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Heroes of the Middle West The French   By: (1847-1902)

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[Illustration: Front Cover.]

[Illustration: COUNT FRONTENAC. From a Statue at Quebec.]

HEROES OF THE MIDDLE WEST

The French

BY

MARY HARTWELL CATHERWOOD

GINN AND COMPANY

BOSTON · NEW YORK · CHICAGO · LONDON ATLANTA · DALLAS · COLUMBUS · SAN FRANCISCO

Copyright, 1898 By MARY HARTWELL CATHERWOOD

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 317.8

The Athenæum Press GINN AND COMPANY · PROPRIETORS · BOSTON · U. S. A.

PREFACE.

Let any one who thinks it an easy task attempt to cover the French discovery and occupation of the middle west, from Marquette and Jolliet to the pulling down of the French flag on Fort Chartres, vivifying men, and while condensing events, putting a moving picture before the eye. Let him prepare this picture for young minds accustomed only to the modern aspect of things and demanding a light, sure touch. Let him gather his material as I have done from Parkman, Shea, Joutel, Hennepin, St. Cosme, Monette, Winsor, Roosevelt from state records, and local traditions richer and oftener more reliable than history; and let him hang over his theme with brooding affection, moulding and remoulding its forms. He will find the task he so lightly set himself a terribly hard and exhausting one, and will appreciate as he never before appreciated the labors of those who work in historic fields.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

I. The Discoverers of the Upper Mississippi 1

II. Bearers of the Calumet 19

III. The Man with the Copper Hand 44

IV. The Undespairing Norman 71

V. French Settlements 102

VI. The Last Great Indian 117

HEROES OF THE MIDDLE WEST.

I.

THE DISCOVERERS OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI.

The 17th of May, 1673, Father Jacques Marquette, the missionary priest of St. Ignace, on what is now called the north shore of Michigan, and Louis Jolliet, a trader from Montreal, set out on a journey together.

Huron and Ottawa Indians, with the priest left in charge of them, stood on the beach to see Marquette embark, the water running up to their feet and receding with the everlasting wash of the straits. Behind them the shore line of St. Ignace was bent like a long bow. Northward, beyond the end of the bow, a rock rose in the air as tall as a castle. But very humble was the small mission station which Father Marquette had founded when driven with his flock from his post on the Upper Lakes by the Iroquois. A chapel of strong cedar posts covered with bark, his own hut, and the lodges of his people were all surrounded by pointed palisades. Opposite St. Ignace, across a league or so of water, rose the turtle shaped back of Michilimackinac Island, venerated by the tribes, in spite of their religious teaching, as a home of mysterious giant fairies who made gurgling noises in the rocks along the beach or floated vast and cloud like through high pine forests. The evergreens on Michilimackinac showed as if newborn through the haze of undefined deciduous trees, for it was May weather, which means that the northern world had not yet leaped into sudden and glorious summer. Though the straits glittered under a cloudless sky, a chill lingered in the wind, and only the basking stone ledges reflected warmth. The clear elastic air was such a perfect medium of sight that it allowed the eye to distinguish open beach rims from massed forests two or three leagues away on the south shore, and seemed to bring within stone's throw those nearer islands now called Round and Bois Blanc.

It must have wrung Marquette's heart to leave this region, which has an irresistible charm for all who come within its horizon. But he had long desired to undertake this journey for a double purpose. He wanted to carry his religion as far as possible among strange tribes, and he wanted to find and explore that great river of the west, about which adventurers in the New World heard so much, but which none had seen... Continue reading book >>




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