Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
Chapter I: Prairie du Chien and the Red Cedar, pp. 1-6
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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