WABASHA AND VICINITY
"HISTORY OF WABASHA COUNTY"
Compiled by Dr. L. H. Bunnell
Published Chicago by H. H. Hill, Publishers, 1884
Republished Currently by Higginson Books
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A large share of the early settlers of Wabasha were Canadian French, succeeded by a percentage of Irish and German Roman Catholics ~ good citizens and zealous Christians in their way, but not to be counted on when the claims of other sects are presented in the furtherance of religious enterprises, which, with the hardships attending new undertakings here, and the struggles of every one to provide for his own, made the prospect of establishing a Protestant church in Wabasha look rather discouraging.
In 1842 Father Rovoux, now of St. Paul, sent a log building from Mendota to this place to be used as a chapel. The building was placed upon a raft and floated down the river, and set up on the point where Main street now terminates. This was the first building for religious purposes ever erected in Wabasha. It was used for the purpose designed several years, but went finally into disuse as a church edifice in consequence of the irregularity of services, and was afterward used for secular purposes. The first paper printed in Wabasha was printed there, and a school was taught in it; finally it succumbed to civilization, and today all traces of the "old church" are obliterated.
In 1849 a bill was passed organizing the territory of Minnesota, whose boundary on the west extended to the Missouri river, and at that time the whole region was little more than a vast wilderness. Mr. Alexis Bailly was at Wabasha and Messrs. Read and Richards at Read's Landing, where they had a store. Mr. H.S. Allen of Chippewa Falls, built a warehouse upon the levee during that year, and some years later added to it and opened a store therin in company with a Mr. Creamer. This was the first warehouse on the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien. The Indians were numerous, but very peaceable with the white people, but their enemies, the Chippewas, were often made to realize their hatred, and when some unfortunate Chippewa ventured so near as to lose his scalp, the Sioux would hold what they called a scalp dance. The last of these occurred in 1858, on the levee just below the American House, then kept by C. W. Wyman.
In 1850 Congress constructed a military road from Wabasha to Mendota, costing five thousand dollars. The length of this road was seventy-five miles.
The first recognized postmaster of Wabasha, was Mr. Alexis Bailly, and all mail matter, previous to his appointment in 1853, went to Read's Landing, where Mr. F. Richards had been appointed postmaster in 1849 by the government. Previous to the establishment of the post-office at Read's Landing the mail matter for this section of country was brought from La Crosse, sometimes by boat, more frequently, however, by voyageurs or persons detailed for that purpose.
The town of Wabasha was surveyed and laid out in 1855 by A. S. Hart, the proprietors being Messrs. Oliver Cratte, Joseph Buisson and Philo Stone. Mr. Shively, Mr. Amos Wheeler, Mr. Store and Mr. Murphy, agent for H. S. Allen & Co., Chippewa Falls, were the first American born settlers. Mr. Stone was a native of Vermont, coming to this country in 1838. He engaged in hunting on the neutral grounds between the Sioux and Chippewas, which being seldom visited by either tribe, made most excellent ground for hunting. He was ver brave, of a wiry, quick, impulsive temperament, and passed through many skirmishes in earlier times, always coming off the best man. His first wife was the daughter of Campbell G. Scott, by whom he had several children. She was an excellent housekeeper, and took great pride in their children. Two of the daughters still reside here. His second wife was from Michigan, and they now reside on a farm in Poplk county. He has a son and daughter by this second marriage. The location of Wabasha for beauty and scenery is unsurpassed by any on the Mississippi. The river at this point is broad and smooth, and forms north and eastern boundaries of the town, and also the dividing line between Wisconsin and Minnesota. It lies about two miles below the foot of Lake Pepin, and, until the lake opens in the spring, is the head of navigation.
The warehouse erected by Mr. Allen at this place stood at the corner of Bridge and Levee streets, and remained a landmark until destroyed by fire in 1870.
Mr. B. F. Hurd is also one of the early settlers, coming to the place in 1855. He erected the hotel known as the Hurd House in 1856, and is still proprietor of the same. The American House, which stood on the corner of Pembroke and Levee streets, was erected also that year, and was the first hotel opened to the public. (It was) Destroyed by fire in 1868. Hancock brothers erected a grain warehouse in 1856, which was also destroyed by fire. In the summer of 1857 Mr. Hiram Rogers, of Zanesville, Ohio, came to the place, and erected the third warehouse of the place, together with several dwellings.
The county of Wabasha, as at present described on the state map, was organized in 1856, with Wabasha as the county seat. The history of Wabasha county is so closely connected with that of the city that it is given here under the same head. The first term of the district court was held by Judge Thomas Wilson in September, 1857, and the building used for that purpose was the large warehouse erected that year across the slough by Mr. Lowrey, of New York city. John McKee and S. L. Campbell were the first lawyers who settled in the place.
The first newspaper published in the county was the "Wabasha Journal," conducted by Mr. H. J. Sanderson, making its first appearance on the 4th of July, 1856. It remained under his control some two years, when it passed into the hands of S. S. Burleson, Esq., of North Pepin, who changed its name to the "Minnesota Patriot." Its politics were democratic. After a few months Burleson sold out to H. C. Simpson, who changed the name to the "Journal" again. In 1860 Mr. Simpson took Mr. G. W. Marsh in connection with him, and the "Journal" became a republican paper under the campaign which elected Abraham Lincoln to the presidency.
The "Herald" was first issued at Read's Landing in May, 1857, by the brothers T. A. and W. C. McMaster, and was a neat seven-column paper, and republican in politics. After its first issue the two senior brothers were drowned by the upsetting of a sailboat, May 12, and the "Herald" did not appear again until September, when Mr. N. E. Stevens, of the Watertown (Wisconsin) "Chronicle" issued the paper as "The Wabasha County Herald," and published it at that place until 1860, when the office was removed to Wabasha, displacing the "Journal," which was removed to Lake City by Mr. Simpson. Mr. Stevens continued the publication of the "Herald" until 1862, when U. B. Shaver purchased the subscription list, and on the 6th of July commenced its publication with entire new material, the old presses and types being withdrawn by Mr. Stevens. In 1863 Mr. R. H. Copeland, of the "Alma Journal," purchased a half interest in the paper, which continued until January, 1864, when he severed the connection and enlisted in the United States army. In July, 1865, the "Herald" was published by E. W. Gurley, who associated with him Mr. Frank Daggett, Mr. Daggett finally purchasing his partner's interest. Soon after he associated with him Mr. H. W. Rose, and the new firm worked up the credit of the paper to a high degree of usefulness. Mr. Daggett withdrew in January, 1868, and Mr. Rose remained in charge until his death in April following. Mr. Daggett again purchased the "Herald" and published it until 1871, when it was purchased by Amasa Sharpe, who continued its publication until 1874, when it passed into the hands of W. S. Walton, who remained in charge until April, 1881, when Mr. O. S. Collier purchased all interests and continues in charge at the present time.
Read's Landing was for a time a place of some note, and a good healthy business was done there for several years, owing to its position at the foot of Lake Pepin, and confluence of the Chippewa river with the Mississippi; but the advent of railroads destroyed its importance, while Wabasha has gradually increased in population, manufactures and wealth. Being recognized as the county seat, a small jail was erected in the spring of 1858, and during the summer of that year a stone schoolhouse was erected. It proved to be too far away to accommodate the needs of the town, and in 1860 the county purchased it for court-house and county offices, a building of wood being put up in another part of the town for school purposes, which was occupied for the same until the fall of 1869, when the beautiful brick structure now occupied was completed.
Wabasha was incorporated as a city in 1858, its first mayor being Capt. W. W. Wright; Carlos W. Lyon, recorder; Charles Webb, city justice; Lyman M. Gregg, marshal; S. N. Wright, city treasurer; D. W. Wellman, surveyor; John N. Murdock, city attorney; and the official paper, the "Minnesota Patriot." Its first aldermen were John B. Downer, William B. Lutz and W. W. Prindle.
The act of incorporation consisted of seven chapters, the first relating to city boundaries, which were as follows: Sec. 2. Territory within the following boundaries and limits shall constitute the city of Wabasha, namely, beginning at a point in the Mississippi river on the dividing line between Wisconsin and Minnesota, at the mouth of a small creek, called Smith's creek, between Wabasha and Reed's Landing; thence up said creek to the west line of township 111, range 10; thence along said township line to the southwest corner of section 6, in township 110, range 10; thence along the south line of sections 6, 5 and 4, of township 110, range 10, to the southeast corner of said section 4; thence north along the east line of said section 4, township 110, range 10, and section 33, township 111, range 10, to the Wisconsin line; thence along the Wisconsin line up to the place of beginning. The second chapter relates to the election of officers and vacancies; the third, to the powers and duties of officers; the fourth, to the city council, it powers and duties; the fifth, to taxes, manner of assessment, levying and collecting; the sixth, to the opening of streets, lanes, etc.; the seventh, to miscellaneous provisions.
Nothing could argue so well for the character of our first settlers as the early erection of places of worship. Man is eminently a religious being, and, though often departing from the immutable principles of right, his loftiest aspirations, his finest feelings and sublimest conceptions have their foundation in, and are most intimately connected with, his religious nature; for without religious culture his whole life is a moral waste, a desert, unrelieved by a single green spot of virtue and high-toned thought or aspiration. In the autumn of 1858 two churches were erected in the place, the first completed being a Baptist church, the society having been organized the spring previous. The second was Congregational, which society was organized in February, 1856, the original members being deacon Oliver Pendleton, Mrs. W. W. Prindle, Mrs. W. Hancock, Malcolm Kennedy, W. S. Jackson and Mrs. H. Wilson; Rev. S. Morgan, missionary director. This was properly the first church society organized in the place. As before stated, Rev. Father Ravoux had built a log house, in which to hold religious services, but this was before Wabasha had been considered a town, and his principal members were of the French and mixed blood population.
The first settled pastor of the Congregational church was the Rev. S. L. Hillier, who commenced his ministry May 1, 1857. Mr. Hillier was succeeded by Rev. David Andrews, October 15, 1858, and he by Rev. J. Doane, August 27, 1860. Mr. Doane was succeeded by Rev. L. N. Woodruff, September 16, 1862, and he by Rev. Edward Hildreth, April 19, 1866; Mr. Hildreth by Rev. Henry Loomis, October 1, 1868. Rev. C. W. Honeyman succeeded Mr. Loomis in 1871, and Rev. O. Hobbs officiated from January 14, 1874, to April 2, 1874, when he was succeeded by E. W. Weeks. Mr. Weeks by Rev. J. T. Todd, November 3, 1875, and Mr. Todd by Rev. J. W. Ray, April 4, 1877, who continued his pastoral care until October 1, 1882, when he was succeeded by Rev. C. P. Watson, the present incumbent. This congregation erected a beautiful parsonage on the church grounds in 1872.
The first and only pastor of the Baptist societ was the Rev. James Wharton, from Ohio. A bell was purchased by the citizensfor this church during the winter of 1858, and hung in its belfry, being the first to ring out the glad tidings of salvation to willing ears in the place or county. As the old church had gone to decay, a new Catholic church was erected in the spring of 1858 by Rev. Father Tissott, which in 1874 was succeeded by a new and elegant brick under the direction fo the Rev. Father Trobex.
An Episcopal congregation was organized in 1859, and in 1865 they purchased the Baptist house, removing it to another block, under the pastoral care of Rev. H. G. Batterson, and have occupied the same until the present time, erecting a commodious rectory upon the same grounds in 1869.
A Methodist chapel was erected in 1860, and the four last-mentioned churches have been sustained, the Roman Catholic element, however, being much the strongest, both in town and county.
(City of Wabasha Continued) The building given to the county for a court-house has been added to and improved greatly, and in 1872 a large and substantial brick building was erected just in the rear, for a jail and residence of the sheriff.
The city was first platted in 1854, south Wabasha being added in 1855. Since that time the county has advanced with rapid progress, and when we compare its present civilization with its barbarous existence previous to that time, it almost seems that the wand of magic has passed over the land, changing the hunting-grounds of the savage into cultivated farms and homes. Being located in part upon what was called "the half-breed tract," much trouble was experienced both in town and county by the first settlers in obtaining good titles to their land. These were finally adjusted by the government, and Wabasha county has become one of the most prosperous counties of the state, with a most intelligent and enterprising population. The city charter was revised during the winter of 1868-9, which revision divided the city into two wards, with two aldermen elected in each ward, who held their office two years. The city recorder is elected for one year. In the spring of 1857 a new company was organized and the town site greatly enlarged by the platting of one thousand acres on the west side of the slough which divided the plateau from the original site. This company consisted of Messrs. S. P. Gambia, B. W. Brisbois, S. L. Campbell, The. A. Tomlinson, H. M. Rice, Gen. Shields, Oliver Cratte and Philo Stone; Hon. S. L. Campbell, trustee. A large warehouse was erected on that side by Mr. Lowry, of New York city, and the foundation of an extensive hotel was laid, and the prospect was flattering for the growth of the city on that side. But the terrible convulsions in the financial world which commenced this year came with crushing effect upon the young city, and discouraged both proprietors and people. Immigration fell off, and business of all kinds suffered exceedingly. In consequence, that part of the city was given up and the land divided among the proprietors in 1860; yet the city proper continued to increase in population slowly until 1871, when the river branch of the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Milwaukee railroad was completed, and Wabasha rejoiced in its first railroad. The mail facilities until 1856 had been very irregular, but in that year arrangements were made with the boats to carry the mails, and a tri-weekly mail was the consequence during the summer, and in winter they were carried by private enterprise. In the spring of 1857 the boats brought a daily mail, and Mr. H. C. Burbank put on a line of stages that fall from St. Paul to La Crosse, carrying the mails as well as passengers, thus affording a daily mail both up and down the river. In 1858 the name of the post-office was changed to "Wabasha," leaving off the final "w" as superfluous, at the suggestion of some of the citizens, so that the original Indian name of Wapashaw, like that of many other towns, has become extinct. To our taste, the original spelling and pronunciation of these names and places and rivers is far more liquid and musical than the modernized, and most of them should have been perpetuated. [The webmaster enthusiastically agrees!]
Like many other new counties where rival towns are springing up, the question soon arose for the removal of the county seat. Plainview had aspirations that way, and Lake City had assumed a high position, and parties there were ambitions that it should become the shire town, and laid their plans for its removal to that place. A vote of the county was taken in 1860 upon the proposed removal, which resulted in favor of Wabasha; the people of Lake City not being satisfied with that result, a bill was introduced in the legislature in 1867-8, which passed both houses, again allowing the people to vote upon the question. The feeling of rivalry was very strong between the two towns as election day approached,. And Wabasha again succeeded in securing the most votes, four thousand and fifty-two being polled for that location, while Lake City had three thousand and thirteen. Some people thinking there was irregularity in these votes, brought the matter before the courts, and the supreme court finally decided in favor of Wabasha, where the matter still rests.
The first agricultural fair of the county was held in September, 1859, across the slough, in the building erected for a warehouse, which building, in 1864, was removed to this side of the slough and occupied as a grain elevator until it was consumed by fire April 3, 1883. Mr. S. L. Campbell was president of the association and Mr. H. C. Simpson, secretary. An address was delivered by S. L. Campbell, Esq.
A company was organized at one time for the improvement of the Zumbro.* This was to be done by bringing its waters along the base of the bluffs, a distance of some five miles, in a canal running in what is now called the slough, which would furnish an immense water-power. The enterprise seemed to be of great importance, but for want of capital to carry forward the work it has been abandoned.
* The early French explorers named the Zumbro river "La Riviere Des Embarras," Which means "the embarrassed river." The early American settlers could not pronounce the word "Embarras," so they got it as near as they could and called it "Zumbro," by which name it is now known.
[The webmaster says, "Oh, come now. Early settlers couldn't pronounce a three-syllable word beginning with a vowel and got a two-syllable word beginning with a consonant from it instead? That explanation is what's embarrassing!"]
In 1858 determined efforts were made to build a road across the island bottoms, just opposite the city, to the bluffs, in order to secure the trade from that side of the river. Much labor and money were expended, but owing to the crash in the financial world it became a failure, and the ferry and ferry-boat succeeded the effort in 1862. As the county improved Wabasha became a good market for wheat and all other productions of the farmers. In 1865 a large grain elevator was erected on the levee, and occupied by H. W. Holmes & Co., and about this time a steam flouring-mill was erected by A. G. Remendino on the corner of Bridge and Third streets, which passed into the hands of F. Klinge. [It was] destroyed by fire in 1868. In 1870 a machine-shop and foundry was started by Mr. Lowth, who also, in connection with J. B. Downer, erected the stone flouring-mill now in operation. Messrs. Ingraham, Kennedy and Gill erected a plaining-mill in 1871, and opened up a lumber-yard [on the] corner of Second and Alleghany streets, reaching to Bridge [street] in the fall of the same year. The first lumber-yard of the place and county was opened in 1851 by H. S. Allen & Co., of Chippewa Falls, on Levee street between what is now Bridge and Alleghany streets.
The pioneer hardware establishment of Wabasha was opened by Joshua Egbert in the summer of 1857. Mr. Egbert sold out to Jewell and Duganne in 1868, Duganne retiring in 1869. The business continued for some years under the name of Jewell & Son; in the autumn of 1882 Mr. Jewell sold out all interest to H. B. Jewell and Julius Schmidt, which firm still continues the business.
About a mile above the city, on the bank of the river, the city has located a lovely spot, consisting of about fifteen acres of land, as the final resting-place of the weary, when the higher, nobler part shall have winged its way to the beautiful land, which all anticipate and hope for, yet from which no traveler returns. Riverview cemetery truly is one of the beautiful places where
On cliff and glen and wave,
Descending ever softest,
On a little grassy grave.
Down issues, brightly bathing the marble and the mould."
[Authors not recognised]
In the fall of 1868 a club was organized with forty-two members, the object being to invite and develop literary culture, build up a circulating library, and establish a place where all could spend their leisure time profitably. The club rented a hall and furnished it neatly, supplied the table with the daily papers of the state, together with most of the popular magazines and leading literary journals, and filled the shelves of the room with a select number of books. They also furnished facilities for all and various drawing-room games. This club consisted of the best society of the place, both ladies and gentlemen. Its managers, however, were gentlemen. During the winter of 1870-1 the interest in the club seemed to be on the wane, and fears were entertained that this good beginning might have to be abandoned. But the ladies decided that it should not be a failure, and they took the library off the hands of the gentlemen entirely, reorganizing under the name of the "Ladies' Library Association," which has been sustained by efforts of the ladies wholly, and is still in a very flourishing condition, there being, at the present date, some sixteen hundred volumes.
Messrs. Luger brothers in 1876 erected a large furniture factory on Bridge street, on the site of the flouring-mill before mentioned, and the business supplies the trade here and a large branch house in Fargo, and other points of the northwest.
The manufacturing interests of Wabasha are improving; the natural facilities being great, capital only is required to perfect what nature has so liberally provided for.
In the autumn of 1871 the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Chicago railroad was completed, passing through Wabasha on the west side, which event was hailed with great rejoicing. In 1878 the Minnesota Midland was projected and completed as far as Zumbrota, starting from Wabasha; since which event the place has seemed to receive new impetus, and its business has increased nearly one-half. The Lake Superior & Chippewa Valley was completed to this point in July, 1882, crossing the Mississippi between thisplace and Read's Landing, and intersecting the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Chicago road at their depot, giving Wabasha some prominence as a railroad center, creating great hopes again of its growth in wealth and population.
The business of the city has ever been transacted on a safe basis, and after struggling through continued hardships with untiring perseverance, it now looks as though Wabasha had a grand future before it.
The first meat-market in the place was kept by S. Demary. There are now three. Misses Kate and Winifred Redmond were the first milliners and dressmakers here. That line of business has improved and increased greatly also.
The first banking house in Wabasha was instituted by H. Rogers and son, from Zanesville, Ohio, in the summer of 1857. This did not continue long, however, owing to the financial crisis of 1857-8, and Mr. Rogers removed to St. Paul in 1859. In 1861 Mr. N. F. Webb opened a bank on Main street, which continued in business until the autumn of 1870. Messrs. Southworth and Florer in 1871 established a bank, which will be fully treated of in the history of the town. [It] changed managers in 1882, and is now known as the bank of Wabasha. [Its] directors [are] A. D. Southworth, J. G. Lawrence, L. S. Van Vleit, C. F. Young, H. P. Krick, C. F. Rogers, [and] Lucas Kuehn.
The first physician to settle in the town was Dr. F. H. Miligan, who came in 1853. He married a daughter of Mr. Alexis Bailly, and settled here soon after. Dr. William L. Lincoln was the next, coming here in July, 1857. There was a young lawyer here by the name of John McKee, when the town was organized, of marked ability, but intemperance fastened her fangs upon him and he died in 1857 from the effect of her seductions. Death has claimed many of our prominent and esteemed pioneers. C. W. Lyon, W. W. McDougall, Charles Wyman, Dea Oliver Pendleton, W. W. Prindle, W. S. Jackson, whose places here have not yet been filled. Mr. Francis Talbot, the last of the pioneer fur traders, came here in 1853 with letters of introduction to Mr. Bailly, from his friend, John H. Kinzie, of Chicago, with whom Mr. Talbot was connected at an early day. The first white child born in Wabasha was Charles, son of B. S. Hurd, on the 14th of May, 1855. A steam planing and saw mill were erected on the east bank of [the] slough at the foot of Fourth street in 1856, by Mr. L. Clapp. This mill did a good business until the financial crash of 1857, when it succumbed gracefully to the pressure.
Phil Stone in 1850 erected the dwelling on Levee street afterward owned and occupied by Dea Oliver Pendleton until his death in June, 1875. A building on the levee, just above the present residence of Mr. W. T. Duganne, was erected in 1853 by a river pilot, whose name was Harold, and it was kept as a boarding-house, known as Harold's Exchange. [It was] destroyed by fire in 1858.
It seems like magic that in so brief a period of time the Indian titles to forty millions [sic] of acres of land, broad and beautiful, should have been made to blossom as the rose, and that the keen-eyed enterprise of the American people should have accomplished so much as has been done in a quarter of a century, and the fabled magic of the eastern tale that renewed a palace in a single night, can only parallel the reality of this. Minnesota was admitted to the union in 1858, since which time the blankets and painted faces of the red man have entirely disappeared, together with the moccasins and red sashes of the French voyageur and half-breeds, while civilization, with its thousand arms, has advanced in their stead with resistless and beneficent empire; and now arts, manufactures and science equal those of any state in the union, while steam on the water, steam on the land, is almost unparalleled. Immigration from the Atlantic and European states is rapidly developing the almost unsearchable riches of the lands, while the immense line of railroads, when completed, will bring the Atlantic and Pacific coasts in direct communication with the great markets of the world.
In the preceding pages reference has been made to most, perhaps to all, of the subjects of these sketches who have been prominent actors in some department, and further notice may seem like repetition; but as the object in view is to pay tribute where it is due, I trust the reader will pardon the iteration. Messrs. Rocque and Buisson were of French descent, and their children and descendants still remain in Wabasha. Augustin Rocque built the first house in this vicinity in 1830, and Duncan Campbell was the next to build, and on the same side of the slough. Oliver Cratte was sent here in 1838, and he built the first house on the present site of the city. Mr. Rocque died in 1856, and, at his own request, lies buried upon the top, and just on the verge of the highest bluff overlooking the town, with no stone or epitaph to mark his resting-place, other than the silent grandeur of the scene. His son, Joseph Rocque, was accounted the greatest hunter of his time, and was so fleet on foot, that one time upon a wager he ran down a deer and drove it into camp. At another time he carried dispatches on foot from Fort Snelling to this place, a distance of ninety miles, from sun to sun. The governor fearing he would not be able to make the trip, sent a man on horseback after him; but Rocque left man and horse on the prairie, and distanced both. He was perfectly familiar with the county, having traversed it many times in company with Indians and voyageurs, and understood the shortest route, which he took, and so executed his mission in due time. Another son, Baptiste, acted as scout for Gen. Sibley during the Indian outbreak of 1862. Mendota at that time was called St. Peters. Nearly all the old French traders married Sioux wives, and the government set apart four hundred and fifty square miles for the benefit of the so called half-breed children. In 1857 these half-breeds received four hundred and eighty acres of land scrip from the government in place of their reserved land, and several old French settlers at Wabasha received scrip for their wives and children. Duncan and Scott Campbell received about twenty-three scrips; Mr. Cratte had nine; Mr. Alexis Baily, seven. The Campbells were men of Scotch parentage, and both were well known at all the different posts and among various tribes. Duncan Campbell was killed in a duel near Mackinac, with one Crawford, a brother of the agent of the Northwest Fur Company. Campbell was an independent trader in opposition to the Northwest Company. Nelson's Landing was a trading post on the Wisconsin side of the river. At one time, a war party of Chippewas, numbering about one hundred and fifty, came down to the Mississippi, and stopped at the Landing. This was in 1853. They threatened the village, and just as they made their appearance on the river bank a Sioux Indian was seen coming down the river in his canoe. On seeing his enemies so close to him, he threw himself over in the water, and holding his canoe with the left hand swam ashore, the canoe serving him as a shelter from the bullets of his enemies, although completely riddled by them. But "Oregon" (so he was called by the whites), managed his bark so as to reach the Minnesota side without being wounded, and as soon as upon land he gave the war-whoop common to his tribe, which was soon answered by scores of his friends, and the Chippewas were glad to retreat without even a scalp. A short time before, a treaty of peace had been perfected between the Chippewas and Wapashaws band, which was ratified by all the principal men of the band, and everything seemed quiet. But the Redwing band wither did not know of the treaty or ignored it wholly, and made raid upon the Chippewas, which renewed hostilities at once.
When the writer of these annals first came to Wabasha, in the spring of 1857, the teepee of the Indian was to be seen in every direction, and the dusky form of the savage might be expected to walk in upon you, or be seen peering curiously at you through the window at any time. Usually they wanted food or "coshpop" (the Indian term for ten cents), begging being one of their strong characteristics. Just below the house in which we lived stood a little copse of wood, where the death-song of the "poor Indian" was heard many times when he thought himself dying; the "fire-water" of the white man proving too much for him. He would get thus far on his way back to the teepee, lie down, as he thought, to die, and then the terrible wail would begin and continue until the poor fellow was overcome and dead-drunken sleep drowned all sensibilities. Their dances, too, were very frequent and dreadfully hideous, yet apparently enjoyed with all the zest their benighted brains and energies could desire. Their medicine and war-dances were the most frequent; they had also a snake-dance, which took in all the serpentine antics and hisses, while the monotonous beatings of their drums was most unearthly.
Sitting at our dinner table one day, we were startled by the door being opened suddenly and five dusky faces, one above the other, peering in at us, the last one with face painted black and red, with mischief-gleaming eyes and two feathers in his hair. Our eldest son, who, in a short time, had caught much of the Sioux language, upon seeing the last face, jumped up and accosted him with, "Now, Dick, what does all this mean?" "Indian hungry," was the reply. "But why are you here with that face?" "Dick dandy," he replied, and it appeared that he had painted and dressed himself in those habiliments for our especial benefit. The Indian was known ever after as "Dandy Dick." In the raid upon the whites, in 1862, Dandy Dick came to grief as one of the marauders, although protesting his innocence and pleading hard for life. He was finally removed, with many others, to the Santee agency, Nebraska. Among those banished to that reservation at that time was the old and faithful Sioux, Ta-mah-haw, who had been a friend to the United States all his life. He was familiarly known as "the one-eyed Sioux," and Lieut. Pike speaks of him as "my friend" in his journal, and also says he was a war chief, and that he gave him his "father's tomahawk." In the table of the appendix of this journal he is set down as belonging to the Medaywokant'wans; he was also the "the Bourgne" (French for one eye), but his Dahkota name was Ta-mah-haw, his French name was "L'Orignal Leve," and his English, "The Rising Moose." He was born as Prairie Aux Ailes (Winona), and in his younger days was noted for his intelligence, daring and activity. During a game in boyhood one eye was accidentally destroyed, giving him the peculiarity by which he was always known. In person, he was tall and of fine appearance, muscular and active even to the day of his death. During the war of 1812 he rendered most valuable service to the American cause. Gen. Clark, of St. Louis, employed him as scout and messenger, and, with one exception, he was the only Sioux who remained friendly to us during that contest. This other was Hay-pie-dam, who belonged to the band of Wakuta. Col. Dickson, the British leader, once had him arrested at Prairie du Chien and threatened him with death, but Ta-mah-haw bravely and firmly refused to betray his cause. Gen. Clark esteemed his services highly, and on May 6, 1814 (sixty-nine years today) gave him a commission as chief of the Sioux nation, together with a captain's uniform and medal. He carefully kept and treasured this commission and shows it with genuine pride to every new comer. Most of the early settlers are familiar with his characteristics, always wearing a high-crowned hat, and often appearing in an officer's blue swallow-tailed coat and epaulets, given him by Gov. Clark. He was remarkable among the Sioux, and it was his highest pride and boast that he was the only American in his tribe. He deserved, on this account, to receive from the government authorities special consideration; yet he was suffered to go away in banishment from his old friends the white men, which grieved him so much that he died in a few months. In the Dahkota tongue Ta-mah-haw means "pike." He was given that name by his band, undoubtedly on account of friendship for and intimacy with Lieut. Pike.
It may be thought that too much pains [sic] has been taken to elucidate the history of this man, but he was more than an ordinary Indian, and his personal friendship for Lieut. Pike, of whom he delighted to talk, and his devotion to the American cause, justly attaches to his history more than ordinary notice.
Old Wapashaw, the grandfather of the present chief who bears his name, was the man of his time, and tradition has preserved the name of no braver, greater man than he. He was the leading hereditary chief of the People of the Lakes, and in all tribal affairs his words was law, not only with his own particular band, but with all those belonging to the same division. At one time he went to Quebec to settle some trouble in relation to a murder which had been committed, and there he represented the Dahkotahs as living in seven bands, with as many chiefs, of whom he was one. He there received for them seven medals, one being hung around his own neck, and the remainder to be given one to each chief of the other bands. Wapashaw died far away from his home on the Hoka river, and, it is said, the father of Wakuta was the physician who attended him in his last illness. The Dakotahs will never forget the name of Wapashaw, and their affections cluster around and cling to this place from very reverence to his memory.
I copy from the "Wabasha Herald" the particulars of an interview with Wakuta, the last Sioux chief who dwelt on the Mississippi, and who is said to have possessed on of the medals given Wapashaw at the time of his visit to Quebec: "A few days since we had the pleasure of looking at a few old relics in the shape of parchments, commissions, treaties, etc., which privilege was granted us by an old Indian chief, Wakuta by name, at present located at the Santee reservation in Nebraska with his tribe, and who is paying his old friends and acquaintances here a visit. The first document shown us was a commission to Tatangamanie, or "walking Buffalo," appointing him as grand chief of the Gens de Lac Nation (Men of the Lakes), and signed by James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the army of the United States and governor of the territory of Louisiana and superintendent of the Indian affairs, indorsed as follows: "Given under my hand and seal of arms, at St. Louis, this 27th day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and six, and of the independence of the United States of America the twentieth." Signed by "his excellency's command, James Wilkinson." Also another, bearing date August 26, 1812, appointing Walking Buffalo as first chief of the Mendewacouton band, which constituted all the Sioux on the Mississippi river; also another, appointing Walking Buffalo chief of the Tribes of the Lakes, signed by Wm. Clark, governor of Missouri, bearing date July 29, 1815. He had another documnet, a treaty of peace, signed at St. Louis in 1815 by the following chiefs and commissioners: Wm. Clark, Marian Edwards and Aug. Choteau, commissioners, and Tatangamanie, the "Walking Buffalo;" Hai-saw-nee, "The Horn;" A-am-pa-ha, "The Speaker;" Na-ru-sa-ga-to, "The Hard Stone;" Hai-ba-had, "The Rounding Horn," chiefs.
These papers are in a good state of preservation, and the one bearing date of 1806, is written in both English and French, while the others are all in English. From these papers it appears that Walking Buffalo was grand chief of the Gens du Lac Nation (People of the Lake), and also chief of the Men-da-wa-con-ton band, which included all the Sioux of the Mississippi river. The documents were handed down by Walking Buffalo to his brother, Wakuta, the "Red Wing," who in turn gave them into the possession of his son, the present chief, who is seventy years old at this time. The domain of the Tribe of the Lake Band extended from Read's Landing to Red Wing, and the domain of Wapasha extended from the same point to the mouth of the Black river.
Although Wakuta spoke in the Sioux language, we were able to glean a good many interesting facts from him through his nephew, Jos. Carron, and only regret that our education in that language was neglected in our early days, depriving us of a further research.
Although seventy years old, Wakuta does not appear to be over forty. On showing him a specimen of a stone axe claimed by many to be of the stone age, he said that the Indians used it for almost everything in their everyday life. On handing him a piece of pottery that was supposed to be the handiwork of the mound builders, he immediately recognized it as a part of an Indian cooking utensil. This was handed him for the purpose of finding out whether he knew anything of such a race, and upon being questioned, said many years ago, which he counted by the five or six hundred, there was a nation of people (he called them Indians) that lived in what is now known as Indians mounds, and instead of burial-places they were their habitations. This race, he says, disappeared when his people came, and thinks they were either killed or driven off. He also said that when the present Indians came to this land, there were a couple of houses standing near the present town of Stockholm, Wisconsin, on Lake Pepin, which he thinks must have been built by the French voyageurs. The old chief has been over nearly the whole of the United States, and immediately recognized a bird's-eye view of the city of New York, and laid another as a scene on the Hudson. From our limited "talk" we judge that he was "well read," as they say in the United States, and was well informed of the events of his time, and had stowed away many traditions of the nation and country he represented, of which the modern historical researcher would gladly avail himself.
An incident on Lake Pepin is also given in the shape of a fish story ~ an old Indian story told and handed down from time to time ~ that a catfish was caught in the lake that measured the length of seven bows between the eyes. An Indian bow being, say, about three feet in length, would make the fish some twenty-one feet between the eyes, which makes a pretty large fish story, and should be placed side by side with the sea-serpent stories of the east. As fishy as it may seem, they tell it as a fact, and all give the same version. At the date of this writing Wakuta is dead, having died at the Santee agency. Their old camping-ground at this place was very dear to them, and they would return at times to visit their friends and relatives among the half-breeds who still remain here, and upon what is called the "Grand Encampment," five miles below on the river. It was given that name by the old French voyageurs who made it a point to camp there on their way up and down the river. Teepeeotah, as remarked in a former chapter, is situated on this encampment.
In the preceding chapters it has been shown that Wabasha justly lays claim to being the oldest town on the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien to Fort Snelling and Mendota, and that its position has ever been an important one. Situated, as it is, just below the mouth of the Chippewa river, it has been the rendezvous for all the lumber rafted down that river, and from this place to the great markets below, ever since the manufacture of lumber began from the pineries above. The lumber, after coming out of the Chippewa, is re-rafted at this point and sent down the river, and now much of it goes farther west by means of the railroad communication with other points. The Midland road intersects the Northwestern at Zumbrota, and the prospect is that the road will be continued to Austin, and thus direct transportation be opened from the great lumber manufactories themselves to Omaha and other points west. A goodly number of smart, enterprising villages have sprung up along the line of the Midland, the first being Glasgow, then McCrackens, at which point there is a never-failing spring of pure water, Theilmanton, Tracey, Keegan, Millville, Jarrett, Hammond, Funk, Zumbro Falls, Mazeppa, Forest Mills, Zumbrota. All these stations are of considerable importance as shipping points, and several possess extensive grain elevators; and all these are tributary to Wabasha. With these and many other advantages the city of Wabasha undoubtedly has a grand future before it.
Stillwater claims to have been the first settled town in the state, which is a mistake. That city was first settled in 1843, and Wabasha dates back to 1838 and 1841, being christened "Wabashaw" in 1843. For beauty of location Wabasha is unexcelled, and the sunset from the place is most enchanting. Just at the outlet of Lake Pepin the river makes a bend, which from this point seems to bring the bluffs of Wisconsin and Minnesota very close together, leaving just space enough to see the sun in all its glory as it sinks to rest in the placid waters of the lake, and its last rays light up the bluffs on either side with a golden radiance that fills the heart with rapture at the beautiful scene. It is in the month of June especially charming, and would quite repay a little journey to the place by any lover of beautiful scenery, just to have one look at this enchanting sunset.
More than a century ago traveling fur traders would ascend the Mississippi for the purpose of trading with the Indians and obtaining valuable furs, of which they usually had an abundance, their headquarters being at Prairie du Chien. Mention has been made of some of these traders, and it seems fitting that this work should give some notice of some of the most prominent of these, particularly those who at times have either lived here or transacted business with others who did. A sketch has been given of Mr. J. B. Faribault, and it seems most fitting to introduce just here a sketch of his son-in-law, Mr. Alexis Bailly, as he figured largely in the early history of the place. Most of the pioneers of Minnesota, as a class, have been men superior in morality, intelligence and education to those of the pioneers of the earlier territories, and they have left their impress upon town and state. Many of them were attracted to this wild region from the love of adventure, or of the chase, there being just enough danger always to give zest to frontier life, more than mere love of gain; yet they were by no means free from the frailties and vices of poor human nature, and were not especially given to respect law, especially when it favored the speculator at the expense of the settler.
Mr. Bailly was born at St. Josephs, near the shore of Lake Michigan, but received his education at Montreal. When about nineteen he came to Mackinaw as clerk for the American Fur company, and remained there some two years. In 1826 he was employed by the company to drive some cattle to the Red River of the North, and he, with eight others, made the trip on foot, leaving Mackinaw the middle of May, reaching their destination late in October. Upon their return they lost their way, going between two and three hundred miles to the west, striking the shed waters of the St. Peters river (now Minnesota) instead of those of the Sauk, as they had intended. They endured almost untold hardships, going several days without any food, except a few kernels of dry corn, but finally succeeded in reaching Prairie du Chien without loss of life. Mr. Bailly was a man of fine business habits, and was an intelligent and very genial companion. He was married twice, his first wife being the daughter of J. B. Faribault, who died in Wabasha. Several years after, he married, at St. Paul, a Miss Julia Corey, of Cooperstown, New York, who is still living here.
At the time Mr. Bailly engaged with the fur company the wages of a good clerk was (sic) two hundred dollars per annum; that of an interpreter, one hundred and fifty dollars, and common laborers or voyageurs, as they were called, was (sic) one hundred dollars, with rations, which rations were of the simplest kind. The articles principally used in the trade with the Indians were blankets, calicoes, cloths, tobacco and cheap jewelry, including wampum, which served in lieu of money as a basis of exchange. During the winters the traders and their men ensconced themselves in their warm log-cabins, but in the spring it was required of them to visit the various Indian camps and secure the furs and peltries collected by the savages in their hunts. Goods were always paid for on delivery, and never given on credit.
Mr. Bailly commenced trading on his own account at Prairie du Chien in 1828, but removed to St. Peters (now Mendota) in 1835, and subsequently opened a store in St. Paul. Not meeting with the success he desired he removed to Wabasha, where he remained until his death in June, 1861. Mr. Bailly figured largely in the interests of the county, and did much to settle the difficulties in relation to the half-breed tract, and his eldest son, Alexis P. Bailly was the first register of deeds of the county. His second son, Capt. H. Bailly, was killed in the rebellion, at the battle of Lookout Mountain.
Mr. Bailly was the first civil officer in the county, being appointed justice of the peace, after the town of Wabasha was organized, by the governor.
He was at one time associated with N. W. Kittson in business, they holding trading-posts in different localities. Mr. Wm. H. Forbes, a brother-in-law of Mr. Bailly's, came to Minnesota as Indian trader in 1837. Mr. Bailly's trade was principally among the Sioux. Mr. Bailly, upon coming to Wabasha, bought out Labathe, of whom a rich anecdote is related by Hon. H. H. Sibley. Indian etiquette demands on all occasions that the visitor shall leave nothing unconsumed of the meat or drink placed before him. There was a tea-party given at one time at Fort Snelling by Capt. Gooding, of the army, and Joseph Laframboise, Alex. Faribault and Labathe were invited. It was in July, and the weather very warm. It appears that Laframboise spoke with fluency several different languages, and both he and Faribault were practical jokers. In due time the party were seated around the table, and the cups and saucers of those days were of the generous proportions ignored in these days. The large cup filled with tea was handed to Labathe and soon disposed of. At that time the poor fellow could speak nothing more of English than the imperfect sentence "tank you." When his cup was emptied, Mrs. Gooding, who was at the head of the sable, said, "Mr. Labathe, please take some more tea." Labathe replied, "tank you, madam," which the waiter understood to mean assent. He took the cup and handed it to the hostess, which was forthwith supplied with the tea. Labathe managed to swallow that, sweltering meanwhile with the fervent heat of the evening, and was again requested to permit his cup to be replenished. "Tank you, madam," was the only reply the poor victim could make. Seven great cups full of the hot tea had been swallowed, Laframboise and Faribault in the meantime almost dying with laughter. For the eighth time the waiter approached for the cup, when the aboriginal politeness which had enabled him to bear up amid his sufferings gave way entirely, and rising from his seat, to the amazement of the company, he exclaimed frantically, "Laframboise, pour l'amour de bon Dieu, pourquoi ne dites vous pas a madame qui je ne vout point davantage?" ~ "Laframboise, for the love of God, why do you not tell madam that I do not wish any more tea?" Gen. Sibley says Labathe never heard the last of that while he lived.
Mr. Roque, too, mentioned in preceding pages, affords another instance of the inconvenience of not being able to speak English. He only knew one compound word, and that was roast-beef, which he called "Ros-bif." At the time of his accompanying the delegation to Washington City, on being asked at the public-houses what he would be helped to, he could only say ros-bif! So, the old gentleman, although longing for a chance at the many good things he would have preferred, performed the round trip on ros-bif.
We find Mr. Bailly figuring largely in matters concerning the Sioux, to whom he was a good friend, and he is frequently mentioned in connection with the treaties made and also as justice of the peace. He married several couples while acting as justice of the peace of this county, and in 1852 acted as assistant commissary at the treaty with the Dahcotahs at Traverse des Sioux.
It became necessary that the territory bordering on the Red River of the North should pass into the hands of the United States government and become subject to the civil jurisdiction of the territory. President Fillmore departed from the usual mode of appointing commissioners for negotiation, and deputed the commissioner of Indian affairs, the Hon. Luke Lea, and His Excellency Gov. Ramsey to meet the representatives of the Dahcotahs and conclude a treaty with them for such lands as they might be willing to sell. A large number of half-breeds and others, citizens of the United States, who were originally a part of the Selkirk settlements, demanded protection of the government against the encroachments of the Hudson Bay company and the privileges of American citizens. On the 27th of June, 1852, Commissioner Lea arrived at St. Paul, and, in company with Gov. Ramsey, proceeded to Traverse des Sioux, arriving there June 30. This treaty was considered of great importance, the conditions being the ceding and relinquishment of all their lands in the territory and State of Iowa by the Wah-pay-kootah and Med-a-wa-kan-toans bands of Indians, the United States reserving for them a home the average width of ten miles on either side of the Minnesota river and bounded on the east by Little Rock river, on the west by the Yellow Medicine, paying them certain moneys and annuities to continue for fifty years. Another treaty, the same year, was perfected with the Tillager band of Chippewas, by which they ceded a country sixty-five miles in width by one hundred and fifty in length, intersected in its center by the Red River of the North, for this land the government agreeing to pay them annually the sum of ten thousand dollars for twenty years and thirty thousand dollars cash down. Mr. Bailly was spoken of at these treaties as "one of the most useful and active camp men that ever was."
At the Traverse des Sioux camp Mr. Bailly married, in the Episcopal form, David Faribault and Nancy Winona McClure, after which the groom gave a dinner, and all went to dine together. After the repast, toasts and speeches appropriate to the occasion flowed freely. One of the toasts was given by Joseph La Framboise, who was one of the oldest and most intelligent pioneers of the valley of the St. Peters. Hon. Wm. H. Forbes, who was also present at this treaty, gave as a sentiment, "Gov. Ramsey, ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs, a public officer who has, as he deserves to have, the entire confidence of the Indians under his charge." Gov. Ramsey gave "Millard Fillmore, a national president ~ a man worthy of his high trust." After dinner there was a virgin feast of young Dahcotah girls, nineteen in number, and fifteen young men. Before sitting down to the feast, consisting of tea and fried cakes, each of the party advanced and touched a red stone which was placed in their midst, this being the test oath of truthfulness and virtue. Mr. Wm. H. Forbes was present at this treaty; also Mr. Kittson, J. R. Brown and Hon. H. H. Sibley.
Minnesota is the "land of the Dahkotahs." Long before their existence was known to civilized men they wandered through the forests between Lake Superior and the Mississippi, in quest of the bounding deer, and over the wide prairies beyond, in search of the ponderous buffalo. They are an entirely different group from those found by the early settlers of the Atlantic States, on the Connecticut, Mohawk and Susquehanna rivers, and their language is much more difficult to comprehend; yet they have many customs common with the tribes who once dwelt in New England, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, while other peculiarities mark them as belonging to a distinct family of the aborigines of North America.
Winona, Wapashaw, Mendota, Anoka, Kasota, Mahkato, and other names designating the towns, streams and lakes of Minnesota, are words derived from their vocabulary. When they were first noticed by the European adventurer they occupied the country between the Mississippi and the headwaters of Lake Superior, which is a country of many lakes, and the voyageur gave them the name of "People of the Lakes." The word Dahkota, by which they love to be designated, signifies joined together in friendly compact, equivalent to the motto on the seal of the United States. In a history written by a catholic missionary nearly two centuries ago, it is remarked of the Dakotahs: "For sixty leagues from the extremity of the upper lakes, toward sunset, in the center of the western nations, they have all united their force by a general league."
This refers only to the Sioux tribes, which name originated among the early voyageurs. The Ojibways were a people whose ancestors had lived on Lake Michigan, but had been driven westward by the Iroquois. For centuries they had waged war upon the Dahkotahs, and the two nations were deadly foes. Many nations call the Dahkotahs Nadonessioux, the last two syllables being the Ojibway word for foe, but Charlevoix, who visited Wisconsin in 1721, says the name "Sioux" was entirely original with the voyageur.
From an early period there had been three divisions of this great people, which again had been subdivided into smaller bands. That division known as the M'dewakontons, or People of the Lakes, consisted of seven distinct bands, whose summer residence was in villages. These villages were situated at Wapashaw prairie, now the site of Winona, Red Leaf or Wapashaw, Red Wing, Kaponia on the Mississippi, and another at Lake Calhoun, another at the Little Rapids on the banks of the Minnesota, near the present village of Belleplaine. Old Wabashaw, long since dead, was the leading hereditary chief of the People of the Lakes, and in all intertribal affairs of importance his word was law, not only with his own particular band, but with all those belonging to the same division.
The authority of the chiefs was very great; but from the date of the first treaties negotiated with the government it began to decline, until finally the chief was considered the mere mouthpiece of the soldiers' lodge, the members of which constituted the only real power in the bands. Though the treaty of 1763 between France and England ceded all the territory within the limits of Wisconsin and Minnesota to England, yet for a long time the English did not obtain a foothold. The French traders, having purchased wives from the tribes according to their customs, managed to preserve a feeling of friendship toward their king long after the trading-posts at Green Bay and Sault St. Marie had been discontinued. This was the cause of so many French half- breeds, especially at Prairie du Chien, whose children and their descendants coming up the Mississippi settled in and around Wabashaw. Prairie du Chien was the great mart where all the tribes on both sides of the river annually assembled to dispose of their furs to the traders, who also had their Indian wives; and Carver speaks of their village, upon his arrival there, as being one of about three hundred families.
About the year 1785 Prairie du Chien made its transition from an encampment for Indians and their traders to a hamlet, and among its first settlers were Messrs. Giard and Dubuque. In 1780 the wife of a Fox warrior discovered a large vein of lead in Iowa, on the west bank of the Mississippi, and at a council held in Prairie du Chien in 1788, Julien Dubuque obtained permission to work the mines on and near the city which now bears his name, and on the bluff stands the little stone house that covers his remains.
After the treaty of 1783 between Great Britain and the United States, the British did not immediately surrender their posts, which led to much ill-feeling; and when Washington sent Baron Steuben, in 1784, to Detroit to take possession of that fort, the British commander refused to give possession, upon the ground that it was upon Indian territory. But in the treaty effected by Mr. Jay, Great Britain agreed to withdraw her troops from all places within the boundary lines of the treaty, and after France ceded Louisiana to the United States, in 1800, this part of Minnesota began to be settled by white people and French half-breeds, ~ Augustine Rocque, as before stated, being the first white settler at Wapashaw. In 1805, Lieut. Pike held a conference with the Sioux Indians, when they agreed to grant to the United States full power and sovereignty over these lands forever.
For more than a century there had been a westward tendency in the emigration of the Indian nations, and a frequent source of war was the encroachment upon each other's hunting- grounds, and in 1825 a congress of tribes was convened at Prairie du Chien to establish the boundary lines between the Chippewas and Sioux. This did not prove effectual, and in 1830 another congress was convened at Prairie du Chien, at which time the M'dewakantonwan band made a treaty, bestowing upon their relatives, the mixed bloods, this tract of land about Lake Pepin, since known as "the half-breed tract." This tract in said treaty is described as follows: "Beginning at a place called the Barn, below and near the village of the Red Wing chief, and running back fifteen miles, thence in a parallel line with Lake Pepin and the Mississippi about thirty-two miles to a point opposite O'Beuf or Beef river, thence fifteen miles to the Grand Encampment, opposite the river aforesaid." This reservation begins at Red Wing, Goodhue county, and runs through the town of Red Wing in a southwesterly direction, thence through Hay Creek township, including all of it but a small part of the northwest corner, including the southeast corner of Fetherstone township, all of Belvidere township and Florence; runs angling through Goodhue to section 31, thence southeast through Zumbrota, including the northeast corner thereof, to the town of Chester in Wabasha county; it runs diagonally and includes the northeast half of the town through Hyde Park, leaving the southwest corner of it which lies north of Hammond's ford; takes in most of Oakwood, except a part of the southwest corner; then striking the northeast corner of Elgin and runs diagonally across Plainview to section 24; from there it runs northeast through the town of Whitewater, in Winona county, diagonally through Watopa, including the northwest half of the town, taking in all of Highland and the most of Greenfield, through which it runs diagonally , leaving out the southeast corner, and strikes the Mississippi near the southeast corner of section 12, at what is called the Grand Encampment. It also includes all of the townships of Wabasha, Lake, Mount Pleasant, Guilford, West Albany and Glasgow, thus including all but a small part of Wabashaw county and a portion of Goodhue.
The year 1837 forms an important era in the history of Minnesota, as the first steps were then taken for the introduction of the woodman's ax and the splash of the millwheel. Missionaries were also sent out by a society from Lausanne, Switzerland, who arrived and located at Redwing and Wabashaw villages, but after a short time they abandoned the attempt to ameliorate the condition of the Dahkotahs. The same year a deputation of Dahkotahs was sent to Washington, and all lands east of the Mississippi were ceded by them to the United states, but this reservation was held as a a sacred bequest to the half-breeds, according to the treaty at Prairie du Chien in 1830. White men began to stop at Wabashaw, and settlements began upon this tract, yet disputes as to possession frequently arose, and the Indians being numerous, the safety of the white man was very precarious. There was often a hundred lodges, sometimes more, about Wabashaw, and it is easy to conceive how the natural love of the beautiful should prompt the red men to select this as their home and hunting-ground. Canoes lined the shore, and games, feasts and dances filled in the time, while long in the night the hollow beat of their drums, and the dismal screech of male and female, could be heard in the woods, trying to drive away the Evil Spirit, or cure some Indian sick man. In 1850 the population of this county was two hundred and forty-three souls. In the census of 1880 it was sixteen thousand one hundred and forty-nine.
The half-breed tract contained four hundred and fifty square miles. In 1854 the government appointed commissioners to enroll the half-breeds in order to divide the lands equally among them, and in the spring of 1857 Gen. Shields was sent on to issue land scrip to them, in place of these reserved lands, each half-breed receiving four hundred and eighty acres. This scrip made a nice haul for the sharpers, who in most cases figured them out of it. The French settlers at Wabasha received scrip for their wives and families. Joseph Buisson had seven scrips, Alexis Bailley had seven, Rocque's family had thirteen, Mr. Cratte had nine, Monette had four, Trudell had seven; Duncan and Scott Campbell had twenty-three, Francois la Batte had ten. Most of these have not a cent left.
Few of the old settlers remain, some have gone to other parts of the country, but most of them lie sleeping their last sleep, and the hunting-ground of the red man is now turned into fields of grain and flowering gardens. A beautiful city stands on the site of the old camping-ground, which a short time ago was lighted only by the council fires of the savage.