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As a place of summer resort, abounding in all the requisites of pleasure and health, St. Anthony excels all the watering places of the fashionable and expensive east. As for the Falls of St. Anthony, they are ruined by Yankee enterprise, and all their beauty has departed. Mills, foundries, dams and lumber rafts have spoilt all of nature's romantic loveliness by their innovations, and you would be astonished to see the hundreds of houses recently erected here, some of which are beautiful and costly specimens of architecture, that would prove ornaments to any city. The Winston House, at St. Anthony, is one of the largest and most elegant hotels of the north-west, built of stone at a cost of $110,000, and furnished in princely style. It is now filled with southern people.
This is my fourth day here, and I already begin to experience the fine effects of the invigorating climate and stimulating atmosphere. I have been hunting and fishing, and found the sport excellent. There are plenty of deer in the neighborhood, but I have seen none of them yet. The chief shooting is the prairie chicken, and they are in abundance in the plains and stubble fields. For fishing one can hardly go amiss. Within a range of from six to twenty miles from the town, are several magnificent lakes. In all of these, the greatest quantity of fish is to be found, such as perch, of various kinds, pickerel, bass, trout, etc., while in numerous small streains, hundreds of trout-the regular speckled trout -are taken daily. A gay and joyous party of us yesterday visited Lake Minnetonka, where we got up a very handsome picnic, and had a good time. A party of six gentlemen, all from the south, are to start to-morrow for the buffalo grounds of the Red River of the North, on a grand hunting expedition.
The Minnesota River and Fort Snelling, as well as the pretty little Falls of Minne-baha, lie between St. Paul and this place. From the hights of Fort Snelling a most enchanting view of the rich valley of the Minnesota is had; and the traveler looks out upon the vast plain, stretching away beneath his vision, with emotions of surprise--alrnost of bewilderment-at the stupendous scene. What wealth, what riches have the United States not acquired in the possession of this great domain of the north?
Winona, is on the Mississippi River, 150 miles below Saint Paul, and has 4,000 inhabitants. It was named from the Indian maiden Winona, who, according to the legend, threw herself from a cliff into Lake Pepin, and found a grave in its waters, rather than wed an uncongenial brave. Red Wing and Hastings are smaller towns, on the Mississippi, the first the seat of Hamlin University, a methodist institution, and on that beautiful expansion of the Mississippi, Lake Pepin: Hastings is 25 miles below St. Paul.
Mendota is on a beautiful island, at the junction of the Minnesota with the Mississippi. It possesses great advantages in position, and was for a long time a noted trading post of the American Fur Company. Immediately in the rear of Mendota rises the lofty Pilot Knob, which is much visited.
Beside the above there are numerous other rising towns in Minnesota, of which we have not descriptions at hand, as Wabashaw, Shakopee, Le Sueur, Nicollet, Stillwater, Lake City, etc. Whatever descriptions may be given of the rising towns in the west are of doubtful value, excepting as a matter of history, for often is the rapidity of their increase so great, that the statistics of one season are of no reliability as a basis of knowledge a few seasons later.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES, MISCELLANIES, ETC.
Nicholas Perrot was one of those master minds whose enterprises mark the his. tory of their times. He was by birth a Canadian, bred to the excitements of a frontier life. Educated by service to the Jesuits, he became familiar with the customs and languages of the savages of the lakes of the far west. Years before La Salle launched the Griffin on Lake Erie, he was sent by government on an errand to the tribes of the north-west, and penetrated even as far south as Chicago. He was the first man known to have built a trading post on the Upper Mississippi, which he did on the shores of Lake Pepin. According to the Dakotah tradition, he gave seed and corn to their people, through the influence of which the Dakotahs began to be led away from the rice grounds of the Mille Lac region.
Louis Hennepin was born in Ath, Netherlands. He was bred a priest of the
and adventure, and sought out the society of strangers, “who spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing." In 1676, he welcomed with joy the order from his superior to embark for Canada. He accompanied La Salle in his celebrated expedition to explore the far west. In Feb., 1680, he was dispatched by La Salle, with two voyageurs in a canoe, on a voyage of discovery up the unknown regions of the Upper Mississippi. It was on this journey that he discovered and named the Falls of St. Anthony. In 1683, he published, at Paris, a tolerably correct account of his travels in Minnesota. In 1698, he issued an enlarged edition, dedicated to King William, in which he falsely claimed to have descended the Mississippi to its mouth. His descriptions were stolen from the works of other travelers. Wishing to return to Canada, the minister of Louis XIV wrote, “As his majesty is not satisfied with the conduct of the friar, it is his pleasure that if he return thither, that they arrest and send him to the intendant at Rochefort.” “In the year 1701, he was still in Europe, attached to a convent in Italy. He appears to have died in obscurity, unwept and unhonored."
Jean N. Nicollet was born in 1790, in Cluses, Savoy. So poor were his parents that he was obliged, at the early age of nine years, to gain a subsistence by playing upon the flute and violin. When ten years old, he was apprenticed to a watchmaker, and turned his leisure hours to the study of mathematics. He eventually moved to Paris and entered the normal school, later became a college professor, and gained distinction as an astronomer, receiving the decoration of the Legion of Honor. In 1832, he emigrated to the United States, poor and honest. In the summer of 1836, he came to Minnesota, and explored the sources of the Upper Mississippi, with scientific exactness. Soon after he received a commission from the United States to explore the sources of the Minnesota, and at this time was assisted by John C. Fremont. “The map which he constructed, and the astronomical observations which he made, were invaluable to the country." Hon. H. H. Sibley, in his notice of Nicollet, says:
“ His health was so seriously affected after his return to Washington in 1839, that from that time forward he was incapacitated from devoting himself to the accomplishment of
pressed spirits and blighted hopes. He had long aspired to a membership in the Academy of Sciences of Paris. His long continued devotion and valuable contributions to the cause of science, and his correct deportment as a gentleman, alike entitled him to such a distinction. But his enemies were numerous and influential, and when his name was presented in accordance with a previous nomination, to fill a vacancy, he was black-balled and rejected. This last blow was mortal. True, be strove against the incurable melancholy which had fastened itself upon him, but his struggles waxed more and more faint, until death put a period to his sufferings on the 18th of September, 1844. .
Even when he was aware that his dissolution was near at band, his thoughts reverted back to the days when he roamed along the valley of the Minnesota River. It was my fortune to meet him for the last time, in the year 1842, in Washington City. A short time before his death, I received a kind but mournful letter from him, in which he adverted to the fact that his days were numbered, but at the same time he expressed a hope that he would have strength sufficient to enable him to make his way to our country, that he might yield up his breath and be interred on the banks of his beloved stream.
It would bave been gratifying to his friends to know that the soil of the region which had employed so much of his time and scientific research, bad received bis mortal remains
into his bosom, but they were denied this melancholy satisfaction. He sleeps beneath the sod far away, in the vicinity of the capital of the nation, but his name will continue to be cherished in Minnesota as one of its early explorers, and one of its best friends. The astronomer, the geologist, and the christian gentleman, Jean N. Nicollet, will long be remembered in connection with the history of the north-west.
Time shall quench full many
Lake Itasca is one of the multitude of those clear, beautiful sheets of water which do so abound in Minnesota, that the aboriginal inhabitants were called, by
the early French voyageurs, the “People of the Lakes." It is estimated by Schoolcraft, that within its borders are ten thousand of these, and it is thought, it is measurably to them that the husbandman of Minnesota is so blessed with abundance of summer rains. The waters, pure, sweet, and cold, abound with fish of delicious flavor. The Indians often reared their habitations on the margins of the most beautiful and picturesque. The greater number are isolated and destitute of outlets; usually of an oval form, and from one to two and three miles in diameter," with clear white sandy shores, gentle, grassy slopes, or rimmed with
walls of rock, their pebbly LAKE ITASCA.
beaches, sparkling with corThe Source of the Mississippi,
nelians and agates, while the
oak grove or denser wood which skirts its margin, completes the graceful outline."
Among all these sheets of water that by day and by night reflect the glories of this northern sky, the lake named Itasca, from an Indian maiden. is especially honored. For here, from the lap of encircling hills, in latitude 47 deg. 13 min. 35 sec., 1,575 feet above the ocean, and 2,527 miles from it, by its own meanderings, the Mississippi, the Father of Waters, finds his birth-place.
Lake Itasca was first brought to the notice of the civilized world as the source of the Mississippi, by Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, Indian agent at Sault Ste. Marie. In the summer of 1832, he was given charge of an expedition to visit the Indians toward the source of the Mississippi. Attached to the expedition was a military escort, under Lieut. James Allen, Dr. Houghton, geologist of Michigan, and Rev. W. T. Boutwell, who was sent out by the American Board, preliminary to establishing missions among the Indians. They crossed over from the west end of Lake Superior, and at two o'clock on the afternoon of the 13th of July, reached the Elk Lake, named Itasca by Mr. Schoolcraft.“ With the exception of traders, no white men had ever traced the Mississippi so far. The lake is about eight miles in length, and was called Elk by the Ojibways, because of its regularities, resembling the horns of that animal. Lieut. Allen, the commander of the military detachment, who made the first map of this lake, thus speaks :
From these hills, which were seldom more than two or three hundred feet high
we came suddenly down to the lake, and passed nearly through it to an island near its west end, where we remained one or two hours. We were sure that we had reached the true source of the great river, and a feeling of great satisfaction was manifested by all the party. Mr. Schoolcraft hoisted a flag on a high staff on the island, and left it flying. The lake is about seven miles long, and from one to three broad, but is of an irregular shape, conforming to the bases of pine hills, which, for a great part of its circumference, rise abruptly from its shore. It is deep, cold, and very clear, and seemed to be well stocked with fish. Its shores show some bowlders of primitive rock, but no rock in place. The island, the only one on the lake, is one hundred and fifty yards long, fifty yards broad in the highest part, elevated twenty or thirty feet, overgrown with elm, pine, spruce, and wild cherry. There can be no doubt that this is the true source and fountain of the longest and largest branch of the Mississippi.'"
THE INDIANS OF MINNESOTA. "Minnesota, from its earliest discovery, has been the residence of two powerful tribes, the Chippewas or Ojibways, and the Sioux--pronounced Sooz-or Dahkotahs.* The word Chippewa is a corruption of the term Ojibway, and that of Dahkotah signifies the allied tribes. The Winnebago from Iowa, and the Menonomies from Wisconsin, have recently been removed to Minnesota. They are both small tribes compared to the above.
The Dahkotahs claim a country equal in extent to some of the most powerful empires of Europe, including the greater part of the country between the Upper Mississippi and the Missouri. The country from Rum River to the River De Corbeau has been alike claimed by then and the Ojibways, and has been the source of many bloody encounters within the last two hundred years. The Dahkotahs have destroyed immense numbers of their race, and are one of the most warlike tribes of North America. They are divided into six bands, comprising in all, 28,000 souls. Besides these, a revolted band of the Sioux, 8,000 strong, called Osinipoilles, reside just east of the Rocky Mountains, upon Saskatchawan River of British America.
The Dahkotahs subsist upon buffalo meat and the wild fruits of their forests. The former is called peminican, and is prepared in winter for traveling use in the following manner: The lean parts of the buffalo are cut into thin slices, dried over a slow fire in the sun, or by exposing it to frost-pounded fine, and then with a portion of berries, mixed with an equal quantity of fat from the hump and brisket, or with marrow in a boiling state, and sowed up tightly in sacks of green hide, or packed closely in baskets of wicker-work. This pemmican' will keep for several years.
They also use much of the wild rice, which grows in great abundance in the lakes and head streams in the Upper Mississippi country. The rivers and lakes of the Dahkotah and Ojibway country are said to produce annually several millions of bushels of it. It is said to be equally as nutritious and palatable as the Carolina rice. It grows in water from four to seven feet deep, which has a muddy bottom. The plant rises from four to eight feet above the surface of the water, about the size of the red cane of Tennessee, full of joints and of the color and texture of bulrushes. The stalks above the water, and the branches which bear the grain, resemble oats. To these strange grain fields, wild ducks and geese resort for food in the summer; and to prevent it being devoured by them, the Indians tie
** The Dahkotahs in the earliest documents, and even until the present day, are called Sioux, Scioux, or Soos. The name originated with the early 'voyageurs. For centuries the Ojibways of Lake Superior waged war against the Dahkotahs; and, whenever they spoke of them, called them Nadowaysioux, which signifies enemies. The French traders, to avoid exciting the attention of the Indians, while conversing in their presence, were accustomed to designate them by names which would not be recognized. The Dahkotahs were nicknamed Sioux, a word composed of the two last syllables of the Ojibway word for foes.' Neill's Minnesota.
it, when in the milky state, just below the head, into large bunches. This arrangement prevents these birds from pressing the heads down when within their reach. When ripe, the Indians pass among it with canoes lined with blankets, into which they bend the stalks and whip off the grain with sticks; and so abundant is it
that an expert squaw will soon fill a canoe. After being gathered it is dried and put into skins or baskets for use. They boil or parch it, and eat it in the winter season with their pemmican. Beside the pemmican and wild rice, the country abounds in sugar-maple, from which the Indians make immense quantities of sugar. Their country abounds with fine groves, interspersed with open plains clothed with rich wild grasses-their lakes and rivers of pure water are well stored with fish, and their soil with the whortleberry, blackberry, wild plum, and crab apple; so that this talented and victorious race possess a very desirable and beautiful terri.