The settlement of Crow Wing, which began in 1839, had a history of about forty years. From 1839 to 1844, it was primarily a fur trading post where William Aitkin traded merchandise to the Indians for furs. He also employed quite a number of French Canadian and mixed bloods (French Canadian and Indian) who acted as voyageurs by traveling up surrounding lakes rivers, and streams to trade on his behalf with the natives.
In 1845, the East Woods Trail was opened from Pembina in the Red River Valley to St. Paul. Crow Wing then became a favorite stopping place for the long caravans of ox cart teams that travel led south each summer hauling buffalo hides, furs and pemmican and afterwards returned north laden with food staples, manufactured goods, liquor, guns, and ammunition.
With the signing of the Fond du Lac and Leech Lake treaties in 1847, Ojibwa), lands north of the Crow Wing, Long Prairie, and Lea+ Rivers were opened for lumbering. Franklin Steele of St. Anthony, negotiated an agreement with Chief Hole-in-the-Day II, whereby his representative, David Stanchfield, was allowed to cut logs at .50 per tree. Logging at Crow Wing began in November 1847. The first log drive down the Mississippi to St. Anthony took place on March 1, 1848. The advent of lumbering brought in more French Canadians from Quebec, New Brunswick, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Lumbering and the fur trade were the two main industries at Crow Wing for the next twelve years. By 1860, Crow Wing had a population of over two hundred and was ranked as the largest inhabited place north of St. Paul. This expansion ended in 1861 when the Civil War began. The Sioux outbreak of 1862, and the Ojibway troubles of the same year, frightened people so that even after the Civil War ended in 1865, few were interested in coming here.
The removal of the Ojibway Indians from Crow Wing, Gull River, and Gull Lake and North Long Lake to White Earth Reservation in 1868, was disheartening. The fur trade was now over but the citizens of Crow Wing hoped that the newly chartered Northern Pacific Railroad would be built to their town and provide more employment and growth. Unfortunately for them, the Northern Pacific decided to run its line where a new town called Brainerd was built in 1870-71. Brainerd became the county seat in 1872 and many of the businesses at Crow Wing moved there. Residents too began moving elsewhere during 1873-74. Some went to Brainerd, many of the French Canadians to Little Falls, while most of the mixed bloods joined their relatives at White Earth. By 1879-80, old Crow Wing was almost a deserted ghost town.
In the census of 1850, for Crow Wing, we find the following names denoting French Canadian heritage or French Canadian-Ojibway heritage: P. A. Moran Lumberman New Brunswick Joseph Teasroux Clerk Missouri Joseph Couverette Laborer Minnesota Eustace Jourdain Laborer Minnesota Clement Beaulieu Trader Wisconsin Antoine Bisson Laborer Quebec Antoine Benoit Laborer Quebec Jacques Currier Laborer Quebec Joseph Beaulieu Interpreter Wisconsin Augustin Bellanger Voyageur Minnesota Joseph Bellanger Voyageur Minnesota Charles Charette Laborer Minnesota Joseph Contois Voyageur Minnesota Joseph Montreuil Laborer Minnesota The 1850 census for St. Columbia, East Gull Lake, has one name: Baptiste La Salle Lumbering Wisconsin The 1860 census for Crow Wing contains the following names denoting French, French Canadian or French Canadian-Ojibway heritage: Clement Beaulieu Merchant Wisconsin Henry Beaulieu Voyageur Wisconsin Jacques Currier Servant Quebec Cyrillo Dunard Servant Quebec Mary Colombe Servant Minnesota Joseph Dagol Blacksmith Quebec Narcisse Gravelle Carpenter Quebec Cyrillo Beaudette Wagon Maker Ontario John Fumadi Sailor France? A. L. Crapotte Merchant New York Joseph Teasroux Merchant Missouri Francois Thibaud Teamster Quebec Joseph Laporte Laborer Quebec Charles La Rue Saloon New York Michael Contois Voyageur Minnesota Jonah Contois Voyageur Minnesota Louis Mayrand Saloon Quebec Eli Berthniaud Laborer Quebec Moses Dupuis Laborer Quebec Jules Le Duc Shingle Maker Quebec Andrew Dufort Carpenter Quebec Laurent Darupt Blacksmith France? Joseph Tescely Carpenter Ontario Peter Roy Merchant Minnesota Lxdia Choumard Servant Quebec Gideon Le Sage Store Clerk Quebec Peter Lecotte Teamster Quebec Antoine Bourgeious Teamster Quebec The 1860 census for South Long Lake had these names: Joseph Brunette Lumbering Minnesota Louis Brunette Lumbering Minnesota Francois Brunette Lumbering Minnesota Antoine Ragoff Lumbering Michigan The 1860 census for St. Columbia, East Gull Lake had these names: Alexis Roy Laborer Minnesota Joseph Charette Laborer Minnesota The 1870 census for Crow Wing has the following names denoting French Canadian or French Canadian Ojibway heritage: Clement Beaulieu Farmer Wisconsin Henry Beaulieu Laborer Wisconsin Jacques Currier Servant Quebec Susette Jourdain Servant Minnesota Josette Charboullier Widow Michigan Francoise Bellecourt Widow Minnesota Elizabeth Charette Widow Minnesota Louis Charette Laborer Minnesota Cyrillo Beaudette Wagon Maker Ontario Francois Thibaud Laborer Quebec Antoine Bourgeious Teamster Quebec John Bishop Hotel Owner New Brunswick Charles Pardee Grocer Quebec Charles Gravelle Carpenter Quebec Nazair Moran Ferryman Quebec Alan St. Antoine Laborer Quebec John Dufort Laborer Wisconsin
|<http://www.rootsweb.com/~mncrowwi/ofc.html>||Nov 24, 2002|
MNGenWeb - Crow Wing County - Our French Canadians (1850-1870)|
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