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Boyd, Robert K. / Early conditions of the Chippewa Valley

Early conditions of the Chippewa Valley,   pp. [1]-11 ff.

Page 3

anxious to leave behind them; so they packed up and
went down river to do their trading with the Sioux In-
dians, who had a large village on the Mississippi, near the
mouth of the Chippewa River.
To make friends with their new customers was delicate
business for men of their complexion, coming from the
country of the Chippewas, but they were good diplomat-
ists and carried certificates of good character well suited
to the understanding of the Sioux, for they displayed the
two fresh Chippewa scalps.
These credentials were examined and approved by Wa-
bashaw and his band, at their village where the city of
Wabasha is now located.
Now let us make another jump of 50 years or more to
the period between 1830 and 1850. The buffalo had been
killed off or driven to the west, the elk were becoming
scarce, for unlike his smaller cousin, the crafty deer, the
elk is large and stupid and cannot conceal himself; so
he is easily approached and is rapidly killed off by the
white hunters.
During this period the French voyageurs in extending
their traffic in furs, came from Prairie du Chien, up the
Chippewa River in their long log canoes called pirogues,
and named some of our smaller streams. At the mouth
of what is now called the Eau Galle River they found a
heavy gravel bar, called galet (pronounced galay) in their
language, and so they called the stream  La Riviere au
Galet, the River of the Gravel Bank. When they reached
the present site of Eau Claire, they observed that the
river coming in from the east, was quite clear as com-
pared with the water of the Chippewa, which was of a
dark coffee color, being stained by needles of the tam-
arac trees which grow in the large swamps. So they
named the river La Riviere de 1'Eau Claire, the River of
Clear Water, and we may thank our first settlers for their
good taste in adopting the name which our river and city
bear today. And here is a bit of advice; don't ever spoil
the name by calling it "Yew Claire."
At this time, previous to 1860, the men from down river
commenced cutting pine timber, and making the logs up
into rafts to supply the towns which were growing up

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