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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 6:


Hennepin, Accault, Auguel, Duluth

-As transcribed from pages 52 - 54


The first civilized men2 to gaze upon the towering crags of Trempealeau Mountain were probably Father Louis Hennepin, a priest of the Order of Recollects of St. Francis, and his two companions, Antoine du Gay Auguel, known from his birthplace as "le Picard," and Michel Accault.3 They were sent out by Robert Cavelier de La Salle from Fort Crevecoeur, near Lake Peoria; Illinois, February 28, 1680. They were on their way up the Mississippi when they were captured by a band of Sioux warriors on the warpath against the Illinois and Miami nations. These Sioux took the white men to the Mille Lacs region, in northern Minnesota. Hennepin does not mention Trempealeau Mountain. He speaks of the Black River (R. Noire) and declares that the Sioux called the stream Cha-be-de-ba or Cha-ba-ou-de-ba. He is believed to have spent a night at what is now the site of Winona. He mentions the Buffalo River (R. de Beeufs), which he said was full of turtles. It is probable that by Buffalo River he meant the Chippewa River, which he possibly entered through Beef Slough.4 He also speaks of Lake Pepin, which he calls the Lake of Tears (Lac des Pleurs). After spending a while in the Mille Lacs region, Hennepin and Auguel leaving Accault as a hostage, were taken down the Mississippi by the Indians looking for supplies which La Salle was to have sent to the mouth of the Wisconsin. On their way down the river, guarded by a chief Ouasicoude (Wacoota) and a company of Indians, Hennepin and Auguel came to St. Anthony Falls (near Minneapolis) which Hennepin named.  They continued down the river, and again passed Trempealeau Mountain.  July 11, 1680, while hunting for the mouth of the Wisconsin River, the party was overtaken by more Indians, headed by Aquipaguetin, a Sioux chief who had taken Hennepin into his family as an adopted son. Some time was spent in hunting in the region between the Chippewa River and the Wisconsin River. The squaws hid meat at the mouth of the Chippewa and on various islands. Then the party descended the river and hunted over the prairies further south. July 25, 1680, while again ascending the river, the party encountered Du Luth and a bodyguard of French soldiers.5  Daniel Greysolon, better known as the Sieur Du Luth (variously rendered), had started out from Montreal on September 1, 1678; explored the Lake Superior region and the territory westward, met the Sioux in the Mille Lacs region, and on July 2, 1779, set up the standard of New France at their village. He returned to Lake Superior from that lake the next summer, ascended the Brule River, made the portage to the St. Croix and was on his way down the Mississippi when he learned that Hennepin and his two companions were in slavery among the Sioux.6  Hastening to the rescue, Duluth journeyed down the Mississippi with an Indian and two Frenchmen, and after a canoe trip of two days and two nights, overtook Hennepin and about 1,000 Indians. This meeting probably took place near Trempealeau Mountain or possibly somewhat further south. Du Luth fearlessly took Hennepin in his own canoe and started up the river to the Mille Lacs region, which they reached August 14, 1680. There, at a council he upbraided the Indians in scathing terms. He told them that Hennepin was his brother; he denounced them for making Hennepin and the two companions slaves and taking away Hennepin's priestly robes; he taunted them that after receiving his peace offerings and being associated with Frenchmen for a year, they should have kidnaped other Frenchmen on their way to make them a friendly visit. As a climax, Du Luth returned the peace calumets which the Indians gave him. The savages began to make excuses, but this did not deter Du Luth from his resolution to take Hennepin away. Hennepin himself was rebuked by Du Luth for suffering insult without resentment, as such conduct lowered the prestige of the French. Toward the end of September, Du Luth, Hennepin, and their party once more descended the Mississippi River and reached Canada by way of the Wisconsin River, the Portage, the Fox River and Green Bay. Thus, in the fall of 1680, Hennepin and Du Luth and their companions beheld for the iast time the picturesque surroundings of Trempealeau Mountain.

Hennepin's account of his adventures contains many interesting descriptions of life on this portion of the Mississippi in that far-distant time.  One day the Indians in the party captured and killed a deer while it was swimming across the Mississippi. But the weather was so hot the flesh spoiled in a few hours. Thus left without food, the Indians caught a few turtles, but the capture was difficult, Hennepin says, because the turtles would plunge into the water and evade capture. They caught but four fish and were very thankful whenever they could secure a Buffalo fish dropped by an eagle. Hennepin was particularly interested in the peculiar appearance of the Shovelnose Sturgeon. He saw one which an otter caught, and Auguel declared that it reminded him of a devil in the paws of an animal. But after frightening the otter away, they ate the fish and found it very good.


Resources for the above information:

2 - Dr. Warren Upham is of the opinion that Radisson and Grosseilliers made their headquarters at Prairie Island, above Red Wing, from April or May, 1655, to June, 1656. But this opinion is not generally accepted. As Dr. Louise Phelps Kellogg says: "The difficulty of interpreting Radisson's text, written in a language unfamiliar to himself, and several years after the completion of his journeys, adds to the differences of opinion with regard to the route and the locations described." For Upham's conclusions see: Upham, Grosseilliers and Radisson, Minnesota in Three Centuries (New York, 1908), I, 127-204. Also: Same author and title, Minn. Hist. Colls., X, Part 2, 449-594. Dr. Reuben Gold Thwaites has reprinted portions of the accounts of the third and fourth voyages of these two adventurers, with copious notes in: Wis. Hist. Colls., XI, 64.69. Dr. Kellogg has reprinted the account of the third voyage, with an introduction, in: Early Narratives of the Northwest (New York, 1917), 29-65. Several writers are of the opinion that Father Menard ascended the Black River on his way to his tragic death in 1661, and quote Perrot in supporting their contentions. See: Nicholas Perrot, Memoire (Memoire sur les moeuTs, coustumes, et relligion des sauvagees de l'Amerique Septentrionale), reprinted in the original French with notes and translation by Rev. Father Jules Tailhan (Paris, 1864), this in turn being reprinted in: Minn. Hist. colls., II, Part 3, 24-30 (original edition). A reprint of the Memoire (Tailhan's edition, 84-93), regarding the Flight of the Ottawa, which Perrot says Menard followed, may be found: Thwaites, ed., French Regime in Wisconsin, Part 1, Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 14-21. But Menard's route is still an open question. For Menard's last letter see: Edward D. Neill, Explorers ana Pioneers of Minnesota (Minneapolis, 1882), 3-4. For extract from Menard's letter (Jesuit Relations, XLVI, 11-13, 127-145) and Menard's labors and death (Id., XLVIII, 12, 115-143) see: Thwaites, ed., French Regime in Wisconsin, Part I, Wis. Hist. Colls., XVI, 21-25. For life and labors of Menard see also: H. C. Campbell, Pere Rene Menard, Parbman Club Publications, No. 11 (Milwaukee, 1897). Also see: Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 25, note.

3 - Thwaites, ed., Hennepin's New Discovery (Chicago, 1903). Or John G. Shea, ed., A Description of Louisiana, by Father Louis Hennepin (New York, 1880).

4 - For a discussion of the identity of Hennepin's R. de Beeuf's with Chippewa River, see: Elliott Coues, ed., Expeditions of Zebulon M. Pike (New York, 1895), I, 58, 65, notes. Also: Bunnell, Winona and Its Environs, 52-54.

5 - Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, 325-334. Also: Shea, ed., A Description of Louisiana, 374-377.

6 - The vanity of Hennepin did not allow him to admit that he was a captive and a slave, the cruel sport of the Indians. He represented that he accompanied Duluth because of the latter's pleasure in his society and his desire for his companionship. See: Thwaites, ed., Hennepin's New Discovery, 293-305.

 


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