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Guillot's post.

When Perrot ascended the Mississippi, some of the Fox In-
dians at the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers
changed their residence and established themselves on the
banks of the ]\lississippi river."

In a a map of Jcffej^'s, geographer to the King of Eng-
land, prepared in 17(]\!, more than seventy years after that
of Franquelin was drawn, a co)>y of which is ai)pended to
the Tieport on Ontario lioundaiies, by David ]\Iills, the n^irk
"O" appears at the moutli c-f the Wi.sconsin river, cover-
ing both sides, and the point is designated " Fort Nieliolas
destroyed." In Jelfery's map, in Neill's Ih'.slori/ of Minne-
sofii, this fort is erroneously jilaced below the mouth of the
Wisconsin river,^

built b}' Nicolas IVrrot. It still tu-day bears Jiia iiaiue." Puiiicuut de-
scribing this locality ou his upward voyage, refers to the fort on the ea^itern
shore as en the right.

' This document in French is given in TaiUuiu's Perrot, pages 301, 305
published in Leipzig and Paris, 1804.

^ La Potherie, vol. ii, p. 218.

2 In 1858, when the first edition of the Ilistorij of Minnesota was pre-
pared, I found, in an old book ou the North- West coast, a map purporting

Notes on Early Wisconsin Explokation. 301

Perrot, on his return to the Green Bay region, in ICu), re-
ceived a present of a kunp of lead ore from a chief of the
Miami tribe; and he pi'omi>;od that in twenty days, he
woukl estabhsh a post below the mouth D'Ouiskonche. '
La Potherie mentions, that the chief told Perrot tliat lead
ore could be found forty lea<>-ucs from the place where he
conversed witii him. Accordin.i^ to protviise, Perrot visited
the lead mines, and found "the lead hard to work, because it
lay between rocks which rc(piired blasting. It had very
little drcjss, and was easily melted."

Peuieaut, the companion of L'j Sueur, in his narrative
published in tlie lifLh volume of the Mdrtjrij Collections.,
tells wluire thesis mines were situatetl. After mentioning
the passag'e of tiu; rapids of the Mississippi at Kock Island^
he writes: "We founil both on the ri^-ht and left bank the
lead mines, called to this day tlui mines of Nicolas Pt r-
rot, the name of the discoverer. Twi-uty leaj^ucs ' from
there, on the right was found the moutii of a lar^^e river, tlie

The Jesuit, Tailiian, in his notes to Perrot's Meiitoir u\)on
Indian customs and religions, published for the first time in
lyOl, mentions that Perrot, in J (I'JO, learning that the I\liamis,
Maskoutins and Outagamis had foj'med a league against the
Sioux and Sauteurs, liasteiu;d to his t)Iil fort in the Sioux
region, to act as a barrier against their foes. Having estab-
lished friendly relations, he came back to the post, which he
had recently built, which, Tailium renuirks, was probably
at the lead mines, twenty-one leagues above the Des Moines
river — the '•' ^louingouena."

There appears then, before 1700, to have been a post on
the Mississippi, just above the Wisconsin, according to
Franquelin, and a post some leagues below, near the lead

to be a copy of Jelfery's, and I had a portion of it enj^raved. Tlie map of
JeH'ery'.s in tlie Ontariu Boundaries, by David ^ililis, is more accurate.

' La rodicrie, edition 17')o, ii, 201.

- Penicaut's estimate of distances cannot be relied upon. He gives the
distance from the Saint Croix River to Falls of Saint Anthony as eight
leagues. Major Long, in hid " Canoe Voyage of 1817," makes tlie distance
more than fifty miles; while the U. S. land survey makes it thirty-nine

303 Wisconsin State HisToiiR'Ai- Society.

mines. The post on the site of Prairie (hi Chien, and those
elsewhere, were all abancUnicil when, in 171)0, Le Sueur
fixplored the :Minnesota river.

In June, l?-27, an expedition left ^lontreal under Kene
Boucher, the Sieur du la Perriere, to establish a post on Lake
Pepin, flis party arriving there on the ITth of September
following, bnilt a j.ost, according to Father Guignas, upon
the western shore of Lake Pepin, ^"about the middle of the
north side, on a low point, where the soil is excellent.
'' * We are here on the parallel of io deg., and 11 min."
Frontenac, in Goodhue county, occupied the site of this old
fort, and recently, a four and a six pound cannon ball were
found at the railway station, live feet below the surface. It
is noteworthy that Sieur La Perriere IJoucher, the othce.- m
command of the Indians who surprised llaverhdl. Mass,
killed the minister of the town, scalped his wife and broke
the skull of his child against a rock, and shot one Sanmel
Sibley, said to be a relative of Hon. II. H. Sibley, of St. Paul,
was the person who established this post at Ponit du Sable

of Lake Pepin.

A connection of the leader of the expedition, was the wife
of a person named Pepin,' and this may account for the
name of the lake. The post, in compliment to the Governor
of Canada, was called lieauharnois. Bellin, the geographer,
mentions the early post above the ChipiH3wa Piver, and then
another post on the opposite side of the lake.

Though not within the borders of Wisconsin, yet ranking
prominently as one of the line of early upper posts, a fur-
ther notice of Fort Peauharnois will find a proper place m
this connection. It was located at the sandy point winch
extends into Lake Pepin opposite the celebrated Maulens
Rock. Boucher built a stoc-kade of pickets twelve .ee high,
forming a square uf lUO feet, with two bastions, and calle.i tlie
post Foit Beauharnois, in complinumt to the Governor of
Canada. On the 15th of April, i;:is, the water i- the lake
^as unusually high, and overllowed the point so that the
log buildings withinjhe^nch^sure were^ill^jv^^


Notes on Early Wisconsin Exploration. 303

it was necessary for two weeks to dw(?ll upon higher
ground. The prinnipal trader at the post at this tini(3 was
the Sieur do :\lontbrun iJ,) icher, a bi-otlier ot the coinni uid-
ant, and the armorer and blacksmith was Francis Canipau, a
brother of him whosettkid at l)dtroit,and whoso descendants
are so numerous in jMichigan.

Owing to the hostility of the ll'.nards or Fox Indians,
early in"(K-tober. i: >s,the post was left in charge of a young
man, the Sicur Dutrost Jcmeraye, and a , few voyageiirs,
while the rest placed the goods in canoes, retreated down the
Mississippi toward the Illinois lliver, and were captured by
allies of the Uenards. The Sieur Jemeraye, early in 17^J,
abandoned the past, an.l nothing was done toward its re-
establishment. In March, 17;UJ, the Sieur Marin, a bold of-
ficer, moved against and had an engagement of the "warmest
character" with the Renards in Wisconsin, and in September
of the same year another Frencli force attacked them,
killed many of their warriors and compelled them to escape.
After this defeat of the Foxes, it was determined to build a
new post on higlier ground, yet in the vicinity of the first
stockade, which had been destroyed. The new commandant
appointed was the Sieur Linctot, and the second officer was
the Sieur I'ortneuf. Linctot's son, Campau, and several
others were licens<id to trade with the Sioux. Linctot passed
the winter of 17;il - > at " Montague qui trempe dans I'oau,"
now corrupted to Trempealeau, and early in the spring of
1732 proceeded to the vicinity, Sandy i^oint. Lake Pepin,and
found at the site of the old stockade a large number of
Sioux awaiting his arrival. Selecting a better position, he
erected a larger post, the pickets enclosing m feet square,
and there were four bastions.

The Sieur Linctot. in i;':5;5, asked to be relieved, and the
able o^ncer, Sieur Legardeur Saint Pierre, was sent to com-
mand. Upon the (ith of May, 1730, Saint Pierre was in-
formed by letters from Lake Superior of the dreadful massa-
cre of twenty-one Frenchmen on an island in the Lake of the
Woods by a party of Sioux. The 10th of September, there
came to the Lake Pepin post a party of Sioux with some
beaver skins as a pledge of friendship, and the next day

301 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

another party, one of whom wore in his ear a silver pendant.
When asked by St. PieiTo how he obtained the ornament, lie
refused to answer, and the captain tore it from liis ear and
found that it was similiar in workmanship to those sold by
the traders, and then, i)lae(jd him uiulcr guard. Tiio Sioax
in T>ecemh<ir were uni'uly, and hurzied the pickets arv)und
the garden of (Juignas, chaplain of the post. la the si)ring
of IT -J 7, a war ji^irty of Ojibways appeared from the St.
Louis river of L^ake Sii{)t_rior, and wishcil to attack tlie
Sioux, and threatened St. I'ioi're; and, aftei' conferring with
the son of Linctot, the second oiliccr, in I\ray, l.'-'j;', he set
fire to the post, and di^scended the .Mississi]j[)i.

Aft(;ra few years, the Sioux begged that the French would
return to Lake Lepiii, and in LTiO, tlu; (jlovtnmor of Canaila
sent the great Indian tigliter and stern oilii-er, Lierre I'aul
Marin, to take command tlieie, and ^larin's son was sta-
tioned at CMuigouamig(;n of Lake SupLU-i(»r. In 1 7.r3, ^larin
the elder was relieved at Lake Pepin, and his son became
his successor. The next year the father arrived with an
army at l^resqu' Isl(3, now lOrie, Lenn.,to prevent the settle-
ment of the English in the valley of tiie Ohio. From
Presqu' Isle lie cut a road of lil'teen miles to what was
called by the l<]nglisli, French Creek, and there built a stock-
ade which was guarded at the gate by a cannon of four-
pound caliber, and the pieces in the bastions were six }joimd-
ers. During the month of October, the elder i\larin was taken
sick, and while down upon his bed he received from the
Governor of Canada the decoration of tlie military order
of St Louis. Near sunset, on the ■JUtli of the month, he died,
and was l)uried at that post. (!apt. Legarduer Saint i*ii;rre,
who preceded him at Lake Pepin, was made his succ(^ssor,
and early in December, l^ry.i, he assumed command. Seven
days later there appeared at the post in north-western iVam-
sylvania a young man about twenty-one years old, named
George Wasliington, witli a letter from Gov. Dinwiddle, of

The war between the French and English, which contin-
ued several years, led to the abandonment of the post at

Notes on Early Wisconsin Exploration. 305

Lake Pepin. Capt. Jonathan Carver, the first Britisli trav-
eler in Minnesota, mentions in his book of travels in 17GG
" he observed the ruins of a French factory where it is said
Capt. St. Pierre resided, and carried on a very j^reat trade v,'ith
the Naudowessies before the reduction of Canachi. Pieut.
Pike, tlie first odicer of tlie PTnited States army to pass
through Lake Pepin, writing in Jsiii; of I'oint du Sable, or
Sandy Point, which he reached on tJie same (hiy of the ;■ ame
month as JjaPerriero in l^•^! 7, observes: " Tiie Pj-ench un-
der the government of ^F. Frontenac, drove the Kenards or ( )t-
taquamies from tiie Ouisconsing, and pursued them up the
JMississippi; and, as a barrier, built a stockade on Lake Pe
pin on tlie vrest shore just below P(»int du Sable,and, as was
generally the cas<3 with that nation, blended the military
and mercantile professions by making their fort a factory
for the Sioux."

A short distance from the extreme end of the Point, near
the mouth of what Pike, on his \\v.\.[), calls Sundy Point
creek, there is an eminent^e from v/hich there is an extensive
view of Lake Pepin below and above the sandy peninsula.
There is evidence that tliere has been once a clearing there,
and it is the most suitable spot in the vicinity for a stockade,
and visible to any one coming up in a boat from the bend
near where Lake ('ity is ucmv situated. Py the valley of the
creek, the Sioux of the prairies could readily bring their
peltries to the post. The cannon balls found in the ground
at Frontenac station may have been discharged in some
engagement with hostile Luiians, or they may have been
taken from the fort, after its abandonment, and placed in
a cache.

The only satisfactory nuip, in relation to the early posts,
is that of Franquelin,' De V Lsle's " dtrfc de In J jonisinnt at
coins du j\IissLssu)pi," published in PMn, calls Lake St.

' Jeau Bajjlisto Franquelin \va.s the great cartograjjlier of his day. He
was Ijorn in 1053, and, in 10S5, married Elizabiaii Auljert, the widow of
Bertrand Cliesue. (lov. De la B:irre, of Canada, in lGy;5, wrote to tlie
French Government: " The map of the country I have had prepared for
you, will give you a perfect knowledge of everything, and the means of
intereiiting his I\lajeaty therein. The young man who made these maps is

306 AViscoNSiN State ITistokioai. Society.

Croix, " Lac Pepin;" sliows the lead mines above " Des
IMoines on JMoinj^mia lliver;" places a post above the St.
Croix Kivcr; another below Lake Pepin, on the west side;
and Port 1' Uiiillier, on a tributary of the Minnesota Piver.
The position of the last is correctly given, while that of the
others is incorrect.

In '' C(ir((i (ill (Unuicht" of Do 1' Isle, revised by his son -in-
law, Philip Buache, 1745, Fort Le Sueur, built, in 1<I).">, upon
an island above Lake Pepin, is marked as below the Lake,
and destroyed, and no other post is shown on the banks of
the ^Mississippi above Pock Island.

uamed FiiiLiqiieliu. lie is aa skillful as auy in Franco. * * * lie is at
work on a very correct map of tlie country, whicli I shall send yoa, next
year, in his name."

Harriss speaks of a drawin;^ of a m:ip, in the Archives of France,
signed Johannes Ludovicus Franijuclin, pinxit, and thinks it was drafted
in 1G81 — a tracing from the original is in the P.iriiament Lihrary of Canada.
Upon this map is an attempt to lix the residences of tribes north of Mis-
kous, perhaps intended for JMiskons, or Wisconsin River. The Cliaiena
(Cheyennes), allies of the Sioux, are marked as dwelling in Nortliern jilin-
nesota, as they did at that period.

In 1084, Franquelin finished the map to wliich Gov. Do la Uavre alluded,
based upon the observations of twelve j'eara. In 1038, he drew another map
of North America, an engraving of which lirst appeared in 1882, in the
fourth edition of Neill's ///.s/o/vy of Minncsot't, himed upon sixteen years
of observation; and, in 1080. he drew yet anotijer map, according to



On the evening of the first IMonday in January, J ssl, a
paper entitled " ^iniericiDi Jlistorij," written by me, vras
read before the Aladison, AVisconsin, Literary Ckib, in which
I took occasion to point out '"some assertions not altogether
warranted," as I believed, made by AVisconsin historians. I
called these assertions, "mock pearls in Wisconsin history."
One of the errors, I spoke of was as follows:

" It has long been a tradition, and this tradition has now
so hardened into print as, I fear, to be well-nigh indestructi-
ble, that the French government, when it dominated over
the North-West, erected upon the prairie at the mouth of
the Wisconsin river — ' Prairie des Chiens,' as it was an-
ciently called, but now ' Prairie du Chien' — an extensive
fort, and garrisoned it with regular troops. As early as
18-20, a map was published by the United States, on which is
delineated this famous fortification; huge walls with their
salient projections, all shown as if some mighty military
genius had planned its construction. And it is only last
year that our excellent Historical Society devoted, in the last
volume of their ' Colled ions,'' considerable space to the dis-
cussion of its precise locality.

" Now, after all this, what dare we say? I can only ven-
ture in ' accents low ' — there was never on the ' Prairie des
Chiens' — never within what are now tlie boundaries of
Crawford county, Wisconsin — a F'rench military post of
any kind; never a stockade or fortification built there by the
French, or while France held dominion over this region; nor
v/ere French soldiers ever stationed there. No oflicial
French document has ever been discovered giving any ac-
count of a fort there. No traveler visiting the ' Prairie des
Chiens ' during the French domination in the North- West
(a period extending from 1G71 to 17G1) mentions any fortifi-

308 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

cation there. No one has ever placed on record that he had
been told that there was sucli a fort there, by one who had
seen it."

The " Ilistorijof Crawford Count ij, Wiscoii.siit," was pub-
lished soon after the roadin<< of that paper. In it, extcniding
from })ak^o :)-2'.J to pa/^e ;):;i, iiiclusi vc, is an article, written
by me, entitled "The French Fort — a ^Mytli."' 1 i-vpi-ated
in that article fcubstantially what is found in the tore;i;oing
extract, leaving out all reference to the United States map
of ISio. I do this in the first para^-iMiih on l):i'^-e ■)■!'■) of tliat
work; then the authorities bearin<^ upon the subject are
given, and my reasons for the grounds taicen.


The reader will not fail to observe that the only purpose I
have, botli in the Ad(h'ess and County History, in treating
of the subject at all is, to i)rove that tliere never was a
French fort within the 'present limits of (Jrawford C<ninty,
Wisconsin. Trof. James D. IJutler, LL. 1)., and Ljm;m 0.
Draper, LI.. 1)., Corresponding Secretary of the State Histor-
ical Society of Wisconsin, say there has betMi sucli a fort
within what, now arti tlie limits of that county; and this
makes up tlie issu*; betwetui us.

Now, if the ]-eader will turn back, in tiiis volume, he will
fmd an arti<de entitled, '' Frcncli J'ijti /Jicdt/on.s near (he
mouth of lite Wisconsin, 'Hold the Fort/" extending from
page 51 to page iy.'>, inclusive; wherein Prof. Sutler argues
his side of the question, and i)i'. Draper annotates what he
says, with approval generally, citing an additional authority
and corroborating the ProfessoFs statement that there was
within what are now the limits of Crawford County, Wis-
consin, a Fi'encli fort — at least one, probably two. I'rof.
IJutler's paper ;ind Dr. Draper's annotations, together consti-
tute a criticism upon v/hat; I had previously written con-
cerning the supposed French fort in Crawford County.

And now as to Prof. Butler's article: He begins by
quoting from my paper read before the Madison Literary
Club, the real point at issue; but he simply quotes and makes
no comments thereon. Then he follows with a paragraph

FiiENCH Fort at Prairie du Ciiien a Myth. 309

beginning thus: " Such is the language of a recent historian
[meaning myself], who further declares belief in any French
fort near Prairie du CJhion to be 'one of the mock pilaris in
Wisconsin history.' " Here is raised an entirely ne-.v (lues-
"tion — an entirely new issue; for (^v^ery one knows there
might have been many such forts IniiU it>'-ur Prairie du Uliien ,
and not one of them wilhin wliat are now the litnlLs of
Crawford County. No such language is used by me, either
in the paper read before the Afudison Literary Club or in the
Hi^toi-ij of Crairford Cuimtij.

Again, on page 57 of this volume of Collections, Dr. Putler
says: " l*]ven in the abserjce of all evidence then, it w^ouhl
appear a bold assercion [one I have never m i lej that there
was never any French military post near the nijuLh of the
AVisconsin, unless "some ollijial French docanient can be
discovered giving an account of such work, or sonij traveler
mentions it.'" Here is raised another entirely new (lues-
tion — another entirely new issue; for every one knows there
might have been any number of such posts near the mouth
of the AVisconsin, and not one of them within the present
limits of Crawford County.

If the reader will turn back and read over Prof, l^utler's
article carefully, he will not fail to find that a very large
portion is taken up in arguing these new issues — in answer-
ing these new questions; each of which is of his own mak-
ing — of his own asking.

Dr. Butler i)roves to his own satisfaction (and certainly
to mine): (1) that one Nicholas Perrot, about the year HiSo,
build a fort on the Mississippi river below the Wisconsin;
{'^) that it was a French fort — occupied by French soldiers;
(3) that it had an advantageous situation as against attacks
of an enemy; and (1) that it was named and known as
" Fort St. Nicholas." Each and every one of these proposi-
tions, I believe to be true. Put what have they to do with
the question at issue? Surely, if Fort St. Nicholas was be-
low the mouth of the Wisconsin, it was not in what is now
the city of Prairie du Chien, nor was it in any part of Craw-
ford County, as now bounded; and its boundaries have not
been changed for a number of years. I do not see that, be-

310 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

cause thoro was a fort heloiv the mouth of the Wisconsin,
there must necessarily bo one above it, at Prairie du (Jhien.

Reference is made in i*rof lUitler's article to the maps of
Francjuelin, D' Aavillo, JJollin and Jell'reys, and to the atkis
of Covens and jMortier, as showiiij^., near the mouth uf tliC
Wisconsin, Fort St. Niclioias. (Jranted: but the}' d() not
all show a fort below the mouth uf tlie Wisconsin, 1^'ran-
queHn's and D' Anville's show it abore and on the ea^i side
of the IMissisLuppi. Tiieso two maps proved too nuirh for
the I'rofessoi'; and, if they were to bo relied on, they would
prove too nuicli for mo. i'rof. iJutler, not kiiowin^- how to
meet tlie didicalr-y, totally ignoies it. But that close ob-
server of all thing-s apiieitaining to A\'cstei-n hi^lor}' — ]jr.
Draper, — kno^yin;4 Vvluit llie real issue is, and beinj^ deter-
mined to stick to it, calls the atLfntion of ilu; reader to the
fact that, oil the nuips uf Franipudin and D'Aiiville, a
French fort - '" Fort St. Xicholas" — is marked immedlMtely
above the mouth of the Wisconsin and east of the ]"\lissis-
sippi, just where I'rairie da C-'hien is now situated. Tiiere-
fore, there is but one thing' forme to do: I must discredit
these maps as tu the location of the fort, or I *' lose my c;ase.*'
Tiie iniportuat question then is, were tliese map makers
correct? I suy no; and so says Dr. Butler; yet he asks, as to
Franquelin, "why should we reject his testimony r"' After
goinj:^ over a great deal of ground, lie answers the question
by proving Fort St. Nicholas to have been on the ^lissis-
sippi, below the Wisconsin, I would say then to my critic:
'^ Hold the 1^'rench fort," but continue to " liold it" out. ■^ide
of Crawford County, Wisconsin.

l)r. Draper says (ante, paj^e g:5, note 2) that '' It [Fort St.
Nicholas] had, very likely, but a brief existence." E.\:actly
that view I have heretofore held; but Verroi's '' Mimde of
Talcing Posse.sf>ion. of thecounlrij on the Uppev Midsi.ssipiji,''
shows conclusively, as I now discover, that it was occupied
as late as 1080 — four years after its erection. The com-
mander of its garrison, at that date, was Borie Guillot, Sup-
posing, then, that Fort St, Nicholas had been abandoned,
and knowing that that Frenchman had command of " the
French in the neighborhood of the AVisconsin, on the Mis-

French Fort at Prairie du Ciiien a Myth. 311

sissippi," I came to the conclusion that he must have been
stationed at Perrot's upper fort, near Lake P^pin, and so
stated in the History of Crawford county. Borie Ciuillot was
beyond all doubt in command, in liJSi), of Fort St. Nicholas.'

Fran(|uelin finished his map in KJ-^s, which must have
been during the occupancy of the fort just mentioned. Is
it reasonable to sujjijose that, at the .\<uue time, belonging
to the same king, tiiat there should be two forts of the saiim
name, one imme<liately bt'low the moutii of the AViscunsm,
the other immeuiutoly ubin-e itr Tlie law of historical criti-
cism says it Could not be so; one or the other isamjth.
But Prof, liuthrr has very cle;irly proven tliat the one hdotc
the mouth of the Wisconsin was areality; tiierefore, the one
«6o/-cmust have boi-n "as baseless as the fabric of a vision;"
or, to speak in plain prose, Franquclia jxit his little mark
above the mouth of that river, when he should have put it

Now, this Franquelin v/as the king's hydrographer, and
his map is " very correct," and the •• most* remarkable of all
the early maps of the interior of North Ainerica;" and yet
Fort St. Anthony (Antoine) is put down by him as on the
east bank of the Mississippi; just below Lake Pepin, when
it was actually at the head of Green Bay." That was a

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