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Indian Name of the Wolverine

Native American Nations | Thirty Years with the Indians
 

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 Mrs. Barnum.

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 the Sault.

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 /Sunday.

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. Davenport's.

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 referred to.

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 resolve them.

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 Indian extraction.

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, &c.

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. Kitte-mau-giz-ze 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 Mackinack.

10th. Engaged at my horticultural mound. The weather continues mild.

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 evening.

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 Thomas Shepard.

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 evening.

23d. Wind west, cloudy, rainy, and some sleet. About midnight the schooner "Oregon" came in, having rode out the tempest under Point St. Ignace.

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 ranges high.

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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