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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"History of Trempealeau County Wisconsin, 1917":

Chapter 6:


-As transcribed from pages 57 - 58

French rule in the upper Mississippi Valley ended with the treaty of February 10, 1763, when the Mississippi, nearly to its mouth, became the boundary line between the possessions of England and Spain.28  Three years later, in 1766, Jonathan Carver, a native of Connecticut, set out to explore the new British domains in the Northwest.29  Starting from Boston in June, 1766, Carver traveled to the Strait of Mackinaw and Green Bay, and thence, by the canoe route of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, to the Mississippi. Then he ascended the Mississippi, accompanied by a French-Canadian and a Mohawk Indian. He spent the winter of 1766-67 among the Sioux of the Northwest. In the spring of 1767 he descended the Mississippi to the present location of Prairie du Chien in the hope of securing goods. Disappointed there, he ascended the Mississippi to the Chippewa River and reached Lake Superior by way of that stream and the upper tributaries of the St. Croix. It was afterward claimed that he had made a treaty with the Sioux, granting him a tract of land about a hundred miles wide along the east bank of the Mississippi, from the Falls of St. Anthony (at Minneapolis) to the southeastern end of Lake Pepin.30  It included the north half of Trempealeau County, the south line running east and west somewhat north of Whitehall. On the strength of this alleged treaty many claims were from time to time presented to the United States Government, but Congress has always refused to recognize the claim of Carver's heirs and successors.

Carver passed Trempealeau Mountain three times. In speaking of the locality he says:

"On the first of November I arrived at Lake Pepin, which is rather an extended part of the River Mississippi, that the French have thus denominated, about two hundred miles from the Ouisconsin. The Mississippi below this lake flows with a gentle current, but the breadth of it is very uncertain, in some places it being upwards of a mile, in others not more than a quarter. This river has a range of mountains on each side throughout the whole of the way; which in particular parts approach near to it, in others lie at a greater distance. The land betwixt the mountains, and on their sides, is generally covered with grass, with a few groves of trees interspersed, near which large droves of deer and elk are frequently seen feeding. In many places pyramids of rocks appeared, resembling old ruinous towers; at others amazing precipices; and what is very remarkable, whilst this scene presented itself on one side, the opposite side of the same mountain was covered with the finest herbage, which gradually ascended to its summit. From thence the most beautiful and extensive prospect that imagination can form opens to your view. Verdant plains, fruitful meadows, numerous islands, and all these abounding with a variety of trees that yield amazing quantities of fruit, without care or cultivation, such as the nut-tree, the maple which produces sugar, vines loaded with rich grapes and plum-trees bending under their blooming burdens, but above all, the fine river flowing gently beneath and reaching, as far as the eye can extend, by turns attract your admiration and excite your wonder.

"The lake is about twenty miles long and near six in breadth; in some places it is very deep and abounds with various kinds of fish. Great numbers of fowl frequent also this lake and rivers adjacent, such as storks, swans, geese; brants, and ducks; and in the groves are found great plenty of turkeys and partridges. On the plains are the largest buffaloes of any in America. Here I observed the ruins of a French factory, where it was said Captain St. Pierre resided, and carried on a very great trade with the Naudowessies, before the reduction of Canada.

"About sixty miles below this lake31 is a mountain remarkably situated; for it stands by itself exactly in the middle of the river, and looks as if it had slidden from the adjacent shore into the stream. It cannot be termed an island, as it rises immediately from the brink of the water to a considerably height. Both the Indians and the French call it the 'Mountain in the River.' "32 

Resources for the above information:

28 - For preliminary treaty of Nov. 3, 1762 (reprinted from Gentleman's Magazine, XXXII, 569-573), and definite treaty of peace of Feb. 10, 1763 (reprinted from Id., XXXIII, 121-126), see: Thwaites, ed., Important Western State Papers, Wis. Hist. Colls., XL, 36-46.

29 - For Carver Bibliography, see: John Thomas Lee, Wis. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1909, 143-183. Also see: Same author and subject, Additional Data, Id., 1912, 87-123.

30 - For text of the Carver deed and its history, see: Carver Centenary, Minn. Hist. Colls., II, Part 4, 17, 19-21, original edition. Also see: Daniel Steele Durrie, Jonathan Carver and Carver's Grant, Wis. Hist. Colls., VI, 221-270.

31 - Possibly the word "Lake" was inserted in Carver's manuscript by an editor. In the preceding paragraph he mentions the St. Pierre ruins, on the east side of Lake Pepin, and he may have intended to locate Trempealeau as 60 miles below this (the ruin) rather than 60 miles below Lake Pepin.

32 - Jonathan Carver, Travels in North America, (London, 1778), 54-56.


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