Winona County, Minnesota CHAPTER FIVE: PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS
Pages 47-61 (excluding page 51-52) From the book
"History of Wabasha County" Published in 1884
Concerning Wabasha and Winona Counties in Minnesota
A point has now been reached in this paper where it will be more convenient to use the pronoun of the first person singular, and accordingly I will say that my recollections of the passage of Gen. Scott and his troops up the lakes, in 1832; my intimacy with Indians, annually renewed by their visits to Detroit and Malden, Canada, to receive payments; my acquaintance with all the old-time French for traders and their offspring, at Detroit, and of the traditions told me by the Snelling boys of their father and their grandfather, Col. Snelling, all conspired to imbue me with a romantic idea of "going out West into the Indian territory that has never yet been realized. At my father's table I had heard Col. Boyer, the Indian agent at Green Bay, speak in glowing terms of that beautiful sheet of water and its rock-bound islands and harbors; and I had also heard the Williams, of Pontiac and Saginaw, as well as my mother's cousin, Dr. Houghton, speak in my presence of Indian traditions relating to silver and copper mines upon Lake Superior. I asked myself then, with boyish fancies, why I could not find one. My dreams of the conquest of fortune was at first rather rudely dispelled upon my arrival at my brother's house, but upon mature reflection I decided not to return to Detroit.
I found my brother in very poor health and about to move to the upper Mississippi. The climate of this lovely region, even at that early day, was extolled by the fur traders for is salubrity, and for persons suffering from any form of lung disease it was thought to be almost a specific. Exposures and excesses frequently incident to frontier life had left their marks upon Willard, and I at once decided to aid in his removal to a dryer atmosphere.
Will bought of the Chippewas and fitted out two of their largest bark canoes, and after selling to Mr. Lacy, of Green Bay, all of his stock of furs, and loading his sloop, "The Rodolph," with choice maple sugar, he closed out the remnant of his winter stock of goods to the Indians encamped on the shores of Green Bay, taking in payment their choicest furs and peltries.
Upon his arrival at the city of Green Bay all of the purchases made from the Indians were disposed of at enormous profits, including one of the bark canoes, capable of carrying about four thousand pounds. The other canoe Will loaded with the lighter fabrics of his trade, and, after a few days' delay in procuring a suitable pilot, or guide, started up through the rapids of Fox river.
My brother was accompanied by his wife, nee Matilda Desnoyer, who was of the old French stock of Desnoyers, myself, a voyager, and an old Menomines Indian pilot, who spoke Chippewa well, and said he belonged to the band of Osh-kosh. The Indian went with us only to the head of the rapids, or foot of Lake Winnebago, as agreed upon, but gave us so clear a description of the route to be followed to Fort Winnebago, that we reached that ancient portage without assistance or difficulty.
At the Buttes dy Mort (the mounds of the dead), we founds a most intelligent mixed-blood trader, named Grignon, a descendant of the celebrated French officer Langlade, who offered us generous hospitality and inducements to remain with him. I think that the maiden name of my brother's wife, Desnoyer, influenced the old trader upon its incidentally becoming known to him, for he spoke in the highest terms of the Desnoyer family as personal friends of his in troubled times. Grignon told us that "the mounds of the dead" had no relation to the battle with the Fox Indians, fought on the opposite side of the stream, but were ancient tumuli, of which none but the most vague traditions existed.
After a day's rest, we pushed on up through the intricate windings of Fox river.
We were not very heavily loaded, our cargo consisting for the most part of calicoes, re, green and blue cloths, blankets, cutlery, beads, and other baubles, so that upon the whole our trip was a very pleasant one. Some of the Winnebagoes encountered on the way were at first inclined to be somewhat surly, and demurred to the prices fixed upon the goods, and no doubt our firm and nonchalant demeanor was all that prevented an attack from one encampment, where it was intimated a tribute would be acceptable. This intimation angered my brother, and in a choice vocabulary of blank Chippewa, which their association with the Menominees of Green Bay enabled them to understand, Will poured into their unwilling ears sounds that utterly silenced them. The Ho-chunk-o-raws, or "Sweet Singers," as some translate their name, changed their tune and brought out their remaining furs, and would have loaded our frail bark at our own prices, to the top of the gunnels.
Willard expected to sell the furs collected on this journey at Fort Winnebago, but failed to do so, as the enterprising trader and commercial traveler of the St. Louis, or Choteau Company, had already made his annual rounds, and had started for Prairie Du Chien. However, bu some unexpected delay, we met La'bath after we had started from the Portage, and were assured of a sale at "La Prairie."
At the Portage, our canoe and its bulky cargo were transported by wagon to the Wisconsin, down which, after having been "pocketed" a few times in misleading channels, we journeyed triumphantly.
At Prairie Du Chien, we met Charles Le Grave, a merchant, whose family I had known in Detroit, and also the trader La'bath, bother of whom were willing to purchase our furs, but at reduced rates.
We did not quite realize expectation in the final sale of our Indian commodities for the season had too far advanced for the profitable sale of furs. Consulting with Le Grave, after a long conversation with La'bath regarding the upper Mississippi, we took their advice and decided to go to the "Soaking Mountain," known now as Trempealeau.
We were told that in the near future the site of the village would be the emporioum of trade, and we were assured of a hearty welcome from a hospitable Kentucky pioneer named Reed. By the treaty of November 1, 1837, the Sioux and the Winnebagoes mixed bloods ceded to the United States all their territory on the east side of the Mississippi, and it was supposed by the old traders that town sites would become of great value. Francis La'bath, though a half-breed Sioux, had the energy, if not the business capacity, of a railroad magnate, and as a trader and collector of furs for the American Fur Company, he had become familiar with the Indian territory of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers.
In addition to his trips of purchase for the fur company he had personal interests to supervise, for he had established small posts and wood-yards at several points for trade on the Mississippi between Prairie du Chien and Lake Pepin. La'bath's first post was at the head of the "Battle Slough," where Black Hawk was defeated, and it was generally managed by La'bath in person. He had another small post on the east side of the river, about three miles below La Crosse, that commanded the trade of Root river and vicinity and was an important winter poet. Root river was known to the Winnbagoes as Cah-he-o-mon-ah, or Crow river, and not the Dah-he-rah, or Menominee river, as stated by some writers. The Sioux also called Root river Cah-hay Wat-pah, because of the nesting of crows in the large trees of its bottom lands. In the winter of 1888-9 James Douville and Antoine Reed (Canadians) established themselves at Trempealeau in the interest of La'bath, but more to hold the town site than for the purposes of trading with the Indians. A wood-yard was established on the head of the island opposite Trempealeau, and some land cultivated by Douville, but nothing of consequence done to induce a settlement at Trempealeau. La'bath was a cousin of the last chief Wah-pa-sha, and as a half-breed was allowed to establish himself where white men were prohibited from settling.
La'bath was a cousin of the last chief Wah-pa-sha, and as a half-breed was allowed to establish himself where white men were prohibited from settling.
In accordance with La'bath's privileges he was interested in the half-breed tract at what is now Wabasha, and had petty posts established at every point where trade might be secured. At or near what is now Minnesota City, on the Rolling Stone, Labeth placed his nephew, Joseph Bonette, to trade with the Wah-pa-sha band, and abandoning his lower posts, established one a few miles below the mouth of White-water, at a point known as the Bald Bluff. The post was known to the Winnebagoes as Nees-skas-hay-kay-roh, of White-water Bluff, while his Rolling Stone post was called Nees-skas-hone-none-nig-ger-ah, or Little White-water. The Sioux name for White-water is Minne-ska, and for Rolling Stone E-om-bo-dot-tah. Wat-pah, like many words in Indian, is to be understood. It should be understood that most of the petty posts established on Indian territory were temporary huts of logs for winter quarters, occupied and again abandoned when no longer serviceable to an ever-changing trade.
A short time previous to the breaking out of the Black Hawk war, a war-party of Sauks attacked an encampment of Dah-ko-tahs on Money creek. The young daughter of the Sioux war-chief, Wah-kon-de-o-tah was captured and was being hurried from the camp, when her cries were heard by her father. With a spirit worthy of his name he rushed through the rear guard of the foe, and with his own war-club alone brained three of those who had opposed the rescue of his child. At the sound of his war-whoop his braves instantly came to his support, and few of the Sauks were left to tell of their defeat. This attack, though so bravely repulsed, alarmed the Wah-pa-sha band, and after the fight they made their principal encampment in Wisconsin, near the Trempealeau mountain, until after the treaty of 1837. Their spring gatherings and dances were still held, however, at Keoxa. This statement was recently given me by a half-blood Sioux and Winnebago relative of Wah-pa-sha, who was in the fight of over fifty years ago on Money creek.
This statement is confirmed by the Grignons, who inform me that their uncle La Bath vacated many petty posts when threatened, and re-occupied them again when the supposed danger was past.
The post at the Rolling Stone was finally abandoned in about 1840. Joseph Borrette, who was then in charge of La Bath's trading post, built a small cabin near the site of the Green Bay elevator, at East Moor, which served as a winter post until about 1843, when it too was abandoned. During the winter of 1842-3 I attended a payment held in the oak grove below where the elevator now stands, and which, I think, proved to be the last one made individually to the Wa-pa-sha band. Mr. Dousman and others from Prairie du Chien were present to look after their interests, but with all their sagacity and experience there were transient traders enough with "spirit water" to gobble up a liberal share of the five-franc pieces then paid the Indians, to the no small disgust of the agent. All after-payments were either paid in goods, or it in coin, the payment was paid in bulk at Fort Snelling. La Bath's relationship to Wa-pa-sha gave him great personal influence, and by his advice James Reed was selected and appointed as their farmer and storekeeper. Soon after Reed's appointment he employed Alexander Chienvere, a son-in-law, to break fifteen acres of land at the Gilmore valley for the band, and Charles H. Perkins, who married Miss Farnam, Reed's stepdaughter, was soon after employed to break ten acres more for Wah-pa-sha on the east side of Burns' creek, on what is now Miss Maggie Burns' farm. When that work was done the chief declared himself well satisfied, and sent the workmen back to Reed.
La Bath himself was employed by the fur company for a number of years, but his nephew, Joseph Borrette, kept up the trade of his uncle, with varying success, until about 1844, when all of the petty posts were abandoned. Those old cabins served as stopping-places in winter for the old mail-carriers, Lewis Stram, Baptist and Alex. Chienvere, and others, and the one on the Prairie Island above Winona was occupied by old Goulah, a French Canadian, who had been for some years in the service of La Bath, but, growing too old for journeyings in the wilderness, was placed in charge of a wood-yard established by La Bath on the island above the Wah-ma-dee bluffs, now Fountain City. But to return. We renewed our supplies of provisions and left "La Prairie" buoyant with hope, a south wind wafting our bark up the Me-ze-see-bee, or great river, of the Chippewas. We arrived at La Crosse in the delightful month of June, 1842, and were received by the trading firm of Myrick & Miller in a very courteous manner. They then occupied a mere shanty or small log cabin, but were at work upon the foundation of what afterward grew to a house of fair dimensions, through the architecture was somewhat of the composite order. To their original structure they afterward added a hewn block-house, Indian room, and frame addition, and this building, a warehouse, stable, and other outbuildings belonging to the firm, formed the nuclei of La Crosse. There has been some discussion between Mr. Nathan Myrick, of the old firm of Myrick & Miller, relating to the first settlement of La Crosse; and while I concede the possibility of a house having been erected on the prairie before that of Mr. Myrick's was built, I do not believe it, as no evidence of the fact was seen, or
the event talked of, by any of the old traders. On the contrary, Reed, who as a soldier had camped on the prairie some years before 1842, spoke of Myrick & Miller as the pioneer settlers of La Crosse. Even though a small cabin had been built before Myrick's arrival, running fires or government steamboats, the crews of which had to provide wood while on their voyages, would have removed every vestige of the fact of the building's previous existence; and besides this, until the ratification of the treaty of November, 1887, the Winnebago Indians would allow no permanent settlement upon their domain east of the Mississippi without a special arrangement with them.
Upon landing at La Crosse, Miller was especially hospitable, and offered to wager us "the skoots" that we would not find another such a chance for settlement as La Crosse afforded, and urged us to remain and help build up a city. We were not then very favorably impressed with the advantages claimed for La Crosse, but thanked Miller for his courtesy and interest in our behalf. Finding us firm in our purpose of visiting the "Rattlesnake hills," as he and Dousman called the Trempealeau bluffs, he volunteered to aid us in locating a claim, and to break up sufficient ground for a potato-patch should we return after seeing how immense the rattlesnakes were up at "Jim Reed's town."
Miller was a man of most generous impulses and strong attachment, but crosses rendered him as stubborn as resistance itself, and this quality subsequently marred his happiness.
After renewed assurances of good fellowship between Willard and Miller, mellowed, no doubt, by a few private interviews, we continued on up the broad river, resting in the shade of the forest-clad bluffs, while our light canoe ploughed its course at their base, or stopping at other times where a gushing crystal fountain invited us to blend its limpid waters with our midday lunch.
The Eagle's Nest (the remains of which may still be seen), now known as the "Queen Bluff," because of its surpassing beauty and perpendicular height, had living occupants, as we were informed, that had held possession for many years before. Subsequently they were dispossessed by Reed and some of his Dah-ko-tah friends to celebrate a war-dance. At Catlin's Rocks, now Richmond, we found the red paint discernible that marked Catlin's name; and had it been used to paint one of his savage chiefs, it would have rendered the canvas more imperishable than the rocks that still bear his name.
The wind rising up for a vesper breeze, we put on all sail, and in a short half-hour's run landed at Trempealeau.
James Reed, his son-in-law, James Dauville, Joseph Borrette, and others of the family, came down to the river bank to greet us, and after explaining our purpose in coming, and presenting a letter from Le Grave, Reed invited us to his house, and soon had his whole household interested in our welfare. We were invited to supper, and the manner in which it was done precluded a declination of the hospitality. We retired early, but not until a sheltered place for a winter home had been suggested for us by Reed.
Reed was at our camp early next morning, and leading the way to a most refreshing spring in a little valley above the present site of the village, Willard selected it for a temporary residence, until, as he said, he should be able to learn something of the country. We asked Reed in reference to danger from rattlesnakes, and were told that, to annoy him,.or retaliate for disparaging remarks he had made about a miserably poor dog having been used in naming the "Dog Prairie" (Prairie du Chien), Dousman had retorted by calling his Trempeleau village site "The Rattle-Snake Hills;" and the worst part of it is, said Reed, "he directs all his letters by steamboat in that way, and nervous people will scarcely land." It was evident to both Willard and myself that Dousman's name was not entirely a fiction, and we adroitly returned to the subject. Reed finally confessed that though he had been there but two years, having established himself in 1840, he had seen quite a number of rattlesnakes; but his hogs, he said, were fast exterminating them, and he hoped they would soon disappear, for, said he, "old hunter as I am, I step high in going through the ferns and grasses of the bluffs." The Winnebago name of the locality, Wa-kon-ne-shau-ah-ga, means the place of rattlesnakes on the river. We were told by Reed that it was the westernmost peak of the range that was called by Hennepin La Montaigne, qui Trompe-a L'eau, and that the name was a translation (probably understood by signs) of the Winnebago name of Hay–nee-ah-chaw, which signified about the same thing, that is, that the mountain was "getting pretty wet." The Sioux called the mountain Pah-ha-dah, "The Moved Mountain." La Crosse was so named by the French, because during the peaceful eras the most athletic of the Indian tribes in the surrounding country assembled to play Indian shinny-ball, called Wah-hin-hin-ah, staking horses, blankets, wampum, and sometimes even their squaw slaves, on the issues of their national game. The lower end of the prairie, near Michel's brewery, was the place of assembly; but the game of ball was so common among all Indians, that the name of their game was never given to a locality. At one time, along the foot of the bluffs, back of the sandy portion of the prairie, within the memory even of white settlers, that locality was famous for strawberries, and for this reason the Sioux called La Crosse Wah-zoos-te-cah, meaning the place of strawberries, when La Crosse was designated, but the Winnebagoes, more given to naming localities from peculiarities in the geological formation of their country, called the La Crosse valley to its junction with the Mississippi, E-nook-wah-zee-rah, because of the fancied resemblance of two prominent mound-shaped peaks north of La Crosse to a woman's breasts.
Coon creek was called Wah-keh-ne-shan-i-gah, and the mounds situated on Coon prairie were said to have been remarkable for the number of stone and copper implements found in and about them. Black river was appropriately called Minnesap-pah, by the Dah-ko-tahs, and Ne-sheb-er-ah by the Winnebagoes, both names signifying black-water. The Trempealeau river was called Ne-chaun-ne-shan-i-gah by the Winnebagoes, and Wat-a-Pah-dah, both meaning the overflowing river. The Chippewa was called by the Winnebagoes Day-got-chee, ne-shan-i-ga, meaning the river of the gartered tribe, as they called the Chippewas and the Sioux called it Ha-ha-tone-Wat-pah, meaning the river of the dwellers at the falls (as the Chippewas were known to the Sioux), as it was one of the principal routes of travel to the Chippewa country. Beef slough and Beef river were both called by the Sioux Tah-ton-kah-wat-pah, and by the Winnebagoes Te-chay-ne-shan-i-gah, because of the locality being the last resort of the buffalo east of the Mississippi, though some were seen on Trempealeau prairie at a very late date. The Winnebagoes called the sites of Winona, De-cone-uck, and the whole prairie Ose-cah-he-aitch-chaw, meaning the prairie village, or its equivalent. The Dah-ko-tahs called it Ke-ox-ah, translated to mean the homestead. The French called it La Prairie Aux-Ailes (pronounces O'Zell), or Prairie of Wing's, ~ for what reason I have been unable to learn, but as the Wah-pa-sha village was colonized from the Red Wing band, it would appear as if the Indians of the village of Ke-ox-ah might have been known to the early French traders as one of the Red Wing villages.
Ke-ox-ah seems to have a specific meaning, like Tee-pe-o-tah, or O-ton-we, both of which mean a village or collection of tents, but Reed thought "The Homestead" as good an interpretation as could be given the word. Reed was not a very good linguist, and said that he had been frequently misled like Gov. Doty, who, while mapping Fox river, supposed Ne-nah, or water, to be the Indian name of the river, and at once put it down on his map as Ne-nah, or Fox river, and for a number of years it so appeared on the official maps of the state. James Reed informed us that he had been in the United States army under Co. Zachary Taylor at Prairie du Chien, and that during trips to the pineries of the Chippewa, under command of Lieut. Jefferson Davis and others, the beauty of the site of Trempealeau, and the scenery of the river above and below had so impressed him that he had resolved to settle there when his term of service should have expired. His purpose was delayed for various causes, as he came to Prairie du Chien when quite young, but finally, after many years, Reed had established himself and was in comfortable circumstances. At the time of our arrival Reed had a large drove of cattle and young horses, which the Indians never stole, but would ride occasionally, to his great annoyance, as they galled the backs of his horses and thus exposed their brutality. The houses erected by Gavin, the Swiss missionary, and his associates, Louis Stram and others in 1837-8, upon the land now owned by the Trowbridge brothers, east of the Lake of the Mountain, were used by the Winnebagoes and their Sioux relations to catch the horses, as in fly-time the horses would go into the dark log cabins to escape these pests. During the summer of our arrival Reed burnt up the cabins to abate the nuisance, saying that they would never be of further use for missionary purposes. By the treaty of 1837 the Sioux, and the Winnebagoes allied to them, had agreed to remove west of the Mississippi. This agreement was not fulfilled until 1840, the year of Reed's settlement at "Monte-ville," as he used to call his location at times, and this fact will account for the persistent efforts of the Swiss to establish their mission. The Sioux Indians, according to Reed, were very willing to have Monsieur Gavin, Lewis Stram, and others on the east side of the Mississippi, cultivate corn and vegetables to five them (all for the love of God) but they preferred their dog-feasts, sun and scalp dances, to the pious teachings of the missionaries, and after one or two years of hopeless work the missionaries left their Trempealeau mission and farm work in disgust.
Like most Kentuckians, Reed was very fond of horses, and had improved his stock by the importation of a young thoroughbred stallion. The brute was a very intelligent animal, and refused to be ridden by any of Reed's family of boys, who were then quite young. Reed bantered me to ride the horse, saying, "If you will subdue him you can use him as your own:"
Reed himself was a good horseman, but thought himself rather old to ride the colt. I accepted the old Kentuckian's kindly offer, and so won upon him by subduing his stallion that a horse was always at my service. The stallion, a beautiful iron-gray, after a term of service, was sold to an officer at Fort Snelling.
James Reed was a remarkable man in many respects, and one of the best types of a pioneer hunter and trapper I ever knew. His first wife was a Pottawatomie woman, by whom he had five children, four of whom are still living; his son John, also a great hunter, died from a gunshot wound accidentally inflicted by his own hand while hunting deer. Reed's second wife was the widow of the trader Farnam, a partner of Col. Davenport, who was murdered at Rock Island a number of years since. Reed's stepdaughter, Miss Mary Ann Farnam, married Mr. Charles H. Perkins, and is still living near Trempealeau. Reed's last with was the estimable widow Grignon, mother of Antoine and Paul Grignon, of Trempealeau. Mrs. Grignon was the sister of Francis La Bath, the noted fur-trader, and a cousin to the younger chief Wah-pa-sha. She was first married to a French Canadian named Borrette, to whom was born Joseph Borrette, who so many years managed La Bath's post at the Rolling Stone.
To Mrs. Grignon-Reed and her intelligent family I am much indebted for interesting facts connected with the pioneer settlement of Trempealeau and Winona counties. Mrs. Reed's death was an irreparable loss to her family, and a subject of regret to all who knew her. For several years in succession Reed used the land cultivated by Louis Stram, the first Indian farmer, who had tried to act in concert with his countrymen the Swiss missionaries; and while thanking his stars for finding land already for his use, Reed said that the austere and industrious character of the missionaries rendered them unpopular with Wah-pa-sha and his band.
According to La ‘bath, both Stram and the government blacksmith at the present site of Homer were somewhat afraid of the Sioux Indians. Francis dy Chouquette, the blacksmith, removed his forge to the island opposite Homer, known as The Blacksmith's Island, and after a raid by a war-party upon the Wah-pa-sha village he left his forge and anvil upon the island and fled to Prairie du Chien. My brother Willard found the anvil and it was in use for some years in Homer. Upon the site of Du Chouquette's shop in Homer I occasionally find fragments of iron and cinder, and the spring, walled up by him, was intact only a few years since.
The next attempt to proselyte the Sioux and establish in their village at Winona was made by the Rev. J. D. Stevens, who, according to my information, had an appointment of some kind as farmer and chaplain. His efforts were no more successful than had been his Swiss predecessors Louis Stram and Mr. Gavin. Reed used to regard the discomfiture of Protestant missionaries with resignation, and say that is the Sioux would not receive the Roman Catholics, with the influence of the French mixed bloods to aid them, it was simply out of the question for Protestants to succeed.
According to Reed and La ‘bath, Stevens got lost in an attempt to reach the camp of Wah-pa-sha, but was found and kindly treated by one of the band, and after an interview with the chief, in which he was told that no white man would be allowed to settle on their territory, Stevens crossed over to the Wisconsin shore opposite Winona and made a temporary shelter for himself and assistants, and then left for provisions and to confer with the authorities. He finally abandoned his attempt to make unwilling Christians of heathen savages. La ‘bath could probably have changed the ordering of affairs in Wah-pa-sha's counsels, but it was not his interest to do so, and besides, he believed that but one revealed religion existed upon earth, the Catholic, which he professed. The half-breeds were all Catholics; and although they exerted a most potent influence against any Protestant interference with the Sioux, they never interfered with the medicine-men, but joined, like Frontenac, in their scalp-dances and ceremonies. Hence their great influence with them.
In 1841 another attempt to settle upon the site of Winona was made by Thomas Holmes and Robert Kennedy and their families, but they were not allowed to establish themselves on the prairie. After several offers made to Wah-pa-sha, and his refusal to allow the establishment of those men among his people, they opened a trading-post at the Wah-ma-dee, or Eagle Bluffs. This point of trade was for some years known as Holmes' Landing, but is now called Fountain City, from the numerous fountain-like springs that supply its inhabitants. Soon after we arrived at Reed's village of "Monteville," we made the acquaintance of Holmes and Kennedy and their families, and a man in their employ named Smothers. Tom Holmes, the moving spirit of the trio, was the most persistent of pioneers, and had aided in the early settlement of Rockford, and other towns in Illinois, and after leaving the "Landing," commenced the settlement of Shockpay [Shokopee? ~ mapquest shows a subdivision of the town named Holmes Park] on the Minnesota river.
Holmes' first wife was the sister of Kennedy, who was from Baltimore, and both were accustomed to good living and knew how to prepare it, as they had kept a hotel in Maryland. My brother and myself took dinner at their house while aiding Captain Eaton (of the firm of Carson & Eaton) to drive cattle up the Chippewa. Eaton and a man named Darby had had their horses stolen from them by the Winnebagoes near La Crosse, and were left on foot to drive a large drove of cattle. Near the head of what is now called the Mississippi slough six shots were fired at us by a small party of Sioux from Red Wing's band, one of which broke a leg of an ox, and the others cut twigs of trees over our heads. While this interesting target practice was going on I ambushed the Sioux riflemen, and but for Captain Eaton and my brother would have killed two of the war party, as I had them at my mercy. While relating our experience to Holmes, I observed a peculiar smile and glance of intelligence from his wife, and upon inquiry found that in our ignorance of Dah-ko-tah, Captain Eaton had offered a deadly insult to the Indians while trying to ask our way. However, the Red Wing band subsequently paid for the ox disabled by the Sioux, as I was informed, a year or two afterward.