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

Chapter II: early lumbering operations,   pp. 7-19

Page 10

actually in great fear, as they were not in the secret of the plot, discovered an Indian
on the bluffs below its mouth, or imagined they did, and gave the alarm of "Chip-
pewa " But we met some Sioux at the foot of the Bluffs, and they said that it
could not be Chippewas, as they had the day before been hunting over there and
thought it probable that some of their people might still be hunting there. So we
proceeded to a point opposite to the mouth of the Chippewa River, and encamped
for the night.
"So much had been said about danger front the Chippewas, that I began to
believe there was something in it, and must confess that the next morning I entered
the narrow mouth of the Chippewa, fringed with bushes, with some fear that some
Indian might be hid, and fire upon us without giving notice of his presence; but once
in, the feeling of fear wore off, and we proceeded on with little to eat until 10 o'clock,
when we came to a Menomonee lodge, where we found a great deal of venison, and
a quantity stuck up around the fire cooking, to which we did ample justice. We
then proceeded about ten miles up the river, where we found the boat and three
Americans who had remained with it. But they refused, as well as the Canadians
to go back to the mill uinder ','t superintendence of Armstrong; and from all ac-
counts of the men, as well as from what I had seen of of him, I was satisfied that he
was not calculated to conduct such a business, and I concluded that the best way
to get rid of him, was to purchase him out, even if I had to give more than he was
justly entitled. His fear of the Chippewas was such, that he did not wish to return.
He owed me about five hundred dollars, which would not be worth much if he left
the mill; yet, to get rid of him, I gave him that, and took a quit claim of all his
claims upon the mill, and let him have a small canoe in which he descended the
"My people agreed to go back to the mill, provided I would get the 'Menomonees
to go up the river with us, but I had no interpreter in whom I could confide, as my
half breed Winnebago had joined his comrades, the Canadians, against me. I
sent down for the Menomonees at the lodge we had passed, to come and go with us;
but presume that the half-breed iMenomonee woman had instructed them how to
act; for although I offered them a high price, they pretended to be afraid of the
Chippewas, which I was satisfied was not the case, and they declined to go, unless
another band who were hunting on the Chippewa, above the mouth of the Menomonee
River, would go with them. So I sent an Indian for them and proceeded on with
my boat, and encamped on a sand-bar opposite the Menomonee River, and waited
for the Indians until about noon the next day, when thevarrived, but they didnot want
to go into the Menomonee, expressing their fears of the Chippewas. I offered them
a keg of powder, a bar of lead, and promised, when they next came to Prairie du
Chien, to give them a keg of whiskey; but they still declined going, reiterating their
apprehensions, which I was satisfied were feigned for the occasion, and that they
were but playing their part as instructed by the half-breed woman. Believing
such to be the case, I ordered the men to put the things in the boat, telling them
that I was not afraid of the Chippewas, and should go to the mill. Upon this, some
of the Canadians showed a disposition to mutiny, but I had made up my mind to go,
and knock down the leader with a club; and force them to accompany me. How
I should have succeeded I do not know, but at that moment the Indians finding that
I was determined to go without them, said they would go, and we proceeded up the
Menomonee River about nine miles, where we encamped.
"The Winnebago and Menomonee half-breeds unloaded one of the canoes and
said there was a lake near there, and that they would go and shoot elk; but in about
an hour they returned, apparently much alarmed, and said they saw tracks of
Indians around the lake. But the Menomonees who had agreed to go with us
fearing to lose their promised pay if we went back, said that the tracks were not
Chippewas but Menomonees, as some of their people had been there that day
hunting. The next day we proceeded on up the river without anything of note
until we reached the mill, except occasionally seeing a Chippewa in imagination.
There was among the carpenters of my party a discharged soldier of the name of
IHolmes, who was a better mill-wright than Armnstrong, and upon whom, as I after-

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