Wapashaw History


This information is from "Trade Goods"
Unfortunately, there is no email listed anywhere on the site,
so I was unable to ask for permission to publish this.
There are discrepancies with this research according to other information I have found.
See Comments below.



Wapashaw I ~ "Red-Bonnet" (abt.1656 - ?)

He was the son of Pine-Shooter and Opechanaoanough, born in the Mille Lacs area. He married an Ojibwe woman and their son was Wapashaw II (b. abt.1682).

Written information on the earlier hereditary civil Mdewakantan Chiefs of the Wapashaw Dynasty are few, making it extremely difficult to compile a biography. I am attempting to outline the info available in written form here but I am hoping those of you who have oral tradition on the family will help me fill in the gaps and correct any errors in the page.

Other names associated with the Wapashaw (Wabasha) name are: Wapasha, Wahpasha, Ouabacas

In 1640, nearly 40 years after the Europeans explored the northern North America east and west coasts, Jesuit Relation records this information:

Jean Nicolet obtained on his visit (1634) to Green Bay, visiting the Winnebago - a Siouan tribe whose language and culture are more closely related to the Iowa, Oto and Missouri Siouan tribes than the Sioux and documenting a tribe called "Naduesiu" to the west, the Algonquian name for the tribe meaning snakes - the French version of the name becoming Scioux or Sioux. The Winnebago name for their distant relatives, the Sioux, was Caha. It was probably about this time that the Assiniboine split off from the Yankton (Nakota) Sioux and migrate north into Cree lands. It appears by this time period the Winnebago have been cut off from their distantly related Siouan tribes of the Iowa, Oto, Missouri and Sioux due no doubt to the Iroquios wars in the east which forced the Algonquian tribes to migrate west. The Ojibwe into the north western Winnebago lands and the Fox/Sauk into the southwestern Winebago lands.

In 1660 Radisson and Groseillier visited the Sioux and at this time period they were seeking the firearms that their enemy the Cree had already obtained from the French and were using against them. Radisson later took about 50 Sioux on a peace mission to the Cree and at another time visited the "nation of the beefe" or "Prairie Sioux" to the west.

1671 the Sioux drove the Ottawa-Huron refugees from the Mississippi valley.

On 2 July 1679, Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Luth (Duluth) visited the "Sioux of the Lakes" village on Mille Lacs called Izatys. This was a Santee Sioux or Dakota village.

In the Spring of 1680, Michel Accault-Dacan, Antoine Dugay-Auguel dit Picard and Father Louis Hennipen were sent by LaSalle up the Mississippi to the Sioux. They were escorted by a Sioux war-party to the Izatys village on Mille Lacs. The principle Chief on Mille Lacs was documented by Hennipen as Aquipaguitin.

In 1695 Pierre LeSueur escorted Mdewakanton Chief Tioscate (Teeoskahtay) to Montreal for council.

In 1700 Mdewakanton Chief Wankantape visited Pierre LeSueur on the Blue Earth River which is the southern tributary of the Minnesota River.


Wapashaw II / "Snow-Mountain" (abt.1682 - ?)

He was the son of Red-Bonnet and a Ojibwe woman, born in the area of Mille Lacs. His son was Wapashaw III (b. abt.1700-20).


Wapashaw III / "Red-Leaf" / Lafeuille / Ouabachas (abt.1700/20 - ?)

He was the son of Wapashaw II, born in the Cass Lake area. His children were: Wapashaw IV (b. abt.1773/76), Pelagia (b. abt.1779/81 and m. Augustin Ange dit St.Onge-Lefeure), Daughter (b. abt.1776 and m. Pierre Lapointe), Marpiyarotowin or "Grey Cloud" (d.1844 and m. James Aird, abt.1783), Daughter (b. abt.1775 and m. Joseph La Rocque) and Margaret (m.1st.Antoine Dubois and m.2nd.Joseph Rolette).

My husband, Harley Zephier, is a direct descendent from Augustin Ange and Pelagia Wapashaw. We are looking for more details about Augustin and Pelagia and their lives. Where did Augustin come from? Where did he meet Pelagia? Are there birth records of their children, especially Henry Ange - Harley's ancestor? Was he involved in the fur trade, and how? Was he part Native American? Whatever we are able to find out is of great importance for us. Monika Zephier

Wapashaw III was a Mdewakanton Civil-Chief until about 1776.

In 1736 Wapashaw III was accused of killing a Frenchman in Illinois Country.

In 1737 French traders were forced out of Sioux lands.

In the Spring of 1741 Ojibwe and Ottawa attacked Dakota killing 7 at one location and 11 at another.

In September 1741 about 200 Cree and Assiniboine attacked "Prairie Sioux." There were at least 70 Sioux warriors, as noted by Laverndrye. In October of 1741 "Sioux of the Lakes" Chief "Sacred-Born" visited Paul Marin to arrange a peace conference. At this time the Cree/Assiniboine and the Ojibwe/ Ottawa alliances were threatening the Sioux borders on the north and east. As a result, Sieur de LaRonde held an Ojibwe/Dakota peace council in 1741at LaPointe.

In Jan.1741 Marin held council with Dakota at the mouth of the Wisconsin River and in July of 1742 Marin was in Montreal at council. Sacred-Born" and "Leaf-Shooter" represented the Mdewakanton Sioux and spoke of raids on the "Prairie Sioux" which had killed 160 warriors. A peace was establish which seems to have lasted a while.

In 1740 Wapashaw III met Paul Marin on the Rock River with Sintez. Marin took them to Montreal council with Gov. Beauharnois.

About 1743-46, when word of the new French war (King George's War) reached Michilimackinac, a group of voyageurs deserted the French for the far west, some living among the Sioux.

In 1746 Paul-Louis Dazenard, Sieur Lusignan (command of the French post at Green Bay) was with the Sioux, attempting to bring the deserting voyageur back east. He was unsuccessful but did return with four Dakota Chief whom he takes to Montreal for a Council.

During 1750-54 Paul Marin and his son Joseph re-established trade with the Dakota. He helped the Dakota and Ojibwe negociate winter hunting grounds, giving the Ojibwe the right to use the Crow Wing Valley for the season of 1750-51 and allowing the Lapointe Ojibwe to hunt to the west of their village to Sandy Lake until about 1754. During this period the Sioux controlled the St. Croix and Chippewa Rivers (eastern tributaries of the Mississippi) being the eastern Sioux borders, and the headwaters of the Mississippi roughly defining their northern borders.

In the fall of 1753, Paul was recalled back to the east. Joseph Marin lost control of his father's formerly held northern trading region to Joseph Leverendrye, the French commander at Lapointe, who claimed today's northern Minnesota for his own benefit. It appears that Leverendrye encouraged the Sioux northern and eastern neighboring tribes to trespass on Sioux lands to obtain furs and he seems to have hampered Marin's attempts to gain a peaceful alliance between the Sioux and their neighbors. By the spring of 1754, Marin was lead to believe the Sioux claimed the lands from the mouth of the Wisconsin River, north to Leech Lake and most of the Mississippi tributaries between. He also learned that the Sioux intended to put a stop to the Ojibwe use of their lands and it appears as if peace had come to an end.

In 1754/55 the Sioux were in Montreal for a council. At the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754, French traders in Sioux lands were recalled to the east.

About 1756 Wapashaw was in Montreal, offering himself for the murder of an English trader killed by another Dakota.

In the spring of 1766, Alexander Henry was with the Ojibwe on Lake Superior and learned of a battle between about 400 Ojibwe and 600 Sioux. The Ojibwe lost 35 warriors. Jonathan Carver also left Michilimackinac for Sioux Country.

About 1770 the Ojibwe center of trade was moved from Lapointe to Sandy Lake.

In the spring of 1774, Peter Pond was trading with the Dakota on the Minnesota River and documents an increase in Ojibwe-Dakota fighting. The next spring the two tribes met in council at the mouth of that river and reached an agreement that each would stay on their side of the Mississippi.

In 1775 de Peyster held a council with the Sioux, sending Wapashaw and other Sioux representatives to Montreal

In 1778 Charles Gautier de Verville visited the Mdewakanton on the Upper St.Croix River and noted the Wahpetons moving closer to the mouth of the Minnesota River.

In 1778 Wapashaw visited Montreal and received a British General's commission. In July of 1779 he was at Michilimackinac.

In 1779-81 smallpox struck the Sioux villages.

In the summer of 1780, Wapashaw led his warriors on a attack on St.Louis for the British.

In July 1781, Spanish trader Pierre Dorion returned to St.Louis with six Sioux Chiefs for a council with Lt. Gov. Cruzat.

In 1783 George McBeath was sent by Mackinac commander Capt. Dan'l Robertson to hold a council at Prairie du Chien when British announced an end to the war. He met with the Sioux there in May of that year. Between 1783 and 1805 they moved their village to near the mouth of the Upper Iowa River.

1784 Joseph Calve was sent to hold council at Prairie du Chien by Robertson.

In July of 1786 Joseph Ainse, representing the British Indian Department, held a council at Prairie du Chien where the Sioux were represented.

In July of 1787, Wapashaw's son led Mdewakanton warriors against Ojibwe, as others were negotiating a peace between the tribes.

1788 Jean Bte. Perrault was trading on a tributary of the Wisconsin River, bartering rum for fur with members of Wapashaw's village.


Wapashaw IV / "Red-Leaf" / Lefeuille / "One-Eye" (abt.1765/77 - 1836)

He was the son of Wapashaw III

In May of 1805, Robert Dickson accompanied Eastern Sioux, including 30 representatives of Upper Mississippi and Des Moine River Sioux, to hold council with American General James Wilkinson.

In 1815 Wapashaw and Little Crow visit the British on Lake Huron.

In 1816 he was at British council on Drummond Is. with Little-Crow.

In 1817, the civil Chief, sub-Chief Wazzacoota, of the Mdewakanton village was at Prairie aux Ailes (Winona, Minnesota), when the American officer Stephen H. Long arrived.

In 1823, Keating, who was on S. H. Long's second expedition into the area, met Wapashaw IV near Winona, Minnesota and described him as "...The Chief is about 50 years old, but appears older. His prominent features are good and indicative of great acuteness and an observing disposition; his stature is low; he has long been one of the most influential of the Dakota Indians, more perhaps from his talents in council than his achievements in the field..."

In the summer of 1836, Wapashaw IV died of smallpox.


Wabasha V (abt.1800 - 1876)

He was the son of Wapashaw V, born in the Winona, Minnesota area.


These comments are from a chat with Chris Miller, collector and researcher of the Wabasha ~ Winona area:

Chris: I have been trying to verify from my research that Wapasha II started the Keoxa camp (Winona), and not Wapasha I or someone before that. The numbering here is confusing. I think the researcher should rename his first few Wabashas and fix the numbers just because it contradicts everyone else.

Barbara: He calls Wabasha I "Red Bonnet" when I thought that was Wabasha II, and he calls Wab IV "One-Eye" when I thought that was Wab II, also.

Chris: He takes "our" Wabasha III and calls him Wabasha V. He names "our" eyepatch Wabasha II as Wabasha IV when the one he is the son of is certainly "our" Wabasha I.

Chris: I've found more contradictions. Claims of Wapasha III being known for his red hat (never seen a pic with him with one on). Claims that Wapasha's Cap which became Sugar Loaf is one of the afton hills near Hastings (nothing to do with Winona). I've seen variations of this one: Wapasha and another chief (not sure, could have been Red Wing) were having a dispute at Red Wing. During it, a wind came and blew his hat away. Wapasha's band went down south a ways and found that the hat and come to rest and had turned into a mountain (Sugar Loaf at Winona). Another legend has a dispute among the Dakota, but the result is that a single mountain splits into Barn Bluff and Sugar Loaf (the Loaf part drifting town river)

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