By Leo

A minority in congress, feeling threatened by a rapidly changing society, seeks to cling to power and preserve white supremacy. To do this, they abuse institutional rules, make a mockery of the democratic process, and bring the Federal Government to a grinding halt. The consequences prove dire. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The year is 1850. The United States is growing rapidly: settling the Oregon boundary dispute, annexing Texas, and taking New Mexico and California from Mexico. In the north, Irish immigrants are flooding into the urban centers and building railroads that will carry German and Scandinavian farmers to the prairies of the West. This leads to Wisconsin’s statehood in 1848, and Minnesota and Oregon don’t seem far behind. The United States seems to be fulfilling its supposed “Manifest Destiny.”

The Ojibwe of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan are largely out of the way of this “progress.” However, they live on lands already ceded by treaty. Despite promises received upon signing that they could stay on this ceded territory, two things are working against that possibility. The most powerful trading interests have relocated from Lake Superior to the Mississippi They want to bring the Ojibwe bands, and the annuity money and government contracts that accompany them, to Minnesota. Secondly, the Office of Indian Affairs in Washington, is riddled with corruption, cronyism, and general incompetence, and still has Indian Removal as the default policy. All things being equal, in the Government’s eyes, the sooner Indians can get out of the way and be replaced with white settlers, the better.

But not all is sunshine and roses with this unparalleled American expansion. After all, Manifest Destiny is not the only white supremacist force in American society. There is also the complicating factor of the South’s “peculiar institution:” slavery.

For the first half of the 19th century, the slave states and their representatives in Congress were mostly left alone. Systemic protections in the Constitution, and a series of compromises to maintain a “balance of power,” alleviated southern paranoia despite the growing population of the industrial north. Abolitionists were still seen as a radical minority, and most northerners didn’t care one way or the other about slavery.

The Mexican War, however, shook up this uneasy union. One could argue that it had been a war for the expansion of slavery, but when the dust settled, only Texas appeared to be reliable ground for the forces of allowing human beings to own one another. Oregon would be free. The Mormon colony at Salt Lake would be free. And scariest, of all, California might be free.

To make matters worse, a faction of “Free-Soilers” was emerging in Congress. While not full-on abolitionists, these northern representatives, like David Wilmot of Pennsylvania and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, were bold enough to suggest that owning people should be banned entirely in the newly-acquired territories. In response, the southern presses began to talk openly of dissolving the Union, and the forces for enslavement in Washington dug in.

So, on February 6, 1850, when President Zachary Taylor issued the order to remove the Lake Superior Ojibwe to the Mississippi, few in Washington cared. They were preoccupied by another issue. That same month, California adopted a constitution and applied to enter the Union as a free state.

The Compromise of 1850 admitted California to the Union as a free state while forcing the Fugitive Slave Law upon the North. It was designed to avoid civil war, but only delayed it ten years while hardening each sides’ positions. The toxic and dysfunctional debate over the measures, paralyzed Congress and the United States failed to pay its debts to Indian nations, with horrific consequences (Library of Congress).

In theory, it shouldn’t have mattered. Beyond pork projects and nepotistic appointments, Congress and the President rarely took any direct interest in Indian matters, leaving that to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. The Commissioner, in turn, generally delegated responsibility to his superintendents and agents on the frontier. That was how a corrupt territorial governor named Alexander Ramsey and a barely-literate, sycophantic Indian sub-agent named John S. Watrous ended up in charge of the removal.

Ramsey and Watrous are often portrayed as the primary villains of the failed treaty payment that would become known as the Sandy Lake Tragedy. Hundreds Ojibwe people died of disease, starvation, and exposure in the winter of 1850-51. The governor and sub agent deserve plenty of the blame, for sure, but it should be stated that they stood to gain no benefit from death, misery, or failure. Furthermore, they anticipated the catastrophe and tried to warn Washington of the consequences of inadequate food out or if the money were to somehow not arrive.

That September, Watrous would call on the Ojibwe to skip their fall hunts and assemble at Sandy Lake, while he went to St. Louis to pick up the money for the treaty payments. Why did he not get back until late November, and why did he have no money with him? Slavery.

Every year, Congress had to pass appropriation bills in order for the executive branch to perform its constitutionally required duties. This included the obligations of the United States to fulfill its treaty obligations to Indian nations. This was largely a formality before 1850. Every spring, Congress would pass whatever budget the Indian Department proposed, generally without a lot of debate or delay.

1850 was different. As spring turned to summer preparations for removal were underway at La Pointe, but nothing was happening in Washington. The United States Government was absolutely paralyzed by the California Question. Pro-slavery senators and representatives, feeling their power slipping away, resorted to dirty tricks.


Hartford Courant

4 June 1850.  Pg. 2


The Washington correspondent of the New York Commercial Advertiser places the plans and plots of the Southern Members of Congress in the following light.

“The primary object of the arrangements is reported to be the rejection of the claims of California to admission upon any terms whatever, and the defeat of all schemes for the organization of governments for the territories which do not contain an express recognition of slavery.

The leading spirits of this movement in the Senate are reported to be Davis of Miss., Mason of Va. Yulee of Fla., Turney of Tenn.  In the House, Clingman of N. C., Inge of Ala., Toombs and Stephens of Ga., and Meade of Va., control and direct the organization.– Seventy-four members of the lower House are claimed as friendly to the proposed course of proceeding, and have, as is alleged, signed a formal agreement to stand by one another in anything necessary to give effect to their designs.

A prominent part of the plan is to prevent the passage of the annual appropriation bills, and if the Northern majority cannot be otherwise overcome, to force an early adjournment.  The appropriations for the current year of course expire at the end of June next.– Some few appropriations, such perhaps as the interest on the public debt, and the instalments annually payable in Mexico, are continued from year to year by permanent enactments, but with these exceptions all the expenditures of Government depend upon appropriations annually renewable.

After the 30th of June, no officer of Government from the President down to the lowest messenger, can receive one dollar in payment of his services, until the disbursement be ordered by Congress.  The case is the same with expenditures for the support of the judiciary, the army, navy and civil list.  They are all dependent for support upon the action of the legislature, under the clause of the Constitution which makes it the duty of Congress to grant supplies and of the executive officers only to make disbursements upon such authorities.”

It is very evident that the ultra slavery leaders came into Congress, this session, with these plans.  There has been, ever since the session commenced, an evident determination, as they were the minority, to hinder the transaction of business, and if they cannot defeat the Proviso and the friends of non-extension, in any other way, to do it by procrastination.  Such was the design of the ultra Southern Whigs, in their refusal to support Mr. Winthrop.  It was believed that months could be spent in delay, but the vote for a plurality choice broke up this plan, and flung the Speakership upon the very man they wished.  Such was the design of the ultra Southern Democrats in their refusal to support Mr. Forney for Clerk.

Business has, in this way, been hindered; nothing has been accomplished; a few trifling bills only have been passed; and the whole subject of slavery in the territories as far from being settled as ever.  It is very probable, likewise, that when the naked question of the admission of California is brought before the House, if it should ever be reached, the scenes of February 18th would be acted over and with success.  In the mean time, one of the latest numbers of the National Intelligencer shows, by its extracts, that uneasiness and agitation has commenced again at the South, and the experienced and shrewd editors of that paper see signs of another storm.  Would that the North were now united; that the opponents of slavery in Congress had no foolish party cliques to please, no mere party aggrandizement to plan, but would all march up to the breach in the walls of liberty, shoulder to shoulder, and accomplish their great object.


With the end of the fiscal year approaching on June 30th, failure to pass the appropriations bills was tantamount to both a government shutdown and a debt default. Still, the southern hardliners held on to their open obstructionism, trying to prevent California from entering the Union as a free state:


Hayneville (AL) Chronicle

29 June 1850, Pg. 2

The following article from the Mobile Register breathes the right spirit.  The rights of the minority must be protected in some way; and if the North, who have the majority in the unequal contest now raging between herself and the South, will not do us justice, let the Representatives of the South stop the wheels of government, by resorting to their rights under the rules, and withholding the appropriation bill.  Let this be done, and another effort will have been made to save the rights and honor of the South, without resorting to that “last extremity”–disunion, and he who then charges a disunion spirit upon the South, will charge a falsehood, with the facts of its refutation staring him in the face.

Aside from all this, we think such a course would be apt to result in bringing the North to her right senses.  The great mass of the funds appropriated by the government is expended and disbursed through the Northern States, and seldom a dollar, comparatively speaking ever reaches the South.  It is in fact the great prop of the Northern manufacturers and capitalists, who feed upon the hard-earned substance of the South, and, at the same time, are found vilifying her institutions.  ‘Fo show the shallow hypocrisy of these people, whenever they hear the subject broached before Congress: whenever they hear it hinted that the South will resort to this mode of settling the question, by withholding the appropriation bill, their high wrought philanthropy immediately sinks into non-entity.  The agitation for a time ceases, and the cry is heard going up from every town and village of the North, to their representatives, “Settle the question, settle the question.”

But, again, on the other hand, we of the South would lose nothing by the appropriation bill being withheld.  We gain nothing by it; and therefore are as well off without it as with it.  The South lives, emphatically by herself, and upon her own resources; and in no wise dependent upon a disbursement of the public funds.  Upon the question of benefit to the South arising from a disbursement of these funds, Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina, whose speech upon this subject was one of the most powerful and convincing among the many able speeches of the present session, and a man too who speaks without investigation, holds the following language:

 “The manner of disbursement is also adverse to our interests.  Of the forty odd millions which the Government purposes to disburse this year, I do not believe that five millions will in any way be expended in all the slaveholding States.  North Carolina, for example, is burdened to the extent of not less than four millions, and yet does not get back one hundred thousand dollars in any way from the Government.  The clear loss, in a pecuniary point of view, on account action of the Government, may be set down as not less than three millions annually.–The southern States generally are in the same situation.”

Why should the South hesitate then, to adopt this mode of self-defence, when she loses nothing by it, and when, at the same time, it may be the means of bringing the North to a sense of her duty under the Constitution?  But as remarked by the Register, in the discharge of this duty, beset by so many trials and embarrassments, our members will look for support at home.  This we know they will receive.  Let this mode of baffling the designs of these miserable pseudo-philanthropists, be carried out by the southern members, and they will be greeted by one common should of applause from one end of the southern States to the other:    


The North had its own hardliners, willing to force California’s statehood at all costs. Though the Free Soilers’ motivations are more understandable to us today, we should acknowledge they were also willing to play games with the process at the expense of keeping the government operating:


New York Daily Herald

30 June 1850, Pg.4

WASHINGTON, June 28, 1850.

Compromise Caucus in the House

Pursuant to a call published in this morning’s Union, the members of the House, to the extent of some forty odd in number, friendly to the admission of California into the Union, promptly, and disconnected with all other subjects, met in the Hall of the House this evening at eight o’clock.

Mr. Booth (free soiler) of Connecticut, was called to the chair, and Mr. Amos Tuck, N. H., elected secretary.

The chairman briefly stated the object of the meeting to secure by a co-operation of the friends of California, the prompt action of the House to the admission of California into the Union.

Mr. Preston King (free soiler) with a few remarks, introduced a resolution pledging the caucus to support the admission of California to the precedence of all other subjects whatsoever.

Mr. Hugh White, N. Y., was opposed to pledging the caucus to such a course; and contended that in any event the annual appropriations for the support of the government ought not to be entirely set aside, and that it might become necessary to pass them, even of the admission of California.

Mr. Otis, of N. H. took the same view of the subject.

Mr. Giddings felt confident that by the concerted action of the friends of California, and with a determination to push it through, she could be admitted, as far as the House was concerned, in three days; and all that was required was the determination to stick to it, and sit it out.

Mr. Briggs, of New York, concurred in the object of the meeting.  He was in favor of the early admission of California, and though he had been a silent member during the present session, he had paid the most earnest attention to the debates, and was not indifferent by any means to the importance of immediate action.  He was in favor of the admission of California as a separate measure.  Nothing had occurred to change this opinion.  He was in favor of California, free and distinct from any other matter whatsoever.  He had listened to the discussions of the last four or five months attentively, but his mind had undergone no particular change.  It was time that something should be done.  Seven months of the session had been expended, and they had not done more business than should have occupied 30 days.  But there were obstacles still in the way.  He believed that it was the settled determination of the enemies of California, in the House, to arrest any action upon the bill while another bill was pending before the Senate; and as it might be a useless waste of time to contend against such opposition, he thought rather than do nothing in the meantime, it might be as well to act upon the annual appropriations.  Still, he was ready to co-operate with the friends of California, if the bill should be taken up, for her admission, in preference to all other questions.  For the present, he suggested that any decision be postponed till Monday, with a view to a more united expression from a fuller attendance of the the friends of California.

George Briggs (1805-1869), Representative from New York, is a name known in Chequamegon History. Benjamin Armstrong identified him as the man who helped arrange the meeting between Chief Buffalo and President Fillmore in 1852 (Wikimedia)

Mr. Campbell, of Ohio, (free soiler,) was in favor of California, even to the superseding the appropriation bills.  He could not concur with Mr. Briggs in acting upon the appropriations first.  There was no danger on that score.  Whether they were or were not delayed two or three weeks did not make much difference.  Let them go over, for the safest way to secure California is to entertain no other subject till she is admitted.

Mr. Putnam, of New York, offered a resolution, declaring the necessity of the immediate admission of California distinct from all other subjects, and in precedence of all other measures, excepting the annual appropriation bills.  He briefly spoke in support of the resolution, in view of the necessity which might arise to pass the appropriations in advance of action upon California.

Mr. Wilmot of Pa., (free soiler) earnestly urged action upon California as the paramount object.  He was opposed to considering any other subject till that was disposed of; and charged the friends of California with being derelict in their duty, in allowing other matters to supersede that great measure.

Mr. Otis asked in what instance the friends of California had fallen short of their duty.

Mr. Wilmot did not intend to impugn the motives of any man, but referred to the decision of the House on Monday last as a case in point, when they refused to take up the California bill; but went into committee on the bill of land bounties to the soldiers of the last war.

Mr. Otis was satisfied.  He was a young member, and had asked for information, being not as well versed in the rules as the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Wilmot maintained that California should take the precedence of the appropriations.  There was no danger of it not passing, however long they might be delayed.  He advised the friends of California to call for the meeting of the House at ten in the morning on the first day in taking up the bill, and that they sit till six P. M., that on the second day they sit till 12 at night, and that on the third day, if the question be not taken, that they continue in session all night, if necessary, and keep at it till it is taken.  Give him the control of the majority of the House, and he could overcome the minority, notwithstanding the rules admit of so many obstructions.

David Wilmot, namesake of the famous Proviso, was the loudest voice in Congress of those unwilling to compromise with enslavers of human beings. However, he clearly underestimated the importance of passing the appropriations on time (Wikimedia).

Mr. Howe, of Pennsylvania, supported the views of Mr. Wilmot.  He was in favor, if necessary, of camping in the House till California is admitted into the Union.

Mr. King withdrew his resolution, and Mr. Putnam so modified his as to declare substantially, that the friends of California would urge her admission as a distinct measure, to the exclusion of all other measures whatsoever.

Mr. Amos Tuck warmly opposing the resolution, denied that the friends of California had been remiss in their duty.  They had done every thing they possibly could do under the rules of the House, crippling their actions in every movement.

Mr. Allen, of Mass. (free soil.) was in favor of California in advance of the appropriations, or after them, if necessary as the caucus might decide.

Mr. Putnam’s resolution, declaring that the friends of California, of the caucus, would contend for her admission till acted upon, in preference to all other measures was finally adopted, with but two or three dissenting voices.

And on motion of Mr. Doty, the caucus adjourned to meet again on Monday next, at 8 P. M.

There were present from the New York delegation this evening, Messrs. Briggs, Hugh White, Putnam, Halloway, Burrows, Schoolcraft, Spalding and Gould, and probably one or two others.

(Your reporter has to say, that he did not hear the caucus was open till too late in the evening to make a full and connected report.  He believes, however, that he has the gist of the proceedings.)


Further brinksmanship, and President Taylor’s unexpected death, meant it took nearly a month after going over the fiscal cliff before serious debate even started on the appropriations bills. By this point, Watrous and Ramsey had already chosen their new agency site (Sandy Lake), entered into contracts for furnishing provisions and transporting annuity goods, and had notified the Lake Superior Ojibwe bands not to plant gardens because the order to remove to the Mississippi would come any day.


Baltimore Sun

26 Jul 1850, Pg. 4

[Reported for the Baltimore Sun]


WASHINGTON, July 25, 1850.

Mr. Bayly, in answer to the inquiry upon the subject, stated that he proposed that the appropriation bills should be taken up in the following order, after the Military Academy bill was disposed of, viz:  1st, The Revolutionary pension bill; 2d, the Navy pension bill; 3d, the Indian appropriation bill; 4th, the Fortification bill; 5th, the bill for the support of the Post-office Department; 6th, the civil and diplomatic bill; 7th, the Navy bill; 8th, the Army bill.

Rep. Thomas H. Bayly, of Virginia, was Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. He was also an enslaver of human beings (U.S. House)

Mr. Harris, of Illinois, inquired whether if California should be admitted, would it not become necessary to pass an additional appropriation bill, should these bills be passed before her admission

Mr. Bayly –If California should come in as a State, a very small modification of the appropriation bills would be necessary; but if a territorial government merely was provided for California, a new appropriation bill would be necessary.

Mr. Harris –Then it would be better to dispose of the California question first.

Mr. Bayly expressed the hope that gentlemen would not open up a general debate on the appropriation bills which he proposed to take up before the civil and diplomatic bill.  If so, these appropriation bills could be got through in several days.

Mr. Stanton, of Tennessee, was disposed to take the advice of the chairman of the committee on ways and means, in regard to suppressing general debated on certain of the appropriation bills, but in doing so he would like to know something in regard to the time of adjournment.  For the whole debate might be restricted by an order for adjournment, to a day or two, and thus would debate be suppressed entirely.  Our course should be shaped in regard to a general debate upon the probability of an adjournment.

Mr. Bayly said it was not his intention to make any proposition for an adjournment.  As the fiscal year had already commenced, it was important that these bills should be passed without delay.

Mr. Stanton,  What time would it be before the House could adjourn.

Mr. Bayly –So far as the appropriation bills are concerned, we will be in a condition to adjourn on the day on which they shall have passed.  He supposed those bills might be disposed of in two weeks.

Mr. Bissell –If we pass those bills and adjourn, what will become of California?  I am opposed to passing those bills, and thus putting it in the power of Congress to adjourn, until California is disposed of…

These advertisements appeared in this same issue of the Baltimore Sun.


Washington [DC] Union

14 Aug 1850, Pg. 3



Thirty-First Congress–First Session.





Mr. BAYLY moved to lay aside the subject-matter, and to take up the Indian appropriation bill; and on this motion tellers were called and ordered, when it was agreed to–ayes 98, noes 45.

The Indian appropriation bill being before the committee,

Mr. KAUFMAN moved the rising of the committee to enable him to offer the usual resolution to fix the period for the end of this debate:  not agreed to

Mr. SIBLEY next spoke for an hour, principally in explanation of the condition of Indian affairs in Minnesota, and arguing that it was high time to entirely remodel the whole Indian system of the government.

Mr. MASON addressed the House in reply to Mr. SIBLEY, arguing that no efforts of this government could elevate the red man to the condition of the white.  He held that the negro was also incapable of being educated so as to give him, as a race, the character and qualities of the white man, and criticised with force and severity the efforts of those who labored to force anti-slavery and negro equality on the South.   

After a few remarks from Mr. GIDDINGS in reply to Mr. MASON, the committee rose to enable the chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means to offer the usual resolution for closing the debate on the Indian appropriation bill.

Henry H. Sibley, Minnesota Territorial Delegate was one of the primary architects of the Ojibwe removal efforts. He had a large personal and economic stake in making sure the annuity payment could be made (Wikimedia).

Mr. BAYLY then offered a resolution to close that debate in five minutes after the House should again go into committee on the bill:  agreed to.

An ineffectual motion to adjourn over until Monday, when the House should adjourn, was then made.

After which, on motion, the House again went into a Committee of the Whole on the state of Union, and, taking up the annual Indian appropriation bill, amendments thereto were proposed and advocated in five-minute’s speeches by Messrs BAYLY, JOHNSON of Arkansas, CARTTER, EVANS of Maryland, HOUSTON, DUNHAM, FITCH, BISSELL, TOOMBS, CROWELL, THOMPSON of Mississippi, and BROWN of Indian.

The committee next rose, and, after an ineffectual motion to adjourn over until Monday next, the House adjourned.


Henry Hastings Sibley, Territorial Delegate to Congress for Minnesota, advocated here for a more humane (i.e. assimilationist) Indian Policy for the United States. He had a long career with the American Fur Company, its successor, the Chouteau Fur Co., and in Minnesota politics. For his own Dakota daughter’s sake, he would have felt compelled to defend the humanity of Native people, but his general record on Native issues was not good. He was no fan of Indian cultures, a believer in Manifest Destiny, and above all, a ruthless businessmen. He was one of the primary architects of the Ojibwe removal, and had to have known that blood would be on his hands if the annuity funds for the Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, and Dakota failed to materialize.


Alexandria [VA] Gazette

5 Aug 1850, Pg. 2

Indian Appropriation Bill.

In the House of Representatives, on Friday, on motion of Mr. BAYLY, the House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union; and the California bill having been laid aside–ayes 98.  noes 49– the committee took up the bill making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian department, and for fulfilling treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes for the year ending June 30, 1851.

Mr. SIBLEY, the delegate from Minnesota, after speaking of the privileges of delegates, proceeded to address the committee on the subject of the Indians and the policy which should be pursued with regard to them.  It was very important, he insisted, that there should always be good commissioners to negotiate treaties:  and the savages should not be left to find out how they have been betrayed and cheated.  Not one treaty in ten has been carried out in good faith.  The evil of this is not confined to the tribes who have been wronged, but is communicated to others, who are kept in check by the superior power of the Government.  The Seminole war, it would be recollected, cost thirty or forty millions of dollars.  A principle should be adopted more in accordance with principles of justice and morality.  The efforts of the Christian missionaries who go among the Indians to civilize them are in effect obstructed by the conduct of the Government.  The Indians doubt the sincerity of its agents.  It is a fallacy that the diminution of the Indians is owing altogether to strong drink.  This is true to a small extent:  but the main reason is, the Indian, having disposed of his land, is cast out as a vagabond.  Some stimulus to industry must be placed before him, and he must have confidence in the faith of the Government.  The first step to be taken for the improvement of the Indians is to extend over them the laws of the United States.  At an early period of the session he proposed to give them those of Minnesota and Oregon, in which he had the concurrence of the delegate from the last named Territory.  He could say, with sincerity, that unless this bill be passed all other plans must fail.  It was the substratum on which all other measures for the amelioration and improvement of the Indians must rest.  If any thing is to be done for them, it must be done now.

Mr. MASON said that as to making the white, red, and black man perfectly equal, he totally despaired.  Nature’s God made the black man, and when it is undertaken to make him equal with the white, by law, an impossibility is attempted.  Our friends in the free States have manifested as great a desire to elevate the position of the African race–the black man–as his friend from Minnesota had to elevate the condition of the red man.  Legislation, in this respect, would have as much effect as the passage of a law to make every variety of birds the same color.

Mr. SIBLEY inquired whether some of the first families of Virginia had not boasted that they had Indian blood in their veins?  John Randolph did, as being a descendant of Pocahontas.

Mr. MASON admitted all that, and that there were most able, eloquent, and patriotic men who descended, in part, from the Indian race:  but would the gentleman say that this is common, or only an exception to the rule?  And then there was a sprinkle of the white man in the exception.  Eloquent, able men may be found among the Indians, but the mass is not of that character.  The gentleman spoke of manual labor schools, for the purpose of educating them.  Now, it is known that they are not formed for labor.  They have no natural disposition to labor, and he did not know whether the white man has.  [Laughter.]

Mr. SIBLEY remarked that the gentleman was much mistaken when he said that the Indians do not labor.  They, as a general thing, labor as much as the white man.  The life of the hunter requires more endurance than the ordinary labor of the white man.

Mr. MASON.  That is a life above all others, suited to the Indians, and it is a labor and endurance of certain character.  Generally, they are averse to labor, and every effort to make them labor, as a mass, is to destroy them.  He then proceeded to contrast the happy condition of the negroes of our own country with those of Africa.  As to putting them on an equality with the white man, the attempt might as well be made to fly without wings.  In the conclusion of his remarks, he spoke of the subjects which now agitate the country, and of the necessity of settling them on a fair and just basis to all parts of the Confederacy.

Mr. GIDDINGS said that the time when Congress ordinarily adjourns had arrived, and he asked gentlemen whether it was not due to themselves and the country that they should now act.  This was all he desired to submit.

Mr. STANLY remarked that if the gentleman and his friends would not discuss the Wilmot proviso, in three weeks the California, Territorial, and other bills could be passed, and all go home.

Mr. GIDDINGS said that, if the questions should come up, he would treat them fairly, would not detain the committee one moment beyond what it was his duty to do, and vote with all possible alacrity.

Mr. BAYLY said that there was not a contested item in the bill.  All the appropriations were to carry out existing treaties.  This being the case, and as two speeches have been made, he moved that the committee rise.

The motion was agreed to:  when Mr. Bayly submitted a resolution, that all debate on the bill shall cease in five minutes after the House shall go again into committee.

Mr. STANTON, of Tennessee, said he did not know how long they were to stay here–perhaps during the fall.  It was necessary they should have rest:  and he proposed that when the House adjourn, it adjourn to meet on Monday next.

The question was then taken, and decided in the negative.

The House again went into committee; and the consideration of the bill making appropriations to defray the expenses of the Indian department, &c., was resumed.

Five minute speeches were made on amendments; and the committee rose without coming to a conclusion, when.

Mr. POTTER moved that when the House adjourn, it adjourn until Monday.  The motion was disagreed to–ayes 41, noes 61.  And

The House adjourned until next day.


The Delay of Congress.

Congress has been in session eight months, and yet it has not passed a single bill of any consequence.  The neglect to pass the usual appropriation bills, which extend only to the first of July, is perhaps the most shameful evidence of its disregard of public duty.  Many persons having claims upon the government, are now waiting from day to day to have them satisfied, with scarcely any nearer prospect of its being done than there was seven or eight months ago.  This is particularly the case with the wives of seamen in service abroad, whose half pay constitutes, with their own toil, all the dependence of themselves and families.–The scenes at the office of the Navy Agent, are painful to contemplate.  The appropriation has run out, and there is no money to give these poor women, whose husbands so hardly earn the poor pittance they receive.  They have been kept already one month in suspense, causing no doubt an infinite amount of distress and suffering among them.  Of course there is no help for these sufferers.  The members at Washington, who are receiving their eight dollars per day for eight months of worse than idle talk, for much of it is positively mischievous, care very little for others, as long as their own wants are supplied.  But if anything could add to the disgraceful state of things at Washington, it is this robbing of the poor, by withholding from them so long their just earnings.Phil. Ledger.

This advertisement appeared in the very same issue of the Alexandria Gazette.


As July turned to August, and the government shutdown and debt default entered its second month, the logjam in Washington began to break. This came about with the failure of the centrist “Omnibus Bill” which would have admitted California as a free state, banned the slave trade in Washington D.C., and forced northerners to assist in returning fugitives to their enslavers. The omnibus proved unacceptable to enough northern Free Soilers, and enough southern hardline Democrats, to have no chance. Breaking it into pieces allowed for majorities on each individual measure, but arguably hastened the march toward civil war.


[Washington D.C.] Southern Press

5 August 1850, Pg. 2

THE COMPROMISE BILL.–From all the indication derived from Washington, this famous measure has shared a merited fate, and is ere this consigned to the tomb of the Capulets.  It has been one of the veriest humbugs of the day.  While its friends professed to herald it forth as the harbinger of peace and tranquility, it contained within itself the very elements of discord and seeds of disunion.  The most extraordinary efforts were used to gild the nauseous pill and make it palatable to the public taste.  But they were mere quack nostrums and fortunately unsuccessful.  The South asked for bread, and out politicians were disposed to give them a stone–for a fish, and they offered them a serpent.  The scheme is now dead, dead as a mackerel, and there is no power to galvanize it into life and being.  The probability is that the bill to admit California into the Union will likewise fail.  We hope the true friends to the South will resist it “at every hazard and to the last extremity.”  All that is required, is that our own people should be united, and they can dictate their own terms to a sordid and reckless majority.Southern Argus, Va.


The Indian Appropriation Bill had to not only meet the United States’ existing treaty obligations, it also set the agenda and budget for further treaties and removals. It was also a prime target for riders and amendments for congressmen looking to give political patronage. It took several weeks to hammer out the details. It would ultimately include a removal fund for the Lake Superior Chippewa, on top of the regular annuity fund.

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota Territory, sub-agent Watrous finalized details for food to be placed along the removal path and approved licenses for La Pointe-based traders to start trading on the upper Mississippi. All that was waiting was final word from the governor to notify the bands to remove. Ramsey, however, was stuck in limbo. With the government shut down, employees couldn’t be paid, contracts couldn’t be honored, and the annuity funds could not be released. Washington had put him in full command of the removal, but he still wrote them confused if he should proceed. He did not get a clear answer.


New York Tribune

12 August 1850, Pg. 6

Our Indian Relations– President Fillmore’s Position.

Correspondence of the Tribune

WASHINGTON, Friday, Aug. 9.

The Indian Appropriation bill ought to have been passed long ago, as annuities past due are still unpaid.  This bill is a more important on than is generally supposed, as it contains provisions for extinguishing Indian titles to land in the new Territories.  In the bill just passed, appropriations are made for negotiating treaties with the Indians on the borders of Mexico, in Texas, and in Minnesota.  The rush of emigration to Minnesota requires that the Government get possession of lands as speedily as possible.  It contains over 160,000 square miles, of which only about 15,000 are available.  This is but a small portion of a Territory that must be settled with unparalleled rapidity.  Gov. RAMSEY and HUGH TYLER, Esq. of Penn. are to be the Commissioners for making the treaties in Minnesota, by whom this high trust will be executed with promptness and fidelity.

It is hoped that in future no treaties will be made with stipulations for annuities in tobacco and the worthless baubles which are give to the Indians, at large cost to the Government, as presents.  Such gifts are positively injurious to the Indians, and afford too great opportunity for official harpies to get rich on the appropriations for such purposes.  It is derogatory to the character of the nation, and should be corrected.  If one half the money paid to Indians had been expended for their education and the arts of civilized life, the condition of the red man would have nearly equalled that of the whites, but as long as treaties are made which bequeath all the vices with none of the blessings of civilization, there can be but little hope of elevating them to the industrious and useful pursuits of life.  On this subject, it is believed, The Tribune will not keep silent, as there is but little in the history of our national legislation for the Indians which commends itself to the approval of good men.

If treaties are made hereafter stipulate the payment of tobacco, trinkets and other worthless articles, they should not be ratified; nor should merchandise form any portion of the annuities.  It would be far better not to appropriate money to the Indians than to expend it in a manner that encourages rascality among agents, and vicious tastes and habits among those who should be benefited thereby.  I go for a “proviso” in regard to the mode of expending money for the Indians.

The flames excited in the breasts of the extreme factionists of the South by the timely and judicious message of President FILLMORE are subsiding, as they find it so direct in its reasonings and so national in tone as to render opposition extremely ridiculous.  The President will be sustained with firmness in the position he has wisely taken, and it is generally believed his message will lead to a speedy and satisfactory adjustment of these boundary difficulties, which, after all, constitute the great bone of contention on the questions relating to Slavery.  If this be done promptly, Congress will probably adjourn about the first of October; if not, there will be an interim of a few days only, by which mileage will be paid to the members.

Yours, ARGUS


Indian Appropriations.

The Bill now before the House of Representatives, making appropriations for the current and contingent expenses of the Indian Department, and for fulfilling Treaty stipulations with various Indian tribes, for the year ending June 30, 1851, contains the following items:


Superintendent Indian Affairs at St. Louis–with the Indian Agents $18,000

Sub-Agents, Interpreters and Clerks 23,150

Buildings at Agencies 2,000

Presents to Indians 5,000

Contingencies 56,500



Christian Indians $400

Chippewas of Saginaw 5,800

Chippewas, Menamonies, Winnebagoes and New Call Indians 1,500

Chippewas of Lake Superior and Mississippi 70,800

Chickasaws 3,000

[31 lines omitted from transcription]

Weas 3,000

Chippewas of Lake Superior and Mississippi 4,600

Pottowatamies 32,150

Creeks 1,275

Iowas 1,500

Ottawas and Chippewas 2,412

Wyandots 1,029

Cherokees 1,500

Choctaws 87,200


Summer dragged on, and the shutdown entered its third month. Tensions in congress stayed high. It was now past time when the session should have adjourned. Individual members wanted to go home, and with eight months of gridlock and the grueling procedural processes necessary to move legislation, the opportunities to press personal grievances proved too tempting.


[New York] Evening Post

2 September 1850, Pg. 1


There were rather characteristic illustrations of chivalry in the House this morning and yesterday.  Mr. Bayly has been desirous of having the Indian Appropriation bill passed.  Yesterday he called it up, a motion which required unanimous consent.  Mr. Sweetser, of Ohio, who sits about three seats removed from Bayly, rose and objected, and of course the motion could not be entertained.  Mr. Bayly hereupon rose from his seat, leaned over towards Mr. Sweetzer, shook his finger at him in a very menacing manner, and said, as I understand, “You are a spiteful little cur,” with some additional epithets not necessary to repeat.

This morning the Chairman of the Ways and Means renewed his motion, and again Mr. Sweetzer rose and objected, and sat down.  Mr. Bayly again rose, precisely as before, shook his finger in the face of Mr. Sweetzer, and said, among other things, “If you ever object to another motion of mine in this House, I will wring your nose, G-d d–n you.”–These words were spoken so loud as to be distinctly heard across the hall, though, of course, they were not intended to go into the debates.  Mr. Sweetzer made a motion with his hand as if he would have thrown an inkstand into the face of his insulter, but Mr. Thompson, of Miss., interposed, and no violence occurred in the House.  Mr. Sweetzer soon after left the House; as he was doing so a friend asked him what he was about to do, to which he replied that he would arm himself, and would then determine.  It was the opinion of every member whom I heard allude to the affair, that the insult on the part of Bayly was so gross, wanton, and intolerable, that, had Mr. Sweetzer had the means to do it, he would have been warranted in summarily taking his life. X.


Back at Sandy Lake, Watrous began to panic. He wrote Ramsey warning that he had only purchased enough food to cover the bands’ journey to Sandy Lake and for the normal duration of a payment. Furthermore, high water had wiped out most of the rice crop. The sub-agent openly expressed his concern that starvation would ensue if the removal funds or the payment were delayed. Still, the two men were mostly concerned with preserving their own reputations for fiscal responsibility. With no word from Washington on when the funds would be available for pickup, and the Ojibwe ready to split off into small groups for fall hunts, Ramsey and Watrous, decided to force the removal through anyway. Watrous sent word to the bands to assemble at Sandy Lake in early October, where they would be fed and receive the money obligated to them by treaty.

Congress, meanwhile, was working through its backlog of legislation. They passed the various parts of the discarded omnibus bill, separately, in what has gone down in American history as the infamous “Compromise of 1850.” California entered the Union, but the accompanying Fugitive Slave Law would force the north to confront the evils of slavery directly. On September 30th, after three months of default, President Fillmore was finally able to sign the appropriation bills.


Vicksburg Whig

9 Oct 1850, Pg.2


To the N. O. Picayune:

BALTIMORE, Monday, Sept. 30.

Congressional,–The Fortification, the Bounty Land, the Navy and Army Appropriation, the Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation, the Indian appropriation, and the Light House bills, have been slightly amended, passed and signed by the President.


THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.–LOUISVILLE, October 3.–Mixed meetings of whites and blacks have been held in the city of New York, and in Springfield and Worcester, Mass., denouncing the Fugitive Slave law.  At Springfield, where many runaway negroes have gathered, resolutions have passed to resist the execution of the law at all hazards.

FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL.–The bill for the more easy reclamation of fugitive slaves was signed by President Fillmore on the 18th of August, and is now the law of the land.  We shall shortly publish it.  What a queer was President Fillmore has of displaying “abolitionism!”  He signs territorial bills without the proviso; he keeps appointing Southern men to vacant seats in his cabinet, so as to give the South a majority; and finally he approves of the most stringent fugitive slave bill that the wit of Southern Senators can devise.  “By their works ye shall know them.”  –Natchez Courier.

These advertisements appeared in the very same issue of the Vicksburg Whig.


On October 6th, with some members of the removal bands already arriving at Sandy Lake, Watrous left for St. Louis. If he hesitated any longer the food would surely run out, and the Mississippi might ice over. In 1850, however, there were no wire transfers or debit cards. Treaty payments were made in coin, and it took time to box up and transport coin. The sub-agent found no funds at St. Louis and returned emptyhanded to Sandy Lake in November–a full month later than the scheduled payment. By that time, the food was gone, and disease had broken out in the crowded camps occupied by thousands of Ojibwe people. The Sandy Lake Tragedy had begun and would still get worse. Estimates vary, but up to four hundred would die senselessly before winter was over.

Historians like to speak of proximate versus ultimate causes. Did World War I begin because a Serbian nationalist assassinated an archduke in Sarajevo, or was it the result of unchecked competition among imperial powers in Europe? The answer is both. The assassination was the proximate, or direct, cause, but the ultimate causes went deeper.

It isn’t difficult to find ultimate causes for why hundreds of Ojibwe people died at Sandy Lake in the winter of 1850-51. One can point to deceptive treaties, a corrupt Indian Department, greedy special interests, and a systematic failure to listen to Ojibwe leadership. However, pinning down the proximate cause has proven harder. We feel compelled to find individual villains who through greed, cowardice, or incompetence committed sins of both omission and commission. Among these are Ramsey, Watrous, Rice, Sibley, Hall, Warren, Oakes, Borup, and others. However, all of those men wanted the annuity money to arrive Sandy Lake, as promised, and stood lose something if it didn’t. So, why didn’t the money materialize? Who is to blame for that?

The American slavery history and Lake Superior history intersect more often than you would think. Chequamegon History has examined this a little in this post, and this post. Did you know that in in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford case, plaintiffs Dred and Harriet Scott argued that Harriet should was free because she had been once held at Fort Snelling in the free Wisconsin Territory, by Maj. Lawrence Taliaferro, Indian Agent? Those who have studied early-19th century Ojibwe history will recognize that name (National Park Service)

America’s rapid expansion into a world superpower, spanning from sea to shining sea, was built, in part, on two white-supremacist myths. The first held that white people were destined to inevitably own the lands of North America. Just as inevitably, the Indian nations of those lands must disappear: Manifest Destiny. The second myth held that the statement “all men are created equal” did could not apply to people of African descent, and that somehow one human being could own another in this “new nation, conceived in liberty:” Slavery. It is very obvious that the first myth fits into story of the Sandy Lake Tragedy. The deeper you look, the more obvious it becomes that the second does too.

Paap, Howard D. Red Cliff, Wisconsin a History of an Ojibwe Community ; Volume 1 The Earliest Years: the Origin to 1854. North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., 1854.

Satz, Ronald N. Chippewa Treaty Rights: the Reserved Rights of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Indians in Historical Perspective. University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.

Schenck, Theresa M. William W. Warren: The Life, Letters, and times of an Ojibwe Leader. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2007. Print.

White, Bruce. "The Regional Context of the Removal Order of 1850," in McClurken, James M. et al., Fish in the Lakes, Wild Rice, and Game in Abundance: Testimony on Behalf of Mille Lacs Ojibwe Hunting and Fishing Rights, James M. McClurken, Compiler. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2000.


May 6, 2023

Exciting news! We’ve recently upgraded the site through WordPress. For readers, this means Chequamegon History will no longer have advertisements on posts. It also means we now own the domain Of course, the old will still work too.

It does cost some money to maintain these upgrades, so if you are interested in kicking in, please join our Patreon at We currently have one membership tier. YOU DO NOT NEED TO CONTRIBUTE TO ENJOY CHEQUAMEGON HISTORY AS YOU ALWAYS HAVE. This is merely for those who have an extra $5 a month to throw our way.

Chequamegon History has never been a money-making operation. Any proceeds in excess of website upgrade costs will be cycled back into creating more of the local history content you love.

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello

Originally published in the April 6, 1878, issue of The Ashland Press. Transcribed with permission from Ashland Narratives by K. Wallin and published in 2013 by Straddle Creek Co.

… continued from Number VII.

Early Recollections of Ashland: Number VIII

by Asaph Whittlesey

We now offer a few comments upon our experience in common, and our appreciation of Doctor Edwin Ellis.  I observe first that the inherent modesty of the man left him with next to no thought of himself in his “Early Recollections of Ashland,” and therefore the weightier of the task falling upon me.  Had the question been raised “who is Dr. Ellis?” a proper reply would have been “Dr. Ellis is Dr. Ellis.”

In all my acquaintance I find no person more clearly identified than is this man.  His manner of shaking hands, the music of his voice, and his unconscious habit of setting his hair on end, belong to no one but the man Edwin Ellis.  For near a quarter of a century have I known him in the relationship of neighbor, physician, oarsman, farmer, speculator, preacher, merchant and as one skilled in back gammon, and can testify that he is a man who does with his might whatsoever his hands find to do.  Those of us who were known as pre-emptors or town site claimants had occasion to regard the arrival of Dr. Ellis with no little suspicion, as certainly an emergency only would have induced him to make the trip from La Pointe during the most inclement season of the year.  I remember well my anxiety to know whether or not he was a married man, and so direct were my inquiries as to this, that seemingly there was no way left but for him to satisfy our curiosity by simply saying yes or no.  However we soon discovered that we were only wasting words in pressing the subject, and abandoned all further inquiry regarding it.  Is it not strange that so good a man and one possessing so admirable a wife should be found so unwilling to satisfy our inquisitive minds in regard to this matter?

There was still another peculiarity noticeable in the Doctor, and that was his proclivity for secret organizations.  He was chosen Chairman of a secret organization having for its object protection to pre-emptors from having their claims jumped, though one writer informs us that in the eye of the law they were all trespassers, – but by this means those holding claims felt a security in being absent from them the greater portion of their time.  Perhaps the existence of this organization may explain why there has been so many little acres of early clearings discovered by brother Pratt, in the vicinity of Ashland.

Again, Dr. Ellis is one who thinks for himself, but is ever free to weigh the arguments of others, that he may be convinced of the right, and having formed his conclusion is outspoken, so that no one can mistake his position.  Being of a hopeful and cheerful turn of mind, his company is courted.  All in all whether as to his fitness for the life of a pioneer or as a neighbor and Christian friend I never knew a better.

I have been with him also in times of very great peril, when seemingly we were destined to a watery grave.  But through presence of mind and well directed effort we succeeded in reaching the shore amid a feeling of profound gratitude toward our Great Protector above, for sparing our lives.  As it is my intention hereafter to refer briefly to the history of a few of the ladies who first settled in and about Ashland.  I will omit any special reference to Mrs. Ellis at this time.


First arrived at La Pointe in 1852.  At the time of my arrival there in 1854, I found him running a one horse store in an old frame building, standing in the sand near the present residence of George A. Stahl.  So far as I am enabled to bring to mind the succession of events, my first sight of this man was at his own store where I invested in a very poor pocket compass, and this I soon after deposited on the copper range while upon an exploring trip with Ervin Leihy, Esq.  Mr. Vaughn, however, claims that he first caught sight of me on the occasion of my aiding Rev. L. H. Wheeler in a social talk with the La Pointe people upon the subject of temperance one Sunday afternoon, in the store of Julias Austrian, Esq.

The leading man then engaged in the grocery business, as it was called, was one Peter B. Vanderventer, who subsequently left the country at a midnight hour rather than remain and meet a worse doom.  Vanderventer was a large sized man and more a hellish countenance, and in exhibition of his bravery at the temperance meeting to which I have referred, he planted himself directly in front of me, and not more than three feet distant, so that I presume he did not mistake my language.

I cannot let slip the opportunity now furnished for informing the public of what seemed to me a rather severe practical joke inflicted upon Vaughn and Vanderventer, as it is too good to be lost, we will mention it right here.  It seems that at the time Mr. Austrian made so extended entries of land upon the island, Messrs. Vaughn and Vanderventer discovered that Austrian had failed to enter a fraction shown upon the official plot, as reaching quite a distance into the bay, from what was known as Boyd’s Point and containing some forty acres or more.  As La Pointe seemed likely to hold prominence as a business place, they saw the necessity of forthwith securing the tract of land in question.  The two therefore suddenly disappeared amid the coldest days of a Lake Superior winter, and footed it under very adverse circumstances through to Willow River, something like one hundred and seventy-five miles, and returned, but yet were quite satisfied to know that they had secured to themselves what they had started for.  From this time forward for several years these gentlemen paid their taxes promptly, until they finally employed a surveyor to re-survey and plot their promising possessions.  Right here is where they discovered the point of the joke, by being informed that there was not a single foot of their land left, but all and much more had been washed away.  Perhaps it was cruel in me to do so, but I could not resist making frequent inquiries as to their real estate.

Section 6 from 1852 GLO PLSS survey of T49N-R3W-4PM showing Boyds Point (now Grants Point) on Madeline Island.

Modern aerial imagery overlay showing Vanderventer & Vaughn’s Lot 3 lost to the sands of time (along with parts of Boyd & Rowley’s Lots 1 & 2).

In 1855 Vaughn removed his stock of goods to a building near where Thomas Stahl, Esq., now resides, where I often shared his bed and board, and it remains a pleasure to me to this day to testify to his qualities as a No. one cook, while biscuits of his make were entitled to special mention.  It was a standing rule with him to have a controversy of words with Mr. McElroy, neither being specially noted for the refinement of their language.  I think it was during the August term of the Circuit Court in 1860 that Mr. Vaughn and Andrew Tate were admitted to the practice of law before the Hon. S.N. Fuller, Judge of the Eighth Circuit of Wisconsin.  It is said that they passed a very creditable examination.

This was the first term of Circuit Court held in the County of La Pointe, Elisha Pike being honored as foreman of the first grand jury convened within the county.  Although Mr. Vaughn is but forty-eight years of age he can boast of having held the following positions of trust: Post-master, Justice of the Peace, Chairman of Town and County Boards, also member of the Wisconsin legislature in 1871, (having a constituency of 6,365 souls).  In the practice of law his maiden effort was that of procuring papers of divorce in a somewhat renowned case.  It is thought that but for the public trust which he held as a Chairman of the School Board he probably would never have known married life, – but as it was so foreordained they accepted the situation, while the people shouted, Amen!

On the arrival of business at Ashland in 1873, Mr. Vaughn removed his family to that place where he once more engaged as trader and forwarding and commission merchant.

To be continued in Number IX

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello


Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs:

La Pointe Agency 1831-1839

National Archives Identifier: 164009310


 O.I.A. Lapointe W.692.

Governor of Wisconsin
Mineral Pt. 15 Oct. 1838.

Encloses two communications
from D. P. Bushnell; one,
to speech of Jean B. DuBay, a half
breed Chippewa, delivered Aug. 15, ’38,
on behalf of the half breeds then assembled,
protesting against the decision
of the U.S. Court on the subject of the
murder of Alfred Aitkin by an Ind,
& again demanding the murderer;
with Mr Bushnell’s reply: the other,
dated 14 Aug. 1838, being a Report
in reference to the intermeddling of
any foreign Gov’t or its officers, with
the Ind’s within the limits of the U.S.

[Sentence in light text too faint to read]
12 April 1839.

Rec’d 17 Nov 1838.
See letter of 7 June 39 to Hon Lucius Lyon
Ans’d 12 April, 1839

W Ward



Superintendency of Indian Affairs
for the Territory of Wisconsin

Mineral Point Oct 15, 1838.

Henry Dodge


I have the honor to enclose herewith two communications from D. P. Bushnell Esq, Subagent of the Chippewas at La Pointe; the first, being the Speech of Jean B. DuBay, a half breed Chippewa, on behalf of the half-breeds assembled at La Pointe, on the 15th august last, in relation to the decision of the U.S. Court on the subject of the murder of Alfred Aitkin by an Indian; the last, in reference to the intermeddling of any foreign government, or the officers thereof, with the Indians within the limits of the United States.

Very respectfully
Your obed’t serv’t.

Henry Dodge

Sup’t Ind. Affs.

Hon. C. A. Harris

Com of Ind. Affairs.


D. P. Bushnell Aug. 14, 1838



La Pointe Aug 14th 1838


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication dated 7 ultimo enclosing an extract from a Resolution of the House of the Representatives of the 19th of March, 1838.  No case of intermeddling by any foreign government on the officers, or subject thereof with the Indians under my charge or any others, directly , or indirectly, has come to my knowledge.  It is believed that the English government has been in the Habit of distributing presents at a point on Lake Huron below Drummonds Island to the Chippewa for a series of years.

The Indians from this region, until recently, visited that place for their share of the annual distribution.  But the Treaty made last summer between them and the United States, and the small distribution of presents that has been made within the Last Year, under the direction of our government, have had the effect to permit any of them from visiting, the English Territory this year.  These Indians have generally manifested a desire to live upon terms of friendship with the American people.  All of the Chiefs from the region of Lake Superior have expressed a desire to visit the seat of Gov’t where none of them have yet been.  There is no doubt, but such a visit with the distribution of a few presents among them would be productive: of much good, and render their attachment to our Gov’t still stronger.

Very Resp’y
yr ms ob sev’t

D. P. Bushnell.

I. O. A.


His Excellency Henry Dodge

Ter, Wisconsin Sup’t Ind Affs


Half breed Speech


Speech of Jean B. DuBay,

a half breed Chippewa, on behalf of the half breeds assembled in a numerous body at the United States Sub Indian Agency office at La Pointe, on the 15th day of August 1838.

Father.  We have come to you for the purpose of speaking on the subject of the murder that was committed two years ago by an Indian on one of our Brothers.  I allude to Alfred Aitken.  We have always considered ourselves Subject to the Laws of the United States and have consequently relied upon their protection. But it appears by the decision of the United Sates court in this case.  That it was an Indian Killed an Indian, on Indian ground, and died not therefore come under its jurisdiction,” that we have hitherto laboured under a delusion, and that a resort to the laws can avail nothing.   We come therefore to you, at the agent of the Government here, to tell you that we have councilled with the Indians and, have declared to them and we have solemnly pledged ourselves in your presence, to each other, that we will enforce in the Indian Country, the Indian Law, Blood for Blood.

We pay taxes, and in the Indian Country are held amenable to the Laws, but appeal to them in vain for protection.  Sir we will protect ourselves.  We take the case into our own hands.  Blood shall be shed!  We will have justice and who can be answerable for the consequences?  Our brother was a gentlemanly young man.  He was educated at a Seminary in Louville in the State of New York.  He was dear to us.  We remember him as the companion of our childhood.  The voice of his Blood now cries to us from the ground for vengence!  But the stain left by his you shall be washed out by one of a deeper dye!

For injuries committed upon the persons or property of whites, although within the Indian Country we are still willing to be held responsible to the Laws of the United States, notwithstanding the decision of a United States Court that we are Indians.  And for like injuries committed upon us by whites we will appeal to the same tribunal.

Sir our attachments to the American Government and people was great.  But they have cast us off.  The Half breeds muster strong on the northwestern frontier & we Know no distinction of tribes.  In one thing at least we are all united.  We might muster into the service of the United States in case of a war and officered by Americans would compose in frontier warfare a formidable corps.  We can fight the Indian or white man, in his own manner, & would pledge ourselves to Keep peace among the different Indian tribes.

Sir we will do nothing rashly.  We once more ask from your hands the murder of Mr. Aitken.  We wish you to represent our case to the President and we promise to remain quiet for one year, giving ample time for his decision to be made Known.  Let the Government extend its protection to us and we will be found its staunchest friends.  If it persists in abandoning us the most painful consequences may ensue.

Sir we will listen to your reply, and shall be Happy to avail ourselves of your advice.


Reply of the Subagent.

My friends, I have lived several years on the frontier & have Known many half breeds.  They have to my Knowledge paid taxes, & held offices under State, Territorial, and United States authorities, been treated in every respect by the Laws as American Citizens; and I have hitherto supposed they were entitled to the protection of the Laws.  The decision of the court is this case, if court is a virtual acknowledgement of your title to the Indians as land, in common with the Indians & I see no other way for you to obtain satisfaction then to enforce the Indian Law.  Indeed your own safety requires it.  in the meantime I think the course you have adopted, in awaiting the results of this appeal is very proper, and cannot injure your cause although made in vain.  At your request I will forward the words of your speaker, through the proper channel to the authorities at Washington.  In the event of your being compelled to resort to the Indian mode of obtaining satisfaction it is to be hoped you will not wage an indiscriminate warfare.  If you punish the guilty only, the Indians can have no cause for complaint, neither do I think they will complain.  Any communication that may be made to me on this subject I will make Known to you in due time.



O.I.A. Lapointe. D.333.
Hon. Ja’s D. Doty.
New York.  25 March, 1839

Encloses Petition, dated

20 Dec. last, of Michel Nevou & 111
others, Chippewa Half Breeds, to the
President, complaining of the delay
in the payment of the sum granted
them, by Treaty of 29 July, 1837,
protesting against its payments on the
St Croix river, & praying that it be
paid at La Pointe on Lake Superior.

Recommends that the payment
be made at this latter place,
for reasons stated.

Rec’d 28 March, 1839.
Ans 29 Mch 1839.
(see over)
Mr Ward

D.100   3   Mch 28
Mch 38, 1839.
Indian Office.

The within may be
an [?] [?] [?] –
[guest?].  in fact will be
in accordance with [?]
[lat?] opinions and not of
the department.

W. Ward



New York
March 25, 1839


The Hon.

J.R. Pointsett

Secy of War


I have the honour to submit to you a petition from the Half-breeds of the Chippewa Nation, which has just been received.

It must be obvious to you Sir, that the place from which the Indian Trade is prosecuted in the Country of that Nation is the proper place to collect the Half Breeds to receive their allowance under the Treaty.  A very large number being employed by the Traders, if they are required to go to any other spot than La Pointe, they must lose their employment for the season.  Three fourths of them visit La Pointe annually, in the course of the Trade.  Very few either live or are employed on the St. Croix.

As an act of justice, and of humanity, to them I respectfully recommend that the payment be made to them under the Treaty at La Pointe.

I remain Sir, with very great respect
Your obedient Servant.

J D Doty


[D333-39.LA POINTE]

J. D. Doty
March 29, 1839

Recorded in N 26
Page 192


Mch 29, 1839


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th with the Petition of the Chippewa half breeds.

It is only necessary for me to observe his reply that it had been previously determined that the appropriation for them should be distributed at Lapointe, & the instructions with be given accordingly.

Very rcy


J.D. Doty

New York




To the President of the United States of America

The Petition of the Half Breeds of the Chippewa nation respectfully shareth.

That we, Half Breeds of the Chippewa Nation, have recently learned, that the payment of the sum granted to the Chippewa Half Breeds, by virtue of the Treaty of 29th July 1837, has been deferred to next Spring, and, that the St Croix River has been selected as the place of payment.

That the delay in not having received our share of the above grant to the Chippewa Half Breeds, last summer, has caused us much loss, by keeping us from our regular vocations for several months, and by leaving many of us without means of support during winter, and that the arrangement of having the payment made next spring on the St Croix, will oblige us to perform a long and expensive Journey, leaving our families in our absence without any means of subsistance, and depriving us of all chance of being employed either in the Indian Trade or at fishing, by which means alone, we are able to earn our daily bread.

Your Petitioners with great deference and implicit submission to the pleasure of the President of the United States, respectfully pray, that an alteration may be made in the place assigned for payment and that Lapointe on Lake Superior may be fixed upon as the place of payment that place being the annual rendezvous of the Chippewa Half Breeds and the Chippewa Indians Traders, by whom we are employed.

And your Petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray &c. &c.

Lake Superior Lapointe Dec. 20th 1838

Michel Neveu X his mark
Louis Neveu X his mark
Newel Neveu X his mark
Alexis Neveu X his mark
Joseph Danis X his mark
Benjamin Danis X his mark

Jean Bts Landrie Sen’r X his mark
Jean Bts Landrie Jun’r X his mark
Joseph Landrie X his mark
Jean Bts Trotercheau X his mark
George Trotercheau X his mark
Jean Bts Lagarde X his mark
Jean Bts Herbert X his mark
Antoine Benoit X his mark
Joseph Bellaire Sen’r X his mark
Joseph Bellaire Jun’r X his mark
Francois Bellaire X his mark
Vincent Roy X his mark
Jean Bts Roy X his mark
Francois Roy X his mark
Vincent Roy Jun’r X his mark
Joseph Roy X his mark
Simon Sayer X his mark
Joseph Morrison Sen’r X his mark
Joseph Morrison Jun’r X his mark
Geo. H Oakes
William Davenporte X his mark
Robert Davenporte X his mark
Joseph Charette X his mark
Chas Charette X his mark
George Bonga X his mark
Peter Bonga X his mark
Francois Roussain X his mark
Jean Bts Roussain X his mark
Joseph Montreal Maci X his mark
Joseph Montreal Larose X his mark
Paul Beauvier X his mark
Michel Comptories X his mark
Paul Bellanger X his mark
Joseph Roy Sen’r X his mark
John Aitkins X his mark
Alexander Aitkins X his mark

Alexis Bazinet X his mark
Jean Bts Bazinet X his mark
Joseph Bazinet X his mark
Michel Brisette X his mark
Augustin Cadotte X his mark
Joseph Gauthier X his mark
Isaac Ermatinger X his mark
Alexander Chaboillez X his mark
Michel Bousquet X his mark
Louis Bousquet X his mark
Antoine Cournoyer X his mark
Francois Bellanger X his mark
John William Bell, Jun’r
Jean Bts Robidoux X his mark
Robert Morin X his mark
Michel Petit Jun X his mark
Joseph Petit X his mark
Michel Petit Sen’r X his mark
Pierre Forcier X his mark
Jean Bte Rouleaux X his mark
Antoine Cournoyer X his mark
Louis Francois X his mark
Francois Lamoureaux X his mark
Francois Piquette X his mark
Benjamin Rivet X his mark
Robert Fairbanks X his mark
Benjamin Fairbanks X his mark
Antoine Maci X his mark
Joseph Maci X his mark
Edward Maci X his mark
Alexander Maci X his mark
Joseph Montreal Jun. X his mark
Peter Crebassa X his mark
Ambrose Davenporte X his mark
George Fairbanks X his mark

Francois Lemieux X his mark
Pierre Lemieux X his mark
Jean Bte Lemieux X his mark
Baptist St. Jean X his mark
Francis St Jean X his mark
Francis Decoteau X his mark
Jean Bte Brisette X his mark
Henry Brisette X his mark
Charles Brisette X his mark
Jehudah Ermatinger X his mark
Elijah Eramtinger X his mark
Jean Bte Cadotte X his mark
Charles Morrison X his mark
Louis Cournoyer X his mark
Jack Hotley X his mark
John Hotley X his mark
Gabriel Lavierge X his mark
Alexis Brebant X his mark
Eunsice Childes
Etienne St Martin X his mark
Eduard St Arnaud X his mark
Paul Rivet X his mark
Louisan Rivet X his mark
John Fairbanks X his mark
William Fairbanks X his mark
Theodor Borup
James P Scott
Bazil Danis X his mark
Alexander Danis X his mark
Joseph Danis X his mark
Souverain Danis X his mark
Frances Dechonauet
Joseph La Pointe X
Joseph Dafault X his mark
Antoine Cadotte X his mark


Signed in Presnce of

John Angus
John Wood
John William Bell Sen’r
Antoine Perinier
Grenville T. Sproat
Jay P. Childes
C. La Rose
Chs W. Borup
James P. Scott
Henry Blatchford

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello

Originally published in the August 25th, 1877, issue of The Ashland Press. Transcribed with permission from Ashland Narratives by K. Wallin and published in 2013 by Straddle Creek Co.

… continued from Number VI.

Plat of Prentice’s Addition to Ashland:
“It is in this addition, that, the Chippewa River and the St. Croix Indian trails reach the Bay.”

My Dear Press: – Recollections of Ashland which should forget to mention Martin Roehm, would leave out a material part – in truth a connecting link in the “chain of events.”  He came to the Bay in the summer of 1856 – a hearty industrious young man, not many years from the “Fader Land.”  He pre-empted a quarter section of land near the town site – which he still owns.  He was not long in discovering the worth and beauty of a comely young widow, who, like himself, had left the “Fader Land” to improve her worldly condition. – After a somewhat lengthy courtship, they were married by “Esquire Bell” in their own home.  The ruins of the house may be seen in Prentice’s Addition on the flats between “town” and the mouth of Fish Creek.  The bride herself cooked with her own hands the marriage feast, while the guests were gathering.  The ceremony was concluded by a grand gallopade, the music being under the direction of that master of the Terpsichorean art, Conrad Goeltz, assisted by his brother Adam, himself a master of the art.

Photograph from obituary of Martin Roehm:
Ashland Daily Press,
April 17, 1898

Martin and his worthy wife still live in Ashland, having witnessed and participated in its varied fortunes for more than twenty years.  They may be said to form the connecting link between the Old and New Ashland; for when all others had been, by the force of circumstance, compelled to abandon their homes, they alone remained “monarchs of all they surveyed.”  They were in possession of an improved estate in their beautiful valley of Marengo twelve miles from Ashland.  This was their favorite winter retreat; while upon the shores of the bay their palaces exceeded in number the residences of the richest kings of the old world.  For years they were sovereigns alone, in possession of territory rivaling in extent some of the Kingdoms of Europe.

Their herds of cattle increased year by year and in time patriarchal style, were driven from one part of the vast estate to another, as the necessities of forage might require.

And now, although the revival of Ashland has somewhat restricted the extent of Martin’s possessions, he still owns a valuable herd of cows, and finds a sure source of revenue in the milk supply of Ashland, to the mutual satisfaction of his patrons and himself.  His experiments have shown that our soil and climate are adapted to cattle raising and dairy purposes.

Robert Dundas Boyd
Register of Deeds
La Pointe County

Robert D. Boyd, unknown to most of the present generation, came to Ashland in 1855.  He was a native of the island of Mackinac – the son of an Indian Agent there stationed.  His father was connected by marriage with a distinguished ex-President, to whom he owed his appointment.  Rob’t D. as the report was, had, from the effects of a sudden outbreak of passion been guilty of a high crime, and to escape the penalty of the law, had fled to Lake Superior – then almost inaccessible – and safe from invasions of sheriffs and wicked men of that sort.  At La Pointe he married a French mixed blood girl by the name of Cadotte, by whom he had several children.  Except when under the influence of liquor, his conduct was good and his manner gentlemanly and polite.  When partially intoxicated he was thought to be somewhat dangerous if not desperate.

Detail of settlement at Boyd Creek from Augustus Barber’s 1855 survey:
“There is a house in the NE quarter and another in the SE quarter of Section 25.”

He laid claim to a piece of land on the west side of the bay opposite to Ashland, of which a plat was made, to which he gave the name of “Menard,” in memory of the lamented French Jesuit Priest, who, according to tradition, labored for a while at an Indian village then located at this spot, – the point where the old St. Croix Indian trail reached the water of the Great Lake, and which in early years was a well beaten path – but now deserted.  No traces of the village are now visible.  The storms of nearly two hundred and fifty winters have obliterated all traces, of what from its position, must have been an important point among the Ojibwas of the northwest.  According to the tradition, Father Menard left the bay for a missionary tour inland, from which he never returned and no trace of him was ever found.

La Pointe County Deeds Book A Page 577:
 Plat of Mesnard
Surveyed, certified, and recorded in 1857 by Edward L. Baker, as power of attorney for Thomas H. Hogan of La Pointe:
“the SE¼ of the SW¼, the SW¼ of the SE¼, and Lot 3 in Section 24, and Lots 1 & 2 and the NE¼ of the NW¼ and west½ half of the NW¼ of Section 25, all in Township 48 North of Range 5 West of the 4th principal meridian of the State of Wisconsin

Boyd erected a house in 1857 in the western part of Beaser’s Division which still stands, but unoccupied.

Wisconsin Representative Asaph Whittlesey also wrote about this tragedy.

In the latter part of 1857 he became unusually dispirited; his drunken sprees became frequent and long continued; and he was often under arrest for his disorderly and quarrelsome conduct.  Finally in January 1858 he fell into a drunken debauch of several days duration.  He was then living in the old log cabin  on Main Street – Mr. Whittlesey’s first house – with one bachelor companion by the name of Cross.  Having passed the night in drunken carousals, in the early morning – irritated by some real or imaginary insult from Cross – he approached the latter with a drawn butcher knife in his hand, holding it up in a threatening manner, as if about to strike.  Cross drew a revolver and fired – two balls passed into the chest – one entering the heart.  Boyd fell and in five minutes had breathed his last.  This tragic event produced a profound sensation in our little community.  A coroner’s inquest was held by Asaph Whittlesey, then a justice of the peace, – and although the evidence seemed to show that Cross might have retreated and saved himself without taking Boyd’s life, still Cross was judged by the jury to have acted in self-defense and was acquitted, Boyd’s known desperate character doubtless contributed to this result.

Boyd’s wife had died some years before, and several children were left orphans; and the writer will always carry in his mind the affecting scene as the little daughter three years old was held up in the arms of Mrs. Angus to take a last view of, and imprint a last kiss on the cold brow of her only natural protector.  But God – who is ever the Father of the fatherless, – took care of the orphans, and they are now grown up to manhood and womanhood, and twenty years have effaced from most the memory of this sad event.

To be continued in Number VIII

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello

Originally published in the March 30, 1878, issue of The Ashland Press. Transcribed with permission from Ashland Narratives by K. Wallin and published in 2013 by Straddle Creek Co.

… continued from Number VI.

Early Recollections of Ashland: Number VII

by Asaph Whittlesey

I am now brought to the more difficult task of making suitable mention of those who were associated with me as original proprietors of the place, some of whom have already passed the bounds of time.

Charles Whittlesey whote about Martin Beaser working for the Algonquin Company of Detroit during 1845 in Two Months In The Copper Range:

“… Martin, a sailor just from the whaling grounds of the Northwest Coast …”

Martin Beaser, was a man of much more than ordinary ability.  I am not informed as to his opportunities for education in early life, but judge that they were somewhat limited, while his individual experiences were wide spread.  Nothing ever passed his notice, nor would he abandon a subject until he fully comprehended it.  In form he was compact, and as he was capable of great endurance, no obstacle in his life seemed too great for him to surmount.  A look at his extended library will itself evince his inclination for the best of literature. – When I first met him (in August, 1854,) I took him to be something like forty-two or forty-three years of age.  I had often heard his name mentioned by my brother Charles, as having been associated with him during the season of 1846 in his geological explorations of the Lake region for the General Government in connection with Dr. Houghton, – but we had never met until in August, 1854.  Mr. Beaser had been very successful in business during the “palmy days” of Ontonagon, and was abundantly able to meet the expense of opening the town site of Ashland.

Martin Beaser married Laura Antoinette Beebe.  Both had other siblings who also intermarried into the Beaser/Coburn/Parker/Prince/Beebe family network of early settlers at Ontonagon and Ashland.

I think Mrs. Beaser first made Ashland her home in 1856.  On the 7th of June, 1855, there landed a large sized mackinaw at Ashland, (the boat being named Ashland,) containing the following persons:

Martin Beaser “employed and brought with him early in 1855, Dr. Brunschweiler, a Civil Engineer, who surveyed and platted the first site on this bay, which is now known as ‘Old Ashland’ or ‘Beaser’s Division of Ashland.’ Brunschweiler River, twelve miles from Ashland, perpetuates his name.”
~ Edwin Ellis Incidents: Part III

Martin Beaser, Captain and owner; G. L. Brunschweiler, civil engineer and draftsman, Charles Day, J. S. Norton, Jonas Whitney, a man by the name of Weiber and a Menominie Half Breed from Green Bay.  This event was a signal for an onward movement, and during that season the town was greatly improved.

Doctor George Leonhard Brunschweiler was also involved with surveying and platting Frederick Prentice’s town site of Houghton on Chequamegon Bay.
The Brunsweiler River is a State Natural Area , a federal Research Natural Area, and has Wild River designation.

I think portions of the boat named may yet be seen near the base of Durfee’s Dock in Ashland.  An amusing incident took place during this trip from Ontonagon which is deserving of notice.  The boat, besides passengers, was heavily loaded with provisions, groceries, &c., so that the passengers were somewhat cramped for room.  As the wind was fair the party kept under way all night long, reaching the mouth of Bad River about day break.  Brunschweiler, who was a very passionate man, had passed the night in a very uncomfortable manner, on account of a box of saleratus taking up the room he needed for his comfort.  He had evidently felt it as a very great annoyance to him the live-long night, and he could restrain himself no longer.  He therefore, with an oath, pitches overboard the box of saleratus, and in doing so lost a very valuable meerschaum pipe belonging to himself, which created a roar of laughter from the party, Mr. Beaser himself joining therein.  I will only add regarding our association with Mr. Beaser and his family, that we found them to be most excellent, and accommodating neighbors.

Detail of Ashland and Bay City from inset map on Plat of Prentice’s Addition to Ashland circa late 1850s or early 1860s.
~ Wisconsin Historical Society

Mr. Beaser was drowned in Ashland Bay November 4th, 1866, having evidently reached near the center of the bay before falling overboard.  The wind was in the north east so that his boat landed a little south of Whittlesey’s landing at the head of the bay. – When the boat was found the sail was set and the boat contained the purchases he had made at Bayfield.  Immediate search was made for his body, but it was not found until the following spring, when a Half Breed first discovered it near the mouth of Boyd’s Creek on the west side of the bay.  The citizens of Bayfield gave the body a suitable burial, first at Bayfield, and subsequently it was removed to the Protestant burying ground on La Pointe Island.

Mr. Beaser was noted for his unusual good temper, and often indulged in practical jokes.  At one time he was inquired of as to the provisions made for the poor in the town of Ashland.  His answer was “we starve them out.”


While I lack much in his history to enable me to be as precise in my statements regarding him as I would like to be, I am, nevertheless, in a general way, fully acquainted with his entire history.  Long before I was born, George Kilbourn, Senior, (father to the subject of this notice,) purchased a farm in my native town in Ohio, and here it was that George, Jr., first displayed his qualities as an axeman, evincing the grudge he steadfastly bore towards growing timber.  Even before attaining his majority George, Jr., had cleared the principle portion of his father’s farm, and after his marriage he removed to Hudson, Ohio, where he purchased for himself a heavily timbered tract of 160 acres, the clearing of which afforded him the greatest comfort.  Unfortunately he married very unhappily, and in due time his wife and children virtually drove him from his own home.  I chanced to meet him something like two weeks previous to my leaving Ohio for this place, and informed him of the time I intended to stay, and bade him goodbye.  But on my passing through Hudson on the cars for Cleveland as the appointed time, Mr. Kilbourn came on board the train and informed me he had decided to accompany me on my trip to Lake Superior, that he could not endure it to remain at home any longer.  This was, in brief, his history up to the time of our leaving Ohio in 1854. – The Kilbourns are known as a long lived race, while the “old stocks” were all hard workers.  George, Jr., (better known as Uncle George,) was not far from fifty-five years of age when he first came to this country.  He died suddenly in July, 1870, while visiting a daughter then living at East Hartford, Michigan, being not far from seventy-one years of age. His father and mother lived together at Hudson, Ohio, quite a number of years after Uncle George left Ohio, and lived to pass something over seventy years together in married life.

“In March 1855, Conrad and Adam Goeltz – then young men, came to Ashland. They were natives of Wittenberg, and Conrad had served six years in the Cavalry of that Kingdom; but liking freedom, he bade adieu to the King, his master, and came to the “Land of the Free.” They both cleared land near the town site, which they afterwards pre-empted, and bought from the U.S. Government. For several years both of them lived in Michigan, but upon the revival of Ashland they came back to their early home. Katy Goeltz, Conrad’s Daughter, was the first white child born in this town, in the fall of 1855. Henry Dretler, Mrs. Conrad Goeltz’s father, came early and bought a quarter section of land. He died here in 1858 and was buried near the present residence of Mr. Durfee.”
~ Edwin Ellis Incidents: Part IV

Had it not been for Uncle George’s proclivity and skill in clearing land, the clearings in and about original Ashland would have been much more limited than they are now.  I have often known him to chop all day long, and during bright nights he not unfrequently left his bed and put in from one third to one half of the night felling timber.  He often requested me, in case I out-lived him, to bury a good axe and grind stone with him.  He had also another peculiarity belonging strictly to himself and that was a ravenous appetite, and usually ate the most and worked the hardest during his sick days.  At one time when he was boarding with Conrad Goeltz, he started out just at day break to get to his chopping, and as he passed through the dining room caught sight of extended preparations upon the table which had been specially arranged the evening previous for a party of six persons who had ordered their breakfast at an early hour, but without giving it a thought Uncle George placed himself outside of all there was in sight, and poor Conrad has not to this day forgotten how infernally mad he felt when he found out how he had been victimized.  I will add further that Uncle George called this a lunch only, and was on hand for breakfast at the usual hour.  We all regarded him as being a hardworking, conscientious and strictly honest man.  The settlers, whites, half breeds or Indians all addressed him by the familiar title of Uncle George.

To be continued in Number VIII

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello


Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs:

La Pointe Agency 1831-1839

National Archives Identifier: 164009310


O. I. A. La Pointe J171.
Hon Geo. W. Jones
Ho. of Reps. Jany 9, 1838

Transmits petition dated 31st Augt 1837, from Michel Cadotte & 25 other Chip. Half Breeds, praying that the amt to be paid them, under the late Chip. treaty, be distributed at La Pointe, and submitting the names of D. P. Bushnell, Lyman M. Warren, for the appt of Comsr to make the distribution.

Transmits it, that it may receive such attention as will secure the objects of the petitioners, says as the treaty has not been satisfied it may be necessary to bring the subject of the petition before the Comsr Ind Affrs of the Senate.

Recd 10 Jany 1838
[?] File.


House of Representatives Jany 9th 1838


I hasten to transmit the inclosed petition, with the hope, that the subject alluded to, may receive such attention, as to secure the object of the petitioners. As the Chippewa Treaty has not yet been ratified it may be necessary to bring the subject of the petition before the Committee of Indian Affairs of the Senate.

I am very respectfully
Your obt svt

Geo W. Jones

C. A. Harris Esqr

Comssr of Indian Affairs
War Department



To the President of the United States of America

The humble petition of the undersigned Chippewa Half-Breeds citizens of the United Sates, respectfully Shareth:

Bizhiki (Buffalo), Dagwagaane (Two Lodges Meet), and Jechiikwii’o (Snipe, aka Little Buffalo) signed the 1837 Treaty of St Peters for the La Pointe Band.

That, your petitioners having lately heard that a Treaty had been concluded between the Government of the United Sates and the Chippewa Indians at St Peters, for the cession of certain lands belonging to that tribe:

1837 Treaty of St Peters:

“The sum of one hundred thousand dollars shall be paid by the United States, to the half-
breeds of the Chippewa nation, under the direction of the President. It is the wish of the
Indians that their two sub-agents Daniel P. Bushnell, and Miles M. Vineyard, superintend
the distribution of this money among their half-breed relations.”

That, the said Chippewa Indians X, having a just regard to the interest and welfare of their Half Breed brethren, did there and then stipulate; that, a certain sum of money should be paid once for all unto the said Half-Breeds, to satisfy all claim they might have on the lands so ceded to the United States.

That, your petitioners are ignorant of the time and place where such payment is to be made.

That the great majority of the Half-Breeds entitled to a distribution of said sum of money, are either residing at La Pointe on Lake Superior, or being for the most part earning their livelihood from the Traders, are consequently congregated during the summer months at the aforesaid place.

Your petitioners humbly solicit their father the President, to take their case into consideration, and not subject them to a long and costly journey in ordering the payments to be made at any inconvenient distance, but on the contrary they trust that in his wisdom he will see the justice of their demand in requiring he will be pleased to order the same to be distributed at Lapointe agreeable to their request.

Your petitioners would also intimate that, although they are fully aware that the Executive will make a judicious choice in the appointment of the Commissioners who will be selected to carry into effect the Provisions of said Treaty, yet, they would humbly submit to the President, that they have full confidence in the integrity of D. P. Bushnell Esqr. resident Indian Agent for the United States at this place and Lyman M Warren Esquire, Merchant.

Your petitioners entertain the flattering hope, that, their petition will not be made in vain, and as in duty bound will ever pray.

La Pointe, Lake Superior,
Territory of Wisconsin 31st August 1837


Michel Cadotte
Michel Bosquet X his mark
Seraphim Lacombe X his mark
Joseph Cadotte X his mark
Antoine Cadotte X his mark
Chs W Borup for wife & Children
A Morrison for wife & children
Pierre Cotte
Henry Cotte X his mark
Frances Roussan X his mark
James Ermatinger for wife & family
Lyman M Warren for wife & family
Joseph Dufault X his mark
Paul Rivet X his mark for wife & family
Charles Chaboullez wife & family
George D. Cameron
Alixis Corbin
Louis Corbin
Jean Bste Denomme X his mark and family
Ambrose Deragon X his mark and family
Robert Morran X his mark ” “
Jean Bst Couvillon X his mark ” “
Alix Neveu X his mark ” “
Frances Roy X his mark ” “
Alixis Brisbant X his mark ” “


Signed in presence of G. Pauchene
John Livingston



O.I.A. La Pointe W424.

Governor of Wisconsin
Mineral Pt. Feby 19, 1838

Transmits the talk of “Buffalo,” a Chip. Chief, delivered at the La Pointe SubAgt, Dec. 9, 1837, asking that the am. due the half-breeds under the late Treaty, be divided fairly among them, & paid them there, as they will not go to St Peters for it, &c.

Says Buffalo has great influence with his tribe, & is friendly to the whites; his sentiments accord with most of those of the half-breeds & Inds in that part of the country.


Recd 13 March 1838

[?] File.


Superintendency of Indian Affairs
for the Territory of Wisconsin
Mineral Point, Feby 19, 1838


I have the honor to inclose the talk of “Buffalo,” a principal chief of the Chippewa Indians in the vicinity of La Pointe, delivered on the 9th Dec’r last before Mr Bushnell, sub-agent of the Chippewas at that place. Mr. Bushnell remarks that the speech is given with as strict an adherence to the letter as the language will admit, and has no doubt the sentiments expressed by this Chief accord with those of most of the half-breeds and Indians in that place of the Country. The “Buffalo” is a man of great influence among his tribe, and very friendly to the whites.

Very respectfully,
Your obed’t sevt.

Henry Dodge

Supt Ind Affs

Hon C. A. Harris

Com. of Ind. Affairs




Lapointe Dec 10 1837

Speech of the Buffalo principal Chief at Lapointe

Father I told you yesterday I would have something to say to you today. What I say to you now I want you to write down, and send it to the Great American Chief that we saw at St Peters last summer, (Gov. Dodge). Yesterday, I called all the Indians together, and have brought them here to hear what I say; I speak the words of all.

1837 Treaty of St Peters:

“The said Chippewa nation cede to the United States all that tract of country included
within the following boundaries:
thence to and along the dividing ridge between the waters of Lake Superior and those of the Mississippi

Father it was not my voice, that sold the country last summer. The land was not mine; it belonged to the Indians beyond the mountains. When our Great Father told us at St Peters that it was only the country beyond the mountains that he wanted I was glad. I have nothing to say about the Treaty, good, or bad, because the country was not mine; but when it comes my time I shall know how to act. If the Americans want my land, I shall know what to say. I did not like to stand in the road of the Indians at St Peters. I listened to our Great Father’s words, & said them in my heart. I have not forgotten them. The Indians acted like children; they tried to cheat each other and got cheated themselves. When it comes my time to sell my land, I do not think I shall give it up as they did.

What I say about the payment I do not say on my own account; for myself I do not care; I have always been poor, & don’t want silver now. But I speak for the poor half breeds.

There are a great many of them; more than would fill your house; some of them are very poor They cannot go to St Peters for their money. Our Great Father told us at St Peters, that you would divide the money, among the half breeds. You must not mind those that are far off, but divide it fairly, and give the poor women and children a good share.

Father the Indians all say they will not go to St Peters for their money. Let them divide it in this parts if they choose, but one must have ones here. You must not think you see all your children here; there are so many of them, that when the money and goods are divided, there will not be more than half a Dollar and a breech cloth for each one. At Red Cedar Lake the English Trader (W. Aitken) told the Indians they would not have more than a breech cloth; this set them to thinking. They immediately held a council & their Indian that had the paper (The Treaty) said he would not keep it, and would send it back.

It will not be my place to come in among the first when the money is paid. If the Indians that own the land call me in I shall come in with pleasure.

1837 Treaty of St Peters:

“The sum of seventy thousand dollars shall be applied to the payment, by the United States, of certain claims against the Indians; of which amount twenty eight thousand dollars shall, at their request, be paid to William A. Aitkin, twenty five thousand to Lyman M. Warren, and the balance applied to the liquidation of other just demands against them—which they acknowledge to be the case with regard to that presented by Hercules L. Dousman, for the sum of five thousand dollars; and they request that it be paid.

We are afraid of one Trader. When at St Peters I saw that they worked out only for themselves. They have deceived us often. Our Great Father told us he would pay our old debts. I thought they should be struck off, but we have to pay them. When I heard our debts would be paid, it done my heart good. I was glad; but when I got back here my joy was gone. When our money comes here, I hope our Traders will keep away, and let us arrange our own business, with the officers that the President sends here.

Father I speak for my people, not for myself. I am an old man. My fire is almost out – there is but little smoke. When I set in my wigwam & smoke my pipe, I think of what has past and what is to come, and it makes my heart shake. When business comes before us we will try and act like chiefs. If any thing is to be done, it had better be done straight. The Indians are not like white people; they act very often like children. We have always been good friends to the whites, and we want to remain so. We do not [even?] go to war with our enemies, the Sioux; I tell my young men to keep quiet.

Father I heard the words of our Great Father (Gov. Dodge) last summer, and was pleased; I have not forgotten what he said. I have his words up in my heart. I want you to tell him to keep good courage for us, we want him to do all he can for us. What I have said you have written down; I [?] you to hand him a copy; we don’t know your ways. If I [?] said any thing [?] dont send it. If you think of any thing I ought to say send it. I have always listened to the white men.



O.I.A. Lapointe, B.458
D. P. Bushnell
Lapointe, March 8, 1838

At the request of some of the petitioners, encloses a petition dated 7 March 1838, addressed to the Prest, signed by 167 Chip. half breeds, praying that the amt stipulated by the late Chip. Treaty to be paid to the half breeds, to satisfy all claims they ma have on the lands ceded by this Treaty, may be distributed at Lapointe.

Hopes their request will be complied with; & thinks their annuity should likewise be paid at Lapointe.


Recd 2nd May, 1838


Lapointe Mch 6 1838


I have the honor herewith to enclose a petition addressed to the President of the United States, handed to me with a request by several of the petitioners that I would forward it. The justice of the demand of these poor people is so obvious to any one acquainted with their circumstances, that I cannot omit this occasion to second it, and to express a sincere hope that it will be complied with. Indeed, if the convenience and wishes of the Indians are consulted, and as the sum they receive for their country is so small, these should, I conciev, be principle considerations, their annuity will likewise as paid here; for it is a point more convenient of access for the different bands, that almost any other in their own country, and one moreover, where they have interests been in the habit of assembling in the summer months.

I am sir, with great respect,
your most obt servant,

D. P. Bushnell

O. I. A.

C. A. Harris Esqr.

Comr Ind. Affs



To the President of the United States of America

The humble petition of the undersigned Chippewa Half-Breeds citizens of the United States respectfully shareth

That your petitioners having lately heard, that a Treaty has been concluded between the Government of the United States and the Chippewa Indians at St Peters for the cession of certain lands belonging to that tribe;

For more information about the families and circumstances identified in these petitions from La Pointe, we strongly recommend Theresa M. Schenck’s excellent book All Our Relations: Chippewa Mixed-Bloods and the Treaty of 1837.

That the said Chippewa Indians having a just regard to the interest and wellfare of their Half-Breed brethern, did there and then stipulate, that a certain sum of money should be paid once for all unto the said Half-Breeds, to satisfy all claims, they might have on the lands so ceded to the United States;

That your petitioners are ignorant of the time and place, where such payment is to be made; and

That the great majority of the Half-Breeds entitled to a portion of said sum of money are either residing at Lapointe on Lake Superior, or being for the most part earning their livelihood from the Traders, are consequently congregated during the summer months at the aforesaid place;

Your petitioners therefore humbly solicit their Father the President to take their case into consideration, and not subject them to a long and costly journey on ordering the payment to be made at any convenient distance, but on the contrary, they wish, that in his wisdom he will see the justice of this petition and that he will be pleased to order the same to be distributed at Lapointe agreeably to their request.

Your petitioners entertain the flattering hope, that their petition will not be made in vain and as in duly bound will ever pray.


Half Breeds of Folleavoine Lapointe Lac Court Oreilles and Lac du Flambeau

Georg Warren
Edward Warren
William Warren
Truman A Warren
Mary Warren
Michel Cadott
Joseph Cadotte
Joseph Dufault
Frances Piquette   X his mark
Michel Bousquet   X his mark
Baptiste Bousquet   X his mark
Jos Piquette   X his mark
Antoine Cadotte   X his mark
Joseph Cadotte   X his mark
Seraphim Lacombre   X his mark
Angelique Larose   X her mark
Benjamin Cadotte   X his mark
J Bte Cadotte   X his mark
Joseph Danis   X his mark
Henry Brisette   X his mark
Charles Brisette   X his mark
Jehudah Ermatinger
William Ermatinger
Charlotte Ermatinger
Larence Ermatinger
Theodore Borup
Sophia Borup
Elisabeth Borup
Jean Bte Duchene   X his mark
Agathe Cadotte   X her mark
Mary Cadotte   X her mark
Charles Cadotte   X his mark
Louis Nolin   _ his mark
Frances Baillerge   X his mark
Joseph Marchand   X his mark
Louis Dubay   X his mark
Alexis Corbin   X his mark
Augustus Goslin   X his mark
George Cameron   X his mark
Sophia Dufault   X her mark
Augt Cadotte No 2   X his mark
Jos Mace   _ his mark
Frances Lamoureau   X his mark
Charles Morrison
Charlotte L. Morrison
Mary A Morrison
Margerike Morrison
Jane Morrison
Julie Dufault   X her mark
Michel Dufault   X his mark
Jean Bte Denomme   X his mark
Michel Deragon   X his mark
Mary Neveu   X her mark
Alexis Neveu   X his mark
Michel Neveu   X his mark
Josette St Jean   X her mark
Baptist St Jean   X his mark
Mary Lepessier   X her mark
Edward Lepessier   X his mark
William Dingley   X his mark
Sarah Dingley   X her mark
John Hotley   X his mark
Jeannette Hotley   X her mark
Seraphim Lacombre Jun   X his mark
Angelique Lacombre   X her mark
Felicia Brisette   X her mark
Frances Houle   X his mark
Jean Bte Brunelle   X his mark
Jos Gauthier   X his mark
Edward Connor   X his mark
Henry Blanchford   X his mark
Louis Corbin   X his mark
Augustin Cadotte   X his mark
Frances Gauthier   X his mark
Jean Bte Gauthier   X his mark
Alexis Carpentier   X his mark
Jean Bte Houle   X his mark
Frances Lamieux   X his mark
Baptiste Lemieux   X his mark
Pierre Lamieux   X his mark
Michel Morringer   X his mark
Frances Dejaddon   X his mark
John Morrison   X his mark
Eustache Roussain   X his mark
Benjn Morin   X his mark
Adolphe Nolin   X his mark


Half-Breeds of Fond du Lac

John Aitken
Roger Aitken
Matilda Aitken
Harriet Aitken
Nancy Scott
Robert Fairbanks
George Fairbanks
Jean B Landrie
Joseph Larose
Paul Bellanges   X his mark
Jack Belcour   X his mark
Jean Belcour   X his mark
Paul Beauvier   X his mark
Frances Belleaire
Michel Comptois   X his mark
Joseph Charette   X his mark
Chl Charette   X his mark
Jos Roussain   X his mark
Pierre Roy   X his mark
Joseph Roy   X his mark
Vincent Roy   X his mark
Jack Bonga   X his mark
Jos Morrison   X his mark
Henry Cotte   X his mark
Charles Chaboillez
Roderic Chaboillez
Louison Rivet   X his mark
Louis Dufault   X his mark
Louison Dufault   X his mark
Baptiste Dufault   X his mark
Joseph Dufault   X his mark
Chs Chaloux   X his mark
Jos Chaloux   X his mark
Augt Bellanger   X his mark
Bapt Bellanger   X his mark
Joseph Bellanger   X his mark
Ignace Robidoux   X his mark
Charles Robidoux   X his mark
Mary Robidoux   X her mark
Simon Janvier   X his mark
Frances Janvier   X his mark
Baptiste Janvier   X his mark
Frances Roussain   X his mark
Therese Rouleau   X his mark
Joseph Lavierire   X his mark
Susan Lapointe   X her mark
Mary Lapointe   X her mark
Louis Gordon   X his mark
Antoine Gordon   X his mark
Jean Bte Goslin   X his mark
Nancy Goslin   X her mark
Michel Petit   X his mark
Jack Petit   X his mark
Mary Petit   X her mark
Josette Cournoyer   X her mark
Angelique Cournoyer   X her mark
Susan Cournoyer   X her mark
Jean Bte Roy   X his mark
Frances Roy   X his mark
Baptist Roy   X his mark
Therese Roy   X her mark
Mary Lavierge   X her mark
Toussaint Piquette   X his mark
Josette Piquette   X her mark
Susan Montreille   X her mark
Josiah Bissel   X his mark
John Cotte   X his mark
Isabelle Cotte   X her mark
Angelique Brebant   X her mark
Mary Brebant   X her mark
Margareth Bell   X her mark
Julie Brebant   X her mark
Josette Lefebre   X her mark
Sophia Roussain   X her mark
Joseph Roussain   X his mark
Angelique Roussain   X her mark
Joseph Bellair   X his mark
Catharine McDonald   X her mark
Nancy McDonald   X her mark
Mary Macdonald   X her mark
Louise Landrie   X his mark


In presence of

Chs W Borup
A Morrison
A. D. Newton

Lapointe 7th March 1838

1827 Deed for Old La Pointe

December 27, 2022

Collected & edited by Amorin Mello

Chief Buffalo and other principal men for the La Pointe Bands of Lake Superior Chippewa began signing treaties with the United States at the 1825 Treaty of Prairie Du Chien; followed by the 1826 Treaty of Fond Du Lac, which reserved Tribal Trust Lands for Chippewa Mixed Bloods along the St. Mary’s River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron:


The Indian Trade & Intercourse Act of 1790 was the United States of America’s first law regulating tribal land interests:

SEC. 4. And be it enacted and declared, That no sale of lands made by any Indians, or any nation or tribe of Indians the United States, shall be valid to any person or persons, or to any state, whether having the right of pre-emption to such lands or not, unless the same shall be made and duly executed at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States.

640 acres is a Square Mile; also known as a Section of land.

It being deemed important that the half-breeds, scattered through this extensive country, should be stimulated to exertion and improvement by the possession of permanent property and fixed residences, the Chippewa tribe, in consideration of the affection they bear to these persons, and of the interest which they feel in their welfare, grant to each of the persons described in the schedule hereunto annexed, being half-breeds and Chippewas by descent, and it being understood that the schedule includes all of this description who are attached to the Government of the United States, six hundred and forty acres of land, to be located, under the direction of the President of the United States, upon the islands and shore of the St. Mary’s river, wherever good land enough for this purpose can be found; and as soon as such locations are made, the jurisdiction and soil thereof are hereby ceded. It is the intention of the parties, that, where circumstances will permit, the grants be surveyed in the ancient French manner, bounding not less than six arpens, nor more than ten, upon the river, and running back for quantity; and that where this cannot be done, such grants be surveyed in any manner the President may direct. The locations for Oshauguscodaywayqua and her descendents shall be adjoining the lower part of the military reservation, and upon the head of Sugar Island. The persons to whom grants are made shall not have the privilege of conveying the same, without the permission of the President.

The aforementioned Schedule annexed to the 1826 Treaty of Fond du Lac included (among other Chippewa Mixed Blood families at La Pointe) the families of Madeline & Michel Cadotte, Sr. and their American son-in-laws, the brothers Truman A. Warren and Lyman M. Warren:

  • To Michael Cadotte, senior, son of Equawaice, one section.

  • To Equaysay way, wife of Michael Cadotte, senior, and to each of her children living within the United States, one section.

  • To each of the children of Charlotte Warren, widow of the late Truman A. Warren, one section.

  • To Ossinahjeeunoqua, wife of Michael Cadotte, Jr. and each of her children, one section.

  • To each of the children of Ugwudaushee, by the late Truman A. Warren, one section.

  • To William Warren, son of Lyman M. Warren, and Mary Cadotte, one section.

Detail of Michilimackinac County circa 1818 from Michigan as a territory 1805-1837 by C.A. Burkhart, 1926.
~ UW-Milwaukee Libraries

Now, if it seems odd for a Treaty in Minnesota (Fond du Lac) to give families in Wisconsin (La Pointe) lots of land in Michigan (Sault Ste Marie), just remember that these places were relatively ‘close’ to each other in the sociopolitical fabric of Michigan Territory back in 1827.  All three places were in Michilimackinac County (seated at Michilimackinac) until 1826, when they were carved off together as part of the newly formed Chippewa County (seated at Sault Ste Marie).  Lake Superior remained Unceded Territory until later decades when land cessions were negotiated in the 1836, 1837, 1842, and 1854 Treaties.

Ultimately, the United States removed the aforementioned Schedule from the 1826 Treaty before ratification in 1827.

Several months later, at Michilimackinac, Madeline & Michel Cadotte, Sr. recorded the following Deed to reserve 2,000 acres surrounding the old French Forts of La Pointe to benefit future generations of their family.

Register of Deeds

Michilimackinac County

Book A of Deeds, Pages 221-224

Michel Cadotte and
Magdalen Cadotte
Lyman M. Warren


Received for Record
July 26th 1827 at two Six O’Clock A.M.
J.P. King
Reg’r Probate

Bizhiki (Buffalo), Gimiwan (Rain), Kaubuzoway, Wyauweenind, and Bikwaakodowaanzige (Ball of Dye) signed the 1826 Treaty of Fond Du Lac as the Chief and principal men of La Pointe.

This 1827 Deed may be the earliest written record of the modern placename Magdalen (aka Madeline) Island. This placename did not become commonly used until the 1850s. Records from the 1830s and 1840s used other placenames such as La Pointe and Middle Island.

Copy of 1834 map of La Pointe by Lyman M. Warren at Wisconsin Historical Society. Original map (not shown here) is in the American Fur Company papers of the New York Historical Society.

Whereas the Chief and principal men of the Chippeway Tribe of indians, residing on and in the parts adjacent to the island called Magdalen in the western part of Lake Superior, heretofore released and confirmed by Deed unto Magdalen Cadotte a Chippeway of the said tribe, and to her brothers and sisters as tenants in common, thereon, all that part of the said Island called Magdalen, lying south and west of a line commencing on the eastern shore of said Island in the outlet of Great Wing river, and running directly thence westerly to the centre of Sandy bay on the western side of said Island;

and whereas the said brothers and sisters of said Magdalen Cadotte being tenants in common of the said premises, thereafterwards, heretofore, released, conveyed and confirmed unto their sister, the said Magdalen Cadotte all their respective rights title, interest and claim in and to said premises,

and whereas the said Magdalen Cadotte is desirous of securing a portion of said premises to her five grand children viz; George Warren, Edward Warren and Nancy Warren children of her daughter Charlotte Warren, by Truman A. Warren late a trader at said island, deceased, and William Warren and Truman A. Warren children of her daughter Mary Warren by Lyman M. Warren now a trader at said Island;

Reverend Sherman Hall came here in 1831 to start a Protestant mission for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in response to years of prayer from Lyman M. Warren.

and whereas the said Magdalen Cadotte is desirous to promote the establishment of a mission on said Island, by and under the direction, patronage and government of the American board of commissioners for foreign missions, according to the plan, wages, and principles and purposes of the said Board.

William Whipple Warren was one of the beneficiary grandchildren named in this Deed.

Now therefore, Know all men by these presents that we Michael Cadotte and Magdalen Cadotte, wife of the said Michael, of said Magdalen Island, in Lake Superior, for and in consideration of one dollar to us in hand paid by Lyman M. Warren, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, and for and in consideration of the natural love and affection we bear to our Grandchildren, the said George, Edward, Nancy, William W., and Truman A. Warren, children of our said daughters Charlotte and Mary;

and the further consideration of our great desire to promote the establishment of a mission as aforesaid, under and by the direction, government and patronage of Board aforesaid, have granted, bargained, sold, released, conveyed and confirmed, and by these presents do grant, bargain, sell, release, convey and confirm unto the said Lyman M. Warren his heirs and assigns, out of the aforerecited premises and as part and parcel thereof a certain tract of land on Magdalen Island in Lake Superior, bounded as follows,

Detail of La Pointe from ojibwemowin layer of GLIFWC's GIS webmap.

Detail of Ojibwemowin placenames on GLIFWC’s webmap.

Michel Cadotte, Sr. and his sons-in-laws, the brothers Truman A. Warren and Lyman M. Warren, settled at or near Old Fort, aka Northern Yellow-Shafted Flicker Point (Mooningwane-neyaashi); now known as Grant’s Point.  The first French fort of 1600s was here.
Great Wing River appears to be a presently Unnamed Creek on Chebomnicon Bay (Zhaaboominikaaning).
Sandy Bay (Wiikwedaawangaag) is now known as La Pointe’s Middleport.  The second French fort of 1700s was here.
The Portage appears to a connection between the headwaters of Middleport’s creek and Chebomnicon Bay’s creek.
New Fort” began about 1834 when Lyman M. Warren moved the American Fur Company post from Old Fort to here.

that is to say, beginning at the most southeasterly corner of the house built and now occupied by said Lyman M. Warren, on the south shore of said Island between this tract and the land of the grantor, thence on the east by a line drawn northerly until it shall intersect at right angles a line drawn westerly from the mouth of Great Wing River to the Centre of Sandy Bay, thence on the north by the last mentioned line westward to a Point in said line, from which a line drawn southward and at right angles therewith would fall on the site of the old fort, so called on the southerly side of said Island; thence on the west by a line drawn from said point and parallel to the eastern boundary of said tract, to the Site of the old fort, so called, thence by the course of the Shore of old Fort Bay to the portage; thence by a line drawn eastwardly to the place of beginning, containing by estimation two thousand acres, be the same more or less, with the appurtenances, hereditaments, and privileges thereto belonging.

To have and to hold the said granted premises to him the said Lyman M. Warren his heirs and assigns: In Trust, Nevertheless, and upon this express condition, that whensoever the said American Board of Commissioners for foreign missions shall establish a mission on said premises, upon the plan, usages, principles and purposes as aforesaid, the said Lyman M. Warren shall forthwith convey unto the american board of commissioners for foreign missions, not less than one quarter nor more than one half of said tract herein conveyed to him, and to be divided by a line drawn from a point in the southern shore of said Island, northerly and parallel with the east line of said tract, and until it intersects the north line thereof.

Roughly 2,100 acres lies south of Middle Road.

And as to the residue of the said Estate, the said Lyman M. Warren shall divided the same equally with and amongst the said five children, as tenants in common, and not as joint tenants; and the grantors hereby authorize the said Lyman M. Warren with full powers to fulfil said trust herein created, hereby ratifying and confirming the deed and deeds of said premises he may make for the purpose ~~~

In witness whereof we have hereunto set our respective hands, this twenty fifth day of july A.D. one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven, of Independence the fifty first.

(Signed) Michel Cadotte {Seal}
Magdalen Cadotte X her mark {Seal}

Signed, Sealed and delivered
in presence of us }

Daniel Dingley
Samuel Ashman
Wm. M. Ferry

(on the third page and ninth line from the top the word eastwardly was interlined and from that word the three following lines and part of the fourth to the words “to the place” were erased before the signing & witnessing of this instrument.)


Territory of Michigan }
County of Michilimackinac }

Be it known that on the twenty sixth day of July A.D. 1827, personally came before me, the subscriber, one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Michilimackinac, Michel Cadotte and Magdalen Cadotte, wife of the said Michel Cadotte, and the said Magdalen being examined separate and apart from her said husband, each severally acknowledged the foregoing instrument to be their voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes therein expressed.

(Signed) J. P. King
Just. peace

fees Paid $2.25

Rescheduled with new date!  Join us in Red Cliff Thursday evening for a presentation on the Joseph Austrian memoirs!

Join us in Red Cliff Wednesday evening for a presentation on the Joseph Austrian memoirs!