24th. The thermometer falls five degrees, standing at 16 deg. at 8
o'clock A.M.; but in consequence of the cessation of winds at night,
and accumulation of floating ice, the open districts of the lake
were entirely frozen over. Kebec, the Sault expressman, went off
on his way to Detroit, at a very early hour, walking on the ice from
about abreast of the Old Still House, direct to the main. The
thermometer in the fort was observed to be, at one time during the
night, at 5 deg. below zero, denoting more intense cold than my 8
o'clock observation indicates. This is, therefore, so far, the
maximum cold for January.
25th. A strong easterly wind broke up the ice, which was solid, as
far as the Light-House, about ten miles, and again exposed the
limpid bosom of the lake in that direction; but it did not disturb
the straits west. My son John began, this day, to pronounce words
having the sound of r, for which, agreeably to a natural organic
law recognized by philologists, he has heretofore substituted the
sound of l.
26th. S. A sermon on the inefficacy of the prayer of faith without
submission to God's better wisdom. I was this day set apart as an
27th. The temperature, which has risen since the 24th, still
rises, creating a perceptible change in feelings. Visited Mr. Agnew,
who reached the island from the Sault yesterday.
28th. The harbor breaks up with a south-east wind, but the ice
remains firm between the island and the main, and in the direction
to Pt. St, Ignace. This wind is attended with a farther moderation
of the temperature. I fell in descending the steep hill, which is
exposed to the south, in coming back from a visit to Lieut. Penrose,
in the fort. This fort is what engineers call a talus, being, as I
suppose, the exact area, very nearly, of the top of a cliff
overlooking the town. It was very effective for controlling the
Indians, but was found in 1812 to be commanded by a still higher
point within cannon range, which was seized and fortified by the
This apex they made the site of Fort George; the Americans changed
the name to Fort Holmes, after a gallant officer, a Kentuckian, who
fell in the unsuccessful attempt of Col. Croghan to retake the
island in 1814.
29th. The temperature still rises, and is mild for the season.
Gave each of my children a new copy of the Scriptures. If these
truths are important, as is acknowledged, they cannot too early know
them. I visited Mr. Mitchell.
30th, The temperature continues to moderate. Drove to the mission,
accompanied by Mr. D., to converse, at his request, with Mr. Barber,
on the unhappy topics of difference between him and Mr. F. Mr. and
Mrs. Abbott called at my house, in the interval, and were received
by Mrs. S. In the evening I attended the social prayer meeting at
31st. The sun shone clear; no snow, no high winds, but a serene
and pleasant atmosphere. Visits were received from Maj. Whistler and
Lieut. Kingsbury. Conversation on the probable reception of the
President's Message, etc., by our next express.
This being Mrs. Schoolcraft's birth-day, I presented her a Bible.
Feb. 1st. The mildness and pleasantness of the weather continued.
Drove out to Mr. Davenport's with Mrs. Schoolcraft and the children.
Davenport is a Virginian. He was one of the residents driven off the
island by the events of the late war, and was on board of Commodore
St. Clair's squadron, sailing around the island, and in sight of his
own home, during the expedition to recapture the island, in 1814.
For his sufferings and losses he ought to have been remunerated by
the Government, whom he faithfully served.
Our second express from Detroit arrived, bringing us the expected
newspaper intelligence, and letters from friends. Heard of the
alarming illness of my sister, in Oneida County, N.Y.
2d. S. A sermon on the often handled subjects of election and free
grace--how God elects, and how man is free to come himself.
3d. Devoted to newspaper reading. In the evening attended the
4th. A small party at dinner, namely, Major Whistler, Lieut.
Kingsbury, Mr. Agnew, Mr. Stuart the elder, Mr. Abbott, Mr. Dousman,
and Mr. Johnston. The weather continues mild, clear, and calm. In
the evening I prepared my mail matter for the Sault, intending to
dispatch it by a private express to-morrow.
5th. Finished and dispatched my mail for St. Mary's by two
Indians, who set out at ten o'clock A.M. I received an official
visit from Ossiganac, and seven men from the village of L'Arbre
Croche. He stated it to be the wish of the Ottawas, to visit
Washington. The reasons for such a visit arose from a desire to see
the President, on the subject of their lands. Many of these lands
were denuded of game. Drummond Island had been abandoned. They
thought themselves entitled to compensation for it. They were poor
and indebted to the traders. The settlements would soon intrude on
their territories. Wood was now cut for the use of steamboats and
not paid for. They had various topics to confer about. This was, in
fact, the first move of the Lake Indians, leading in the sequel to
the important treaty of March 28th, 1836.
6th. The thermometer is again depressed, and a recurrence of
7th. The depression of temperature creates the sensation of
coldness after the late mild weather, although the thermometer,
examined at 8 o'clock, has not fallen below 26 deg., but six degrees
below the freezing point.
I embodied Ossiganac's remarks in a letter to the Department, and
also requesting the survey of the old grants under Wayne's Treaty of
1793. I likewise proposed the establishment of an Indian Academy at
Michilimackinack for the Indian tribes of the upper lakes. Mackinack
has peculiar facilities of access in the open months for a large
circle of cognate tribes; and, in view of a future cession of the
country, these tribes will possess ample means. I wrote to my sister
Catharine, in the prospect of her dying of consumption; directing
her mind to the great moral remedy in the intercession of Christ.
8th. Our third express for Detroit left this morning. The day was
clear and calm, with the thermometer at 30 deg. at 8 o'clock. I
began sketching some remarks, to be transmitted to the American
Lyceum, on the best mode of educating the Indians.
9th. S. Mild. An Indian woman was buried to-day, who has borne the
character of a Christian. As her end drew near she said she did not
fear to "pass through the valley of death." She appeared to be
prepared to die, and had the testimony of Christians in her behalf,
many of whom attended her funeral. As a general fact, the Christian
Indians whom I have known, seize with great simplicity of faith on
an Intercessor and his promises.
10th. Mild. In consequence of the protracted mildness of the
weather, Indians from Thunder Bay visited the office. They spoke of
the meteoric phenomenon of November. I asked the leader of the party
what he thought of it. He replied that it betokened evil to the
Indian race--that sickness would visit them calamitously.
In the evening the wind veered from a favorable quarter suddenly to
the north, producing a strong sensation of cold.
12th. Dine with Kingsbury.
13th. Dine with Mitchell. In the afternoon Mr. F. and Mr. D. met
by appointment at my house, to endeavor to close their accounts and
terminate their difficulties.
14th. Yesterday's effort to compromise matters between F. and D.
was continued and brought to a close, so far as respected items of
account; but this left unhealed the wounds caused by mutual hard
thoughts, of a moral character, and for which there has seemed, to
Christians, in Mr. D., a cause of disciplinary inquiry. I felt
friendly to Mr. D., and thought that he was a man whose pride and
temper, and partly Christian ignorance, had induced to stand
unwittingly in error. But he took counsel of those who do not appear
to have been actuated by the most conciliatory views. He stood upon
his weakest points with an iron brow and "sinews of brass."
15th. Visited Mr. Barber. Meeting in the evening at Mr.
17th. The temperature fell several degrees, and lake closed, as
seen at a distance. I finished my remarks for the American Lyceum.
18th. Engaged in pursuing Mr. F.'s lectures, delivered at a prior
time, on the character and differences between the Protestant and Romish Churches.
19th. The weather assumes a milder turn, and gives us rain.
Messrs. F. and D., having called on Mr. Mitchell, renew their
meeting at my house.
20th. Rain and thunder.
21st. Temperate; sinks and turns cold in the evening.
22d. Cold, with some snow.
23d. Thermometer continues to sink, and the ice is reported as
having become strong everywhere.
24th. The third express from Detroit came in at an early hour, and
my letters and papers were brought in before breakfast. During
breakfast I opened a letter, announcing the death of my sister
Catharine, on the 9th of January, at Vernon, N. Y.
Mr. Agnew and Mr. Chapman, who have been guests on the island, set
out for the Sault. The lake is now finally and strongly closed by a
covering of solid ice. Trains cross to-day, for the first time, to
Point St. Ignace.
25th. Mr. Levake, another guest on the island, called at eight
o'clock for my letters, with a view of overtaking the party who left
26th. Wind west, and so strong as to drive the ice out between the
harbor and the light-house, but did not affect the harbor itself,
nor the straits.
27th. Snow and rain. Richardson May, a discharged soldier, and
Manito Geezhig (Spirit-sky), a Chippewa Indian, arrived with the
express mail for Saginaw.
28th. The weather is mild again. An express from the Hudson's Bay
Company departed for Saginaw, at seven o'clock A.M. The adverb
"fiducially" first brought to my notice, as the synonym of
confidently, steadily. Finished the perusal of Mr. F.'s manuscript
lectures, on the Romish Church. Think them an offhand practical
appeal to truth, clear in method, forcible in illustration. Learning
and research, such as are to be drawn from books other than the
Bible, have not been evidently relied on. They might not do to print
without revision. The New Testament does not, as an example, declare
that Peter ever was at Rome, and yet that fact, got from other
sources, is much relied on by that Church.
March 1st. The change in temperature continues. It is so mild and
warm that the snow melts.
2d. S. Mild, and Sabbath exercise as usual.
3d. The temperature falls, and it becomes sensibly cold and
wintry. The sky and lower atmosphere, however, remain clear.
Cadotte, an expressman from La Pointe, Lake Superior, arrived in the
course of the afternoon, with letters from Mr. Warren. Miss W., Miss
D. and Mr. J., pass the evening.
4th. Weather mild; snow soft and sloppy. Receive visits from Mr.
Abbott, Mr. Ferry, and Mr. Mitchell.
5th. Snow has melted so much, in consequence of the change of
temperature, that I am compelled to stop my team from drawing wood.
The ice is so bad that it is dangerous to cross. The lake has been
open from the point of the village to the light-house, since the
tempest of the 26th ultimo. The broad lake below the latter point
has been open all winter. The lake west has been, in fact, fast and
solidly frozen, so as to be crossed with trains, but twelve days!
Mr. Warren's express set out for Lake Superior this morning. Our
fourth express from Detroit came in during the evening, bringing New
York dates to the 4th of February.
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Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the
Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers, 1851
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