BLTC Press Titles


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The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


Minnesota historical collections

by André Pénicaut

Excerpt:

A friend of the navigator Humphrey Gilbert, a man of sanguine expectations, three centuries ago, remarked that he hoped to live to see the day when a letter mailed in London on the first of May, would reach China by midsummer, and that the Indians had asserted that a short and speedy route would be found between the 43d and 46th degrees of north latitude.1

The coming event cast its shadow before, and year after year, explorers, propelled in frail canoes by hardy voyageurs, pushed up the rivers that ran into the Atlantic, and at last reached the shores of the great Mediterranean sea of North America, Lake Superior.

It is appropriate that the Minnesota Historical Society should gather every document that will throw light on the slow but sure progress of discovery west of Lake Superior toward the Pacific coast. Too little notice has been given to the Frenchmen, who in 1659 visited the Slonx of Mille Lacs. The name of one of whom, Grosellier, was retained for many years on the maps as the designation of a stream that flows into Lake Superior, and is a part of the northern boundary of Minnesota.1 Learning the inland route to Hudson's Bay, Grosellier and his companion Redisson returned to Quebec in the summer of 1660, and urged upon the French to open trade with the center of the continent, but the ofl'er not being embraced, they tendered their services to the English, and piloted a New England Captain named Gillam to the River Nemiscan, where Fort Rupert was built.

1. Col. State Papers. East India. London 1862, p. 86.

2. On a map of Canada by Jeflerys, published in 1762, a part of which la found at page 300, History of Minnesota, Pigeon River Is marked Nalouagan, or Groslller River.

On the first of September, 1678, Daniel Greysolon Duluth left Quebec to continue discovery in the region west of Lake Superior, and in 1680, met an expedition ascending the Mississippi, consisting of Sikur Dacan and four Frenchmen, besides Hennepin, a Franciscan priest, that had been dispatched by Lasalle.1

When Duluth left Minnesota, and returned to Quebec, by way of the Wisconsin River, a Sioux chief drew on birch bark a map of the Mississippi. Bellin says the earliest map of the region west of Lake Superior, in the Depot de la Marine, was drawn by Otchaoa, an Indian.

Perrot, "habitant du Canada," who had been, in childhood, educated by the Jesuit missionaries, next appears as an explorer, building Fort St. Nicholas at the mouth of the Wisconsin, and another on the west side of the Mississippi just below Lake Pepin.

In 1687 the first map of the^reglon west and north of Lake Superior, was drawn by Franquelin, an experienced topographer, sent out for the purpose,2 and in 1688 a map prepared at Paris by Tillemon was issued, and upon it appears Lake Buade (Mille Lacs,) Magdeline fSt. Croix River) and Prophet (Snake River.)5

Lksueur, who had come into the country in 1683, with Perrot, built a fort in 1695 above Lake Pepin, on Isle Pelee, a few miles from the mouth of the St. Croix River.

After visiting France, he accompanied Bienville, with the colony for the settlement of Louisiana, and in 1700 ascended the Mississippi, arriving at the mouth of the Minnesota on the 19th of September, and following the course of the stream reached the Blue Earth river, and on the 14th of October had completed a stockade on a small creek called St. Remi, in 44 deg. 13 min. north latitude.

Among those who accompanied him was a shipwright named Penicaud, a man of discernment, but little scholarship. Returning from the valley of the Minnesota, he passed many years among the tribes of the lower Mississippi. In 1721, leaving a wife in Louisiana, he visited France to receive medical attention for diseased eyes, and while there his adventures among the Choctaws, Natchez and other tribes were written out. Charlevoix in his list of authorities used In writing the History of New France, mentions the manuscript and says that though the style is poor, it contained interesting information.


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