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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

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


Page 13

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
got into the skiff and rowed back to the main camp, where Melvin had arrived before
me. I reported to Lieut. Gale, and sitting down regaled myself on roasted goose.
Next morning we went to Lieut. Gardenier's camp to inquire into the matter of
running the boats aground. A council was held and resulted in Lieut. Gardenier's
being sent back. There was an effort to attach the blame on me, but it fell through.
The day following was spent in unloading the boats, and fruitless attempts to
get them off the sand bar. On the third night the Chippewa River closed, and while
the ice was getting strong, we made sleds to draw the stores on the ice fifteen miles
up to the point on the Menomonee River, where we were to cut timber. By the
time the sleds were made, the ice on the river was strong enough to bear a team,
and the sleds were loaded with casks of wiskey, blankets and provisions, and we
drew them up to the proper place on the Menomonee River, where Gale remained
with two men to watch the stores, while I returned with the men and sleds for an-
other lot.
"It seems that soon after I left, Gale discovered a war party of Chippewas on
the path, looking for Sioux, and having a natural fear of Indians, he made off
through the wooded bottoms at the top of his speed. The chief of the party
sent a couple of his swiftest runners to bring Gale back, but they could not overtake
him. The warriors had no idea of disturbing anything, but seeing the liquor and
goods lying around without a guard, they were tempted to help themselves, and
took some of the goods and filled everything they had that was capable of holding
whiskey, and then departed. It is seldom war parties are out after snow has fallen;
I have only noticed it among the Sioux and Chippewas, who were always warring
against each other. I arrived the second day with more goods, and learned from
the two men that Lieut. Gale had been gone almost sixty hours from camp. I sent
men in the direction he had taken, and discharged guns every moment, and sta-
tioned a look-out on the high ground that commanded an extensive view of the
Chippewa Flats. The day passed without our finding the Lieutenant. On the
third day, the oldest chief of the war-party paid us another visit, returning all the
things they had taken, except the whiskey, which they promised to pay for with
venison.
"While the party were in the camp, the look-out reported that he could see
some object moving on the marsh, about three miles distant. Two soldiers were
sent out who succeeded in creeping on Lieut. Gale, and catching him before he
could get away. He had been wandering three days and three nights, and exposure
had deranged his mind, and he did not recognize his friends. He was brought in,
and, on examination, I found his feet and legs were frozen up to the knees. A
hole was cut in the ice, and the Lieutenant's limbs thrust through. After the
frost was out of the frozen parts, they were greased with melted deer-fat, and wrap-
ped up in blankets. In a few hours Gale had come to his senses-especially that
of feeling-and ordered us to carry him down to Prairie du Chien. We made him
as comfortable as possible on a sled, and with three men started to draw him to
the Prairie, leaving Sergeant Melvin-who was my senior, and ranked me-in
command of the men. Lieut. Gale endured great pain, for every motion was
torture, but when we were within sight of the Indian lodges on Wa-ba-shaw Prairie,
he forgot his pain, and wanted us to avoid meeting the Indians. This would have
been a difficult thing to accomplish, so we marched into the village, and Wa-ba-
shaw came out of his wigwam to welcome us. Upon learning the condition that
Gale was in, the chief had him carried into his lodge, and treated after the Indian
manner with a concoction of white-oak bark and poultice of roots. To these
remedies Gale owed his perfect recovery, if not his life. We left Wa-ba-shaw
Prairie and arrived safe at Prairie du Chien, and the Lieutenant was placed under
the care of Dr. Beaumont. I was immediately ordered up the river again, with the
three men, and had to drive two yoke of oxen back. When we arrived at the camp
on Menomonee River, the men had a log cabin most finished, and were drawing the
goods into it.
"We had only been there a short time, when one of the men who was draw~ing a
sled, slipped down and broke his lower jaw. Sergeant Melvin was a severe dis-
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