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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin

Chapter I: Prairie du Chien and the Red Cedar,   pp. 1-6

Page 3

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY                          3
'.ounty in these wanderings, Accault and his guards joined the party and were
fi,:ft for a while at the mouth of the Chippewa or possibly at the mouth of Beef
Slough. Here and on various islands the squaws hid meat. They then again
ascended the Mississippi, and were rescued from the Indians by Daniel Graysolon,
Siear du Luth. Toward the end of September Hennepin, Du Luth and the two other
meii again descended the Mississippi and reached Canada by way of the Wisconsin
River, the Portage, Fox River and Green Bay. The Franquelin map of 1688 calls
,ie Chippewa the R. des Sauteurs.
The next mention of the Chippewa River is in an account of a journey of Le
Su,'ur's up the Mississippi River in September of the year 1700. It is there stated
tha on the fourteenth day after leaving the mouth of the Wisconsin River, "He
left -n the east side of the river, a large beautiful river, which comes a great distance
from the north, and called Bon Secours, from the great number of buffalo, stags,
bears and deer found there." This river, the account further states was below and
near Lake Pepin. This reference serves to locate the river "left on the east" as the
Chippewa; the same stream that Hennepin in 1680 called the River of Bulls and
La Salle in 1682 mentions as Buffalo River.
In this account of Le Sueur's journey in 1700 is probably the first reference to
the stream now known as the Red Cedar River. Speaking of the Chippewa it is
said: "Three leagues up this river there is a lead mine: and seven leagues higher,
on the same side, you meet another river of great length." From this description
we may not be able to rediscover the lead mine, but the distances given do serve to
locate the river spoken of as the Red Cedar.
The agents of La Salle probably learned of the general features of the lower
Chippewa Valley as high up as the Red Cedar in the year 1680, for in his letter of
1682 lie said, writing of the Chippewa: "It is followed from ten to twelve leagues,
the water being smooth and without rapids, bordered by mountains which widen
from time to time, forming meadows."
It is possible that the Red Cedar River had been explored by white men before
Le Sueur's journey and perhaps before Father Hennepin's discoveries. It is known
that Lake Court d'Oreilles had been a gathering place of the Indians from early in
the seventeenth centurv. The trails from the headwaters of the Wisconsin, Black
and Chippewa Rivers passed by this lake on the road to the Sioux country. It is
near the sources of the Red Cedar River. Old beaver dams on all tributaries on the
Red Cedar indicate that its valley was once rich in furs.
In La Salle's letter of 1682, he reports to the government that DuLuth had for
three years been trading in the Lake Superior country and sending his men among
the Sioux and the Chippewas, finally coming himself by the Bois Brule and St.
Croix Rivers to Lake Pepin. Hennepin says Du Luth came by this route in 1680.
In a letter directed by an official to the governor of Canada written in 1683, it is
stated that Du Luth was then sending a company of traders to the Sioux which was
to be joined by other persons. The Sioux were then on the upper Mississippi. In
a similar letter in 1690-91 it is stated that Perrot in going up the Mississippi River
met at the Fox-Wisconsin portage a canoe of Frenchmen coming from the Sioux
czuntrv and further that he on arriving at the Mississippi dispatched men to warn
the "French-men who were then among the Nadouaissoux to proceed to Mich-
ilimakinak, this because of a threatened war between several different tribes of
Indians." It is stated that in 1693 Le Sueur built a fort near Red Wing, Minnesota,
to protect the fur trade route from Lake Superior by the St. Croix River. When
Le Sueur in 1700 arrived at Lake Pepin, word was brought to him that a Frenchman
had recently been killed in the country near by. At his command the Indians
brought the companion of the man who had been killed  He "was a Canadian
named Dinnis. He stated that his comrade had been accidentally killed; his name
was La Place; he was a soldier who had deserted from Canada and fled to this
country." Further, there came to Le Sueur in the winter of 1700-07, on Blue
Earth River in Minnesota "seven French traders from Canada." "They had been
plundered and striped naked by the Sioux."
It is quite certain that there were at that early day beaver on the Red Cedar.

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