live on the most friendly terms. The Ottowas on
the head of Little Traverse Bay, and on the adjoining coast of Lake
Michigan--which, from its principal village, bears the names of Village
of the Cross, and of Waganukizzie,[144] or L'Arbre Croche--are, to a
great extent, cultivators of the soil, and have adopted the use of hats,
and the French _capot_, having laid aside paints and feathers. They
raise large quantities of Indian corn for the Mackinac market, and
manufacture, in the season, from the sap of the acer saccharinum,
considerable quantities of maple sugar, which is put up, in somewhat
elongated bark boxes, called muckucks, in which it is carried to the
same market. We found them, wherever they were encountered, a people of
friendly manners and comity.

  [144] From _Waganuk_, a crooked or croched tree, and _izzie_, an
  animate termination, denoting existence or being, carrying the idea
  of its being charmed or enchanted.

We were now drawing toward the foot of Lake Michigan, at the point where
this inland sea is connected, through the Straits of Michilimackinac,
with Lake Huron. A cluster of islands, called the Beaver Islands, had
been in sight on our left hand, since passing the coast of the Sleeping
Bear, which are noted as affording good anchorage ground to vessels
navigating the lake. It is twenty-five miles from the site of the old
French mission, near L'Arbre Croche, to the end of point
Wagoshance,[145] which is the southeast cape of the Straits of
Michilimackinac, and nine miles from thence to the Island. Along the
bleak coast of this storm-beaten, horizontal limestone rock, with a thin
covering of drift, we diligently passed. Night overtook us as we came
through the straits, hugging their eastern shore, and we encamped on a
little circular open bay, long after it became pitchy dark. We had
traversed a coast line of fifty-seven miles, and were glad, after a
refreshing cup of tea and our usual meal, to retire to our pallets.

  [145] Little Fox Point. This word comes from _Wagoush_, a fox, and
  the denominative inflection a _ainc_ or _aiñs_.

The next morning revealed our position. We were at the ancient site of
old Michilimackinac--a spot celebrated in the early missionary annals
and history of New France. This was, indeed, one of the first points
settled by the French after Cadaracqui, being a missionary and trading
station before the foundation of Fort Niagara, in 1678; for La Salle,
after determining on the latter, proceeded, the same fall, up the lakes
to this point, which he installed with a military element. The mission
of St. Ignace had before been attempted on the north shore of the
straits, but it was finally removed here by the advice of Marquette. On
gazing at the straits, they were found to be agitated by a perfect gale.
This gave time for examining the vicinity. It was found a deserted
plain, overspread with sand, in many parts, with the ruins of former
occupancy piercing through these sandy drifts, which gave it an air of
perfect desolation. By far the most conspicuous among these ruins, was
the stone foundation of the ancient fort, and the excavations of the
exterior buildings, which had evidently composed a part of the military
or missionary plan. Not a house, not a cultivated field, not a fence was
to be seen. The remains of broken pottery, and pieces of black bottles,
irridescent from age, served impressively to show that men had once
eaten and drank here. It was in 1763, in the outbreak of the Pontiac
war, that this fort, then recently surrendered to the English, was
captured, by a _coup-de-main_, by the Indians. The English, probably
doubting its safety, during the American Revolution, removed the
garrison to the island, which had, indeed, furnished the name of
Michilimackinac before; for the Indians had, _ab initio_, called the old
post Peekwutinong, or Headland-place, applying the other name
exclusively, as at this day, to the Gibraltar-like island which rises
up, with its picturesque cliffs, from the very depths of Lake Huron. The
sketch of this scene of desolation, with the Island in view, is given in
the second volume of my _Ethnological Researches_, Plate LIII.

After pacing the plain of this ancient point of French settlement in
every point, we returned to our tent about eleven o'clock A. M., and
deemed it practicable to attempt the crossing to the island in a light
canoe, for, although the gale was little if any abated, the wind blew
fair. I concurred in the opinion of Captain Douglass that this might be
done, and very readily assented to try it, leaving the men in the
baggage canoe to effect the passage when the wind fell. It cannot be
asserted that this passage was without hazard; for my own part, I had
too much trust in my nature to fear it, and, if we were ever wafted on
"the wings of the wind," it was on this occasion; our boatmen,
volunteers for the occasion, reefing the sails to two feet, and we owed
our success mainly to their good management. On rounding the Ottowa
point, which is the south cape of the little harbor of 'Mackinac, our
friends who had parted from us at Green Bay were among the first to
greet us. By the union of these two parties, the circumnavigation of
Lake Michigan had been completely made. The rate of travel along the
line traversed by them was computed at forty-five miles per day. They
had been eight days on the route. The coast line traversed by Captain
Douglass and myself, since quitting Chicago, is four hundred and
thirty-nine miles, giving a mean of forty-three miles per diem, of which
one entire day was lost by head winds.


  Topographical survey of the northern shores of Green Bay and of the
    entire basin of Lake Michigan--Geological and Mineralogical
    indicia of the coast line--Era of sailing vessels and of the
    steamboat on the lakes--Route along the Huron coast, and return of
    the expedition to Detroit.

The coast line traversed by the party detached from Green Bay on the 22d
of August, under Mr. Trowbridge, extended from the north shore of Fox
River to the entrance of the Monominee River, and thence around the
Little and Great Bay de Nocquet, to the northwestern cape of the
entrance of Green Bay. From the latter point, the northern shore of Lake
Michigan was traced by the Manistic, and the other smaller rivers of
that coast, to the northern cape of the Straits of Michilimackinac, and
through these to Point St. Ignace and the Island of Michilimackinac. The
line of survey, agreeably to their reckoning, embraced two hundred and
eighty miles, thus closing the topographical survey of the entire coast
line of the basin of Lake Michigan, and placing in the hands of Captain
Douglass the notes and materials for a perfect map of the lake.[146]

  [146] It is to be regretted that Capt. Douglass, who, immediately on
  the conclusion of this expedition, was appointed to an important and
  arduous professorship in the U. S. Military Academy of West Point,
  could not command the leisure to complete and publish his map and
  topographical memoir of this part of the U. S. So long as there was a
  hope of this, my report of its geology, &c., and other data intended
  for the joint PUBLIC WORK, were withheld. But in revising this
  narrative, at this time, they are submitted in the Appendix. Prof.
  Douglass, of whose useful and meritorious life, I regret that I have
  no account to offer, died as one of the Faculty of Geneva College,
  October 21, 1849.

Mr. Trowbridge, whom I had requested to note the features of its geology
and mineralogy, presented me with labelled specimens of the succession
of strata which he had collected on the route. These denoted the
continuance of the calcareous, horizontal series of formations of the
Fox Valley, and of the islands of Green Bay, quite around those northern
waters to the closing up of the surveys at Point St. Ignace and
Michilimackinac. Nor do the primitive rocks disclose themselves on any
part of that line of coast. Of this collection, Mr. Trowbridge well
observes, in his report to me, the most interesting will probably be the
organic remains. These were procured on the northeast side of Little
Nocquet Bay, where areas of limestone appear. They consist of duplicates
of the pectinite. Three layers of this, the magnesian limestone, show
themselves at this place, of which the intermediate bed is of a dull
blue color and compact structure, and is composed in a great measure of
the remains of this species. It is comparatively soft when first taken
up, but hardens by exposure. About ten miles north of this point, the
upper calcareous, or surface rock, embraces nodules of hornstone.
Specimens of a semi-crystalline limestone, labelled "marble," were also
brought from a cliff, composed of this rock, on the lake shore, about
thirty to forty miles southwest from Michilimackinac. Mr. Doty also
brought some specimens of sulphate of lime, cal. spar, and some of the
common rolled members of the quartz-drift stratum.

Michilimackinac is a name associated with our earliest ideas of history
in the upper lakes. How so formidable a polysyllabic term came to be
adopted by usage, it may be difficult to tell, till we are informed that
the inhabitants, in speaking the word, clip off the first three
syllables, leaving the last three to carry the whole meaning. The full
term is, however, perpetuated by legal enactment, this part of Michigan
having been organized into a separate county some time, I believe,
during the administration of Gen. Hull. The military gentlemen call the
fort on the cliff, "Mackin[=a]," the townspeople pronounce it Mackinaw;
but if a man be hauled up on a magistrate's writ, it is in name of the
sovereignty of Michilimackinac. Thus law and etymology grow strong

Commerce, we observe, is beginning to show itself here, but by the few
vessels we have met, while traversing these broad and stormy seas, and
their little tonnage, it seems as if they were stealthily making their
way into regions of doubtful profit at least. The fur trade employs most
of these, either in bringing up supplies, or carrying away its avails.
La Salle, when, in 1679, he built the first vessel on the lakes, and
sent it up to traffic in furs, was greatly in advance of his age; but he
could hardly have anticipated that his countrymen should have adhered so
long to the tedious and dangerous mode of making these long voyages in
the bark canoe. It is memorable in the history of the region, that last
year (1819) witnessed the first arrival of a steamer at Michilimackinac.
It bore the characteristic name of Walk-in-the-water,[147] the name of a
Wyandot chief of some local celebrity in Detroit, during the last war.

  [147] So called from the water insect, called _Miera_ by the
  Wyandots, one of the invertebrata which slips over the surface of
  water without apparently wetting its feet.--Vide _Ethnological
  Researches_, vol. ii. p. 226.

The astonishment produced upon the Indian mind by the arrival of this
steamer has been described to us as very great; but, from a fuller
acquaintance with the Indian character, we do not think him prone to
this emotion. He gazes on new objects with imperturbability, and soon
explains what he does not understand by what he does. Perceiving heat to
be the primary cause of the motion, without knowing how that motion is
generated, he calls the steamboat Ishcoda Nabequon, _i. e._ fire-vessel,
and remains profoundly ignorant of the motive power of steam. The story
of the vessel's being drawn by great fishes from the sea, is simply one
of those fictions which white loungers about the Indian posts fabricate
to supply the wants of travellers in search of the picturesque.

The winds seem to be unloosed from their mythologic bags, on the upper
lakes, with the autumnal equinox; and we found them ready for their
labors early in September; but it was not till the 13th of that month,
after a detention of two days, that we found it practicable for canoes
to leave the island. Mustering now a flotilla of three canoes, we
embarked at three o'clock P.M., with a wind from the east, being
moderately adverse, but soon got under the shelter of the island of
Boisblanc; we passed along its inner shore about ten miles, till
reaching Point aux Pins--so named from the prevalence here of the pinus
resinosa. At this point, the wind, stretching openly through this
passage from the east, compelled us to land and encamp. The next day, we
were confined to the spot by adverse winds. While thus detained, Captain
Douglass, under shelter of the island, returned to Mackinac, in a light
canoe, doubly manned, for something he had left. When he returned, the
wind had so far abated that we embarked, and crossed the separating
channel, of about four miles, to the peninsula, and encamped near the
River Cheboigan.[148] This was a tedious beginning of our voyage to
Detroit; the first day had carried us only _ten_ miles, the second but

  [148] CHEBOIGAN. This is a noted river of the extreme of the
  peninsula of Michigan, which has just been made the centre of a new
  land district by Congress. It affords a harbor for shipping, and
  communicates with Little Travers Bay on Lake Michigan. A canal
  across a short route, of easy excavation, would avoid the whole
  dangerous route through the Straits of Michilimackinac, converting
  the end of the peninsula into an island, and save ninety miles of
  dangerous travel.

We were now to retraverse the shores of the Huron, along which we had
encountered such delays in our outward passage, and the men applied
themselves to the task with that impulse which all partake of when
returning from a long journey. Winds we could not control, but every
moment of calm was improved. Paddle and song were plied by them late and
early. A violent rain-storm happened during the night, but it ceased at
daybreak, when we embarked and traversed a coast line of forty-four
miles, encamping at Presque Isle. Rain fell copiously during the night,
and the unsettled and changing state of the atmosphere kept us in
perpetual agitation during the day. Notwithstanding these changes, we
embarked at five o'clock in the morning (16th), and, by dint of
perseverance, made thirty miles. We slept on the west cape of Thunder
Bay. Next morning, we landed a few moments on the Idol Island, in
Thunder Bay, and, continuing along the sandy shore of the _au sauble_,
or Iosco coast, entered Saganaw Bay, and encamped, on its west shore, at
Sandy Point. Indians of the Chippewa language were encountered at this
spot, whose manners and habits appeared to be quite modified by long
contact with the white race.

The morning of the 18th (Sept.) proved fair, which enabled us to cross
the bay, taking the island of Shawangunk in our course, where we stopped
an hour, and re-examined its calcedonies and other minerals. We then
proceeded across to Oak Point, on its eastern shore, and, coasting down
to, and around, the precipitous cliffs of Point aux Barques, encamped in
one of its deeply-indented coves, having made, during the day, forty-two

The formation of this noted promontory consists of an ash-colored, not
very closely-compacted sandstone, through original crevices in which the
waves have scooped out entrances like vast corridors. In one of these,
which has a sandy beach at its terminus, we encamped. He who has
travelled along the shores of the lakes, and encamped on their borders,
having his ears, while on his couch, close to the formation of sand, is
early and very exactly apprised of the varying state of the wind. The
deep-sounding roar of the waves, like the deep diapason of a hundred
organs, plays over a gamut, whose rising or falling scale tells him,
immediately, whether he can put his frail canoe before the wind, or must
remain prisoner on the sand, in the sheltering nook where night
overtakes him. These notes, sounded between two long lines of cavernous
rocks, told us, long before daybreak, of a strong head wind that fixed
us to the spot for the day. I amused myself by gathering some small
species of the unio and the anadonta. Captain Douglass busied himself
with astronomical observations. We all sallied out, during the day, over
the sandy ridges of modern drift, in which the pinus resinosa had firmly
imbedded its roots, and into sphagnous depressions beyond, where we had,
in the June previous, found the sarracenia purpurea, which is the cococo
mukazin, or oral's moccasin of the Indians. Here we found, as at more
westerly points on the lake, the humble juniperus prostrata, and, in
more favorable spots, the ribes lacustre.[149]

  [149] Am. Journ. Science, vol. iv. 1822.

It was stated to us at Michilimackinac, that Lake Huron had fallen one
foot during the last year. It was also added that the decrease in the
lake waters had been noticed for many years, and that there were, in
fact, periodical depressions and refluxes at periods of seven and
fourteen years. A little reflection will, however, render it manifest
that, in a region of country so extensive and thinly populated,
observations must be vaguely made, and that many circumstances may
operate to produce deception with respect to the permanent diminution or
rise of water, as the prevalence of winds, the quantity of rain and snow
which influences these basins, and the periodical distribution of solar
heat. It has already been remarked, while at the mouth of Fox River,
that a fluctuation, resembling a tide, has been improperly thought to
exist there, and, indeed, similar phenomena appear to influence the
Baltic. Philosophers have not been wanting, who have attributed similar
appearances to the ocean itself. "It has been asserted," observed
Cuvier, "that the sea is subject to a continual diminution of its level,
and proofs of this are said to have been observed in some parts of the
shores of the Baltic. Whatever may have been the cause of these
appearances, we certainly know that nothing of the kind has been
observed upon our coast, and, consequently, that there has been no
general lowering of the waters of the ocean. The most ancient seaports
still have their quays and other erections, at the same height above the
level of the sea, as at their first construction. Certain general
movements have been supposed in the sea, from east to west, or in other
directions; but nowhere has any person been able to ascertain their
effects with the least degree of precision."[150]

  [150] Theory of the Earth. Modern geologists attribute these changes
  to the rising or sinking of the earth from volcanic forces.

On the next day (20th) the wind abated, so as to permit us, at six
o'clock A.M., to issue from our place of detention; but we soon found
the equilibrium of the atmosphere had been too much disturbed to rely on
it. At seven o'clock, and again at nine o'clock, we were driven ashore;
but as soon as it slackened we were again upon the lake; it finally
settled to a light head wind, against which we urged our way diligently,
until eight o'clock in the evening. The point where we encamped was upon
that long line of deposit of the erratic block, or boulder stratum, of
which the White Rock is one of the largest known pieces. At four o'clock
the next morning, we were again in motion, dancing up and down on the
blue waves; but after proceeding six miles the wind drove us from the
lake, and we again encamped on the boulder stratum, where we passed the
entire day. Nothing is more characteristic of the upper lake geology,
than the frequency and abundance of these boulders. The causes which
have removed them, at old periods, from their parent bed, were doubtless
oceanic; for the area embraced is too extensive to admit of merely local
action; but we know of no concentration of oceanic currents, of
sufficient force, to bear up these heavy masses, over such extensive
surfaces, without the supporting media of ice-floes. The boulders and
pebbles are often driven as the moraines before glacial bodies, and
there are not wanting portions of rock surface, in the west, which are
deeply grooved or scratched by the pressing boulders. The crystallized
peaks of the Little Rocks, above St. Anthony's Falls, have been
completely polished by them.--_Vide_ p. 149.

The next morning (22d) we were released from our position on this bleak
drift-coast, although the wind was still moderately ahead, and after
toiling twelve hours adown the closing shores of the lake, we reached
its foot, and entered the River St. Clair. Halting a few moments at Fort
Gratiot, we found it under the command of Lieut. James Watson Webb, who
was, however, absent at the moment. Two miles below, at the mouth of
Black River, we met this officer, who had just returned from an
excursion up the Black River, where he had laid in a supply of fine
watermelons, with which he liberally supplied us. From this spot, we
descended the river seven miles, to Elk Island, on which we encamped at
twilight, having made fifty-seven miles during the day. Glad to find
ourselves out of the reach of the lake winds, and of Eolus, and all his
hosts, against which we may be said to have fought our way from
Michilimackinac, and animated with the prospect of soon terminating our
voyage, we surrounded our evening board with unwonted spirits and glee.
Supper being dispatched, with many a joke, and terminated with a song in
full chorus, and the men having carefully repaired our canoes, it was
determined to employ the night in descending the placid river, and at
nine o'clock P.M. all was ready and we again embarked. Never did men
more fully appreciate the melody of the Irish bard:--

    "Sweetly as tolls the evening chime,
    Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time."

At half past three the next morning, we found ourselves at the entrance
to Lake St. Clair, thirty miles from our evening repast. Owing to the
dense fog and darkness, it was now necessary to await daylight, before
attempting to cross. Daylight, which had been impatiently waited for,
brought with it our old lake enemy, head winds, which made the most
experienced men deem the passage impracticable. Counselled, however,
rather by impatience than anything else, it was resolved on. Rain soon
commenced, which appeared the signal for increased turbulence; but by
dint of hard pushing in the men, with some help from our own hands, we
succeeded in weathering Point Huron, the first point of shelter. The
right hand shore then became a continued covert, and we successively saw
point after point lessen in the distance. It was noon when we reached
Grosse Point, the original place of our general embarkation on
commencing the expedition; the rest of the voyage ran like a dream "when
one awaketh," and we landed at the City of Detroit at half past three
o'clock P. M.

Gov. Cass, and his equestrian party from Chicago, had preceded us
thirteen days, as will be perceived from the following article from the
weekly press of that city, of September 15, 1820, which embraces a
comprehensive notice of the expedition; its route, the objects it
accomplished, and the effects it may be expected to have on the leading
interests and interior policy of the country, as well as the drawing
forth of its resources.



Last Friday evening, Governor Cass arrived here from Chicago,
accompanied by Lieutenant M'Kay and Mr. R. A. Forsyth,[151] both of whom
belonged to the expedition--all in good health.

  [151] Major Robert A. Forsyth was a native of the Detroit Country, of
  Canadian descent, and born a few years after its transfer to the
  United States. At the time of the expedition, he was the Secretary of
  Governor Cass, and was admirably qualified to take a part in it, by
  his energy and perseverance, his indomitable courage, and his
  physical power and activity. Some of these traits of character were
  developed at an early age. He was but yet a lad at the time of the
  surrender of Detroit, and was so much excited by that untoward event,
  that he insulted the British officers in the fort by his reproaches,
  and so irritated them that one of them threatened to pin him to the
  floor with a bayonet. During the war upon the frontier, he was
  actively employed, and on more than one occasion distinguished
  himself by his conduct and courage. He was with Major Holmes at the
  battle near the Long Woods, and behaved with great gallantry. In
  1814, he was sent with Chandruai, a half-breed Pottowatamie, and with
  a small party of Indians, to invite the various Indian tribes to come
  to Greenville, at the treaties about to be held by Generals Harrison
  and Cass, with a view to detach the North-Western Indians from
  British influence. On the route, they met a superior party of
  Indians, led by an officer of the British Indian Department, who
  attempted to take them prisoners. They resisted, and, by their prompt
  and almost desperate courage, drove off the British party. Forsyth
  distinguished himself in the contest, in which the British leader of
  the party was killed. Soon after the war, he was appointed Private
  Secretary to Governor Cass, and continued in that capacity for
  fifteen years, till the latter was transferred to the War Department.
  He accompanied the General in all his expeditions into the Indian
  country, and rendered himself invariably useful, having a peculiar
  talent to control the rough men who took part in these dangerous
  excursions. He was ultimately appointed a paymaster in the army, in
  which capacity he served in Mexico, where he acquired the seeds of
  the disorder which proved fatal to him in 1849. He will be long
  recollected and regretted by those who knew him, for the shining
  qualities of head and heart which endeared him to all his

We understand that the objects of the expedition have been successfully
accomplished. The party has traversed 4,000 miles of this frontier since
the last of May. Their route was from this place to Michilimackinac, and
to the Sault of St. Mary's, where a treaty was concluded with the
Chippewas for the cession of a tract of land, with a view to the
establishment of a military post. They thence coasted the southern shore
of Lake Superior to the Fond du Lac; ascended the St. Louis River to one
of its sources, and descended a small tributary stream of Sandy Lake to
the Mississippi. They then ascended this latter river to the Upper Red
Cedar Lake, which may be considered as the principal source of the
Mississippi, and which is the reservoir where the small streams forming
that river unite. From this lake they descended between thirteen and
fourteen hundred miles to Prairie du Chien, passing by the post of St.
Peter's on the route. They then navigated the Ouisconsin to the portage,
entered the Fox River, and descended it to Green Bay. Then the party
separated, in order to obtain a topographical sketch of Lake Michigan.
Some of them coasted the northern shore to Michilimackinac, and the
others took the route by Chicago. From this point they will traverse the
eastern shore of the lake to Michilimackinac, and may be expected here
in the course of a week. Governor Cass returned from Chicago by land. A
correct topographical delineation of this extensive frontier may now be
expected from the accurate observations of Captain Douglass, who is
fully competent to perform the task. We have heretofore remained in
ignorance upon this subject, and very little has been added to the stock
of geographical knowledge since the French possessed the country. We
understand that all the existing maps are found to be very erroneous.
The character, numbers, situation, and feelings of the Indians in those
remote regions have been fully explored, and we trust that much valuable
information upon these subjects will be communicated to the Government
and to the public. We learn that the Indians are peaceable, but that the
effect of the immense distribution of presents to them by the British
authorities, at Malden and at Drummond's Island, has been evident upon
their wishes and feelings through the whole route. Upon the
establishment of our posts, and the judicious distribution of our small
military force, must we rely, and not upon the disposition of the
Indians. The important points of the country are now almost all occupied
by our troops, and these points have been selected with great judgment.
It is thought by the party, that the erection of a military work at the
Saut is essential to our security in that quarter. It is the key of Lake
Superior, and the Indians in its vicinity are more disaffected than any
others upon the route. Their daily intercourse with Drummond's Island,
leaves us no reason to doubt what are the means by which their feelings
are excited and continued. The importance of this site, in a military
point of view, has not escaped the observation of Mr. Calhoun, and it
was for this purpose that a treaty was directed to be held. The report
which he made to the House of Representatives, in January last, contains
his views upon the subject.

We cannot but hope that no reduction will be made in the ranks of the
army. It is by physical force alone, and by a proper display of it, that
we must expect to keep within reasonable bounds, the ardent, restless,
and discontented savages, by whom this whole country is filled and
surrounded. Few persons living at a distance are aware of the means
which are used, and too successfully used, by the British agents, to
imbitter the minds of the Indians, and preserve such an influence over
them as will insure their co-operation in the event of any future
difficulties. A post at the Fond du Lac will, before long, be necessary,
and it is now proper that one should be established at the portage
between the Fox and Ouisconsin Rivers.

Mr. Schoolcraft has examined the geological structure of the country,
and has explored, as far as practicable, its mineralogical treasures. We
are happy to learn that this department could not have been confided to
one more able or zealous to effect the objects connected with it.
Extensive collections, illustrating the natural history of the country,
have been made, and will add to the common stock of American science.

We understand that copper, iron, and lead are very abundant through the
whole country, and that the great mass of copper upon the Outanagon
River has been fully examined. Upon this, as well as upon other
subjects, we hope we shall, in a few days, be able to communicate more
detailed information.


    OF THE







  The search for the veritable source of the Mississippi is
    resumed.--Ascent to Cass Lake, the prior point of
    discovery--Pursue the river westerly, through the Andrúsian Lakes
    and up the Metoswa Rapids, forty-five miles--Queen Anne's Lake.

Twelve years elapse between the closing of the prior, and the opening of
the present narrative. In the month of August, 1830, instructions were
received by Mr. Schoolcraft to proceed into the Upper Mississippi
valley, to endeavor to terminate the renewed hostilities existing
between the Chippewa and Sioux tribes. These directions did not come to
hand at the remote post of Sault de Ste. Marie, at the outlet of Lake
Superior, in season to permit the object to be executed that year. On
reporting the fact that the tribes would be dispersed to their
hunting-grounds before the scene could be reached, and that severe
weather would close the streams with ice before the expedition could
possibly return, the plan was deferred till the next year. Renewed
instructions were issued in the month of April, 1831, and an expedition
organized at St. Mary's to carry them into immediate effect.

These instructions did not require the broad table-lands on which the
river originates to be visited, though the journey connected itself with
preliminary questions; nor was it found practicable to extend the
geographical examinations, in the Mississippi Valley, beyond about
latitude 44°.

The force designed for this expedition consisted of twenty-seven men,
including a botanist and geologist, and a small military party under
Lieut. Robert E. Clary, U. S. A. Entering Lake Superior, in the month of
June, with a bright pure atmosphere and serene weather, the party
enjoyed a succession of those clear transporting vistas of rock and
water scenery, which render this picturesque basin by far the most
magnificent, varied, and affluent in its prospect in America. It is in
this basin only, of all the series of North American lakes which
stretch west from the St. Lawrence, that peaks and high mural walls of
volcanic formation, pierce through, or lift up, the horizontal series of
the silurian system; and that, in the lake region, the latter is found
in singular juxtaposition, by means of these upheavals, with the
senites, sienitic granites, and metamorphic rocks composing the globe's
nucleus, or primary out-pushed stony coats of these latitudes.

I had passed through this varied and wonder-creating scene of coast
views and long-stretching vistas in 1820, when geology, in America, at
least, was in its infancy, as a member of the organic government
expedition into this quarter of the Union, as detailed in the preceding
pages. I had, in 1826, revisited the whole coast from Point Iroquois to
Fond du Lac, in the exercise of official duties, connected with the
Indian tribes; besides making sectional expeditions into the regions of
the Gargontwa and Mishepecotin, and of the Takwymenon sand-rock,
interior, and coast lines. But the beauty of the prospects presented in
1831, the serenity of the weather, and the opportunity which it gave of
revisiting scenes which had before flitted by, as the fragments of a
gorgeous dream, gave to this visit a charm which no length of time can
obliterate. And these attractions were enhanced by association with the
agreeable men who accompanied me; of whom it may be said that they
represented the place of strings in a melodious harp, whose concurrence
was at all times necessary to produce harmony. The sainted and
scene-loving Woolsey[152]--the self-poised and amiable Houghton, just
broke loose from the initial struggles of life to luxuriate on the
geological smiles of the face of nature in this scene--ah! where are
they? Death has laid his cold hand on them, to open their eyes on other,
and to us inscrutable scenes.

  [152] _Vide_ Letters on Lake Superior, in _Southern Literary
  Messenger_, 1836.

Passing through this lake, the expedition met the brigade of boats of
the late Mr. Wm. Aitken, from the Upper Mississippi waters, with the
annual returns of furs from that region. He represented the urgent
necessity of an official visit to that section of the country, where the
Indians were in turmoil; but stated, at the same time, that the waters
were too low in the streams at the sources of the Mississippi to render
explorations practicable. He also represented it impracticable, this
season, to enter the Mississippi by the way of the _Broulé_, or Misakoda
River. This information was confirmed on reaching Chegoimegon, at the
remarkable group of the Confederation Islands (_ante_, p. 105).
Returning eight miles on my track, I entered the Muskigo, or Mauvais
River, and ascended this stream by all its bad rafts, rapids, and
portages, to the upper waters of the River St. Croix of the Mississippi.
Crossing the intermediate table-lands, with their intricate system of
lakes and portages to _Lac Courteroille_, or Ottawa Lake, I entered one
of the main sources of Chippewa River, and descended this prime
tributary stream to its entrance into the Mississippi, at the foot of
Lake Pepin. From the latter point I descended to Prairie du Chien, and
to Galena in Illinois. Dispatching the men and canoes from this place
back to ascend the Wisconsin River, and meet me at the portage of Fort
Winnebago, I crossed the lead-mine country by land, by the way of the
Pekatolica, Blue Mound, and Four Lakes, to the source of the Fox River,
and rejoining my canoes here, descended this stream to Green Bay, and
returned to my starting-point by the way of Michilimackinac and the
Straits of St. Mary. Two months and twelve days were employed on the
journey, during which a line of forests and Indian trails had been
passed, of two thousand three hundred miles.

The Indians had been met, and counselled with at various points, at
which presents and provisions were distributed, and the peace policy of
the Government enforced. A Chippewa war party, under Ninaba, had been
arrested on its march against the Sioux in descending the Red Cedar fork
of the Chippewa River. Information was obtained that nine tribes or
bands had united in their sympathies for the restless Sauks and Foxes,
who broke out in hostility to the United States the following spring.
Messages, with pipes and belts, and in one case notice, with a tomahawk
smeared with vermilion, to symbolize war, had passed between these

  [153] An outline of the expedition of 1831 is found in Schoolcraft's
  "Thirty Years on the American Frontiers." Lippincott & Co. Phila.

The information was communicated to the Government, with a suggestion
that an expedition should be organized for visiting remoter regions the
next year, and forwarding, at the same time, detailed estimates of the
expenditures essential to its efficiency. These suggestions were
approved by the Secretary of War on the 3d of May, 1832, and
instructions forwarded to me for organizing an expedition to carry the
reconnoissance and scrutiny to the tribes on the sources of the
Mississippi. A small escort of U. S. infantry was ordered to accompany
me, under Lieut. James Allen, U. S. A., who, being a graduate of the
West Point Military Academy, undertook the departments of topography and
trigonometry. I secured the services of Dr. Houghton, as physician and
surgeon, and acting botanist and geologist--positions which he had
occupied on the prior expedition of 1831. The American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions were invited to send an agent to
observe the wants and condition of the Indian tribes in these remote
latitudes; who directed the Rev. Wm. T. Boutwell to join me at St.
Mary's. I charged myself especially with inquiring into the Indian
history and languages, statistics, and general ethnography.

The expedition left the Sault de Ste. Marie on the 7th of June, taking
the route through Lake Superior to Fond du Lac and the St. Louis River,
and the Savanna Summit to Sandy Lake, which lies 500 miles above St.
Anthony's Falls of the Upper Mississippi. The width of the Mississippi
at the outlet of Sandy Lake, by a line stretched across, was found to be
331 feet. At my camp here, a general council was summoned of the lower
tribes, who were notified to assemble at the mouth of the River Des
Corbeau on the 20th of July; and a boat with presents and supplies was
sent down the Mississippi to await the return of the expedition through
that river. Lightened thus of baggage, and having fixed a point of time
within which to finish the explorations above, I proceeded up the main
channel of the river to, and across the Pakagama Falls, and its wide
plateau of savannas, and through the Little and Great Winnipek Lakes, to
the Upper Red Cedar, or Cass Lake, which we entered on the 10th of July.
This is a fine lake of transparent water, about eighteen miles in
length, with several large bays and islands as denoted in the
accompanying sketch, which give it an irregular shape. The largest
island, called _Grande Isle_ by the French, which is the _Gitchiminis_
of the Indians, and the _Colcaspi_[154] of my initial narrative of 1832.
This lake was the terminus of the respective explorations of Lieutenant
Zebulon Pike, U. S. A., in 1806, and Governor Lewis Cass in 1820. The
points at which they approached it were not, however, the same. Pike
visited it in a dog train, on the snow, in the month of January, across
the land, from the Northwest Company's trading post at Leech Lake. He
visited an out-station of that company on Grand Island. Cass landed in
July, after tracing its channel from Sandy Lake to the entrance of
Turtle River, the line of communication to Turtle Lake, which was long
the reputed source of the river. This has been called by a modern
traveller in the region Lake Julia, that he might call it the _Julian_
source of the Mississippi.[155]

  [154] This is an anagram composed of the names of Schoolcraft, Cass,
  and Pike, the geographical discoverers, in reversed order, of the

  [155] Beltrami.

I found the Mississippi, at the point where it flows from the lake, to
be 172 feet wide, not having lost half the width it had at Sandy Lake,
although in this distance it is diminished by the volume of its Leech
Lake tributary, which the northwest agents informed Lieutenant Pike, in
1806, to be its largest tributary. I had reached it ten days earlier in
the season than Governor Cass, having been exactly one day less in
traversing the long line of intervening country from Sault de Ste.
Marie. I proceeded directly to Grand Isle, the residence of a Chippewa
band numbering 157 persons. This island was found to have a fertile
soil, where they had always raised the zea maize. Its latitude is 47°
25´ 23´´. Not only had I reached this point ten days earlier in the
month than the expedition of 1820, but it was found that the state of
the water on these summits was very favorable to their ascent.
Ozawindib,[156] the Chippewa chief, said that his hunting-grounds
embraced the source of the Mississippi, but that canoes of the size and
burden which I had could not ascend higher than the _Pemidjegumaug_, or
Queen Anne's Lake. I determined to encamp my extra men permanently on
this island, with the heavy canoes, provisions, and baggage, leaving
the camp in charge of Louis Default, a trusty man, of the _metif_ class,
well acquainted with the Indian language, who had been a guide in 1820,
and to make explorations, in the lightest class of Indian canoes,
provisioned for an _élite_ movement. Lieutenant Allen also determined to
encamp the United States soldiers of the party, leaving them under a
sergeant. To give each gentleman of the party an opportunity of joining
in this movement, it was necessary to procure five hunting canoes, which
were of no greater capacity than to bear one _sitter_[157] and two

  [156] This name is derived from _ozawau_, yellow; _winisis_, hair,
  and _kundiba_, bone of the forehead or head.

  [157] The term "sitter," which is a northwest phrase in common use,
  is equivalent to the Canadian word _bourgoise_.

Ozawindib and his companions produced these canoes at an early hour on
the following morning, and having, at my request, drawn a map of the
route, embarked himself as the guide to the party. We left the island
before it was yet daylight. The party now consisted of sixteen persons,
including three Chippewas and eight _engagees_. The Mississippi enters
this lake through a savanna, on its extreme western borders, after
performing one of those evolutions through meadow lands so common to its
lower latitudes; after reaching to within fifty yards of the lake, it
winds about, through a natural meadow, for many miles before its
debouchure. The chief, who was familiar with this feature, carried me to
a fifty yards portage, by which we saved some miles of paddling. We
reached the Mississippi at a place where it expands into an elongated
lake, for which I heard no name, and which I called Lake Andrúsia.[158]
After passing through this, the river appeared very much in size and
volume as it had on the outlet below Cass Lake. It winds its way through
the same species of natural meadows, during which there is but little
current. On ascending this channel but a short distance, the river is
found to display itself in a second lake--which the natives call
Pamitascodiac[159]--which, in general appearance and character, may be
deemed the twin of Lake Andrúsia. On its upper margin, a tract of
prairie land appears, of a sandy character, bearing scattered pines.
This appears to be the particular feature alluded to by the Indian name.
About four miles above this lake, and say fifteen from Cass Lake, the
rapids commence. It was eight o'clock A. M. when we reached this point,
and we had then been four hours in our canoes from the Andrúsia portage.
These rapids soon proved themselves to be formidable. Boulders of the
geological drift period are frequently encountered in ascending them,
and the river spreads itself over so considerable a surface that it
became necessary for the bowsmen and steersmen to get out into the
shallows and lead up the canoes. These canoes were but of two fathoms
length, drew but a few inches water, and would not bear more than three
persons. It was ten o'clock when we landed, on a dry opening on the
right shore, to boil our kettle, and prepare breakfast. So dry, indeed,
was the vegetation here, that the camp-fire spread in the grass and
leaves, and it required some activity in the men to prevent its burning
the baggage. There were ten of these rapids encountered before we
reached the summit, or plateau, of Lake Pemidjegumaug, which is the _Lac
Traverse_ of the French. These were called the Metóswa rapids, from the
Indian numeral for ten.

  [158] From Andrew Jackson, at that time President of the United

  [159] This word appears to be a derivation from _pemidj_, across,
  _muscoda_, a prairie, and _ackee_, land.

The term _Lac Traverse_ has been repeated several times by the Canadian
French, in our northwestern geography; being prominently known in the
Upper Mississippi for a handsome sheet of water, connecting the St.
Peter's, or Minnesota River, with Red River of Hudson's Bay; and as the
Indian name, though very graphic, is not euphonious, I named it Queen
Anne's Lake.[160] It is a clear and beautiful sheet of water, twelve
miles in length, from east to west, and six or seven broad, with an open
forest of hard wood. It is distant forty-five miles from Cass Lake, and
lies at an elevation of fifty-four feet above that lake, and of 1,456
feet above the Gulf of Mexico. The latitude is 47° 28´ 46´´. The
peculiarity recognized by the Indian name of Pemidjegumaug, or
Crosswater, is found to consist in the entrance of the Mississippi into
its extreme south end, and its passage through or across part of it, at
a short distance from the point of entrance. Another feature of its
topography consists of its connection, by a lively channel of less than
a mile's length, with another transverse lake of pure waters, to which I
applied the name of Washington Irving. These features are shown by the
subjoined sketch.

  [160] In allusion to an interesting period of British history, in its
  influences on America.

[Illustration: 1. Queen Anne's Lake. 2. Washington Irving's Lake. 3.
Mississippi River.]


  Ascent of the Mississippi above Queen Anne's Lake--Reach the primary
    forks of the river--Ascend the left-hand, or minor branch--Lake
    Irving--Lake Marquette--Lake La Salle--Lake Plantagenet--Encamp at
    the Naiwa rapids at the base of the Height of Land, or Itasca

A short halt was made on entering Queen Anne's Lake, to examine an
object of Indian superstition on its east shore. This consisted of one
of those water-worn boulders which assume the shape of a rude image, and
to which the Chippewas apply the name _Shingabawassin_, or image-stone.
Nothing artificial appeared about it, except a ring of paint, of some
ochreous matter, around the fancied neck of the image.[161] We were an
hour in crossing the lake southwardly from this point, which would give
a mean rate of five miles. At the point of landing, stood a small,
deserted, long building, which Ozawindib informed me had been used as a
minor winter trading station. I observed on the beach at this spot some
small species of unios, and, at higher points on the shore, helices. We
here noticed the passenger pigeon. The forest exhibited the elm, soft
maple, and white ash. Proceeding directly south from this spot a short
distance, we entered the Mississippi, which was found to flow in with a
broad channel and rapid current. This channel Lieutenant Allen estimated
to be but one hundred yards long, at which distance we entered into a
beautiful little lake of pellucid water and a picturesque margin,
spreading transversely to our track, to which I gave the name of Irving.
Ozawindib held his way directly south through this body of water,
striking the river again on its opposite shore. We had proceeded but
half a mile above this lake, when it was announced that we had reached
the primary forks of the Mississippi. We were now in latitude 47° 28´
46´´. Up to this point, the river had carried its characteristics in a
remarkable manner. Of the two primary streams before us, the one flowing
from the west, or the Itascan fork, contributes by far the largest
volume of water, possessing the greatest velocity and breadth of
current. The two streams enter each other at an acute angle, which
varies but little from due south, as denoted in the diagram.

  [161] An object of analogous kind was noticed, during the prior
  expedition of 1820, at an island in Thunder Bay of Lake Huron. _Vide_
  p. 55.

[Illustration: Primary forks of the Mississippi River, in lat. 47° 28´

Ozawindib hesitated not a moment which branch to ascend, but shooting
his canoe out of the stronger current of the Itascan fork, entered the
other. His wisdom in this movement was soon apparent. He had not only
entered the shallower and stiller branch, but one that led more directly
to the base of the ultimate summit of Itasca. This stream soon narrowed
to twenty feet. We could distinctly descry the moving sands at its
bottom; but its diminished velocity was apparent from the intrusion of
aquatic plants along its shores. It was manifest also from the forest
vegetation, that we were advancing into regions of a more alpine flora.
The branches of the larches, spruce, and gray pines, were clothed with
lichens and floating moss to their very tops, denoting an atmosphere of
more than the ordinary humidity. Clumps of gray willows skirted the
margin of the stream.

It was found that the river had made its utmost northing in Queen Anne's
Lake. From the exit from that point, the course was nearly due south,
and from this moment to our arrival at the ultimate forks, which cannot
exceed a mile and a half or two miles, it was evident why the actual
source of this celebrated river had so long eluded scrutiny. We were
ascending at every curve so far _south_, as to carry the observer out of
every old line of travel or commerce in the fur trade (the sole interest
here), and into a remote elevated region, which is never visited indeed,
except by Indian hunters, and is never crossed, even by them, to visit
the waters of the Red River--the region in immediate juxtaposition
north. This semi Alpine plateau, or height of land for which we were now
pushing directly, is called in the parlance of the fur trade _Hauteurs
de Terre_. It was evident that we were ascending to this continental
plateau by steps, denoted by a series of rapids, presenting step by
step, in regular succession, widespread areas of flat surface spotted
with almost innumerable lakes, small and large, and rice-ponds and
lagoons. Thus, after surmounting the step of the Packagama Falls, we
enter on a wide and far stretching plateau which embraces the great area
of Leech Lake, and its numerous lacustrine beds. This step or plateau
may, in the descending order of the Mississippi, be called the fifth
plateau, and is, by barometrical observation, 1,356 feet above the Gulf
of Mexico. The next, or fourth step, is that of the plateau of Cass
Lake, caused chiefly by the lively waters of the Leech Lake, the Upper
Red Cedar, and the Winnepek outlets. The Cass Lake level extends west of
this lake to the foot of the Metoswa rapids. This is forty-six feet
above the Leech Lake level. The third plateau, on which the Mississippi
spreads itself, is that of the Queen Anne summit, which is elevated by
the Metoswa rapids sixty-four feet above the former. We had now entered
on this third plateau, on which we found the river flowing with a just
perceptible current, and frequently expanding itself in small lakes. On
the first of these, after ascending the left hand, or minor fork, I
bestowed the name of Marquette; and on the second, that of La Salle. We
proceeded beyond these to a third lake of larger dimension, which the
Chippewas call Kubba-Kunna, or the Rest in the Path, being the site of
crossing of one of their noted land-trails; I named it Lake Plantagenet.
Lt. Allen deemed this lake ten miles long and five wide. At a point a
short distance above the head of this lake, we encamped at a late hour.
It was now seven o'clock P. M., and we had been in our canoes sixteen
hours, and travelled fifty-five miles. It was not easy to find ground
dry enough to encamp on, and while we were searching for it, rain
commenced. We had pushed through the ample borders of the Scirpus
lacustris and other aquatic plants, to a point of willows, alders, and
spruce and tamarack, with pinus banksiana in the distance. The ground
was low and wet, the foot sinking into a carpet of green moss at every
tread. The lower branches of the trees were dry and dead, exhibiting
masses of flowing gray moss. Dampness, frigidity, and gloom marked the
dreary spot, and when a camp fire had been kindled it threw its red
glare around on strange masses of thickets and darkness, which might
have well employed the pencil of a Michael Angelo. Tired and overwearied
men are not, however, much given to the poetic on these occasions, and
they addressed themselves at once to the pacification of that uneasy
organ, the stomach. Travelling with men who strangely mix up two foreign
languages, one falls insensibly into the same jargon habits, of which I
convicted myself of a notable instance this evening. I had on landing
and pushing into the forest, laid a green morocco portfolio on the
branches of a little spruce, and could not find it. _Kewau bemuasee_, I
said to one of the men, _en petite chose ver, mittig onsing_? Have you
not seen a small green roll in a sapling? not recollecting that the
middle clause of the sentence, though in regimen with the Ojibwa, could
have only been construed by one familiar both with the Canadian French
and the Algonquin. Such, however, proved to be the case, and he soon
handed me the missing portfolio.

I observed, as the crews of the several canoes threw down their day's
game before the cook, there was a species of duck, the anas canadensis,
I think, which had a small unio attached to one of its mandibles, having
been engaged in opening the shell at the moment it was shot. With every
aid, however, from the tent and the tea-kettle, and our cook's art in
spitting ducks, the night here, in a gloomy and damp thicket, just
elevated above the line of the river flags, and quite in the range of
the frogs and lizards, proved to be one of the most dreary and forlorn.
It was felt that we were no longer on the open Mississippi, but were
winding up a close and very serpentine tributary, nowhere over thirty
feet wide, which unfolded itself in a savanna, or bog, bordered closely
with lagoons and rice ponds. Indian sagacity, it was clear, had led
Ozawindib up this tributary as the best, shortest, and easiest possible
way of reaching to, and surmounting the Itasca plateau, but it required
a perpetual use of hand, foot, paddle, and pole; nor was there a gleam
of satisfaction to be found in anything but the most intense onward
exertion. Besides, I had agreed to meet the Indians at the mouth of the
Crow-Wing River on the 24th of July, and that engagement must be

At five o'clock the next morning (12th) we were on our feet, and resumed
the ascent. The day was rainy and disagreeable. There was little
strength of current, but quite a sufficient depth of water; the stream
was excessively tortuous. Owing to the sudden bends, we often frightened
up the same flocks of brant, ducks, and teals again and again, who did
not appear to have been in times past much subjected to these
intrusions. The flora of this valley appeared unfavorable. Dr. Houghton
has reported a new species of malva and some five or six other species
or varieties from the general region, but these have not, I think, been
elaborately described. The localities of the known species of fauna
might be marked by the occurrence, on this fork, of the cervus
virginianus, which had not been seen after leaving the Sandy Lake summit
till after getting above the primary forks, which flow from the south
and west.

We toiled all day without intermission from daybreak till dark. The
banks of the river are fringed with a species of coarse marshland grass.
Clumps of willows fringe the stream. Rush and reed occupy spots
favorable to their growth. The forest exhibits the larch, pine, and
tamarack. Moss attaches itself to everything. Water-fowls seem alone to
exult in their seclusion. After we had proceeded for an hour above Lake
Plantagenet, an Indian in the advance canoe fired at and killed a deer.
Although fairly shot, the animal ran several hundred yards. It then fell
dead. The man who had killed it brought the carcass to the banks of the
river. The dexterity with which he skinned and cut it up, excited
admiration. He gave the _moze_, which I understood to mean the hide and
feet, to my guide, Ozawindib. Signs of this animal were frequent along
the stream. But we were impelled forward by higher objects than hunting.
It was, indeed, geographical and scientific facts that we were hunting
for. To trace to its source an important river, and to fix the actual
point of its origin, furnished the mental stimulus which led us to care
but little where we slept or what we ate.

When the usual hour for breakfast arrived, the banks of the river proved
too marshy to land, and we continued on till a quarter past twelve P.
M., before a convenient landing could be made. After this recruit to
stomach and spirits, the men again pushed forward, threading the stream
as it wound about in a savanna, seldom halting more than a few minutes
at a time. Frequently, a shot was fired at the numerous water-fowl, so
abundant on these waters. Sometimes a small unio or anadonta was picked
up from the shores; occasionally a plant pulled up, for the botanical
press. Nowhere was the water found too shallow for our canoes, which
were only embarrassed at some points by the density of vegetable tissue.
Rain showers were encountered during the whole of the day, the
equilibrium of the atmosphere being disturbed by rolling, cumulous
clouds, which often poured down their contents with little warning, and
without, indeed, driving us from our canoes. For, on these occasions,
where a fixed point is to be made, and the showers are not anticipated
to be long or heavy, it is better to travel in the rain and submit to
the wetting, than to attempt landing. Neither can the meal of dinner be
stopped for. At length, at half past five o'clock in the evening, we
came to the base of the highlands of the Itasca or Hauteurs de Terre
summit. The flanks of this elevation revealed themselves in a high,
naked precipice of the drift and boulder stratum, on the immediate
margin of the stream which washed against it. Our pilot, Ozawindib, was
at the moment in the rear; halting a few moments for him to come up, he
said that we were within a few hundred yards of the Naiwa rapids, and
that the portage around them commenced at this escarpment. We had seen
no rock of any species, in place, thus far.

A general landing was immediately made at the foot of the hill, and as
the five canoes came up the baggage was prepared in bundles and packages
for being carried, the canoe-paddles and poles securely tied in bundles,
and the canoes lifted from the water and dried in the sun to make the
transportation of them as light as possible, and mended and pitched
wherever they leaked. It was found that the whole baggage, canoes and
all, could be arranged for eleven back-loads, this being the precise
number of our carriers, white and red; and being ready, Ozawindib led
the way, having a single canoe for his share, and he was soon followed
by the whole line, each one of our sitters falling in this line, charged
with the particular instrument of his observation, or record of it. The
hill was steep, and the footing soft and yielding in the crumbling
diluvion, and the scene, as the party struggled up the ascent, presented
quite a study for the picturesque. Lieutenant Allen carried his
canoe-compass, which I had had mounted by an artisan of Detroit; Dr.
Houghton grasped his hortus siccus under his arms; Mr. Johnston, our
interpreter, had his pipe and fowling-piece, and Mr. Boutwell had
wellnigh lost his pocket-bible and notes, while staying himself against
the treacherous influence of a steep sand cliff. While the party thus
took their way over the hill to cross a peninsula of a mile or two, and
strike the river above the junction of the Naiwa River, I went to
observe the rapids. The river, at this point, is forced through a narrow
gorge, where the water descends with loud murmuring over a series of
rapids, which form a complete check to navigation. The portage is two
miles. I judged the entire descent of the channel, from the beginning to
the terminus of the portage, to be forty-eight feet. Boulders of the
peculiar northern sienite, highly charged with hornblende, and of
trap-rock, or greenstone, quartz, and sandstone, were scattered over
this elevation, and mixed with the more finely comminuted portions of
the same rocks, and of amygdaloids and schistose fragments. Among these,
I observed some specimens of the zoned agate, which identifies the
stratum with the extensive drift formation of the upper Mississippi. It
would seem that extensive amygdaloidal strata formerly extended over
these heights, which have been broken down by the fierce and general
rush of the oceanic currents of the north, which once manifestly swept
over these elevations.

Darkness fell as we reached an elevation overlooking the river above the
Naiwa Rapids, and after some deliberation as to the spot where we should
suffer less annoyance from mosquitos, I proceeded to the lower part of
the valley near the river, and set up my tent there for the night. On
questioning Ozawindib of the Naiwa River, he informed me that it was a
stream of considerable size, and that it originated in a lake on a
distant part of the plateau, which was infested with the copper-head
snake; hence the name. Mr. Allen's estimate of this day's journey was
fifty-two miles. We had reached the second, or Assawa plateau of the
Mississippi, which is, barometrically, seventy-six feet above the Queen
Anne summit, and now had but one more to surmount.


  The Expedition having reached the source of the east fork in Assawa
    Lake, crosses the highlands of the Hauteurs de Terre to the source
    of the main or west fork in Itasca Lake.

The next morning (13th) a dense fog prevailed. We had found the
atmosphere warm, but charged with water and vapors, which frequently
condensed into showers. The evenings and nights were, however, cool, at
the precise time of the earth hiding the sun's disk. It was five o'clock
before we could discern objects with sufficient distinctness to venture
to embark. We found the channel of the river strikingly diminished on
getting above the Naiwa. Its width is that of a mere brook, running in a
valley half a mile wide. The water is still and pond-like, the margin
being encroached on by aquatic plants. It presents some areas of the
zizania palustris, and appeared to be the favorite resort for several
species of duck, who were continually disturbed by our progress. After
diligently ascending an hour and a half, or about eight miles, the
stream almost imperceptibly began to open into a lake, which the Indians
called Assawa, or Perch Lake. Its borders are fringed with the _monomin_
of the Chippewas, or wild rice, and several of the liliaceous water
plants. The water is transparent when dipped up and viewed by the light,
but from the falling of leaves and other carbonaceous fibre to the
bottom, it reflects a sombre hue. We were just twenty minutes in passing
through it, denoting a length of perhaps two miles, and a width of half
a mile. Our course through it was directly south. Ozawindib, who took
the advance, entered an inlet, but had not ascended it far, when he
rested on his paddles, and exclaimed _o-omah mekunnah_, here is the
path, or portage. We had, in fact, traced this branch of the river into
its utmost sources. It was seven o'clock in the morning. We were
surrounded by what the natives term _azhiskee_, or mire, broad-leaved
plants extending over the surface of the water, in which I recognized a
diminutive species of yellow pond-lily. There was no mode of reaching
dry land but by stepping into this yielding azhiskee. The water was
rather tepid. After wading about fifty yards the footing became more
firm, and we soon began to ascend a slight elevation. Some traces of an
Indian trail appeared here, which led to an opening in the thicket,
where vestiges of the bones of birds, and old camp-poles, indicated the
prior encampment of Indians.

I had now traced this branch of the Mississippi to its source, and was
at the south base of the inter-continental highlands, which give origin
to the longest and principal branch of the Mississippi. To reach its
source it was necessary to ascend and cross these. Of their height, and
the difficulty of their ascent, we knew nothing. This only was sure,
from the representation of the natives, that it could be readily done,
carrying the small bark canoes we had thus far employed. The chief said
it was thirteen _opugidjiwenun_, or putting-down-places, which are
otherwise called _onwaybees_, or rests. From the roughness of the path,
not more than half a mile can be estimated to each _onwaybee_. Assawa
Lake is shown, by barometric measurement, to be 1,532 feet above the
Gulf. Having followed out this branch to its source, its very existence
in our geography becomes a new fact.

While the baggage and canoes were being carried to the spot of our
encampment, a camp-fire was kindled and the cook busied himself in
preparing breakfast. The canoes were then carefully examined and
repaired, and the baggage parted into loads, so as to permit the whole
outfit and apparatus to be transported at one trip. These things having
been arranged, and the breakfast dispatched, we set forward to mount the
highlands. Ozawindib having thrown one of the canoes over his shoulders,
led the way, complaisantly, being followed by the entire party.

The prevailing growth at this place is thick bramble, spruce, white
cedar, and tamarak. The path plunges at once into a marshy and matted
thicket, which it requires all one's strength to press through--then
rises to a little elevation covered with white cedar, and again plunges
into a morass strewed with fallen and decayed logs, covered with moss.
From this the trail emerges on dry ground. Relieved from the
entanglement about our feet, we soon found ourselves ascending an
elevation of the drift stratum, consisting of oceanic sand, with
boulders. On the side of this eminence we enjoyed our first _onwaybee_.
The day had developed itself clear and warm, and glad indeed were we to
find the chief had put down his canoe, and by the time we reached had
lit his pipe. The second onwaybee brought us to the summit of this
elevation; the third to the side of a ridge beyond it; the fourth to
another summit; in fine, we found ourselves crossing a succession of
ridges and depressions, which seemed to have owed their original
outlines to the tumultuous waves of some mighty ocean, which had once
had the mastery over the highlands. Trail there was often none. The day
being clear, the chief, however, held his course truly, and when he was
turned out of it by some defile, or thicket, or bog, he again found his
line at the earliest possible point. In one of the depressions, we
crossed a little lake in the canoes; in another, we followed the guide
on foot, through and along the border of a shallow lake, to avoid the
density of the thickets.

Ripe strawberries were brought to me at one of our onwaybees. I observed
the diminutive rebus nutkanus on low grounds. The common falco was
noticed, and the Indians remarked tracks of the deer, not, however, of
very recent date. The forest growth is small, by far the most common
species being the scrubby pinus banksianus, exhibiting its parasitic
moss. The elevated parts of the route were sufficiently open, with often
steep ascents. Over these sienite and granite, quartz and sandstone
boulders were scattered. Every step we made in crossing these sandy and
diluvial elevations, seemed to inspire renewed ardor in completing the
traverse. The guide had called the distance, as we computed it, about
six, or six and a half miles. We had been four hours upon it, now
clambering up steeps, and now brushing through thickets, when he told us
we were ascending the last elevation, and I kept close to his heels,
soon outwent him on the trail, and got the first glimpse of the
glittering nymph we had been pursuing. On reaching the summit this wish
was gratified. At a depression of perhaps a hundred feet below, cradled
among the hills, the lake spread out its elongated volume, presenting a
scene of no common picturesqueness and rural beauty. In a short time I
stood on its border, the whole cortege of canoes and pedestrians
following; and as each one came he deposited his burden on a little open
plat, which constituted the terminus of the Indian trail. In a few
moments a little fire threw up its blaze, and the pan of _pigieu_, or
pine pitch, was heated to mend the seams of the bark canoes. When this
was done, they were instantly put into the lake, with their appropriate
baggage; and the little flotilla of five canoes was soon in motion,
passing down one of the most tranquil and pure sheets of water of which
it is possible to conceive. There was not a breath of wind. We often
rested to behold the scene. It is not a lake overhung by rocks. Not a
precipice is in sight, or a stone, save the pebbles and boulders of the
drift era, which are scattered on the beach. The water-fowl, whom we
disturbed in their seclusion, seemed rather loath to fly up. At one
point we observed a deer, standing in the water, and stooping down,
apparently to eat moss.

The diluvial hills inclosing the basin, at distances of one or two
miles, are covered with pines. From these elevations the lands slope
gently down to the water's edge, which is fringed with a mixed foliage
of deciduous and evergreen species. After passing some few miles down
its longest arm, we landed at an island, which appeared to be the only
one in the lake. I immediately had my tent pitched, and while the cook
exerted his skill to prepare a meal, scrutinized its shores for
crustacea, while Dr. Houghton sought to identify its plants. While here,
the latter recognized the mycrostylis ophioglossoides, physalis
lanceolata, silene antirrhina, and viola pedata. We found the elm, lynn,
soft maple, and wild cherry, mingled with the fir species.

An arm of the lake stretches immediately south from this island, which
receives a small brook. Lieutenant Allen, who estimates the greatest
length of the lake at seven miles, drew the following sketch of its
configuration. (See p. 243.)

The latitude of this lake is 47° 13´ 35´´.[162] The highest grounds
passed over by us, in our transit from the Assowa Lake, lie at an
elevation of 1,695 feet. The view given of the scene in the first
volume of my _Ethnological Researches_, p. 146, is taken from a point
north of the island, looking into the vista of the south arm of the
lake. I inquired of Ozawindib the Indian name of this lake; he replied
_Omushkös_, which is the Chippewa name of the Elk.[163] Having
previously got an inkling of some of their mythological and necromantic
notions of the origin and mutations of the country, which permitted the
use of a female name for it, I denominated it ITASCA.[164]

  [162] By the report of Governor Stevens (June, 1854), the selected
  pass for the contemplated railroad through the St. Mary to the
  Columbia valley is in 47° 30´, where there is but little snow at any
  time, and rich pasturage for cattle. The phenomena of the climates of
  our northern latitudes are but little understood.

  [163] A The Canadian French call this animal _la Biche_, from
  _Biche_, a hind.

  [164] This myth is further alluded to, in the following stanzas from
  the _Literary World_, No. 337:--




    Ha! truant of western waters! Thou who hast
      So long concealed thy very sources--flitting shy,
    Now here, now there--through spreading mazes vast
      Thou art, at length, discovered to the eye
    In crystal springs, that run, like silver thread,
      From out their sandy heights, and glittering lie
    Within a beauteous basin, fair outspread
      Hesperian woodlands of the western sky,
    As if, in Indian myths, a truth there could be read,
    And these were tears, indeed, by fair Itasca shed.


    To bear the sword, on prancing steed arrayed;
      To lift the voice admiring Senates own;
    To tune the lyre, enraptured muses played;
      Or pierce the starry heavens--the blue unknown--
    These were the aims of many sons of fame,
      Who shook the world with glory's golden song.
    I sought a moral meed of less acclaim,
      In treading lands remote, and mazes long;
    And while around aerial voices ring,
    I quaff the limpid cup at Mississippi's spring.

      H. R. S.

  [165] Narrative of an Expedition to Itasca Lake. Harpers. 1834. 1
  vol. 8vo. p. 307.

[Illustration: Itasca Lake, the source of the Mississippi River, 3,160
miles from the Balize.

A. Mississippi River. B. Route of expedition to the Lake. C.
Schoolcraft's Island.]

The line of discovery of the Mississippi, explored above Cass Lake,
taking the east fork from the primary junction, as shown by Mr. Allen's
topographical notes, is one hundred and twenty-three miles.[166] This is
the shortest and most direct branch. The line by the Itascan or main
branch of it is, probably, some twenty or twenty-five miles longer. It
is evident, as before intimated, that the river descends from its summit
in plateaux. From the pseudo-alpine level of the parent lake, there is a
principal and minor rapids, for the former of which the Indians have the
appropriate name of _Kakabikons_, which is a descriptive term for a
cascade over rocks or stones. Then the river again deploys itself in a
lake and a series of minor lakes on the same level, and this process is
repeated, until it finally plunges over the horizontal rocks at St.
Anthony's Falls, and displays itself, for the last time, in Lake Pepin.
Commencing with the latter lake, it may be observed for the purposes of
generalization, and to give definite notions rather of its hydrography
than geology, that there are nine plateaux, of which Governor Cass, in
1820, explored six. The other three, beginning at his terminal point,
have now been indicated. The heights of these are given, barometrically.
The distances travelled are given from time. The annexed diagram of
these plateaux, extending to the Pakagama summit, will impress these
deductions on the eye.

  [166] Mr. Nicollet, who ascended the same fork in 1836, makes the
  distance twelve miles more. _Vide_ Ex., Doc. No. 237.

The length of the Mississippi, from the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing its
involutions, may be stated to be three thousand miles. By estimates from
the best sources made, respectively, during the expeditions of 1820 and
1832, it is shown to have a winding thread of three thousand one hundred
and sixty miles. Taking the barometrical height of Itasca Lake at
fifteen hundred and seventy-five feet, it has a mean descent of a
fraction over six inches per mile. As one of the most striking epochs in
American geography, we have known this river, computing from the era of
Marquette's discovery to the present day (July 13, 1832), but one
hundred and fifty-nine years--a short period, indeed! How rich a portion
of the geology of the globe lies buried in the flora and fauna of the
tertiary, the middle or secondary, and the palæozoic eras of its valley,
we have hardly begun to inquire. It will, _doubtless_, and, so far as we
know, _does_, contribute evidences to the antiquity and mutations of the
earth's surface, conformably to the progress of discoveries in other
parts of the globe. The immense basins of coal, found in the middle and
lower parts of its valley, prove the same gigantic epoch of its flora
which has been established for the coal measures of Europe,[167] and
sweep to the winds the jejune theory that the continent arose from a
chaotic state, at a period a whit less remote than the other quarters of
the globe. While the large bones of its later eras, found imbedded in
its unconsolidated strata, prove how large a portion of its fauna were
involved in the gigantic and monster-period.

  [167] Entire trees are often found imbedded in its rocks of the
  middle era, as is evidenced by an individual of the juglans nigra, of
  at least fifty feet long, in the River De Plaine, valley of the
  Illinois. _Vide_ Appendix.


  Descent of the west, or Itascan branch--Kakabikoñs Falls--Junction of
    the Chemaun, Peniddiwin, or De Soto, and Allenoga Rivers--Return
    to Cass Lake.

Itasca Lake lies in latitude twenty-five seconds only south of Leech
Lake, and five minutes and eleven seconds west of the ultimate northerly
point of the Mississippi, on the Queen Anne summit; it is a fraction
over twelve minutes southwest of Cass Lake. The distance from the latter
point, at which discovery rested in 1820, is, agreeably to the
observations of Lieutenant Allen, one hundred and sixty-four miles.

On scrutinizing the shores of the island, on which I had encamped,
innumerable helices, and other small univalves, were found; among these
I observed a new species, which Mr. Cooper has described as planorbis
companulatus.[168] There were bones of certain species of fish, as well
as the bucklers of one or two kinds of tortoise, scattered around the
sites of old Indian camp fires, denoting so many points of its natural
history. Amidst the forest-trees before named, the betula papyraceæ and
spruce were observed. Directing one of the latter to be cut down, and
prepared as a flagstaff, I caused the United States flag to be hoisted
on it. This symbol was left flying at our departure. Ozawindib, who at
once comprehended the meaning of this ceremony, with his companions
fired a salute as it reached its elevation.

  [168] Appendix.

Having made the necessary examinations, I directed my tent to be struck,
and the canoes put into the water, and immediately embarked. The outlet
lies north of the island. Before reaching it, we had lost sight of the
flagstaff, owing to the curvature of the shore. Unexpectedly, the outlet
proved quite a brisk brook, with a mean width of ten feet, and one foot
in depth. The water is as clear as crystal, and we at once found
ourselves gliding along, over a sandy and pebbly bottom, strewed with
the scattered valves of shells, at a brisk rate. Its banks are overhung
with limbs and foliage, which sometimes reach across. The bends are
short, and have accumulations of flood-wood, so that, from both causes,
the use of the axe is often necessary to clear a passage. There was also
danger of running against boulders of black rock, lying in the margin,
or piled up in the channel. As the rapid waters increased, we were
hurled, as it were, along through the narrow passages, and should have
descended at a prodigiously rapid rate, had it not been for these
embarrassments to the navigation. Its course was northwest. After
descending about ten miles, the river enters a narrow savanna, where the
channel is wider and deeper, but equally circuitous. This reaches some
seven or eight miles. It then breaks its way through a pine ridge, where
the channel is again very much confined and rapid, the velocity of the
stream threatening every moment to dash the canoe into a thousand
pieces. The men were sometimes in the water, to guide the canoe, or
stood ever ready, with poles, to fend off. After descending some
twenty-five miles, we encamped on a high sandy bluff on the left hand.

The next morning (14th), we were again in our canoes before five
o'clock. The severe rapids continued, and were rendered more dangerous
by limbs of trees which stretched over the stream, threatening to sweep
off everything that was movable. We had been one hour passing down a
perfect defile of rapids, when we approached the Kakabikoñs Falls.
_Kakábik_,[169] in the Chippewa, means a cascade, or shoot of water over
rocks. _Oñs_ is merely the diminutive, to which all the nouns of this
language are subject. How formidable this little cataract might be, we
could not tell. It appeared to be a swift rush of water, bolting through
a narrow gorge, without a perpendicular drop, and Ozawindib said it
required a portage. Halting at its head, for Lieut. Allen to come up,
his bowsman caught hold of my canoe, to check his velocity. It had that
effect. But, being checked suddenly, the stern of his canoe swung
across the stream, which permitted the steersman to catch hold of a
branch. Thus stretched tensely across the rapid stream, in an instant
the water swept over its gunwale, and its contents were plunged into the
swift current. The water was about four feet deep. Allen and his men
found footing, with much ado, but his canoe-compass, apparatus, and
everything, was lost and swept over the falls. He grasped his manuscript
notes, and, by feeling with his feet, fetched up his fowling-piece; the
men clutched about, and managed to save the canoe. Fortunately, I had a
fine instrument to replace the lost compass, though wanting the nautical
rig of the other.

  [169] Kakábik. _Abik_ is a rock. The prefixed syllable, _Kak_, may be
  derived from _Kukidjewum_, a rapid stream. _Ka_ is often a prefix of
  negation in compound words, which has the force of a derogative.

We made a short portage. Two of the canoes, with Indian pilots, went
down the rapids, but injured their canoes so much as to cause a longer
delay than if they had carried them by land. Below this fall, the river
receives a tributary on the right hand, called the _Chemaun_, or Ocano.
It contributes to double its volume, very nearly, and hence its savanna
borders are enlarged. Conspicuous among the shrubbery on its shores are
the wilding rose and clumps of the salix. The channel winds through
these savanna borders capriciously. At a point where we landed for
breakfast, on an open pine bank on the left shore, we observed several
copious and clear springs pouring into the river. Indeed, the extensive
sand ranges which traverse the woodlands of the Itasca plateau are
perfectly charged with the moisture which is condensed on these
elevations, which flows in through a thousand little rills. On these
sandy heights the conifera predominate.

The physical character of the stream made this part of our route a most
rapid one. Willing or unwilling, we were hurried on; but, indeed, we had
every desire to hasten the descent. At four o'clock P. M., we came to
the junction of the Piniddiwin,[170] or Carnage River, a considerable
tributary on the left. On this river, which originates in a lake, on the
northeastern summit of the Hauteur des Terres, I bestowed the name of De
Soto. It has also a lake, called Lac la Folle, at the point of its
junction with the Mississippi, whose borders are noted for the abundant
and vigorous growth of wild rice, reeds, and rushes. It is called
Monomina,[171] by the Chippewas. By this accession, the width and depth
of the river are strikingly increased. The Indian reed first appears at
this spot.

  [170] From the term _Iah-pinuniddewin_, an emphatic expression for a
  place of carnage, so called from a secret attack made at this place,
  in time past, by a party of Sioux, who killed every member of a lodge
  of Chippewas, and then shockingly mangled their bodies.

  [171] From _Monominakauning_, place of wild rice.

While passing through this part of the river, I observed a singular
trait in the habits of the onzig duck, which, on being suddenly
surprised by the traveller, affects for the moment to be disabled;
flapping its wings on the water, as if it could not rise, in order to
allow its brood, who are now (July) unfledged, to escape, when the
mother instantly rises from the water, and wings her flight vigorously.
We observed, sailing above the marshy areas of this fork, the falco
furcatus, the feathers of which are much esteemed by the Indians, for
this is considered a brave species, as its habit is to seize serpents by
the neck, who twist themselves around its elongated body, while it flies
off to some convenient perch to devour them. The deer is also noticed
along the Itascan fork. Ozawindib landed a little below the junction of
the Chemaun, to fire at one of them, which he discovered grazing at some
distance; but, although he carefully landed and crept up crouchingly, he
failed in his shot, either from the distance or some other cause.
Immediately, he put a fresh charge of powder in his gun, and threw in a
bullet, unwadded, and fired again before the animal had made many leaps,
but it held its way.

We descended about eighteen miles below the Piniddiwin, and landed to
encamp. The day's descent had been an arduous one. Lieut. Allen
estimated it at seventy-five miles. We had now fairly followed the
Mississippi out of what may be denoted its Alpine passes. All its
dangerous rapids had been overcome. It was now a flowing stream of sixty
feet wide. Immediately on landing, one of the Indians captured an animal
of the saurian type, called _ocaut-e-kinabic_,[172] eight inches in
length, striped blue, black, and white, with four legs of equal length.
The colors were very vivid.

  [172] From _ocaut_, a leg, and _kinabic_, a snake.

Having reached a part of the stream which could be safely navigated, I
resolved to re-embark after supper, and continue the descent by night.
We were now about fifteen miles above the primary forks. Lieut. Allen
determined to remain till daylight, in order to trace the river down to
the point at which it had been left in the ascent. Nothing of an
untoward nature occurred. A river of some size enters, on the left hand,
about six miles below the saurian encampment, which originates in a
lake. This stream, for which I heard no name, I designated _Allenoga_,
putting the Iroquois local terminal in _oga_ to the name of the worthy
officer who traced out the first true map of the actual sources of the
Mississippi.[173] We passed the influx of the east fork, about half-past
one A. M. on the 15th, traversed the Lake of Queen Anne, and descended
the whole series of the Metoswa rapids, to Lake Andrúsia, by the hour of
daybreak, and reached the island of my primary encampment, in Cass Lake,
at nine o'clock in the morning. We had been eleven hours and a half in
our canoes, from the time of re-embarkation at the camp above Allenoga.
Lieut. Allen did not rejoin us till six o'clock in the afternoon. He
estimated the entire distance, _out_ and _in_, at 290 miles, it being
125 miles to Itasca Lake, and, as before intimated, 165 miles from
thence to Cass Lake. He estimates the length of the Mississippi, above
the Falls of St. Anthony, at 1,029 miles. Taking the distance from the
Gulf of Mexico to the Falls at 2,200 miles,[174] this would give to this
stream a development of 3,229 miles, which exceeds my prior estimates
more than fifty miles.

  [173] Lieut.-Col. James Allen, U. S. A. This officer graduated at
  West Point in 1825. After passing through various grades, he was
  promoted to a captaincy of infantry in 1837. He was lieutenant-colonel
  and commandant of the battalion of Mormon volunteers in the Mexican
  war, which was raised by his exertions, and died at Fort Leavenworth,
  on the Missouri, on the 23d of August, 1846.

  [174] Doc. No. 237.


  The expedition proceeds to strike the source of the great Crow-Wing
    River, by the Indian trail and line of interior portages, by way
    of Leech Lake, the seat of the warlike tribe of the Pillagers, or

Having, while at Sandy Lake, summoned the Indians to meet me in council
at the mouth of the _L'aile de Corbeau_, or Crow-Wing River, on the 20th
of July, no time was to be lost in proceeding to that place. The 15th,
being the Sabbath, was spent at the island, where the Rev. Mr. Boutwell
addressed the Indians. The next day, I met the Cass Lake band in
council, and, having finished that business, rewarded the Indians for
their services and canoes on the trip to Itasca Lake, distributed the
presents designed for them, replied to a message from Nezhopenais of Red
Lake, and invested Ozawindib with the President's largest silver medal
and a flag, and was ready by 10 o'clock A. M. to embark. Dr. Houghton
employed the time to complete his vaccinations. I rewarded Mr. Default
for taking charge of my camp during the journey to Itasca Lake. As well
to shorten the line of travel as to visit an entirely unexplored section
of the country, I resolved to pursue the Indian trail and line of
interior portages from Cass to Leech Lake, and from the latter to the
source of the great Crow-Wing fork.

Passing southwardly across the lake, between Red Cedar and Garden
Islands, we have a prolonged bay running deep into the land, toward the
south. This bay is in the direct line to Leech Lake; and as it had been
crossed on the ice in January, 1806, by Lieutenant Pike, in his
adventurous and meritorious journey of exploration, I called it Pike's
Bay. It was twelve o'clock, meridian, when we debarked at its head. The
portage commenced on the edge of an open pine forest, interspersed with
scrub oak. The path is deeply worn, in the sand-plain, and looks as if
it had been trod by the Indians for centuries. I observed, as we passed
along, the alum root, hyacinthus, and sweet fern, with the ledum
latifolium, vaccinium dumosum, and more common species of pine plains.
The pinus resinosa assumes here a larger size, and the Indians pointed
out to me markings and pictographs drawn with charcoal, and covered with
the resin of the tree, which were made by the Indian tribe who preceded
them in the occupancy of the sources of the Mississippi. This must have
been, if I rightly apprehend their history, prior to A. D. 1600. That
such markings should be preserved by the pitch, which sheds the rain,
is, however, probable. They were of the totemic character, _i.e._
relating to the exploits or achievements of groups of families, in which
the individual actor sinks his specific in the generic family or clan
name. Antiquities of this character are certainly a new feature in
Indian history. Letters have perfectly preserved the landing of Cartier
at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in 1534. Pictography here records, that
certain clans had killed bears and taken human scalps before that time.
And the fact is deeply important in shedding light on Indian history and
character; for the killing of deers and bears, and the taking of human
scalps, is precisely what these tribes are doing at the present time. In
the three hundred years' interval, they have made no mental progress.
The Chippewa is just as fierce to-day, in hunting a Dacota scalp, as the
Dacota is in hunting a Chippewa scalp. The conquering tribe has,
however, pushed the Dacotas nearly one thousand miles down the

    "Talk of your Hannibals, Napoleons, and Alps,
     My glory," quoth the feathered hunter, "is in scalps."

After following the deeply indented path nine hundred and fifty yards,
we reached a small lake which disclosed, as we passed it, patches of a
dark, coarse, mossy-like substance at its bottom. On reaching down with
their paddles, the men brought up a singular species of aquatic plant
with coral-shaped branches. After crossing this lake, the pine plain
resumed its former character. There was then a shallow bog of fifty or
sixty yards. The rest of the path consists of an arid sand plain, which
is sometimes brushy, but generally presents dry, easy travelling. We had
walked four thousand one hundred yards, or about two and a half miles,
when we reached an elongated body of clear living water, having its
outflow into Leech Lake. Embarking on this, we crossed it, and entered a
narrow stream, winding about in a shaking savanna, where it was found
difficult to veer the large five-fathom canoes in which we now
travelled. This tortuous stream was joined by a tributary from the
right, and at no remote distance, entered an elongated duplicate body of
water, named by the Indians _Kapuka Sagatawag_, or the Abrupt
Discharges.[175] Below the junction of these lakes, which appear to be
outbursts from the Hauteur de Terre range, the stream is a wide-flowing
river. Its shores abound in sedge, reeds, and wild rice. The last
glimpses of daylight left us as this broad river entered into Leech
Lake. Moonlight still served us, as we began the traverse of this
spreading sea, but it soon became overcast, and it was intensely dark
before we reached the recurved point of land of the principal chief's
village. It was now ten o'clock at night, and it was eleven before the
military canoes, under Lieutenant Allen, came up. In the morning a
salute was fired by the Indians, who welcomed us. Aishkebuggekozh,[176]
or the Flat-mouth, the reigning chief, invited me to breakfast. As this
chief exercises a kind of imperial sway over the adjacent country, it
was important to respect him. Having sent a dish of hard bread before
me, I took my interpreter and went to his residence. I found him living
in a tenement built of logs, with two rooms, well floored and roofed,
with two small glass windows. At one end of the breakfast-room were
extended his flags, medals, and warlike paraphernalia. In the centre of
the floor, a large mat of rushes, or Indian-woven _apukwa_ was spread,
and upon this the breakfast and breakfast things were arranged in an
orderly manner. There were teacups, teaspoons, plates, knives and forks,
all of plain English manufacture. A salt-cellar contained salt and
pepper mixed in unequal proportions. There were just as many plates as
expected guests. A large white fish, boiled, and cut up in good taste,
occupied a dish in the centre. There was a dish of sugar made from the
acer saccharinum. There were no stools, or chairs, but small apukwa
mats were spread for each guest. I observed the dish of hard bread,
which came opportunely, as there was no other representative form of
bread. The chief sat down at the head of his breakfast, in the oriental
fashion. Imitating his example, I sat down with a degree of repose and
nonchalance, as if this had been the position I had practised from
childhood. His empress--Equa,[177] sat on one side, near him, to pour
out the tea, but neither ate nor drank anything herself. Her position
was also that of the oriental custom for females; that is, both feet
were thrown to one side, and doubled beside her.[178] The chief helped
us to fish and to tea, taking the cups from his wife. He was dignified,
grave, yet easy, and conversed freely, and the meal passed off agreeably
and without a pause, or the slightest embarrassment. This was, perhaps,
owing in part to my having been acquainted with him before, he having
visited me at my agency at Sault Ste. Marie in 1828, and sat as a guest
at my own table. Nor, in a people so loath to give their confidence as
the Indian, is the fact undeserving of mention, of general affiliation
to the tribe, caused by my marriage with a grand-daughter of the ruling
chief of Lake Superior, a lady of refinement and intelligence, who was
the child of a gentleman of Antrim, Ireland, where she was educated.

  [175] From the word _puka_, abrupt phenomenon, and the verb _saugi_,

  [176] From _Aizhenagozze_, countenance, and _kozh_, a bill of a bird,
  or snout of an animal. The word is appropriately translated _guelle_
  by the Canadians.

  [177] _Equa_, a female; it is not, appropriately, the term of wife,
  for which the vocabulary has a peculiar term, but is generally
  employed in the sense of woman.

  [178] I have observed this to be the universal custom among all the
  aboriginal females of America. They never part the feet.

On rising to leave, I invited him to a council, at my tent, which was
ordered to assemble at the firing of the military. It is not unimportant
to observe, that, in preparing to set out on this expedition into the
Indian country, at a time when the Blackhawk had raised the standard of
revolt on Rock River, and the tribes of the Upper Mississippi were
believed to be extensively in his views, I had caused my canoe, after it
had been finished in most perfect style of art known to this kind of
vessel, to be painted with Chinese vermilion, from stem to stern. Ten
years' residence among the tribes, in an official capacity, had
convinced me that fear is the controlling principle of the Indian mind,
and that the persuasions to a life of peace, are most effectively made
under the symbols of war. To beg, to solicit, to creep and cringe to
this race, whether in public or private, is a delusive, if not a fatal
course; and though I was told by one or two of my neighbors that it was
not well, on this occasion, to put my canoe in the symbolic garb of war,
I did not think so. I carried, indeed, emphatically, messages of peace
from the executive head of the Government, and had the means of insuring
respect for these messages, by displaying the symbol of authority at the
stern of each vessel, by an escort of soldiery, and by presents, and the
services of a physician to arrest one of the most fatal of diseases
which have ever afflicted the Indian race. But I carried them fearlessly
and openly, with the avowed purpose of peace. The canoe, itself, was an
emblem of this authority, and, like the _oriflamme_ of the Mediæval
Ages, cast an auspicious influence on my mission over these bleak and
wide summits, lakes, and forests, inhabited alone by fierce and
predatory tribes, who acknowledged no power but force. Long before I had
reached the sources of the Mississippi, St. Vrain, my fellow agent, had
been most cruelly murdered at his agency, and General Scott, with the
whole disposable army of the United States, had taken the field at

Lieut. Allen paraded his men that morning with burnished arms. We could
not, jointly, in an emergency, muster over forty men, of whom a part
were not reliable in a melée, but arranged our camp in the best manner
to produce effect. Effect, indeed, it required, when the hour of the
council came. Not less than one thousand souls, men, women, and
children, surrounded my tent, including a special deputation from the
American borders of Rainy Lake. Of these, two hundred were active young
warriors, who strode by with a bold and lofty air, and glistening eyes,
often lifting the wings of my tent, to scan the preparations going
forward. Aishkebuggekozh entered the council area, having in his train
Majegabowi, the man who had led the revolt in the Red River settlement
of Lord Selkirk, and who had tomahawked Gov. Semple, after he fell
wounded from his horse. This association did not smack of peaceful
designs. The chief, Aishkebuggekozh, himself, has the countenance of a
very ogre. He is over six feet high, very brawny, and stout. That
feature of his countenance from which he is named Flat-mouth, consisting
of a broad expansion and protrusion of the front jaws, between the long
incision of the mouth, reminds one much of a bull-dog's jaw. He held in
his hand, suspended by ribbons, five silver medals, smeared with
vermilion, to symbolize blood.

A person not familiar with Indian symbols, might deem such signs
alarming. I knew him to be very fond of using these symbols, and,
indeed, a man who never made a speech without them; and I had the
fullest confidence that, while he aimed to produce the fullest effect
upon his listening, but less shrewd tribe of folks, and upon all,
indeed, he never dreamed of an act which should bring him into conflict
with the United States. Like Blackhawk, who was now exciting and leading
the tribes at lower points to war, he had, from his youth, been in the
British interests. He displayed a British flag at his breakfast, and
three of his medals were of British coinage, but he was a man of far
more comprehensive mind and understanding than Blackhawk.

Having been, as a government agent, the medium of the agreement of the
Chippewas and Sioux in fixing on a boundary line for their respective
territories at the treaty of Prairie-du-Chien, in 1825, I made that
agreement, on the present occasion, the basis of my remarks, for their
preserving in good faith the stipulations of that treaty, and of
renewing the principles of it in the points where they had since been
broken and violated. I concluded by assuring them of the friendship of
the United States, of which my visit to this remote region must be
deemed proof, and of the sincerity with which I had communicated the
words of the President. The presents were then delivered and

Aishkebuggekozh, or the Guelle Plat, replied, with much of the skill and
force of Indian oratory. He began by calling the attention of the
warriors to his words; he then turned to me, thanking me for the
presents. He said that he had been present when Pike visited this lake
in 1806. He pointed with his fingers across the lake, to the Ottertail
Point, where the old trading-house of the British Northwest Company had
stood. "You have come," he continued, "to remind us that the American
flag is now flying over the country, and to offer us counsels of peace.
I thank you. I have heard that voice before, but it was like a rushing
wind. It was strong, but soon went. It did not remain long enough to
choke up the path. At the treaty of Prairie-du-Chien, it had been
promised that whoever crossed the lines, the long arms of the President
should pull them back; but, that very year, the Sioux attacked us, and
they have killed my people almost every year since. I was myself present
when they fired on a peaceful delegation, and killed four Chippewas
under the walls of Fort Snelling. My own son--my _only_ son--has been
killed. He was basely killed, without an opportunity to defend himself."
A subordinate here handed him, at his request, a bundle of small sticks.
"This," handing them to me, "is the number of Leech Lake Chippewas
killed by the Sioux since the treaty of Prairie-du-Chien." There were
forty-three sticks.

He then lifted up a string of silver medals, smeared with vermilion.
"Take notice, they are bloody. I wish you to wipe the blood off. I
cannot do it. I find myself in a war with this people, and I believe it
has been intended by the Creator that we should be at war with them. My
warriors are brave [looking significantly at them]; it is to them that I
owe success. But I have looked for help where I did not find it."[179]

  [179] It is hoped, hereafter, to give further sketches of this
  interview, and of this chief's life and character.


  Geographical account of Leech Lake--History of its Indians, the
    Mukundwas--The expedition proceeds to the source of the Crow-Wing
    River, and descends that stream, in its whole length, to the

Leech Lake is a large, deep, and very irregularly-shaped body of water.
It cannot be less than twenty miles across its extreme points. I
requested the chief to draw its outlines, furnishing a sheet of
foolscap. He began by tracing a large ellipsis, and then projecting
large points and bays, inwardly and outwardly, with seven or eight
islands, and that peculiar feature, the Kapuka Sagotawa, which I
apprehend to originate in gigantic springs. The following eccentric
figure of the lake is the result.

This lake has been the seat of the Mukundwa, or Pillagers, from early
days. The date of their occupancy is unknown. The French found them here
early in the seventeenth century, when they began to push the fur trade
from Montreal. They were the advance of the Algonquin group, who, when
they had reached the head of Lake Superior, proceeded still towards the
west and northwest. Two separate bodies assumed the advance in this
migratory movement, one of which went from the north shore, at the old
Grand Portage, north-northwest, by the way of the Rainy Lakes, and the
other went northwest from Fond du Lac. The former soon earned for
themselves the title of Killers, or Kenistenos,[180] and speak a
distinct dialect; the other, whose language continued to be, with little
variations, good Odjibwa, acquired in a short time the name of Takers,
or Mukundwa. The Kenistenos advanced, through the Great Lake Winnepeck,
and up its inflowing waters, to the Portage du Trait, of the great
Churchill or Missi-nepi (much water) River, where they sent up a
skinned frog, in derision of the feebler Athapasca race, whom they here
encountered. _Mackenzie's Voyages_, p. lxxiii. _Hist. Fur_ _Trade_. The
Odjibwas were led from Chegoimegon, in Lake Superior, by two noted
chiefs, called Nokay and Bainswah, under whom they drove the Sioux from
the region of Sandy Lake and the source of the Mississippi.
(_Ethnological Researches_, vol. ii. p. 135.)

  [180] Called by the French _Crees_.

[Illustration: Leech Lake.--_a_, Rush Bay; _b_, Leech Lake River; _c_,
Three Points; _d_, Boy's River; _e_, Bear Island; _f_, Pelican Island;
_g_, Two Points; _h_, Ottertail Point; _i_, Chippewa Village; _j_, Sugar
Point; _k_, Carp River; _l_, Old N. W. House; _m_, Goose Island; _n_,
Encampment, July 16; _o_, Trading House Am. P. Co.; _p_, Flatmouth's
House; _q_, Chippewa Village; _r_, Encampment, July 17; _s_, _s_, Route
to Crow-Wing River; _t_, Sandy Point; _u_, Big Point; _v_, Sandy Bay

Another party of this Algonquin force, which conquered the country lying
round the sources of the Mississippi, proceeded through the Turtle River
to Red Lake, and thence descended into the valley of the Red River of
Hudson's Bay, where their descendants still reside. Large portions of
these mingled with the Canadian stock, forming that remarkable people
called Boisbrules. These advanced parties pressed into the buffalo
plains, along the Rivers Assinabwoin and Saskatchawine, which is the
ultimate western area of the spread of the Algonquin language. And to
this migration the Blackfeet are believed to be indebted for the
intermixture of this language which exists, and which Mr. Gallatin has
erroneously supposed to arise from original elements, in the Blackfeet

This lake yields in abundance the corregonus albus, a fish which is
unknown to the Mississippi, and which delights only, it appears, in very
limpid and cold waters.

I found the population living at this lake to be eight hundred and
thirty-two souls, under three chiefs, the Guelle Plat, Nesia, or the
Elder Brother, and Chianoquet, or the Big Cloud, the latter of whom is
exclusively a war chief. Having dined these chiefs at my tent, and
finished my business, and the vaccinations and very numerous cases of
odontalgia being got through with, I directed my canoes to be put in the
water, with the view of going a few miles down the shore, in order to
get a quiet night's encampment, and be ready for an early start on the
morrow. It was near the hour of sunset before we could embark.
Aiskebuggekozh came down to the boat to take leave of me. He was
dressed, on this occasion (having been in Indian costume all the
morning), in a blue military frock coat, with scarlet collar and cuffs,
white underclothes, a ruffled shirt, shoes and stockings, and a
citizen's hat. He was accompanied by Nesia and other followers, and it
appeared to me if there ever was a person who had popular and
undisputable claims to imperial sway, notwithstanding this poor taste in
costume, it was he.

We went about five miles in the general direction towards the source of
the L'ail de Corbeau, and encamped. Dr. Houghton, who had been left
behind with Lieut. Allen, to complete the vaccinations, rejoined me
about seven o'clock. Guelle Plat had promised to send me guides, to
cross the country to the Crow-Wing River, early the next morning (18th),
but, as they did not arrive, I proceeded across the arm of the lake for
the main shore without them. After reaching it, some time was spent in
searching for the commencement of the portage path. It was found to lie
across a dry pine plain. The Canadians, who are quick on finding the
trail of a portage, wanted nothing more, but pushed on, canoes and
baggage, without any further trouble about the Indian guides. A portage
of 1,078 yards brought us to the banks of a small, clear, shallow lake,
called Warpool, which had a very narrow, tortuous outlet, through which
the men, with great difficulty, and by cutting away acute turns of the
bank with their paddles, made way to force the canoes into Little Long
Lake, which we were twenty-four minutes in crossing. The outlet from
this lake expanded, at successive intervals, into three pond-like lakes,
redolent with the nymphæ valerata; the series terminating in a fourth
lake, lying at the foot of elevated lands, which was called the Lake of
the Mountain. At the head of the latter, we debarked on a shaking bog.
At this spot commences the portage _Plé_, which lies over a woodless and
bleak hill. It is short and abrupt, and terminates on the banks of a
deep bowl-shaped lake, where we took breakfast at twelve o'clock. We
were now at the foot of elevated lands. Here began the mountain portage,
so called. Its extent is, first, nine hundred and ten yards, terminating
on the shores of a little lake, without outlet, called the Lake of the
Isle. There is then a portage of 1,960 yards to another mountain lake,
without outlet. We were now near the apex of the summit between Leech
Lake and the source of De Corbeau. Another portage of one onwaybee or
about a thousand yards, partly through a morass, carried us quite across
this summit, and brought us out on elevated and highly beautiful grounds
overlooking the Kaginogumaug, or Longwater Lake, which is the source of
the Crow-Wing River. Here we encamped (18th).

There is no rock stratum seen in place, on the De Corbeau summit. Its
surface is purely composed of geological drift and boulders. The journey
had been a very hard and fatiguing one for the men, who were on the
push and trot all day, embarking and debarking continually on lakes, or
scrambling, with their burdens and canoes, over elevations or through
morasses. It was particularly severe on the soldiers, who are
ill-prepared for this kind of toil.

The chief Guelle Plat, with some companions of the Mukandwa band, had
overtaken us, at the Lake of the Isle, and came and encamped beside us.
I invited him to sup with us, and the evening was passed in conversing
with him on various topics. I found him a man of understanding and
comprehensive views, who was well acquainted with the history of his
people. It was twelve o'clock before these conversations ended, when he
got up to go to his camp fire. With him there sat Majegabowee,[181] a
tall, gaunt, and savage-looking man of Red River, who scarcely uttered a
word, but sat a silent listener to the superior powers of conversation
and reflection of his chief. But I could not look at this person without
a sense of horror, when I reflected that in him I beheld the murderer of
Gov. Semple, of the Hudson's Bay Territory, a circumstance which I have
previously adverted to, while at Leech Lake.[182]

  [181] The Fore-standing man. From the verb _maja_, to go, _ninabow_,
  I stand, and _izzee_, a person or man.

  [182] For an account of this transaction, _vide_ Reports of the
  Disputes between the Earl of Selkirk and the Northwest Company, at
  the assizes held at York, Upper Canada, Oct. 1818. 1 vol. 8vo. pp.
  664. Montreal, Casie & Mower, 1819.

Bidding adieu to the Leech Lake chief the next morning at sunrise (4 h.
45 m.), after giving him a lancet, with directions to vaccinate any of
his people who had been overlooked, I embarked on the Kaginogamaug. This
is a beautiful lake, with sylvan shores and crystal water, some four or
five miles long. We were just forty minutes, with full paddles, in
passing it. The outlet is narrow, and overhung with alders. The width is
not over six feet, with good depth, but the turns are so sudden, and the
stream so thickly overhung with foliage, that the use of the axe and the
paddle as an excavator were often necessary. It then expands into a
lake, called Little Vermilion, which is fringed with a growth of birch
and aspen, with pines in the distance. Its outlet is fully doubled in
width, and we had henceforth no more embarrassment in descending. This
outlet is pursued about eight miles. I noticed the tamarack on its
banks, and the nymphæ odorata, scirpus lacustris, and Indian reed on the
margin. It expands into Birch Lake, a clear sheet, about one mile long,
with pebbly bottom, interspersed with boulders. A short outlet, in which
we passed a broken fish-dam, connects it with Lac Plè. This lake is
about three and a half miles long, exhibiting a portion of prairie on
its shores, interspersed with small pines. From it, there is a portage
to Ottertail Lake, the eastern source of Red River. This is the common
war road of the Mukundwa against the Sioux.

On coming out of Lac Plè, freshwater shells began to show themselves,
chiefly species of naiades, a feature in the natural history of this
stream which is afterwards common; but I observed none of much size, and
they are often greatly decorticated. Four or five miles lower, we
entered Assowa Lake, and about a mile and a half further, Lac Vieux
Desert, or Old Gardon Lake, so called from the remains of a trading
station, where we halted for breakfast. On resuming the descent, just
twenty minutes were required, with vigorous strokes of the paddle, to
pass it. It has an outlet about two miles long, when the stream again
expands into a lake of considerable size, which we called Summit Lake.
Thus far, we had been passing on a geological plateau of the diluvial
character, extending southwest. But from this point the course of the
river veers, at first towards the east and northeast, and, after a wide
circuit, to the southeast, and eventually again to the southwest. From
this point, rapids begin to mark its channel. The river, consequently,
assumes a velocity which, while it hurries the traveller on, increases
his danger of running his frail bark against rocks or shoals. We had
been driven down this accelerated channel two hours and fifteen minutes,
when it expanded into a sheet called Long Rice Lake. This is some three
miles in length, and, at a very short distance below it, the river again
expands into a considerable lake, which, from the circumstance of Lieut.
Allen having circumnavigated it, I called Allen's Lake. He found it the
recipient of a small river from the north. It is, apparently, the
largest of this series of river lakes below the Kaginogumaug. While
crossing it, we experienced a very severe and sudden tempest of wind and
rain, accompanied by most severe and appalling peals of thunder and
vivid lightning. Broad ribbons of fire, in acute angles, appeared to
rend the skies. Before the shore could be reached, the tempest had
subsided, so sudden was its development. A short distance below this,
the river makes its tenth evolution, in the shape of a lake, on which,
as my Indian maps gave no name, I bestowed the name of _Illigan_.[183]

  [183] From _ininéeg_, men, and _sugiegan_, lake, signs of a war party
  having been discovered at this place. In this derivative, the usual
  transition of _n_ to _l_ of the old Algonquin is made.


  Complete the exploration of the Crow-Wing River of Minnesota--Indian
    council--Reach St. Anthony's Falls--Council with the Sioux--Ascent
    and exploration of the River St. Croix and Misakoda, or Broulé, of
    Lake Superior--Return of the party to St. Mary's Falls, Michigan.

At Illigan Lake, large oaks and elms appear in the forest; its banks are
handsomely elevated, and the whole country puts on the appearance of
being well adapted to cultivation. We landed to obtain a shot at some
deer, which stood temptingly in sight, and were impressed with the
sylvan aspect of the country. While in the act of passing out of the
lake in our canoes, a small fire was observed on shore, with the usual
signs of its having been abandoned in haste by Indians, who had been
lying in ambush. Every appearance seemed to justify such a conclusion,
and it was evident a party of Sioux had been concealed waiting the
descent of Chippewas, but, on observing our flag, and the public
character of the party, they hastily withdrew. Our men, knowing the
perfidious and cruel character of this tribe, were evidently a good deal
alarmed at these signs. We had been one hour in our canoes, descending
the river with the double force of current and paddles, when the river
was found again expanded, and for the eleventh and last time, in a lake,
which the natives call _Kaitchebo Sagatowa_, meaning the lake through
one end of which the river passes. As this is not a term, however
graphic, which will pass into popular use, I named it Lake Douglas, in
allusion to a former companion in explorations in the northwest.[184]
Ten miles below this lake, the river receives its first considerable
tributary in Shell River, the Aisisepi of the Chippewas, which flows in
from the right, from the slope of the Hauteurs des Terres, near the
Ottertail Lake. Below this tributary, the Crow-Wing is nearly doubled in
width, and there is no further fear of shallow water. We held on our
way for a distance of fourteen miles below the point of junction, and
encamped on the right hand bank at eight o'clock P.M. It had rained
copiously during the afternoon, and everything in the shape of kindling
stuff had become so completely saturated with moisture, that it was
quite an enterprise in the men to light a camp-fire. Lieut. Allen did
not reach our encampment this night, having been misled in Allen's Lake,
and, being driven ashore by the tempest, he encamped in that quarter.
Presuming him to be in advance, I had pushed on, to a late hour, and
encamped under this impression.

  [184] Professor D. B. Douglas.

The next morning (20th), we set off from our camp betimes, and, having
now a full flowing river, made good speed. The river passes for a dozen
or more miles through a willowy low tract, on issuing from which there
begins a series of strong rapids. Twenty-four of these rapids were
counted, which were called the Metunna Rapids. Lieut. Allen estimates
that they occupy thirty miles of the channel of the river. Below these
rapids, the river extends to a mean width of three hundred feet. At this
locality we were overtaken by Mr. Allen, at about two o'clock in the
afternoon, and were thus first apprised of the fact that he had been all
the while in our rear instead of in front.

Twenty miles below the Metunna Rapids, Leaf River flows in from the
right, by a mouth of forty yards wide. This stream originates in Leaf
Lake, and is navigable sixty miles in the largest craft used by the
traders.[185] The volume of the Crow-Wing River is constantly increased
in width and velocity by these accessions, which enabled us fearlessly
to make a large day's journey. We encamped together after sunset, on an
elevated pine bank, having descended ninety miles.

  [185] The angle of country above Leaf River, on the Crow-Wing, has
  been proposed as a refuge for the Menomonee tribe, of Wisconsin, for
  whom temporary arrangements, at least, are now made, on the head of
  Fox River, of that State.

The 21st, we were early in motion, the river presenting a broad rushing
mass of waters, every way resembling the Mississippi itself. On reaching
within twenty miles of its mouth, we passed, on the right bank, the
mouth of the Long Prairie River,[186] a prime tributary flowing from the
great Ottertail slope, which has been, time out of mind, the war road
between the Chippewas and Sioux; and between this point and the
confluence coming in we passed, on the left bank, the confluence of the
Kioshk, or Gull River, through which there is a communication, by a
series of portages, with Leech Lake.[187]

  [186] This river has been assigned as the residence of the Winnebago
  Indians. It is the present seat of the United States agency, and of
  the farming and mechanical establishment for that tribe.

  [187] Mr. J. J. Nicolet pursued this route in 1836, on his visit to
  the sources of the Mississippi. _Vide_ Senate Doc. No. 237.
  Washington, D. C., 1843.

From head to foot, we had now passed through the valley of the De
Corbeau River, without finding in it the permanent location of a single
Indian. We had not, in fact, seen even a temporary wigwam upon its
banks. The whole river lies, in fact, on the war road between the two
large rival tribes of the Chippewas and Sioux. It is entered by war
parties from either side, decked out in war-paints and feathers, who
descend either of its tributaries, the Leaf and Long Prairie Rivers. The
Mukundwa descends the main channel from the Kaginogumaug Lake in canoes.
On reaching the field of ambush, these canoes are abandoned, and the
parties, after an encounter, haste home on foot.

From this deserted and uninhabited state of the valley we were the more
surprised, as noon drew on, to descry an Indian canoe ascending the
river. It proved to be spies on the look-out, from the body of Chippewas
encamped at the mouth of the river, agreeably to my invitation at Sandy
Lake. After mutual recognitions, and learning that we were near the
mouth of the river, we resumed our descent with renewed spirit, and soon
reached its outflow into the Mississippi, and crossed it to the point at
which the Indians had established their camp. We were received with
yells of welcome. It occupied an eminence on the east bank of the
Mississippi, directly opposite to the mouth of the De Corbeau.[188] The
site was marked by a flag hoisted on a tall staff. The Indians fired a
salute as we landed, and pressed down to the shore, with their chiefs,
to greet us. They informed me that by their count of sticks, of the time
appointed by me at Sandy Lake, to meet them at this spot, would be out
this day, and I had the satisfaction of being told, within a short time
of my arrival, that the canoe, with goods and supplies, from Sandy Lake,
was in sight. The Indians were found encamped a short distance above the
entrance of the Nokasippi[189] River, which is in the line of
communication with the Mille Lac and Rum River Indians. I found the
latter, together with the whole Sandy Lake Band, encamped here, awaiting
my arrival. They numbered 280 souls, of whom 60 were warriors.

  [188] CROW-WING RIVER.--This stream is the largest tributary of the
  Mississippi above the falls of St. Anthony. It enters the Mississippi
  in lat. 46° 15´ 50´´, 180 miles above the latter, and 145 miles below
  Sandy Lake. Government first explored it, in 1832, from its source in
  Lake Kaginogumaug to its mouth, and an accurate map of its channel,
  and its eleven lakes, was made by Lieut. Allen, U. S. A., who
  accompanied the party as topographer. It is 210 miles in length, to
  its source in Long Lake. The island, in its mouth, is about three
  miles long, and covered with hard-wood timber. The whole region is
  noted for its pine timber; the lands lie in gentle ridges, with much
  open country; a large part of it is adapted to agriculture, and there
  is much hydraulic power It is navigable at the lowest stages of
  water, about 80 miles, and by small boats to its very source.

  [189] From _Noka_, a man's name, and _seebi_, a river.

A council was immediately summoned, to meet in front of my tent, at the
appointed signal of the firing of the military; the business of my
mission was at once explained, the presents distributed, and the
vaccinations commenced. Replies were made at length, by the eldest
chief, Gros Guelle, or Big Snout; by Soangekumig, or the Strong Echoing
Ground; by Wabogeeg, or the White Fisher; and by Nitumegaubowee, or the
First Standing Man. The business having been satisfactorily concluded,
the vaccination finished, and having still a couple of hours of
daylight, I embarked and went down the Mississippi some ten or fifteen
miles, to a Mr. Baker's trading-house at Prairie Piercie.

At this place, I remained encamped, it being the Sabbath day, and rested
on the 22d, which had a good effect on the whole party, engaged as it
had been, night and day, in pushing its way to accomplish certain
results, and it prepared them to spring to their paddles the more
cheerfully on Monday morning. Indeed, it had been part of my plan of
travel, from the outset, to give the men this rest and opportunity to
recruit every seventh day, and I always found that they did more work in
the long run, from it. I had also engaged them, originally, not to drink
any ardent spirits, promising them, however, that their board and pot
should be well supplied at all times. And, indeed, although I had
frequently travelled with Canadian canoemen, I never knew a crew who
worked so cheerfully, and travelled so far, per diem, on the mean of the
week, as these six days' working canoemen.

At Mr. Baker's, 170 miles above St. Anthony's Falls, I found a stray
number of a small newspaper, and first learned the state of the Sauc and
Fox war. The chief, Blackhawk, had crossed the Mississippi, to enter the
Rock River valley; had murdered Mr. St. Vrain, the United States agent,
sustained a conflict with the Illinois militia, under Major Stillman,
fled to Lake Gushkenong, on the head of Rock River, and drawn upon his
movement the United States army, leaving, at last accounts, Generals
Atkinson and Dodge in pursuit of him.

Having struck the Mississippi at the point where the prior narrative
describes it (_vide_ Chap XII.), it becomes unnecessary to give details
of my descent to St. Anthony's Falls. Leaving Prairie Piercie on the
23d, two days were employed in the descent to Fort Snelling. I found
Captain Wm. R. Jouett in command, who received me with courtesy and
kindness, and offered every facility, in the absence of Mr. Talliaferro,
the United States Indian Agent, for laying the object of my mission
before the Sioux. He had received no very recent intelligence of the
progress of the Sauc war, in addition to that which I had learned at the
mouth of the De Corbeau; although he was in the habit of sending a mail
boat or canoe twice a month to Prairie du Chien.[190]

  [190] It was not till some time after my return to St. Mary's that I
  learned of the overthrow of the chief and his army, and his being
  taken prisoner at the battle of the Badaxe, on the 14th of August,

On the 25th, being the day after my arrival, I met the assembled, Sioux,
in council, at the Agency House, the commanding officer being present,
and having finished that business, and finding the Sioux wholly
unconnected with, and disapproving the proceedings of Blackhawk and his
adherents, I embarked early the next morning on my return to Lake
Superior. I reached the mouth of the River St. Croix, at three o'clock
P. M. on the 26th, and having entered the sylvan sheet of Lake St.
Croix, ascended it to within a few miles of its head, and encamped.
Lieut. Allen did not reach my camp, but halted for the night some seven
or eight miles short.[191] This lake is one of the most beautiful and
picturesque sheets of water in the West, being from two to three miles
wide, and some four-and-twenty or thirty in length.[192] The next
morning I reached the head of the lake after a couple of hours of
travel, and, by a diligent and hard day's work, during which we passed
between perpendicular walls of sonorous trap-rock, reached and encamped
at the falls of St. Croix, at eight o'clock in the evening.[193] We were
now about fifty miles from the line of the Mississippi River. For the
last few miles, there had been either a very strong current or severe
eddies of water, around angular masses of trap-rock; and we were
encamped at the precise foot of the falls, where the river, narrowed to
some fifty feet, breaks its way through trap-rock, falling some fifty
feet in the course of six hundred yards. We had been carried, at a
tangent, from the great Mississippi series of the silurian period,
beginning at St. Anthony's Falls, to the vitric formations of trap and
greenstone of the Lake Superior system, and were now to ascend a
valley, in which a heavy diluvial drift and boulder stratum rested on
this broken and angular basis.[194] On reaching the summit of the St.
Croix, there are found vast plateaux of sand, supporting pine forests;
and on descending the Misakoda, or Brulé of Fond du Lac, the sandstone
strata of that basin are again encountered. This ascent was rendered
arduous, from the low state of the water. I reached Snake River on the
30th, had an interview with the Buffalo chief (Pezhikee) and his
subordinates; finding the population 300, with thirty-eight half breeds.
The men, while here, cut their feet, treading on the trap-rock debris,
in the mouth of the river. The distance thence to Yellow River is about
thirty-five miles, which we accomplished on the 31st, by eight o'clock
in the morning, having found our greatest obstacle at the Kettle Rapids,
which discloses sharp masses of the trap-rock. The river, in this
distance, receives on its right, in the ascent, the Aisippi, or Shell
River, which originates in a lake of that name, noted for its large
unios and anadontas.

  [191] United States soldiers are not adapted to travelling in Indian
  canoes. Comparatively clumsy, formal, and used to the comforts of
  good quarters and shelter, they flinch under the activities and
  fatigue of forest life, and particularly of that kind of life and
  toil, which consists in the management of canoes, and the carrying
  forward canoes and baggage over bad portages, and conducting these
  frail vessels over dangerous rapids and around falls. No amount of
  energy is sufficient on the part of the officers to make them keep
  up, on these trips, with the gay, light, and athletic _voyageur_, who
  unites the activity and expertness of the Indian with the power of
  endurance of the white man. Lieut. Allen deserves great credit, as an
  army officer, for urging his men forward as well as he did on this
  arduous journey, for they were a perpetual cause of delay and anxiety
  to me and to him. They were relieved and aided by my men at every
  practicable point; but, having the responsibility of performing a
  definite duty, on a fixed sum of money, with many men to feed in the
  wilderness, it was imperative in me to push on with energy, day in
  and day out, and to set a manful example of diligence, at every
  point; and, instead of carping at my rapidity of movement, as he does
  in his official report of the ascent of the St. Croix, he having
  every supply within himself, and being, moreover, in a friendly
  tribe, where there was no danger from Indian hostilities, he should
  not have evinced a desire to control my encampments, but rather given
  his men to understand that he could not countenance their

  [192] It is, at this time, a part of the boundary between the State
  of Wisconsin and the Territory of Minnesota, and is the site of
  several flourishing towns and villages. On its western head is the
  town of Stillwater, the seat of justice for Washington County,
  Minnesota. This town has a population of 1,500 inhabitants,
  containing a court house, several churches, schools, printing
  offices, a public land office, and territorial penitentiary, with
  stores, mills, &c. Hudson is a town seated on its east bank, at
  Willow River, being the seat of justice for St. Croix County,
  Wisconsin. It contains a United States land-office, two churches,
  and 94 dwellings, besides stores and mills. Steamboats freely
  navigate its waters from the Mississippi.

  [193] FALLS OF ST. CROIX.--A thriving post town is now seated on the
  Wisconsin side of these falls in Polk County, Wisconsin, which
  contains several mills, at which it is estimated, four millions of
  feet of pine lumber are sawed annually. It is at the head of
  steamboat navigation of St. Croix River.

  [194] _Vide_ Owen's Geological Report, for the first attempt to
  delineate the order of the various local and general formations.
  Philada., Lippincott & Co., 1852.

At Yellow River, I halted to confer with the Indians in front of a
remarkable eminence called Pokunogun, or the Moose's Hip. This eminence
is not, however, of artificial construction. This river, with its
dependencies of Lac Vaseux, Rice Lake, and Yellow Lake, contains a
Chippewa population of three hundred and eighty-two souls. We observed
here the unio purpureus, which the Indians use for spoons, after rubbing
off the alatæ and rounding the margin. We also examined the skin of the
sciurus tredacem striatus of Mitchill.

We reached the forks of the St. Croix about two o'clock P. M. The
distance from Yellow River is about thirteen miles; it required five and
a half hours to accomplish this. The water was, indeed, so low, that the
men had often to wade; and, on reaching this point, we were to lose half
its volume, or more, for the Namakagun[195] fork, which enters here,
carries in more than half the quantity of water.

  [195] From _nama_, a sturgeon, and _kagun_, a yoke or wier. I
  explored this stream in 1831, having reached it after ascending the
  Mauvais or Maskigo of Lake Superior. _Vide_ Personal Memoirs:
  Lippincott, Grambo, & Co., 1851.

I found the chief Kabamappa and his followers encamped at the forks,
awaiting my arrival, who received me with a salute. He disclaimed all
connection with the movement of the Blackhawk. He stated facts, however,
which showed him to be well acquainted with the means which that chief
had used to bring the Indians into an extensive league against the
United States. He readily assented to the measures proposed to the upper
bands, for bringing the Sioux and Chippewas into more intimate and
permanent relations of peace and friendship.

With respect to the ascent of the St. Croix, in the direction of the
Brulé, his exclamation was _iskutta-iskutta_, meaning it is dried up, or
there is no water. Dry the channel, indeed, looked, but by leading the
canoes around the shoals, all the men walking in the water, and picking
out channels, we advanced about seven miles before the time of
encampment. The next morning (Aug. 1) a heavy fog detained us in our
encampment, till five o'clock, when we recommenced the ascent of a
similar series of embarrassments from very low water, rapid succeeding
to rapid, till two o'clock P. M., when we reached the summit of a
plateau, and found still water and comparatively good navigation. Five
hours canoeing on this summit brought us to Kabamappa's village at the
Namakowágon, or sturgeon's dam, where we encamped. The chief gave us his
population at 88 souls, of whom 28 were men, including the minor chief,
Mukudapenas,[196] and his men. We had now got above all the strong
rapids, and proceeded from our encampment at four o'clock, A. M., on the
2d. The river receives two tributaries, from the right hand, on this
summit, namely, the Buffalo and Clearwater, and, at the distance of
about ten miles above the Namakowágon, is found to be expanded in a
handsome lake of about six miles in extent, called Lake St. Croix. This
is the source of the river. We were favored with a fair wind in passing
over it, and having reached its head debarked on a marshy margin, and
immediately commenced the portage to the Brulé, or Misakoda River.[197]

  [196] From _mukuda_, black, and _penaisee_, a bird, the name of the

  [197] From _misk_, red or colored, _muscoda_, a plain, and _auk_, a
  dead standing tree, as a tree burned by fire or lightning. From the
  French translation of the word, by the phrase _Brulé_; the Indian
  meaning is clearly shown to be burnt, scorched, or parched--a term
  which is applied to metifs of the mixed race.

I had now reached the summit between the St. Croix and Lake Superior.
The elevation of this summit has not been scientifically determined; but
from the great fall of the Brulé, cannot be less than 600 feet. The
length of the Brulé is about 100 miles, in which there are 240 distinct
rapids. Some of these are from eight to ten feet each. Four of them
require portages, at which all the canoes are discharged. The river
itself, on looking down it, appears to be a perfect torrent, foaming and
roaring; and it could never be used by the traders at all, were it not
that it had abundance of water, being the off-drain for an extensive
plateau of lakes and springs. To give an adequate idea of this foaming
torrent, it is necessary to conceive of a river flowing down a pair of
stairs, a hundred miles long.

The portage from the St. Croix to it begins on marsh, ascending in a
hundred yards or so, to an elevated sandy plain, which has been covered,
at former times, with a heavy forest of the pinus resinosa; that having
been consumed, there is left here and there a dry trunk, or _auk_, as
the Indians call it. The length of the portage path is 3,350 yards, or
about two miles. At this distance, we reach a small, sandy-bottomed
brook, of four feet wide and a foot deep, of most clear crystalline cold
water, winding its way, in a most serpentine manner, through a boggy
tract, and overhung with dense alder bushes. It is a good place to slake
one's thirst, but appears like anything else than a stream to embark on,
with canoes and baggage. Nobody but an Indian would seem to have ever
dreamed of it. Yet on this brook we embarked. It was now six o'clock in
the evening. By going a distance below, and damming up the stream, a
sufficient depth of water was got to float the canoes. The axe was used
to cut away the alders. The men walked, guiding the canoes, and carrying
some of the baggage. In this way we moved slowly, about one mile, when
it became quite dark, and threatened rain. The voyageurs then searched
about for a place on the bog dry enough to sleep on, and came, with joy,
and told me that they had found a kind of bog, with bunches of grassy
tufts, which are called by them _tete de femme_. The very poetry of the
idea was something, and I was really happy, amid the intense gloom, to
rest my head, for the night, on these fair tufts. The next morning we
were astir as soon as there was light enough to direct our steps. After
a few miles of these intricacies, we found a brisk and full tributary,
below which, the descent is at once free, and on crossing the first
narrow geologic plateau, the rapids begin; the stream being constantly
and often suddenly enlarged, by springs and tributaries from the right
and left. To describe the descent of this stream, in detail, would
require graphic powers to which I do not aspire, and time which I cannot
command. We were two days and a part of a night in making the descent,
with every appliance of voyageur craft. It was after darkness had cast
her pall over us, on the evening of the 4th of August, before we reached
still water. The river is then a deep and broad mass of water, into
which coasting vessels from the Lake might enter. Some four miles from
the foot of the last rapids, it enters the Fond du Lac of Lake Superior.
Some time before reaching this point, we had been apprised of our
contiguity to it, from hearing the monotonous thump of the Indian drum;
and we were glad, on our arrival, to find the chief, Mongazid,[198] of
Fond du Lac, with the military barge of Lieut. Allen, left at that place
on our outward trip, which he had promised to bring down to this point.

  [198] From _mong_, a loon, and _ozid_, his foot. The name is in
  allusion to the track of the bird on the sand.

Having thus accomplished the objects committed to my trust, and rejoined
the track described in my prior narrative, I rested here on the next day
(5th), being the Sabbath; and then proceeded through Lake Superior, to
my starting-point at Sault de Ste Marie.[199]

  [199] On passing through Lake Superior, I learned from an Indian the
  first breaking out of Asiatic cholera in the country, in 1832, and
  the wide alarm it had produced.


    No. 1.




     I. Announcement of the Return of the Expedition. By Hon. LEWIS

    II. General Report to the Department of War. By Hon. LEWIS CASS.

   III. Further Explorations of Western Geography recommended. By Hon.
        LEWIS CASS.

    IV. Personal Testimonial on the close of the Expedition. By Hon.
        LEWIS CASS.


     V. Results of Observations for Latitudes and Longitudes during the
        Expedition of 1820. By DAVID B. DOUGLASS, Capt. Engineers, U. S.


    VI. Report on the Copper Mines of Lake Superior. By HENRY R.

   VII. Observations on the Mineralogy and Geology of the country
        embracing the sources of the Mississippi River and the Great
        Lake Basins. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

  VIII. Report in reply to a Resolution of the U. S. Senate on the Value
        and Extent of the Mineral Lands on Lake Superior. By HENRY R.

    IX. Rapid Glances at the Geology of Western New York, beyond the
        Rome summit, in 1820. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

     X. A Memoir on the Geological Position of a Fossil Tree in the
        secondary rocks of the Illinois. Albany: E. & E. Hosford,
        pp. 18, 1822. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.


    XI. List of Plants collected by Capt. D. B. Douglass at the sources
        of the Mississippi River. This paper has been published in the
        4th vol. p. 56 of Silliman's Journal of Science. By Dr. JOHN


   XII. A Letter embracing Notices of the Zoology of the Northwest,
        addressed to Dr. Mitchell on the return of the Expedition. By


  XIII. Species of Bivalves collected by Mr. Schoolcraft and Capt.
        Douglass in the Northwest. Published in the 6th vol. Amer.
        Journ. of Science, pp. 120, 259. By D. H. BARNES.

   XIV. Fresh-water Shells collected by Mr. Schoolcraft in the valleys
        of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. American Philosophical
        Transactions, vol. 5. By Mr. ISAAC LEA.


    XV. Summary Remarks respecting the Zoological Species noticed in the
        Expedition. By Dr. SAMUEL L. MITCHELL.

   XVI. Mus Busarius. Medical Repository, vol. 21, p. 248. By Dr. SAMUEL
        L. MITCHELL.

  XVII. Sciurus Tredecem Striatus. Med. Rep. vol. 21. By Dr. SAMUEL L.

 XVIII. Proteus of the Lakes. Am. Journ. Science, vol. 4. By Dr. SAMUEL
        L. MITCHELL.


  XIX. Memoranda on Climatic Phenomena, and the distribution of Solar
      Heat, in 1820. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.


  XX. A Pictographic mode of communicating ideas by the Northwestern
      Indians. By Hon. LEWIS CASS.

  XXI. Inquiries respecting the History, &c. of the Indians of the
      United States. Detroit, 1822. By Hon. LEWIS CASS.

  XXII. A Letter on the Origin of the Indian Tribes of America, and the
      Principles of their Mode of uttering Ideas. By Dr. J. M'DONNELL,
      Belfast, Ireland.

  XXIII. Difficulties of studying the Indian Tongues of the United
      States. Schoolcraft's Travels in the Central Portions of the
      Mississippi Valley, p. 381. By Dr. ALEXANDER WOLCOTT, Jr.

  XXIV. Examinations of the Elementary Structure of the
      Odjibwa-Algonquin Language. First paper. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

  XXV. A Vocabulary of the Odjibwa-Algonquin. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.




  DETROIT, September 14, 1820.

SIR: I am happy to be enabled to state to you that I reached this place
four days since, with some of the gentlemen who accompanied me on my
late tour, after a very fortunate journey of four thousand miles, and an
accomplishment, without any adverse accident, of every object intrusted
to me. The party divided at Green Bay, with a view to circumnavigate
Lake Michigan, and I trust they may all arrive here in the course of a

As soon as possible, I shall transmit to you a detailed report upon the

Since my arrival, I have learned that Mr. Ellicott, professor of
mathematics, at the military academy, is dead. I cannot but hope that
the office will not be filled until the return of Captain Douglass. I do
not know whether such an appointment would suit him; but from my
knowledge of his views, feelings, and pursuits, I presume it would. And
an intimate acquaintance with him during my tour enables me to say that
in every requisite qualification, as far as I can judge, I have never
found a man who is his superior. His zeal, talents, and acquirements are
of the first order, and I am much deceived if he do not soon take a
distinguished rank among the most scientific men in our country. His
situation as an assistant professor to Colonel Mansfield, and his
connection with the family of Mr. Ellicott, furnish additional reasons
why he should receive this appointment.

    Very respectfully, sir,
    I have the honor to be
    Your obedient servant,

    Hon. J. C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.


  DETROIT, October 21, 1820.

SIR: I had the honor to inform you some time since that I had reached
this place by land from Chicago, and that the residue of the party were
daily expected. They arrived soon after, without accident, and this long
and arduous journey has been accomplished without the occurrence of any
unfavorable incident.

I shall submit to you, as soon as it can be prepared, a memoir
respecting the Indians who occupy the country through which we passed;
their numbers, disposition, wants, &c. It will be enough at present to
say, that the whole frontier is in a state of profound peace, and that
the remote Indians, more particularly, exhibit the most friendly
feelings towards the United States. As we approach the points of contact
between them and the British, the strength of this attachment evidently
decreases, and about those points few traces of it remain. During our
whole progress but two incidents occurred which evinced in the slightest
degree, an unfriendly spirit. One of these was at St. Mary's, within
forty-five miles of Drummond's Island, and the other within thirty miles
of Malden. They passed off, however, without producing any serious

It is due to Colonel Leavenworth to say, that his measures upon the
subject of the outrage committed by the Winnebago Indians, in the
spring, were prompt, wise, and decisive. As you have long since learned,
the murderers were soon surrendered; and so impressive has been the
lesson upon the minds of the Indians, that the transaction has left us
nothing to regret, but the untimely fall of the soldiers.

In my passage through the Winnebago country, I saw their principal
chiefs, and stated to them the necessity of restraining their young men
from the commission of acts similar in their character to those
respecting which a report was made by Colonel Smith. I have reason to
believe that similar complaints will not again be made, and I am certain
that nothing but the intemperate passions of individuals will lead to
the same conduct. Should it occur, the act will be disavowed by the
chiefs, and the offenders surrendered with as much promptitude as the
relapsed state of the government will permit.

The general route which we pursued was from this place to
Michilimackinac by the southern shore of Lake Huron. From thence to
Drummond's Island and by the River St. Mary's to the Sault. We there
entered Lake Superior, coasted its southern shore to Point Kewena,
ascended the small stream, which forms the water communication across
the base of the point, and, after a portage of a mile and a half, struck
the lake on the opposite side. Fifty miles from this place is the mouth
of the Ontonagan, upon which have been found large specimens of copper.

We ascended that stream about thirty miles, to the great mass of that
metal, whose existence has long been known. Common report has greatly
magnified the quantity, although enough remains, even after a rigid
examination, to render it a mineralogical curiosity. Instead of being a
mass of pure copper, it is rather copper imbedded in a hard rock, and
the weight does not probably exceed five tons, of which the rock is the
much larger part. It was impossible to procure any specimens, for such
was its hardness that our chisels broke like glass. I intend to send
some Indians in the spring to procure the necessary specimens. As we
understand the nature of the substance, we can now furnish them with
such tools as will effect the object. I shall, on their return, send you
such pieces as you may wish to retain for the Government, or to
distribute as cabinet specimens to the various literary institutions of
our country. Mr. Schoolcraft will make to you a detailed report upon
this subject, in particular, and generally upon the various
mineralogical and geological objects to which his inquiries were
directed. Should he carry into effect the intention, which he now
meditates, of publishing his journal of the tour, enriched with the
history of the facts which have been collected, and with those
scientific and practical reflections and observations, which few men are
more competent to make, his work will rank among the most important
accessions which have ever been made to our national literature.

From the Ontonagon we proceeded to the Fond du Lac, passing the mouths
of the Montreal, Mauvais, and Brulé Rivers, and entered the mouth of the
St. Louis, or Fond du Lac River, which forms the most considerable water
communication between Lake Superior and the Mississippi.

The southern coast of the lake is sterile, cold, and unpromising. The
timber is birch, pine, and trees of that description which characterize
the nature of the country. The first part of the shore is moderately
elevated, the next, hilly, and even mountainous, and the last a low,
flat, sandy beach. Two of the most sublime natural objects in the United
States, the Grand Sable and the pictured rocks, are to be found upon
this coast. The former is an immense hill of sand, extending for some
miles along the lake, of great elevation and precipitous ascent. The
latter is an unbroken wall of rocks, rising perpendicularly from the
lake to the height of 300 feet, assuming every grotesque and fanciful
appearance, and presenting to the eye of the passenger a spectacle as
tremendous as the imagination can conceive, or as reason itself can well

The emotions excited by these objects are fresh in the recollection of
us all; and they will undoubtedly be described, so that the public can
appreciate their character and appearance. The indications of copper
upon the western part of the coast, are numerous; and there is reason to
suppose that silver, in small quantities, has been found.

The communication by the Montreal with the Chippewa River, and by the
Mauvais and Brulé Rivers with the St. Croix, is difficult and
precarious. The routes are interrupted by long, numerous, and tedious
portages, across which the boats and all their contents are transported
by the men. It is doubtful whether their communication can ever be much
used, except for the purposes to which they are now applied. In the
present state of the Indian trade, human labor is nothing, because the
number of men employed in transporting the property is necessary to
conduct the trade, after the different parties have reached their
destination, and the intermediate labor does not affect the aggregate
amount of the expense. Under ordinary circumstances, and for those
purposes to which water communication is applied in the common course of
civilized trade, these routes would be abandoned. From the mouth of the
Montreal River alone to its source, there are not less than forty-five
miles of portage.

The St. Louis River is a considerable stream, and for twenty-five miles
its navigation is uninterrupted. At this distance, near an establishment
of the Southwest Company, commences the Grand Portage about six miles in
length, across spurs of the Porcupine ridge of mountains. One other
portage, one of a mile and a half, and a continued succession of falls,
called the Grand Rapids, extending nine miles, and certainly
unsurmountable except by the skill and perseverance of the Canadian
boatmen, conduct us to a comparatively tranquil part of the river. From
here to the head of the Savannah River, a small branch of the St. Louis,
the navigation is uninterrupted, and after a portage of four miles, the
descent is easy into Lake au Sable, whose outlet is within two miles of
the Mississippi.

This was until 1816 the principal establishment of the British Northwest
Company upon these waters, and is now applied to the same purpose by the
American Fur Company.

From Lac au Sable, we ascended the Mississippi to the Upper Red Cedar
Lake, which may be considered as the head of the navigation of that
river. The whole distance, 350 miles, is almost uninhabitable. The first
part of the route the country is generally somewhat elevated and
interspersed with pine woods. The latter part is level wet prairie.

The sources of this river flow from a region filled with lakes and
swamps, whose geological character indicates a recent formation, and
which, although the highest table-land of this part of the Continent, is
yet a dead level, presenting to the eye a succession of dreary
uninteresting objects. Interminable marshes, numerous ponds, and a few
low, naked, sterile plains, with a small stream, not exceeding sixty
feet in width, meandering in a very crooked channel through them, are
all the objects which are found to reward the traveller for the
privations and difficulties which he must encounter in his ascent to
this forbidding region.

The view on all sides is dull and monotonous. Scarcely a living being
animates the prospect, and every circumstance recalled forcibly to our
recollection that we were far removed from civilized life.

From Lac au Sable to the mouth of the St. Peter's, the distance by
computation is six hundred miles. The first two hundred present no
obstacles to navigation. The land along the river is of a better quality
than above; the bottoms are more numerous, and the timber indicates a
stronger and more productive soil. But near this point commence the
great rapids of the Mississippi, which extend more than two hundred
miles. The river flows over a rocky bed, which forms a continuous
succession of rapids, all of which are difficult and some dangerous. The
country, too, begins here to open, and the immense plains in which the
buffaloes range approach the river. These plains continue to the Falls
of St. Anthony.

They are elevated fifty or sixty feet above the Mississippi, are
destitute of timber, and present to the eye a flat, uniform surface,
bounded at the distance of eight or ten miles by high ground. The title
of this land is in dispute between the Chippewas and Sioux, and their
long hostilities have prevented either party from destroying the game in
a manner as improvident as is customary among the Indians. It is
consequently more abundant than in any other region through which we

From the post, at the mouth of the St. Peter's, to Prairie du Chien, and
from that place to Green Bay, the route is too well-known to render it
necessary that I should trouble you with any observations respecting it.

The whole distance travelled by the party between the 24th of May and
the 24th of September exceeded 4,200 miles, and the journey was
performed without the occurrence of a single untoward accident
sufficiently important to deserve recollection.

These notices are so short and imperfect that I am unwilling to obtrude
them upon your patience. But the demands upon your attention are so
imperious, that to swell them into a geographical memoir would require
more time for their examination than any interest which I am capable of
giving the subject would justify.

I propose hereafter to submit some other observations to you in a
different shape.

    Very respectfully, sir,
    I have the honor to be
    Your obedient servant,

    Hon. J. C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.


Copy of a letter from Gov. Lewis Cass to Hon. John C. Calhoun, Secretary
of War, dated

    DETROIT, September 20, 1820.

SIR: In examining the state of our topographical knowledge, respecting
that portion of the Northwestern frontier over which we have recently
passed, it occurs to me that there are several points which require
further examination, and which might be explored without any additional
expense to the United States.

The general result of the observations made by Capt. Douglass, will be
submitted to you as soon as it can be prepared. And I believe he will
also complete a map of the extensive route we have taken, and embracing
the whole of the United States, bounded by the Upper Lakes and by the
waters of the Mississippi, and extending as far south as Rock Island and
the southern extremities of Lakes Michigan and Erie. The materials in
his possession are sufficient for such an outline, and he is every way
competent to complete it. But there are several important streams,
respecting which it is desirable to procure more accurate information
than can be obtained from the vague and contradictory relations of
Indians and Indian traders. The progress of our geographical knowledge
has not kept pace with the extension of our territory, nor with the
enterprise of our traders. But I trust the accurate observations of
Captain Douglass will render a resort to the old French maps for
information respecting our own country entirely unnecessary.

I beg leave to propose to you, whether it would not be proper to direct
exploring parties to proceed from several of our frontier posts into the
interior of the country, and to make such observations as might lead to
a correct topographical delineation of it. An intelligent officer, with
eight or ten men, in a canoe, would be adequate to this object. He would
require nothing more than a compass to ascertain his course, for it is
not to be expected that correct astronomical observations could be
taken. In ascending or descending streams, he should enter in a journal
every course which he pursues, and the length of time observed by a
watch. He should occasionally ascertain the velocity of his canoe, by
measuring a short distance upon the bank, and should also enter in his
journal his supposed rate of travelling. This, whenever it is possible,
should be checked by the distance as estimated by traders and
travellers. By a comparison of these data, and by a little experience,
he would soon be enabled to ascertain with sufficient precision, the
length of each course, and to furnish materials for combination, which
would eventually exhibit a perfect view of the country. I do not know
any additional expense which it would be necessary to encounter. An
ordinary compass is not worth taking into consideration. A necessary
supply of provisions, a small quantity of powder, lead, and tobacco, to
present occasionally to the Indians, and a little medicine, are all the
articles which would require particular attention. Officers employed
upon such services should be directed to observe the natural appearances
of the country; its soil, timber, and productions; its general face and
character; the height, direction, and composition of its hills; the
number, size, rapidity, &c., of its streams; its geological structure
and mineralogical products; and any facts which may enable the public to
appreciate its importance in the scale of territorial acquisitions, or
which may serve to enlarge the sphere of national science.

It is not to be expected that officers detached upon the duties can
enter into the detail of such subjects in a manner which their
importance would render desirable. But the most superficial observer may
add something to the general stock; and to point their inquiries to
specific objects, may be the means of eliciting facts, which in other
hands may lead to important results. The most important tributary stream
of the Upper Mississippi is the Saint Peter's. The commanding officer at
the mouth of that river might be directed to form an expedition for
exploring it.

It is the opinion of Captain Douglass, and it is strongly fortified by
my personal observation, and by the opinion of others, that Lieut.
Talcott, of the Engineers, now at the Council Bluffs, would conduct a
party upon this duty in a very satisfactory manner. He might ascend the
St. Peter's to its source, and from thence cross over to the Red River,
and descend the stream to the 49th parallel of latitude, with directions
to take the necessary observations upon so important a point.[200]
Thence up that branch of the Red River, interlocking with the nearest
water of the Mississippi, and down this river to Leech Lake. From this
lake, there is an easy communication to the River de Corbeau, which he
could descend to the Mississippi, and thence to St. Peter's.[201]

  [200] This is the origin of Major Long's second expedition.

  [201] Explored by the preceding narrative in 1831-1833.

The St. Croix and Chippewa Rivers, entering the Mississippi above and
below the Falls of St. Anthony, might, in like manner, be explored by
parties from the same post.[202] The former interlocks with the Mauvais
and Brulé Rivers, but a descent into Lake Superior would not probably be
considered expedient, so that the party would necessarily ascend and
descend the same stream.[202]

  [202] Explored by the preceding narrative in 1831-1833.

The Chippewa interlocks with the Montreal and Wisconsin Rivers, and
consequently the same party could ascend the former and descend the
latter stream.

A party from Green Bay might explore Rocky River from its source to its

A correct examination of Green Bay and of the Menomonie River might be
made from the same post.

The St. Joseph and Grand River, of this peninsula, could be examined by
parties detached from Chicago.

It is desirable, also, to explore the Grand Traverse Bay, about sixty
miles south of Michilimackinac, on the east coast of Lake Michigan.

These are all the points which require particular examination.
Observations made in the manner I have suggested, and connected with
those already taken by Captain Douglass, would furnish ample materials
for a correct chart of the country.

It is with this view that it might be proper, should you approve the
plan I have submitted to you, to direct, that the reports of the
officers should be transmitted to Captain Douglass, by whom they will be
incorporated with his own observations, and will appear in a form best
calculated to promote the views which you entertain upon the important
subject of the internal geography of our country.


    DETROIT, October 3, 1820.

SIR: On the eve of separating from my associates in our late tour, I owe
it to them and to myself, that I should state to you my opinion
respecting Captain Douglass and Mr. Schoolcraft.

I have found them, upon every occasion, zealous in promoting the
objects of the Expedition, indefatigable in their inquiries and
observations, and never withholding their personal exertions. Ardent in
their pursuit after knowledge, with great attainments in the departments
of literature to which they have respectively devoted themselves, and
with powers which will enable them to explore the whole field of
science, I look forward with confidence to the day when they will assume
distinguished stations among our scientific men, and powerfully aid in
establishing the literary fame of their country.

Should any object of a similar character again require similar talents,
I earnestly recommend their employment. Whoever has the pleasure of
being associated with them, will find how easily profound acquirements
may be united with that urbanity of manners, and those qualities of the
heart, which attach to each other those who have participated in the
fatigues of a long and interesting tour.

    Very respectfully, sir,
    I have the honor to be
    Your obedient servant,

    Hon. JOHN C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.


Topographical materials were collected by Capt. Douglass, U.S.A., for a
map of the northwestern portions of the United States, embracing the
complete circumnavigation of the great lake basins, and accurate
delineations of the sources of the Mississippi, as low down as the
influx of the River Wisconsin. Being provided with instruments from the
Military Academy of West Point, astronomical observations were made at
every practical point over the vast panorama traversed by the
Expedition. A line of some four thousand miles of previously unexplored
country was visited; his notes and memoranda for a topographical memoir
were full and exact; and they were left, I am informed, in a state of
nearly perfect elaboration, accompanied by illustrations, and many
drawings of scenery. Having written to his family recently, for the
astronomical observations, they were transmitted by his son in a letter,
of which the following is an extract:--

    GENEVA, JUNE 23, 1854.

DEAR SIR: I inclose you herewith, on another page, the results of my
father's observations of latitude and longitude, so far as I have been
able to collect them. His calculations indicate great pains and labor to
obtain accurate results. They are too voluminous to copy. I trust,
however, that I have been as particular as was necessary in the inclosed
memoranda. If anything else is wanting, I should like you to inform me.

    I am, sir, with great respect,
    Your obedient servant,


_Results of Observations for Latitude and Longitude during the
Expedition of 1820._ By DAVID B. DOUGLASS, Capt. Engineers, U.S.A.

            {By 3 sets of observations at Cunningham's  }
            {  Island, 1819, and reduced by             }
            {  exact measurement on the Boundary        }
            {  Bay                                      }
            {                                           }
    Mean    {By 1 set of observations at Gibraltar      }
  latitude  {  Island (Put-in Bay), taken, like the     }
     of     {  preceding, in 1819, and reduced as       } 42° 19´ 20´´
   Detroit  {  before                                   }
            {                                           }
            {By 1 set of observations taken on          }
            {  Sugar Island, and reduced as before      }
            {                                           }
            {By mean results of 2 sets of
               observations--May} 17 and 21, 1820
            {By mean observation, Sept. 29, 1820        }

  Mean longitude of Detroit, by 6 sets of observations,
    May 17 and 19, 1820                                   82  39  00

  Latitude of Presque Isle, Lake Huron, June 5, 1820      45  19  45

  Latitude of Mackinaw, by 4 sets of observations,
    June 7 and 11, 1820, by meridian observations,
    Sept. 12, 1820                                        45  50  54

  Height of Fort Holmes. From the water
    to the brow of the hill near Robinson's
    Folly, nearly on a level with
    Fort Mackinaw                            115.8

  Thence to the top of the block H of Fort
    Holmes                                   260.9
                               Total height, 376.7 feet

  Longitude of Mackinaw, by several sets of observations,
    Sept. 12, 1820                                        84  28  40

  Mean latitude of Sault de St. Marie, June 16, 1820      46  26  45

  Latitude of Turtle Camp, on Lake Superior, June
    22--primitive bluff (Granite Point.--S.)              46  41  15

  Latitude of Keweena Camp                                47  02  30

  Mean latitude of Sandy River, July 4, 1820              46  55  24

  Mean longitude (by 25 observations for degrees,
    and 25 observations for time). In time, 6 h. 3 m.
    48 sec. In degrees                                    90  57  00

  Latitude of the gallais[203] on the Grand Portage of
    St. Louis, July 6, 1820                               46  39  34

  Latitude of camp at head of Grand Portage, July
    8, 1820                                               46  41  07

  Latitude of camp at west end of Savanna Portage         46  51  47[204]

  Mean latitude of Sandy Lake post, from observations,
    July 16 and 25                                        46  45  35

  Mean longitude of Sandy Lake post, from 4 sets
    of observations, July 15 and 16                       93  21  30

  Latitude of Wolverine Camp, July 23, 1 day from
    Sandy Lake                                            47   4  15

  Latitude of halting-place above forks of Leech
    River on the Mississippi, July 20                     47  24  00[205]

  Latitude of camp at Lake Winnipec, July 20              47  30  56

  Latitude of halting-place near first return camp,
    July 21                                               47  27  10

  Latitude of return camp; near the above, same
    day                                                   47  26  40

  Latitude of camp at Buffalo hunting-ground, above
    Pe-can-de-quaw Lake, July 28 and 29                   46  00  00

  Breadth of river at camp on the Buffalo Plain,
    148 yards

  Latitude of halting-place between the Great Falls
    and St. Francis River                                 45  25  43

  Breadth of river at camp above Falls of St. Anthony,
    200 yards

  Mean latitude of Fort St. Anthony, new site, July
    31, by 5 sets of observations                         44  53  20

  Mean longitude of Fort St. Anthony, new site, July
    31, by 3 sets of observations                         92  55  45

  Latitude of Fort Prairie du Chien, Aug. 6 and 7.        43  03  19[206]

  Latitude of Fox and Ouisconsin Portage, Aug.
    14 and 15, 43° 42´ 36´´; say                          43  42  00

  Latitude of camp near mouth of River De Loup,
    Aug. 17                                               44   6  44

  Latitude of Fort Howard, Green Bay, Aug. 21             44  31  38

  Longitude of Fort Howard (some error), probably
    between 87° 45´ 30´´ and                              87  46  00

  Latitude of camp at Sturgeon Portage, Lake Michigan,
    Aug. 23                                               44  47  43

  Latitude of camp 3 miles north of the Manetowag,
    Aug. 24                                               44  12  47

  Latitude of camp south of the Sheboyegan, Aug. 25       43  41  26

  Latitude of camp at Milwaukie, Aug. 26                  43  01  35

  Mean latitude of Fort Dearborn, Chicago, by 6 sets
    of equal altitudes, Aug. 31, and meridian altitude
                                                          41  54  06
  Mean longitude of Fort Dearborn, 3 sets of
    observations. In time, 5 h. 50 m. 8 sec. In
    degrees                                               87  32  30

  Longitude of Detroit, calculated from above             82  54  53

  Latitude of camp near head of Lake Michigan,
    Aug. 31 and Sept. 1                                   41  38  48

  Mean latitude of the extreme south point of Lake
    Michigan, 4 sets of observations and meridian
    observation                                           41  37  28

  Latitude of camp next north of the St. Joseph's,
    near Kekalamazo, Sept. 3                              42  32  16

  Latitude of camp at Maskegon River, Sept. 4             43  13  41

  Latitude of camp near Point aux Salles, Lake
    Michigan, Sept. 5                                     44   5  17

  Latitude of camp at Grand Traverse Bay, Lake
    Michigan, Sept. 7                                     45  34  24

  [203] _Galet_, in the Canadian patois, means a smooth, flat
  rock.--H. R. S.

  [204] A little doubtful.

  [205] A little doubtful.

  [206] Or 20´´.



_Report on the Copper Mines of Lake Superior._ By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

    To the Hon. JOHN C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.

    VERNON (Oneida County, N. Y.), November 6, 1820.

SIR: I have now the honor to submit such observations as have occurred
to me, during the recent expedition under GOV. Cass, in relation to the
copper mines on Lake Superior; reserving, as the subject of a future
communication, the facts I have collected on the mineralogy and geology
of the country explored generally.

The first striking change in the mineral aspect of the country north of
Lake Huron, is presented near the head of the Island of St. Joseph, in
the River St. Mary, where the calcareous strata of secondary rocks are
succeeded by a formation of red sandstone, which extends northward to
the head of that river at Point Iroquois, producing the falls called the
_Sault de Ste. Marie_, fifteen miles below; and thence stretching
northwest, along the whole southern shore of Lake Superior, with the
interruptions noted, to Fond du Lac.

This extensive stratum is perforated at various points by upheaved
masses of sienitic granite and trap, which appear in elevated points on
the margin of the lake at Dead River, Keweena Point, Presque Isle, and
the Chegoimagon Mountains. It is overlaid, in other parts, by a stratum
of gray or neutral-colored sandstone, of uncommon thickness, which
appears in various promontories along the shore, and, at the distance of
ninety miles from Point Iroquois, constitutes a lofty perpendicular and
caverned wall, upon the water's edge, called the Pictured Rocks.

So obvious a change in the geological character of the rock strata, in
passing from Lake Huron to Lake Superior, prepares the observer to
expect a corresponding one in the imbedded minerals and other natural
features--an expectation which is realized during the first eighty
leagues, in the discovery of various minerals. The first appearances of
copper are seen at Keweena Point, two hundred and seventy miles beyond
the Sault de Ste. Marie, where the debris and pebbles along the shore of
the lake contain native copper disseminated in particles varying in size
from a grain of sand to a mass of two pounds' weight. Many of the
detached stones of this Point are also colored green by the carbonate of
copper, and the rock strata exhibit traces of the same ore. These
indications continue to the River Ontonagon, which has long been noted
for the large masses of native copper found upon its banks, and about
the contiguous country.

This river is one of the largest of thirty tributaries, mostly small,
which flow into the lake between Point Iroquois and Fond du Lac. It
originates in a district of mountainous country intermediate between the
Mississippi River and lakes Huron and Superior. After running in a
northern direction for about one hundred and twenty miles, it enters the
latter at the computed distance of fifty miles west of the portage of
Keweena, in north latitude 46° 52´ 2´´, according to the observations of
Capt. Douglass. It is connected, by portages, with the Monomonee River
of Green Bay, and with the Chippewa River of the Mississippi. At its
mouth there is a village of Chippewa Indians of sixteen families, who
subsist chiefly on the fish taken in the river. Their location,
independent of that circumstance, does not appear to unite the ordinary
advantages of an Indian village of the region.

A strip of alluvial land of a sandy character extends from the lake up
the river three or four leagues, where it is succeeded by hills of a
broken, sterile aspect, covered, chiefly, with a growth of pine,
hemlock, and spruce. Among these hills, which may be considered as
lateral spurs of the Porcupine Mountains, the copper mines, so called,
are situated, at the computed distance of thirty-two miles from the
lake, and in the centre of a region characterized by its wild, rugged,
and forbidding appearance. The large mass of native copper lies on the
west bank of the river, at the water's edge, at the foot of an elevated
bank, part of which appears to have slipped into the river, carrying
with it the mass of copper, together with detached blocks of sienitic
granite, trap-rock, and other species common to the soil at that place.

The copper, which is in a pure and malleable state, lies in connection
with serpentine rock, one face of which it almost completely overlays.
It is also disseminated in masses and grains throughout the substance of
the rock. The surface of the metal, unlike most oxidable metals which
have been long exposed to the atmosphere, presents a metallic
brilliancy, which is probably attributable to the attrition of the
semi-annual floods of the river.

The shape of the rock is very irregular; its greatest length is three
feet eight inches; its greatest breadth, three feet four inches, with an
average thickness of twelve inches. It may, altogether, contain eleven
cubic feet.[207] It exceeds, in size, the great mass of native iron
found some years ago on the banks of Red River, in Louisiana. I have
computed the weight of metallic copper in the rock at twenty-two hundred
pounds, which is about one-fifth of the lowest estimate made of it by
former visitors. Henry, who visited it in 1766, estimated its weight at
five tons. The quantity may, however, have been much diminished since
its discovery, and the marks of chisels and axes upon it, with the
discovery of broken tools, prove that portions have been cut off and
carried away. Notwithstanding this reduction, it may still be considered
one of the largest and most remarkable bodies of native copper on the
globe, and is, so far as known, only exceeded in weight by a specimen
found in a valley in Brazil, weighing twenty-six hundred and sixty-six
Portuguese pounds. Viewed as a subject of scientific interest, it
presents illustrative proofs of an important character. Its connection
with a rock which is foreign to the immediate section of country where
it lies,[208] indicates a removal from its original bed; while the
intimate connection of the metal and matrix, and the complete
envelopment of masses of the copper by the rock, point to a common and
contemporaneous origin, whether that be referable to volcanic agency or
water. This conclusion admits of an obvious application to the beds of
serpentine and other magnesian rock found in other parts of the lake.

  [207] This copper rock now (1854) lies in the yard of the War Office
  at Washington.

  [208] A locality of serpentine rock has since been discovered at
  Presque Isle, on Lake Superior.

Several other large masses of native copper have been found, either on
this river or within the basin of the lake, at various periods since the
country has been known, and taken into different parts of the United
States and of Europe. A recent analysis of one of these specimens, at
the University of Leyden, proves it to be native copper in a state of
uncommon purity, and uncombined with any notable portion of either gold
or silver.

A mass of copper, weighing twenty-eight pounds, was discovered on an
island in Lake Superior, eighty miles west of the Ontonagon. It was
taken to Michilimackinac and disposed of. The War Department was
formerly supplied with a specimen from this mass, and the analysis above
alluded to is also understood to have been made from a portion of it. A
piece weighing twelve pounds was found at Winnebago Lake. Other
discoveries of this metal have been made, within the region, at various
times and places.

The existence of copper in the region of Lake Superior appears to have
been known to the earliest travellers and voyagers.

As early as 1689, the Baron La Hontan, in concluding a description of
Lake Superior, adds: "That, upon it, we also find copper mines, the
metal of which is so fine and plentiful that there is not a seventh part
lost from the ore."--_New Voyages to North America_, London, 1703.

In 1721, Charlevoix passed through the lakes on his way to the Gulf of
Mexico, and did not allow the mineralogy of the country to escape him.

"Large pieces of copper are found in some places on its banks [Lake
Superior], and around some of the islands, which are still the objects
of a superstitious worship among the Indians. They look upon them with
veneration, as if they were the presents of those gods who dwell under
the waters. They collect their smallest fragments, which they carefully
preserve, without, however, making any use of them. They say that
formerly a huge rock of this metal was to be seen elevated a
considerable height above the surface of the water, and, as it has now
disappeared, they pretend that the gods have carried it elsewhere; but
there is great reason to believe that, in process of time, the waves of
the lake have covered it entirely with sand and slime. And it is certain
that in several places pretty large quantities of this metal have been
discovered without being obliged to dig very deep. During the course of
my first voyage to this country, I was acquainted with one of our order
(Jesuits) who had been formerly a goldsmith, and who, while he was at
the mission of Sault de Ste. Marie used to search for this metal, and
made candlesticks, crosses, and censers of it, for this copper is often
to be met with almost entirely pure."--_Journal of a Voyage to North

In 1766, Captain Carver procured several pieces of native copper on the
shores of Lake Superior, or on the Chippewa and St. Croix Rivers, which
are noticed in his travels, without much precision, however, as to
locality, &c. He did not visit the southern shores of Lake Superior,
east of the entrance of the Brulé, or Goddard's River, but states that
virgin copper is found on the Ontonagon. Of the north and northeastern
shores, he remarks: "That he observed that many of the small islands
were covered with copper _ore_, which appeared like beds of copperas, of
which many tons lay in a small space."--_Three Years' Travels, &c._

In 1771 (four years before the breaking out of the American Revolution),
a considerable body of native copper was dug out of the alluvial earth
on the banks of the Ontonagon River by two adventurers, of the names of
Henry and Bostwick, and, together with a lump of silver ore of eight
pounds' weight, it was transported to Montreal, and from thence shipped
to England, where the silver ore was deposited in the British Museum,
after an analysis had been made of a portion of it, by which it was
determined to contain 60 per cent. of silver.

These individuals were members of a company which had been formed in
England for the purpose of working the copper mines of Lake Superior.
The Duke of Gloucester, Sir William Johnson, and other gentlemen of rank
were members of this company. They built a vessel at Point aux Pins, six
miles above the Sault Ste. Marie, to facilitate their operations on the
lake. A considerable sum of money was expended in explorations and
digging. Isle Maripeau and the Ontonagon were the principal scenes of
their search. They found silver, in a detached form, at Point Iroquois,
fifteen miles above the present site of Fort Brady.

"Hence," observes Henry, "we coasted westward, but found nothing till we
reached the Ontonagon, where, besides the detached masses of copper
formerly mentioned, _we saw much of the same metal imbedded in stone_.

"Proposing to ourselves to make a trial on the hill, till we were better
able to go to work upon the solid rock, we built a house, and sent to
the Sault de Ste. Marie for provisions. At the spot pitched upon for the
commencement of our operations, a green-colored water, which tinges iron
of a copper color, issued from the hill, and this the miners called a
_leader_. In digging, they found frequent masses of copper, some of
which were of three pounds' weight. Having arranged everything for the
accommodation of the miners during the winter, we returned to the Sault.

"Early in the spring of 1772, we sent a boat-load of provisions, but it
came back on the 20th day of June, bringing with it, to our surprise,
the whole establishment of miners. They reported that, in the course of
the winter, they had penetrated forty feet into the face of the hill,
but, on the arrival of the thaw, the clay, on which, on account of its
stiffness, they had relied, and neglected to secure it by supporters,
had fallen in. That, from the detached masses of metal which, to the
last, had daily presented themselves, they supposed there might be
ultimately reached a body of the same, but could form no conjecture of
its distance, except that it was probably so far off as not to be
pursued without sinking an air shaft. And, lastly, that the work would
require the hands of more men than could be fed in the actual situation
of the country.

"Here our operations, in this quarter, ended. The metal was probably
within our reach, but, if we had found it, the expense of carrying it to
Montreal must have exceeded its marketable value. It was never for the
exportation of copper that our company was formed, but always with a
view to the silver, which it was hoped the ores, whether of copper or
lead, might in sufficient quantity contain."--_Travels and Adventures of
Alexander Henry._

[In the summer of 1832, being detained by head winds at the mouth of
Miner's River, on Lake Superior, I observed the names of several persons
engraved on the sand rock, but much obliterated by the water's dashing
over the rock. Tradition represents that Henry's miners were detained
there, and that they made explorations of the river, which is named from
the circumstance. The stream is a mere brook, coming over the shelving
sand rock, which is a part of the precipitous range of the Pictured

Sir A. Mackenzie passed through Lake Superior, on his first voyage of
discovery, in 1789. He remarks: "At the River Tennagon (Ontonagon) is
found a quantity of virgin copper. The Americans, soon after they got
possession of the country, sent an agent thither; and I should not be
surprised to hear of their employing people to work the mine. Indeed, it
might be well worthy the attention of the British subjects to work the
mines on the north coast, though they are not supposed to be so rich as
those on the south."--_Voyages from Montreal through the Continent of
North America._

It is difficult to conceive what, however, is apparent, from the
references of Dr. Franklin to the subject, that the supposed mineral
riches of Lake Superior had an important bearing on the discussions for
settling the ultimate northern boundary of the United States. The
British ambassadors had, it seems, from an old map which is before me,
claimed a line through the Straits of Michilimackinac and the Illinois
and Mississippi rivers, to the Gulf of Mexico.

The attention of the United States Government appears first to have been
turned toward the subject during the administration of President John
Adams, when the sudden augmentation of the navy rendered the employment
of copper in the equipment of ships an object of moment. A mission was
therefore authorized to proceed to Lake Superior, of the success of
which, as it has not been communicated to the public, nothing can, with
certainty, be stated; but from inquiries which have been made during the
recent expedition, it is rendered probable that the actual state of our
Indian relations, at the time, arrested the advance of the officer into
the region where the most valuable beds of copper were supposed to
exist, and that the specimens transmitted to Government were procured
through the instrumentality of some friendly Indians, employed for the

Such are the lights which those who have preceded me in this inquiry
have thrown upon the subject, all of which have operated in producing
public belief in the existence of extensive copper mines on Lake
Superior. Travellers have generally coincided that the southern shore of
the lake is most metalliferous, and that the Ontonagon River may be
considered as the seat of the principal mines. Mr. Gallatin, in his
report on the state of American manufactures in 1810, countenances the
prevalent opinion, while it has been reiterated in some of our literary
journals, and in the numerous ephemeral publications of the times, until
public expectation has been considerably raised in regard to them.

Under these circumstances, the recent expedition under Gov. Cass entered
the mouth of the Ontonagon River on the 27th of June, having coasted
along the southern shore of the lake from the head of the River St.
Mary. We spent four days upon the banks of that stream, in the
examination of its mineralogy, during which the principal part of our
party was encamped at the mouth of the river. Gov. Cass, accompanied by
such persons as were necessary in the exploration, proceeded, in two
light canoes, to the large mass of copper which has already been
described. We found the river broad, deep, and gentle for a distance,
and serpentine in its course; then becoming narrower, with an increased
velocity of current, and, before reaching the Copper Rock, full of
rapids and difficult of ascent. We left our canoes at a point on the
rapids, and proceeded on foot, across a rugged tract of country, around
which the river formed an extensive semicircle. We came to the river
again at the locality of copper. In the course of this curve the river
is separated into two branches of nearly equal size. The copper lies on
the right-hand fork, and it is subsequently ascertained that this branch
is intercepted by three cataracts, at which the river descends over
precipitous cliffs of sandstone. The aggregate fall of water at these
cataracts has been estimated at seventy feet.

The channel of the river at the Copper Rock is rapid and shallow, and
filled with detached masses of rock, which project above the water. The
bed of the river is upon sandstone, similar to that under the Palisades
on the Hudson. The waters are reddish, a color which they evidently owe
to beds of ferruginous clay. The Copper Rock lies partly in the water.
Other details in the geological structure and appearance of the country
are interesting; but they do not appear to demand a more particular
consideration in this report.

During our continuance upon this stream, we procured from an Indian a
separate mass of copper weighing nearly nine pounds; which will be
forwarded to the War Department. This specimen is partially enveloped
with a crust of green carbonate of copper. Small fragments of quartz and
sand adhere to the under side, upon which it would appear to have fallen
in a liquid state. Several smaller pieces of this metal were procured
during our excursion up the Ontonagon, or along the shores of the lake
east of this stream.

It may be added that discoveries of masses of native copper, like those
of gold and other metals, are generally considered indicative of the
existence of mines in the neighborhood. The practical miner regards them
as signs which point to larger bodies of the same metals, in the earth,
and he is often determined by discoveries of this nature in the choice
of the spot for commencing his labors. The predictions drawn from such
evidence are more sanguine in proportion to the extent of the discovery.
They are not, however, unerring indications, and appear liable to many
exceptions. Metallic masses are sometimes found at great distances from
their original repositories; and the latter, on the contrary, sometimes
occur in the earth, or imbedded in rock strata, where there have been no
great external discoveries.

From all the facts, which I have been able to collect on Lake Superior,
and after a full deliberation upon them since my return, I have drawn
the following conclusions:--

1. That the diluvial soil along the banks of the Ontonagon River,
extending to its source, and embracing the contiguous region, which
gives origin to the Monomonee River of Green Bay, and to the Wisconsin,
Chippewa, and St. Croix Rivers of the Mississippi, contains very
frequent, and several extraordinary masses of native, or metallic
copper. But that no body of this metal, which is sufficiently extensive
to become the object of profitable mining operations, has yet been found
at any particular place. This conclusion is supported by the facts
adduced, and, so far as theoretical aids can be relied upon, by an
application of those facts to the theories of mining. A further extent
of country might have been embraced, along the shores of Lake Superior,
but the same remark appears applicable to it.

2. That a more intimate knowledge of the mineralogical resources of the
country, may be expected to result in the discovery of valuable ores of
copper, in the working of which occasional masses and veins of the
native metal, may materially enhance the advantages of mining. This
inference is rendered probable by the actual state of discoveries, and
by the geological character of the country.

These deductions embrace all I have to submit on the mineral geography
of the country, so far as regards the copper mines. Other considerations
arise from the facilities which the country may present for mining--its
adaptation to the purposes of agriculture--the state and disposition of
the Indian tribes, and other topics which a design to commence
metallurgical operations would suggest. But I have not considered it
incumbent upon me to enter into details upon these subjects. It may, in
brief, be remarked that the remote situation of the country does not
favor the pursuit of mining. It would require the employment of a
military force to protect such operations. For, whatever may be their
professions, the Indian tribes of the north possess strong natural
jealousies, and in situations so remote, are only to be restrained from
an indulgence in malignant passions, by the fear of military

In looking upon the southern shore of Lake Superior, the period appears
distant, when the advantages flowing from a military post upon that
frontier, will be produced by the ordinary progress of our
settlements--for it presents but few enticements for the
agriculturalist. A considerable portion of the shore is rocky, and its
alluvions are, in general, of too sandy and light a character for
profitable husbandry. With an elevation of six hundred and forty-one
feet above the Atlantic, and drawing its waters from territories
situated north of the forty-sixth degree of north latitude, Lake
Superior cannot be represented as enjoying a climate favorable to the
productions of the vegetable kingdom. Its forest trees are chiefly those
of the fir kind, mixed with varieties of the betula, lynn, oak, and
maple. Meteorological observations indicate, however, a warm summer, the
average observed heat of the month of June being 69. But the climate is
subject to a long and severe winter, and to sudden transitions of the
summer temperature. We saw no Indian corn among the natives.

A country lacking a fertile soil, may still become a rich mining
country, like the county of Cornwall in England, the Hartz Mountains in
Germany, and a portion of Missouri, in our own country. But this
deficiency must be compensated by the advantages of geographical
position, a contiguous or redundant population, partial districts of
good land, or a good market. To these, the mineral districts of Lake
Superior can advance but a feeble claim, while it lies upwards of three
hundred miles beyond the utmost point of our settlements, and in the
occupation of savage tribes whose hostility has been so recently

Concerning the variety, importance, and extent of its latent mineral
resources, I think little doubt can remain. Every fact which has been
noticed tends to strengthen the belief that future observations will
indicate extensive mines upon its shores, and render it an attractive
field of mineralogical discovery. In the event of mining operations, the
facilities of a ready transportation of the crude ores to the Sault de
Ste. Marie, will point out that place as uniting, with a commanding
geographical position, superior advantages for the reduction of the
ores, and the general facilities of commerce. At this place, a fall of
twenty-two feet, in the river, in the distance of half a mile, creates
sufficient power to drive hydraulic works to any extent; while the
surrounding country is such as to admit of an agricultural settlement.

I accompany this report with a geological sketch of a vertical section
of the left bank of the Mississippi at St. Peter's, embracing a
formation of native copper. This formation was first noticed by the
officers of the garrison, who directed the quarrying of stone at this
spot. The masses of copper found are small, none exceeding a pound in

    I have the honor to be, sir,
    With great respect,
    Your ob't servant,


_Observations on the Geology and Mineralogy of the Region embracing the
Sources of the Mississippi River, and the Great Lake Basins, during the
Expedition of 1820. Illustrated with Geological Profiles, and Numerous
Diagrams and Views of Scenery._ By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT, U. S. Geol. and
Minera. Exp.

    To the Hon. JOHN C. CALHOUN, _Secretary of War_.

    WASHINGTON, April 2, 1822.

SIR: I have the honor, herewith, to submit the general report of my
observations on the geology and mineralogy of the region visited by the
recent expedition to the sources of the Mississippi River. I transmitted
to the Department on the 6th of November, 1820, a report on the
existence of Copper Mines in the Basin of Lake Superior, together with
specimens of the native metal, which were politely taken charge of at
Albany by General Stephen Van Rensselaer, M. C. Will it be consistent
with the views of the Department to print these reports?

    I have the honor to be, sir,
    Very respectfully,
    Your obedient servant,


    WAR DEPARTMENT, April 6, 1822.

SIR: I have received your interesting report on the geology and
mineralogy of that section of the western country embraced by the late
expedition of Gov. Cass; and, although I have not had it in my power, as
yet, to peruse it with attention, I will see you, at any time you
please, on the subject of your letter respecting it.

    I am, sir,
    Your obedient servant,
    J. C. CALHOUN.


    ALBANY, March, 1822.

SIR: Agreeably to your appointment as a member of the expedition to
explore the sources of the Mississippi, by the way of the Lakes, I
proceeded to join the party organized for that purpose at Detroit, by
His Excellency Lewis Cass. Diurnal notes were kept of the changes in the
geological features of the regions visited; of the mineralogy of the
country; and of such facts as could be ascertained, with the means at
command, to determine its general physical character and value.[209]

  [209] The two geological profiles of the Mississippi Valley and the
  Lake Basins accompanying the original are here omitted; as, also,
  most of the illustrative views of scenery which accompanied the

I have heretofore reported to you the facts and appearances which
indicate the existence of the ores of copper, and of valuable deposits
of copper in its native form, in the basin of Lake Superior--a point
which constituted one of the primary objects to which my attention was
called--and I now proceed to state such particulars in the topics
confided to me as fell within my observation.

In generalizing the facts, it must be observed that the expedition had
objects of a practical character relative to the number, disposition,
and feelings to be learned respecting the Indian tribes; that the
transit over large portions of the country was necessarily rapid; and
that few opportunities of elaborate or long-continued observations
occurred at any one point. The topography was committed to a gentleman
who is every way qualified for that topic, who was well supplied with
instruments, and who will do ample justice to that department. I make
these remarks to prepare you for a class of observations which are
necessarily technical, and quite imperfect, and to which it is felt that
it will not be an easy task to impart a high degree of interest,
whatever may have been the anticipations.

To prepare the mind to appreciate the account which I give of changes
and developments in the physical structure of the country, it may be
observed that the American continent has experienced some of the most
striking mutations in its structure _at_ and _north_ of the great chain
of lakes. That chain is itself rather the evidence of disruptions and
upheavals of formations, which give its northern coasts, to some extent,
the character of ancient--very ancient--volcanic areas of action. These
lakes form--except Erie and Ontario--the general boundaries between the
primitive and secondary strata. But, however striking this fact may, at
particular localities, appear--such as at the Straits of St. Mary, of
which the east and west shores are, geologically, of different
construction--yet nothing in the grand phenomena of the whole region
visited is so remarkable as the boulder stratum, which is spread,
generally, from the north to the south. Some of the blocks of rock are
enormous, and would seem to defy any known cause of removal from their
parent beds; others are smaller, and have had their angles removed, and
far the greater number of these transported boulders are quite smooth
and rounded by the force of attrition. This drift stratum has been
tossed and scattered from its northern latitudes over the surface of the
limestones and sandstones of the south. It is mixed with the diluvial
soils, in Michigan and elsewhere; but it is evident that, in its
diffusion south, the heavier pieces have settled first, while
comparatively minute boulders have been carried over or dropped in the
plains and prairies of Ohio, Illinois, and more southerly regions.
Nobody, with an eye to geology, can mistake the heavy boulder deposits
which mark the southern shores of Huron, and become still more abundant
on the St. Mary's, the shores of Lake Superior, and along the channels
of the River St. Louis and the Upper Mississippi.

Lake Superior has been the central theatre of volcanic upheavals; but
they must have operated at very remote periods, for there is not only no
evidence of existing volcanic fires, but the heavy debris everywhere
bespeaks long intervals of quietude, and slow elementary degradation.
Some of the upheavals were made after the deposition of the sandstone
rocks, which are, as at the foot of the Porcupine Mountains, raised up
to stand nearly vertical; while other districts of the granitic rock, as
at Granite Point, had been elevated before the deposition of the
sandstone rock, which is accurately adjusted to its asperities, and
remains quite horizontal.

The granitical series of strata, which is apparent in northern New York
in the Kayaderasseras Mountains, and at the Thousand Islands of the St.
Lawrence, reappear on the north shores of Huron and Superior, underlie
the bed of the latter, and rise up in the rough coast between the
Chocolate River and Kewaiwenon, cross the Mississippi at the Petite
Roche, above the Falls of St. Anthony, and put out spurs as low down as
the source of the Fox, the St. Croix, and the head of the St. Peter's

These glimpses of some of the leading points in the geological structure
of the regions visited, will enable you to follow my details more
understandingly. These details begin at Detroit. From this place the
expedition passed, by water, along the southern shores of Lakes St.
Clair, Huron, and Superior, to the Fond du Lac; thence, up the River St.
Louis, to the Savanne summit. Thence we proceeded across the portage to
Sandy Lake, which has an outlet into the Mississippi, and followed up
the latter, through the lesser Lake Winnipek, to the entrance of the
Turtle River, in Cass, or upper, Red Cedar Lake, which is laid down by
Pike in north latitude 47° 42´ 40´´.[210] The state of the water was
unfavorable to going higher.

  [210] Pike's Expedition. This observation is corrected by Capt.
  Douglass to 47° 27´ 10´´; the point of observation being, however, a
  few miles south.

From this point, which formed the terminus of the expedition, we
descended the Mississippi, making portages around the Falls of Pekagama
and St. Anthony, to Prairie du Chien. An excursion was made by me down
the Mississippi to the mineral district of Dubuque. We ascended the
Wisconsin, to the portage into the Fox River, and traced the latter down
to its entrance into Green Bay. At this point, the expedition separated;
a part proceeding north, through the bay, to Michilimackinac, and a part
going south, along the west shores of Lake Michigan, to Chicago, the
latitude of which is placed by Capt. Douglass in 41° 54´ 06´´. At this
place, a further division took place. Dr. Wolcott, having reached his
station, remained. Governor Cass proceeded across the peninsula of
Michigan to Detroit on horseback, leaving Capt. Douglass and myself to
complete the survey of Lake Michigan. We rejoined the northern party
detached at Green Bay, under Mr. Trowbridge and Mr. Doty, at
Michilimackinac; and, after repassing the southern coast of Lakes Huron
and St. Clair, reached Detroit.

Topographically, a very wide expanse of wilderness country had been
seen. The entire length of route computed to have been traversed,
exceeds four thousand miles, in the course of which we had crossed
nineteen portages, over which all the baggage and canoes were conveyed
on the shoulders of men. We encountered actual resistance from the
Indians at only one point.[211] I kept my journals continually before
me, and had my pencil in hand every morning as soon as it was light
enough to discern objects. I began my geological observations at

  [211] _Vide_ Narrative Journal.

This ancient city, founded by the French in 1701, stands upon an
argillaceous stratum, which is divided, topographically, into an upper
and lower bank. Wherever this clay has been examined by digging, it
discloses pebbles of various species of rock, denoting it, as far as
these extend at least, to be a part of the great drift stratum.

In digging a well near the old Council House, in the northeast part of
the city, the top soil appeared to be less than two feet. The workmen
then passed through a stratum of blue clay, of eight or ten feet, when
they struck a vein of coarse sand, six or eight inches in thickness,
through which the water entered profusely. The digging was carried
through another bed of blue clay, twenty or twenty-two feet in depth,
when the men reached a stratum of fine yellow sand, into which they dug
three feet and stopped, having found sufficient water. The whole depth
of the well is thirty-three feet. The water is clear and rapid. No
vegetable or other remains were found, and but few primitive pebbles.

In another well, situated near the centre of the town, the depth of
which is twelve feet, the top soil was found to be two feet and a half;
then a bed of gravel, seven feet; a vein of blue clay, eight inches, and
the residue a whitish-blue clay, very compact and hard; a copious supply
of water having been found. The water is, however, slightly colored, and
is of a quality called hard.

In some places, this clay drift yields balls of iron pyrites, which
renders the water unpalatable. At what depth the rock would be struck,
if the excavation were continued, can only be conjectured. A well has
been dug, a short distance below the city, upwards of sixty feet,
chiefly through clay and gravel, without reaching the rock; but abraded
fragments of granite and hornblende rocks were thrown from the greatest

The bed of the river opposite the city has been stated to consist of
limestone rock, but without any proof or much probability. From the fact
of its affording a good anchorage to vessels, I am inclined to think
that it is wholly composed of clay and gravel.

DETROIT FLUVIATILE CLAY.--The argillaceous stratum of Detroit extends
along both banks of the river to its head; passes around the shores of
Lake St. Clair, and up the River St. Clair to Fort Gratiot--a distance
of seventy miles. In this distance there are some moderate elevations
and depressions in the surfaces of the soil, but no very striking
changes in its general character and composition. The boulder stratum is
prominent at Gros Point, at the foot of Lake St. Clair, where the shore
exhibited some heavy blocks of granite, and other foreign rock.

ST. CLAIR FLATS OF PLASTIC CLAY.--At the mouth of the River St. Clair,
the current is divided into several channels, and spread over a
considerable tract of low ground, which is covered with grasses and
aquatic plants. These channels have worn their way through beds of tough
blue clay, called the flats, over which there is sometimes not over
seven feet eight inches of water in the ship channel. They consequently
form an impediment to commerce. The depth is, however, always increased
in the spring season, when twelve inches more may be generally relied
on. Frequently, during the droughts of summer, a change of wind, and its
steady continuance for some time, will allow ships to pass without
lighters. The permanent removal of this bar is, however, an object of
national importance, which cannot but be felt, as the tonnage of the
lakes increases.

ANCIENT DUNE; A BURIED FOREST.--The principal spot where the lands, in
the immediate vicinity of the water, assume any considerable or abrupt
elevation, is included between Black River of the St. Clair and Lake
Huron. Here the outlet of the lake, which is rapid, washes the base of a
ridge, or ancient dune, elevated fifty or sixty feet above the water.
Fort Gratiot occupies the upper part of this elevation. The lower part
consists of the blue clay stratum, corresponding in character with that
found in the wells of Detroit. It is overlaid by a deposit of sand,
forming two-thirds of the entire height. This elevation is crowned with
a light forest of oak and other species. At the line of junction
between the sand and clay, a number of trees are seen to be
horizontally imbedded, projecting their roots and trunks in a striking
manner above the water. These trees, on inspection, are merely
preserved, not petrified. They appear to have been exposed to view, in
modern times, by the wearing away of the bank. Certainly, none of the
old travellers mention them.

The mode of this formation may be clearly seen. Winds, at some ancient
period, have been the agent of blowing the sands, as they were washed up
by the lake, and redepositing them on part of a prostrated forest,
resting directly on the clay stratum. The trees, thus buried in dry
sand, have been preserved. In process of time, the river encroached upon
these antique beds, exposing them to view. There are also antique
fresh-water shells found in similar positions near this spot. No rock
is, thus far, found _in sitû_ in ascending the lakes. The old surface of
the country is wholly of diluvial formation, except where it shows lake

thirty miles lie stretched out between these two points. Lake Huron
charms the eye, with the view of its freshness and oceanic expanse. But
the entrance is without rock scenery, and the student of its geology
must be a patient gleaner along its shores. Long coasts of sand and
gravel extend before the eye, and they are surmounted, at a moderate
elevation, with a dense foliage, which limits the view of its structure
to a narrow line. Portions of this coast are heavily loaded with the
primitive debris[212] from the North. These are found, in some places,
in heavy masses, but all are more or less abraded, showing that they
have been transported from their original beds. In one of these, I
observed crystals of staurotide.

  [212] In 1824, an Indian brought me a specimen of native silver found
  on this part of the coast. It was imbedded in a boulder of mixed
  granite and steatite.

The first section of this coast reaches from Fort Gratiot to Point aux
Barques, a distance of about seventy-five miles. Nearly midway lies the
White Rock, a very large boulder of whitish-gray semi-crystalline
limestone, lying off the shore about half a mile, in water of about one
and a half fathom's depth. It is the effect of gulls lighting upon this
rock, and not the intensity of the color of the stone, that has
originated the name--which is a translation of the _Roche Blanche_ of
the older _voyageurs_. The Detroit clay-formation still characterizes
the coast.

in this section, along and near to the outcrop of the secondary strata
of the peninsula, but these strata are covered with a heavy deposit of
diluvial clays, sands, and pebble drift. The first emergence of fixed
rocks, above the line of the drift, occurs after passing Elm Creek in
the advance to Ship Point (_Pointe aux Barques_). It is a species of
coarse gray, loosely compacted sandstone, in horizontal layers. This
rock continues to characterize the coast to and around the Ship Point
promontory into Saganaw Bay. It possesses a few fossil remains of
corallines; but the rock is not of sufficient compactness and durability
for architectural purposes. It is conjectured to be one of the outlying
series of the coal measures, of which this coast exhibits, further on,
other evidences.

SAGANAW BAY.--The phenomena of this large body of water, which is some
sixty miles long, appear to indicate an original rent in the
stratification, having its centre of action very deep. If the peninsula
of Michigan be likened to a huge fish's head, this bay may be considered
as its open mouth. We crossed the inner bay from Point aux Chenes, where
it is estimated to be twenty miles across.[213] The traverse is broken
by an island, to which the Indians, with us, applied the name of
Sha-wan-gunk.[214] It is composed of a dark-colored limestone, of dull
and earthy fracture and compact structure. It presents broken and
denuded edges at the water level. I observed in it nodular masses of
chalcedony and calc. spar. The margin of the island bears fragments of
the boulder stratum.

  [213] Ships make the traverse where it is sixty miles wide.

  [214] The reason of this name I did not learn. It is apparently the
  same name as that bestowed on a mountain range in Orange and Ulster
  Counties, New York, lying south of the Catskills, where it is
  sometimes called, for short, Shongum. The meaning is, evidently,
  something like South-land-place. The local _unk_ may be translated
  hill, island, continent, &c. &c.

HIGHLANDS OF SAUBLE.--On crossing the bay, these highlands present
themselves to view in the distance. They are the north-eastern verge of
the most elevated central strata of the peninsula. Their structure can
only be inferred from the formations along the margin of the lake,
extending by Thunder Bay and Presque Isle, and the Isles of Bois Blanc
and Round Island to Michilimackinac. At Thunder Bay, the compact
limestone of the Saganaw Islands reappears, and is constantly in sight
from this point to Presque Isle. It exists in connection with bituminous
shale, at an island in Thunder Bay. It is of a dark carbonaceous
character on the main opposite Middle Island, at a point which is called
by the Indians _Sho-sho-ná-bi-kó-king_, or Place of the Smooth Rock. I
noticed at this point the cyathophyllum helianthoides in abundance, and
easily detached them from the rock. The more compact portions of this
formation in the approach to Presque Isle, disclosed the ammonite, two
species of the gorgonia, and the fragment of a species of chambered
shell, whose character is indeterminate.

Much of the coast was footed, as the winds were adverse, and its debris
thus subjected to a careful scrutiny. Wherever the limestone was broken
up or receded from the water, long lines of yellow beach-sand and
lake-gravel, including members of the erratic block stratum, intervened.
In some localities, local beds of iron sand occur.

MICHILIMACKINAC.[215]--The approach to this island was screened from our
view by the woody shores and forests of Bois Blanc, an island of some
twelve miles in length lying off the main land; and the view of it first
burst upon us in the narrow channel between it and Round Island. It is a
striking geological monument of mutations. Here the calcareous rock,
which had before exhibited itself in low ledges along the shore is piled
up in masses, which reach an extreme altitude of three hundred and
twelve feet. About two hundred feet of this elevation is precipitous on
its south, east, and west edge. A hundred feet or more is piled up on
its centre, part rock and part soil, in a crowning shape. The highest
part of this apex, which is surmounted by the ruins of Fort Holmes,
consists of the drift stratum, among which are boulders of sienite, and
other foreign rocks. A locality of these abraded boulder-rocks, near the
Dousman farm, is worthy of a visit from all who take an interest in the
phenomena of boulders dispersed over the continent. The fishermen
represent the water around this island to be eighty fathoms in depth.
Yet, across these waters, to the utmost altitude of the island, these
blocks of foreign rock have been transported. No force capable of
effecting this is now known. And the argument of their having been
transported on cakes of ice, in the nascent periods of the globe, is
rendered stronger by these appearances than any geological proofs which
I have yet seen.

  [215] The name, as pronounced by the Indians, is Mich-en-i-mack-in-ong,
  meaning Place of Turtle Spirits, a notion of their mythology. It was
  anciently deemed a sacred spot, or one where Monetoes revealed

completely to puzzle the observer as the first glance at this rock. It
is different in appearance from the calcareous rocks, to which my
attention has heretofore been called in Western New York, and in
Missouri and Illinois. The difficulty is to find a point of comparison.
I walked entirely around the island, partly in water, the northern
shores being comparatively low. There appeared to be three layers. The
first, which rises up from the depths of the lake, scarcely, if at all,
reaches the water level. Upon this is superimposed a vesicular rock, of
which the vesicles are filled with carbonate of lime in the state of
agaric mineral. By exposure to the air, this substance readily
decomposes, and assumes an almost limey whiteness, and sometimes a
complete pulverulent state. The reticular, or vesicular lines, by which
the mass is held together, are thus weakened, and large masses of the
craggy parts fall, and assume the condition of debris at the water's
edge. Some conditions of the reticulated filaments are covered with
minute crystals of cal. spar; others of minutely crystallized quartz.
There appear, at other localities, in low positions, layers of quartz in
the condition of a coarse bluish, flinty, striped agate. The entire
stratum appears to be a reproduced mass, which is plainly denoted, if I
mistake not, by some imbedded masses of an elder lime-rock. The whole
stratum is too shelly and fissured to be of value for economical
purposes. It yields neither quicklime nor building stone.

Fort Mackinac is erected on the summit of this stratum. The two objects
of curiosity, called the Arched Rock, and the point called Robinson's
Folly, are evidences of this tendency of the cliffs to disintegration.
The superior stratum which constitutes the nucleus of the Fort Holmes'
summit, contains more silex, diffused throughout its structure. It is,
however, of a loose, though hard and shelly character; and has, in the
geological mutations of the island been chiefly demolished and washed
away. The monumental mass of this period of demolition, called the Sugar
Loaf, is a proof that it contained, either by its shape, or otherwise, a
superior power of resisting these means of ancient prostration. Striking
as it now appears, this is the simple story which it tells. Its apex is
probably level, or nearly so, with the Fort Holmes's summit. Over the
whole island, after these demolitions, the drift stratum was deposited.

The German geognosts apply the term _mushelkalk_, to this species of
calcareous rock. It is, apparently, the magnesian limestone of English

ANCIENT WATER LINES.--Such marks appear on the most compact parts of the
cliffs, denoting the water to have stood, during the ancient boundaries
of the lake, at higher levels.

LAKE ACTION.--It is known that strong currents set into the Straits of
Michilimackinac, and out of it, from Lake Michigan, at this point. The
fishermen, who set their nets at four hundred feet in the waters, often
bring up, entangled in their nets, large compact masses of limestone,
which have been fretted into a kind of lacework, by the rotatory motion
of little pebbles and grains of sand, kept in perpetual motion by the
water at the bottom of the lake.

ORGANIC IMPRESSIONS.--There are cast up among the lake debris of this
island, casts of some species of orthocaratites, ammonites, and
madrepores, which appear to be derived from the calcareous rocks in
place in the basin of Lake Huron. But the rock strata of the island
itself appear to be singularly destitute of these remains. The only
species which I have noticed, is one that was thrown up from a well
attempted to be dug, on the apex of Fort Holmes, by the British troops,
while they held possession of the island in 1813, 1814, and 1815. But
this is uniformly fragmentary. It has the precise appearance of the head
of a trilobite, but never reveals the whole of the lateral lobes, nor
any of the essential connecting parts. It is silicious.

GYSEUS FORMATION.--Evidences of the extension of this formation to this
vicinity were brought to my notice; in consequence of which I visited
the St. Martin's Islands, which belong to the Mackinac group. Masses of
gypsum were found imbedded in the soil, both of the fibrous and compact
variety. These islands are low diluvial formations. Similar masses are
found on Goose Island; and the mineral has been found at Point St.
Ignace on the main land.

Taken in connection with the discovery of this mineral, at a subsequent
part of the journey on Grand River, the indications of the series of the
saline group of rocks, so prevalent in the Mississippi Valley, are quite
clear up to this extreme point, which is, however, very near the
northern verge of this group.

HONEYCOMBED ROCKS.--As evidences of existing lake action, it has already
been mentioned that the fishermen bring up, from great depths in the
straits, pieces of compact limestone, completely fretted and excavated
by small pebbles, which are kept in motion by the strong currents which
prevail at profound depths. The process of their formation by these
currents is such, as in some instances to give the appearance of
cellepores, and analogous forms of organic life. I have seen nothing in
these carious forms which does not reveal the mechanical action of these

PSEUDOMORPHIC FORMS.--Amongst the limestone debris, of recent date,
found on these shores, are pieces of rock which have an appearance as if
they had been punctured with a lancet, or blade of a penknife. These
incisions are numerous, and from their regularity, appear to have been
moulded on some crystals which have subsequently decayed. Yet, there are
difficulties in supposing such to have been the origin of these small
angular orifices.

Whenever these masses are examined by obtaining a fresh fracture, they
are found to consist of the compact gray and semi-granular rock of the
inferior Mackinac group, but in no instance of the vesicular or
silicious varieties. These blocks appear to be identical in character
with the White Rock, before noticed.

NORTH SHORE OF LAKE HURON.--The next portion of the country examined was
that of the north shores of the lake, extending from Michilimackinac to
Point Detour, the west Cape of the Straits of St. Mary's, a distance
computed to be forty miles. The calcareous rock, such as it appears in
the inferior stratum of Mackinac, extends along this coast. The first
three leagues of it, consist of an open traverse across an arm of the
lake. Goose Island offers a shelter to the voyager, which is generally
embraced. It consists of an accumulation of pebbles and boulders on a
reef, with a light soil, resting on the lower limestone. It does not,
perhaps, at any point, rise to an elevation of more than eight or ten
feet above the water. Outard Point, a short league, or rather three
miles further, exhibits the same underlying formation of rock, which is
found wherever solid points put out into the lake, during the entire
distance. The chain of islands called Chenos, extends about twenty
miles, and affords shelter during storms to boatmen and canoemen, who
are compelled to pass this coast. Large masses of the rock, with its
angles quite entire, lie along parts of the shore, and appear to have
been but recently detached. The intervals between these blocks and
points of coast, are formed of the loose sand and pebbles of the lake,
which are more or less affected by every tempest. The only organic
remains and impressions are drift-specimens, which have been driven
about by the waves, and are abraded. Broken valves of the anadonta,
occasionally found in similar positions, denote that this species exists
in the region, but that the outer localities of the coast are entirely
unfavorable to their growth.

DRUMMOND ISLAND.--This island, now in the possession of British troops,
who removed from Michilimackinac in 1816, is the western terminus of the
Manatouline chain. We did not visit it, but learn from authentic
sources, that it is a continuation of the nether Mackinac limestone--and
that the locality abounds in loose petrifactions, which appear to have
belonged to an upper stratum of the rock, now disrupted.[216]

  [216] Dr. John Bigsby, in a memoir read before the London Geological
  Society, has described and figured several of these. In a memoir by
  Charles Stokes, Esq., of London, read before this Society in June,
  1837, some of its most striking fossils are figured and described,
  with references to the prior discoveries of Dr. Bigsby, Captain
  Bayfield, and Dr. Richardson. Six new species of the Arctinoceras,
  and five of the Huronia, Ormoceras, and Orthocerata, are figured and
  described in the most splendid manner. This memoir is essential to
  all who would understand its fossil history, and that of the North

STRAITS OF ST. MARY'S.--These straits, and the river which falls into
their head, connect Lakes Huron and Superior. They appear to occupy the
ancient line of junction between the great calcareous and granitic
series of rocks on the continent. The limestone, which has been noticed
along the north shore of the Huron from Michilimackinac, and which
continues, with interruptions of water only, from Detour to Drummond
Island, and the Manatoulines, is to be noticed up the straits as high as
Isle a la Crosse, where the last locality of a pure carbonate of lime
appears to occur. The island of St. Joseph is chiefly primitive rock,
and its south end is heavily loaded with granitic, porphyritic, and
quartz boulders. The north shores of the river, opposite and above this
island, are entirely of the granitic series, which continues to Gros
Cape of Lake Superior. On reaching the _Nebeesh_,[217] or Sailor's
Encampment Island, sandstone rocks of a red color present themselves,
and are found also on the American side of the river, and continue to
characterize it to the Falls, or Sault de Ste. Marie,[218] and to Point
Iroquois and Isle Parisien in Lake Superior.

  [217] Strong water.

  [218] Reached somewhere about 1641, by the French missionaries.

The Sault of St. Mary's is _upon_ and _over_ this red sandstone. The
river makes several successive leaps, of a few feet at a time, in its
central channel, falling, altogether, about twenty-two feet in half a
mile. This gives it a foaming appearance, and the volume pours a heavy
murmur on the ear.[219] It is, of course, a complete interruption to the
navigation of vessels, which can, however, come to anchor near its foot,
while barges may be pushed up, empty, on the American shore. The
water-power created by such a change of level, is such as must commend
the spot, at a future period, to manufacturers, lumbermen, and miners.
The foot of these falls is heavily incumbered, both with masses of the
disrupted sand-rock[220] and granitic and conglomerate boulders.

  [219] In 1825, Lieutenant Charles F. Morton, U. S. A., sent to my
  office a mass of this red sand rock, of about twelve inches
  diameter, perfectly round and ball-shaped, which he had directed
  one of the soldiers to pick up, in an excursion among the islands
  of the lower St. Mary's. This ball was a monument of that physical
  throe which had originally carried this river through the sandstone
  pass of St. Mary's, having been manifestly rounded in what geologists
  have called "a pocket hole" in the rock at the falls, and afterwards
  carried away, with the disrupted rocks, down the valley.

  [220] The Indiana call it _Pauwateeg_ (water leaping on the rocks),
  when speaking of the phenomenon, and _Pawating_, when referring to
  the place of it.

RED SANDSTONE OF LAKE SUPERIOR.--That this is the old red sandstone, may
be inferred simply from the fact that, although deposited originally in
horizontal beds, its position has been disturbed in many localities.

PLASTIC CLAY STRATUM OF THE LAKES.--The northern extremity of Muddy
Lake--a sheet of water some twenty miles in length--is the head of the
straits, and the beginning of the River St. Mary's. This sheet of water
has the property of being rendered slightly whitish, or turbid, by
continuous winds. Its bottom appears to be formed of the same plastic
blue clay which obstructs the passage of vessels of large draft on the
St. Clair flats, and forms an impediment of a similar kind in this river
in Lake George. This stratum seems to be the result of causes not now in
operation. If dredged through, or excavated, there is no reason to
suppose it would again accumulate; for the waters of the lake are clear
and pure, and carry down no deposit of the kind. These clay deposits
remain to attest physical changes which are past. They denote the
demolition of formations of slate in the upper regions, which have been
broken down and washed away when the dominion of the waters was far more
potential than they now are.

This formation is favorable to the growth of some species of fresh-water
shells. I observed several species of the anadonta and the plenorbis,
and think, from the broken valves, that research would develop others.

PORPHYRY AND CONGLOMERATE BOULDERS.--A formation of red jasper, in
common white quartz, exists, in the bed of intersection, on the
southeastern foot of Sugar Island. The fragments of jasper are of a
bright vermil red, quite opaque, and have preserved their angles. I had
observed fragments of the formation along the shores of the lower part
of the straits, and even picked up some specimens, entirely abraded,
however, on the south shores of the Huron, between the White Rock and
Michilimackinac--a proof of the course of the drift.

The granitic conglomerates appear quite conclusive, one would think, of
the results of fusion. The attraction of aggregation would seem
inadequate to hold together such diverse masses. In these curious and
striking masses we see the red feldspathic granite, black and shining
hornblende rock, white fatty quartz, and striped jasper, held together
as firmly, and polished by attrition as completely, as if they
were--what they are not--the results of crystallization in this
aggregate form.

ERRATIC BLOCK GROUP.--Wherever, in fact, the geologist sets his foot, on
the shores of the upper lakes, he finds himself on the great drift
stratum, and cannot but revert to that era when waters, on a grander
scale, swept over these plains, and the lakes played rampantly over
wider areas.[221]

  [221] During a subsequent residence of eleven years at this point,
  the excavations made on both sides of the river, in digging wells,
  canals made by the military, &c., fully demonstrated the truth of
  this general observation. In these positions, it was evident that
  some greatly superior force of watery removal, such as does not now
  exist, had heaped together particles of similar matters, according to
  laws which govern moving, compacted masses of water, leaving clay to
  settle according to the laws of diffused clay, sand of sand, and
  pebbles and boulders of pebbles and boulders. In their change and
  redeposit, gravity has evidently been the primary cause, modified by
  compressed currents, attraction, and probably those secret and still
  undeveloped magnetic and electric influences which exist in
  connection with astronomical phenomena. That the earth's surface,
  "standing out of the water and in the water," has been disrupted and
  preyed upon by oceanic power, no one, at this day of geological
  illumination, will deny.

BASIN OF LAKE SUPERIOR.--We entered this island sea as if by a kind of
geological gate, in which the sandstone cliffs of Point Iroquois, on the
one hand, stand opposite to the granitical hills of Gross Cape on the

In order to conceive of its geology, it may subserve the purposes of
description to compare it to a vast basonic crater. The rim of this
crater has been estimated, by Sir Alexander Mackenzie, at fifteen
hundred miles. The primitive formations of Labrador and Hudson's Bay
coasts come up, so as to form the eastern and northern sides of the rim,
around which they stand in cliffs of sienitic greenstone and hornblendic
rocks, in some places a thousand feet high. On its south and southwest
shores, this formation of the elder class of rocks forms also a
considerable portion of the coast; as in the rough tract of Granite
Point, the Porcupine and Iron River Mountains, and the primitive tract
west of Chegoimegon, or Lapointe. It will serve to denote the broken
character of this rim, if we state that the entire plain of the lake,
running against and fitting to this rim, was originally filled up with
the red, gray, and mottled sandstone, which gave way and fell in at
localities west of the great Keweena Peninsula, converting its bottom
into an anteclinal axis.

Volcanic action, to which this disturbance in its westerly bearings may
be attributed, appears to have thrown up the trap-rocks of the Pic, of
the Porcupine chain, of the Isle Royal group, and other trap islands,
and the long peninsula of Keweena. This system of forces appears to have
spent itself from the northeast to the southwest. The shocks brought
with them the elements of the copper and other metallic bodies which
characterize the trap-rock. They exhausted their power, on the American
side, west of the granitic tract of Chocolate and Dead Rivers, and the
Totosh and Cradle-Top Mountains. The most violent disturbance took place
at the west of the Keweena Peninsula, and thence it was propagated in
the direction of the higher Ontonagon, the Iron, and the Montreal

This disturbance of the level of the sandstone produced undulations,
which are observable on the St. Mary's, where the variation from a level
is not more than eight or ten degrees. They left portions of it--as
between Isle au Train and the Firesteel River--undisturbed; and they
threw other portions of it--as between Iron and Montreal rivers--almost
completely on their edges.

The entire north shore from Gargontwa to the old Grand Portage,
inclusive of the Michepicotin and Pic regions, cannot be particularly
alluded to, as that part of the coast was not visited; but the accounts
of observers represent it as consisting of trap-rocks. Without the
application of such forces, it appears impossible to understand the
geology of this lake, or to account for the sectional and disturbed

The lake itself, whose depth is great, and which has an extreme length
of about 500 miles, by an extreme width of some 180, is endowed with
powerful means of existing elemental action. This consists almost
entirely of the force of its winds and long, sweeping waves. Its bottom
may, in this light, be looked upon as an immense mortar or triturating
apparatus, in which its sandstones, trap-boulders, and pebbles are
driven about and comminuted. This power has greatly changed its
configuration, and the process of these mutations is daily going on.

It is only by such a power of geological action that we can account for
the powerful demolitions and inroads which it has made upon some parts
of its southern borders. The coasts of the Pictured Rocks, which have a
prominent development of about 12 to 15 miles, consist in horizontal
strata of coarse gray sandstone, of little cohering power. The effect of
waves beating upon rocks is to communicate a curved line. This has
operated to excavate numerous and extensive caves into the coast. These,
after reaching hundreds of feet, have in some cases united. The effect
is to isolate portions of the coast, and to leave it in fearful
pinnacles, having many of the architectural characters of Gothic or
Doric ruins.

The portion of coast immediately west of Grand Marrais is scarcely less
unique. It denotes the effect of the prostrating power of the lake in
another way. The sandstone of parts of the coast, ground down into
yellow sand by this vast machinery, is lifted up by the winds as soon as
it reaches the point of dryness, and heaped up into vast dunes. Standing
trees are buried in these tempests of sand, and its effect is, for about
nine miles along the coast, to present, at an elevation of several
hundred feet, a scene of arid desolation, which can only be equalled by
the Arabic deserts.

A dyke of trap seems once to have extended from the north shore to Point
Keweena; but, if so, it has been prostrated, and its contents--veins and
deposits, silicious and metallic--scattered profusely around the shores
of the lakes. A cause less general is hardly sufficient to account for
the wide distribution of fragments of the copper veins and vein-stones
which have so long been noticed as characters of this lake. The basal
remains of this antique dyke form the peninsula of Keweena. The tempests
beating against this barrier from the northwest, have ripped up terrific
areas from the solid rock, and left its covering, amygdaloid and
rubblestones, in fantastic patches upon the more solid parts, or
constituting islands in front of them.

STRUCTURE OF ITS SOUTHERN COAST.--The estimated distance from Sault Ste.
Marie to Fond du Lac is a fraction over 500 miles. The sandstone, as it
appears in the Falls of the St. Mary's, does not appear to be entirely
level. It exhibits an undulation of about 8° or 10°, dipping to
west-northwest. Two instances of this waved stratification of the Lake
Superior sandstone deserve notice. The first terminates at the
intersection of red sand rock at la Point des Grande Sables with the
beginning of the horizontal strata of the Pictured Rocks. We again
observe an inclination of the strata of a few degrees at Grand Island,
which is moreingfish River, and appears to dip at Isle aux Trains,
about twenty miles northeast. The scenery is peculiarly soft and
pleasing in passing the Huron Islands, a granitic group, and directing
the view, as in the sketch, to the coast and the rough granitical hills
rising behind Huron Bay. The strata are level, as shown above, around
the Bay of Presque Isle and Granite Point, and continue so, resting on
the roots of the granitical tract of the _Tötosh_, or Schoolcraft, and
Cradletop Mountains, and at Point aux Beignes, and Keweena Bay. This
level position of the rock is preserved to the south cape of the shallow
bay of the Bete Gre, on the north, at which the trap-dykes of the
peninsula first begin; and so continues after passing that rugged coast
of the vitreous series of that remarkable point, to and beyond Eagle
River and Sandy Bay, in the approach to the portage of the Keweena.

The same horizontality is observed on the headland west of it, and upon
all the points and headlands to Misery and Firesteel Rivers and the
mouth of the Ontonagon. The trap-dyke of Keweena crosses this river
about ten miles, in a direct line, inland.

At Iron River, we observe a stratum of compact gray grauwacke, over the
hackly bed of which that river forces its way during the spring months,
and stands in tanks and pools during the summer. On reaching the foot of
the Porcupine Mountains, the sandstone, which is here of a dark
chocolate color, with quartz pebbles of the bigness of a pigeon's egg,
and organic remains of paleozoic type, is found to be tilted up into
nearly a vertical position, as shown in the sketch. The grauwacke
reappears, in a most striking manner, at the Falls of Presque Isle
River, where the whole mass of water precipitated from the highlands
drops into a vast pot-hole, a hundred feet wide and perhaps twice that
depth. The whole upper series of rocks, from the Porcupine Cliffs west
to the Montreal River, is a conglomerate. At the Falls of the Montreal,
the river drops over the vertical edges of the red sandstone. Beyond the
Bay of St. Chares, at Lapointe Chegoimigon, masses of sienitic mountains
arise, which have their apex near La Riviere de Fromboise.

The Islands of the Twelve Apostles, or Federation Group, appear to be
all based on the sienitic or trap, with overlying red sandstone; which
latter again reappears on the point of the entrance into Fond du Lac
Bay, and marks its southern coast, till near the entrance of the Brulé,
or Misakoda River, as seen in the illustration beneath. Shores of sand
then intercept its view to the entrance of the River St. Louis, and up
its channel to its first rapids, about eighteen miles, where the red
sandstone again appears, as the first series of the Cabotian Mountains.

SERPENTINE ROCK.--At the nearest point north of Rivier du Mort is a
headland of this rock, jutting out from the granitical formation.
Lapping against it, at the mouth of the river, is a curious formation of
magnesian breccia. The serpentine rock appears, in nearly every locality
examined, to be highly charged with particles of chromate of iron. It
may be expected to yield the usual magnesian minerals.[222] Its position
is between the Carp River and Granite Point, in the Bay of Presque Isle,
or rather Chocolate River, for that river pours into this bay by far the
largest quantity of water.[223]

  [222] In 1831, in making some explorations of this rock with
  gunpowder, I found the serpentine in a crystalline state, of a
  beautiful deep-green color, but appearing as if the crystallization
  was pseudomorphous.

  [223] The extensive iron mines of Marquette County, Upper Michigan,
  are now worked in this vicinity.

ANCIENT DRIFT-STRATUM.--In the intervals between the points and
headlands, where the rock formation is exposed by streams or gorges, the
drift, or erratic boulder stratum, is found. Such is its position
beneath the sand-dunes of the Grandes Sables, and in the elder plains
and uplands, stretching with interruptions on the coast from the head of
the Mary's valley to that of the St. Louis. The edge of this formation
is composed of the sand and loose pebbles and boulders of the lake.
Mighty as are the existing causes of action of the lake in beating down
and disrupting strata of every kind, and in reproducing alluvial lands
and dunes, they are weak and local when compared to the causes which
have spread these ponderous boulders, and drift masses over latitudes
and longitudes which appear to be limited only by the leading elevations
of the continent. That oceanic torrents of water, suddenly heaped on the
land, and wedged into compactness and power now unknown to it, is after
all, the most plausible theory of the dispersion of this formation, and
this theory avoids the necessary local one of the glacial dispersion
which presupposes a very low temperature over the whole surface of the

KAUGWUDJU.[224]--This imposing mass of the trap-rocks is the highest on
the southern shores of Lake Superior. The following outlines of it are
taken from a point on the approach to the Ontonagon River, about forty
miles distant.

  [224] Porcupine Mountains. From _kaug_, a porcupine, and _wudju_,

They rise to their apex about thirty miles west of that stream, in north
lat. 46° 52´ 2´´, as observed by Captain Douglass. They are distant
three hundred and fifty miles from St. Mary's. In a serene day they
present a lofty outline, and were seen by us from the east, at the
distance of about eighty miles. The Indians represent them to have a
deep tarn, with very imposing perpendicular walls, at one of the highest
points. If Lake Superior be estimated at six hundred and forty feet
above the Atlantic, as my notes indicate, its peaks are higher than any
estimates we have of the source of the Mississippi, and are, at least,
the highest elevations on this part of the continent. The granitical
tract of the St. Francis, Missouri,[225] and of the quartz high lands of
Wachita, Arkansas, the only two known primitive elevations between the
Rocky and Alleghany chains, are far less elevated.

  [225] _Vide_ my view of the lead mines, in the Appendix to "Scenes
  and Adventures in the Ozark Mountains."

I have now taken a rapid glance at the formations along the southern
shore of the lake between St. Mary's and Fond du Lac; but have passed by
some features which may be thought to merit attention.

EXISTING LAKE DRIFT.--The gleaner among the rock debris of this lake has
a field of labor which is not dissimilar to that of the fossilist. If he
has not, so to say, to put joint to joint, to establish his conclusions,
he has a mineralogical adjustment to make every way as obscure. A
boulder of sienite, or a mass of sandstone, or grauwacke, may be easily
referred to a contiguous rock. But when the observer meets with species
which are apparently foreign to the region, he is placed in a dilemma
between the toil of an impossible scrutiny and the danger of an
unlicensed conjecture.

Among the more common masses which may be assigned a locality within the
compass of the lake, are granites, sienites, hornblendes, greenstones,
schists, traps, grauwackes, sandstones, porphyries, quartz rocks,
serpentines, breccias, amygdaloids, amphiboles, and a variety of masses
in which epidote and hornblende are essential constituents. With these,
the coast mineralogist must associate, in place or out of place, agates,
chalcedonies, carnelians, zeolite, prehnite, calcareous spar,
crystalline quartz, amethystine quartz, coarse jaspers, noble
serpentine, iron-sand, iron-glance, sulphate of lead, chromate of iron,
native copper, carbonate of copper, and various species of pyrites.
These were, at least, my principal rewards for about eighteen days'
labor, in scrutinizing, at every possible point, its lengthened and
varied coasts.

CUPREOUS FORMATION.--The whole region, above Grand Island at least,
appears to have been the theatre of trap-dykes, and an extensive action
from beneath, which brought to the surface the elements of the formation
of copper veins. These have not been much explored; but, so far as
observation goes, there are evidences which cannot be resisted, that the
region contains this metal in various shapes and great abundance. I
refer to my report of the 6th of November, 1820, for evidences of a
valuable deposit of this metal in the valley of the Ontonagon River, and
at other points. I found the metal in its native state at various other
localities, and always under physical evidences which denoted its
existence, in the geological column of the lake, in quantity. These
indications were confined almost exclusively to the area intervening
between the peninsula of Keweena, and La Pointe Chegoimegon, a distance
of about one hundred and fifty miles. Of this district, the two
extremities would make the Ontonagon Valley about the centre.[226] A
profile of one of the detached pieces, found in the Ontonagon Valley,
and forwarded to you by Mr. Van Rensselaer, is herewith given.

  [226] I would also refer, for subsequent information, to my report of
  the 1st of October, 1822, made in compliance to a resolution of the
  Senate, and printed in the Executive Documents of that year, No. 365,
  17th Congress, 2d session.

VITRIC BOULDERS.--Among the debris of Lake Superior are masses of
trachyte, and also small pieces of the sienitic series, in which the red
feldspar has a calcined appearance, the quartz being, at the same time,
converted into a perfectly vitreous texture. Similar productions, but
not of the same exact character, exist on the sandy summits of the
Grande Sable. These exhibit an exterior of glistening cells or
orifices: it may be possible that they have been produced by fusion; but
I think not. The smooth cells appear like grains of sand hurled by the
winds over these bleak dunes. I have brought from that locality a single
specimen of pitchstone, perfectly resinous, bleak and shining.

LA POINTE CHEGOIMEGON.--A sketch of these islands, as given in the
Narrative, denotes that their number is greatly underrated, and will
serve to show the configuration of a very marked part of the Superior
coast. It must, hereafter, become one of the principal harbors and
anchoring-ground for vessels of the lake.

VALLEY OF THE ST. LOUIS RIVER.--The St. Louis River takes its rise on
the southern side of the Hauteur des Terres, being the same formation of
the drift and erratic block stratum which gives origin, at a more
westerly point, to the Mississippi. Its tributaries lie northwest of the
Rainy Lakes. Vermilion Lake, a well-known point of Indian trade, is a
tributary to its volume, which is large, and its outlet rushes with a
great impetus to the lake. At what height its sources lie above Lake
Superior, we can only conjecture. It was estimated to have a fall of two
hundred and nine feet to the head of the Portage aux Coteaux, and may
have a similar rise above.

By far its most distinguishing feature is its passage at the Grand
Portage through the Cabotian Mountains. We entered it at Fond du Lac and
pursued up its channel through alluvial grounds, in which it winds with
a deep channel about nineteen or twenty miles to the foot of its first
rapids. This point was found one mile above the station of the American
Fur Company's trading-house. Here we encountered the first rock stratum,
in the shape of our old geological acquaintance, the old red sandstone
of Lake Superior. It was succeeded in the first sixteen miles, in the
course of which the river is estimated to fall two hundred feet--most of
it in the first twenty-nine miles--by trap, argillite, and grauwacke.
Through these barriers the water forces its way, producing a series of
rapids and falls which the observer often beholds with amazement. The
river is continually in a foam for nine miles, and the wonder is that
such a furious and heavy volume of water should not have prostrated
everything before it. The sandstone, grauwacke, and the argillite, the
latter of which stands on its edges, have opposed but a feeble barrier;
but the trap species, resisting with the firmness, as it has the color
of cast-iron, stand in masses which threaten the life and safety of
everything which may be hurled against them. I found a loose specimen of
sulphuret of lead and some common quartz in place in the slate rock, a
vein of clorite slate, and a locality of coarse graphite, to reward my

The Portage aux Coteaux, which is over the basetting edges of the
argillite, will give a lively idea of the effects of this rock upon the
feet of the loaded voyageurs.

The sandstone is last seen near the Galley on the Nine Mile Portage.
Above the Knife Portage, some eight miles higher, vast black boulders of
hornblendic and basaltic blocks, are more frequent; and these masses are
observed to be more angular in their shapes than the boulders and blocks
of kindred character encountered on the shores of Lakes Superior and
Huron. There is a vast sphagnous formation, which spreads westwardly
from the head of the Coteau Portage, and gives rise to the remote
tributaries of Milles lac and Rum River. Much of this consists of what
the Indians term _muskeeg_, or elastic bog. Hurricanes and tempests have
made fearful inroads upon areas of its timber, and it is seldom crossed,
even by the Indians. This tract lies east of the summit of sand-hills
and drift, which environ Sandy Lake, the _Komtaguma_ of the Chippewas.
The portage of the Savanna River, a tributary of the St. Louis, is the
route pursued by persons with canoes; there is no other species of water
craft adapted to this navigation. But wherever crossed, this swamp-land
tract imposes labor and toil which are of no ordinary cast. It is the
equivalent of the argillite which has been broken down and
disintegrated, forming beds of clay soil which are impervious to the
water, and we way regard this ancient slate formation of the true source
of the St. Lawrence tributaries, as the remote origin of those extensive
beds of an argillaceous kind, which exist at many places in the lower
lakes and plains.

Immediately west of the Savanna Portage, the Komtaguma summit is
reached. This summit consists wholly of arid pebble and boulder drift of
the elder period. It exhibits evidences of broken-down amygdaloids,
which not only furnish a part of its pebbles, but also of the contents
of this stratum, in numerous agates and other subspecies of the quartz
family which are found scattered over the surface. This is, in fact, the
origin of that extensive diffusion of these species, which is found in
the valley of the Upper Mississippi, as at Lake Pepin, &c., and which
has even been traced, in small pieces, as low as St. Louis and
Herculaneum in Missouri.[227] We may conclude that the ancient
sandstones, slates, and rubblestone, and amygdaloids, of which traces
still remain, were swept from the summit of the Mississippi by those
ancient floods which appear to have diffused the boulder drift from the

  [227] _Vide_ View of the lead mines.

SANDY LAKE.--The first view of this body of water was obtained from one
of those eminences situated at the influx of the west Savanna River.

This lake is bounded, on its western borders, by the delta of the
Mississippi; its outlet is about two miles in length. We here first
beheld the object of our search. The soil on its banks is of the richest
alluvial character. From this point, dense forests and a moderately
elevated soil, varying from three or four to fifteen feet, confined the
view, on either side, during more than two days' march. On the third day
after leaving Sandy Lake, at an early hour, we reached the Falls of
Pakágama. Here the rock strata show themselves for the first time on the
Mississippi, in a prominent ledge of quartz rock of a gray color.
Through this formation the Mississippi, here narrowed to less than half
its width, forces a passage. The fall of its level in about fifty rods
may be sixteen or eighteen feet. There is no cascade or leap, properly
so called, but a foaming channel of extraordinary velocity, which it is
alike impossible to ascend or descend with any species of water craft.
It lies in the shape of an elbow. We made the portage on the north side.

PAKÁGAMA SUMMIT.--The observer, when he has surmounted the summit,
immediately enters on a theatre of savannas, level to the eye, and
elevated but little above the water. Vistas of grass, reeds, and aquatic
plants spread in every direction. On these grassy plains the river winds
about, doubling and redoubling on itself, and increasing its cord of
distance in a ratio which, by the most moderate computation, would seem
extravagant. On those plateaux, and the small rivers and lakes
connected with them, the wild rice reaches the highest state of

Our men toiled with their paddles till the third day, through this
unparalleled maze of water and plants, when we reached the summit of the
Upper Red Cedar or Cass Lake, where we encamped. In this distance no
rock strata appeared, nor any formation other than a jutting ridge of
sand, or an alluvial plain. Plateau on plateau had, indeed, carried us
from one level or basin to another, like a pair of steps, till we had
reached our extreme height.

CASS LAKE BASIN.--From estimates made, this lake is shown to lie at
thirteen hundred and thirty feet above the Atlantic.[228] This is a
small elevation, when we consider it as lying on the southern flank of
the transverse formation which forms the connecting link with the Rocky
Mountains. A rise or a subsidence of this part of the continent to this
amount, would throw the Hudson's Bay and Arctic waters down the
Mississippi valley. The scenery of its coasts is in part arenaceous
plains, and in part arable land, yielding corn to the Indians.

  [228] Agreeable to barometric observations made in 1836, by Mr.
  Nicollet, its true altitude is found to be 1,402 feet above the Gulf
  of Mexico. Its latitude, by the same authority, is 47° 25´ 23´´.

SOURCES OF THE MISSISSIPPI.--In order to understand the geology of this
region, it is necessary to premise, that the St. Lawrence, the Hudson's
Bay, and the Mexican Gulf waters are separated by a ridge or watershed
of diluvial hills, called the Hauteur des Terres, which begins
immediately west of the basin of the Rainy Lakes and Rainy Lake River.
This high ground subtends the utmost sources of the Mississippi, and
reaches to the summit of Ottertail Lake, where it divides the
tributaries of the Red River of Lake Winnepec from those of the Des
Corbeau, or Great Crow-Wing River.

Within this basin, which circumscribes a sweep of several hundred miles,
there appears to have been deposited, upon the trap and primary rocks
which form its nucleus, a sedimentary argillaceous deposit, capable of
containing water. Upon this, the sand and pebble drift reposes in strata
of unequal thickness, and the sand is often developed in ridges and
plains, bearing species of the pine. The effect has been, that the
immense amount of vapor condensed upon these summits, and falling in
dews, rains, and snows, being arrested by the impervious subsoil of
clay, has concentrated itself in innumerable lakes, of all imaginable
forms, from half a mile to thirty miles long. These are connected by a
network of rivers, which pour their redundancy into the Mississippi, and
keep up a circulation over the whole vast area. The sand plains often
resting around the shores of these lakes create the impression of bodies
of water resting on sand, which is a fallacy. Some of these bodies of
water are choked up, or not well drained, and overflow their borders,
forming sphagnous tracts. Hence the frequent succession of arid sand
plains, impassable muskeegs, and arable areas on the same plateaux.
Every system of the latter, of the same altitude, constitutes a plateau.
The highest of these is the absolute source of the Mississippi waters.
The next descending series forms another plateau, and so on, till the
river finally plunges over St. Anthony's Falls.

In this descending series of plateaux, the Cass, Leech Lake, and Little
Lake Winnipec form the third and fourth levels.

In descending the Mississippi below the Pakágama, the first stratum of
rock, which rises through the delta of the river, occurs between the
mouth of the Nokasippi and Elm Rivers, below the influx of the Great De
Corbeau. This rock, which is greenstone trap, rises conspicuously in the
bed of the stream, in a rocky isle seated in the rapid called--I know
not with what propriety--the BIG FALLS, or _Grande Chute_. The
precipitous and angular falls of this striking object decide that the
bed of the stream is at this point on the igneous granitical and
greenstone series. This formation is seen at a few points above the
water, until we pass some bold and striking eminences of shining and
highly crystalline hornblendic sienite, which rises in the elevation
called by us Peace Rock, on the left bank, near the Osaukis Rapids. This
rock lies directly opposite to the principal encampment on the 27th of
July, which was on an elevated prairie on the west bank. To this point a
delegation of Sioux had ascended on an embassy of peace from Fort
Snelling to the Chippewas, having affixed on a pole what the exploring
party called a bark letter, the ideas being represented symbolically by
a species of picture writing, or hieroglyphics. In allusion to this
embassy, this locality was called the Peace Rock. This rock is sienite.
It is highly crystalline, and extends several miles. Its position must
be, from the best accounts, in north latitude about 44° 30´. From this
point to Rum River, a distance of seventy miles, no other point of the
intrusion of this formation above the prairie soil was observed.

miles below this locality there are evidences that the river, in its
progress south, has now reached the vicinity of the great carboniferous
and metalliferous formations, which, for so great a length, and in so
striking a manner, characterize both banks of the Mississippi below St.
Anthony's Falls. About nine or ten miles before reaching these Falls,
this change of geological character is developed; and on reaching the
Falls the river is found to be precipitated, at one leap, over strata of
white sandstone, overlaid by the metalliferous limestone. The channel is
divided by an island, and drops in single sheets, about sixteen to
eighteen feet, exclusive of the swift water above the brink, or of the
rapids for several hundred yards below. This sandstone is composed of
grains of pure and nearly limpid quartz, held together by the cohesion
of aggregation. If my observations were well taken it embraces,
sparingly, orbicular masses of hornblende. It is horizontal, and
constitutes, in some places, walls of stratification, which are
remarkable for their whiteness and purity. This sandstone is overlaid by
the cliff limestone, the same in character, which assumes at some points
a silicious, and at others, a magnesian character. It is manifestly the
same great metalliferous rock which accompanies the lead ore of Missouri
and mines of Peosta or Dubuque. There rests upon it the elder drift
stratum of boulders, pebble, and loam, which marks the entire valley.
This latter embraces boulders of quartz and hornblende rock, along with
limestones and sandstones. It is overlaid by about eighteen inches of
black alluvial carbonaceous mould.

From St. Anthony's Falls the river is perpetually walled on either side
with those high and picturesque cliffs which give it so imposing and
varied an appearance, and its current flows on with a majesty which
seems to the imagination to make it rejoice in its might, confident of a
power which will enable it to reach and carry its name to the ocean in
its unchanged integrity.

ST. PETER'S RIVER AND VALLEY.--The importance, fertility, and value of
this tributary have particularly impressed every member of the party.
Its position as the central point of the Sioux power, and its border
position to the Chippewas, the representative tribe of the great
Algonquin family, render it now a place of note, which fully justifies
the policy of the department in establishing a military post at the
confluence of the river; and the importance cannot soon pass away, in
the progress of the settlement of the Mississippi Valley.[229] It is the
great route of communication with the valley of the Red River of the
North, and the agricultural and trading settlements of Lord Selkirk in
that fertile valley, and its complete exploration by a public officer is
desirable, if not demanded.[230]

  [229] Thirty years has made it the centre of the new territory of
  Minnesota, which has now entered on the career of nations.

  [230] This object was accomplished by an expedition by Major L. Long,
  in 1823.

Of its geological character but little is known, and that connects it
with both the great formations which have been noticed as succeeding
each other at the great Peace Rock. That the granitical formation
reaches it at a high point is probable, from the large reported
boulders. The Indians bring from the blue earth fork of it, one of their
most esteemed green and blue argillaceous pigments, of which the
coloring matter appears to be carbonate of copper. They also bring from
the Coteau des Prairie, probably Carver's "shining mountains," specimens
of that fine and beautiful red pipe stone, which has so long been known
to be used by them for that purpose. This mineral is fissile, and
moderately hard, which renders it fit for their peculiar ripe
sculptures. I found small masses of native copper in the drift stratum
at the mouth of this stream, on the top of the cliffs on the
Mississippi, opposite the mouth of the St. Peter's.

CRYSTALLINE SAND ROCK.--This stratum reveals the same crystalline
structure which is so remarkable in the sandstone caves, near the Potosi
road, in the county of St. Genevieve, Missouri; and the sand obtained
from it, like that mineral, would probably fuse, with alkali, in a
moderate heat, and constitute an excellent material for the manufacture
of glass. It is also, like the Missouri sandstone, cavernous. In both
situations, these caves appear to be due to water escaping through
fissures of the rock, where its cohesion is feeble, carrying it away
grain by grain.

In stopping at one of these caves, about twelve miles below St. Peter's,
we found this cause of structure verified by a lively spring and pond of
limpid water flowing out of it.

VALLEY OF THE ST. CROIX.--This river originates in an elevated range of
the elder sand and pebble drift, which lies on the summit between the
Mississippi system of formations, and the Lake Superior basin. It
communicates with the Brulé, which is "Goddard's River" of Carver, and
with the Mauvaise or Bad River of that basin. Specimens of native copper
have been found on Snake River, one of its tributaries.[231]

  [231] This river was explored by me in 1831 and 1832, in two separate
  expeditions in the public service, accounts of which have been
  published in 1831 and 1832, of which abstracts are given in the
  preceding pages.

GEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS.--In descending the river for the distance of about
one hundred miles below St. Anthony's Falls, my attention was arrested,
on visiting the high grounds, by a species of natural monuments, which
appear as if made by human hands seen at a distance, but appear to be
the results of the degradation and wasting away, on the Huttonian
theory, of all but these, probably harder, portions of the strata.

LAKE PEPIN.--This sheet commends itself to notice by its extent and
picturesque features. It is an expansion of the river, about twenty-four
miles long, and two or three wide. Both its borders and bed reveal the
drift stratum, and the observer recognizes here, boulders of the
peculiar stratification which has, in ancient periods, characterized the
high plateaux about the sources of the river. Such are its hornblendic,
sienite, quartz, trap, and amygdaloid pebbles, and that variety of the
quartz family which assumes the form of the agate and other kindred
species. Moved as these materials are annually, lower and lower, by the
impetus of the stream, other supplies, it may be inferred, are still
furnished by the shifting sand and gravel bars from above. The mass must
submit to considerable abrasion by this change, and the diminished size
of the drifted masses become a sort of measure of the distance at which
they are found from their parent beds.

CHIPPEWA RIVER.--This stream is the first to bring in a vast mass of
moving sand. Its volume of water is large, which it gathers from the
high diluvial plains that spread southwest of the Porcupine Mountains,
and about the sources of the Wisconsin, the Montreal, and the St. Croix
Rivers, with which it originates.

TROMPELDO (_Le Montaine des Tromps d'Eaux_).--This island mountain
stands as if to dispute the passage of the Mississippi, whose channel it
divides into two portions. Distinct from its height, which appears to
correspond with the contiguous cliffs, and in the large amount of fresh
debris at its base, it presents nothing peculiar in its geology.

PAINTED ROCK.--This vicinity is chiefly noted for its large and fine
specimens of fresh-water shells.

WISCONSIN.--Like the Chippewa, this stream brings down in its floods,
vast quantities of loose sand, which tend to the formation of bars and
temporary islands. It originates in the same elevated plains, and
bespeaks a considerable area at its sources, which must be arid. It is a
region, however, in which lakes and rice lands abound, and it may, in
this respect, be geologically of the same formation as the higher
plateaux of the Mississippi, above the Sandy Lake summit. Its sides
produce many species to enrich our fresh-water Conchology.

LEAD MINES OF PEOSTA AND DUBUQUE.--In my researches into the mineral
geography of Missouri, in 1818 and 1819, I had explored a district of
country between the rivers Merrimak and St. Francis, and on the Ozarks,
which revealed many traits which it has in common with the Upper
Mississippi. There, as here, the mineral deposits appear to be, in many
cases, in a red marly clay, whether the clay is overlaid by the
calcareous rock or not. There, as here, also, the limestone and
sandstone strata are perfectly horizontal. The leads of ore appear, in
this section, to be followed with more certainty, agreeable to the
points of the compass; but this may happen, to some extent, because the
practice of mining on individual account, with windlass and buckets, in
the Missouri district, has led common observers to be more indifferent
to exact scientific methods. To say that the digging, at these mines, is
equally, or more productive, is perhaps just. Capital and labor have
been rewarded in both sections of the country, in proportion as they
have been perseveringly and judiciously expended.

I found much of the ore, which is a sulphuret, at Dubuque's Mines, lying
in east and west leads. These leads were generally pursued in caves,
or, more properly, fissures in the rock. In one of the excavations which
I visited, the digging was continued horizontally under the first
stratum of rock, after an excavation had been made perpendicularly,
through the top soil and calcareous rock, perhaps thirty feet. The ore
is a broad-grained cubical galena, easily reduced, and bids fair very
greatly to enhance the value and resources of this section of the West.

Similar mines exist at Mississinawa, and the River Au Fevé,[232] both on
the eastern or left bank of the Mississippi. And a system of leasing or
management, such as I have suggested for the Missouri mines, appears
equally desirable.

  [232] GALENA has subsequently been made the capital of these mines.

QUARTZ GEODES.--The amount of silex in the cliff limestone is such, in
some conditions of it, as to justify the term silico-calcareous. This
condition of the rock at the passage of the Mississippi through the Rock
River and Des Moines Rapids, is such as to produce a very striking
locality of highly crystalline quartz geodes, which accumulates in the
bed of the stream. Many of these geodes are from a foot to twenty-two
inches in diameter, and on breaking them they exhibit resplendent
crystals of limpid quartz. Sometimes these are amethystine; in other
cases they present surfaces of chalcedony or cacholong. The latter
minerals, if obtained from the rock, and before unduly hardening by
exposure, would probably furnish a suitable basis for lapidaries.

which separates, on the north, the granitical and trap region from the
metal-bearing limestone, and its supporting sandstone. This formation of
the elder series of rocks, having been traced to the south shore of Lake
Superior, and having been seen to constitute the supporting bed of the
alluviums and diluviums of the Upper Mississippi, above the Peace Rock,
it may subserve the purpose of inquiry to trace this line of junction by
its probable and observed boundaries.

The line may be commenced where it crosses the Mississippi, at the Peace
Rock, and extended to the St. Croix, the falls of which are on the
trap-rock, to the sources of the Chippewa at Lac du Flambeau, and the
Wisconsin near Plover Portage. The source of Fox River runs amid
uprising masses of sienite, and this formation appears to pass thence
northeasterly, across the Upper Menominee, to the district of the
Totosh and Cradle-Top Mountains, west of Chocolate River, on the shores
of Lake Superior.

I observed the crystalline sandstone and its overlying cliff limestone,
along the valley of the Wisconsin, where ancient excavations for lead
ore have been made. There is an entire preservation of its characters,
and no reason occurs why its mineralogical contents should not prove, in
some positions, as valuable as they have been found in Missouri, or in
the Dubuque district west of the Mississippi.

On reaching the Wisconsin Portage, the limestone is found to have been
swept by diluvial action, from its supporting sand rock. Such is its
position not far north of the highest of the four lakes, and again at
Lake Puckway, in descending the Fox River; consequently, there are no
lead discoveries in this region. On coming to the calcareous rock, which
is developed along the channel of the river, below Winnebago Lake, it
appears rather to belong to the lake system of deposits. Its superior
stratum lies in patches, or limited districts, which appear to have been
left by drift action. Petrefactions are found in these districts, and
the character of the rock is dark, compact, or shelly. The lower series
of deposits, such as they appear at the Kakala Rapids, at Washington
Harbor, in the entrance to Green Bay, and in the cliffs north of
Sturgeon Bay and Portage, are manifestly of the same age and general
character as the inferior stratum of Michilimackinac and the Manatouline

BASIN OF LAKE MICHIGAN.--This basin, stretching from the north to the
south nearly four hundred miles, lies deeply in the series of formation
of limestones, sandstone, and schists, to which we apply the term of the
Michilimackinac system. Its north and west shores are skirted from Green
Bay to a point north of the Sheboygan, with the calcareous stratum. At
this point, the ancient drift, the lacustrine clay of Milwaukie and the
prairie diluvium of Chicago, constitute a succession, of which the
surface is a slightly waving line of the most fertile soils.

Among the pebbles cast ashore at the southern head of this lake I
observed slaty coal. It seems, indeed, the only one of the lakes which
reaches south into the coal basin of Illinois. If the level at which
coal is found on the Illinois were followed through, it would issue in
the basin of the lake below low-water mark. Digging for this mineral on
the Chicago summit, promises indeed not to be unsupported by sound

After passing Chicago, of which a sketch is added, the sands which begin
to accumulate at the Konamik, the River du Chemin, and the St. Joseph's
River,[233] appear in still more prominent ridges, skirting the eastern
coasts to and beyond Grand River. These sands, which are the
accumulations of winds, are cast on the arable land, much in the manner
that has been noticed at the Grand Sable on Lake Superior, and reach the
character of striking dunes at the coast denominated the Sleeping Bear.
The winds which periodically set from the western shore, produce
continual abrasions of its softer materials, and are the sole cause of
these intrusive sand-hills. Pent up behind them, the water is a cause of
malaria to local districts of country, and many of the small rivers upon
this side are periodically choked with sand. The sketch transmitted of
this bleak dune-coast (omitted here), as it is seen at the mouth of
Maskigon Lake, will convey a false idea of the value of this coast, even
half a mile from the spot where the surf beats. It is designed to show
the air of aridity which the mere coast line presents. The
stratification regains its ordinary level and appearance before reaching
the Plate or Omicomico River, and the peninsula of the Grand Traverse
Bay, and the settlements of the Ottawa Indians on Little Traverse Bay,
afford tracts of fertile lands. Point Wagonshonce consists of a stratum
of limestone of little elevation, which constitutes the southeast cape
of the strait. Here a lighthouse is needed to direct the mariner.

  [233] The subjoined petrifaction of a leaf, apparently a species of
  betula, was obtained on this river. See _ante_, p. 206.

LAKE HURON.--Notices of this sheet of water have been given in our
outward voyage. It appears rather as the junction of separate lakes
which have had their basins fretted into one another, than as one
original lake. Michigan is connected with it through the Straits of
Michilimackinac. The Georgian Bay, north of the Manatouline chain, seems
quite distinct. The Saganaw Bay is an element of another kind. The
Manitouline chain separates the calcareous and granitic region, and its
numerous trap and basaltic islands towards the north shore, of which
there are many thousands, denote that it has been the scene of
geological disturbance of an extraordinary kind.

ULTERIOR CONCLUSIONS.--In taking these several views of the geological
structure of the Northwest--of the Lake Superior basin, and of the
valleys of the St. Louis River--the region about the Upper Mississippi,
its striking change at the Falls of St. Anthony--and the valleys of the
Wisconsin and Fox Rivers, and the basins of Lakes Michigan and Huron, I
am aware of the temerity of my task. Allowance must, however, be made
for the rapidity of my transit over regions where the question was often
the safety and personal subsistence of the party. A very large and
diversified area was passed over in a short time. At no place was it
possible to make elaborate observations. A thousand inconveniences were
felt, but they were felt as the pressure of so many small causes
impeding the execution of a great enterprise. A sketch has been made,
which, it is hoped, will reveal something of the physical history and
lineaments of the country. These glimpses at wild scenes, heretofore hid
from the curious eye of man, have been made, at all points, with the
utmost avidity. I have courted every opportunity to accumulate facts,
and I owe much to the distinguished civilian who has led the party so
successfully through scenes of toil and danger, not always unexpected,
but always met in a calm, bold, and proper spirit, which has served to
inspire confidence in all; to him, and to each one of my associates, I
owe much on the score of comity and personal amenity and forbearance;
and I have been made to feel, in the remotest solitudes, how easy it is
to execute a duty when all conspire to facilitate it.

The views herein expressed are generalized in two geological maps
(hereto prefixed), which, it is believed, will help to fix the facts in
the mind. They exhibit the facts noticed, in connection with the theory
established by them, and by all my observations, of the construction of
this part of the continent.

The mineralogy of the regions visited is condensed in the following
summary, drawn from my notes, which, it is believed, constitutes an
appropriate conclusion to this report.

With the exception of one species, namely, the ores of copper, the
region has not proved as attractive in this department as I found the
metalliferous surface of Missouri. There are but few traces of mining,
and those of an exceedingly ancient character, in the copper region of
Lake Superior. The excavations in search of lead ore on the Upper
Mississippi do not date back many years, but the indications are such as
to show that few countries, even Missouri, exceed them in promises of
mineral wealth.

I have employed the lapse of time between the termination of the
exploration and the present moment, to extend my mineralogical
observations to some parts of the Mississippi Valley which were not
included in the line of the expedition, but which were visited in the
following year, in the service of the Government, namely, the Miami of
the Lakes, and Wabash Valleys, the Cave in Rock Region in Lower
Illinois, and the Valley of the River Illinois. The whole is
concentrated in the following notices:--

_Tabular View of Minerals observed in the Northwest._


             _Genera._      _Species._      _Subspecies._ _Varieties._
             { Copper { Native copper.                    { Fibrous.
             {        { Green carbonate of copper         { Compact.
             { Lead     Sulphuret of lead                   Common.
             { Zinc     Sulphuret of zinc                   Blende.
             {        {                                   { Common.
             {        {                                   { Radiated.
    METALLIC {        { Sulphuret of iron                 { Spheroidal.
    MINERALS {        {                                   { Cellular.
             {        {                                   { Hepatic.
             { Iron   { Magnetic oxide of iron              Iron sand.
             {        { Specular oxide of iron. Micaceous.
             {        {                                   { Ochrey.
             {        { Red oxide of iron                 { Scaly.
             {        {                                   { Compact.
             {        { Brown oxide of iron                 Ochrey.
             { Silver.


                   _Genus._     _Species._    _Varieties._

                 {             {             { Milky.
                 {             {             { Radiated.
                 {             {             { Tabular.
                 {             { Common      { Greasy.
                 {             { quartz      { Granular.
                 {             {             { Arenaceous.
                 {             {             { Pseudomorphous.
                 {             {             { Amethystine.
                 {             { Amethyst
                 {             {
                 {             { Ferruginous {
                 {             { quartz      { Yellow.
                 {             {             { Red.
                 { Quartz      { Prase
                 {             {             { Common.
                 {             {             { Cacholong.
                 {             { Chalcedony  { Carnelian.
                 {             {             { Sardonyx.
                 {             {             { Agate.
                 {             { Hornstone
                 {             {             { Common.
                 {             { Jasper      { Striped.
                 {             {             { Red.
                 {             { Heliotrope
    SILICIOUS    {             { OPAL          COMMON.
    MINERALS     {
                 { Silicious                 { Common.
                 { slate                     { Basanite.
                 { Petrosilex
                 {                           { Common.
                 { Mica                      { Gold yellow.
                 {                           { Common.
                 { Schorl                    { Indicolite.
                 { Feldspar                    Common.
                 { Prehnite                    Radiated.
                 { Hornblende  { Common.
                 {             { Actynolite.
                 { Woodstone                 { Mineralized wood.
                 {                           { Agatized wood.

                 {             { Calcareous  {
                 {             { spar        { Crystallized.
                 {             {             { Lamellar.
                 {             { Granular
                 {             { limestone
                 {             {
                 {             { Compact     { Common.
                 {             { limestone   { Earthy.
                 {             {
                 {             { Agaric      {
                 {             { mineral     { Common.
                 { Carbonate   {             { Fossil farina.
                 { of lime     {
                 {             {             { Oolite.
                 {             { Concreted   {
                 {             { carbonate   { Calcareous  { Stalactite.
                 {             { of lime     { sinter      { Stalagmite.
                 {             {             {
                 {             {             { Calcareous tufa.
    CALCAREOUS   {             {               Pseudomorphous carbonate
    MINERALS     {             {               of lime.
                 {             { Marl          Ludus helmontii.
                 {                           { Fibrous.
                 { Sulphate                  { Granular.
                 { of lime      Gypsum       { Granularly foliated.
                 {                           { Earthy.
                 { Fluate of
                 { lime                        Fluorspar

                            _Genus._             _Varieties._
                        {                       {  Argillite.
                        { Argillaceous slate    { Bituminous shale.
                        { Chlorite                Chlorite slate.
                        { Stautoride.
    ALUMINOUS MINERALS  {                       { Potters' clay.
                        {                       { Pipe clay.
                        {                       { Variegated clay.
                        { Clay                  { Blue sulphated clay.
                        {                       { Green sulphated clay.
                                                { Opwagunite.

                        { Serpentine              Common serpentine
    MAGNESIAN MINERALS  { Steatite                Steatite.
                        { Asbestus                Com. asbestus.

    BARYTIC MINERALS      Sulphate of barytes     Lamellar.
    STRONTIAN             Sulphate of strontian   Foliated.


                        {                       { Petroleum.
                        { Bitumen               {  Maltha.
    BITUMINOUS MINERALS {                       { Asphaltum.
                        { Graphite                Granular graphite.
                        { Coal                    Slate coal.


                       {                        { Native salt.
    Soda               { Muriate of soda .....  { Salt springs.
                       { Alkaline sulphate of     Alum.
                       { alumina

a. _Metallic Minerals._


This metal is frequently found, in detached masses, in the diluvial soil
along the southern shore of Lake Superior, and in the high and barren
tract included between Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior, and the
Mississippi River, as general boundaries. Thus, it has been found upon
the sources of the Menomonie, Wisconsin, Chippewa, St. Croix, and
Ontonagon Rivers, but most constantly, and in the greatest quantity,
upon the latter. There are many localities known only to the aborigines,
who appear to set some value upon it, and have been in the habit of
employing the most malleable pieces in several ways from the earliest
times. It occurs mostly in detached masses, resting upon, or imbedded
in, diluvial soil. These masses, which vary in size, are sometimes
connected with isolated fragments of rock. Such is the geognostic
position of the great mass of native copper upon the banks of the
Ontonagon, which has been variously estimated to weigh from two to five
tons. This extraordinary mass is situated at the base of a diluvial
precipice composed of reddish loam and mixed boulders and pebbles of
granite, greenstone, quartz, and sandstone and diallage rocks. The
nearest strata, in situ, are red sandstone, grauwacke, and greenstone
trap. A company of miners was formerly employed in searching for copper
mines upon the banks of this river. They dug down about forty feet into
the diluvial soil, at a spot where a green-colored water issued from the
hill. In sinking this pit, several masses of native copper were found,
and they discovered, as their report indicates, the same metal "imbedded
in stone." But the enterprise was abandoned, in consequence of the
falling in of the pit.

At Keweena Point, on Lake Superior, I found native copper along the
shore of the lake, constituting small masses in pebbles, and, in one
instance, in a mass of several pounds' weight, which was found in the
Ontonagon Valley. I also observed the green carbonate of copper, in
several places, in the detritus. The strata of this point appear to be
charged with this mineral, particularly in its native forms. Hardly a
mass of the loose rock is without some trace of the metal, or its oxides
or salts. It would be difficult, on any known principles, to resist the
testimony which is offered, by every observer, to favor the idea that
extensive and very valuable mines exist. The whole lake shore, from this
peninsula to the Montreal River, is replete with these evidences.

There are indications that this mineral pervades the rocks and soils, in
a radius of one hundred and fifty miles or more, south and west of this
central point. It has been discovered at the sources of the Menominee,
Chippewa, Montreal, and St. Croix, and even at more distant points.

At St. Peter's, in digging down for the purpose of quarrying the rock,
about eighteen inches depth of dark alluvium was passed; then a deposit
of diluvial soil, with large fragments of limestone, greenstone, quartz
rock, &c., about six feet; and, lastly, one foot of small pebbles, &c.,
constituting the copper diluvium. No large mass was found; nor any veins
in the rock.

2. LEAD.

The only ore of lead known to exist within the limits to which these
remarks are confined, is the sulphuret. In the year 1780, Peosta, a
woman of the Misquakee, or Fox tribe of Indians, discovered a lead mine
upon the west banks of the Mississippi, at the computed distance of
twenty-five leagues below Prairie du Chien, which the Indians, in 1788,
gave Julian Dubuque a right to work. This permission was partially
confirmed by the Baron de Carondelet, Governor of Louisiana, in 1796. No
patent was, however, issued; but Dubuque continued to prosecute the
mining business to the period of his death, which happened in 1810, when
the mines were again claimed by the original proprietors.

The ore is the common sulphuret of lead, or galena, which Dubuque stated
to have yielded him seventy-five per cent. in smelting in the large way.
He usually made from 20,000 to 40,000 pounds per annum.

I made a cursory visit to these mines, and found them worked by the Fox
Indians, but in a very imperfect manner. They cover a considerable area,
commencing at the mouth of the Makokketa River, sixty miles below
Prairie du Chien. Traces of the ore are found, also, on the east bank of
the Mississippi at several points. It occurs disseminated in a reddish
loam, resting upon limestone rock, and is sometimes seen in small veins
pervading the rock; but it has been chiefly explored in diluvial soil.
It generally occurs in beds having little width, and runs in a direct
course towards the cardinal points. They are sometimes traced into a
crevice of the rock. At this stage of the pursuit, most of the diggings
have been abandoned. Little spar or crystalline matrix is found in
connection with the ore. It is generally enveloped by a reddish, compact
earth, or marly clay. Occasionally, masses of calcareous spar occur;
less frequently, sulphate of barytes, green iron earth, and ochrey brown
oxide of iron. I did not observe any masses of radiated quartz, which
form so conspicuous a trait in the surface of the metalliferous diluvion
of the mining district of Missouri.

Sufficient attention does not appear to have been bestowed, by
mineralogists, upon the metalliferous soil of the Mississippi Valley. It
is certainly very remarkable that such vast deposits of lead ore,
accompanied by veins of sulphate of barytes, calc spar, and other
crystallized bodies, should be found in alluvial beds; and it would be
very interesting to ascertain whether any analogous formations exist in
Europe, or in any other part of the earth's surface. It is one of the
most striking features of this deposit, that the ore, spars, &c., do not
appear as the debris of older formations, and have no marks of having
been worn or abraded, like those extraneous masses of rock which are
very common in the alluvial soil of our continent. The lead ore and
accompanying minerals appear to have been crystallized in the situations
where they are now found. We should, perhaps, except from this remark
the species of lead called _gravel ore_ by the miners, which is in
rounded lumps, and is never accompanied by spars.

Sulphuret of lead is also found near the spot where the small River
Sissinaway enters the Mississippi, and two leagues south of it, upon the
banks of the River Aux Fevre, at both of which places considerable
quantities have been raised, and continue to be raised, for the purposes
of smelting, by the Fox and Sac tribes of Indians. At these places, it
is most frequently connected with a gangue of heavy spar and calcareous
spar, with pyrites of iron. I procured from a trader, at Dubuque,
several masses of galena crystallized in cubes and octahedrons.

In descending the Upper Mississippi, a specimen of galena was exhibited
to me, by a Sioux Indian, at the village of the Red Wing, six miles
above Lake Pepin, said to have been procured in that vicinity. Galena is
also reported to have been discovered in several places on the south
side of the Wisconsin River, and these localities may be entitled to
future notice, as furnishing important hints.

3. ZINC.

The sulphuret of zinc (black blende) is found disseminated in limestone
rock along the banks of Fox River, between the post of Green Bay and
Winnebago Lake. Although frequently seen in small masses, no body of it
is known to exist. I also found blende, in small, orbicular masses of
calcareous marl, along the east shore of Lake Michigan, between the
Rivers St. Joseph and Kikalemazo.

4. IRON.

This mineral is distributed, in several of its forms, throughout the
region visited, although but little attention has yet been directed to
its exploration. In the basin of Lake Superior it exists, in valuable
masses, in the form of a magnetic oxide, on the coasts of the lake
between Gitchi Sebing (Great River), called by the French Chocolate
River, and Granite Point. Specimens from Dead River (Riviere du Morts)
and Carp River, the Namabin of the Indians, in this district, denote the
latter to be the chief locality. It is the iron glance, and occurs in
mountain masses.

_Sulphuret of Iron._--This variety is found, in limited quantities, in a
state of crystallization, in clay beds, on the west shore of Lake
Michigan, between Milwaukie and Chicago. It is frequently in the form of
a cube or an octahedron. Some of the crystals are in lumps of several
pounds' weight, with a metallic lustre. Often the masses, on being
broken, are found radiated, sometimes cellular, and occasionally irised.

_Iron Sand._--The breaking-up and prostration of the sandstone and other
sedimentary formations, along the shores of lakes Michigan, Huron, and
Superior, liberates this ore in considerable quantities. It arranges
itself, on the principle of its specific gravities, in separate strata
along the sandy shores, where it invariably occupies the lowest position
at and below the water's edge. The shores of Fond du Lac, on Lake
Superior, may be particularly mentioned as an abundant locality.

_Micaceous Oxide of Iron._--In detached mass, among the debris of the
River St. Louis and of Fond du Lac. It exists in veins in the clay slate
which characterizes the banks of this river.

_Ochrey Red Oxide of Iron._ (Red ochre)--Is produced near a spot called
the Big Stone, on the head of the River St. Peter's. It is said to occur
in a loose form, in a stratum of several inches thick, lying below the
soil of a level dry prairie or plain. The Sioux Indians, who employ it
as a paint, make this statement. The color of a portion given to me by
them is of a bright red; and a considerable proportion of the mass is in
a state of minute division. Particles of quartz are occasionally mixed
with it. This ore of iron is also represented to be found in the
prairies north of Gros Point, along the west shore of Lake Michigan,
between Milwaukie and Chicago.

Ochrey red oxide of iron occurs on the shores of Big Stone Lake, at the
source of the St. Peter's River. A large spring rises from a level, dry
plain, a few feet beyond which the mineral occurs. The Indians, who
employ it as a pigment, take it up with their knives. The stratum is
about eight inches thick, but just below the surface it is mixed with
common earth. The spring of water is pure and unadulterated.


The belief in the existence of silver ore in the region of the lakes,
and particularly on Lake Superior, seems to have early prevailed. So
much confidence was placed in the reports of its existence, that Henry
tells when a company was formed in England for exploring the copper
mines of Lake Superior (A. D. 1771), they were impelled to the search
more from an expectation of the silver, which it was hoped would be
found in connection with it, than from the copper.[234]

  [234] This metal has subsequently (namely, in 1844) been found to
  constitute a percentage in the native copper of the Eagle River mines
  of Lake Superior. Traces of it were found in a mass of native copper
  found on the shores of Keweena Lake, by Mr. Moliday, in 1826. A mass
  of pure silver was discovered in a boulder in the drift of Lake
  Huron, west of White Rock, in 1824. These discoveries induce the
  belief that this element will be found to be extensively present in
  the eventual metallurgic operations of the Lake Superior basin.

b. _Silicious Minerals._


This interesting species being distributed in its numerous varieties
throughout the region visited, I shall confine my notices to a few

Subs. 1.--_Common Quartz._

Occurs in the form of large water-worn masses along the shores of Lakes
Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Also, in veins in the granite of Lake
Superior, and in the argillite of St. Louis River. These localities all
consist of the opaque varieties, with a slight degree of translucence
in some places. It exists in mass at Huron Bay, Lake Superior, and in
fragments of red jasper on Sugar Island, St. Mary's River.

1. _Radiated Quartz._--In detached masses on the Grange, and also at the
rapids of the River Desmoines, on the Upper Mississippi. At the Grange,
the crystals, which are usually minute, sometimes possess a cinnamon
color, or pass into a variety of crystallized ferruginous quartz.

2. _Tabular Quartz._--In small, flattened masses along the shores of
Lake Pepin. These masses are transparent, or only translucent. Their
color is generally white, but sometimes yellow. They appear to be
closely allied to chalcedony.

3. _Greasy Quartz._--In detached masses along the shores of Lake

4. _Granular Quartz._--At the Falls of Puckaiguma, on the Upper
Mississippi, in large, compact beds rising through the soil. Also, in
some conditions of the cliffs commencing at the Falls of St. Anthony,
Carrer's Cave, &c.

5. _Arenaceous Quartz._--This is sometimes the condition of fine,
even-grained, translucent sand rock of the preceding localities.
Valuable as an ingredient of glass.

6. _Pseudomorphous Quartz._--On the shores of Lake Pepin, occasionally.
These masses appear to have taken their crystalline _impress_ from
rhomboidal crystals of carbonate of lime.

7. _Amethystine Quartz._--In the trap-rock of Lake Superior.

Subs. 2.--_Amethyst._

This mineral occurs most frequently in the condition of amethystine
quartz, in hexahedral prisms, lining the interior of geodes, in the bed
of the River Desmoines, and on the Rock Rapids, in the channel of the
Mississippi. The crystals which I have examined are generally limpid,
with a high lustre, and of a pale violet color. Sometimes the tinge of
color approaches to a full red, or is only apparent in the summit of the
crystal. These geodes are sometimes eight or ten inches in diameter,
with a rough and dark-colored exterior, often so nearly spherical as to
resemble cannon _balls_. Some of the finest specimens I have observed
from this locality are preserved in the museum of Gov. Clarke, at St.
Louis, Missouri.

Subs. 3.--_Ferruginous Quartz._

In amorphous masses, of a deep-red, brown, or yellowish-red color, along
the southern shore of Lake Superior. Likewise, crystallized, in very
minute hexagonal prisms, terminated by six-sided pyramids, of a reddish
color, on the summit and declivities of the Grange de Terre.

Subs. 4.--_Prase._

In the drift of Lake Superior. Its color is a light green and not fully
translucent. It possesses a hardness and a lustre intermediate between
waxy and resinous.

Subs. 5.--_Chalcedony._

1. _Common Chalcedony._--In globular or reniform masses imbedded in
trap-rock, on the Peninsula of Keweena, Lake Superior. It is found
sometimes in association with other quartz minerals. Its color is white
or gray, sometimes veined or spotted with red. Also, constituting the
interior lining of geodes at the rapids of Rock Island and the River
Desmoines. These geodes, on breaking, often present a mammillary
surface. In the form of translucent fragments, with a highly conchoidal
fracture, among the debris of the shores of Lake Pepin. These fragments
possess an extremely delicate texture, color, and lustre.

2. _Cacholong._--Some loose fragments of this mineral exist along the
west shore of Lake Michigan, between Green Bay and Chicago. These
fragments possess small cavities studded over with very minute and
perfect crystals of quartz.

3. _Carnelian._--This mineral occurs in fragments in the debris of Lake
Superior; also, in the amygdaloid; also, around the shores of the Upper
Mississippi. Its color is various shades of red, or yellowish red,
sometimes spotted or clouded, fully translucent, and occasionally
presenting a considerable richness and beauty. Most commonly, the
fragments are too small to be applied to the purposes of jewelry.
Sometimes it is seen in very regular spheroidal masses, which contain a
nucleus of radiated quartz. Some of the specimens would be considered as

4. _Agate._--Is found with the preceding. It is more frequently found
in larger masses, in the rock, which are sometimes spheroidal, reniform,
or globular. These agates are chiefly arranged in concentric layers,
which are white, red, yellow, &c., according to the colors of the
different varieties of chalcedonies, carnelians, &c., of which they are
composed. A close inspection would also separate them into several
varieties--as onyx, agate, dotted agate, &c.

Subs. 6.--_Hornstone._

In nodular or angular masses, imbedded in the secondary limestone of the
west shores of Green Bay; and in the beds of argillaceous white clay
strata of Cape Girardeau, of Missouri. Also, on the hills of White
River, Arkansas.

Subs. 7.--_Jasper._

1. _Common Jasper._--In detached fragments, yellow, in the drift of Lake

2. _Striped Jasper._--With the preceding. Most commonly, these specimens
consist of alternate bands of red and black, or brown.

3. _Red Jasper._--In quartz rock, Sugar Island, River St. Mary's,
Michigan. Masses of this mineral have been met in situ.

Subs. 8.--_Heliotrope._

A fine specimen of this mineral, now before me, was procured at the
mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon. It is in the form of an Indian
dart. Its color is a deep uniform green, variegated with small spots of
red; those parts which are green being fully translucent, the others
less so, or nearly opaque. This beautiful mineral is represented to have
been in common use by the Indian tribes of the Northwest Coast, for
pointing their arrows, previous to the introduction of iron among them.
It differs chiefly from the dotted jaspers of Lake Michigan, in its
translucence and green color.

Subs. 9.--_Opal._

Common opal occurs as a constituent of agate, along with chalcedony
rarely, in the drift on the south shore of Lake Superior.


1. _Common._--In subordinate beds, in the argillite of the River St.
Louis, northwest of Lake Superior.

2. _Basanite_ (_Touchstone_).--In detached fragments in the drift on
Lake Superior, and along the banks of the Upper Mississippi generally.


In large isolated masses in the bed of the Illinois River, on the
shallow rapids between the junction of the Fox and Vermilion Rivers. It
is mostly arranged in stripes or circles of white, gray, yellow, &c.,
resembling certain jaspers, or approaching sometimes to hornstone. The
bed of the Illinois River, at this place, is a species of gray
sandstone. Also, in detached fragments, on the south shore of Lake
Superior, intimately mixed with prehnite. In regard to the latter,
Professor Dewey, of Williamstown College, writes me: "I have received
from Dr. Torrey, a curious mixture of petrosilex and prehnite, in
imperfect radiating crystals, which was sent him by you and collected at
the West. He did not tell me the name, but examination showed what it
was. The association is singularly curious." The locality of this
mineral is Keweena Point, Lake Superior.

4. MICA.

Occurs rarely in the granite of Lake Superior. It is found in place on
the Huron Islands. Also, in minute folia, in the alluvial soil of the
Upper Mississippi. A beautiful aggregate, consisting of plates of
gold-yellow mica, connected with very black and shining crystals of
schorl, has been dug up from the alluvial soil of the Island of


1. _Common Schorl._--In crystals, in boulders of granite, at Green Bay.

2. _Tourmaline._--With the preceding.


As an ingredient in the granite of Huron Islands, Lake Superior. Also,
in detached masses of granite along the west shores of Lake Michigan.
Also, in the form of prismatic crystals of a light-green color, in the
rolled masses of hornblende, porphyry, greenstone, and epidotic boulders
of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior.


This mineral occurs at Keweena Point, on Lake Superior. It is found in
connection with isolated blocks of amygdaloid, of primitive greenstone,
and of petrosilex. Sometimes native copper, and carbonate of copper, are
also present in the same specimen. In some instances, a partial
decomposition has taken place, converting its green color into
greenish-white, or perfect white, and rendering it so soft as to be cut
with a knife. Sometimes the grains or masses of native copper are
interspersed among the prehnite, and slender threads of this metal
occasionally pass through the aggregated mass of greenstone, prehnite,
&c., so that, on breaking it, the fragments are still held together by
these metallic fibres.


1. _Common Hornblende._--Occurs as a constituent of the hornblende rocks
near Point Chegoimegon, Lake Superior. Also, at the Peace Rock, on the
Upper Mississippi, and in certain granite aggregates, and rolled masses
of porphyries, &c., around the shores of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and

2. _Actynolite._--In slender, translucent, greenish crystals, pervading
rolled masses of serpentine, on the west shores of Lake Michigan.


1. _Mineralized Wood._--In bed of the River Des Plaines, Illinois.

2. _Agatized Wood._--This variety of fossil wood is found along the
alluvial shores of the Mississippi and of the Missouri.

c. _Calcareous Minerals._


Of a substance so universally distributed throughout the western
country, it will not be necessary to give many localities, and these
will be principally confined to its crystalline forms.

Subs. 1.--_Calcareous Spar._

_Crystallized Calcareous Spar._--This mineral occurs, in minute
rhomboidal crystals, in the calcareous rock of the Island of
Michilimackinac. Sometimes these crystals fill cavities or seams of the
rock, or are studded over the angular surfaces of masses of vesicular
limestone of that island. I also found this mineral at Dubuque's mines,
and in small crystals in the metalliferous limestone bordering the Fox
River, between the post of Green Bay and Winnebago Lake, where it is
associated with iron pyrites and blende.

Subs. 2.--_Compact Limestone._

In proceeding northwest of Detroit, this mineral is first observed, in
situ, on an island in Lake Huron. It is afterwards found to be the
prevailing rock along the south and southwest shores of Lake Huron. In
many places, it incloses fossil remains. Sometimes it is _earthy_, as at
Bay De Noquet, a part of Green Bay, on Lake Michigan, where it contains
very perfect remains of the terrebratula. (Parkinson.) In other places,
no remains whatever are visible, and the structure is firm and compact;
or even passes, by a further graduation, into transition-granular, of
which, it is believed, the west shores of Lake Michigan afford an
instance. It is most commonly based upon sandstone, which also contains,
in many places, the fossil organized remains of various species of
crustaceous animals, and of vegetables, sometimes, coal, &c.

Subs. 3.--_Agaric Mineral._

This mineral substance occurs in crevices and cavities in the calcareous
rock of the Island of Michilimackinac, Michigan.

Subs. 4.--_Concrete Carbonate of Lime._

1. _Calcareous Sinter._--In the form of _stalactites_ and _stalagmites_,
in a cave situated near Prairie du Chien, on the Upper Mississippi.

2. _Calcareous Tufa._--A remarkable formation of tufa is seen on the
east banks of the Wabash River, near Wynemac's Village, about ten miles
above the junction of the Tippecanoe. It extends for several miles, and
is deposited to the thickness of thirty or forty feet above the water,
forming cliffs which are covered with alluvial soil and sustain a growth
of forest trees. The precise points of its commencement and
disappearance were not observed. The structure is cellular or vesicular,
and resembles, in some places, a coarse dried mortar. It is very light,
and possesses a white color in inferior situations, but the surface is
somewhat colored by fallen leaves and other decaying vegetation. It
imbeds fluvatile shells and some vegetable remains, the species of which
have not been ascertained. The opposite, or west side of the river
consists of a kind of puddingstone, or caschalo, made up of pebbles of
quartz, &c., cemented by carbonate of lime, of a yellow color and
translucent. This beautiful aggregate is overlayed by a stratum, of
fifteen or twenty feet in thickness, of diluvial soil. These localities
fall within the limits of the State of Indiana; but on territories still
occupied, if not owned, by the aborigines.

3. _Pseudomorphous Carbonate of Lime._--This form of carbonate of lime
occurs in Pope County, Illinois, a district celebrated for its
fluorspar, lead, crystallized quartz, &c., and bearing the unequivocal
marks of a secondary formation. Scattered in large masses over the soil,
we observe compact limestone, with very perfect cubical, octahedral, or
other regular cavities, which have manifestly originated from crystals
of fluorspar. The most common _impress_ of this kind appears to have
resulted from two cubes variously joined--a form of appearance very
common to the Illinois fluates. Some of these cubical cavities exceed
three inches square; but in no case is any remaining portion of the spar
in these cavities, or anywise connected with the fragments of limestone
thus impressed, although, at the same time, the spar is very abundant in
the alluvial soil where these curious limestones are found.


Subs. _Gypsum._

1. _Fibrous Gypsum._--In the alluvial soil of the St. Martin's Islands,
Lake Huron. The fibres are sometimes five or six inches in length, of a
white color and delicate crystalline lustre. Sometimes these fibrous
masses are partially colored yellow or brown, apparently from the clay,
or mixed alluvion, in which they are imbedded.

2. _Granular Gypsum._            }
3. _Granularly-Foliated Gypsum._ }  With the preceding.
4. _Earthy Gypsum._              }


_Fluor-Spar._--On the United States Mineral Reserve, Pope County,
Illinois. This locality is abundant, and the mineral readily and
constantly to be obtained. I first obtained specimens in June, 1818, and
afterwards visited it in July, 1821. It is disseminated in loose masses
throughout the soil, and in veins in the calcareous rocks. The spot most
noted and resorted to, and where the original discovery was made, is
four miles west of Barker's Ferry, at Cave-in-Rock, on the banks of the
Ohio, and about twenty-six miles, by the course of the river, below
Shawneetown. It is situated in the midst of a hilly, broken region,
called _the Knobs_, a tract of highlands intervening between the banks
of the Ohio and the Saline. The distance of this range from north to
south, or parallel with the course of the Ohio, cannot be stated. It
probably extends from near the banks of the Wabash River to the Little
Chain of Rocks. Its breadth--from Barker's Ferry, west, to Ensminger's,
at the Saline, is about twenty miles. It thus separates, by a rocky
border, the prairies of the Illinois from the current of the Ohio River.
These knobs, wherever observed, bear the indubitable marks of secondary
formation, and may be stated to consist, essentially, of compact
limestone resting on sandstone. The sandstone is sometimes so much
colored by iron, and by globular or irregular masses of iron stone, as
to give that rock a very singular aspect. This may be particularly
instanced in the mural front of the Battery rocks on the banks of the
Ohio. Every part of this formation has more or less the appearance of a
mineral country; and it is already known as the locality of ores of
lead, iron, and zinc, of crystallized quartz, of opal, heavy spar,
crystallized pyrites, and of very perfect fossil madrepores. In one
place (near the head of Hurricane Island) this spar forms a very large
and compact vein, dipping under the bed of the Ohio. Where the rock has
been explored, it is found in connection with sulphuret of lead, but it
has been mostly procured, because most easy of access, in the alluvial
soil. I went out about half a mile west of the Ohio, where a new
locality has been opened, and, in removing about five or six solid feet
of earth, procured as many specimens as filled a box of fourteen inches
square. None of these were more than two feet below the surface. One of
these specimens is an irregular octahedral crystal, eight inches in
diameter. The color of these masses is various shades of blue, violet,
or red, sometimes perfectly white or yellow; and the form most commonly
assumed is a cube, sometimes truncated at two or more angles, or
variously clustered. The external lustre of the crystals, raised from
alluvial soil, is feeble, but quite brilliant when taken from veins and
cavities in the rock. These spars from the alluvion do not appear to
exist as rock debris, or fragments worn off from other formations, but
as original deposits. There are no marks of attrition. They appear as
much in place as the limestone rocks below. It should also be
recollected that this mineral tract is terminated by one of the greatest
and most valuable salt formations in the western country--that of the
Illinois Saline.

_Septaria: Ludus Helmontii._--This variety of calcareous marl is found,
in orbicular or flattened masses, along the eastern shores of Lake
Michigan, between the rivers St. Joseph's and Kalemazo. Its original
situation appears to be the beds of marly clay which form the banks of
Lake Michigan at these places, from which these masses have been
disengaged by the waves, and left promiscuously among the washed and
eroded debris of the shore. These masses are penetrated by numerous
seams and lines of calcareous spar, sometimes radiating star-like, or
intersecting each other irregularly. Occasionally, these seams are
filled with sulphuret of zinc, and in these cases the spar, if any be
present, is rose-colored.

d. _Aluminous Minerals._


1. _Argillite_, or _Common Argillaceous Slate_.--Along the banks of the
River St. Louis, at the Grand Portage, &c. It occurs in a vertical
position, embracing veins, or subordinate beds, of grauwakke, milky
quartz, chlorite slate, and silicious slate, &c. It is bounded on one
side by red sandstone, and on the other by an extensive tract of
diluvial soil.

2. _Bituminous Shale._--In detached masses, along the shores of Lake
Huron, between Fort Gratiot and Thunder Bay. It contains amorphous
masses of iron pyrites, of a yellow color and metallic brilliancy, which
soon tarnishes on exposure to the air.


_Chlorite Slate._--In subordinate strata in the argillite of the River
St. Louis.


In garnet-colored crystals, in detached blocks of mica-slate, in the
drift of Lake Huron. These crystals consist of two intersecting
six-sided prisms, truncated at both ends, forming the cross. They are
nearly opaque, or feebly translucent on the fractured edge.

4. CLAY.

1. _Plastic Clay._--Very extensive beds of this clay are seen along the
west shore of Lake Michigan, between Sturgeon Bay Portage and Chicago.
Its color is generally a light blue, verging sometimes into deep blue or
grayish-white. It is plastic in water, adheres strongly to the tongue,
takes a polish from the nail, and emits an argillaceous odor when
moistened or breathed upon. These beds of clay frequently contain iron
pyrites, both in the crystallized and amorphous state.

2. _Pipe Clay._--In the flats of the St. Clair and Lake George,
Michigan. A bed of clay, apparently answering to this description,
exists at White River, Lake Michigan. Its color is a grayish-white,
verging to blue. It is very unctuous and adhesive when first raised, but
acquires more or less of a meagre feel as it parts with its moisture,
drying in firm and compact masses.

3. _Variegated Clay._--On the banks of the River St. Peter's, Upper
Mississippi. Neither the quantity in which it exists, nor the precise
locality is known. Its color is white, variegated with stripes, spots,
or clouds of red or yellow.

4. _Azure Blue Clay of St. Peter's._--The locality of this substance, as
communicated by the Indians, is the declivity of a hill, in the rear of
the village of Sessitongs, one mile above the confluence of the Terre
Blue River with the St. Peter's. It is found near the foot of this hill,
between two layers of sandstone rock, in a vein about fifteen inches in
thickness. This vein is elevated about twenty feet above the waters of
the Terre Bleu, and does not extend far in the direction of the river.
Having been resorted to by the Sioux Indians a long time, a considerable
excavation has been made, but the supply is constant. The color of this
mineral substance (its distinguishing character) is an azure copper
blue of more or less intensity. It is ductile and moderately adhesive,
when first taken up, or when moistened with water, but acquires an
almost stony solidity on drying. It is considerably adulterated with
sand or particles of quartz. It parts with its moisture rapidly on
exposure to the atmosphere, and dries without much apparent diminution
of volume.

5. _Green Clay of St. Peter's._--This differs little from the preceding,
except in its color, which is a deep or verdigris green, admitting some
diversity of shades. Its composition appears to be, essentially,
alumina, silica, carbonate of copper, water, and iron.

6. _Opwagunite_; _Calamet Stone_; _Pipe Stone._--The last of these terms
is a translation of the first, which is Algonquin. Under these names, a
peculiar kind of stone, which is much employed by the Indians for pipes,
has been alluded to by travellers and geographers from the earliest
times. It appears to be a variety of argillaceous wacke. Its color is
most commonly a uniform dull red, resembling that of red chalk.
Sometimes it is spotted with brown or yellow, but these spots are very
minute, and the colors usually faint. It is perfectly opaque, very
compact in its structure, and possessing that degree of hardness which
admits its being cut or scraped with a knife, or sawed without injury to
a common hand-saw, when first raised from the quarry; but it acquires
hardness by exposure, and even takes a polish. But it is not capable of
receiving a polish by the usual process of rubbing with grit-stone and
pumice, these substances being too harsh for it. The Indian process is
to scrape or file it smooth, and give it a polish by rubbing with the
scouring rush. Its powder is a light red, and emits an argillaceous odor
when wetted. This substance is procured at the Coteau des Prairie,
intermediate between the sources of the St. Peter's and the Great Sioux
Rivers. Some other places have been mentioned as affording this mineral,
particularly a locality on the waters of Chippewa River; but the mineral
procured here is chocolate-colored.

e. _Magnesian Minerals._


At Presque Isle Point, Lake Superior, common and precious, in isolated
masses; also, in connection with, and imbedding native copper, along
the southern shore of Lake Superior, at Ontonagon River, &c.


At Presque Isle, near River au Mort, Lake Superior, in connection with
the serpentine formation. Also, at the Lake of the Woods, of a black or
very dark color, where it is employed by the Indians in carving pipes.


_Common Asbestos._--In serpentine and steatite, at Presque Isle Point,
Lake Superior. Also, in minute veins, in detached masses of diallage and
serpentine rocks, on the west shore of Lake Michigan. These veins are no
more than a fourth of an inch in width; and the fibres of asbestos occur
transversely. They are very flexible, and easily reducible into a
flocculent mass.

f. _Barytic Minerals._


_Lamellar Sulphate of Barytes._--In detached masses, imbedded in
diluvial soil, at the mines of Peosta, or Dubuque, on the Upper
Mississippi, where it is accompanied by sulphuret of lead, calcareous
spar, &c. Also, at the Mine au Fevre (now Galena), and at the mouth of
the Sissinaway River, on the east banks of the Mississippi, between
Prairie du Chien and Fort Armstrong. Its colors are white or yellow, and
it is frequently incrusted with a thin coat of yellow oxide of iron. It
is most commonly opaque. The only translucent specimen seen was procured
at Dubuque's mines.

g. _Strontian Minerals._


_Foliated Sulphate of Strontian._--At Presque Isle (Wayne's Battle
Ground), on the Maumee River, Wood County, Ohio. It occurs in veins and
cavities, in compact limestone, most commonly in the form of flattened
prisms. Its color is blue, frequently a very light or sky-blue, and the
crystals are fully translucent, or even transparent. In some instances,
they appear to have suffered a partial decomposition, and fall into
fragments in the act of raising, or are covered with a white powdery
crust, frequently visible only on the summits or terminating points of
the prisms. The same limestone yields crystallized calcareous spar. Both
these substances are abundant in the rocky banks and in the bed of the
Maumee. Also, on Grosse Isle, Detroit River, Michigan.

h. _Bituminous Minerals._


_Petroleum._--Occurs in cavities, in loose fragments of limestone rock,
along the west shore of Lake Michigan, between Milwaukie and Chicago.
These masses of rock lie promiscuously among fragments of quartz,
granite, sandstone, fossil madrepores, &c., along the alluvial shore of
the lake, and appear to have been washed up from its bed. The petroleum
is in a free and liquid state; but, where it has suffered an exposure to
the atmosphere, it has acquired a stiff and tar-like consistence passing
into _maltha_. Not unfrequently, fragments of mineral coal are also
found scattered along these shores, and there is reason to conclude that
a bituminous formation exists in the contiguous inferior strata forming
the basin of the lake.


_Granular Graphite._--In a small vein, in the clay-slate of the River
St. Louis, at the head of the nine-mile portage. It is coarse-grained
and _gritty_.

3. COAL.

_Slaty Coal._--The only spot where this mineral has been observed, in
situ, is at La Charbonniére, on the west banks of the Illinois River, at
the computed distance of one hundred and twenty miles south of the post
of Chicago. It is here seen in horizontal strata, not exceeding two or
three inches in thickness, interposed between layers of sandstone and
shale. Breaking out on the declivity of the bank of the river, where the
overlaying strata are constantly crumbling down, and thus obscuring the
seams, no very satisfactory examination could be made in a hasty visit;
but the nature and position of the rock strata and soils, and the
general aspect of the country, do not justify the conclusion that the
bed is of much thickness or extent. Valuable beds may be discovered,
however, by exploring this formation. This coal has a shining black
color, a slaty structure, inflames readily, burning with a bright flame.
It is very fragile where exposed to the weather, falling into fine
fragments. Hence, a very black color has been communicated to the
contiguous and overlaying soil, which is manifestly more or less the
result of disintegrated coal.

Detached fragments of coal, corresponding in mineral characters with the
above, are occasionally found around the southern shores of Lake
Michigan. The inference, as to the existence of coal around the shores
of this lake, is obvious. And we are led to inquire: Does the La
Charbonniére formation of coal exist in the sandstone and limestone
strata forming the table-land between the Illinois River and Lake
Michigan, and reappearing around the basin of the latter, but at such a
depression below its surface as to elude observation? And, if so, does
not this coal formation extend quite across the southern portion of the
peninsula of Michigan? The secondary character of the region alluded to,
so far as observed, the horizontal and relative position of the strata,
and the general uniformity which is generally observed in the species
and order of the coal measures, favor this suggestion.

i. _Soda._


No traces of salt are known to have been discovered in those parts of
the territory of the United States situated north of latitude 46° 31´
(which is that of the Sault Ste. Marie) and _east_ of the Mississippi
River. The great secondary formations which pervade the western country
cease south of this general limit, and with them terminate the salt
springs, the gypsum beds, the coal measures, and other connected
minerals which are generally found in association. It is one of the most
important facts which the science of geology has contributed to the
stock of useful information, that, in the natural order of the rocky and
earthy deposits, muriate of soda always occupies a position contiguous
to that of gypsum. This intimate connection between the sulphate of lime
and the muriate of soda, enables us, by the discovery of the one, to
predict, with considerable but not unerring certainty, the presence of
the other. It adds weight to an observation first made among the salt
formations of Europe, to find its general correctness corroborated by
the relative position of these substances in the United States. These
remarks will apply particularly to the salt formations of New York, and
to some portions of the muriatiferous region of Virginia and the

There appears to be a salt formation extending from the northwest angle
of the Ohio through Michigan, for a distance of two hundred to three
hundred miles. It commences in the Seweekly country, passing around the
Sandusky River of Lake Erie, where an extensive bed of granular gypsum
has recently been discovered, and continues, probably, northwest, so as
to embrace the Saganaw basin, and reach quite to the end of the
peninsula, and embracing, perhaps, the Gypsum Islands of Lake Huron, ten
miles northeast of Michilimackinac. All the brine springs and gypsum
beds noticed in the region are situated in the line of this formation.

During the fall of 1821, a number of gentlemen at the Island of
Michilimackinac united in the expenses of a tour for exploring the
Skeboigon River, a stream which originates in the peninsula of Michigan,
and flows into Lake Huron opposite the Island of Bois Blanc. The
particular object of this party was to ascertain the precise locality of
certain salt springs reported to exist upon that stream. They proceeded
to the places indicated, and examined several springs more or less
impregnated with salt, but reported that, owing to the jealousy and
hostility of those bands of Indians who were found upon that stream,
they were not enabled fully to accomplish the object in view.

There are several salt springs reported to exist near the Indian village
of Wendagon, on the Sciawassa River, and others on the Titabawassa
River, the principal tributaries of the Sagana. Little is, however,
known respecting these springs, but the water is represented to be so
strongly impregnated, that the Indians manufacture from it all the salt
necessary for their villages.

Grand River Valley has also been mentioned among the localities of salt
water and gypsum rocks.

Hints may thus be derived of value to the future commerce of the
country. Scarcely any of the new states are without indications of the
existence of salt. Every day is adding to the number of localities.

In the region _west_ of the Mississippi, I was informed that salt
occurs, in the crystallized form, in the territories of the Yanktons,
who inhabit the flat country at the sources of the River St. Peter's. In
certain parts of these plains, the salt exists on the surface. It is
mixed with earth, in specimens brought to me, but crystallized in cubes,
very imperfect, of a gray or grayish-white color. The Indians scrape it
up from certain parts of the prairies or plains, where the salt water is
prevented from draining off.


This salt exists, in the form of efflorescences, in the cavities and
fissures of rocks along the southeast parts of the shores of Sagana Bay,
Lake Huron, and in the argillaceous formations at Erie, on Lake Erie,

       *       *       *       *       *

These positions embrace the principal localities of minerals noticed. In
travelling rapidly through a remote wilderness, there was but little
opportunity to explore off the track; and the whole observation was
confined to the mere surface of the country, which is much obscured by
diluvial and alluvial formations.

It will be seen that the region of Lake Superior has been a fruitful
field for mineralogical inquiry, and it is one which invites further
exploration. Its mineralogy affords a variety of interesting substances
which are objects of scientific research, and it may be anticipated to
be the future theatre of extensive mining operations. The country
northwest of Lake Superior, and the Upper Mississippi north of the Falls
of St. Anthony--consisting mostly of upheaved primitive rocks and the
pebble-drift, or diluvial, formations--has furnished but few subjects of
mineralogical remark.

The district of country between the Falls of St. Anthony and Prairie du
Chien, in common with the more southern portions of the Mississippi
Valley, partakes of all the interest which the mineral kingdom presents
in a calcareous and metalliferous country of secondary formation. It
has added considerably to my collection. It is probable the Rivers St.
Peter's, St. Croix, and Chippeway would well reward exploration; but the
mines of Dubuque particularly invite a mineralogical survey. Their
future importance cannot fail to be duly appreciated.

If the country has put on an aspect unfavorable to mineralogy, its
geological features have been observed to sustain its interest.

Much of the interest growing out of the examination, for the first time,
of the mineralogy and natural history of the country, is such as to
commend itself, in an especial manner, to the consideration of men of
science, and of associations devoted to scientific details, rather than
the department of a government. To these former, nature is a storehouse
of facts, and a perpetual anxiety is felt by this class of observers to
know the range, not only of our rock formations, but of our plants,
shells, fossils, and other classes of objects in our physical geography.
Such desires I have endeavored, as far as my means permitted, to
gratify. The fresh-water conchology of the lakes and rivers visited was
often attractive, when other objects excited little interest. The
species collected in this department have been referred to the New York
Lyceum of Natural History.

With these remarks, the result of an arduous and interesting journey
through a part of the continent hitherto unexplored, I have the honor to
conclude my report, and to terminate the trust confided to me.

    I am, sir, with respect,
    Your obedient servant,
    _Geologist, &c. of the Ex. Exp._



  _A Report to the Senate of the United States, in Answer to a
      Resolution passed by this Body, respecting the Value and Extent of
      the Mineral Lands on Lake Superior._[235] By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

  [235] _To the Senate of the United States:_--

  In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 8th May last,
  requesting "information relative to the copper mines on the southern
  shore of Lake Superior, their number, value, and position, the names
  of the Indian tribes who claim them, the practicability of
  extinguishing their titles, and the probable advantage which may
  result to the Republic from the acquisition and working these mines,"
  I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of War, which
  comprises the information desired in the resolution referred to.


    WASHINGTON, 7th December, 1822.

    DEPARTMENT OF WAR, 3d December, 1822.

  The Secretary of War, to whom was referred the resolution of the
  Senate of the 8th May last, requesting the President of the United
  States "to communicate to the Senate, at the commencement of the next
  session of Congress, any information which may be in the possession
  of the Government, derived from special agents or otherwise, showing
  the number, value, and position of the copper mines on the south
  shore of Lake Superior, the names of the Indian tribes who claim
  them, the practicability of extinguishing their title, and the
  probable advantage which may result to the Republic from the
  acquisition and working these mines," has the honor to transmit a
  report of Henry R. Schoolcraft, Indian agent at the Sault of Ste.
  Marie, on the copper mines in the region of Lake Superior, which
  contains all the information in relation to the subject in this

      All which is respectfully submitted.

      J. C. CALHOUN.


    SAULT STE. MARIE, October 1, 1822.

SIR: In reply to the inquiries, contained in a resolution of the Senate
of the United States, respecting the existence of copper mines in the
region of Lake Superior, inclosed to me in a note from the War
Department, dated 8th May, 1822, I have the honor to submit to you the
following facts and remarks:--

1. In relation to "_the number, value, and position of the copper mines
on the south shore of Lake Superior_." The remote position of the
country alluded to, the infrequency of communication, and the little
reliance to be placed on information derived through the medium of the
aborigines or of traders, who are wholly engrossed with other objects,
presents an embarrassment at the threshold of this inquiry, which must
be felt by every person who turns his attention to the subject. The
information sought for demands a minute acquaintance with the natural
features and mineral structure of the country, which can only be
acquired by personal examination; and it is a species of research
requiring more leisure, better opportunities, and a freer participation
in personal fatigue, than usually falls to the share of tourists and
travellers. Not only are those difficulties to be encountered which are
inseparable from the collection of isolated facts in a new and unsettled
country, but those, also, which are peculiar to the subject, connected
as it is, at every stage of the inquiry, with the prejudices and
superstitions of the Indian tribes. [B.] It can, therefore, excite
little surprise that, after having been the theme of speculation for
more than a century, and obtained the notice of several works of merit
in Europe,[236] both the position and value of these mineral beds have
continued to the present times to be but partially known. To ascertain
more clearly their value and importance to the Republic were objects
more particularly confided to me as a member of the expedition sent by
the Indian Department, in the year 1820, to traverse and explore those
regions. My report of the 6th of November of that year--a copy of which,
marked A, is herewith transmitted--gives the result of that inquiry.
After a lapse of two years, little can be added. Reflection and
subsequent inquiry convince me that the facts advanced in that report
will be corroborated by future observation. No circumstance has
transpired which is calculated to prove that my suggestions with regard
to the fertility and future importance of those mines are fallacious; on
the contrary, all information tends to strengthen and confirm those
suggestions. Specimens of pure and malleable copper continue to be
brought in to me by the aborigines from that region, but it is not
deemed necessary to particularize in this place the additional
localities. It will be sufficient to observe, that the number of these
new discoveries justifies the expectations that have been created
respecting the metalliferous character of the region of the Ontonagon,
and the south shore of Lake Superior. [C.]

  [236] _Vide_ Jameson's Mineralogy, Parkes's Chemical Catechism,
  Phillips's Elementary Introduction to Mineralogy.

I shall here add the result of an accurate analysis made upon a specimen
of this copper at the mint of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, at the
request of Mr. Eustis, minister plenipotentiary from the United States,
who carried samples of the American copper to that country. The report
of the inspector of the mint, which communicates the result of this
analysis, has the following remarks upon the natural properties of this
species of copper, and the mode of its production: "From every
appearance, the piece of copper seems to have been taken from a mass
that has undergone fusion. The melting was, however, not an operation of
art, but a natural effect caused by a volcanic eruption. The stream of
lava probably carried along in its course the aforesaid body of copper,
that had formed into one collection, as fast as it was heated enough to
run, from all parts of the mine. The united mass was probably borne in
this manner to the place where it now rests in the soil. The
crystallized form, observable everywhere on the original surface of the
metal that has been left untouched or undisturbed, leads me to presume
that the fusion it has sustained was by a process of nature; since this
crystallized surface can only be supposed to have been produced by a
slow and gradual cooling, whereby the copper assumed regular figures as
its heat passed into other substances, and the metal itself lay exposed
to the air.

"As to the properties of the copper itself, it may be observed that its
color is a clear red; that it is peculiarly qualified for rolling and
forging; and that its excellence is indicated by its resemblance to the
copper usually employed by the English for plating. The dealers in
copper call this sort _Peruvian copper_ to distinguish it from that of
_Sweden_, which is much less malleable. The specimen under consideration
is incomparably better than Swedish copper, as well on account of its
brilliant color as for the fineness of its pores and its extreme
ductility. Notwithstanding, before it is used in manufactures, or for
the coining of money, it ought to be melted anew, for the purpose of
purifying it from such earthy particles as it may contain. The
examination of the North American copper, in the sample received from
his excellency the minister, by the operation of the cupel and test by
fire, has proved that it does not contain the smallest particle of
silver, gold, or any other metal." It is a coincidence worthy of remark,
that the suggestions offered by the assayer respecting the volcanic
origin of these masses of copper, are justified by the leading features
of the Porcupine Mountains, and by the melted granites found upon the
heights called Grande Sables and Ishpotonga.

2. The second and third inquiries of the resolution relate to "_the
names of the Indian tribes who claim the mines, and the practicability
of extinguishing their title_." By the treaty concluded at this post on
the 16th of June, 1820, the Ojibwai[237] Indians cede to the United
States four miles square of territory, bounded by the River St. Mary's,
and including the portage around the falls.[238] This is the most
northerly point to which the Indian title has been extinguished in the
United States. The different bands of Ojibwais possess all the country
northwest of this post, extending through Lake Superior to the sources
of the Mississippi, where they are bounded by the Assennaboins, the
Crees, and the Chippewyans of the Hudson Bay colony. Their lands extend
down the Mississippi to the Sioux boundary, an unsettled line between
the junction of the River De Corbeau and the Falls of St. Anthony. South
of Lake Superior, they claim to the possessions of the Winnebagoes, on
the Ouisconsin and Fox Rivers, and to those of the Pottawatamies and
Ottoways, on Lake Michigan. The Wild Rice, or Monomonee Indians, are an
integral part of the Ojibwai nation, deriving their name from the great
reliance they place on the zizania aquatica as an article of food. They
live in small, dispersed bands between the Ojibwais of the lake, and the
Winnebagoes of Fox River. Those residing among the Ojibwais speak the
same language, but with many peculiarities and corruptions on the waters
of Green Bay. They claim the respective tracts upon which they are
located. These are, principally, the valleys of the Fox and Monomonee
Rivers, and the rice lands contiguous to the Fol. Avoine, Clam Lake, and
Lac de Flambeau, which lie on the table-lands between Lake Superior and
the Mississippi.

  [237] For the different names applied to this tribe of Indians, see
  Appendix H.

  [238] _Vide_ acts passed at the second session of the 16th Congress
  of the United States, page 88.

The right of soil to all that part of the Peninsula of Michigan not
purchased by the United States is divided between the Ojibwais and the
Ottoways. The former claim all the shores and islands of Lake Huron
situated north of the Saganaw purchase, except those in the vicinity of
Michilimackinac and the St. Martin, or Gypsum Islands, which were ceded
by treaty on the 6th of July, 1820.[239] Their territories continue
north, through the River St. Mary's, embracing the country on both
banks, and the islands in the river, saving Drummond's Island, which is
garrisoned by the British, and the Four Mile concession at the Sault or
Falls, now occupied by a detachment of the United States' army. It is
not deemed necessary to point out the limits of their territories with
more precision, or to pursue them into the Canadas, where they are also
very extensive. It will sufficiently appear, from this outline, that the
discoveries of copper on the south shore of Lake Superior are upon their
lands. That some of these discoveries have been made upon, or will be
traced to, the possessions of the North Monomonees, is also probable.

  [239] _Vide_ acts passed at the second session of the 16th Congress,
  p. 91.

With respect to the practicability of extinguishing the Indian title, no
difficulty is to be apprehended. Living in small villages, or tribes of
the same mark, scattered over an immense territory, and often reduced to
great poverty by the failure of game and fish, it is presumed there
would be a disposition among their chiefs and head men to dispose of
portions of it. Those districts which most abound in minerals,
presenting a rough and rocky surface, are the least valuable to them as
hunting-grounds; and the goods and annuities which they would receive in
exchange must be vastly more important to them than any game which these
mineral lands now afford.

3. "_The probable advantage which may result to the Republic from the
acquisition and working of these mines._" How far metallic mines,
situated upon the public domain, may be considered as a source of
national wealth, and what system of management is best calculated to
produce the greatest advantages to the public revenue, are inquiries
which are not conceived to be presented for consideration in this place;
nor should I presume to offer any speculations upon topics which have
been so often discussed, and so fully settled. In applying axioms,
however, to a species of productive industry, the results of which are
so very various under various situations, great caution is undoubtedly
necessary; and it must appear manifest, on the slightest reflection, how
much the comparative value of metallic mines, equally fertile and
productive, ever depends upon situation and local advantages.
Dismissing, therefore, all questions of abstract policy, I shall here
adduce a few facts in relation to the fertility of these mineral beds,
and their position with respect to a market--points upon which their
value to the nation must ultimately turn.

That copper is abundantly found on the south shore of Lake Superior has
been shown. It is unnecessary here to add to, or repeat the instances of
its occurrence, or to urge, from an inspection of the surface, the
fertility of subterranean beds. All the facts which I possess in
relation to this subject are before you, and you will assign to them
such importance as they merit. It is a subject upon which I have
bestowed some reflection and much inquiry, superadded to limited
opportunities of personal observation, and the result has led me to form
a favorable estimate of their value and importance. It is not only
certain that a prodigious number of masses of metallic copper are found
along the borders of the lake, but every appearance authorizes a
conclusion that they are only the indications of near and continuous
veins. Some of these masses are of unexampled size, and all present
metallic copper in a state of great purity and fineness. Of its ductile
and excellent qualities for the purposes of coinage and sheathing, the
analysis of Utrecht leaves no doubt. It is true that a mistaken idea has
prevailed among travellers and geographers respecting the weight of the
great mass of copper on the Ontonagon River; but it is, nevertheless, of
extraordinary dimensions, and I have endeavored to show, from their
works, how these errors have originated, and that the metal is
disseminated throughout a much greater extent of country, and in masses
of every possible form and size. Until my facts and data can, therefore,
be proved to be fallacious, I must be permitted to consider these mines
not only fertile in native copper and its congenerous species, but
unparalleled in extent, and to recommend them as such to the notice of
the Government.

But, whatever degree of incertitude may exist respecting the riches of
these mines, their situation with respect to a market can admit of no
dispute. As little can there be concerning the advantages which this
situation presents for the purposes of mining and commerce. Let us
compare it with that of other mines, and appeal to acknowledged facts
for the decision. The value of a coal mine, a stone quarry, or a gypsum
bed, often arises as much from its situation as its fertility. But the
proposition may be reversed with respect to a metallic mine, the value
of which to the proprietor arises more from its fertility and less from
its situation. Gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, &c., when separated from
the matrix of the mine, are so valuable that they can bear to be
transported a long journey over land, and the most distant voyage by
water. Their worth in coined money, produce, or manufactures, is not
fixed in the particular circles of country where they are dug up, but
depends upon the seaboard market, and embraces all countries. The silver
of Mexico and Peru circulates throughout Europe, and is carried to
China. It is no objection to those mines that they are situated in the
Cordilleras, or upon the high table-lands of the American continent, and
must be carried a thousand miles upon the backs of mules to the seaside.
The very discovery of those mines has rendered many poor silver mines of
Europe of no value, although possibly situated in the environs of the
best silver markets in the world. It is the fertility, and not the
situation of such mines, that constitutes their chief value; and it is
so with many of the coarser metals.

The tin of the Island of Banka, and the Peninsula of Siam in Asia, and
the copper of Japan, find their way to Europe, and are articles of
commerce in the United States. The cobalt of Saxony is sent to Pekin,
and the platina of Choco, to all parts of the world. In all these
instances, the fertility of the mines compensates for every disadvantage
of situation. But this principle is not alone confined to mines of tin,
copper, &c.; it even holds true of the heavy and bulky articles of iron,
lead, and salt. The lead of Missouri finds a market at New York,
Philadelphia, and Boston, and will be carried to Europe. It is no
objection that it must be conveyed in wagons forty miles from the
interior, and sent a voyage of 3,000 miles in steamboats and merchant
ships. The great fertility of the mines counterbalances the
disadvantages of its remote position from the market, and it is the
price of the metal in the market which always regulates its price at the
mines. The malleable iron of Sweden is consumed on the summits of the
Alleghany, although its strata are replete with iron ore, which is
worked at numerous forges along the rivers which proceed from each side
of it. It is believed that the salt springs of Onondaga, from their
copiousness alone, would supply a vast portion of the interior and
seaboard of the United States with salt, even if the facilities of water
carriage had not been presented by the Erie Canal. The value of such
mines and minerals ever depends as much upon the abundance as upon the
favorable position of them. It is far otherwise with quarries of stone,
gypsum, marl, fossil coal, &c., whose contiguity to a good market
establishes their value. No abundance of these articles would justify a
land carriage of one hundred miles. They constitute a species of
mining, the profits and value of which increases in the ratio of the
surrounding population, and as the country advances in improvements. But
this advantage is far less sensibly felt, and cannot be considered
essential to the successful working of mines of silver, copper, &c.
Neither the remote position, therefore, of the Lake Superior copper
mines, nor the want of a surrounding population, present objections of
that force which would at first seem to exist; and it is confidently
believed that, if their fertility is such as facts indicate, they may be
opened and wrought with eminent advantage to the Republic. But let us
examine their situation with respect to a market, and compare it with
that of other mines of the same metal, and of some of the coarser
metals, which bear a considerable land, and the most distant water
carriage. To favor the inquiry, let it be granted for the moment that
proximity of situation to a market, or free water carriage, are
indispensable to the success and value of the most fertile mines.

Assuming the confluence of the Ontonagon River with Lake Superior (which
is apparently the centre of the mine district) as the place where the
metal is first to be embarked for market, it must be carried down the
lake 300 miles to the Sault or rapids of St. Mary's. Here, if it is in
barges, it may descend the rapids in perfect safety, as is the
invariable practice of the traders on arriving with their annual returns
of furs and skins from the north. If in vessels, it must be transferred
either into boats or carts, and carried half a mile to the foot of the
rapids, where it will again be embarked in vessels, and transported
through the Lakes Huron, St. Clair, and Erie, and their connecting
straits, to Buffalo, a distance of 650 miles. The progress made in the
construction of the great canal which is to connect the lakes and
Atlantic, is such as to leave no doubt upon any reasonable mind of the
full completion of that work with the close of the year 1824. Through
this channel, the transportation is to be continued in boats or barges,
by a voyage of 353 miles, to the Hudson at Albany; thence a sloop
navigation of 144 miles, which, for speed and freedom from risk, is
perhaps unequalled in all America, takes it into the harbor of New York,
making the entire distance, from the mouth of the Ontonagon, 1,447
miles. From New York it is distributed to our naval depots, and to the
markets of Europe. It is exchanged for the lead of Missouri, the iron
of Sweden, or the silver of Mexico; and the same ready communication
transports the return cargo to Buffalo, from whence the commerce is
extended, by means of the lakes, throughout western New York,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and the interminable
regions of the north. Thus it is seen that, when the Erie Canal is
completed, a free and direct water communication, from the mines to one
of the best markets in America, will exist, in which the rapids of St.
Mary's are the only interruption, and this is only an interruption to
large vessels. Not only so, but the Ontonagon River may be ascended many
miles with vessels of light burden, and thus the copper of Lake
Superior, wafted from the heart of the interior, and from the base of
the Porcupine Mountains, into the harbors of New York, Philadelphia, &c.
Of this whole distance, 1,047 miles are now navigated by the largest
class of river craft and lake schooners; the balance of the distance is
the length of the Erie Canal. (See Note D.)

Let it be recollected that there are no mines of copper situated upon
the margin of the sea, and that every quintal of sheet copper, bolts,
nails, &c., which we receive from Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, or
Japan, is transported a greater or less distance on turnpikes or canals,
before it reaches the place of shipment. The richest copper mines of the
Russian empire are seated on the summits of the Uralian Mountains; those
of Fahlun, in Sweden, and Cornwall, in England, are scarcely more
favored as to position; and, owing to a want of coal, all the ores
raised at the latter are transported into Wales to be smelted.[240] But
we need not resort to Europe for instances. All the lead raised at the
fertile mines in Missouri is transported an average distance of forty
miles in carts and wagons before it reaches the banks of the
Mississippi. Steamboats take it to New Orleans, a distance, by the
shortest computation, of 1,000 miles. But it must still pass through the
Gulf of Mexico, and encounter the perils of the Capes of Florida, and a
voyage of 2,000 miles along the coast of the United States, before it
reaches its principal marts. The average cost of transporting a
hundredweight of lead from Mine au Breton and Potosi to the banks of the
Mississippi, during the year 1818, was seventy-five cents. The distance
is thirty-six miles. The price of conveying the same quantity from the
storehouses at Herculaneum and St. Genevieve to New Orleans, by
steamboats, was seventy cents. The distance exceeds 1,000 miles. Hence,
it costs more to transport a given quantity thirty-six miles by land
than to convey it 1,000 by water. These rates have probably varied
since, but the proportionate expense of land carriage, compared to that
of water, will remain the same. A quintal of copper may, therefore, be
transported from the mines of Superior to Buffalo or Lockport, in New
York, for the same sum required to convey an equal quantity of lead from
Potosi to St. Genevieve. If we consider the city of New York as the
market of both, no hesitancy or doubt can be experienced as to the
decided and palpable advantages possessed by the northern mines. It is
only necessary to adduce these facts; the conclusions are inevitable. In
every point of view, the distance of these mines from the market
presents no solid objection to their being explored with profit to the

  [240] Silliman.

Pig copper, which is the least valuable form in which this metal is
carried to market, is now quoted in the Atlantic cities at 19 cents per
pound; sheathing, at 27; brazier's, at 32. I have no data at hand to
show the amount of these articles consumed in the United States, and for
which we are annually transmitting immense sums to enrich foreign
States. But those who best appreciate the advantages of commerce will
readily supply the estimate. It would be an interesting inquiry to
ascertain how much of the sums yearly paid for sheathing copper, bolts,
nails, engravers' plates, &c., is contributed to the wealth of the
respective foreign States who possess mines of this metal. We can look
back to a period in the history of Great Britain, when that power did
not contribute one pound of copper to the commerce of Europe. During a
period of nine years, closing with the memorable year (in American
history) of 1775, the produce of the copper mines of Cornwall was 2,650
tons of fine copper. (See Note E.) Since that time, the yearly returns
of those mines exhibit a constant increase; and the copper mines of
Great Britain are now the most valuable in the world. The amount
produced by the mines of Cornwall and Devon, after deducting the charges
of smelting, for the single year of 1810, was 969,376 pounds sterling.
(See Note F.) The clear profits of the Dolgoath mine, one of the richest
in Cornwall, for a period of five months, during the year 1805, was
£18,000, which is at the rate of £43,200, or $192,000, per annum. Next
to Great Britain, the most considerable mines of Europe are those of
Russia, Austria, Sweden, and Westphalia, as it was in 1808. Of less
importance are those of Denmark, France, Saxony, Prussia, and Spain. The
proportion in which the British mines exceed those of the most favored
European nation is as 200,000 x 67,000. (See Note G.)

There is another consideration connected with this subject which is
worthy of remark. Should it be inquired what would be the effects of the
purchase of these mines upon the condition of the Indian tribes, the
reply is obvious. It would have the most beneficial tendency. They would
not only profit by an exchange of their waste lands for goods,
implements of husbandry, the stipulated services of blacksmiths,
teachers, &c., but the intercourse would have a happy tendency to allay
those bitter feelings which, through the instigation of the British
authorities in the Canadas, they have manifested, and still continue to
feel, in degree, towards the United States. The measures which the
President has recently directed to be pursued to assuage these feelings
of hostility, and to induce them to cherish proper sentiments of
friendship and respect, are already in a train of execution that bids
fair for success. Continued exertions, and the necessary and proper
means, are all that seem necessary to confirm and complete the effect;
and whatever measures have a tendency to increase the intercourse of
American citizens with these "remote tribes," and to give them a true
conception of the power and justice, and the pacific and benevolent
policy of our Government, must favor and hasten such a result.

    I have the honor to be, sir,
    With the highest respect,
    Your most obedient servant,
    _U. S. Indian Agent at the Sault Ste. Marie_.

    _Secretary of War, Washington_.



Among the numerous superstitions which the Indian tribes entertain, that
respecting mines is not the least remarkable. They are firmly impressed
with a belief that any information communicated to the whites,
disclosing the position of mines or metallic treasures situated upon
their grounds, is displeasing to their manitos, and even to the Great
Spirit himself, from whom they profess to derive every good and valuable
gift; and that this offence never fails to be visited upon them in the
loss of property, in the want of success in their customary pursuits or
pastimes, in untimely death, or some other singular disaster or untoward
event. This opinion, although certainly not a strange one to be
cherished by a barbarous people, is, nevertheless, believed to have had
its origin in the transactions of an era which is not only very well
defined, but must ever remain conspicuous in the history of the
discovery and settlement of America. It is very well known that the
precious metals were the principal objects which led the Spanish
invaders to penetrate into the interior of Mexico and Peru, and
ultimately to devastate and conquer the country, to plunder and destroy
its temples, and to tax and enslave its ill-fated inhabitants. It is
equally certain that, to escape these scenes of cruelty and oppression,
many tribes and fragments of tribes, when further resistance became
hopeless, fled towards the north, preferring the enjoyment of liberty
and tranquillity upon the chilly borders of the northern lakes, to the
pains of servitude in the mild and delightful valleys of Mexico, and the
golden plains of the Incas. In this way, many tribes who originally
migrated from the north, along the Pacific Ocean, to the Gulf of
California, and thence over all New Spain, were returned towards the
north over the plains of Texas and the valley of the Mississippi; those
tribes nearest the scenes of the greatest atrocities always pressing
upon the remoter and less civilized, who, in turn, pressed upon the
nations less enlightened than themselves, and finally drove them into
the unfrequented forests of the north. Among these terrified tribes, the
traditions of the Ojibwais affirm that their ancestors came, and that
they originally dwelt in a country destitute of snows. Many tribes who
now speak idioms of their language were left upon the way, and have
since taken distinctive names. Among these, are the Pottawatamies, the
Ottoways, &c. The latter formerly were, as they still remain, the
agriculturists. The Miamis and Shawnees, whose languages bear some
affinity, preceded them in their flight. The Winnebagoes, speaking a
separate and original tongue, came later, and preserve more distinct
traditions of their migration. All these tribes carried with them the
strong prejudices and fixed hatred excited by the cruelty, rapacity, and
cupidity of their European conquerors; and, above all, of that
insatiable thirst for gold and silver which led the Spaniards to sack
their towns, burn their temples, and torture their people. Cruelty and
injustice of so glaring a character must have made upon their minds too
deep an impression ever to be forgotten, or completely erased from their
traditions. To that memorable epoch we must, therefore, look for the
origin of that cautious and distrustful disposition which these tribes
have since manifested with regard to the mines and minerals situated
upon their lands; and the circumstance seems to offer an abundant
excuse, if not a justification, for those prevarications and evasions
which present a continual series of embarrassment to every person who
seeks through their aid to develop the mineral resources, or describe
the natural productions, of their territories. Hence, too, the cause why
they are prone to imagine that all mineral or metallic substances
obtained or sought upon their lands, are susceptible of being converted
or _transmuted_ into the precious metals.


The following _additional_ localities of native copper, derived from
sources entitled to respect, and accompanied, in some instances, by
specimens of the metal, may here be given:--

1. Grand Menou, or Isle Royal, Lake Superior. Captain----, of the
schooner----, in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, on Lake
Superior, describes this island as affording frequent masses of copper.
While becalmed off its shores in the spring of 1822, and, afterwards, in
coasting along the island for a distance of one hundred miles, his men
frequently went ashore, and never failed to bring back with them lumps
of metallic copper, which they found promiscuously scattered among the
fragments of rock. These were more abundant in approaching its
southwestern extremity, where they unite in representing it to exist in
a solid vein. Specimens of limpid quartz, chalcedony, and striped agate,
were also brought to me from this island. [J. S. J. J.]

2. On the extremity of the great peninsula, called by the natives
Meenaiewong, or Keweena Point, which forms so prominent a feature in the
physiognomy of Lake Superior. It occurs in the detached form. [J. H. J.

3. At Point aux Beignes, which is the east cape of the entrance into
L'Ance Quewiwenon. A mass from this place was raised from the sandstone
rock, which predominates there. [J. Y. B.]

4. At Caug Wudjieu, or the Porcupine Mountains, Lake Superior; in
masses, enveloped with a green crust, along the banks of the Carp, or
Neemaibee River, which originates in these mountains. [W. M. G. Y. J.

5. On the banks of Lac Courterroile. This lake lies near the source of
the River Broule, or Cawesacotai, which enters Lake Superior near La
Pointe. It occurs in the alluvial soil, which is a kind of loamy earth,
with pebbles intermixed, but of a rich quality, and timbered with beech
and maple. It is found mostly in small, flat masses, more or less
oxidated. [B. G. J. G. Y.]

6. In a vein on the shore of Lake Superior, between La Riviere de Mort
and St. John's, a little to the west of Presque Isle. [J. J.]

7. On the northeast branch of the Ontonagon River. [J. H.]

8. In the precipitous bluffs called Le Portail, and the Pictured Rocks.
A green matter oozes from the seams in these rocks, and forms a kind of
stalactites, which is apparently a carbonate of copper. [G. Y.]

These localities embrace a range of more than two hundred miles along
the south shore of Lake Superior, which proves how intimately this metal
and its ores are identified with the rocks and the soil of that region.


In all our calculations respecting the position and advantages of these
mines, too much stress cannot be laid upon the facilities of the lake
navigation. It is believed that a ton of merchandise, or a barrel bulk,
can be transported through the lakes at the same rates that are paid in
the coasting trade of the United States. Nor is the risk greater. The
best data which I can command, induce me to conclude that a quintal of
copper can be conveyed from the place of shipment on Lake Superior, to
the city of New York, for _one dollar_. The present price of
transportation, for a barrel bulk, from Buffalo to Mackina, may be
stated, on the average of freights, at 8_s._, New York. The mean weight
of a barrel bulk, taking flour as the standard, may be safely put down
at 200 lbs. gross, being 50 cents per cwt. But it must be recollected
that there is no return freight; and, consequently, that this sum covers
the expenses not only of the outward and return voyage, but still leaves
a profit to the owner. Messrs. Gray and Griswold, sutlers of the 2d
regiment, paid 9_s._ 6_d._, New York, per barrel bulk, from Buffalo to
the Sault. This gives a result of 59 cents per cwt. But, if a return
cargo could be obtained, one-half of this sum would afford an equal
profit on the voyage; and it is believed that the article of bar copper
could at all times be conveyed from the Sault to Buffalo for 20 cents
per cwt. Being a very convenient species of ballast, it would oftentimes
be taken in lieu of stone, and, consequently, cost no greater sum than
the price of carrying it on board. But the facilities and cheapness of
the lake navigation cannot, perhaps, be better illustrated than by
stating the price of provisions at the post of St. Mary's, every article
of which is carried from 300 to 700 miles through the lakes. The
following statement of the assistant commissary has been politely
furnished at my request:--

    SAULT STE. MARIE, October, 1822.

DEAR SIR: Agreeably to your request, I send you a statement of the
actual cost of subsistence stores furnished at this post for the use of
troops at present making the military establishment, ordered by the
Government to this place.

The prices of the several articles below enumerated are at a small
advance on the stores of the settlers outside of the cantonment.

The expenses of subsisting, or rather of maintaining, a garrison at this
place will be as small, if not less, per annum, than at any other
frontier post in our country. The provisions for the soldier cost as
little, I believe, as at any other post, and next year we shall be able
to raise all the forage for the use of our beef cattle, and the horses
and oxen of the quartermaster's department.

    I am, dear sir, yours, &c.,
    W. BICKER,
    _A. C. S. U. S. A._

_Statement of the Cost of United States Subsistence Stores at the Sault
de Ste. Marie, 1822._

    Pork, per pound                            4-1/4
    Flour, per pound                           1-9/10
    Whiskey, per gallon                       29
    Fresh beef, per pound                      6-1/2
    Vinegar, per gallon                       22
    Salt, per bushel                          90
    Soap, per pound                           10
    Candles, per pound                        20-1/2
    Beans, per quart                           4-7/10

The total cost of a soldier's ration is 9 cents and 1 mill per diem.

    _A. C. S. U. S. A._

H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT, Esq., _U. S. I. Agent_.


_Statement of the Returns of Copper Ores Smelted at the Mines of
Cornwall (Eng.) from 1726 to 1775.--[Rees's Cyclopedia.]_

      Periods.   |Tons of ore.|Average price| Amount. |Annual quantity
                 |            |   per ton.  |         |of fine copper.
    1726 to 1735 |   64,800   |  £7 15 10   | £473,500|    700 tons
    1736 to 1745 |   75,520   |   7  8  6   |  560,106|    830  "
    1746 to 1755 |   98,790   |   7  8  0   |  731,457|  1,080  "
    1756 to 1765 |  169,699   |   7  6  6   |1,243,045|  1,800  "
    1766 to 1775 |  264,273   |   6 14  6   |1,778,337|  2,650  "


_Statement of the Produce of the Mines of Cornwall and Devon (Eng.) for
a period of four years, ending with 1811._

                  |    1808     |    1809    |   1810   |  1811
                  |Corn-  |Devon|Corn- |Devon| Cornwall | Cornwall
                  |wall   |     |wall  |     |and Devon |and Devon
Tons of ore.      |       |     |      |     |          |
    Tons.         |73,434 |3,725|72,038|3,210|  80,238  |73,579
     cwt.         |  2    |  0  |  12  |  0  |    14    |   0
     qrs.         |  1    |  0  |   2  |  0  |    3     |   1
Fine copper.      |       |     |      |     |          |
    Tons.         |7,118  | 369 |6,972 | 365 |   7,006  | 6,272
     cwt.         |  5    | 10  |  17  |  1  |     13   |   0
     qrs.         |  1    |  0  |  0   |  0  |     2    |   2
     lbs.         | 17    |  0  |  17  |  3  |     5    |   2
Average           |       |            |                |
standard    £     |  107  |     122    |       141      |   125
per ton.          |       |            |                |
Annual amount    £|781,348|  875,784   |     969,376    | 769,379
after deducting   |       |            |                |
charges of      s.|   16  |     2      |        19      |    4
smelting.         |       |            |                |


_Table of the Annual Quantity of Copper raised from the Earth in
Different Countries, in Quintals--the Quintal valued at 100 lbs._

     1. England                                 200,000
     2. Russia                                   67,000
     3. Austria, including Bohemia, Gallicia,
          Hungary, Transylvania, Styria,
          Carinthia, Carniola, Salzburg, and
          Moravia                                60,000
     4. Sweden                                   22,000
     5. Westphalia, in 1808                      17,229
     6. States of Denmark                         8,500
     7. Bavaria, including the Tyrol              3,000
     8. France                                    2,500
     9. Saxony, in 1808                           1,320
    10. Prussia, as left by the treaty of Tilsit    337
    11. Spanish European mines                      309
                                         Total, 382,186


I shall here give the synonoma for this tribe of Indians, which appears
to have been first recognized by the United States as an independent
tribe by Wayne's treaty of 1795,[241] under the name of Chipewa. This
name has been retained in all subsequent treaties with them, not,
however, without some discrepance in the orthography. These variations
are chiefly marked by the introduction of the letter _p_ at the
beginning of the second syllable, or the vowel _y_ annexed to the third;
producing Chip-_pe_-wa, Chip-_pe_-wa_y_, and Chip-e-_way_. The French
missionaries and traders, whose policy it was to discard the names of
the aboriginal tribes from their conversations, bestowed upon this
tribe, at a very early period, the _nom de guerre_ of _Saulteurs_, or
_Sauteurs_, from the Sault or Falls of St. Mary's, which was the ancient
seat of this tribe--a name which is still retained by the Canadians, and
by many of the American traders. Among the early French writers, they
were also sometimes denominated _Outchipouas_. There is as little
uniformity among travellers and geographers. Pinkerton, Darby, Morse,
Carver, Mackenzie, and Herriot, either employ the word according to the
orthography of Wayne's treaty, or with the modifications above noticed.
The name of Chippewyans, employed by Mackenzie, relates to a tribe
residing north and west of the sources of the Mississippi, who speak a
language having no affinity, and are a distinct people. Henry, who was
well versed in the Chippewa language, also conforms to the popular
usage, but observes that the true name, as pronounced by themselves, is

  [241] This fact is not stated in full confidence. I cannot refer to
  any authorities to prove that they were formally recognized by the
  United States before this very recent period. By the French and
  British governments they were known soon after the first settlements
  at Quebec and Albany (A. D. 1608, 1614), and subsequently treated
  with. A band of warriors from Chegoimegon, on Lake Superior, under
  the command of Waub Ojeag, or the White Fisher, was present at the
  taking of Fort Niagara by Sir W. Johnston in 1759.

Having taken pains to ascertain and fix the pronunciation of this word,
I have not hesitated to introduce it into my correspondence and official
accounts; but I am aware of my great temerity in so doing. Popular
prejudices, and several of the authorities above cited, stand opposed to
the proposed innovation. The continued use of the word "Chippewa" is
also sanctioned by a name entitled to conclusive respect. "I write the
word in this way," observes the Executive of Michigan, "because I am
apprehensive the orthography is inveterately fixed, and not because I
suppose it is correct." Still, there are reasons for changing it.
Justice to this unfortunate race requires it. Since the popular apathy
to their condition is such that every remembrance of their actual
customs, manners, and traditions will probably perish with them, and
their _name_, ere long, be all that is left, it is at least incumbent
upon us to transmit _that_ to posterity in its true sound--as the
fathers and sachems pronounced it. If, then, there is an acknowledged
error in this respect, shall we hesitate to correct it?


_Rapid Glances at the Geology of Western New York, west of the Rome
Summit, in 1820._[242]

  [242] At the time these sketches were written, no geological
  observations had been made on this field, which has, at subsequent
  periods, been so elaborately described; nor had the topic itself
  attracted much attention. I landed at New York, in the ship
  Arethusa, from New Orleans, in the summer of 1819, and published,
  in that city, in the fall of that year, an account of the
  lead-bearing rocks of Missouri, and their supporting white
  sandstones, which rest, in horizontal deposits, on the primitive
  formation of the St. Francis; bringing, at the same time, a rich
  collection of the mineralogy of that region, which soon became
  known in private cabinets. This became the cause of my employment,
  by the United States Government, to visit the alleged copper mines
  on Lake Superior, as a member of the expedition to the sources of
  the Mississippi. I left Oneida County, in the district remarked on,
  on the 10th of April of that year, and reached the banks of the
  Niagara River on the 29th of that month. On returning from the
  sources of the Mississippi, I entered the same region on the 17th of
  October, and reached Oneida on the 21st of the same month. Prior to
  my visit to the Great West, I had dwelt some three years--namely,
  1809, '10, '11, '12--in Oneida and Ontario counties. These were the
  opportunities enjoyed, up to the period, for acquiring a knowledge of
  the geography and geology of the country. Mr. A. Eaton's _Index to
  Geology_, published early in 1820, embraces nothing extending to
  western New York.

ROCK FORMATIONS.--1. Assuming the area of the most eastwardly head of
the Onondaga Valley, the Wood Creek, and the Rome Summit, and the valley
of the Niagara, with an indefinite extent laterally, to form the limits
of this inquiry; it is in coincidence with all known facts to say that
it is a secondary region, consisting of the sedimentary and
semi-crystalline strata, the lines of which are perfectly horizontal.
Colored sandstone, generally red, forms the lowest observed stratum.

Wherever streams have worn deep channels, they either disclose this rock
or its adjuncts, the grits, or silicious sinter. It is apparent in the
chasm at Niagara Falls, about half a mile below the cataract. It is
often seen on the surface of the country, or buried slightly beneath the
soil. In color, hardness, and other characters, there is a manifest
variety. But, considered as a "formation," no doubt can exist of its
unity. Its thickness can only be conjectured, as no labor has, so far as
we know, penetrated through it.

Judging from observations made in Cattaraugus County, in 1818, the coal
measures have been completely swept from this area.

2. Next in point of altitude, is the series of dark, carbonaceous,
shelly slate rock. The thickness of this formation, as indicated at
Niagara, cannot be less than ninety feet. It is also often a
surface-rock in the district, forming portions of the banks of lakes,
streams, &c. It is characterized by organic remains of nascent species.
Portions of it also disclose rounded masses of pre-existing rocks.

3. Last in the order of superposition, is the secondary limestone
formation. It is, most commonly, of a dark, sedimentary aspect. It is
not invariably so, but portions of it have a shining, semi-crystalline
fracture. Shades of color also vary considerably, but it never, in the
scale of colors, exceeds a whitish-gray. Viewed at different localities,
the mass is either compact, fetid, shelly, or silicious. Much of it
produces good quicklime. It is often rendered "bastard," as the phrase
is, by argillaceous and earthy impurities. Organic impressions, and
remains of sea shells and coarse corals are frequent. Encrinites give
some portions of it the appearance of eyed or dotted secondary marble.
The occurrence of a hard variety of hornstone, which is not flint, is
apparently confined to the compact, fetid variety. This formation, like
the two preceding, may be found to consist of separate strata.
Localities, joining, overlaying, substrata, mineral contents, organic
species, &c., require observation. The following notices are added.

GEOLOGICAL CHANGES.--The evidences which are furnished of ancient
submersion, which has "changed and overturned" vast portions of the
solid land, are neither few nor equivocal. They are seen as well in the
rock strata as the alluvial soils. The most elevated hills and the
lowest valleys are equally productive of the evidences of extensive
changes. The whole aspect of the country seems to attest to the ancient
dominion of water. But the most striking proof of its agency is,
perhaps, found in the sea-shells, polypi, and crustacea, which are
preserved, in their outlines, in solid strata. Some of these are most
vivid in their shapes and ray-like markings, particularly the univalve

A subsequent change, in the surface of the country, is indicated by the
marks of attrition and watery action upon the faces of these rocks, in
situations greatly elevated above the present water-levels. This action
must, consequently, be referred to a period when extensive submersions,
in the nature of lakes or semi-seas, existed; for there is no power in
present lakes and streams, however swelled and reinforced by rains or
melting snows, to reach even a moiety of the elevation of these ancient
water-marks. It is to the era of these last submersions that we are
encouraged, by evidences, to look, as the disturbing cause which has
buried trees, leaves, and bones in alluvial soils.

_Action of Water._--In examining some portions of the flat lands of
Ontario County, such as the township of Phelps, there are strata of a
fine sedimentary soil, such as might be expected to result from the
settlings of water not greatly agitated. The bottoms of mill-ponds
afford an analogous species of soil. In these level districts, there are
also not unfrequently observed fields of bare flat rock, of the
limestone species, which is checkered in its surface, conveying the idea
of their having formed a flooring to some former lake. An appearance of
this kind may be seen a few hundred yards from the meeting-house in
Phelps. The rock, in this instance, is a carbonate of lime, and affords
organic remains.

The Oak Openings, in Erie County, are a kind of natural meadows or
prairies. Many suppose them to have been ancient clearings; but of this
the Indians have no tradition, and the evidences of such a settlement
are by no means satisfactory. In many places, on these extensive
openings, there are naked and barren layers of calcareous rock, whose
surface exhibits appearances analogous to those in Ontario. The
limestone is, however, of a darker color, and contains numerous imbedded
nodules of hornstone, and it emits a fetid odor on breaking.

In crossing the elevated calcareous highlands, between Danville and
Arkport, in Steuben County, we perceive in the bluff rocks which bound
the valley of the Conestoga River, at an elevation of perhaps two
hundred feet above its bed, horizontal water-marks, deeply impressed
upon the face of the rocks, as if the waters had formerly stood at that
level; and it is impossible to resist the conviction, in travelling over
this rugged district of country, that it has not been totally submerged
by waters, which have been suddenly drawn off, but by gradual or
periodical exhaustions, standing for many ages at different levels.

SLATE ROCKS.--These were, not inaptly, denominated "brittle slate," by
Dr. Mitchell, in 1809. Brittleness is their pervading character; and it
is owing to this quality, in a formation of great thickness, that the
action of the water at Niagara Falls is of so very striking a character.
There is no portion of the Niagara slate solid enough to be used for
building stone. It is uniformly shelly, and exhibits, even in hand
specimens, its reproduced character.[243] Those portions of the general
formation which are solid constitute silicious slate. A locality of this
variety may be seen at the Halfway House, eight miles east of

  [243] Appropriately pronounced a "secondary graywacke slate," by Mr.

SENECA LAKE.--This clear and picturesque lake has its bed in the
secondary formations, and may be referred to as exhibiting localities of
them. Its upper parts afford the compact limestone in quadrangular
blocks. Large portions of its margin consist of the brittle carbonaceous
slate. The shores, from the vicinity of Rose's Farm to Appletown, are
little else but a continuous bank of the slate. On the opposite coast,
it is also visible at various localities below the Crooked Lake inlet.
Cashong Creek may be particularly referred to. A short ascent of its
valley brings the spectator into a scene where the walled masses of
slaty rock assume a character of grandeur. Among the recent portions
which have been thrown into the valley, may be seen masses having large
species of the stem-like organic remains, which indicate its newness as
a formation. Here are also disclosed orbicular masses, and pebbles of
other rocks, imbedded in the slate. These prove it to be--what its
texture would, in other places, indicate--a secondary slate.

The order of position on the banks of this lake is the same as at
Niagara; but the sandstone is not apparent above the water line. Its
existence, in the bed of the lake, may be satisfactorily inferred, from
the masses of yellow coarse sand which are driven up at the foot of the
lake, and particularly around its outlet. When the winds prevail, the
water is driven violently against this part of the shore. As it is an
alluvial flat, they soon surmount the stated margin, and produce a
partial inundation. On their recession, wreathes of sand remain.

DILUVIAL ELEVATIONS.--Bounding the alluvial plain of the Seneca outlet
westward, there is a series of remarkable wave-like ridges, whose
direction is parallel to that of the lake. On the declivity-stop of the
first of these ridges, stands the village of Geneva, the buildings of
which are thus displayed in an amphitheatric manner above the clear
expanse of the lake. The substratum of these ridges is an argillaceous,
compact soil of the eldest formation. Some parts of it are a stiff clay,
and yield septaria; but there is no considerable portion of it, which
has been examined, wholly destitute of primitive boulders and pebbles.
Little doubt can remain but that it is the result of the broken-down
slaty rock mixed with the extraneous and far-fetched primitive masses.
They are conclusive of its diluvial character. I have attentively
examined this formation, in the section of it exposed on the shores of
the lake between the village of Geneva and Two-mile Point. All its
solid, stony contents are piled along the margin of the lake, the soil
being completely washed away. Granite, quartz, and trap pebble-stones
and boulders, are here promiscuously strewn with recent debris. Over the
argillaceous deposit is spread a mantle of newer soil, of unequal depth
and character, which forms, exclusively, the theatre of farming and
horticultural labors.

WHITE SPRINGS.--On the declivity of one of these parallel ridges, at the
distance of two miles from the lake, is found an extensive bed of white
marl. This deposit, which is on the estate of the late Judge Nicholas,
covers many acres, and yields so copious a spring of pure water that it
is sufficient, at the distance of about three hundred yards from its
issue, to turn a gristmill. There are to be found in this bed of marl
several species of helix and voluta. The marl is generally covered with
an alluvial deposit of two feet in depth. The depth of the marl itself
is unexplored. Is not this marl the result of decomposed sea shells?

BEDS OF QUARTZOSE SAND.--In certain parts of the Seneca Valley are found
limited deposits of a white quartzose sand, in a state of comparative
purity. This substance is capable of being readily vitrified by the
addition of alkaline fluxes, and is thus converted into glass. Its
existence, as a local deposit, beneath separate strata of alluvial soil,
supporting a growth of trees and shrubs, is such as to render it
probable that the present stream, in its exhausted state, could have had
no agency in producing these deposits. If we are compelled to look to a
former condition of the waters passing off through this valley, as
affording the requisite power of deposit, we are then carried back to an
era in the geology of the country which we must refer to, to account for
by far the greater number of changes in all its recent soils. Indeed,
wherever we examine these soils, out of the range comprehended between
high- and low-water mark, on any existing lake or stream, there will be
found occasion to resort to the agency of more general and anterior
submersions. A few localities may be appealed to.

FOSSIL WOOD.--In digging a well in the Genesee Valley, one mile east of
the river (at Hosmer's), part of the trunk of a tree, of mature growth,
was found at the depth of forty-one feet below the surface. The soil was
a loose sand mixed with gravel. The position is more elevated than the
flats, so called.

ANTLERS.--A large pair of elk's horns were discovered in an excavation
made for the foundation of a mill at Clyde, in Seneca County. They were
imbedded in alluvial soil, ten feet below the surface. This surface had
been cleared of elm and other forest trees of mature growth. Near the
same place, logs of wood were found at the depth of fourteen feet. These
discoveries were made in the valley of Clyde River, which is formed by
the junction of the Canandaigua Outlet with Mud Creek.

twelve or fifteen frogs were found in excavating a layer of compact clay
marl, about nine feet below the surface. The position is several hundred
feet above the bed of the Genesee River, to which elevation no one,
after viewing the spot, will deem it probable its waters could have
reached, this side of the diluvian era.

A frog was dug out of the solid rock, at Lockport, Niagara County, by
the workmen engaged in excavating the canal. It was enveloped by the
limestone which abounds in cavities filled with crystals of strontian
and dog-tooth spar. It came to life for a few moments, and then expired.
There was no aperture by which it could possibly communicate with the
atmospheric air. The cavity was only large enough to retain it, without
allowing room for motion.

The inclosure of animals of the inferior classes in the sedimentary
strata, and even in the most solid substance of rock, is a fact which
has been frequently noticed, without, however, any very satisfactory
theory having been given of the process, at least to common
apprehension. _Vide_ Addenda, for some further notices of this kind.

FOSSIL VEGETATION.--A well was dug in the lower part of the village of
Geneva, in 1820, which disclosed, at the depth of thirteen feet, the
branches and buds of a cedar-tree. They were found lying across the
excavation, and in the sides of it; and were in excellent preservation.
No one could conjecture in what age they had been buried. But this
discovery would seem to establish the position that the catastrophe
occurred _in the spring_.

MADREPORE.--A madrepore, measuring eight inches in diameter, was found
in the upland soil of Caledonia, Genesee County. Smaller specimens of
the same species occur in that township. Madrepores of a large size have
also been found imbedded in the soil, or lying on the surface, in
various places in Cattaraugus and Alleghany counties. They are locally
denominated petrified wasps' nests. The lands containing these loose
fossil remains are contiguous to, or based on, secondary rocks at
considerable elevations.

BOULDERS AND PRIMITIVE GRAVEL.--But the most abundant evidences of
diluvial action are furnished by the masses of foreign crystalline rocks
which are scattered, in blocks of various sizes, on the surface of the
soil, or imbedded at all depths within it. Primitive rocks are foreign
to the district, and these masses could not, therefore, have resulted
from local disintegration. They must have been transported from a
distance. They required not only an adequate cause for their removal,
but one commensurate with the effects. Such a cause Cuvier supposes, in
discussing the general question, may have existed in eruptions, or in
the action of oceanic masses of water, operating at an ancient period.

The latter opinion appears to be generally adopted. Dr. Mitchell, in
reference to northwestern boulders, attributes their distribution over
secondary regions to the draining of interior seas or lakes. Mr. Hayden,
in his _Geological Essays_, refers them to the action of oceanic
currents setting "from north and east to south and west."

SUBORDINATE AND EQUIVALENT STRATA.--These constitute the most intricate
subjects of reference. They are either adjuncts or residuary deposits of
leading formations. But their order, as accompanying series, must
sometimes be sought for by a previous determination of the formations
themselves. Could we certainly know, for instance, that the sandstone of
Western New York is or is not the true coal-sandstone, or the limestone
is or is not the carboniferous limestone, it would at once direct to
positive eras, and serve to impart confidence in the prediction of
unknown deposits of an important character. But, in order to fix the
formations, it is often the safest mode of procedure to employ the
subordinate and local deposits as evidences of the character of the
formations embracing them.

GYPSUM.--A stratum of gypsum of the plaster of Paris kind--that is,
consisting of an admixture of the carbonate with the sulphate of
lime--occurs on the banks of the Canandaigua outlet. It has been chiefly
explored in the township of Phelps, Ontario. In visiting the principal
bed (1820), I found the following order of deposits composing the banks
of the outlet:--

1. Alluvial soil of a dark, arenaceous, and mellow character, having
small stones of the primitive kind sparingly interspersed, two and a
half to three feet. Cultivated in improved farms.

2. Shelly limestone, of an earthy, dull-gray color and loose texture, in
layers, three feet.

3. Limestone of a more firm character, but still shelly, or rather
slaty, fissile, and easily quarried, six feet. This stratum contains
iron pyrites in a decomposed state. Also, nodular or kidney-shaped
masses of what the quarrymen call _plaster-eggs_--apparently snowy

4. Plaster of Paris, ten feet. This stratum yields granular, earthy,
fibrous, and foliated gypsum. It is the first two varieties which are
quarried. In some places, the mass is firm enough to admit of blasting.
In others, it is loose and veiny, and is readily broken up with iron
bars and sledges. Portions of it appear to consist of a shelly limestone
identical with No. 2. They are rejected in quarrying.

5. Limestone similar to No. 3, four feet.

At this depth it is covered by the waters of the outlet. How deep it
extends is uncertain. The rapids at the village of Vienna are caused by
shelving strata of this limestone.

There is a suite character in these strata which appears to constitute
them a single deposit. The plaster-bed at Canasaraga exists in a ledge
more elevated in reference to the local stream, and presents a broader
section of the limestone. The shades of difference which are observable
in its color and texture, do not appear to indicate a difference of
geological era. Nor do appearances denote, for the calcareous formation
which embraces these beds, much antiquity in the scale of secondary

SALIFEROUS RED CLAY-MARL.--Examinations, at various points, render it a
probable supposition that the red clay-marl of western New York is the
equivalent for the new red sandstone, in positions where the latter
is--as it often is--wanting. It is extensively deposited in the upland
soils, in the range of the salt rock and gypsum counties, from the
summit grounds of Oneida County west. It may be seen in various stages
of the decomposition. I have more attentively examined it on the upper
parts of the Scanado[244] and Oneida creeks. Large areas of it exist in
Westmoreland, Verona, and Vernon townships, and bordering the valley
grounds of the Oneida reservation, and the northerly portions of
Sullivan County. The existence of salt water might, apparently, be
searched for with as much probability of success, in the district thus
indicated, as at more westerly points.

  [244] Usually written Skenanodoah, but pronounced as above.

COAL-FORMATION.--With a strong predisposition to regard our leading
sandstone and limestone surface-formations as members of the
"independent" or true coal-formation, inquiry has led me to relinquish
the impression that they will, to any great degree, be found to yield
this mineral. If the sandstone is--as facts indicate it to be--the new
red or saliferous sandstone, it may be expected to yield thin seams of
coal, in distant places, but no deposit of this mineral which will
reward exploration in this or its super-incumbent series of rocks, the
slates, limestones, &c. It will result, that the coal-measures, properly
so denominated, are a prior deposit in the order of series; and, should
they hereafter be found, such a discovery must take place above the
range of the sandstone, which is the basis rock at Niagara and Genesee

Having premised the character of the sandstone, all the series occupying
a position above it must derive their character, as secondary deposits,
from this. The limestone cannot, therefore, be a part of the
carboniferous or "medial." The slates, as shown at Cashong, are
fragmentary, and rather nearer slaty grauwacks. The arenaceous and
calcareous upper deposits assume nearly the position of the oolitic
series, and, in fact, ought, in some localities, to be regarded as

WESTERN COAL-MINES.--Much of the data employed in these inquiries is the
result of previous examinations of the great coal deposits in the Ohio
Valley, and other parts of the western country. Here we have the
coal-sandstone and the slate clay, with slate, &c., alternating with the
coal-measures. Such is the order of deposits at the junction of the
Alleghany and Monongahela, where the formation is well developed, and
where there exists, too, in the elevated valley hills, several
repetitions of the series. The zechstone, or compact limestone, which is
a pervading rock in the Mississippi Valley, occupies a position next
above the great Mississippi sandstone.[245] It may always be
distinguished from the shelly, entrochal limestone of the Genesee,[246]
by the absence of gypsum and of the fetid odor emitted on fracture.

  [245] This formation cannot be called "red sandstone," from its being
  generally white or gray, but appears to occupy the position of the
  "horizontal red sandstone" among European rocks.

  [246] The cornutiferous lime-rock of Mr. Eaton.

ALLEGHANY VALLEY.--A question of interest, in connection with the extent
of the Ohio Valley coal-formation, arises from the attempt to fix the
point to which this formation ascends the Alleghany Valley--being the
direct avenue into Western New York. I have examined this valley in its
entire length between Pittsburg and Olean, in Cattaraugus County, and
have not been able to observe that there are any evidences of its
termination below the latter point. The general order and parallelism
of strata remain the same. The coal stratum is apparently present. The
qualities of the coal at Armstrong, and at various points below French
Creek--the first primary fork of the river--are not distinguishable from
the products of the Pittsburg galleries. Less search has been made above
that point, but wherever the hills have been penetrated, they have--as
at Brokenstraw--produced the bituminous coal. Above the Conawango
Valley, which brings in the redundant waters of Chatauque Lake, the
Alleghany discloses frequent rapids. The effect of parallelism upon the
strata is to sink the coal-measures deeper as they ascend the Alleghany;
and this cause may, in connection with the unexplored character of the
country, be referred to in accounting for the absence of coal along this
part of the line. The reappearance of traces of this mineral at Potato
Creek, forty miles above Olean, is a proof, however, that the
coal-formation extends to that point. This locality is a few miles
within the limits of Pennsylvania. It occurs in a valley.

COAL IN WESTERN NEW YORK.--The coal-bed above Olean is south of the
summit of the Genesee, and not remote from its primary source. The
expectation may be indulged that the western coal-formation embraces
portions of Cattaraugus and Alleghany or Steuben counties. The noted
spring of naphtha, called Seneca Oil, is on Oil Creek in this county. As
this substance, in the class of bitumens, is nearly allied to the coal
series, it may be deemed favorable to the existence of the formation in
the substrata.[247] Fragments of carbonized wood are frequently found in
the large tracts of marine sand,[248] as well as in some of the mixed
alluvions of these counties; and it needs but an examination, as cursory
as it has fallen to my lot to make, of this portion of the country, to
render it one of high geological interest, and to denote that the
coal-measures probably extend into some portions of Western New

  [247] These tracts bear a valuable growth of pines, which constitute
  the source of a profitable lumber trade with the Ohio Valley.

  [248] This mineral oil also occurs in several of the lower tributaries
  of the Alleghany River, within the coal district.

  [249] A discovery of coal has been announced in Alleghany County, New
  York, as these sheets are going through the press, more than thirty
  years after these lines were penned.


_Animals inclosed in Rock, &c._

TOADS.--In 1770, a toad was brought to Mr. Grignon inclosed in two
hollow shells of stone; but, on examining it nicely, Mr. G. discovered
that the cavity bore the impression of a shell-fish, and, of
consequence, he concluded it to be apocryphal.

In 1771, another instance occurred, and was the subject of a curious
memoir read by Mr. Guettard to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris.
It was thus related by that famous naturalist:--

In pulling down a wall, which was known to have existed upwards of a
hundred years, a toad was found without the smallest aperture being
discoverable by which it could have entered. Upon inspecting the animal,
it was apparent that it had been dead but a very little time; and in
this state it was presented to the Academy, which induced Mr. Guettard
to make repeated inquiries into the subject, the particulars of which
will be read with pleasure in the excellent memoir we have just cited.

WORMS.--Two living worms were found, in Spain, in the middle of a block
of marble which a sculptor was carving into a lion, of the natural
color, for the royal family. These worms occupied two small cavities to
which there was no inlet that could possibly admit the air. They
subsisted, probably, on the substance of the marble, as they were the
same color. This fact is verified by Captain Ulloa, a famous Spaniard,
who accompanied the French academicians in their voyage to Peru to
ascertain the figure of the earth. He asserts that he saw these two

ADDER.--We read in the _Affiches de Provence_, 17 June, 1772, that an
adder was found alive in the centre of a block of marble thirty feet in
diameter. It was folded nine times round, in a spiral line. It was
incapable of supporting the air, and died a few minutes after. Upon
examining the stone, not the smallest trace was to be found by which it
could have glided in or received air.

CRAWFISH.--Misson, in his _Travels through Italy_, mentions a crawfish
that was found alive in the middle of a marble in the environs of

FROGS.--M. Peyssonel, king's physician at Guadaloupe, having ordered a
pit to be dug in the back part of his house, live frogs were found by
the workmen in beds of petrifaction. M. P., suspecting some deceit,
descended into the pit, dug the bed of the rock and petrifactions, and
drew out himself green frogs, which were alive, and perfectly similar to
what we see every day.

We are informed by the _European Magazine_, February 21, 1771, that M.
Herissan inclosed three live toads in so many cases of plaster, and shut
them up in a deal box, which he also covered with thick plaster. On the
6th of April, 1774, having taken away the plaster, he opened the box,
and found the cases whole and two of the toads alive. The one that died
was larger than the others, and had been more compressed in its case. A
careful examination of this experiment convinced those who had witnessed
it, that the animals were so inclosed that they could have no possible
communication with the external air, and that they must have existed
during this lapse of time without the smallest nourishment.

The Academy prevailed upon M. Herissan to repeat the experiment. He
inclosed again the two surviving toads, and placed the box in the hands
of the Secretary, that the Society might open it whenever they should
think proper. But this celebrated naturalist was too strongly interested
in the subject to rest satisfied with a single experiment; he made,
therefore, the two following:--

1. He placed, 15 April, 1771, two live toads in a basin of plaster,
which he covered with a glass case that he might observe them
frequently. On the 9th of the following month, he presented the
apparatus to the Academy. One of the toads was still living; the other
had died the preceding night.

2. The same day, April 15, he inclosed another toad in a glass bottle,
which he buried in sand, that it might have no communication with the
external air. This animal, which he presented to the Academy at the same
time, was perfectly well, and even croaked whenever the bottle was shook
in which he was confined. It is to be lamented that the death of M.
Herissan put a stop to these experiments.

We beg leave to observe upon this subject, that the power which these
animals appear to possess of supporting abstinence for so long a time,
may depend upon a very slow digestion, and, perhaps, from the singular
nourishment which they derive from themselves. M. Grignon observes that
this animal sheds its skin several times in the course of a year, and
that it always swallows it. He has known, he says, a large toad shed its
skin six times in one winter. In short, those which, from the facts we
have related, may be supposed to have existed many centuries without
nourishment, have been in a total inaction, in a suspension of life, or
a temperature that has admitted of no dissolution; so that it was not
necessary to repair any loss, the humidity of the surrounding matter
preserving that of the animal, who wanted only the component parts not
to be dried up, to preserve it from destruction.

The results of modern chemistry and philosophy have proved the number of
elementary substances to be far greater than was admitted in the
preceding century. And this discovery is progressive, and will probably
go on a long time; after which, it is not improbable a new race of
chemical and philosophical observers will spring up, who will be able to
decompose many substances we now consider elementary, and thus again
reduce the number of elements of which all external matter is composed.
It would not be wonderful if posterity should reduce the number of
elements even as low as the ancients had them. Such a result would throw
new light on the mysterious and intricate connection which seems to
exist between animal, vegetable, and mineral matter. We should then,
perhaps, have less cause to wonder that toads, &c., are capable of
supporting life in stone, that birds should exist in solid blocks of
wood, &c.

But toads are not the only animals which are capable of living for a
considerable length of time without nourishment and communication with
the external air. The instances of the oysters and dactyles, mentioned
at the beginning of this article, may be advanced as a proof of it. But
there are other examples.--_European Magazine_, March, 1791.

A beetle, of the species called capricorn, was found in a piece of wood
in the hold of a ship at Plymouth. The wood had no external mark of any
aperture.--_European Magazine_.

A bug eat itself out of a cherry table at Williamstown, Mass. See an
account of this phenomenon, by Professor Dewey, in the _Lit. and Philos.

These phenomena remind us of others of a similar nature and equally

In a trunk of an elm, about the size of a man's body, three or four feet
above the root, and precisely in the centre, was found, in 1719, a live
toad, of a moderate size, thin, and which occupied but a very small
space. As soon as the wood was cut, it came out and slipped away very
alertly. No tree could be more sound. No place could be discovered
through which it was possible for the animal to have penetrated, which
led the recorder of the fact to suppose that the spawn from which it
originated must, from some unaccountable accident, have been in the tree
from the very moment of its first vegetation. The toad had lived in the
tree without air, and, what is still more surprising, had subsisted on
the substance of the wood, and had grown in proportion as the tree had
grown. This fact was attested by M. Hebert, Ancient Professor of
Philosophy at Caen.

In 1731, M. Leigne wrote to the Academy of Sciences at Paris an account
of a phenomenon exactly similar to the preceding one, except that the
tree was larger, and was an oak instead of an elm, which makes the
instance the more surprising. From the size of the oak, M. Leigne judged
that the toad must have existed in it without air or any external
nourishment, for the space of eighty or a hundred years.

We shall cite a third instance, related in a letter the 5th Feb. 1780,
written from the neighborhood of Saint Mexent, of which the following is
a copy.

"A few days ago, I ordered an oak tree of a tolerable size to be cut
down, and converted into a beam that was wanting for a building I was
then constructing. Having separated the head from the trunk, three men
were employed in squaring it to the proper size. About four inches were
to be cut away on each side. I was present during the transaction.
Conceive what was their astonishment when I saw them throw aside their
tools, start back from the tree, and fix their eyes on the same point
with a kind of amazement and terror. I instantly approached, and looked
at that part of the tree which had fixed their attention. My surprise
equalled theirs, on seeing a toad, about the size of a large pullet's
egg, incrusted, in a manner, in the tree, at the distance of four inches
from the diameter and fifteen from the root. It was cut and mangled by
the axe, but still moved. I drew it with difficulty from its abode, or
rather prison, which it filled so completely that it seemed to have been
compressed. I placed it on the grass; it appeared old, thin,
languishing, decrepit. We afterwards examined the tree with the nicest
care, to discover how it had glided in; but the tree was perfectly whole
and sound."--_European Magazine._

BAT.--A woodman engaged in splitting timber for rail-posts in the woods
close by the lake in Haming (a seat of Mr. Pringle's in Selkirkshire),
lately discovered, in the centre of a large wild cherry tree, a living
bat, of a bright scarlet color, which he foolishly suffered to escape,
from fear, being fully persuaded it was (with the characteristic
superstition of the inhabitants of that part of the country) a "being
not of this world." The tree presented a small cavity in the centre,
where the bat was inclosed, but is perfectly sound and solid on each
side.--_N. Y. Lit. Journ. and Belles-Lettres Repository_, taken from the
_London Semi-Monthly Magazine_.

SKULL IN WOOD.--A tenant of the Rev. J. Cattle, of Warwick, lately
presented to him a part of the solid butt of an oak tree, containing
within it the skull of some animal (unknown). It was in the part of the
tree nine feet above the ground, and was perfectly inclosed in solid
timber.--_N. Y. Lit. Journ. and Belles-Lettres Repository_, from
_European Magazine_.


_A Memoir on the Geological Position of a Fossil-Tree in the Series of
the Secondary Rocks of the Illinois._

The spirit of inquiry which has been excited in this country in regard
to objects of natural history, while it has enlarged the boundaries of
our knowledge of existing species, has directed some of its more
valuable researches to those organized forms which have perished and
become embalmed in the shape of petrifactions, in the body of solid
rocks. A petrified tree of this kind has recently been discovered in the
secondary[250] rocks at the source of the Illinois River. Having
recently visited this evidence of former changes in the flora of the
West, I embrace the occasion, while my recollections are fresh, to give
an account of it.

  [250] This term is superseded, in geological discussions of the
  present day, by the term _silurian_, which embraces all strata of the
  era between the _palæozoic_ and _tertiary_ formations.

The tract of country separating the southern shores of Lake Michigan
from the Illinois River, is a plat of table-land composed of compact
limestone, based on floetz or horizontal sandstone. This formation
embraces the contiguous parts of Illinois, and spreads through Indiana,
Ohio, and the Peninsula of Michigan. It is overspread with a deposit of
the drift era, covered with a stratum of alluvial soil, presenting a
pleasing surface of prairies, forests, and streams. These features may
be considered as peculiarly characteristic of the junction of the Rivers
Kankakee and Des Plaines, which constitute the Illinois River. This
junction is effected about forty miles south of Chicago.

The fossil in question occurs about forty rods above the junction of the
Kankakee. The sandstone embracing it is deposited in perfectly
horizontal layers, of a gray color and close grain. It lies in the bed
of the Des Plaines. The action of this stream has laid bare the trunk of
the tree to the extent of fifty-one feet six inches. The part at the
point where it is overlaid in the western bank is two feet six inches in
diameter. Its mineralization is complete. The trunk is simple, straight,
scabrous, without branches, and has the usual taper observed in the
living specimen. It lies nearly at right angles to the course of the
river, pointing towards the southeast, and extends about half the width
of the stream. Notwithstanding the continual abrasion to which it is
exposed by the volume of passing water, it has suffered little apparent
diminution, and is still firmly imbedded in the rock, with the exception
of two or three places where portions of it have been disengaged and
carried away; but no portion of what remains is elevated more than a few
inches above the surface of the rock. It is owing, however, to those
partial disturbances that we are enabled to perceive the columnar form
of the trunk, its cortical layers, the bark by which it is enveloped,
and the peculiar cross fracture, which unite to render the evidence of
its ligneous origin so striking and complete. From these characters and
appearances, little doubt can remain that it is referable to the species
juglans nigra, a tree very common to the forest of the Illinois, as
well as to most other parts of the immense region drained by the waters
of the Mississippi. The woody structure is most obvious in the outer
rind of the trunk, extending to a depth of two or three inches, and
these appearances become less evident as we approximate the heart.
Indeed, the traces of organic structure in its interior, particularly
when viewed in the hand specimen, are almost totally obliterated and
exchanged, the vegetable matter being replaced by a mixed substance,
analogous, in its external character, to some of the silicated and
impure calcareous carbonates of the region. Like those carbonates, it is
of a brownish-gray color and compact texture, effervesces slightly in
the nitric and muriatic acids, yields a white streak under the knife,
and presents solitary points, or facets, of crystals resembling calc
spar. All parts of the tree are penetrated by pyrites of iron of a brass
yellow color, disseminated through the most solid and stony parts of the
interior, filling interstices in the outer rind, or investing its
capillary pores. There are also the appearances of rents or seams
between the fibres of the wood, caused by its own shrinkage, which are
now filled with a carbonate of lime, of a white color and crystallized.

From an effect analogous to carbonization, the exterior rind and bark of
the tree have acquired a blackish-hue, while the inclosing rock is of a
light-gray color, characters which are calculated to arrest attention.

There is reason to conclude that the subject under consideration is the
joint result, partly of the infiltration of mineral matter into its
pores and crevices, prior to inclosure in the rock, and partly to the
chemical action educed by the great catastrophe by which it was
translated from its parent forest, and suddenly enveloped in a bed of
solidifying sand.

At the time of my visit (August 13, 1821), the depth of water upon the
floetz rocks forming the bed of the River Des Plaines, would vary from
one to two feet; but it was at a season when these higher tributaries,
and the Illinois itself, are generally at their lowest stage. Like most
of the confluent rivers of the Mississippi and their tributaries, the
Des Plaines is subject to great fluctuations, and during its periodical
floods may be estimated to carry a depth of eight or ten feet of water
to the junction of the Kankakee. At those periods, the water is also
rendered turbid by the quantity of alluvial matter it carries down, and
a search for this organic fossil must prove unsuccessful. But during the
prevalence of the summer droughts, in an atmosphere of little humidity,
when the waters are drained to the lowest point of depression, and
acquire the greatest degree of transparency, it forms a very conspicuous
trait in the geology of the stream, and no person, seeking the spot, can
fail to be directed to it.

The sand-rock containing this petrifaction is found in a horizontal
position, differing only with respect to hardness and color. The remains
of fossil organized bodies in this stratum are not abundant, or have not
been successfully sought. It is probable that future observations will
prove that its organic conservata are chiefly referable to the vegetable
kingdom. It is certain, that this inference is justified by the facts
which are before me, and particularly by the characteristic appearances
of the strata in the bed of the River Des Plaines, where the imbedded
walnut is the representative of the ancient flora. At a short distance
above, where the bed of the Des Plaines approaches nearer the summit
level, limestone ensues, and continues from that point northward to the
shores of Lake Michigan. In the vicinity of Chicago, where this
limestone is quarried for economical purposes, it is characterized by
the fossil remains of molluscous species.

Lake Erie lies at an elevation of five hundred and sixty-five feet above
the Atlantic.[251]

  [251] Public Documents relating to the New York Canals, with an
  Introduction, &c., by Colonel Haines.

There exists a water communication between the head of Lake Michigan, at
Chicago, and the River Des Plaines, during the periodical rises of the
latter, but its summer level is about seven feet lower, at the
termination of the Chicago portage, than the surface of the lake. From
this point to its junction with the Kankakee, a computed distance of
fifty miles, the bed of the Des Plaines may be considered as having a
mean southern depression of ten inches per mile, so that the floetz
rocks at its mouth, lying on a level of forty-eight feet eight inches
below the surface of Lake Michigan, have an altitude which cannot vary
far from five hundred and fifty feet above the Atlantic. There are no
mountains for a vast distance either east or west of this stream. It is
a country of plains, in which are occasionally to be seen alluvial
hills of moderate elevation; but the most striking inequalities of
surface proceed from the streams which have worn their deep-seated
channels through it; and an oceanic overflow capable of covering the
country, and producing these strata by deposition, would also submerge
all the immense tracts of secondary and alluvial country between the
Alleghany and the Rocky Mountains, converting into an arm of the sea the
great valley of the Mississippi, from the Gulf of Mexico north to the
Canadian Lakes. We find in the alluvial soil along the Illinois and Des
Plaines blocks of granite, hornblende, and gneiss, of the drift stratum,
exhibiting the same appearances of attrition, and of having been
transported from their parent beds, which characterize the secondary
tablelands along the margin of the great American lakes, the prairies of
Illinois, and the western parts of New York.

There is nothing, perhaps, in the progress of modern science, which has
tended to facilitate geological research so much as the study and
investigation of fossil organic remains. They teach, with unerring
lights, how extensively the ancient flora and fauna of this continent
have been prostrated, leaving their exact impressions, in all their
minuteness, in the newly-formed stratifications. That these impressions,
fresh and vivid as we find them, should mark the eras of depositions and
crystallization of rocks from the suspension of their elements in water,
is the observation of Werner, and it is to him we owe the elements of
the Neptunian hypothesis. His general recognition of the epochs of the
primitive, transition, and secondary rocks, appears too probable not to
commend itself to adoption with regard to all strata which can be
conceived to be the products of watery menstrua.

But it remained for Werner, who was the first to perceive an order in
strata, also to point out the important application of fossil organic
bodies in elucidating their eras, and the natural order of their

To adopt the words of Dr. Thomas Cooper:--

"There appears to be a series of strata, or, as Werner calls them,
formations, that may be considered as surrounding the nucleus of the
earth. The first formed, or lowest series, always preserve the same
situation to each other, except where occasional eruptions, or
circumstances not of a general nature, make a variety in their
situations. These strata are not only the deepest, but they are also the
highest that are observable in the crust of the earth; forming the tops
of the highest mountains. They are characterized by an appearance of
crystallization, and by containing no remains of organic matter, animal
or vegetable. The strata or formations that in general constitute this
first, deepest, highest, and crystallized series, are granite, gneiss,
mica-slate, clay-slate, primitive greenstone, granular limestone,
serpentine, porphyry, and sienite. These formations are so generally
found, and in the same situations as incumbent upon or subtending each
other relatively, that they may be considered as universal. Their
crystallized appearance shows that their particles have either been
dissolved or very finely suspended in water, so that the attraction of
crystallization has been free to operate; that this water has been deep,
so that the lowermost parts of it have not been much agitated during the
crystallization, which would otherwise have been more confused than it
is; and, indeed, the oldest formations are the best crystallized. A part
of the water covering the nucleus must have been taken up, as water of
crystallization, in the primitive formations. When these were deposited,
there were no vegetables formed; of course, no animals; nay, even the
sea was unpeopled, for there is no trace of any organic remains in these
strata. Even the belemnites, the asteriæ, the echini, the entrochi, the
most simple forms of oceanic animal life, do not occur until the
transition strata appear. Hence the propriety of denominating these
formations _primitive_.

"By processes of nature, besides the consumption of water by the new
crystallized masses, to us unknown, the waters appear to have
diminished. The highest parts of the primitive formations became the
shores to the water superincumbent on their bases and middle regions;
the simplest forms of oceanic animals came into existence; the mosses
and lichens of high latitude would generally occupy the surface of the
primitive strata, gradually decomposed by the alternate action of air
and water after many ages. During this period, while the strata were in
a state of _transition_ from the chaotic to the habitable state, other
deposits would gradually be made from the waters, now decreased in
quantity, and take their place below the summits of the primitive
range. Those summits being exposed to the action of the atmosphere, of
rains, of frost probably, and to the action also of the waters with
their contents still incumbent on the earliest strata, would furnish
masses and particles washed away, which would mingle with the deposits
of the transition series. This series, therefore, will exhibit
appearances of mechanical and chemical intermixture of earths and
stones, such as are found in the silicious porphyries, the graywackes,
the silicious and argillaceous hornblende rocks, the elder red
sandstone, &c. During the period when these transition formations were
deposited, there would be no land animals, for there would be no
vegetables for them to feed upon. There would be no vegetables unless
some few lichens, mosses, or ericas, that would find foothold upon the
slight decomposition that, after the lapse of some ages, would take
place on the surface of the primitive rocks. The sea only would be
peopled, and that but sparingly; for, in that mass of muddy water, none
but the lowest and most inferior grades of animal life, and such as do
not inhabit deep water, could exist. Hence, we find the transition
formations contain in their substances some belemnites, asteriæ,
entrochi, echini, &c., but no organized vegetable substance except, very
rarely, in the latest rocks of this series, and no remains whatever of
terrestrial animals. Indeed, in the high latitudes of the outgoings or
summits of the primitive strata, very few vegetables, even at the
present day, can live. No vegetation fit for animal life could take
place until the transition, and most of the next series of _secondary_
or _floetz_ formations had subsided. These would occupy lower and lower
situations, till a rich soil, from every kind of intermixture of earth
mechanically deposited, would afford a proper temperature of region, and
an easily decomposed soil, wherein vegetables could grow.

"Next to the transition series, come the _secondary_, or, as the German
mineralogists call them, the _floetz_ rocks; so called, because they
appear to be more floated or horizontal, though I confess the
appellation does not appear to me peculiarly appropriate. These strata
consist principally of sandstone, limestone--sometimes fetid from
bituminous impregnations, sometimes shelly--secondary greenstone,
graphite, coal, gypsum, rock salt. I have observed that the Alpine
heights of the primitive mountains could at no time furnish much food.
The same remark, but in a less degree, will apply to the transition
range; the low and kindly climates occupied by the secondary series.
The soft and decomposable nature of these depositions would furnish the
true theatre of vegetable life, and, until these regions were filled
with vegetables, the race of animals could not have been produced; for
on what could they subsist? Graminivorous animals, therefore, must have
succeeded the various forms of vegetable existence; and carnivorous, the
graminivorous. The vegetable matter imbedded in the substance of the
secondary strata will consist of the remains of vegetables that grow in
the transition strata; and the animal remains will consist chiefly of
such animals as were produced in the early stages of animal existence,
particularly the smaller aquatic animals; and, of these, chiefly
shell-fish, as shells are not so soon decomposed as mere animal

It is to the latter class of depositions--to the secondary series--that
we must refer the sandstone of the River Des Plaines, in which we find a
walnut, of mature growth, enveloped by, and imbedded in the rock, in the
most complete state of mineralization; and, since all geological writers
who subscribe to the Neptunian theory are constrained to employ the
agency of oceanic depositions of different eras, in explaining the
structure of the earth's surface, it is one of the most obvious and
important conclusions, to be drawn from the fact that such submersions
and depositions of rock matter have taken place subsequent to the
existence of forests of mature growth, and that the rock strata and beds
composing the exterior of the earth are the result of different
geological epochs, and of successive subsidences of chaotic
matter--positions which have been so severely attacked and so often
denied, particularly by the disciples of the Huttonian school, that it
is not without a feeling of lively interest, I communicate a discovery
which appears so conclusive on the subject.

Considerations arising from the frontier position of the country, and
the infrequency of the communication, have also induced me to draw from
incidental sources, a corroboration of the facts advanced.

In a letter to Governor Cass, of Michigan, dated September 17, 1821, I
made the following observations on the subject under review:--

"I consider the petrified tree discovered during our recent journey up
the Illinois, so extraordinary an object in the natural history of the
country, and calculated to lead to conclusions so important to the
science of geology, that I am anxious to avail myself of your concurrent
testimony as to the fact of the existence of the tree in a mineralized
state, and the natural appearances of the spot where it lies imbedded. I
feel the more solicitude on this subject, as I am aware that any
description of this phenomenon which I may be induced to communicate to
the public, will be received with a degree of caution and scrutiny which
it is the province of the naturalist to exercise whenever any discovery
is announced affecting the existing theories of the natural sciences, or
tending to increase the volume of facts upon which their advancement and
perfection depend. I am aware, also, that whatever degree of caution and
vigilance it may be proper to exercise to prevent errors from mingling
with the sound doctrines of the physical and other sciences, still more
care and circumspection is requisite in examining facts which affect the
progress of geology."

I quote an extract from Governor Cass's reply on the subject:--

"The appearance of the wood and bark indicates that it was a black
walnut, the juglans nigra of our forests. We computed its original
diameter, at the place where it is concealed in the earth, to have been
three feet, and at the other end eighteen inches. The texture of the
wood, and the bark and knots, are nearly as distinct as in the living
subject, and the process of decay had not commenced previous to the
commencement of this wonderful conversion. Every part of the mass which
we could examine is solid stone, and readily yields fire by the
collision with steel.

"When we visited the spot, the water of the river was at the lowest
stage; but there was no part of the tree within some inches of the
surface. The rocky bed of the stream was formed round and upon it. We
raised from it pieces of the rock, which were evidently _in situ_, and
which had been formed upon the tree posterior to the period of its
deposit in its present situation. This rock is a species of sandstone,
whose characteristic features must be well known to you.

"There are no mineralized substances of vegetable origin in the vicinity
of this specimen, nor are there any appearances which indicate that its
present condition has been caused by any peculiar property in the waters
of the Des Plaines."


The publication of the foregoing memoir led to several letters being
addressed to the author on topics connected with it. Some of these were
from gentlemen eminent in science or politics, whose opinions are
entitled to the highest respect. Extracts are given from such only as
introduce new data, either of fact or opinion.

GEOLOGICAL THEORIES.--Professor Dewey, of Williams College, observes: "A
friend has just lent me your 'Memoir on a Fossil-Tree.' Though the
account is very interesting, I do not perceive its exact bearing on the
Neptunian and Plutonian hypotheses. The fault is doubtless in me, and
you will excuse my remarks and set me right. I had supposed the
Huttonians and Wernerians did not dispute about the manner in which the
_secondary_ rocks were formed. Macculloch, and others before him, led me
into this opinion, though it may be erroneous. But Bakewell, who is
referred to as authority in _Rees's Cyclopædia_, says, p. 131:
'Geologists are agreed that secondary rocks have been formed by the
agency of water.' If this be so, they would agree generally with the
account of Dr. Cooper respecting the formation of petrifactions, and
especially those of vegetables, and the fossil-tree would be treated of
in a similar manner by both."

Hutton's original hypothesis, and not the modifications of it introduced
by the Neptu-Vulcanists, were adverted to in reply. Subsequently,
Professor Dewey writes:--

"I was greatly obliged by your letter in various respects, and I write
you now to make my acknowledgments for it, as well as to maintain the
correctness of your notions on the Huttonian hypothesis. As you had seen
a Scotch mineralogist directly from the mint of Playfair, I had every
reason to suppose you had received correct views of Playfair's notions
on the subject. I have been led, therefore, to examine the matter, and,
as I may have set you on the search, I wish to prevent your continuing
it on my account, or from what I wrote.

"Playfair's Illustrations I have never seen. Occasional extracts, or
allusions to its points, have fallen in my way. But I have before me a
very full abstract of Hutton's paper on the subject, from the
_Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh_. It is from the very
paper in which he announces his hypothesis. In that paper he mentions
that the consolidation of all the hard crust of the globe has been
effected by _heat_ and _fusion_, extending it to secondary as well as
primitive rocks, and mentioning particularly Spanish marble, shell
limestone, oolite, and chalk.

"This operation of heat, he says, is exemplified by _chalk, which is to
be found in all gradations, from marble to loose chalk_. This is his
precise notion, but not his words. I had once looked at this paper
before, and thought much of this theory; but this thought had been
obliterated from my mind by thoughts advanced by others, as I thought in
consistency with the sentence I quoted from Bakewell. At least, one
objection to Hutton's views would be removed by modifying his theory in
the manner it seems to be by Bakewell. Though Hutton does not think this
to be necessary; for he appears to feel no difficulty in accounting for
petrifactions of wood on his hypothesis, for he mentions that _we have
many proofs of the penetration of flinty matter, in a state of fusion,
in other bodies, such as insulated pieces of flint in chalk or sand, and
fossil wood penetrated with silicious matter_.

"Still, the grand reasons of Hutton for employing heat as the agent of
consolidation are opposed to the above modification of his theory. These
reasons, as you know, are the insolubility of most mineral substances in
water, and the disappearance of the water from the cavities of minerals
which have been consolidated. The first is, indeed, the great one for
Hutton; for the crystallization of salts in water, and the existence of
liquids, in some cases, in the cavities of the most solid minerals, show
well enough that the water might or might not disappear, as the
circumstances were different.

"If the Huttonians maintain, as he did, the formation of petrifactions
by heat, which consistency requires, I concede, indeed, to you that that
fossil-tree stands as a grand monument of some different process; and
yet, we can hardly suppose that they do not see great difficulty in the
common notion on the subject. The rapidity with which the petrifactions
must have taken place--a point well illustrated in Hayden's _Geological
Essays_--seems to require some new notions on the subject. What these
may be, I cannot tell; but I believe that neither of these two
hypotheses will be adopted exclusively, half a century hence, on this
point, or on geology generally. I think, with you, that our countrymen
need illumination on the subject of Hutton's hypothesis, and I wish some
one would attempt it."

TRAP-ROCKS OF EUROPE AND AMERICA.--"I suspect the greenstone of our
country, when examined as it ought to be, will be found, in its
geological relations, much to resemble the basalt of Europe; and that
the same difficulties will attend it, on Werner's hypothesis, as now
attend the basalt. Indeed, I know not how we can account for what
Bakewell and Macculloch state on this hypothesis."

SANDSTONE OF VIRGINIA.--"I have seen a piece of a petrified tree, about
eight inches through, found in the sandstone of Virginia, but could get
none of it. The petrifaction was far finer than the stone in which it
lay, and was, like it, silex."

SANDSTONE OF OHIO.--C. Atwater, Esq., in a letter to the author,

"I can assure you that the finding of whole trees in sandstone is
nothing strange in this State. Some of these trees are imbedded in
sandstone one hundred feet below the surface. Zanesville and Gallipolis
are the best spots to find these fossils.

"There is no part of the tree but what I have in my cabinet, not
excepting their leaves, fruit, and even fungi attached to them."

MOSAICAL HISTORY OF THE CREATION.--B. Irvine, Esq., in adverting to
remarks on the Illinois fossil, observes:--

"They may yet awaken some ideas in the minds of the people on the
wonders of physics--and I had almost said, the _slow miracles of
creation_; for, if ever there was a time when matter existed not, it is
pretty evident that _millions of years_, instead of six days, were
necessary to establish order in chaos, let Cuvier, &c. temporize as they
may. However, it is the humble allotment of the herd to believe or
stare; it is the glory of intelligent men to inquire and admire."

The doctrine of materialism, adverted to by Mr. Irvine, it is the
province of divines to controvert. One remark may be predicted on the
biblical era of the six days. It is now believed to be generally
conceded by eminent geologists and ecclesiastics, that the term "day,"
employed by the translators of the English version of the Scriptures, is
used in Gen. ch. i. in a sense synonymous with "era" or "time," as it is
emphatically used in Gen. ch. ii. ver. 4. For an able exposition of the
present views on this subject, see the _American Journal of Science_,
vol. XXV. No. 1.



A descriptive list of the plants collected on the expedition, drawn up
by Dr. John Torrey, has been published in the fourth volume of the
_American Journal of Science_. References to this standard work may be
conveniently made by botanists.


No professed zoologist was attached to the expedition, the topic being
left to such casual attention as members of it might find it convenient
to bestow. Of the fauna of the region, it was not believed that there
were any of the prominent species which were improperly classed in the
_Systema Naturæ_ of Linnæus. It was doubtless desirable to know
something more particularly of the character and habitat of the American
species of the reindeer (_C. sylvestris_) and hyena, or glutton. Perhaps
something new was to be gleaned respecting the extent of the genera
arctomys and sciurus, among the smaller quadrupeds, and in the
departments of birds and reptilia. The mode of travel gave but little
opportunity of meeting the larger species in their native haunts, but it
afforded opportunities of examining the skins of the quadrupeds at the
several trading stations, and of listening to the narrations of persons
who had engaged in their capture.

In effect, the crustacea of the streams furnished the most constant and
affluent subject for enlarging the boundaries of species and varieties.
The collections in this department were referred to members of the
Lyceum of Natural History at New York, and of the Academy of Natural
Sciences at Philadelphia. The results of their examinations have been
published in two of the principal scientific journals of the country. It
had been originally proposed to republish these papers in this Appendix,
together with that on the botanical collections, and some other topics;
but the long time that has elapsed, renders it, on second thought,
inexpedient. Distinct references to the several papers are given.


_A Letter embracing Notices of the Zoology of the Northwest._


    VERNON, N.Y., October 27, 1820.

DEAR SIR: I reached this place, on my return from the sources of the
Mississippi River, on the 21st instant, having left the canal at Oneida
Creek at four o'clock in the morning, whence I footed it three miles
through the forest, by a very muddy road, to the ancient location of
Oneida Castle, while my baggage was carried by a man on horseback.

The plan of the expedition embraced the circumnavigation of the coasts
of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. From the head of the latter, we
ascended the rapid River of St. Louis to a summit which descends west to
the Upper Mississippi, the waters of which we entered about five hundred
miles above the Falls of St. Anthony, and some three hundred miles above
the ulterior point reached with boats by Lieutenant Pike in December,

From this point we ascended the Mississippi, by its involutions, to its
upper falls at Pakagama, where it dashes over a rock formation. A vast
plateau of grass and aquatic plants succeeds, through which it winds as
in a labyrinth. On this plateau we encountered and passed across the
southern Lake Winnipek. Beyond this, the stream appears to be but little
diminished, unless it be in its depth. It is eventually traced to a very
large lake called Upper Lac Ceder Rouge, but to which we applied the
name of Cass Lake. This is the apparent navigable source of the river,
and was our terminal point. It lies in latitude 47° 25´ 23´´.

The whole of this summit of the continent is a vast formation of drift
and boulders, deposited in steps. In descending it, we found the river
crossed by the primitive rocks in latitude about 46°, and it enters the
great limestone formation by the cataract of St. Anthony's Falls, in
latitude 44° 58´ 40´´. We descended the river below this point, by its
windings among high and picturesque cliffs, to the influx of the
Wisconsin, estimated to be three hundred miles. Thence we came through
the Wisconsin and Fox valleys to Green Bay, on an arm of Lake Michigan,
and, having circumnavigated the latter, returned through Lakes Huron and
St. Clair to Detroit. The line of travel is about four thousand two
hundred miles. Such a country--for its scenery, its magnificence, and
resources, and the strong influence it is destined ultimately to have on
the commerce, civilization, and progress of the country--the sun does
not shine on! Its topography, latitudes and longitudes, heights and
distances, have been accurately obtained by Captain Douglass, of West
Point, who will prepare an elaborate map and description of the country.

Personally, I have not been idle. If I have sat sometimes, in mute
wonder, gazing on such scenes as the Pictured Rocks of Lake Superior, or
the sylvan beauty and mixed abruptness of the Falls of St. Anthony, it
has been but the idleness of admiration. I have kept my note book, my
sketch-book, and my pencil in my hands, early and late; nor have once,
during the whole journey, transferred myself, at an early hour, from the
camp-fire or pallet to the canoe, merely to recompose myself again to
sleep. If the mineralogy or geology of the country often presented
little to note, the scenery, or the atmosphere, or that lone human
boulder, the American Indian, did. The evidences of the existence of
copper in the basin of Lake Superior are ample. There is every
indication of its abundance that the geologist could wish. Nature here
has operated on a grand scale. By means of volcanic fires, she has
infused into the trap-rocks veins of melted metal, which not inaptly
represent the arteries of the human system; for wherever the broken-down
shores of this lake are examined, they disclose, not the sulphurets and
carbonates of this ore, but fragments and lumps of virgin veins. These,
the winds and waves have scattered far and wide.

But what, you will ask, can be reported of its quadrupeds, birds,
reptilia, and general zoology? Have you measured the height and length
of the mastodon--"the great bull"--who the Indians told Mr. Jefferson
resisted the thunderbolts, and leaped over the great lakes?[252] Truly,
I beg you to spare me on this head. You are aware that we had no
professed zoologist.

  [252] Notes on Virginia.

I herewith inclose you a list of such animals as came particularly under
our notice. Imperfect as it is, it will give you the general facts. The
dried and stuffed skins of such species as were deemed to be
undescribed, or were otherwise worthy attention, will be transmitted for
description. Among these is a species of squirrel, of peculiar
character, from the vicinity of St. Peter's, together with a species of
mus, a burrowing animal, which is very destructive to vegetation. This
appears to be the hamster of Georgia. Of the larger class of quadrupeds,
we met, in the forest traversed, the black bear, deer, elk, and buffalo.
The latter we encountered in large numbers, about one hundred and fifty
miles above the Falls of St. Anthony, about latitude 45°, on the east
bank of the river. We landed for the chase, and had a full opportunity
of observing its size, color, gait, and general appearance.

Great interest was imparted to portions of the tour by the ornithology
of the country, and it only required the interest and skill in this line
of a Wilson or an Audubon, to have not only identified, but also added
to the list of species.[253]

  [253] The only addition to ornithology which it fell to my lot to
  make, was in the grosbeck family, and this occurred after I came to
  return to St. Mary's. Mr. Wm. Cooper has called the new species
  fringilia vespertina, from the supposition that it sings during the
  evening. The Chippewas call this species paushkundame, from its
  thick and penetrating bill.

The geological character of the country has been found highly
interesting. The primitive rocks rise up in high orbicular groups on the
banks of Lake Superior. The interstices between groups are filled up
with coarse red, gray, or mottled sandstone, which lies, generally, in a
horizontal position, but is sometimes waved or raised up vertically.
Volcanic fires have played an important part here. I have been impressed
with the fact that the granitical series are generally deficient in
mica, its place being supplied by hornblende. Indeed, the rock is more
truly sienite, very little true granite being found, and, in these
cases, it is in the form of veins or beds in the sienite.

There have also been great volcanic fires and upliftings under the
sources of the Mississippi. Greenstone and trap are piled up in huge
boulders. The most elevated rock, in place, on the sources of the
Mississippi, is found to be quartzite. This is at the Falls of Pakagama.
In coming down the Mississippi, soon after passing the latitude of 46°,
the river is found to have its bed on greenstones and sienites, till
reaching near to the Falls of St. Anthony, where the great western
horizontal limestone series begins. To facilitate the study of the
latter, opportunities were sought of detecting its imbedded forms of
organic life, but their infrequency, and the rapid mode of our
journeying, was averse to much success in this line without the
boundaries of the great lake basins.

In the department of mineralogy, I have not as brilliant a collection as
I brought from Potosi in 1819--but, nevertheless, one of value--the
country explored being a wilderness, and very little labor having been
applied in excavations. Among the objects secured, I have fine specimens
of the various forms of native copper and its ores, together with
crystallized sulphurets of lead, zinc, and iron; native muriate of soda,
graphite, sulphate of lime, and strontian, and the attractive forms
which the species of the quartz family assume, in the shore debris of
the lakes, under the names of agate, carnelian, &c. The whole will be
prepared and elaborately reported to the Department.

I found the freshwater shells of this region to be a very attractive
theme of observation in places

    "Where the tiger steals along,
    And the dread Indian chants his dismal song;"

where, indeed, there was scarcely anything else to attract attention;
and I have collected a body of bivalves, which will be forwarded to our
mutual friend, Dr. Mitchell, for description. Indeed, the present
communication is designed, after you have perused it, to pass under his
eye. No one in our scientific ranks is more alive to the progress of
discovery in all its physical branches. Governor Clinton, in one of his
casual letters, has very happily denominated him the Delphic oracle, for
all who have a question to ask come to him, and his scientific memory
and research, in books, old and new, are such, that it must be a hard
question indeed which he cannot solve.

Next to him, as an expounder of knowledge, you, my dear sir, as the
representative of the _corps editorial_, take your place. For, if it is
the writer of books who truly increases information, every decade's
experience more and more convinces me that it is the editor of a diurnal
journal who diffuses it, by his brief critical notices, or by giving a
favorable or unfavorable impetus to public opinion.

I am expected, I find, to publish my private narrative of the
expedition, to serve at least--if I may say so--as a stay to popular
expectation, until the more matured results can be duly elaborated. I am
taking breath here, among my friends, for a few days, and shall be
greatly governed by your judgment in the matter, after my arrival at

    I am, sir,
    With sincere respect,
    Your obedient servant,


_List of Quadrupeds, Birds, &c. observed._

The identification of species in this list, by giving the Indian name,
is herein fixed.

    Buffalo,        Pe-zhík-i,[254]        Bos Americanus. _Gm._
    Elk,            Mush-kos,              Cervus Canadensis. _L._
    Deer (common),  Wa-wash-ká-shi,        Cervus Virginianus. _Gm._
    Moose,          Möz,                   Cervus alces. _L._
    Black Bear,     Muk-wah,               Ursus Americanus. _Gm._
    Wolf (gray),    My-een-gan,            Canis vulpes. _L._
    Wolverine,      Gwin-gwe-au-ga,[255]   Ursus luscus. _L._
    Fox (red),      Waú-goosh              Canis vulpes. _L._
    Badger,         Ak-kuk-o-jeesh,        Meles labradoria. _C._
    Fox (black),    Muk-wau-goosh,         Canis argenteus. _C._
    Muskrat,        Wau-zhusk,             Fiber vulgaris. _C._
    Martin,         Wau-be-zha-si,         Mustela mortes. _L. & B._
    Fisher,         O-jeeg,                Mustela Pennanti. _C. Am._
                                             ed., app. v.
    Beaver,         Am-ik,                 Castor fiber. _B._
    Otter,          Ne-gik,                Lutra vulgaris. _L._
    Porcupine,      Kaug,                  Hystrix cristata. _C._

  [254] This animal was found grazing the prairies on the east bank of
  the Mississippi, about latitude 45° 30´.

  [255] Means under-ground drummer.


  Raccoon,                Ais-e-bun (from _ais_,
                            a shell, and _bun_,
                            past tense),             Procyon lotor. _C._
  Hare,                   Wau-bose,                  Lepus Americanus.
  Polecat,                She-kaug,                  Mephites putorius.
  Squirrel (red),         Ad-je-dah-mo,              Sciurus vulgaris.
  Squirrel (ground or
    striped),             Ah-gwing-woos,             Sciurus striatus.
  Squirrel (an apparently
    new species).
  Pouched Rat or Hamster, No-naw-pau-je-ne-ka-si,    Mus busarius. _Shaw._
  Weasel,                 Shin-gwoos,                Mustela vulgaris. _L._
  Mink,                   Shong-waish-ke,            Mustela lutreola. _C._
  Jerboa, called the
    Jumping Mouse,[256]                              Dipus. _C._
  Eagle (bald),           Mik-a-zi,[257]             F. lucocephulus.
  Fork-tailed Hawk,       Ca-niew,                   F. furcatus. _L._
  Chicken Hawk,           Cha-mees,                  F. communis. _C._
  Pigeon Hawk,            Pe-pe-ge-wa-zains,         F. columbarius.
  Raven,                  Kaw-gaw-ge,                Corvus corax. _L._
  Crow,                   On-daig,                   C. corone. _L._
  Magpie,                 Wau-bish-kau-gau-gi
                            (White Raven),[258]      C. pica. _L._
  Cormorant,              Kau-kau-ge-sheeb
                            (Raven-duck),            P. carbe. _Brin._
  Pelican,                Shay-ta,                   P. onocrotalus.
  Goose,                  Wa-wa,                     An. anser. _L._
  Brant,                  Ne-kuh,                    An. bernicla.
  Duck (d. and m.),       Shee-sheeb (a generic
                            term), Anas.
  Duck (saw-bill),        On-zig,                    A. tadorna. _C._
  Duck (Red-head or       Misquon-dib,               A. rufus. _Gm._
  Duck (alewives),        Ah-ah-wa.
  Swan,                   Wau-bis-si,                A. cygnus. _C._
  Heron,                  Moosh-kow-e-si,            Ardea. _C._
  Plover,                 Tchwi-tchwish-ke-wa,       Charadriûs. _C._
  Turkey,                 Mis-is-sa,                 Meleagris. _C._
  Blackbird,              Os-sig-in-ok,              The red-winged
  Rail,                   Muk-ud-a-pe-nais,
  Jay (blue),             Dain-da-si,[259]           Garrulus. _C._
  Whippoorwill,           Paish-kwa,                 Caprimulgas. _L._
  Robin,                  O-pee-chi,                 T. migratorius. _L._

  [256] Found at Lapointe, Lake Superior.

  [257] This is a generic term for the eagle family. It is believed the
  kanieu, or black eagle, is regarded by them as the head of the
  family. The feathers of the falco furcatus are highly valued by

  [258] The meaning is white raven.

  [259] The term is from dain-da, a bullfrog.

  Kingfisher,       Me-je-ge-gwun-a,           Alcedo. _C._
  Pigeon,           O-mee-mi,                  Columba emigratoria.
  Partridge,        Pe-na,[260]                  Tetrao. _C._
  Crane,            Ad-je-jawk,                Crane family.
  Gull,             Ky-aushk,                  Gull family.
  Woodpecker,       Ma-ma,                     Picus. _C._
  Snipe,            Pah-dus-kau-unzh-i,        Scolipax. _C._
  Owl,              Ko-ko-ko-o,[261]        }  Generic terms for the
  Loon,             Mong,                   }  species.
   (seen as far
   north as
   Michilimackinac),                           T. polyglotis. _Wilson._
  Sturgeon,         Na-ma,                     Acipenser. _L._
   (paddle-nose),   Ab-we-on-na-ma,            Acipenser spatularia. _C._
  White-fish,       Ad-ik-um-aig[262] (means
                      deer of the water).
  Salmon trout,     Na-ma-gwoos,            }  Salmo. _L._
  Trout (speckled), Na-zhe-ma-gwoos,        }
  Carp,             Nam-a-bin,                 Denotes the red fin.
  Catfish,          Miz-zi,                    Silurus. _C._
  Bass,             O-gau.                     The striped species.
  Tulibee,          O-dön-a-bee (wet-mouth).
  Eel,              Pe-miz-zi (a specific
                      term).                   A specific term.
  Snake,            Ke-ná-bik (a generic),  }
  Snake,            A species supposed      }  Ophidia. _C._
  Turtle (lake),    Mik-e-nok,              }
  Turtle (small                             }  Chelonia. _C._
    land),          Mis-qua-dais,           }

  [260] This is the prairie grouse of the West.

  [261] The name is generic for the owl family.

  [262] This term arises from _adik_, a reindeer, and _gumaig_, waters.

PHILOLOGICAL NOTE.--Three of these fifty-seven terms of Indian
nomenclature are monosyllables, and twenty-four dissyllables. The latter
are compounds, as in _muk-wah_ (black animal), and _wau-bose_ (white
little animal); and it is inferable that all the names over a single
syllable are compounds. Thus, aisebun (raccoon), is from _ais_, a shell,
and the term past tense of verbs in _bun_.


_Species of Bivalves collected in the Northwest, by Mr. Schoolcraft and
Captain Douglass, on the Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi,
in 1820._ By D. H. BARNES.

This paper, by which a new impulse was given to the study of our
freshwater conchology, and many species were added to the list of
discoveries, was published in two papers, to be found in the pages of
_Silliman's American Journal of Science_, vol. vi. pp. 120, 259.


  _Freshwater Shells collected in the Valleys of the Fox and Wisconsin,
      in 1820, by Mr. Schoolcraft._ By ISAAC LEA, Member American
      Philosophical Society.

A description of these shells, in which several new species are
established, was published by the ingenious conchologist, Mr. I. Lea, of
Philadelphia, in the _Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society_, vol. v. p. 37, Plate III., &c.


  _Summary Remarks respecting the Zoology of the Northwest noticed by
      the Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi in 1820._ By Dr.

The squirrel [from the vicinity of the Falls of St. Anthony], is a
species not heretofore described, and has been named _sciurus tredecem
striatus_, or the federation squirrel. (A.)

The pouched rat, or _mus busarius_, has been seen but once in Europe.
This was a specimen sent to the British Museum from Canada, and
described by Dr. Shaw. But its existence is rather questioned by Chev.
Cuvier. Both animals have been described, and the descriptions published
in the 21st vol. of the _Medical Repository_, of New York, pp. 248, 249.
The specimens [from the West] are both preserved in my museum. Drawings
have been executed by the distinguished artist Milbert, and forwarded by
him, at my request, to the administrators of the King's Museum, at
Paris, of which he is a corresponding member. My descriptions accompany
them. The animals are retained as too valuable to be sent out of the
country. [B.]

The paddle-fish is the _spatularia_ of Shaw, and _polydon_ of Lacepede.
It lives in the Mississippi only, and the skeleton, though incomplete,
is better than any other person here possesses. It is carefully
preserved in my collection.

The serpent is a species of the ophalian genus anguis, the oveto of the
French, and the blind worm of the English. The loss of the tail of this
fragile creature renders an opinion a little dubious; but it is
supposed to be _opthiosaureus_ of Dandrige, corresponding to the _anguis
ventralis_ of Linnæus, figured by Catesby.

The shells afford a rich amount of an undescribed species. The whole of
the univalves and bivalves received from Messrs. Schoolcraft and
Douglass have been assembled and examined, with all I possessed before,
and with Mr. Stacy Collins's molluscas brought from the Ohio. Mr. Barnes
is charged with describing and delineating all the species not contained
in Mr. Say's _Memoir of the Productions of the Land and Fresh Waters of
North America_. The finished work will be laid before the Lyceum, and
finally be printed in Mr. Silliman's _New Haven Journal_. The species by
which geology will be enriched will amount, probably, to nine or ten.
(C.) We shall endeavor to be just to our friends and benefactors.

    For GOV. CASS.



An animal similar, in some respects, has been subsequently found on the
Straits of St. Mary's, Michigan, a specimen of the dried skin of which I
presented to the National Institute at Washington; but, from the absence
of the head bones and teeth, it is not easy to determine whether it is a
sciurus, or arctomys.


The duplicature of the cheeks of this animal having been extended
_outwardly_ in drying the skin, was left in its rigid state, giving it
an unnatural appearance, which doubtless led to the incredulity of
Cuvier when he saw the figure and description of Dr. Shaw. Dr. Mitchell
was led to a similar error of opinion, at first, as to the natural
position of these bags; but afterwards, when the matter was explained to
him, corrected this mistaken notion.


By reference to the descriptions of Mr. Barnes and Mr. Lea, recited
above, the number will be seen to have exceeded this estimate.


Mus Busarius. Vide _Medical Repository_, vol. xxi. p. 248.


Sciurus Tredecem Striatus. _Medical Repository_, vol. xxi.


Proteus. _American Journal of Science_, vol. iv.



_Memoranda of Climatic Phenomena and the Distribution of Solar Heat in

The influence of solar heat on the quantity of water which is discharged
from the great table lands which give origin to the sources of the
Mississippi was such, during the summer months of 1820, that, on
reaching those altitudes in latitude but a few minutes north of 47°, on
the 21st of July, it was found impracticable to proceed higher in
tracing out its sources. Attention had been directed to the phenomena of
temperatures, clouds, evaporations, and solar influences, from the
opening of the year, but they were not prosecuted with all the
advantages essential to generalization. Still, some of the details
noticed merit attention as meteorological memoranda which may be
interesting in future researches of this kind, and it is with no higher
view that these selections are made.

_Observations made at Geneva, N. Y._

  1820.         7 A.M.     1 P.M.      7 P.M.       REMARKS.

  April 20        64°         73°         60°         Clear.
    "   21        62          74          61          Clear.
    "   22        65          78          66          Clear.
    "   23        60          69          59          Clear.
    "   24        59          70          61          Clear.
    "   25        54          64          55          Clear.
    "   26        55          67          54          Cloudy, with rain.
    "   27        50          60          51          Rainy.
    "   28        64         ...         ...          Clear.

_Observations made at Buffalo, N. Y._

  1820.          8 A.M.      2 P.M.       REMARKS.

  April 30        43°          60°         Clear.
  May 1           49           64          Clear.
   "  2           45           63          Clear.
   "  3           44           65          Clear.
   "  4           46           79          Cloudy.
   "  5           40           68          Cloudy, with rain.
   "  6           44          ...          Cloudy.

These places are but ninety miles apart, yet such is the influence of
the lake winds on the temperature of the latter position, that it
denotes an atmospheric depression of temperature of 5°. At the same
time, the range between the maximum and minimum was exactly the same.

_Observations made at Detroit._

  1820.       8 A.M.  12 M.   6 P.M.   REMARKS.            WIND.

  May 15,      50°     61°     51°      Fair.              N. E.
   "  16,      49      62      50       Fair.              N. E.
   "  17,      50      64      51       Fair.              N. E.
   "  18,      52      64      60       Fair.              N. E.
   "  19,      60      68      60       Fair.              N. E.
   "  20,      64      68      63       Fair.              N. E.
   "  21,      67      82      66       Fair.              S. W.
   "  22,      64      88      82       Fair.              S. W.
   "  23,      72      84      76       Cloudy, some rain  W. N. W.
   "  24,      53      64      ...      Cloudy.            N. W.

The average temperature of this place for May is denoted to be some five
or six degrees higher while the wind remained at N.E., but on its
changing to S.W. (on the 21st), the temperature ran up four degrees at
once. As soon as it changed to N.W. (on the 24th), the thermometer fell
from its range on the 21st fourteen degrees.

The uncommon beauty and serenity of the Michigan autumns, and the
mildness of its winters, have often been the subject of remark. By a
diary of the weather kept by a gentleman in Detroit, in the summer and
fall of 1816, from the 24th of July to the 22d of October, making
eighty-nine days, it appears that

    57 were fair,
    12 cloudy, and
    20 showery and rainy.

By a diary kept at the garrison of Detroit (Fort Shelby), agreeable to
orders from the War Department, from the 15th of Nov. 1818, to the 28th
of Feb. 1819, making 105 days,

    40 of them are marked "clear,"
    40 "cloudy,"
    13 "clear and cloudy," and
    12 "cloudy, with rain or snow."

By Fahrenheit's thermometer, kept at the same place, and under the same
direction, it appears that the medium temperature of the atmosphere was
agreeable to the following statement:--

                 7 A.M.  2 P.M.  9 P.M. Average. Lowest deg. Highest deg.
  Nov. 13 to 30,  41°     47°     41°     43°      31°           58°
  December,       22      29      25      25        2            50
  January,        30      31      30      30       10            58
  February,       29      39      31      33        8            58
               Prevailing winds, S. W. and N. W.

_Observations on Lake and River St. Clair, Michigan._

    1820. 6 A.M.  8 A.M. 12 M.  2 P.M.  6 P.M. 8 P.M.   REMARKS.
  May 24,   ...    ...    ...    ...     ...     51°
  "   25,   47°    56°    56°    ...     46°     ...  Clear. Wind N. W.
  "   26,   ...    52     53     56°     45      ...  Clear. Wind N. W.
  "   27,   ...    54     55     ...     ...     44   Clear. Wind N. W.

_Temperature of the Water of Lake and River St. Clair._

  May 25,    at 6 A. M., 49°  at 12 M., 54°
   "  26,    at 8 A. M., 55   at 2 P. M., 55
   "  27,    at 8 A. M., 54   at 12 M., 55     at 8 P. M., 50°

_Observations on Lake Huron._

       May| 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 |June 1 | 2  | 3  | 4  | 5  | 6
   5 A.M. | .. | .. | .. | .. |  46°  | .. | .. | .. | .. | ..
   6 A.M. | .. | .. | .. | .. |  ..   | .. | 50°| 52 | 48 | ..
   8 A.M. |54° | 44 | 46 | .. |  ..   | .. | .. | .. | .. | 49
   9 A.M. | .. | .. | .. | 54°|  57   | .. | .. | 51 | .. | ..
   11 A.M.| .. | .. | .. | .. |  61°  | .. | .. | .. | .. | ..
   12 M.  |53° | .. | 53 | .. |  ..   | 55 | .. | .. | 57 | 57
   1 P.M. | .. | .. | .. |55° |  ..   | .. | .. | .. | .. | ..
   2 P.M. | .. | 70°| .. | .. |  ..   | .. | 61 | .. | .. | ..
   3 P.M. | .. | .. | .. | 54°|  ..   | .. | .. | .. | .. | ..
   5 P.M. | .. | .. | .. | .. |  ..   | .. | .. | 49°| .. | ..
   6 P.M. | .. | 53°| .. | .. |  ..   | .. | .. | .. | 44| 46
   7 P.M. | .. | .. | 48°| 48 |  54   | 50 | 47 | 45 | .. | ..
   8 P.M. | 41°| .. | .. | .. |  ..   | .. | .. | .. | .. | ..
  Average | 51°| 55 | 49 | 53 |  54   |52-½|52-½| 49 |49-½|  50-½ |51 6-10
  temp.   |    |    |    |    |       |    |    |    |    |       |
  REMARKS.|[A] |[B] |[C] |    |       |    |    |[D] |[E] |  [F]  |  [G]

  [Note A: Clear. Wind N. W.]
  [Note B: Clear in the morning; in the afternoon high wind from N. W.
           with thunder and lightening.]
  [Note C: Clear. Wind high; N. W.]
  [Note D: Cloudy, with rain. Winds strong; N. W.]
  [Note E: Flying clouds. Wind strong; N. W.]
  [Note F: Clear. Wind Strong; N. W.]
  [Note G: Average temperature]

_Water at Lake Huron._

  May 28,  at 5 A.M., 55°  at 12 A.M., 58°  at 7 P.M., 56°    56°
  " 29,    at 7 A.M., 54   at 12 A.M., 60   at 7 P.M., 63     59
  June 1,  at 5 A.M., 42   at 11 A.M., 52   at 7 P.M., 44     40
  " 3,     at 6 A.M., 46   at  2 P.M., 56   at 8 P.M., 46     47
  " 6,     at 8 A.M., 50   at 12 A.M., 52   at 6 P.M., 49     50-½

_Observations at Michilimackinac and on the Straits of St. Mary's._

   1820.| 6  | 8  | 9  | 1  | 3  | 7  | 9  |        |
        |A.M.|A.M.|A.M.|P.M.|P.M.|P.M.|P.M.|Average.|     WEATHER.
  June 7|... |... | 59°|61° |... |... |59° |59-½°   |Clear.
  " 8   |... |... | 59 |... |64° |... |59  |60      |Clear.
  " 9   |... |... | 53 |... |... |53° |... |52-½    |Cloudy with rain.
  " 10  |... |55° | ...|... |60  |... |54  |56      |Cloudy with rain.
  " 11  |... |52  | ...|... |54  |... |51  |52      |Clear.
  " 12  |... |54  | ...|55  |... |... |52  |53      |Clear.
  " 13  |53° |... | ...|63  |... |... |58  |58      |Fair.
  " 14  |55  |... | ...|73  |... |... |57  |61      |Cloudy.
  " 15  |... |66  | ...|... |68  |62  |... |65      |Clear.
  " 16  |... |52  | 70 |82  |... |66  |... |69      |Clear.
  " 17  |... |58  | ...|... |82  |... |78  |74      |Clear.
  " 18  |56  |... | ...|76  |... |... |68  |66      |Cloudy; rain.

  1820. |    WIND.
  June 7| W. N. W.
  " 8   | W. N. W.
  " 9   |
  " 10  | W.
  " 11  | S. E.
  " 12  | S. E.
  " 13  | S. W.
  " 14  | S. W.
  " 15  | S. W. }
  " 16  | S. W. } St.
  " 17  | S. W. } Mary's
  " 18  | N. W.

The chief conclusion to be drawn, is the extreme fluctuations of winds
and temperatures, in these exposed positions on the open lakes.

_Observations on Lake Superior._

   1820.  |  4   |  5   |  6   |  7   |  8   |  9   |  10  |  11  |  12
          | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M. | A.M.
  June 19 |  ..  |  ..  |  64  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 20    |  ..  |  72  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  75
          |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  " 21    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  65  |  ..  |  ..
  " 22    |  ..  |  ..  |  55  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 23    |  ..  |  65  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  68
  " 24    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  58  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  74
  " 25    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  60  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  62  |  ..
  " 26    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  69  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 27    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  68  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 28    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  74  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 29    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  79  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 30    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  76  |  ..  |  ..  |  84
  July 1  |  54  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  61  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 2     |  70  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  75  |  ..  |  ..
  " 3     |  ..  |  ..  |  70  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
          |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  " 4     |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  57  |  ..  |  61  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..

   1820.  |  1   |  2   |  3   |  4   |  5   |  6   |  7   |  8
          | P.M. | P.M. | P.M. | P.M. | P.M. | P.M. | P.M. | P.M.
  June 19 |  78  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  72  |  ..  |  ..
  " 20    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  68  |  71  |  ..  |  ..
          |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  " 21    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  70  |  ..  |  ..
  " 22    |  ..  |  ..  |  63  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  49  |  ..
  " 23    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 24    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  60  |  63  |  ..
  " 25    |  ..  |  76  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..
  " 26    |  ..  |  83  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  68
  " 27    |  ..  |  71  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  69  |  ..  |  ..
  " 28    |  91  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  74  |  ..  |  ..
  " 29    |  94  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  86  |  ..
  " 30    |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  60
  July 1  |  ..  |  75  |  ..  |  80  |  ..  |  68  |  ..  |  ..
  " 2     |  ..  |  76  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  65  |  ..  |  65
  " 3     |  ..  |  ..  |  66  |  ..  |  ..  |  52  |  ..  |  61
          |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
  " 4     |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..  |  ..

   1820.  |  9   |  10  | Average |           REMARKS.
          | P.M. | P.M. | temp.   |
  June 19 |  ..  |  ..  | 70-½    | Stormy and rain. Wind N. W.
  " 20    |  ..  |  ..  | 71-½    | Stormy and rain. Wind N. W.
          |      |      |         |   Hurricane at night.
  " 21    |  50  |  ..  | 62      | Calm.
  " 22    |  ..  |  ..  | 55-½    | Clear. Wind light from N. W.
  " 23    |  ..  |  70  | 67-½    | Clear. Wind S. E.
  " 24    |  ..  |  ..  | 63      | Clear. High wind, N. W.
  " 25    |  53  |  ..  | 62-½    | Clear. Wind N. W.
  " 26    |  ..  |  ..  | 73      | Rainy. Wind W. N. W.
  " 27    |  ..  |  ..  | 69      | Clear. Wind E. N. E. (Fair!)
  " 28    |  ..  |  ..  | 79-½    | Sky clear. Wind N. W.
  " 29    |  ..  |  ..  | 88      | Clear. Wind N. W.
  " 30    |  ..  |  ..  | 73      | Clear. Wind N. W.
  July 1  |  ..  |  ..  | 67-½    | Misty. Wind light at N. N. W.
  " 2     |  ..  |  ..  | 70      | Clear. Wind W. S. W.
  " 3     |  ..  |  ..  | 65      | Cloudy, mist, and rain. Wind
          |      |      |         | S. S. W.
  " 4     |  ..  |  ..  |         | Wind S. S. W.

_Temperature of Lake Superior._

  June 20, at  6 P.M., 55°                                              55°
  " 21,    at 10 A.M., 60 at 6 P.M., 56°  at 9 P.M., 56°                57
  " 22,    at  6 A.M., 56  at 3 P.M., 54                                55
  " 23,    at  5 A.M., 52  at 12 A.M., 56  at 10 P.M., 64               57
  " 24,    at  6 P.M., 54  at 7 P.M., 51                                53
  " 25,    at  7 A.M., 67  at 11 A.M., 66  at 9 P.M., 68                60
  " 26,    at  9 A.M., 56  at 8 P.M., 57                                56
  " 27,    at  8 A.M., 57  at 6 P.M., 62                                60
  " 28,    at  8 A.M., Superior  62° at 6 P.M., Lake 72  }              67
                       Ontonagon 54             River 71 }
  " 29,    at  8 A.M., Lake      64                                     61
                      River     68  at 1 P.M., River 76   at 7 P.M.,   75°
  " 30,    at  8 P.M., River     74
  July 1,  at  8 A.M., 61  at 2 P.M., 65   at 6 P.M., 66                64
  " 2,     at  4 A.M., 63  at 11 A.M., 64  at 2 P.M., 68  at 9 P.M., 62 64
  " 3,     at  6 A.M., 62  at 3 P.M., 60   at 9 P.M., 58                60
  " 4,     at  7 A.M., 58

It will be observed that the fluctuations of temperature noticed at
lower points on the lake chain, about the latitude of Michilimackinac,
have also characterized the entire length of Lake Superior. The
atmosphere observed at three separate times, during twenty-four days, by
Fahrenheit's thermometer, during the months of June and July, has varied
from an average temperature of 62° to 88°, agreeable to masses of clouds
interposed to the rays of the sun, and to shifting currents of wind,
which have often suddenly intervened. Its waters, spreading for a length
of five hundred miles from E. to W., observed during the same time by as
many immersions of the instrument, has not varied more than two degrees
below or above the average temperature of 55° in mere surface

_Observations on the Sources of the Mississippi River._

          |   5   |   7   |   8   |  12 |   2   |   8   |  9
          | A. M. | A. M. | A. M. |  M. | P. M. | P. M. | P. M.
  July 17 |  ...  | ...   |  ...  | 76° |  80°  |  79°  |  78°
  " 18    |  ...  | ...   |  51°  | 64  |  66   |  53   |  50
  " 19    |  ...  | ...   |  46   | 63  |  70   |  55   |  ...
  " 20    |  ...  | ...   |  60   | 80  |  84   |  75   |  ...
  " 21    |  ...  | ...   |  68   | 86  |  88   |  85   |  74
  " 22    |  ...  | ...   |  73   | 88  |  90   |  77   |  ...
  " 23    |  ...  | ...   |  70   | 82  |  88   |  78   |  ...
  " 24    |  ...  | ...   |  74   | 87  |  80   |  78   |  ...
  " 25    |  ...  | ...   |  ...  | ... |  85   |  74   |  ...
  " 26    |  61°  | ...   |  ...  | ... |  81   |  61   |  ...
  " 27    |  62   | ...   |  ...  | ... |  80   |  75   |  ...
  " 28    |  62   | ...   |  ...  | ... |  76   |  61   |  ...
  " 29    |  50   | ...   |  ...  | ... |  74   |  52   |  ...
  " 30    | ...   | 60°   |  ...  | ... |  76   |  ...  |  63
  " 31    | ...   | 65    |  ...  | ... |  81   |  ...  |  69
  Aug. 1  | ...   | 67    |  ...  | ... |  83   |  70   |  ...
  " 2     | ...   | 72    |  ...  | ... |  [263]|  ...  |  ...

          |            REMARKS.
  July 17 | Morning rainy, then fair.
  " 18    | Fair.
  " 19    | Night rainy, morning cloudy,
          | then fair.
  " 20    |
  " 21    |
  " 22    | Cloudy, some thunder.
  " 23    | Night and morning rain,
          | afternoon thunder.
  " 24    | Fair.
  " 25    | Fair.
  " 26    | Morning fair, evening cloudy
          | and rain, clear.
  " 27    | Morning fair, evening fair.
  " 28    | Morning fair, rain in afternoon.
  " 29    | Clear.
  " 30    | Wind N. W., weather clear.
  " 31    | Wind W., weather clear.
  Aug. 1  | Fair.
  " 2     | Fair.

  [263] Broke instrument.

_Observations at St. Peter's (now Minnesota)._

   1820.   7 A.M.  2 P.M. 9. A.M.  WINDS.  WEATHER.
  July 15,   61°    79°     64°     S.       Clear; fair.
  " 16,      62     82      76      S.       Clear; rain towards morning.
  " 17,      70     88      61      W.       Cloudy; rain, thunder and
  " 18,      58     78      56      E.       Clear.
  " 19,      59     80      64      S.       Cloudy; rain P.M.
  " 20,      68     80      65      S.       Clear.
  " 21,      69     84      72      S.       Clear.
  " 22,      75     88      72      W.       Clear; cloudy P.M., rain,
                                               thunder and lightning during
                                               the night.
  " 23,      73     86      70      W.       Clear, cloudy; rain and fair
                                               weather alternately.
  " 24,      70     89      72      W.       Clear; calms.
  " 25,      70     80      66      W.       Clear; high winds at night.
  " 26,      68     82      64      W.       Clear; calm.
  " 27,      72     78      62      W.       Clear.
  " 28,      67     75      58      S. E.    Clear; fresh winds.
  " 29,      60     71      54      N. E.    Clear.
  " 30,      60     76      63      N. W.    Clear.
  " 31,      65     81      69      W.       Clear.

_Meteorological Journal kept at Chicago by Dr. A. Wolcott._

   1820.   Daylight.  9 A. M.  2 P. M.  9 P. M.   WIND.     WEATHER.
  Jan. 1,     4°        11°      10°      0°     W. N. W.  Cloudy; light
                                                             snow; first
                                                             ice in the
                                                             river, 14
                                                             inches thick;
                                                             none in the
  " 2,       10         14       25      12      W. N. W.  Clear.
  " 3,        4          9       13      14      W. S. W.  Clear.
  " 4,        9         14       19       9         W.     Clear.
  " 5,        9          5        4      10      W. N. W.  Clear.
  " 6,       11          4       15      28      S. S. W.  Clear.
  " 7,       36         36       39      36       S. W.    Cloudy.
  " 8,       32         32       34      33      N. N. E.  Cloudy.
  " 9,       32         33       36      34       N. E.    Cloudy.
  " 10,      32         31       31      25       N. E.    Snow-storm.
  " 11,      14         14       16       2        N.      Clear.
  " 12,      17         15        2      12      S. S. W.  Clear.
  " 13,      20         24       25      12      W. S. W.  Clear.
  " 14,      14         15       15      15        N.      Snow-squalls.
  " 15,      12         14       15      10      N. N. W.  Clear; lake
                                                             covered with
                                                             moving ice, as
                                                             far as the eye
                                                             can see.
  " 16,      20         20       21      21      E. N. E.  Snow-storm.
  " 17,      14         14       25      10      W. N. W.  Clear.
  " 18,      14         18       15       6         W.     Cloudy.
  " 19,      10          0       10       2      W. N. W.  Clear.
  " 20,       6         12       25      13         W.     Clear.
  " 21,      20         22       26      28      E. N. E.  Snow-storm.
  " 22,       7         11       12       5       N. W.    Clear.
  " 23,      20          4        0       3         W.     Clear.
  " 24,       2          6       18      16         W.     Clear.
  " 25,       4          3        9       7         W.     Clear.
  " 26,      16         19       26      28       E. S. E. Snow-storm.
  " 27,      18         21       25       8       S. W.    Cloudy.
  " 28,       8          1       11      10       W. N. W. Clear.
  " 29,      12         20       31      18         W.     Cloudy; ice 18
                                                             inches on
  " 30,       6          6        4       5         W.     Clear.
  " 31,       6          5        3      17      W. N. W.  Clear; snow 22
                                                             inches deep.
  Feb. 1,    12          0       14      16       S. E.    Cloudy.
  " 2,       22         25       29      20      E. N. E.  Snow-storm; ice
                                                             18-¾ inches on
  " 3,       10          7        9       7         W.     Clear.
  " 4,        0          5       25      24      E. S. E.  Clear.
  " 5,       30         36       40      40       S. W.    Clear.
  " 6,       11         12       32      24         S.     Clear.
  " 7,       28         33       42      30      W. S. W.  Clear.
  " 8,       30         34       40      32         E.     Cloudy and mist;
                                                             snow during
                                                             the night fell
                                                             six inches.
  " 9,       30         34       34      31         E.     Clear.
  Feb. 10,   31         32       39      32         E.     Cloudy.
   "   11,   28         32       38      34         S.     Clear.
   "   12,   32         39       34      20       N. E.    Cloudy.
   "   13,   12         22       39      32      W. S. W.  Clear.
   "   14,   34         39       37      36         E.     Cloudy; some
                                                             rain with
   "   15,   36         38       39      36         E.     Cloudy; some
                                                             rain with
   "   16,   38         42       47      33       S. W.    Clear.
   "   17,   27         27       28      22         W.     Light clouds.
   "   18,   10         22       28      30         E.     Cloudy.
   "   19,   32         36       46      24         W.     Clear.
   "   20,   15         22       24      16         W.     Clear.
   "   21,    8         20       37      38       S. W.    Clear.
   "   22,   34         40       45      32         W.     Clear.
   "   23,   28         37       46      36       S. W.    Cloudy; rain
                                                             and hail with
   "   24,   30         33       40      39         E.     Clear.
   "   25,   44         50       59      54       S. W.    Clear.
   "   26,   50         49       38      36       S. W.    Cloudy; tempest
                                                             of wind with
                                                             flurries of
                                                             rain and hail.
   "   27,   30         31       34      28      W. N. W.  Clear.
   "   28,   20         28       30      39       S. E.    Clear.
   "   29,   28         36       50      37       S. W.    Clear.
  Mar. 1,    32         35       36      18      N. N. W.  Clear.
   "   2,     8         15       25      20      N. N. W.  Clear.
   "   3,    26         30       36      22      W. N. W.  Cloudy.
   "   4,    19         28       42      36       S. W.    Clear.
   "   5,    30         32       36      23       N. E.    Cloudy.
   "   6,    13         19       25      14      N. N. W.  Clear.
   "   7,    16         17       24      18      E. N. E.  Cloudy;
                                                             light snow.
   "   8,    17         24       23      21       N. E.    Cloudy.
   "   9,    22         24       26      23      N. N. E.  Cloudy.
   "  10,    24         26       31      24      N. N. E.  Cloudy.
   "  11,    22         24       29      31      E. N. E.  Cloudy.
   "  12,    28         32       33      32      E. S. E.  Cloudy;
                                                             light snow.
   "  13,    32         37       39      34      E. N. E.  Cloudy.
   "  14,    32         36       36      33      E. N. E.  Cloudy;
                                                             light snow.
   "  15,    26         32      ...     ...

Agreeable to a register kept at Council Bluffs during the month of
January, 1820, the highest and lowest temperature at that place were,
respectively, 36° and 22°, the month giving a mean of 17.89. Compared
with the observed temperature, for the same month, at the following
positions in the United States, both east and west of the Alleghanies,
the Missouri Valley reveals the fact of its being adapted to the
purposes of a profitable agriculture.[264]

  [264] In Europe, the mean annual temperature necessary for the
  production of certain plants is--

    For the sugar-cane                67°
    "       coffee                    64
    "       orange                    63
    "       olive                     54
    "       vine (vitis vinifera)     51

                 Mean temperature   Highest.  Lowest.
                  of the month.
  Council Bluffs     17.89°           36°       22°
  Wooster            16.69            36       zero
  Zanesville         25.34            42       zero
  Marietta           28.42            45       zero
  Chillicothe        32.48            48        10
  Cincinnati         28.76            46        11
  Jeffersonville     23.05            50         6
  Shawneetown        32.91            52         8
  Huntsville         36.43            62        12
  Tuscaloosa         46.63            74        17
  Cahaba             65.87            73        54
  Ouachita           34.16            68        10
  New Orleans        52.16            78        25
  Portsmouth, N. H.  19.31            40         4[265]
  Washington City    29.19            45         4

  Council Bluffs, lat. 41° 45´, long. 19° 50´ W. of the capitol.
  New Orleans,     "   29  57    "    12  53  W. "
  Portsmouth,      "   43  05    "     6  10  E. "
  Difference of lat.   13° 48´.      Difference of long. 26°.

  [265] Below zero.

Nor does it appear that the same quantity of snow falls in the Missouri
Valley which is common east of the Alleghany Mountains. At the Council
Bluffs, on the last of January, snow was but twelve inches deep; at the
same period, it was three feet or more throughout the Eastern States.

A snow-storm fell over the middle and eastern latitudes of the United
States, for the first time, during the autumn of the year (1820), in the
first half of November. As a precursor to this, slight drifts and gusts
of snow had showed themselves at Albany on the 25th, 26th, and 28th of

  [266] Meteorological journal kept at the Albany Academy for October,

"MONTREAL, CANADA, October 28, 1820.--On Wednesday last we had the first
fall of snow this season. It commenced in the forenoon, and continued
slightly during the remainder of the day. Although expected to
disappear, the frosts in the nights have been pretty severe, and a
considerable quantity still remains (Saturday) at the moment we are

"SALEM, N. Y. October 31.--On Saturday last (27th), we had our first
snow for the season. It fell during most of the forenoon, and for an
hour or two the atmosphere was quite filled with it. Some cool and
shaded spots still remain whitened, though yesterday was one of our
pleasant autumnal days, with a mild west wind."

_Early Sleighing._--The _Burlington_ (Vt.) _Sentinel_ of the 27th ult.
says: "On Tuesday night and Wednesday, the snow fell in this place about
eight inches deep on the level. It is said to be twelve inches deep in
some of the adjoining towns."--_October, 1820._

At Philadelphia, it began on Saturday, 11th (morning), snow-storm from
the east, and continued all day. At night a hurricane, accompanied by
torrents of rain and snow, which did not subside until the 12th in the
morning. Weather unsettled on the 13th.

At Worcester, a severe snow-storm, from northeast, on the 11th and 12th.
On the 13th, snow was ten inches deep, the weather cold, and sleighing

Snow in Poughkeepsie fell twelve inches deep, and produced excellent

At New Haven (Conn.), it began with snow, hail, and rain, on Saturday
evening, 11th. The day before was wintery cold. The storm continued,
without intermission, till Monday, 13th.

At Boston, it also began on Saturday, 11th, from the northeast, and fell
six inches. On Sunday, rain and snow. Monday cold, and indifferent
sleighing in the _streets_.--_Boston paper_, Nov. 14th.

In Vernon, Oneida County, it began on the 11th, in the evening, and
continued, in all, till Monday, 13th, giving us snow, rain, hail, and
wind, alternately. On the 15th, the snow, which lay six inches deep,
began to thaw, and this was the beginning of our Indian summer.

The Buffalo papers, of November 14th, say that several vessels were
lost in the gale and snow-storm, or driven ashore. The storm closed up
on the 13th, at New York City; the wind at northwest, and very cold. The
rain, snow, and hail which had fallen gave good sleighing a part of that
day. These notices cover an area of about five hundred miles square,
proving, the universality of our autumnal phenomena.

_Indian Summer._

This season appears to be produced by the settling of a thin azure
vapor. It is supposed to arise from the partial decomposition of the
foliage of the forest after the autumnal rains are past. "What is called
the Indian summer," says an observer at Albany, "usually gives us
fifteen or twenty days of uncommonly pleasant fall weather, commencing
in the early part of October. The present season it set in as usual, and
we had a week or ten days of very fine weather, when a northeast storm
commenced, and continued for part of two days; within which time more
rain is supposed to have fallen than during the whole of the preceding
summer and fall. Most of the streams and springs were filled, and the
Hudson River, in many places, overflowed its banks. It however again
cleared off pleasant, and remained so till Tuesday evening, when another
storm of rain commenced, which continued the whole night. In the
morning, there was some fall of hail accompanying the rain, and about 8
o'clock a slight flurry of snow, and another on Thursday evening; since
which the weather has set in cold, and has the appearance of the closing
in of fall or the setting in of winter. We however expect to put off
winter and cold weather for some time yet, and anticipate many pleasant
days in November."

Indian summer, in Oneida, commenced on the 15th November. The weather
had previously been cold, with snow and rain and a murky atmosphere.

  Wednesday, Nov. 15. The snow, which lay six inches deep, began to
                      thaw, and the sky was clear and sunny.
  Thursday,   "   16. Was a clear and pleasant day throughout; snow
                      continued to melt.
  Friday,     "   17. The same, and smoky; warm sunshine; not a cloud to
                      be seen; snow melts.
  Saturday,   "   18. The same.
  Sunday,     "   19. The same; full moon; cloudy, with wind in the
                      evening; snow gone.
  Monday,     "   20. The same; sky clear and warm.
  Tuesday,    "   21. Weather cloudy; wind S. E.; prepares for a change;
                      a little snow during the previous night, but melts
                      from the roofs this morning; no sun appears.
  Wednesday,  "   22. Cloudy, dull morning; rain afternoon; sun appeared
                      a few moments about 4 P. M.
  Thursday,   "   23. Cloudy, with alternate sunshine and rain.
  Friday,     "   24. Clear and pleasant.
  Saturday,   "   25. Clear and pleasant.

Dr. Freeman, of Boston, in one of his occasional sermons, employs the
following poetic language in relation to this American phenomenon:--

"The southwest is the pleasantest wind which blows in New England. In
the month of October, in particular, after the frosts which commonly
take place at the end of September, it frequently produces two or three
weeks of fair weather, in which the air is perfectly transparent, and
clouds, which float in a sky of the purest azure, are adorned with
brilliant colors. If at this season a man of an affectionate heart and
ardent imagination should visit the tombs of his friends, the
southwestern breezes, as they breathe through the glowing trees, would
seem to him almost articulate. Though he might not be so wrapped in
enthusiasm as to fancy that the spirits of his ancestors were whispering
in his ear, yet he would at least imagine that he heard 'the still small
voice' of God. This charming season is called the Indian Summer, a name
which is derived from the natives, who believe that it is caused by a
wind which comes immediately from the court of their great and
benevolent God Cantantowan, or the Southwestern God; the God who is
superior to all other beings, who sends them every blessing which they
enjoy, and to whom the souls of their fathers go after their decease."



  _Pictographic Mode of Communicating Ideas among the Northwestern
      Indians, observed during the Expedition to the Sources of the
      Mississippi in 1820, in a Letter to the Secretary of War._ By Hon.

    DETROIT, February 2, 1821.

SIR: An incident occurred upon my recent tour to the Northwest, so rare
in itself, and which so clearly shows the facility with which
communications may be opened between savage nations, without the
intervention of letters, that I have thought it not improper to
communicate it to you.

The Chippewas and Sioux are hereditary enemies, and Charlevoix says they
were at war when the French first reached the Mississippi. I endeavored,
when among them, to learn the cause which first excited them to war, and
the time when it commenced. But they can give no rational account. An
intelligent Chippewa chief informed me that the disputed boundary
between them was a subject of little importance, and that the question
respecting it could be easily adjusted. He appeared to think that they
fought because their fathers fought before them. This war has been waged
with various success, and, in its prosecution, instances of courage and
self-devotion have occurred, within a few years, which would not have
disgraced the pages of Grecian or of Roman history. Some years since,
mutually weary of hostilities, the chiefs of both nations met and agreed
upon a truce. But the Sioux, disregarding the solemn compact which they
had formed, and actuated by some sudden impulse, attacked the Chippewas,
and murdered a number of them. The old Chippewa chief who descended the
Mississippi with us was present upon this occasion, and his life was
saved by the intrepidity and generous self-devotion of a Sioux chief.
This man entreated, remonstrated, and threatened. He urged his
countrymen, by every motive, to abstain from any violation of their
faith, and, when he found his remonstrances useless, he attached himself
to this Chippewa chief, and avowed his determination of saving or
perishing with him. Awed by his intrepidity, the Sioux finally agreed
that he should ransom the Chippewa, and he accordingly applied to this
object all the property he owned. He then accompanied the Chippewa on
his journey until he considered him safe from any parties of the Sioux
who might be disposed to follow him.

I subjoin an extract from the journal of Mr. Doty, an intelligent young
gentleman who was with the expedition. This extract has already been
published, but it may have escaped your observation, and the incident
which it describes is so heroic in itself, and so illustrative of the
Indian character, that I cannot resist the temptation of transmitting it
to you.

EXTRACT FROM MR. DOTY'S JOURNAL.--"The Indians of the upper country
consider those of the Fond du Lac as very stupid and dull, being but
little given to war. They count the Sioux their enemies, but have
heretofore made few war excursions.

"Having been frequently reprimanded by some of the more vigilant Indians
of the north, and charged with cowardice, and an utter disregard for the
event of the war, thirteen men of this tribe, last season, determined to
retrieve the character of their nation by making an excursion against
the Sioux. Accordingly, without consulting the other Indians, they
secretly departed, and penetrated far into the Sioux country.
Unexpectedly, at night, they came upon a party of the Sioux, amounting
to near one hundred men, and immediately began to prepare for battle.
They encamped a short distance from the Sioux, and, during the night,
dug holes in the ground into which they might retreat and fight to the
last extremity. They appointed one of their number (the youngest) to
take a station at a distance and witness the struggle, and instructed
him, when they were all slain, to make his escape to their own land, and
state the circumstances under which they had fallen.

"Early in the morning, they attacked the Sioux in their camp, who,
immediately sallying out upon them, forced them back to the last place
of retreat they had resolved upon. They fought desperately. More than
twice their own number were killed before they lost their lives. Eight
of them were tomahawked in the holes to which they had retreated; the
other four fell on the field! The THIRTEENTH returned home, according
to the directions be had received, and related the foregoing
circumstances to his tribe. They mourned their death; but, delighted
with the bravery of their friends, unexampled in modern times, they were
happy in their grief.

"This account I received of the very Indian who was of the party and had

The Sioux are much more numerous than the Chippewas, and would have
overpowered them long since had the operations of the former been
consentaneous. But they are divided into so many different bands, and
are scattered over such an extensive country, that their efforts have no
regular combination.

Believing it equally consistent with humanity and sound policy that
these border contests should not be suffered to continue; satisfied that
you would approve of any plan of pacification which might be adopted,
and feeling that the Indians have a full portion of moral and physical
evils, without adding to them the calamities of a war which had no
definite object, and no probable termination; on our arrival at Sandy
Lake, I proposed to the Chippewa chiefs that a deputation should
accompany us to the mouth of the St. Peter's, with a view to establish a
permanent peace between them and the Sioux. The Chippewas readily
acceded to this proposition, and ten of their principal men descended
the Mississippi with us.

The computed distance from Sandy Lake to the St. Peter's is six hundred
miles, and, as I have already had the honor to inform you, a
considerable proportion of the country has been the theatre of hostile
enterprises. The Mississippi here traverses the immense plains which
extend to the Missouri, and which present to the eye a spectacle at once
interesting and fatiguing. Scarcely the slightest variation in the
surface occurs, and they are entirely destitute of timber. In this
debatable land, the game is very abundant; buffaloes, elks, and deer
range unharmed, and unconscious of harm. The mutual hostilities of the
Chippewas and Sioux render it dangerous for either, unless in strong
parties, to visit this portion of the country. The consequence has been
a great increase of all the animals whose flesh is used for food, or
whose fur is valuable for market. We found herds of buffaloes quietly
feeding upon the plains. There is little difficulty in approaching
sufficiently near to kill them. With an eagerness which is natural to
all hunters, and with an improvidence which always attends these
excursions, the animal is frequently killed without any necessity, and
no other part of them is preserved but the tongue.

There is something extremely novel and interesting in this pursuit. The
immense plains, extending as far as the eye can reach, are spotted here
and there with droves of buffaloes. The distance and the absence of
known objects render it difficult to estimate the size or the number of
these animals. The hunters approach cautiously, keeping to the leeward,
lest the buffaloes, whose scent is very acute, should observe them. The
moment a gun is fired, the buffaloes scatter and scour the field in
every direction. Unwieldy as they appear, they move with considerable
celerity. It is difficult to divert them from their course, and the
attempt is always hazardous. One of our party barely escaped with his
life from this act of temerity. The hunters, who are stationed upon
different parts of the plain, fire as the animals pass them. The
repeated discharge of guns in every direction, the shouts of those who
are engaged in the pursuit, and the sight of the buffaloes at full speed
on every side, give an animation to the scene which is rarely equalled.

The droves which we saw were comparatively small. Some of the party whom
we found at St. Peter's, and who arrived at that place by land from the
Council Bluffs, estimated one of the droves which they saw to contain
two thousand buffaloes.

As we approached this part of the country, our Chippewa friends became
cautious and observing. The flag of the United States was flying upon
all our canoes, and, thanks to the character which our country acquired
by the events of the last war, I found in our progress through the whole
Indian country, after we had once left the great line of communication,
that this flag was a passport which rendered our journey safe. We
consequently felt assured that no wandering party of the Sioux would
attack even their enemies, while under our protection. But the Chippewas
could not appreciate the influence which the American flag would have
upon other nations, nor is it probable that they estimated with much
accuracy the motives which induced us to assume the character of an

The Chippewas landed occasionally to examine whether any of the Sioux
had recently visited that quarter. In one of these excursions, a
Chippewa found in a conspicuous place, a piece of birch bark, made flat
by being fastened between two sticks at each end, and about eighteen
inches long by fifteen broad. This bark contained the answer of the
Sioux nation to the proposition which had been made by the Chippewas for
the termination of hostilities. So sanguinary has been the contest
between these tribes, that no personal communication could take place.
Neither the sanctity of the office, nor the importance of the message,
could protect the ambassadors of either party from the vengeance of each
other. Some time preceding, the Chippewas, anxious for the restoration
of peace, had sent a number of their young men into these plains with a
similar piece of bark, upon which they had represented their desire. The
bark had been left hanging to a tree in an exposed situation, and had
been found and taken away by a party of the Sioux.

The propositions had been examined and discussed in the Sioux villages,
and the bark which we found contained their answer. The Chippewa who had
prepared the bark for his tribe was with us, and on our arrival at St.
Peter's, finding it was lost, I requested him to make another. He did
so, and produced what I have no doubt was a perfect _fac-simile_. We
brought with us both of these _projets_, and they are now in the hands
of Capt. Douglass. He will be able to give a more intelligible
description of them than I can from recollection, and they could not be
in the possession of one more competent to the task.

The Chippewas explained to us with great facility the intention of the
Sioux, and apparently with as much readiness as if some common character
had been established between them.

The junction of the St. Peter's with the Mississippi, where a principal
part of the Sioux reside, was represented, and also the American fort,
with a sentinel on duty, and the flag flying. The principal Sioux chief
is named the Six, alluding, I believe, to the bands or villages under
his influence. To show that he was not present at the deliberations upon
the subject of peace, he was represented upon a smaller piece of bark,
which was attached to the other. To identify him, he was drawn with six
heads and a large medal. Another Sioux chief stood in the foreground,
holding the pipe of peace in his right hand, and his weapons in his
left. Even we could not misunderstand that. Like our own eagle with the
olive-branch and arrows, he was desirous of peace, but prepared for war.

The Sioux party contained fifty-nine warriors, and this number was
indicated by fifty-nine guns, which were drawn upon one corner of the
bark. The only subject which occasioned any difficulty in the
interpretation of the Chippewas, was owing to an incident, of which they
were ignorant. The encampment of our troops had been removed from the
low grounds upon the St. Peter's, to a high hill upon the Mississippi;
two forts were therefore drawn upon the bark, and the solution of this
enigma could not be discovered till our arrival at St. Peter's.

The effect of the discovery of this bark upon the minds of the Chippewas
was visible and immediate. Their doubts and apprehensions appeared to be
removed, and during the residue of the journey, their conduct and
feelings were completely changed.

The Chippewa bark was drawn in the same general manner, and Sandy Lake,
the principal place of their residence, was represented with much
accuracy. To remove any doubt respecting it, a view was given of the old
northwest establishment, situated upon its shore, and now in the
possession of the American Fur Company. No proportion was preserved in
their attempt at delineation. One mile of the Mississippi, including the
mouth of the St. Peter's, occupied as much space as the whole distance
to Sandy Lake; nor was there anything to show that one part was nearer
to the spectator than another; yet the object of each party was
completely obtained. Speaking languages radically different from each,
for the Sioux constitute one of three grand divisions into which the
early French writers have arranged the aborigines of our country, while
the Chippewas are a branch of what they call Algonquins, and without any
conventional character established between them, these tribes thus
opened a communication upon the most important subject which could
occupy their attention. Propositions leading to a peace were made and
accepted, and the simplicity of the mode could only be equalled by the
distinctness of the representations, and by the ease with which they
were understood.

An incident like this, of rare occurrence at this day, and throwing
some light upon the mode of communication before the invention of
letters, I thought it not improper to communicate to you. It is only
necessary to add, that on our arrival at St. Peter's, we found Col.
Leavenworth had been as attentive and indefatigable upon this subject,
as upon every other which fell within the sphere of his command.

During the preceding winter, he had visited a tribe of the Chippewas
upon this pacific mission, and had, with the aid of the agent, Mr.
Talliafero, prepared the minds of both tribes for a permanent peace. The
Sioux and Chippewas met in council, at which we all attended, and smoked
the pipe of peace together. They then, as they say in their figurative
language, buried the tomahawk so deep that it could never be dug up
again, and our Chippeway friends departed well satisfied with the result
of their mission.

I trust that Mr. Bolvin, the agent at Prairie du Chien, has been able
before this to communicate to you a successful account of the
negotiation which I instructed him to open between the Sacs and Foxes,
forming one party, and the Sioux. Hostilities were carried on between
these tribes, which, I presume, he has been able to terminate.

We discovered a remarkable coincidence, as well in the sound as in the
application, between a word in the Sioux language and one in our own.
The circumstance is so singular that I deem it worthy of notice. The
Sioux call the Falls of St. Anthony HA HA, and the pronunciation is in
every respect similar to the same words in the English language. I could
not learn that this word was used for any other purpose, and I believe
it is confined in its application to that place alone.[267] The
traveller in ascending the Mississippi turns a projecting point, and
these falls suddenly appear before him at a short distance. Every man,
savage or civilized, must be struck with the magnificent spectacle which
opens to his view. There is an assemblage of objects which, added to the
solitary grandeur of the scene, to the height of the cataract, and to
the eternal roar of its waters, inspire the spectator with awe and

  [267] Iha ha [iha-ikiha] are words given as equivalent to laugh,
  _v._ in Riggs's Dictionary of the Dakota language, published by the
  Smithsonian Institution in 1852. Ihapi, _n._, is laughter. The letter
  _h_, with a dot, represents a strong guttural, resembling the Arabic
  _Kha_. Iha, by the same authority, is the lips or cover to anything;
  it is also an adverb of doubt. The vowel _i_ has the sound of _i_ in
  marine, or _e_ in me.

In his _Anecdotes of Painting_, it is stated by Horace Walpole, that "on
the invention of fosses for boundaries, the common people called them Ha
Ha's! to express their surprise on finding a sudden and unperceived
check to their walk." I believe the word is yet used in this manner in
England. It is certainly not a little remarkable that the same word
should be thus applied by one of the most civilized and by one of the
most barbarous people, to objects which, although not the same, were yet
calculated to excite the admiration of the observer.

Nothing can show more clearly how fallacious are those deductions of
comparative etymology, which are founded upon a few words carefully
gleaned here and there from languages having no common origin, and which
are used by people who have neither connection nor intercourse. The
common descent of two nations can never be traced by the accidental
consonance of a few syllables or words, and the attempt must lead us
into the regions of fancy.

The Sioux language is probably one of the most barren which is spoken by
any of our aboriginal tribes. Colonel Leavenworth, who made considerable
proficiency in it, calculated, I believe, that the number of words did
not exceed one thousand. They use more gestures in their conversation
than any Indians I have seen, and this is a necessary result of the
poverty of their language.

I am well aware, that the subject of this letter is not within the
ordinary sphere of official communications. But I rely for your
indulgence upon the interest which you have shown to procure and
disseminate a full knowledge of every subject connected with the
internal condition of our country.

I am preparing a memoir upon the present state of the Indians, agreeably
to the intimation in my letter of September last. I shall finish and
transmit it to you as soon as my other duties will permit.

    Very respectfully, sir,
      I have, &c.,
        LEWIS CASS.

      _Secretary of War_.


_Inquiries respecting the History of the Indians of the United States._


These queries were published at Detroit in separate pamphlets, about the
era of 1822, and communicated to persons in the Indian country supposed
to be capable of furnishing the desired information. The results became
the topic of several critical disquisitions, which appeared in the pages
of the _North American Review_ in 1825 and 1826; disquisitions the
spirit and tone of which created, as the reader who is posted up on the
topic will remember, a sensation among philological and philosophical

Whether we are most to admire the bold tone of inquiry assumed by Gen.
Cass, the acumen displayed in the discussions, the eloquence of the
language, or the general soundness of the positions taken, is the only
question left for decision. Certainly, nobody can arise from the perusal
of these papers without becoming wiser or better informed on the
subjects discussed. The mere luxury of high-toned and eloquent language
is a gratification to the inquirer. But he cannot close these
investigations into a subject of deep historical and philological
interest without feeling established in the principles of historic
truth, or warmed in his literary ardor.

Prominent among the topics of the initial discussion, was the work of
John Dunn Hunter, a singular adventurer in the Indian country, or,
perhaps, an early captive, who, after wandering to the Atlantic cities,
where his harmless inefficiency of character gained no favorable
attention, found his way to London, where the booksellers concocted a
book of travels from him, in which the United States is unscrupulously
traduced for its treatment of the Indians. The scathing which this
person and his book received arises from its having fallen in the way of
the business journeys of the critic to visit some of the principal
scenes referred to; and among others, the residence of John Dunn, of
Missouri, after whom he professed to be named, who utterly denied all
knowledge of the man or of his purported adventures.

The question of the authenticity of the Indian traditions of Mr.
Heckewelder, derived from a single tribe, and that tribe telling
stories to salve up its own disastrous history, and the mere literary
capacities of the man to put his materials in order, is propounded and
examined in connection with the contemporary traditions and languages of
other tribes. These traditions had been communicated to the Pennsylvania
Historical Society, in 1816, and were published under the special
auspices of Mr. Duponceau, in 1819. From the internal evidence of the
letters themselves, the critic pronounces them to be reproductions of
Mr. Duponceau himself; and it is an evidence of the aptness of this
deduction to be told that Mr. Gallatin admitted (_vide_ my _Personal
Memoirs_, p. 623), that the letters of Mr. Heckewelder had all been
rewritten previous to publication. It could no longer be a subject of
admiration to philologists, that from such imperfect sources of
information, that distinguished scholar should have pronounced the
opinion that the Delaware language rather exceeds than falls short of
the Greek and Latin in the affluence of syntactical forms and capacities
of expression. _Trans. Hist. and Lit. Com., Am. Philo. Soc._, vol. i. p.


_A Letter on the Origin of the Indian Race of America, and the
Principles of their Mode of uttering Ideas; addressed to John Johnston,
Esq., late of St. Mary's Falls, Michigan._ By Dr. J. MCDONNELL, of
Belfast, Ireland.

    BELFAST, April 16, 1817.

MY DEAR J.: I feel always as if I am guilty of some great crime, in not
writing to you.

An account came to Sir Joseph Banks, of very curious rocks, with odd
stripes and colors, having been seen, this last war, by sailors on the
lakes, I think on Lake Superior.[268] Pray keep up your thoughts to the
geography of rocks. I got some lately from Bombay, exactly ditto with
our Causeway.[269]

  [268] Most probably this idea arose from the very marked precipices
  of the coast denominated Pictured Rocks.

    H. R. S.

  [269] The Giant's Causeway, on the Coast of Antrim.

I shall ever regret the not having seen your daughter. I think it likely
that mingling the European blood and character with the Indian might
bring out some superior traits of character. Lest my letter should
altogether fail of presenting any useful point, I must put some
questions to you that would be worth something if answered.

A man has published, in 1816, an octavo volume in Trenton (United
States), the author's name Boudinot, to explain some things about the
Indian nations, and, among other things, he fancies some resemblance
between their languages and Hebrew. Baron Von Humboldt, a Prussian, was
in Spanish America lately, and he found the natives had Hebrew opinions
and usages, evidently things borrowed from Jewish doctrines. I don't
want you to inquire much about their being of this extraction, but
observe, for me, whether their languages have no pronouns, as one
author, Colden, stated fifty years ago; and whether they are defective
in the prepositions, as this Boudinot states; and whether those near you
have any words, idioms, or traditions that are expressive of their early
origin, or their connection with European nations.

In fact, I think you are better circumstanced, in most respects, than
any other man that I ever heard of, to do something worth notice in that
way; for, although you have not books, nor knowledge of many tongues,
yet you could collect lists of great and radical words, expressed with
proper letters, so that others could compare those words with Asiatic,
and African, and European tongues, so as to enable mankind to judge of
similitudes or dissimilitudes.

The words most apt to pervade different nations, and to pass from one
people to another, are articles, pronouns, auxiliary verbs,
prepositions; next to these, numerals; next to these, whatever terms are
expressive of striking, useful, hurtful, or very clear and definite
objects and ideas; for, if the conceptions we have of things be not very
definite, clear, and distinct, the idea and the word are not likely to
float down the stream of time together, they will be jostled and
separated. Be very careful in spelling the Indian words; spell them in
different ways, where our letters don't square exactly with their
sounds. Take notice of their musical tones, and whether these tones get
in, as essential parts, into their speech; and, above all, remember that
a _word_ is a _thing_, and that it may be examined as a _record_, or
considered like a coin or medal, as well as if it had the stamp of a
king or mint upon it.

I will write more if this vessel does not sail to-day. God bless you and
yours, and believe me, in haste, your affectionate cousin.



_Difficulties of Studying the Indian Tongues of the United States._ By

Dr. Wolcott will be remembered by the early inhabitants of Chicago, when
that place was still a military post and the site of an Indian agency,
the latter of which trusts he filled. In 1820, the Pottowattomie tribe
of Indians and their confederates--the Illinois--Chippewas, and
Ottowas--possessed the whole surrounding regions, roving as lords of the
prairies. These numerous and fierce hunter-tribes, who traded their
peltries for fineries, had many horses, loved rum and fine clothes, and
despised all restraints, came in to him, at his agency, as the
mouthpiece of the President, to transact their affairs, and they often
lingered for days and weeks around the place, which gave him a good
opportunity of becoming familiar with their manners, customs, and

Dr. Wolcott was a man of education, of high morals, dignified manners,
and noble sentiments, with decidedly saturnine feelings, and a keen
perception of the ridiculous. Constitutionally averse to much or labored
personal effort, his leisure hours, in this seclusion from society, were
hours devoted to reading and social converse, and his attention was
appropriately called by Gen. Cass to the "Inquiries," No. 21, above
referred to. The reply which he at length communicated was written in so
happy a vein, that I obtained permission to publish the substance of it,
in 1824, in my _Travels in the Central Portions of the Mississippi
Valley_, p. 381. It declares an important truth, which all must concur
in, who have attempted the study of the Indian languages, for they are
required to perform the prior labor of ascertaining and generalizing the
principles of their accidence and concord. When I first came to St.
Mary's, in 1822, and began the study of the Chippewa, I asked in vain
the simple question how the plural was formed. It was formed, in truth,
in twelve different ways, agreeably to the vowels of terminal syllables;
but this could not be declared until quires of paper had been written
over, the whole vocabulary explored, and days and nights devoted to it.
My first interpreter could not tell a verb from a noun, and was
incapable of translating the simplest sentence literally. Besides his
ignorance, he was so great a liar that I never knew when to believe him.
He sometimes told the Indians the reverse of what I said, and often told
me the reverse of what they said.


_Examination of the Elementary Structure of the Algonquin Language as it
appears in the Chippewa Tongue._ By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.


    SAULT STE. MARIE, May 31, 1823.

SIR: In order to answer your inquiries, I have improved my leisure
hours, during the part of the summer following our arrival here (6th
July last), and the entire winter and spring, in examining the words and
forms of expression of the Chippewa, or (as the Indians pronounce it)
Odjibwa, tongue. I have found, as I anticipated, my most efficient aid,
in this inquiry, in Mr. Johnston, and the several members of his
intelligent family; my public interpreter being too unprecise and
profoundly ignorant of the rules of grammar to be of much use in the
investigation. Mr. Johnston, as you are aware, perhaps, came from the
north of Ireland, where his connections are highly respectable, during
the first term of General Washington's administration. He brought
letters from high sources to the Governor-General of Canada; but having,
while at Montreal, fallen in with Don Andrew Tod, a countryman, who had
the monopoly of the fur trade of Louisiana, in a spirit of enterprise
and adventure, he threw himself into that, at the time, fascinating
pursuit, and visited Michilimackinac. Circumstances determined him to
fix his residence at St. Mary's, where he has resided, making frequent
visits to Montreal and Great Britain, about thirty years. His children
have been carefully instructed in the English language and literature,
and the whole family are familiar with the Indian. Without such
proficient aid, I should have labored against serious impediments at
every step; and, with them, I have found the inquiry, in a philological
point of view, involved in many, and some of them insuperable
difficulties. The results I communicate to you, rather as an earnest of
what may be hereafter done in this matter, than as completely fulfilling
inquiries which it would require Horne Tooke himself, with the aid of
the Bodleian library, to unravel.

    With respect, &c.,

    His Excellency Gov. LEWIS CASS.


1, 2. _Simple Sounds._--The language is one of easy enunciation. It has
sixteen simple consonental and five vowel sounds. Of these, two are
labials, _b_ and _p_; five dentals, _d_, _t_, _s_, _z_, _j_, and _g_
soft; two nasals, _m_ and _n_; and four gutturals, _k_, _q_, _c_, and
_g_ hard. There is a peculiar nasal combination in _ng_, and a peculiar
terminal sound of _g_, which may be represented by _gk_. Of the mixed
dipthongal and consonental sounds, those most difficult to English
organs are the sounds in _aiw_ and _auw_.

3. _Letters not used._--The language is wholly wanting in the sound of
_th_. It drops the sound of _v_ entirely, substituting _b_, in attempts
to pronounce foreign words. The sound of _l_ is sometimes heard in their
necromantic chants; but, although it appears to have been known to the
old Algonquin, it is supplied, in the Odjibwa of this day, exclusively
by _n_. It also eschews the sounds of _f_, _r_, and _x_, leaving its
simple consonental powers of utterance, as above denoted, at sixteen. In
attempts to pronounce English words having the sound of _f_, they
substitute _p_, as in the case of _v_. The sound of _r_ is either
dropped, or takes the sound of _au_. Of the letter _x_ they make no use;
the nearest approach I have succeeded in getting from them is _ek-is_,
showing that it is essentially a foreign sound to them. The aspirate _h_
begins very few words, not exceeding five in fifteen hundred, but it is
a very frequent sound in terminals, always following the slender or
Latin sound of _a_, but never its broad sound in _au_, or its peculiarly
English sound as heard in the _a_ of _may_, _pay_, _day_. The terminal
syllable of the tribal name (Odjibwa), offers a good evidence of this
rule, this syllable being never sounded by the natives either _wah_ or
_wau_, but always _wa_. These rules of utterance appear to be constant
and imperative, and the natives have evidently a nice ear to
discriminate sounds.

_Rule of Euphony._--In the construction of words, it is required that a
consonant should _precede_ or _follow_ a vowel. In dissyllables wherein
two consonants are sounded in juxtaposition, it happens from the joining
of two syllables, the first of which ends and the last begins with a
consonant, as _muk-kuk_, a box, and _os-sin_, a stone; the utterance in
these cases being confluent. But in longer compounds this juxtaposition
is generally avoided by throwing in a vowel for the sake of euphony, as
in the term _assinebwoin_, the _e_ in which is a mere connective, and
has no meaning by itself. Nor is it allowable for vowels to follow each
other in syllabication, except in the restricted instances where the
being or existence of a thing or person is affirmed, as in the
vowel-words _i-e-e_ and _i-e-a_, the animate and inanimate forms of this
declaration. In these cases, there is a distinct accent on each vowel.

4. _Accent._--The accent generally falls on full or broad vowels, and
never on short vowels; such accented vowels are always significant, and
if they are repeated in a compound word, the accents are also repeated,
the only difference being that there are primary and secondary accents.
Thus, in the long descriptive name for a horse, _Pa-bá-zhik-ó-ga-zhé_,
which is compounded of a numeral term and two nouns, meaning, the animal
with solid hoofs; there are three accents, the first of which is
primary, while the others succeed each other with decreased intensity.
By a table of words which I have constructed, and had carefully
pronounced over by the natives, it is denoted that dissyllables are
generally accented on the final syllable, trisyllables on the second,
and words of four syllables on the second and fourth. But these
indications may not be constant or universal, as it is perceived that
the accents vary agreeably to the distribution of the full and
significant vowels.

5. _Emphasis._--Stress is laid on particular words in sentences to which
the speaker designs to impart force, and the whole tone of the entire
sentiment and passages is often adapted to convey particular
impressions. This trait more frequently comes out in the private
narrative of real or imaginary scenes, in which the narrator assumes the
very voice and tone of the real or supposed actor. Generally, in their
dealings and colloquial intercourse, there is a significant stress laid
on the terms, _meenungaika_, certainly; _kaigait_, truly; _kaugaigo_,
nothing at all; _tiau_, behold; _woh-ow_, who; _auwanain_, were; and
other familiar terms of inquiry, denial, or affirmation in daily use.

6. _Conjugation._--The simplest form in which their verbs are heard, is
in the third person singular of the indicative, as _he speaks_, _he
says_, _he loves_, _he dances_, or in the first person present of the
imperative. The want of a distinction between the pronouns _he_ and
_she_, is a defect which the language shares, I believe, with other very
ancient and rude tongues. Conjugations are effected for persons, tenses,
and number, very much as they are in other rude languages, particularly
those of the transpositive class. The verb is often a single root, or
syllable, as _saug_, love; but owing to the tendency of adding
qualifying particles, their verbs are cluttered up with other meanings.
The word _saug_ is therefore never heard as an element by itself. In the
first place, it takes before it the pronoun, and in the second place,
the object of action; so that _nesaugeau_, I love him, or her, or a
person, is one of the simplest of their colloquial phrases. And of this
term, the e, being the fourth syllable, is mere verbiage, means nothing
by itself, and is thrown in for euphony.

Tenses are formed by adding _gee_ to the pronoun for the perfect, and
_gah_ for the future, and _gahgee_ for the second future. These terms
play the part, and supply the want of, auxiliary verbs. The imperative
is made in _gah_, and the potential in _dau_ where the second future is
_daugee_. The subjunctive is made by prefixing the word _kishpin_,
meaning if. The inflection _nuh_, asks a question, and as it can be put
to all the forms of the conjugation, it establishes an interrogative
mood. The particle see, negatives the verb, and thus all verbs can be
conjugated positively and negatively.

To constitute the plural, the letter _g_ is added to the conjugations;
thus, _nesaugeaug_ means, I love them. But this is an animate plural,
and can only be added to words of the vital class. Besides, if the verb
or noun to be made plural does not end in a vowel, but in a consonant,
the _g_ cannot be added without interposing a vowel. It results,
therefore, that the vowel class of words have their plurals in _äg_,
_eeg_, _ig_, _og_, or _ug_. But, if the class of words be non-vital and
numerical, the plural is made in the letter _n_. But this letter cannot,
as in the other form, be added, unless the word terminate in a vowel,
when the regular plurals are _än_, _een_, _in_, _on_, or _un_. This
simple principle clears up one cause of perplexity in the conjugations,
and denotes a philosophical method, which divides the whole vocabulary
into two classes; while this provision _supersedes_, it answers the
purpose of _gender_. There is, in fact, no gender required by the
conjugations, it being sufficient to denote the _vitality_ or
_non-vitality_ of the class. Nothing can be clearer. This is one of the
leading traits of the grammar of the language, upon the observance of
which the best speakers pride themselves.

It does not, however, result that, because there is no gender required
in the conjugations, the idea of sexuality is unknown to the
nomenclature. Quite the contrary. The tenses for male and female, in the
chief orders of creation, are _iaba_ and _nozha_. These words prefixed
to the proper names of animals, produce expressions of precisely the
same meaning, and also the same inelegance; as if we should say, male
goose, female goose, male horse, and female horse, male man and female
man. The term for man (_inini_) is masculine, and that for woman
(_equa_) feminine in its construction. It is only in the conjugations
that the principle of gender becomes lost in that of vitality.

7. _Active and passive voices._--The distinction between these two
classes of verbs is made by the inflection _ego_. By adding this form to
the active verb, its action is reversed, and thrown back on the
nominative. Thus, the verb to carry is _nim bemön_, I carry; _nim
bemön-ego_, I am carried. _Adowawa_ is the act of thumping, as a log by
the waves on the shore._ Adowawa-ego_ is a log that is thumped by the
waves on shore. _Nesaugeah_, I love; _Nesaugeigo_, I am loved. In the
latter phrase, the personal term _au_ is dropped, and the long sound of
_e_ slips into _i_, which converts the inflection into _igo_ instead of

8. _Participles._--My impression is, that the Indians are in the habit
of using participles, often to the exclusion of other proper forms of
the verb. The vocabulary contains abundantly the indicative forms of the
verb. To run, to rise, to see, to eat, to tie, to burn, to strike, to
sing, to cry, to dance, are the common terms of parlance; but as soon as
these terms come to be connected with the action of particular persons,
this action appears to be spoken of as if existing--both the past and
future tenses being thrown away; and the senses appear to be, I, you,
he, or they; running, rising, seeing, eating, tying, burning, striking,
singing, crying, dancing. At least, I have not been able to convince
myself that the action is not referred to as existing. When the
participles should be used, they, on the contrary, employ the indicative
forms, by which such sentences are made as, he run, he walk, for
running, walking.

The general want of the substantive verb, in their colloquial phrases,
constantly leads to imperfect forms of syntax. Thus, _nëbä_ is the
indicative, first person of the verb to sleep; but if the term, I am
sleeping, be required, the phrase is _ne nëbä_, simply, I sleep. So,
too, _tshägiz_ is the first person indicative to burn; but the
colloquial phrase, I am burned, or burning, is _nen tshägiz_--the verb
remaining in the indicative, and not taking the participle form.

It is not common to address persons by their familiar names, as with
us--as John, or James. The very contrary is the usage of Indian society,
the object being to conceal all personal names, unless they be forced
out. If it be required to express this sentence, namely: Adario has gone
out (or temporarily departed), but will soon return; the equivalent is
_Ogima_, _ke mahjaun_, _panema_, _ke takooshin_. This sentence literally
retranslated is, Chief, he gone; by and by, he (will) return--the noun
chief being put for the personal noun Adario. It will be perceived that
the pronoun _ke_ is repeated after the noun, making, chief, he gone.
_Panema_ is an adverb which is undeclinable under all circumstances, and
_tahkooshin_, the future tense of the verb to arrive, or come (by land).
The phraseology is perfectly loaded with local or other particulars,
which constantly limit the action of verbs to places, persons, and


_A Vocabulary of the Odjibwa Algonquin Language._ BY H. R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

On referring to the manuscript of this vocabulary, it is found to fill a
large folio volume, which puts it out of my power to insert it in this
connection. It is hoped to bring it into the series of the Ethnological
volumes, now in the process of being published at Philadelphia, under
the auspices of Congress.


    No. 2.




  I. II. Observations on the Grammatical Structure and Flexibility of
         the Odjibwa Substantive. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

  III. Principles Governing the Use of the Odjibwa Noun-adjective. By

  IV.  Some Remarks respecting the Agglutinative Position and Properties
       of the Pronoun. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.


  V. Zoology.

   1. Limits of the Range of the Cervus Sylvestris in the Northwestern
      parts of the United States. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.--_Northwest

   2. Description of the Fringilia Vespertina, discovered by Mr.
      Schoolcraft in the Northwest. By WILLIAM COOPER.--_Annals of the
      New York Lyceum of Natural History._

   3. A list of Shells collected by Mr. Schoolcraft during his Expedition
      to the Sources of the Mississippi in 1832. By WILLIAM COOPER.

  VI. Botany.

  1. List of Species and Localities of Plants collected during the
      Exploratory Expeditions of Mr. Schoolcraft in 1831 and 1832. By
      DOUGLASS HOUGHTON, M. D., _Surgeon to said Expeditions_.

  VII. Mineralogy and Geology.

   1. A Report on the Existence of Deposits of Copper in the Trap Rocks
      of Upper Michigan. By Dr. DOUGLASS HOUGHTON.

   2. Remarks on the Occurrence of Native Silver, and the Ores of Silver,
      in the Stratification of the Basins of Lakes Huron and Superior.

   3. A General Summary of the Localities of Minerals observed in the
      Northwest. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

   4. Geological Outlines of the Valley of Takwymenon in the Basin of
      Lake Superior. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

   5. Suggestions respecting the Geological Epoch of the Deposit of Red
      Sandstone of St. Mary's Falls, Michigan. By HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.


  VIII. Condition and Disposition.

   1. Official Report to the War Department, of an Expedition through
      Upper Michigan and Northern Wisconsin in 1831. By HENRY R.

   2. Brief Notes of a Tour in 1831, from Galena, in Illinois, to Fort
      Winnebago, on the source of Fox River, Wisconsin. By HENRY R.

   3. Official Report of the Expedition to Itasca Lake in 1832. By HENRY

   4. Report of the Vaccination of the Indians in 1832, under the
      authority of an Act of Congress. By Dr. DOUGLASS HOUGHTON.


  IX. Astronomical and Barometrical Observations.

   1. Table of Geographical Positions observed in 1836. By J. N.


  X. Letters on the Scenery of Lake Superior. By MELANCTHON WOOLSEY.
      _Vide_ Southern Literary Messenger, 1836.




_Observations on the Grammatical Structure and Flexibility of the
Odjibwa Substantive._[270]

  [270] Mr. Du Ponceau did me the honor, in 1834, to translate these
  two inquiries on the substantive in full, for the prize paper on the
  Algonquin, before the National Institute of France.


  Observations on the Ojibwai substantive. 1. The provision of the
    language for indicating gender--Its general and comprehensive
    character--The division of words into animate and inanimate
    classes. 2. Number--its recondite forms, arising from the terminal
    vowel in the word. 3. The grammatical forms which indicate
    possession, and enable the speaker to distinguish the objective

Most of the researches which have been directed to the Indian languages,
have resulted in elucidating the principles governing the use of the
verb, which has been proved to be full and varied in its inflections.
Either less attention has been paid to the other parts of speech, or
results less suited to create high expectations of their flexibility and
powers have been attained. The Indian verb has thus been made to stand
out, as it were in bold relief, as a shield to defects in the
substantive and its accessories, and as, in fact, compensating, by its
multiform appendages of prefix and suffix--by its tensal, its
pronominal, its substantive, its adjective, and its adverbial
terminations, for barrenness and rigidity in all other parts of speech.
Influenced by this reflection, I shall defer, in the present inquiry,
the remarks I intend offering on the verb, until I have considered the
substantive, and its more important adjuncts.

Palpable objects, to which the idea of sense strongly attaches, and the
actions or condition, which determine the relation of one object to
another, are perhaps the first points to demand attention in the
invention of languages. And they have certainly imprinted themselves
very strongly, with all their materiality, and with all their local, and
exclusive, and personal peculiarities upon the Indian. The noun and the
verb not only thus constitute the principal elements of speech, as in
all languages; but they continue to perform their first offices, with
less direct aid from the auxiliary parts of speech, than would appear to
be reconcilable with a clear expression of the circumstances of time and
place, number and person, quality and quantity, action and repose, and
the other accidents, on which their definite employment depends. But to
enable the substantives and attributives to perform these complex
offices, they are provided with inflections, and undergo changes and
modifications, by which words and phrases become very concrete in their
meaning, and are lengthened out to appear formidable to the eye. Hence
the polysyllabic, and the descriptive character of the language, so
composite in its aspect and in its forms.

To utter succinctly, and in as few words as possible, the prominent
ideas resting upon the mind of the speaker, appear to have been the
paramount object with the inventors of the language. Hence,
concentration became a leading feature. And the pronoun, the adjective,
the adverb, and the preposition, however they may be disjunctively
employed in certain cases, are chiefly useful as furnishing materials to
the speaker, to be worked up into the complicated texture of the verb
and the substantive. Nothing, in fact, can be more unlike, than the
language, viewed in its original, elementary state--in a vocabulary, for
instance, of its primitive words, so far as such a vocabulary can now be
formed, and the same language as heard under its oral, amalgamated form.
Its transpositions may be likened to a picture, in which the copal, the
carmine, and the white lead, are no longer recognized as distinct
substances, but each of which has contributed its share towards the
effect. It is the painter only who possesses the principle, by which one
element has been curtailed, another augmented, and all, however
seemingly discordant, made to coalesce.

Such a language may be expected to abound in derivatives and compounds;
to afford rules for giving verbs substantive, and substantives verbal
qualities; to concentrate the meaning of words upon a few syllables, or
upon a single letter, or alphabetical sign; and to supply modes of
contraction and augmentation, and, if I may so say, _short cuts_, and
_by-paths_ to meanings, which are equally novel and interesting. To
arrive at its primitives, we must pursue an intricate thread, where
analogy is often the only guide. We must divest words of those
accumulated syllables, or particles, which, like the molecules of
material matter, are clustered around the primitives. It is only after a
process of this kind, that the _principle of combination_--that secret
wire, which moves the whole machinery can be searched for, with a
reasonable prospect of success. The labor of analysis is one of the most
interesting and important, which the subject presents. And it is a labor
which it will be expedient to keep constantly in view, until we have
separately considered the several parts of speech, and the grammatical
laws by which the language is held together; and thus established
principles and provided materials wherewith we may the more successfully

1. In a general survey of the language as it is spoken, and as it must
be written, there is perhaps no feature which obtrudes itself so
constantly to view, as the principle which separates all words, of
whatever denomination, into animates and inanimates, as they are applied
to objects in the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdom. This principle
has been grafted upon most words, and carries its distinctions
throughout the syntax. It is the gender of the language; but a gender of
so unbounded a scope, as to merge in it the common distinctions of a
masculine and feminine, and to give a twofold character to the parts of
speech. The concords which it requires, and the double inflections it
provides, will be mentioned in their appropriate places. It will be
sufficient here to observe, that animate nouns require animate verbs for
their nominatives, animate adjectives to express their qualities, and
animate demonstrative pronouns to mark the distinctions of person. Thus,
if we say, "I see a man; I see a house," the termination of the verb
must be changed. What was in the first instance _wâb imâ_, is altered
to _wâb indân_. _Wâb_, is here the infinitive, but the root of this verb
is still more remote. If the question occurs "Is it a good man, or a
good house," the adjective, which, in the inanimate form is
_onishish-í_, is, in the animate _onishish-i[n']_. If the question be
put, "Is it this man, or this house," the pronoun _this_, which is _mâ
bum_, in the animate, is changed to _mâ ndun_, in the inanimate.

Nouns animate embrace the tribes of quadrupeds, birds, fishes, insects,
reptiles, crustacæ, the sun, and moon, and stars, thunder, and
lightning, for these are personified; and whatever either possesses
animal life, or is endowed, by the peculiar opinions and superstitions
of the Indians, with it. In the vegetable kingdom, their number is
comparatively limited, being chiefly confined to trees, and those only
while they are referred to, as whole bodies, and to the various species
of fruits, and seeds, and esculents. It is at the option of the speaker
to employ nouns, either as animates or inanimates: but it is a choice
seldom resorted to, except in conformity with stated exceptions. These
conventional exceptions are not numerous, and the more prominent of
them, may be recited. The cause of the exceptions it is not always easy
to perceive. It may, however, generally be traced to a particular
respect paid to certain inanimate bodies, either from their real or
fancied properties--the uses to which they are applied, or the
ceremonies to which they are dedicated. A stone, which is the altar of
sacrifice to their Manitoes; a bow, formerly so necessary in the chase;
a feather, the honored sign of martial prowess; a kettle, so valuable in
the household; a pipe, by which friendships are sealed and treaties
ratified; a drum, used in their sacred and festive dances; a medal, the
mask of authority; vermilion, the appropriate paint of the warrior;
wampum, by which messages are conveyed, and covenants remembered. These
are among the objects, in themselves inanimates, which require the
application of animate verbs, pronouns, and adjectives, and are thereby
transferred to the animate class.

It is to be remarked, however, that the names for animals, are only
employed as animates, while the objects are referred to as whole and
complete species. But the gender must be changed, when it becomes
necessary to speak of separate numbers. Man, woman, father, mother, are
separate nouns, so long as the individuals are meant; but hand, foot,
head, eye, ear, tongue, are inanimates. Buck, is an animate noun, while
his entire carcass is referred to, whether living or dead; but neck,
back, heart, windpipe, take the inanimate form. In like manner, eagle,
swan, dove, are distinguished as animates; but beak, wing, tail, are
arranged with inanimates. So oak, pine, ash, are animate; branch, leaf,
root, inanimates.

Reciprocal exceptions, however, exist to this rule--the reasons for
which, as in the former instance, may generally be sought, either in
peculiar opinions of the Indians, or in the peculiar qualities or uses
of the objects. Thus the talons of the eagle, and the claws of the bear,
and of other animals, which furnish ornaments for the neck, are
invariably spoken of, under the animate form. The hoofs and horns of all
quadrupeds, which are applied to various economical and mystic purposes;
the castorum of the beaver, and the nails of man, are similarly
situated. The vegetable creation also furnishes some exceptions of this
nature; such are the names for the outer bark of all trees (except the
birch), and the branches, the roots, and the resin of the spruce, and
its congeners.

In a language, which considers all nature as separated into two classes
of bodies, characterized by the presence or absence of life; neuter
nouns will scarcely be looked for, although such may exist without my
knowledge. Neuters are found amongst the verbs and the adjectives, but
it is doubtful whether they render the nouns to which they are applied
neuters, in the sense we attach to that term. The subject in all its
bearings is interesting, and a full and minute description of it would
probably elicit new light respecting some doubtful points in the
language, and contribute something towards a curious collateral
topic--the history of Indian opinions. I have stated the principle
broadly, without filling up the subject of exceptions as fully as it is
in my power, and without following its bearings upon points which will
more properly come under discussion at other stages of the inquiry. A
sufficient outline, it is believed, has been given, and having thus met,
at the threshold, a principle deeply laid at the foundation of the
language, and one which will be perpetually recurring, I shall proceed
to enumerate some other prominent features of the substantive.

2. No language is perhaps so defective, as to be totally without
number. But there are, probably, few which furnish so many modes of
indicating it, as the Odjibwa. There are as many modes of forming the
plural, as there are vowel sounds, yet there is no distinction between a
limited and unlimited plural; although there is, in the pronoun, an
_inclusive_ and an _exclusive_ plural. Whether we say _man_ or _men_,
_two men_ or _twenty men_, the singular _inin´i_, and the plural
_nin´iwug_, remains the same. But if we say _we_, or _us_, or _our men_
(who are present), or _we_, or _us_, or _our Indians_ (in general), the
plural _we_, and _us_, and _our_--for they are rendered by the same
form--admit of a change to indicate whether the objective person be
_included_ or _excluded_. This principle, of which full examples will be
given under the appropriate head, forms a single and anomalous instance
of the use of particular plurals. And it carries its distinctions, by
means of the pronouns, separable and inseparable, into the verbs and
substantives, creating the necessity of double conjugations and double
declensions, in the plural forms of the first person. Thus, the term for
"Our Father," which, in the inclusive form is _Kósinân_, is, in the
exclusive, _Nósinân_.

The particular plural, which is thus, by the transforming power of the
language, carried from the pronoun into the texture of the verb and
substantive, is not limited to any fixed number of persons or objects,
but arises from the operations of the verb. The general plural is
variously made. But the plurals making inflections take upon themselves
an additional power or sign, by which substantives are distinguished
into animate and inanimate. Without this additional power, all nouns
plural would end in the vowels _a_, _e_, _i_, _o_, _u_. But to mark the
gender, the letter _g_ is added to animates, and the letter _n_ to
inanimates, making the plurals of the first class terminate in _âg_,
_eeg_, _ig_, _ôg_, _ug_, and of the second class in _ân_, _een_, _in_,
_ôn_, _un_. Ten modes of forming the plural are thus provided, five of
which are animate, and five inanimate plurals. A strong and clear line
of distinction is thus drawn between the two classes of words; so
unerring, indeed, in its application, that it is only necessary to
inquire how the plural is formed, to determine whether it belonged to
one or the other class. The distinctions which we have endeavored to
convey will, perhaps, be more clearly perceived, by adding examples of
the use of each of the plurals.

Animate Plural.

  a. Odjibwâi,  a Chippewa.         Odjibwaig,   Chippewas.
  e. Ojee,      a Fly.              Oj-eeg,      Flies.
  i. Kosénan,   Our father, (in.)   Kosenân-ig,  Our fathers, (in.)
  o. Ahmô,      a Bee.              Ahm-ôg,      Bees.
  u. Ais,       a Schell.           Ais-ug,      Shells.

Inanimate Plural.

  a. Ishkôdai,     Fire.         Ishkôdain,     Fires.
  e. Wadôp,        Alder.        Wadôp-een,     Alders.
  i. Adetaig,      Fruit.        Adetaig-in,    Fruits.
  o. Nôdin,        Wind.         Nôdin-ôn,      Winds.
  u. Meen,         Berry.        Meen-un,       Berries.

Where a noun terminates with a vowel in the singular, the addition of
the _g_, or _n_, shows at once, both the plural and the gender. In other
instances, as in _peenai_, a partridge--_seebi_, a river--it requires a
consonant to precede the plural vowel, in conformity with a rule
previously stated. Thus, _peenai_, is rendered _peenai-wug_--and
_seebi_, _seebi-wun_. Where the noun singular terminates in the broad,
instead of the long sound of _a_, as in _ogimâ_, a chief, _ishpatinâ_, a
hill, the plural is _ogim-ag_, _ishpatinân_. But these are mere
modifications of two of the above forms, and are by no means entitled to
be considered as additional plurals.

Comparatively few substances are without number. The following may be

  Missun´,       Firewood.    Ussáimâ,    Tobacco.
  Pinggwi,       Ashes.       Naigow,     Sand.
  Méjim,         Food.        Ahwun,      Mist.
  Kôn,           Snow.        Kimmiwun,   Rain.
  Mishk´wi,      Blood.       Ossâkumig,  Moss.
  Ukkukkuzhas,   Coals.       Unitshimin, Peas.

Others may be found, and indeed, a few others are known. But it is less
an object, in this lecture, to pursue exceptions into their minutest
ramifications, than to sketch broad rules, applicable, if not to every
word, to at least a majority of words in the language.

There is, however, one exception from the general use of number, so
peculiar in itself, that not to point it out would be an unpardonable
remissness in giving the outlines of a language, in which it is an
object neither to extenuate faults nor to overrate beauties. This
exception consists in the want of number in the _third person_ of the
declensions of animate nouns, and the conjugation of animate verbs. Not
that such words are destitute of number, in their simple forms, or when
used under circumstances requiring no change of these simple forms--no
prefixes and no inflections. But it will be seen, at a glance, how very
limited such an application of words must be, in a transpositive

Thus _mang_ and _kâg_ (loon and porcupine) take the plural inflection
_wug_, becoming _mang wug_ and _kâg wug_ (loons and porcupines). So, in
their pronominal declension:--

  My loon          Ni mang   oom
  Thy loon         Ki mang   oom
  My porcupine     Ni gâg    oom
  Thy porcupine    Ki gâg    oom
  My loons         Ni mang   oom    ug
  Thy loons        Ki mang   oom    ug
  My porcupines    Ni gâg    oom    ug
  Thy porcupines   Ki gâg    oom    ug

But his loon, or loons (_o many oom un_), his porcupine or porcupines
(_o gâg oom un_), are without number. The rule applies equally to the
class of words in which the pronouns are inseparable. Thus, my father
and thy father, _nôs_ and _kôs_, become my fathers and thy fathers, by
the numerical inflection _ug_, forming _nôsug_ and _kôsug_. But _ôsun_,
his father or fathers, is vague, and does not indicate whether there be
one father or twenty fathers. The inflection _un_, merely denotes the
_object_. The rule also applies equally to sentences in which the noun
is governed by or governs the verb. Whether we say, "I saw a bear,"
_ningi wâbumâ mukwah_, or "a bear saw me," _mukwah ningi wâbumig_, the
noun, itself, undergoes no change, and its number is definite. But _ogi
wâbumân muk-wun_, "he saw bear," is indefinite, although both the verb
and the noun have changed their endings. And if the narrator does not
subsequently determine the number, the hearer is either left in doubt,
or must resolve it by a question. In fine, the whole acts of the third
person are thus rendered questionable. This want of precision, which
would seem to be fraught with so much confusion, appears to be obviated
in practice, by the employment of adjectives, by numerical inflections
in the relative words of the sentence, by the use of the indefinite
article, _paizhik_, or by demonstrative pronouns. Thus, _paizhik mukwun
ogi wâbumân_, conveys with certainty the information "he saw _a_ bear."
But in this sentence both the noun and the verb retain the objective
inflections, as in the former instances. These inflections are not
uniformly _un_, but sometimes _een_, as in _ogeen_, his mother, and
sometimes _ôn_, as in _odakeek-ôn_, his kettle, in all which instances,
however, the number is left indeterminate. It may hence be observed, and
it is a remark which we shall presently have occasion to corroborate,
that the plural inflection to inanimate nouns (which have no objective
form), forms the objective inflection to animate nouns, which have no
number in the third person.

3. This leads us to the consideration of the mode of forming
possessives, the existence of which, when it shall have been indicated
by full examples, will present to the mind of the inquirer, one of those
tautologies in grammatical forms, which, without imparting additional
precision, serve to clothe the language with accumulated verbiage. The
strong tendency to combination and amalgamation, existing in the
language, renders it difficult, in fact, to discuss the principles of it
in that elementary form which could be wished. In the analysis of words
and forms we are constantly led from the central point of discussion. To
recur, however, from these collateral unravellings to the main thread of
inquiry, at as short and frequent intervals as possible, and thus to
preserve the chain of conclusions and proofs, is so important, that,
without keeping the object distinctly in view, I should despair of
conveying any clear impressions of those grammatical features which
impart to the language its peculiar character.

It has been remarked that the distinctions of number are founded upon a
modification of the five vowel sounds. Possessives are likewise founded
upon the basis of the vowel sounds. There are five declensions of the
noun to mark the possessive, ending in the possessive in _âm_, _eem_,
_im_, _ôm_, _um_, _oom_. Where the nominative ends with a vowel, the
possessive is made by adding the letter _m_, as in _maimai_, a woodcock,
_ni maimaim_, my woodcock, &c. Where the nominative ends in a consonant,
as in _ais_, a shell, the full possessive inflection is required, making
_nin daisim_, my shell. In the latter form, the consonant _d_ is
interposed between the pronoun and noun, and sounded with the noun, in
conformity with a general rule. Where the nominative ends in the broad
in lieu of the long sound of _a_, as in _ogimâ_, a chief, the
possessive is _âm_. The sound of _i_, in the third declension, is that
of _i_ in pin, and the sound of _u_, in the fifth declension, is that of
_u_ in bull. The latter will be uniformly represented by _oo_.

The possessive declensions run throughout both the animate and inanimate
classes of nouns, with some exceptions in the latter, as knife, bowl,
paddle, &c.

Inanimate nouns are thus declined.


Ishkôdai, Fire.


  My,    Nin Dishkod-aim.
  Thy,   Ki Dishkod-aim.
  His,   O Dishkod-aim.
  Our,   Ki Dishkod-aim-inân. (in.)
  --     Ni Dishkod-aim-inân. (ex.)
  Your,  Ki Dishkod-aim-iwâ.
  Their, O Dishko-aim-iwâ.

Those words which form exceptions from this declension, take the
separable pronouns before them as follows:--

  Môkoman,    A Knife.
  Ni môkoman, My Knife.
  Ki môkoman, Thy Knife.
  O môkoman,  His Knife, &c.

Animate substantives are declined precisely in the same manner as
inanimate, except in the third person, which takes to the possessive
inflections, _aim_, _eem_, _im_, _ôm_, _oom_, the objective particle
_un_, denoting the compound inflection of this person, both in the
singular and plural, _aimun_, _eemun_, _imun_, _ômun_, _oomun_, and the
variation of the first vowel sound, _âmun_. Thus, to furnish an example
of the second declension, _bizhiki_, a bison, changes its forms to
_nim_, _bizhik-im_, my bison--_ke bizhik-im_, thy bison, _O
bizhik-imun_, his bison, or bisons.

The cause of this double inflection in the third person, may be left for
future inquiry. But we may add further examples in aid of it. We cannot
simply say, "The chief has killed a bear," or, to reverse the object
upon which the energy of the verb is exerted, "The bear has killed a
chief." But, _ogimâ ogi nissân muk-wun_, literally, "Chief he has has
killed him bear," or, _mukwah ogi_ _nissân ogimân_, "Bear he has killed
him chief." Here the verb and the noun are both objective in _un_, which
is sounded _ân_, where it comes after the broad sound of _a_, as in
_nissân_, objective of the verb to kill. If we confer the powers of the
English possessive (_'s_), upon the inflections _aim_, _eem_, _im_,
_ôm_, _oom_, and _âm_, respectively, and the meaning of _him_, and of
course _he_, _her_, _his_, _hers_, _they_, _theirs_ (as there is no
declension of the pronoun, and no number to the third person), upon the
objective particle _un_, we shall then translate the above expression,
_o bizhik-eemum_, his bison's hisn. If we reject this meaning, as I
think we should, the sentence would read, "His bison," him, a mere

It is true, it may be remarked, that the noun possessed, has a
corresponding termination, or pronominal correspondence, with the
pronoun possessor, also a final termination indicative of its being the
_object_ on which the verb exerts its influence--a mode of expression,
which, so far as relates to the possessive, would be deemed superfluous,
in modern languages; but may have some analogy in the Latin accusatives
_am_, _um_, _em_.

It is a constant and unremitting aim in the Indian languages to
distinguish the actor from the object, partly by prefixes, and partly by
inseparable suffixes. That the termination _un_, is one of these
inseparable particles, and that its office, while it confounds the
number, is to designate the object, appears probable from the fact, that
it retains its connection with the noun, whether the latter follow or
precede the verb, or whatever its position in the sentence may be.

Thus we can, without any perplexity in the meaning say,
_Waimittigôzhiwug ogi sagiân Pontiac-un_, "Frenchmen, they did love
Pontiac him." Or