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ally, and shingle and lath in proportion; and hewn timber and saw-logs sent also to market, probably equal to 3,000,000 feet more.
The St. Croix mills are said to yield about 5,000,000 feet of lumber, with a due proportion of shingle, lath and timber, and the Wisconsin as much more; making in all about 18,000,000 feet of lumber, besides shingle, lath and timber to an equal amount, furnished by the territory for the Mississippi markets. With the amount of lumber furnished by the eastern portion of the territory I am unacquainted.
In ascending the Chippewa, by its course, (the route I took last winter, on the ice) 100 miles above the falls, we passed five different falls, over which boats and rafts cannot pass in safety; besides numerous rapids. The Indians pass up and down the rapids in their canoes, but are obliged to portage round the falls.These falls and rapids afford great water power, and the surrounding country affords inexhaustable pine forests. But the impracticability of rafting it away, will prevent their use for lumbering purposes, except floating the logs singly down the stream, until the navigation is improved, or rail roads are made to connect them with the river below the falls.
The Man-i-to-ish, (devil's river) or main branch of this river, (which is said to pass through greater and finer pine forests than any other branch of it, and as well supplied with water power,) interlocks with the Ontanogan of Lake Superior, by means of small lakes and low, swampy lands; and could easily be connected by a canal, on a summit level less than 400 feet above the lake and the Mississippi, the two great waters being nearly on a level with each other. The Oitawa branch of this river might be easily connected with Bad river, of the lake, through a chain of some 20 small lakes, on a level not exceeding 350 feet above the two great navigable waters, within a distance of 250 miles, and through a more feasible country than that on the Ontanogan route.
At the falls of the Chippewa river, and up that stream, virgin copper has been found; and the soil and rock formations indicale its existence from thence to Lake Superior, a distance of about 150 miles, by the most direct route, though probably at some depth below the surface. The strata of white sand stone which shows itself at Prairie du Chien, and may be traced in the sides of the bluffs of the Mississippi to their respective falls, changes in color after passing these falls, to that of reddish brown; and continues 10 show itself in all parts of the country on the sides and in the beds of the streams, till it breaks off in the iron-bound shore of Lake Superior.
From the falls of the Chippewa to the lake, by the road we opened and travelled, the country is generally rolling, has a good soil, and thick timbered. Above the strata of red sand rock just described, the soil is full of primitive boulder rocks, generally of a roundish or oval form, and varying in size from a pebble to that of a mill soone, of which good common mill stones could be made. Every stream, soon after leaving the highest ground, cuts a bed through this strata of rock, and turnbles the boulders from above into its bed, where they form the usual and most common obstructions to navigation.
The timber, which in most places is very thick, with a thicker underbrush, is white and yellow Norway pine, oak, large quantities of sugar maple, soft maple, elm, lynn, aspen, balsam, fir, spruce, red and white cedar, some hemlock, large quantities of white birch, some black and yellow birch, &c. But I saw no beach, chesnut, hickory, poplar, or sassafras. Some iron wood or horn beam is seen, and more tamarack in swamps than the traveller desires to sce or pass; though the number of these swamps is not as great as I expected to find then, from the representations of the country I had seen. The truth is, one tamarack swamp, of but limited extent, in ten or twenty miles travel, unimproved by bridges or causeways, would be sufficient to frighten any common traveller. Those accustomed to them and the country, however, think but little of them.
The country along the south shore of Lake Superior, as far as I have seen it, that is, from Bad river to Fond du Lac-over 100 miles, presents much the same appearance as did that on the south shore of Lake Erie, when in its wilderness state, except in the kind of timber and the color of the soil and rock.
At the mouth of each river and in some places along the coast, sand beaches may be found. But the greatest portion of the coast is iron bound, so called, having perperdicular rock and clay banks from 30 to 50 feet high.
At the mouth of each river is a sand bar, inside of which is more or less swamp or marsh, extending generally as far into the country as the back water of the lake sets. These rivers are nu
merous, though not large; not having over 50 miles of country, in a direct line, to meander through. The length of them, however, by their courses, is usually three times as great as the direct line.
The St. Louis river is an exception to the above rule, and is the largest stream emptying into the southwest portion of the lake. By its course it is about 300 miles long; taking its rise in the northwest, near the Rainy Lake. It will average, probably, 100 yards in width for the first 70 miles above slack water, at the foot of the falls. And from this point to its mouth, 22 miles, it gradually widens and deepens, till in places the bays are several miles across, having a channel sufficiently deep for vessels of the largest size. Two bays near the mouth, separated by a narrow land peninsula, the passage through which seems to have been originally the mouth of the river, forms a harbor, excelled by none in the world for safety, sufficient for a thousand ships to ride at ease in the heaviest gale.
The outer peninsula, composed entirely of sand, evidently thrown up by the surf and winds from the lake, is about 12 miles long, and from a quarter to half a mile wide, forming a bay within of the same length, and from one to three miles wide. There are pine trees within this peninsula apparently 200 years old; indicating the existence of the land for a considerable longer period. A gap though this peninsula, half a mile wide, is now the mouth of the river; which at the time I was there, and owirg to the extreme high waters the past season, had a channel 30 or more feet deep; but in the autumns of dry seasons, it is said to only afford about eight feet water over the bar usually thrown up by the surf of the lake; but by the aid of piers, could be kept at its greatest depth.
On this peninsula, at the mouth of the river, is the best place for a fort on this frontier, which is now much nçeded, and where it is hoped government will soon build one. On the opposite side of the bay, on the main land, the land is 20 or 30 feet above the water, covered with thick timber and under brush, somewhat broken and wet on its surface, but can be improved into an excellent town site. This point is only about 150 miles from Mendota, or St. Peters, and the country between is said to be of the first quality for a road, being mostly prairie and oak openings. A rail road across the country, at this point, would connect the heads of nav. igation on the great chain of lakes, and the great Mississippi, and would run through a country second to none in the world in the same latitude, for beauty of scenery and for rich agricultural purposes; and farmers and mechanics, as well as miners, will, no doubt, soon find their way into, and settle the country.
The falls of St. Louis, amounting to about 300 feet in the space of 20 miles, would afford a great extent of water power, if within the ceded territory. A portion of them, however, including about 50 feet of perpendicular fall, is inaccessible, except at great expense, on account of the perpendicular character of the banks; the channel being cut through a high ridge of rock.
The Maskau (Swamp) river, commonly called Bad river, is the next in size emptying into the lake within this territory. Its mouth is about 15 miles east of La Pointe; it is about 100 yards wide, within the bar, and for 5 miles up, and very deep. Butexcept a narrow sand bank, which runs along the lake shore for 20 miles, the country for that distance, and for five miles up the river, is one continued marsh or swamp; which must forever be a drawback, if not insuperable barrier to its improvement, and especially as La Pointe, an excellent harbor, of easy access and great safety, is so near at hand.
This river has two principal branches, both of which have a succession of falls, and affords great water powers. Its banks and adjoining country are well supplied with pine and other timber, suitable for lumber, and its bottoms, above the swampy region, offer great inducements to agricultural settlers.
The other rivers, generally from 3 to 10 miles apart, furnish harbors for boats, and by the aid of piers would most of them furnish harbors for essels. There are none, however, over 50 yards wide at their mouths, and most of them much less. Those of them which rise in the dividing lands between the lake and the Mississippi, having about three hundred feet to fall in their short descent, furnish great water power, and the adjoining country being well supplied with timber and a good soil, they must at no distant day be employed to good advantage. The mountain or speckled trout abound in all of them, and are very large. I measured one,
taken in the Brule, which was twenty-one inches long. They vary from the lake trout in form and flesh, so as to distinguish them.
La Pointe, a place of the most importance on this lake, is situated on the south east end of Magdaline Island. The island is
12 miles in length and 30 in circumference. Tie soil on it is poor, being a stiff red clay, upon a red sand rock. The settlement was first formed about 100 years since, by the French traders, and has slowly but gradually increased, by the settlement of voyagers, traders, &c., who took wives of the daughters of the land, and by their half-breed descendants, and some Indians who have adopted civilized habits. In 1834, it was made the principal depot of the American Fur Company, and since then, the Cleveland Company made an establishment there for the purpose of fishing and trading. The whole population, coinposed of wbites, mixed bloods, and civilized Indians, amounts to nearly 500. The A. B, C. F. M. has a successful mission and a church here. The catholics have a church, and these, with the stores of the fur companies, and other buildings, give the place quite the appearance of a business town. Each of the companies have a vessel, which plies upon the lake during the season of navigation, the business of which has been increased in the past season, by the operations of the copper miners. In the viciniiy of La Pointe is a group of twenty-two islands, on several of which virgin copper has been found.
For several years past the fur companies at this place have carried on an extensive business by fishing. But this, as a matter of coinmerce, is for the present at an end. The hard times so affected their sales, and reduced the price, that it became a losing concern, and has been abandoned. This unhappy change has thrown several hundred people out of employ, who derived their support therefrom; and as the fur trade is rapidly declining, and the number of voyagers and laborers required, consequently lessened, almost the entire population are reduced to abject want. Some of the most enterprising and persevering have gone to the lumber region on the St. Croix and Chippewa, in hopes to avoid starving; but the majority have to submit to their fate, and subsist upon fish; the only use the numerous finny tribes of this lake are at this time to the inhabitants of its shores. It is to be hoped that the introduction of miners and farmers to the country, will turn the attention of these inhabitants to these branches of business, of which hitherto they scem not to have had a competent idea.
Some fine specimens of virgin copper and silver have been found within this territory, but no beds of orc, except copper ore on the