6th. The evidences of the approach of spring continue. The sun
shines with a clear power, unobstructed by clouds. Snow and ice melt
rapidly. Visited the Mission's house in the evening.
7th. Clouds intercept the sun's rays. An east wind broke up the
ice in the harbor, and drives much floating ice up the lake.
8th. The wind drives away the broken and floating ice from the
harbor, and leaves all clear between it and Round Island. It became
cold and freezing in the afternoon. Conference and prayer meetings
at my house.
9th. Very slippery, and bad walking, and icy roads. Freezes.
10th. In consequence of the increase of cold, and the prevalence
of a calm during the night, there was formed a complete coating of
ice over the bay, extending to Round Island. This ice was two inches
thick. Mrs. Schoolcraft spent the evening at Mrs. Dousman's. On
coming home, about nine o'clock, we found the ice suddenly and
completely broken up by a south wind, and heaped up along shore.
11th. Harbor and channel quite clear; the weather has assumed a
mildness, although the sky is overcast, and snow drifted in the
roads during the morning. Miss Jones, Mr. D. Stuart, Dr. Turner, and
Mr. Johnston spent the evening with me.
12th. Filled my ice-house with ice of a granular and indifferent
quality, none other to be had.
13th. Mild, thawing, spring-like weather. Visits by Captain and
14th. About eight o'clock this morning, a vessel from Detroit
dropped anchor in the harbor, causing all hearts to be gay at the
termination of our wintry exclusion from the world. It proved to be
the "Commodore Lawrence," of Huron, Ohio, on a trip to Green Bay.
Our last vessel left the harbor on the 18th of December, making the
period of our incarceration just eighty-five days, or but two and a
half months. Visited by Lieut. and Mrs. Lavenworth.
15th. Mild and pleasant. Plucked the seed of the mountain ash in
front of the agency dwelling, and planted it on the face of the
cliff behind the house. Mr. Chapman arrived with express news from
16th. S. Anni-me-au-gee-zhick-ud, as the Indians term it, and a
far more appropriate term it is than the unmeaning Saxon phrase of
17th. Very mild and pleasant day. The snow is rapidly disappearing
under the influence of the sun. Mackinack stands on a horse-shoe
bay, on a narrow southern slope of land, having cliffs and high
lands immediately back of it, some three hundred feet maximum
height. It is, therefore, exposed to the earliest influences of
spring, and they develop themselves rapidly. Mr. Hulbert arrived
from the Sault in the morning, bringing letters from Rev. Mr.
Clark, Mr. Audrain, my sub-agent at that point, &c.
18th. Wind southerly. This drives the ice from the peninsula
into the harbor, it then shifts west, and drives it down the lake. A
lowering sky ends with a sprinkling of rain in the forenoon; it then
clears up, and the sun appears in the afternoon. Dr. Turner visits
me at the office. Conversation turns on my translations into the
Indian, and the principles of the language. An Indian has a term for
man and for white; but, when he wishes to express the sense of white
man, he employs neither. He then compounds the term wa-bish-kiz-zi---that
is, white person.
19th. The weather is quite spring-like. Prune cherry trees and
currant bushes. Transplant plum tree sprouts. Messrs. Biddle and
Drew finish preparing their vessel, and anchor her out.
20th. The thermometer sinks to 18 deg. at eight o'clock A.M.
Snows, and is boisterous all day, the wind being north-east.
21st. The snow, which has continued falling all night, is twelve
to fourteen inches deep in the morning; being the heaviest fall of
snow, at one time, all winter. Some ice is formed.
22d. The body of snow on the ground, and the continuance of cold,
give quite a wintery aspect to the landscape. In the course of the
day, Mr. Ferry, Mr. Mitchell, and Mr. Stuart call.
23d. S. Cold.
24th. Wintery feeling and aspect.
25th. The temperature still sinks. Visits from Mr. Mitchell, Mr.
Ferry, and Mr. Stuart. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, Mr. Hulbert, Mr.
Chapman, and Mr. Johnston spend the evening.
26th. Drove, with Mr. Ferry, to Mr. Boyd's, and thence to Mr.
27th. Ice still lingers in the harbor, but the day is clear and
sunshiny, and the snow melts rapidly. Visit the mission, and inquire
into the effects of its government and discipline on the character
of the boys, one or two of whom have been recently the subject of
some scandals. Accompanied in this visit by Mr. Hulbert, Mr. Stuart,
and Mr. Mitchell. Thomas Shepard, a mission boy, calls on me at an
early hour, and states his contrition for his agency in any reports
28th. Weather mild; snow melts; wind S.W.; some rain.
With this evening's setting sun, Years I number forty-one.
Visited the officers in the fort. Rode out in my carriage in the
evening, with Mrs. Schoolcraft, to see Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell, and
Mr. and Mrs. Ferry. Satan's emissaries appear to be busy in
circulating scandal respecting our pastor, Mr. F., a person of high
moral worth and probity.
To put these down effectively, it appears necessary to probe them to
the bottom, and ascertain their length and breadth. This was a duty
of the eldership, and it could be thoroughly performed without fear,
respecting a man of Mr. F.'s character. It was necessary, I found,
to unmask all the actors. The scandal appears to be one originating
with certain Metif boys of the Mission school. One of these, it was
averred, had looked through the key-hole of the common parlor door
of the Mission house, and beheld the Rev. Mr. F. sitting near a Miss
S., one of the assistant missionaries of the establishment. The door
was locked. The hair of the young lady was dishevelled; her comb had
fallen on the floor. It was early in the morning. Another boy was
called to look; no change of position was observed--nothing that was
not respectful and proper.
This story was detailed, a night or two afterwards, by Thomas
Shepard, one of the boys, at a drinking conclave in the village,
where bon vivants, and some persons inimical to Mr. F. were
present, and created high merriment. From that den it was spread. It
appeared that Miss S. had, for some time, had doubts on the subject
of her conversion, and sought a conversation with her pastor to
29th. Moderate temperature continues. A meeting of some of the
leading persons of the place, citizens and officers, at which
statements, embracing the above narrative, were made, which were
quite satisfactory in regard to the reports above mentioned. The
reports are traced to a knot of free livers, free drinkers, and
infidels, who meet a-nights, in the village, to be merry, and who
drew some of the mission boys into their revelries. A case of
discipline in the church, which led, finally, to the excommunication
of one of the leading persons of the place, has raised enemies to
the Rev. Mr. F., who were present at these orgies, and helped to
spread the report.
30th. Service as usual, but more than usually interesting.
31st. Mild weather continues; clear and sunny; snow melts. The
remaining ice is completely broken up by an easterly wind. Visit Mr.
Stuart's child, which is very low.
April 1st. A dark drizzly morning terminates before ten o'clock in
rain. It cleared away at noon; the broken ice of the day and night
previous, is mostly driven down the lake by westerly winds.
Satisfied of the excellency of the mission school, I sent my
children to it this morning. The Rev. Mr. Ferry, Rev. Mr. Barber,
Mr. Mitchell, Mr. D. Stuart, and Mr. Chapman dine with me. In the
evening, Capt. and Mrs. Barnum, and Lieut. Kingsbury make a visit.
2d. The harbor is now entirely clear of ice, with a west wind.
Wrote to Rev. D. Greene, Missionary Rooms, Boston, giving my opinion
respecting the establishment of a mission among the Odjibwas at Fond
du Lac, Lake Superior.
3d. Pleasant, mild, clear. Winter has now clearly relaxed his
hold. Indians who came in to-day from L'Arbre Croche, report that
the ice is, however, still firm at Point Wa-gosh-ains (Little Fox
Point), on the straits above. This point forms the bight of the
straits, some twenty miles off, at their entrance into Lake
Michigan. Attended the funeral of William Dolly, a Metif boy, of
4th. The season is visibly advancing in its warmth and mildness.
Began to prepare hot-beds. Set boxes for flowers and tubs for roots.
5th. The mission schooner "Supply" leaves the harbor on her first
trip to Detroit, with a fine west wind, carrying our recent guests
from St. Mary's. Transplant flowering shrubs. Miss McFarland passes
the day with Mrs. Schoolcraft at the agency.
7th. Cloudy but mild. Adjusting fixtures for gooseberry bushes,
8th. Superintending the construction of a small ornamental
mound and side wall to the piazza, for shrubbery and flowers. Books
are now thrown by for the excitement of horticulture. Some Indians
visit the office. It is remarkable what straits and suffering these
people undergo every winter for a bare existence. They struggle
against cold and hunger, and are very grateful for the least relief.
Sho-wain-e-min, is their common expression to an agent--I am poor,
show me pity, (or rather) charity me; for they use their
substantives for verbs.
9th. The schooner "White Pigeon," (the name of an Indian chief,)
enters the harbor, with a mail from Detroit. "A mail! a mail!" is
the cry. Old Saganosh and five Indian families come in. The Indians
start up from their wintering places, as if from a cemetery. They
seem almost as lean and hungry as their dogs--for an Indian always
has dogs--and, if they fare poor, the dogs fare poorer.
Resumed my preparations at the garden hot-beds.
The mail brought me letters from Washington, speaking of political
excitements. The project for an Indian academy is bluffed off, by
saying it should come through the Delegate. Major Whiting writes
that he is authorized to have a road surveyed from Saginaw to
10th. Engaged at my horticultural mound. The weather continues
11th. Transplanting cherry trees.
12th. Complete hot-bed, and sow it in part.
14th. The calmness and mildness of the last few days are
continued. Spring advances rapidly.
15th. Mild, strong wind from the west, but falls at evening. Write
to Washington respecting an Indian academy.
Walking with the Rev. Wm. M. Ferry through the second street of the
village (M.), leading south, as we came near the corner, turning to
Ottawa Point, he pointed out to me, on the right hand, half of a
large door, painted red, arched and filled with nails, which
tradition asserts was the half of the door of the Roman Catholic
church at old Mackinack. The fixtures of the church, as of other
buildings, were removed and set up on this spot. I afterwards saw
the other half of the door standing against an adjoining house.
16th. Wind westerly. Begin to enlarge piazza to the agency. A
party of Beaver Island Indians come in, and report the water of the
Straits as clear of ice, and the navigation for some days open.
The schooner "President," from Detroit, dropped anchor in the
17th. The schooners "Lawrence," "White Pigeon," and "President,"
left the harbor this morning, on their way to various ports on Lake
Michigan, and we are once more united to the commercial world, on
the great chain of lakes above and below us. The "Lawrence," it will
be remembered, entered the harbor on the 14th of March, and has
waited thirty-two days for the Straits to open.
18th. Wind N.E., chilly. It began to rain after twelve o'clock
A.M., which was much wanted by the gardens, as we have had no rain
for nearly a month. All this while the sun has poured down its rays
on our narrow pebbly plain under the cliffs, and made it quite dry.
I was present this morning at the Mission, at the examination of the
Metif boy Thomas Shepard, and was surprised at the recklessness and
turpidity of his moral course, as disclosed by himself, and, at the
announcement of the names of his abettors.
The fate of this boy was singular. He set out alone to return to
Sault Ste. Marie, where his relations lived, across the wilderness.
After striking the main land, his companions returned. All that was
ever heard of him afterwards, was the report of Indians whom I sent
to follow his trail, as the season opened, who found a spot where he
had attempted, unsuccessfully, to strike a fire and encamp. From
obscure Indian reports from the channels called Chenos, the Indians
there had been alarmed by news of the inroads of Na-do-was
(Iroquois), and seeing some one on the shore, in a questionable
plight, they fired and killed him. This is supposed to have been
19th. Wind westerly--chilly--cloudy--dark.
20th. The "Austerlitz," and "Prince Eugene," two of Mr. Newbery's
vessels, arrived during the afternoon. Rain fell in the evening.
21st. The schooner "Nancy Dousman" arrived in the morning from
below. A change of weather supervened. Wind N.E., with snow. The
ground is covered with it to the depth of one or two inches. Water
frozen, giving a sad check to vegetation.
22d. This morning develops a north-east storm, during which the
"Nancy Dousman" is wrecked, but all the cargo saved: a proof that
the harbor is no refuge from a north-easter. The wind abates in the
23d. Wind west, cloudy, rainy, and some sleet. About midnight the
schooner "Oregon" came in, having rode out the tempest under Point
24th. Still cold and backward, the air not having recovered its
equilibrium since the late storm.
25th. Cloudy and cold--flurries of snow during the day.
26th. The weather recovers its warm tone, giving a calm sky and
clear sunshine. The snow of the 21st rapidly disappears, and by noon
is quite gone, and the weather is quite pleasant. The vessels in the
harbor continue their voyages.
27th. S. A boat reaches us from the Sault, showing the Straits and
River St. Mary to be open. It brought the Rev. Mr. Clark, of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, who occupies Mr. F.'s position, before
the soldiery, in the evening.
28th. The atmosphere is still overcast, although the thermometer
Levake, a trader for the Indian country, went off about two o'clock
P.M. On granting him his license, I directed him to take no ardent
spirits. He therefore ordered a barrel of whisky to be taken back to
the American Fur Company's store, where he had purchased it. Mr.
Abbot, the agent, sent it back to him. Mr. Levake finally remanded
it. Mr. Abbot said, "Why! Mr. Schoolcraft has no authority to
prevent your taking it!" The moment, in fact, the boats leave the
island they enter the Indian country, where the act provides that
this article shall not be taken on any pretence. This was an open
triumph of the Agent of the United States against the Fur Company. I
wrote to the Rev. Mr. Boutwell, at Leech Lake, by this opportunity.
29th. The atmosphere has regained its equilibrium fully. It is
mild throughout the day. Indians begin to come in freely from the
adjacent shores. Sow radishes and other early seeds.
30th. The schooner "Napoleon," and the "Eliza," from Lake Ontario,
come in. The Indian world, also, seems to have awaked from its
winter's repose. Pabaumitabi visits the office with a large retinue
of Ottawas. Shabowawa with his band appear from the Chenoes. Vessels
and canoes now again cross, each other's track in the harbor.
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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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