Tomah: A Chief of the Menominee Nation

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ABOUT THE COVER . The map used on the cover was drawn by Jonathon Carver ( during his 1767 expedition in search of ~ northwest pass- · age to China. He was the first to use tl~e name GREEN BAY..-::-:....~~ for La Saye. TOMAH has be~n des.cribed the out-

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.. .. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (c) Copyright 1997 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 97-092792.

A T I 0 N

by

Jeanne & Les Rentmeester Village of Howard, Wis.

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Authors Lester F. Rentmeester

Jeanne Rioux Rentmeester

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DEDICATION

There are two authors of this story and there are t\./O dedications, one by each writer.

DEDICATION by Jeanne Rioux Rentmeester My husband, Les, to \./horn I have been happily married for fifty-six years, is as proud of my Indian heritage as I am! His pride in my ethnic heritage, as well as in his own Flemi sh ancestry, is reflected in this story of my Uncle TOMAH. With love and gratitude I dedicate this book to Les.

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DEDICATION

by Lester F. Rentmeester My wife, Jeann e, has always been impressed by the complimentary words that early historic figures h ave written about her great-great-great-great uncle, TOMAH; the sadness she feels over the circumstances s urrounding his death brings tears to her eyes. Her sensitivity toward those who suffer from the abuseof-power by officials in positions of trus~, and our concern for even-handed tolerance toward al l races, has enriched our long life together. The part that I have played in writing this story is a way of saying thank you to her.

The first recorded description of a Menomini household is given by a trader, Radisson, who visited the upper lakes region in 1654: We came to a cottage of an ancient witty man, that bad a great familie and many children, his wife old, nevertheless handsome. They weare of a nation called Malhonmines ; that is the nation of Oats.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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We thank all of the fol lowing people for their inval uable assistanc e during the writi ng of this book . If we have inadvertently forgotten anyone, please forgive. ARCHIVES NATIONALES du QUEBEC, Sainte Foy, Quebec, Ca nada. ABENAKIS de WOLINAK, Wolinak, Ca nada. Mary Ann Defnet, Cree descendant, genealogist, Green Bay, WI. James L. Hans en, Wisconsin State Historical Society, Madison,WI. Professor Robert L. Hall, Un iversity of Illinois, Chicago, IL.

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Carolyn Heald,

Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

Mary Jane Herber, Local Historian , Brown Co. Library, Green Bay,WI . Mike Hoffman, Menominee descendant a nd Language Instruc tor. Elizabe th Rioux Jerry, Menominee descendant , Green Bay, WI. Wayne P. "Bud" Johnson, Mayor of Tomah, WI. Sharon Kelley , Caron descendant, French-Canadian Heritage Society, Detroit, MI. Patricia Kennedy , Canadian Archives, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Cecile de Lemi rande, Canada Genealogy Society, Montreal, Canada. Carol LaTender, Menominee Reservation, Keshena, WI. Ghislaine Machabee, Genealogist, Montreal, Canada. Susan Otto, Photo Manager, Mil waukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI. Bruce Paulson, Menominee descendant and researcher, Suring, WI. Louise Pfotenhauer, Recorder, Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, WI. Elfriede Raedler, Reference Librarian, Eau Gallie Library, Melbourne, Fl. Jules Rentmeesters, Researcher , Antwerp, Belgium. Jeanne Rice, Director, Tomah Public Library, Tomah, WI. Sister Mary Annette Scherman, Convent, St. Louis, MO.

C. S. J.,

St.

Joseph of Carondelet

Eileen Schultz, Tomah descendant, Keshena, WI. Jean Soullier, Caron descendant, Cheboygan, MI. Dr. Keith Widder, Mackinac Island Park Commission. JoEllen Wollangk, Curator, Charles Grignon Mansion, Kaukauna,WI. Dr. David wrone, Menominee Researcher, Univ. of Wis . ,Stevens Point.

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PREFACE

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This story of TOMAH (THOMAS CARON) had to be written! While researching our book, THE WISCONSIN FUR-TRADE PEOPLE, (which we dedicated to TOMAH), we discovered numerous articles by people who had known TOMAH, who were profoundly impressed by him, his leadership qualities, and his accomplishments. Clearly, the written words of these diarists show that they experienced a feeling of awe in his presence. For example, James Biddle, a trader, records this impression of TOMAH after seeing him at Mackinac Island in 1818, "that the earth was too mean for such a man to walk on!" These kind of laudatory comments prompted us into further research of this interesting individual. Our research was greatly stimulated by the fact that TOMAH was co-author Jeanne's great-great-greatgreat uncle, a brother of her ancestor, KADDISH CARON.

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Thus, with admiration and pride in TOMAH' s many accomplishments and, shedding tears over his final tragic moments, we started to write this book. During the years of research, we became even more impressed by TOMAH' s leadership qualities and by his unique roots in the Indian and White worlds. TOMAH's history is the history of early Canada a great-grandfather, who came to Canada in the mid-1600s under contract to the early Jesuit Fathers; a great-grandmother, who was une fille de Roi under a King Louis XIV project to send women to Canada to help populate the Colony; a grand-father, who was an early fur trader in Wisconsin; a grand-mother, who was a member of the powerful ABNAKI Indian tribe in Eastern Canada and New England; a half-French, half-ABNAKI father, who was made the head-chief of the MENOMINEEs by the MENOMINEE chiefs and by the Governor of Canada. The story of TOMAH is also the early history of the MENOMINEEs, based on facts which we gathered from many sources. We are particularly indebted to two eminent historians, who shielded us from the many romanticized and highly fanciful narratives that have found their way into print: -Dr. Lyman C. Draper, whose many volumes of manuscript material collected over forty-five years, provide an authentic history of Wisconsin. -Francis Parkman, who wrote the history of early Canada and the details of the conflict between the French and the English on the North American continent.

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This story of TOMAH is fact, not fiction. Every incident, which we describe, actually happened; every date, is histor~ ically accurate; every character portrayed, is based on historical fact. These facts show that TOMAH is an outstanding Indian Chief, and his tribe, the MENOMINEE Indians, played a prominent role in French, English and American history.

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TABLE

OF

CONTENTS Page

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - v PREFACE---------------------------~iv

LIST OF F I G U R E S - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- i i i EXPLANATORY NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY--------------- - i CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION------------------! CHAPTER TWO - EARLY FRENCH SETTLEMENT IN CANADA--------12 CHAPTER THREE - THE CARON FAMILY COMES TO NEW FRANCE------25

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CHAPTER FOUR - THE CARON FUR TRADERS:

1700-1750-------41

CHAPTER FIVE - THE FRENCH AND INDIAN W A R - - - - - - - - - - - 64 CHAPTER SIX - THE ENGLISH REGIME:

1760-1800---------94

CHAPTER SEVEN - THE NEW C E N T U R Y - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 157 APPENDIX A - THE TOMAH CARON FAMILY HISTORY APPENDIX B - DOCUMENT RE VIEUX CARON AS CHIEF

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APPENDIX C - THE STORY OF ASHWAUBOMAY APPENDIX D - MENOMINEE MEMORABILIA INDEX

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LIST

OF

FIGURES

Figure Number

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

13.

Migrations Of The OTTAWA Indians - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 Portion of 1650 Map 7 ABNAKI Conical Wigwam with Elm-Bark Covering 8 God's Highway Between Montreal and Wisconsin 15 Montreal Viewed From The St. Lawrence River -1740 19 Tribal Territory Of The Western ABNAKis 20 Beaver 21 Birch-Bark Canoe 23 Louis XIV Reception For Les Filles du Roi 28 Ox - Beast Of Burden 29 Perrot' s Ostensori um - 1686 34 KATER! (CATHERINE) TEKAK\olITHA 36 31 August 1693 Engage Contract of VITAL CARON 38

14.

14 July 1703 Prices of Goods

44

15.

Quill Decorated Moccasins Land Of The FOX and MASCOUTEN Indians KILIOU (THUNDERBIRD)/Cross Totem of 1736 MENOMINEEs At Camp In Montreal LANGLADE's Route To Pickawillany Washington - 1753; Braddock - 1755 Temporary Indian Village At Mackinac LANGLADE's Route To Fort Duquesne Battlefield Running The Rapids Indian War Canoe A Gorget Trail Food The Battle Of Quebec Tomb Of The Unknown Brave Coup Dance

45 48

6.

7. 8.

9.

10.

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11. 12.

16.

17 . 18.

19.

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Page

20 . 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26 . 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33.

55 59 66

69 71 72 76

76 78 86 . 88

91 93 94 101 103

Bateaux

Attack on Fort Mackinac Fort Detroit CALUMET/Hatchet

104

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LIST

OF

FIGURES

Figure Number ·Page 34. Wild Rice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-106 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44 . 45 . 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54 . 55. 56. 57.

General Johnson's Certificate To O GE MAW NEE Carver's 1766-1767 Travels Indian Pictograph On Chippewa River MENOMINEE War - Bundle Wrapper British Peace Medal Spear-Fishing By Torchlight Certificate Of Chief SHAWANO Fort Mackinac At The Portage Playing La Crosse 1783 Boundary Between United States And Canada CREOLES The Ducharme Log Cabin At Kaukauna MENOMINEE Indian Land Sale - 1793 Indian Council Houses A MENOMINEE Land Grant Two GRIGNON Brothers F.X . RIOUX/LANGLADE/SHAWANO/CARON Descendant Lt. Zebulon M. Pike The Siege Of Fort Meigs, Ohio TECUMSEH U.S. Troop-Ships At Green Bay, 1816 TOMAH's Final Resting Place

110 114 115 116 117 122 130 135 137 140 141 143 147 148 150 152 155 158 160 170 171 181 189

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TRADING POST t h e MENOMINEE Village at Duck Creek. ii

EXPLANATORY

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NOTE

ON

TERMINOLOGY

Because the WISCONSIN HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS,of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, are used as reference materials so often in this book, the abbreviation, WHC, is used as a convenience. The variation in Indian tri bal names can be confusing because tribal members had a name for themselves, the other tribes had different names for them, and the French- and English-speaking people used still different names.

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The names for the MENOMINEEs generally came from their staple food - the wild rice. The first record of the tribe, made by fur-trader PIERRE ESPRIT RADISSON, in 1654, refers to them as MALHONMINEs. There are many variations of this name; the modern version is MENOMINEE. The French called them FOLLES AVOINES (WILD OATS people) and there were many spellings of this name, e.g., FULLSAVOINES, FOLS AVOINES, FALLS AWYNES. OJIBWA (pronounced O JIB WAY) was the original name of the CHIPPEWA. The Whites pronounced it CHIPPEWAY so persistently, that the tribal members even call themselves CHIPPEWAYs now. The French name for the tribe was SAUTEURS, because their first discovery of the tribe was in the Sault Ste Marie area. The WINNEBAGOs got their name from the early French, who said that they were called OUNIPIGOU (ALGONQUIN for bad smelling water); the French name, meaning the same thing, was PUANTS . Tribal members said that the original name was OCH UNG RAS (which meant large fish or whale). Early French maps show the name OTChAG RAS, and the modern name is HO CHUNK. The OTTAWA poeple also had many early variations fo their name, e.g., OUTA OUACS. The ~rench name for the tribe was COURT OREILLES (SHORT EARS), because tribal members let their ears grow normally and did not elongate them with heavy ear-ornaments . A new ethnic group emerged with the mixing of Indian and White blood. The early French mixed-blood people often called themselves CREOLES; the Americans used the term mixed-bloods; some who were unfamiliar with the Wisconsin Historical Collections used the Canadian term, metis.

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

Whenever TOMAH 1 is discussed in the history of early Wisconsin, he is always written about in glowing and complimentary terms.

For example;

here is how Augustin

a

Gri~on,

prominent

fur trader, described him:2 "He was about six feet in height, spare, with a dark-colored eye, and handsome features, and very prepossessing~ he was, in truth, the finest looking chief I have ever known of the Menominees or any other tribe. His speeches were not lengthy, but pointed and expressive. He was sincerely beloved alike by whites and Ind ians."

Here

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is

how

another

historian

remembered he first saw him during TOMAH's later years: 3

TOMAH

when

"I was struck, as he passed, in a most unusual manner by his singular imposing presence . I had never seen, I thought, so magnificent a man . . . .. I ... remember almost giving expression to a feeling which seemed irresistably to creep over me, that the earth was too mean for such a man to walk on!"

The account goes on to say:

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"Of TOMAH, or THOMAW, or THOMAS CARON , we have found but little in print. He seems to have been the great Indian Chieftain of the Wiscons in tribes; our Philip of Pokanoket - our Pontiac - our Tecumsuh:"4

Just as all of the historical accounts showed that TOMAH was an extraordinary man, in much the same way, they showed that the MENOMINEE Indian Nations consisted

of

an

unusual

and

praiseworthy group of people. 1 TOMAH is the French pronounciation of THOMAS.

2WISCONSIN

(His last naJlle was CARON.)

HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS, VOL III, "Grignon's Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison , WI, 1904. p 283.

3wttc, VOL I,

Recollections , "

p SS.

4rbid, p 57. This account, written in 1817, refers to great Indian leaders known at that time, previous to Geronimo, Osceola, Sitting Bull, etc.

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Sindian tribes were treated as and American governments until read, in part, "No Indian Nation States shall be . ... recognized as

independent nations under French, British the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act which or tribe within the territory of the United an independent nation, tribe or power ... "

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Both

TOM.AH

and

the

MENOMINEES

will

detail in the following portion of this book; criptive phrases

about

scene for the part that

this

unusual

tribe,

be

discussed

in

however, some deswhich

they played in TOM.AH' s

will

life,

set the

are given

here: "The Menominee appear to have been the oldest Algonquin dwellers in what is now Wisconsin. They were noted among t he earliest travelers for their remarkable physical development and for their uniform friendliness toward the whites. It was the proud boast of the Menominee that they never killed a white man, unless, it should be added, at the behest of other white men fo r whom they were allies in international wars."l

The earliest White men to visit the MENOMINEEs commented on

their large size,

nature and

their

light color,

abundant

particularly

their

of MENOMINEE

( man

wi ld o

min)

food

rice and

handsome appearance,

supply

which the

gave

wild them

Father Charlevoix,

order to

the Jesuit missions

game, the

French name,

A ·Jesuit priest, inspect

of

fish

Indian

and name

FOLLES AVOINES.

visited America in and

peaceful

1720

to recommend a

in

route

to the Pacific; after his trip to La Baye, he described the MENOMINEE Indians. 2 "as the most shapely i n Canada."

The MENOMINEEs were among the bands of Indian warriors who in

followed Capta"in Charles de battle under

flag.

the French

flag,

Langlade and

(Father of Wisconsin)

later,

under

the British

Langlade said of them:3 "He regarded the Menominees as the most peaceful, brave and faith-

ful of a l l the tribes who ever served under

him."

During the latter part of the French regime in Canada and Wisconsin,

General Montcalm was the military commander until

his death in the 1759 Battle of Quebec . 1

His aide was Louis Antoine

Louise Kellogg, The French Regime In Wisconsin and the Northwest, Cooper Square Publishers, N.Y., 19 68 , p 71. 2 Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, 6 VOL., 1900.

3WHc VOL . Ill, "Grignon's Reollections." p 266.

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de Bougainville,

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later of South Sea fame,

whose

journal was a

wonderfully detailed account of events in the French and Indian

War.

Bougainville's Journal for July 11, 1756 records his impres-

sions of these unusual MENOMINEEs in their meeting with Pierre de Vaudreuil,

Governor of New France,

pressed wi t h their appearance,

at Montreal.

He was im-

their dancing, how unusually well-

fed they were, as shown in the fol lowing passagel:

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The Menominees are always strongly attached to t he French. They came in five great birch-bark canoes (holding about forty warriors) with six scalps and several prisone rs ..... These prisoners were not mal treated, as is customary upon entering cities and villages. Entered into M. de Vaudreuil' s presence, the prisoners sat down on the ground in a circle, and the Indian Chief (Caron), wi th action and force that surprised me, made a short enough speech, the gist of which was that t he Menominee people were different from the oth er tribes which held back part of their captures, ..... Then they danced around t he captives to the sound of a sort of tambourine placed in t h e middle. Extraordinary spectacle, more suited to terrify than to please; curious, however, to the eye of a philosopher who seeks to study man in conditions nearest to nature.2 These men were naked, save for a piece of cloth in front and behind, the face and body painted, feathers on t h eir heads, symbol and sign of war , tomahawk and spear in their hand. In general, these are brawny men, large and a good appearance; almost all are very cheerful. One could not have better hearing than these people. All the movements of their body mark the cadence with great exactness. This dance is the pyrrhic of the Greeks."

This was

MENOMINEE

half-French

Chief

was

and half-Abenaki

Claude

(Vieux)

Caron,

who

Indian.

His son, TOMAH, who was born in the Old King's Village (also called MENOMINEE Castle) around 1752, was one-half MENOMINEE, one-quarter French and onequarter ABENAKI. The Old King's Village, named for the hereditary

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Chief Shawano,

was situated on the west bank of the Fox River

at Green Bay, today.

about where the Neville Public Museum is situated

1 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOUGAI NVILLE, QUOTED BY Allan Eckert in WILDERNESS EMPIRE, Little, Brown & Col. 1969. p 387. 2some of Bougainville 's writings helped to popularize Rousseau's theories on the morality of man in his natural state and inspired Diderot to write (in SUPPLEMENT TO BOUGAINVILLE' S VOYAGE) a defense of sexual freedom. Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited Wisconsin in 1831 a nd later wrote the famous DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA was conditioned by Rosseau philosophy but was disillusioned in his contacts with the "noble savage."

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The MENOMINEE

Indians

were

unique

in

many

ways;

for

insta nce, they have always l i ved in Wisconsin, unlike other tribes who have been driven from one area to another, or by lack of food or for some other reason.

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by hostile tribes

Their tribal memory

and their tradition s

support their belief that they have always

lived in Wisconsin. torian, 1

And,

in the words of a fa med Wisconsin his-

"The Menominee still live on portions of the land that was theirs when Nicolet first visited them - a remarkable record of an unbroken residence in the same region."

Contrast this with

the movement of

the OTTAWA Tribe,

neighbors of the MENOMINEE and generally on good terms with their ALGONQUIN Indian neighbors: and CHIPPEWA Tribes.

the MENOMINEE, POTTAWATOMI, MASCOUTIN

See Figure 1 for the migration of the OTTAWA

Indian tribe during the French regime.

This migration was caused

Figure l. MIGRATIONS OF THE OTTAWA INDIANS.

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MINNESOTA

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1 Louise Phelps Kel logg, THE FRENCH REGiME IN WISCONSIN AND THE NORTHWEST , Cooper Square Puhl i shers, N. Y. , 19 68, p 71. See also , Alanson Skinner, MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE MENOMINI, New York Museum of the American Indian , 1921, pp 371-372. 4

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mainly by hostile action of the SIOUX on and IROQUOIS on their eastern border. 1 tion

is

with

the

the west and HURONS

One result of this migra-

that the payments to the OTTAWAs, required by treaties U.S.

Government

in

the 1800s,

were made

in Michigan

and in Chicago. Further evidence that the MENOMINEEs were originally residents in the Wisconsin area,

is found in their legend of the

origin of their ancient moieties - the Bear people and the Thunder people. According to these beliefs, the head of the clans known as

the

"Bear people"

descended

from

a

"being"

in

the form of

a bear who emerged at the mouth of the Menominee River to become man , and from those mythical "beings" - wolf and crane - who

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joined him there. Their tradition also shows that a second clan originated when the "Thunderer" changed from "bird" to "human" form together with his followers near Lake Winnebago , place they proceeded to the Menominee River. 2

from which

The first known contact of the French and the MENOMINEE Indians occurred when Jean Nicolet and his seven HURON-ALGONQUIN companions visited the area,

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in search of a passageway to China.

Nicolet was sent by Samuel de Champlain, Governor of New France, who had

heard

that

there were people

there,

possibly Chinese,

who spoke a language different from the ALGONQUIN tribes. Nicolet discovered that these strange people were WINNEBAGO Indians who spoke a

SIOUIAN dialect;

the French called the WINNEBAGOs, les Puants, and Green Bay was known as Baye des Puants. 3 His account appears in JESUIT RELATIONS, 1640, Volume XXIII, page 23, as follows:

1 HANDBOOK OF AMERICAN INDIANS, p 773.

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Smithsonian Institution,

Wash. ,D.C.,

1978,

2Felix M. Keesing, LEADERS OF THE MENOMINEE PEOPLE, 1929, pp 4,10,11; also see THE MENOMINI INDIANS OF WISCONSIN by Felix Keesing, Univ. of Wis. Press, 1987, p 361, and W.J. Hoffman's "THE MENOMINI INDIANS" , 14th ANNUAL REPORT OF AMERICAN ETHNOLOGY, 1892-3. 3 The French word puant means stinking or smelly.

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"We enter the second fresh-water sea (Michiga n or Green Bay?) upon the s hores of which are the Ma roumine (MENOMINEE), and s till f urther , upon the same banks, dwell t he Ouinipiqou ( WINNEBAGO), a sedentary people, who are very numerous. "

The Jesuit missionaries

provided

us

with much of

the

-

history of the early days of Fren ch activity i n Canada and Wisconsin,

in t h e form of their yearly reports, cal l e d the JESUIT RELATIONS. 1 The individual missionaries submitted their accounts, often written in freezing weather using me lted snow and the

Jesuit

Superior

in

Quebec

consolidated

sent t hem to the mother-house in France. with

the

main

purpose

their work in America . worked the

with

CARONs

of

inf luencing

Nicolet' s

contribu tions

their early years route

reports

and

Th ere they were publ ished,

TOMAH's great-grandfather ,

the Jesuits during travelled

these

gunp owder~

up

to

and

to

s upport

CLAUDE CARON, in

Canada

d uring

and

TOMAH' s

time. Three of

t he references

in

the early JESUIT RELATIONS

describes the future home of TOMAH and his relatives: In the 1657-1658 JESUIT RELATIONS: "Father Gabreuillettes--- -conferre d the name of St . Michel upon the first Village (in present Door County)-----Its inhabitants are cal led, in Algonqu in, Oupoute ouatamik (POTAWATOMI ). "The second nation i s composed of t he Nouke k (NOUQUET), Ouinipepouek (WINNEBAGO) and Maloumine k ( MENOMINEE) . -- --- About two hundred Algonquins, who used to dwell on the Northe rn shores of the gre at Lake (Lake Ontario)----- have taken r efuge in the place." In the 1671 J ESU IT RELATIONS: "At length between the Lake of th~ Illinois and Lake Supe rior appeared a long bay calle d "des Puants" at the e nd of which is the Mission of Saint Francis Xavier--- --. It be ars thi s name which is the s ame as t he savages give to those who dwell near the sea, perha ps becau se the odor of the marshes which · surround t he bay is somewhat similar to t hat of the sea ." I n hi s 1674 JOURNAL, 2 P ere Marquette says that the Indians called t he bay, Sal t Bay (Pauchiquette)3 a nd the bay had quantiti es of mud and slime, "Which exha l e noi ssome vapors, whi ch cause !They have been translated and edited by R.G. Thwaites (73 vols. 1896-1901). 2 Th is appears in JESUIT RELATIONS, Vol. 5 9. 3Early GREEN BAY ADVOCATES followed t he activities of a historical group i n Green Bay, calle d t he "Pauchique tte Society." The Green Bay A~vocat e was a predecessor of t he Green Bay Press -Gazette. 6

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the loudest and longest peals of thunder that I have ever heard."

Jean

Nicolet 's

mapl published by N .

discoveries

were

Sanson d 'Abbeville,

reflected a

in

a

1650

portion of which

is

shown in Figure 2. Figure 2. PORTION OF 1650 MAP.

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Actually,

there were French explorers in the Wisconsin

area even before Jean Nicolet ' s seen

by

the well-defined shape of Lake Superior,

above map .

-

Superior,

and

made a

reported

his

some

I nd ians described

decade earlier. findings

to

produced a map of New France representation

of

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This

Samuel

shown on

the

de

their visit

man

to

Lake

was Etienne Brule

Champlain;

the

latter

in 1632 which includes an accurate

the size and

location of Lake Superior,

much detail of the south shore. Lac and

as can be

In 1623, a Recollet missionary wrote that "the inter-

preter Brusle" who

visit to Green Bay,

with

Lake Superior is shown as Grand

Lake Huron as Mer Douce and there is nothing showing for

Lake Michigan . lA copy of t h e complete map is i n the Wi sconsin Historical Society Library and also in Kellogg's THE FRENCH REGIME IN WISCONSIN AND THE NORTHWEST, p93.

7

It's amazing that t he French had penetrated the North American interior even before the Pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock.

The reason was two-fold:

water-ways, and, two,

the ease of travel on the

called by the French Chemin de Bon Dieu (God's Highway)

the rich furs to be found close to these water-ways. At

the

the mid-1600s, ted

one,

time

that

the

CARONs

emigrated

to

Canada

spme

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the beaver population of North America was estima-

by various authorities to be about ten million .

and

in

ALGONQUIN

IROQUOIS Indians,

Indians,

allied

to

the

French

The HURON against

the

began to bring beaver skins to the French trad-

ing posts in enormous quantities to exchange for precious manufactured goods. burgher1 wanted

In Europe, a

beaver

every gallant gentleman, hat.

trade made it Canada's mos t The early CARONs Canadians , furs, by

traded

directly

The

lucrative important export. 1 in Canada, with

t he

value

of

the

fur

like many of their fellow Indians

for

these

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precious

despite the strict prohibitions that had been established

Louis

XIV,

the

Sun

King,

who

wanted

the

re~e ues ):

tax on

furs.

These i 11 egal

from

the

A

traders came to be ,: . own as courier

The early CARONs traded, ABNAKI (or ABENAKI) 2 tribe, who

de

and every stout

bois.

mostly,

wi th ' members of

the

-

were of the ALGONQUIN linguistic stock and who had fled from the New England area to seek protection in Canada from the IROQUOIS.

-

The ABNAK I word for their conical huts - WIGWAMS - is now standard in the English language (see Figgure 3).

The t1ENOMINEE wigwam

was dome-shaped and was of ten covered with woven mats (PUCK-A-WAY) lThere are many excellent histories of Abnoki conical wigwam with elm-bark covering early Canada. This quote is from THE WHITE AND THE GOLD by Thomas Costain, Figure 3. Doubleday and Co., N.Y .. New York, 1954. 2 on the 1650 map shown in Figure 2. they are shown as ABNAQUOIS and were still in the New England area.

8

-

-

-

as well

as with strips of bark.

Both had holes

in the center

of the roof to allow smoke from the lodge fire to escape. There appears tween the ABNAKI Wisconsin

in

and

response

to have been a

special relationship be-

the MENOMINEE tribe; to

a

eat t he beavertail with them.

MENOMINEE 11

some ABNAKis came to

invi ta ti on

to

"come

and

It is likely that the invitation

was instigated by CLAUDE CARON II who had been trading for furs with both tribes and who had fathered children in both tribes. There

were

few

French

women

in

early

Canada

and

it

was common for Frenchmen to have children with the Indian women. In mos t

of the tribes,

there were three or four females to every

ma le because so many of the Indian males would be lost in warfare, hunting of

life.

with

-

and

to

The

an

Indian

manufactured

disease;

as a

result polygamy was a

normal way

Indians were happy to have a White man co-habit woman,

because

he

would

bring

the much-coveted

goods when he came and he would help in obtaining

better bargains for their fur-pelts. One author described the mixture of the two races in this way.

"There were very few French girls in the new colony

and many of the courier de bois or wood rangers, boatmen,

the traders' men and traders,

of the savage nations about them.

the voyageurs or

took wives among the women

While this was fortunate for

their business of dealing with the Indians, and for their partial safety

from savage

treachery,

it made a

new race of men ,

some

good and some bad, who have been called creoles and mixed-bloods. 11 1

-

This

new race

for each other's needed the meta l

-

French, in

while

Europe.

came about

because

the

keen desire

goods on both sides; the Indians desperately knives, axes and other goods offered by the

the French wanted the furs This

of

trade

blended races

and

for the luxury market customs,

developed a

lPublius V. Lawson, BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE: CAPTAIN CHARLES de George Banta Publishing Co., Menasha, Wis., 1904, p 22.

9

LANGLADE,

confidence

in

commerce,

fostered

a

dependency

of

the

I ndians

for certain supplies and encouraged peaceful trade between otherwise hostile societies. 1 In our 1987 study of this ethnic group in Wisconsin, we found that some of these mixed-blood people moved freely in White society,

e.g.,

who was half-OTTAWA,

CHARLES de LANGLADE

(Father of Wisconsin) some who considered themselves creoles 2 and,

some who chose to lead a life with their Indian brethren, such as CLAUDE CARON I V, who became a MENOMINEE chief. The term creo l e was commonly used in early Wisconsin histories, e.g., in t h e WISCONSIN HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS; metis is generally used to i nclude

and Indian heritage.

while in Canada,

the word

persons of mixed Euro-American

-

3

Not only was there a mixing of Euro-American and I ndi a n blood,

-

but it was common for members of var ious tribes to i n ter-

marry and produce children.

-

TOMAH had French, ABENAKI and MENOMI -

NEE ancestors; his father also had two SAUK wives, who had children.

By t he time t hat Wisconsin came under the rule of the Unite d

States government,

there were few f ul l-bloode d MENOMINEE I ndians;

Chief OSHKOSH claimed that he was t he only f ull-b looded MENOMINEE alive. 4 Indian tribes traded with each other, gambled toget her, played

in

inter-tri bal

contests

like

la

crosse

and

foot-races,

forme d alliances to wage war and took captives from other tribes. lThe book, THE CHARACTER AND INFLUENCE OF THE INDIAN TRADE IN WISCONSIN, Burt Frankli n , N.Y., 1891, contains a scho l arly examination of t he trading post as an institu tion . The author is Fre de rick J. Turner. 2our book, THE WISCONSIN CREOLES, 1987, has early family histori es of 293 families i n Wisconsin with mixed blood. 3 For a discu ssion of t he term , met is, see Dr. Keith AS FAMILY: METIS CHILDRENS' RESPONSE TO EVANGELICAN MACKINAW MISSION, 1823-1837, Michigan State University, 4 w.J. Hoffman, 14th ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BUREAU OF "The Menomini Indians , U. S. Government Printing Office,

10

R. Widder, TOGETHER PROTESTANTS AT THE 1989 . ETHNOLOGY, p 22.

1892-93,

l

-

-

An early Green Bay pioneer said that all of the Wisconsin Indians

were the product of inter-tribal marriages. 1 Inter-tribal in TOMAH' s

-

-

-

communication

the

tribes

involved

history was made easier because they were almost all

of ALGONQUIN linguistic stock, FOX,

SAUK, MASCOUTIN,

NEE,

ABNAKL

generic

among

etc.

sense

ILLINOIS, The name,

to

i.e.,

designate

MENOMINEE,

PAUNEE, large

speaki ng languages radically similar, of country.

One

historian

POTTAWATOMI, MIAMI, SHAW-

ALGONQUIN,

a

said

CHIPPEWA , OTTAWA,

is now always used

family

of

cognate

ABNAKI

word

who

was

SHAWNEE-ALGONQUIN.

a

most

different

CREE

language .

wigwam

of

the

The

easily understood,

would

that

be

their

pronounced The

languages differed

ALGONQU INS

OJIBWAY

(CHIPPEWA) the

For instance, by

wegiwa

MENOMINEE

other

therefore it was

tribes,

and covering a vast extent

one-from-another like Latin differed from Italian . the

in

and

TECUMSEH,

language was

most

language lingua

was

was

the

like

the

the

most

franca or court

language amonst ALGONQUIN tribes. TOMAH

could

speak

and perhaps a little English.

these

languages,

as well

as

Characteristic of nomadic Indians,

he travelled all over Canada and as far West as the Great states.

All

during

his

French

lifeti me,

except

for

the

Pla~ns

last couple

of years, Wisconsin was considered a part of Canada and was called pays d' en haut

for

(Upper Country) or HAUT CANADA,

that part of Canada west of Montreal.

which was the name The Green Bay area,

which was his home-base, was called Saye des Puants until the WINNEBAGO Indians moved South, then la poste des Folles Avoines, poste des Sakys, Renards,

and, in later years, La Saye. The story of TOMAH and his ancestors closely parallels

the history of Canada under the French and then the British regimes. The

-

ABNAKis

and

the MENOMINEEs

not

1

only

provided

warriors

for

Ebenezer Childs in WISCONSIN HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS, VOL IV. One of authors, Jeanne, who is a CARON descendant, has MENOMINEE, ABNAKI, MASCOUTIN and OTTAWA ancestors.

11

the constant con flicts between the French and British and then, later, during the wars between the British and the Americans.

Un ti 1 the coming of the French trader, the tools, arms, clothing and equipment of the northern Indians were made of stone, wood, bark, bone, skins, furs, and a few pieces of copper. The Indians, from the first sight of the manufactured goods, had an insatiable desire for them, and soon the savage self-sufficiency became a thing of the past.

-

Tattoos were a source of pride and a sign of manhood for the Indian warriors. The early voyageurs also had tattoos; the Indians said that they were not "real" men unless they wore these decorations. to

12

It was a painful process get a tattoo. Holes were in the holes.

-

CHAPTER TWO EARLY FRENCH SETTLEMENT IN CANADA

-

When CLAUDE CARON emigrated from France to Canada, there were less than ~ 3000 White people 1 i ving- in what was then called New France. de Beaupre,

There were four settlements - Quebec,

Cote

Three Rivers and Montreal - with the largest number

of settlers, about 700, at Montreal.1 For information on early Canada, historians rely mainly on two sources:

one,

on the thorough and inspired research of

Francis Parkman, the 19th Century historian who dedicated h i s life to pursuing every possible piece of information left by government officials, clergy, military and participants of history in-the-making. For instance, the information in the paragraph above, comes from his report on the 1667 census taken by French

-

officials in New France. TIONS, which is a detailed who were men of intense hardships to achieve goals

The second source, is the JESUIT RELAaccount kept by the Jesuit missionaries, religious zeal, who endured fantastic which are sometimes hard to understand

in this modern age. These two sources provide the basis for a recent history of Canada, written by a series of writers , which traces its early history to the present day. 2 CLAUDE CARON came to North America about sixty years after the first settlements there, which were led by Samuel de Champlain, who first visited the country in 1603, and in 1604 1Francis Parkman, FRANCE AND ENGLAND IN NORTH AMERICA, in two volumes, Literacy Classics of the U.S., N.Y., 1983. 2we used the first two volumes of this modern history: THE WHITE AND THE GOLD by Thomas Costain and CENTURY OF CONFLICT by Joseph Lister Rutledge, both of which concern the French regime in Canada.

13

he founded the city of Quebec. the

Jesuits,

the

major

Although CLAUDE CARON came with drawing cards to Canadian settlements

were, first, the fish and, second, the rich furs. Fishing on the Grand Banks and off the Canadian shores had fed France and England for the previous two centuries. For example, in 1578, it was reported that there were a hundred and fifty French ships in

that

area, and that the number flying other flags totaled two hundred. 1 These ships not only harvested fish, but also collected furs brought to two bases on the continent - Anticosti and Tadoussac - by the natives. Shortly

after

he

arrived,

Champlain

allied

himself

with the HURONS and the ALGONQUIN Indians, who brought him precious furs, against the powerful IROQUOI tribe who lived South of the St. Lawrence River. Warfare between the French . and their ALGONQUIN al lies, against the IROQUOI tribes who were backed by the English, was a constant threat until the defeat of the French regi me a cen tury-and-a-half later. The IROQUOIS were much more numerous and consisted of five nations:

MOHAWK, SENECA, ONEIDA,

ONONDAGA and CAYUGA. The proper names for this alliance of tribes was the IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY, or the FIVE NATIONS. The HURONs

lived North of

the FIVE

called the "good IROQUOIS" by the French.

NATIONS

and were

They were a populous

confederacy made up of four aristocratic tribes, richest in tradition and ceremony of all the IROQUOIAN people, plus some dependent

,..._

~l

-

tribal groups, one of which was ALGONQUIN . While

visiting

the

ancient

land of

HURONs,

Champlain

discovered the water route that led from the Saint Lawrence river to the upper Great Lakes and to the Wisconsin area. It was the path that the MENOMINEEs, TOMAH and the CARONs would travel many 1 Thomas B. Costain, THE WHITE AND THE GOLD, p 54.

14

....

times over the years. Champlain's employee, Etienne Brule, followed this route in the 1618-1623 period; his description shows that he and a companion,

-

-

Superior a nd

Grenoble,

travelled the length of Lake

that

they observed the Indians working a mine, possibly on Isle Royale. 1 Champlain's map of New

copperFrance,

drawn in 1632, shows Lake Superior but not Lake Michigan, ref lecting the findings of Brule and Grenoble. In later years,

Ste.

Anne's Chapel was visited by the

voyageurs leaving Montreal where they would light a

for

a

safe trip;

Then,

the

Ottawa

Ste.

canoeists with

River

Anne was the patron saint of travelers.

would its

candle, asking

fight

hundred

the

turbulent

waterfalls,

current

until

they

of

the

reached

MATAWA where they portaged to the West through a small river and lake until they reached Lake Nipissing. Depending on whether there was a rainy season,

-

there were between ten and thirty-five

portages where the 90-pound packs and the canoes had to be carried by the men on this section of the trip. (See Figure 4 for a sketch of their route and a look at a portage.) From Lake Nipissing, the French River (Riviere des Francois) flowed over several rapids to Georgian Bay on the Northeast corner

-

of Lake Huron;

Lake Huron was first called La Mer Douce by the

French.

Georgian

way

From

through

the

Bay

the

spirit-haunted

travel l ers archipelago

would of

thread

the

their

Manitoulin

Islands to the intersection of Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan . This

intersection,

later

called

Michillimackinac,

would become

an important and busy entrepot during the French and the British regimes. From there, the canoes hugged the West shore of Lake Michigan until entering Green Bay (La Baye des Puants).

-

The

route was

1 i ttle used

in

the early days

of New

France.

Champlain had a constant struggle with his fellow country-

men

with

and

the

forces

of nature

to obtain settlers for his

lLouise Kellogg, THE FRENCH REGIME IN WISCONSIN AND THE NORTHWEST, Cooper Square Publishers, N.Y., 1968, p 59. She quotes from Recollect missionary journals. 15

Figure 4. GOD"S HIGHWAY BETWEEN MONTREAL AND WISCONSIN . ... .. --- · ··-- - -

-

~ S-/ 4.v~r;ee

-

/P:i-er



La Baye

-

When TOMAH led h is band of MENOMINEE warriors from to Quebec, it would take about eight days from their

home to Mackinac,

-

another month to go from Mackinac to Montreal and then two days to float river to Qu ebec. the canoes

down

At each portage,

and the packs, cont-

aining fur pelts, weapons, food, etc., were carried on the backs of the men,

each pack weighing

about ninety pounds. Parched corn was carried in a

~:. :: {.-j t%j

~

Q

t%j ~ >-j H ~ H

-

The

sorry friend, De Peyster, depart as Mackinac commandant. 1 was a

MENOMINEEs

and

LANGLADE

great admirer of LANGLADE,

were

praising his

to De

see

their

Peyster

courage and his

leadership of Indian warriors , although he thought that LANGLADE was too protective of and too generous to them. In one of his

-

ryhmed speeches, De Peyster paid tribute to CARON and his MENOMINEEs with this couplet: While none on earth Ii \"C more at ease, Than Caro11g's brave Menomenies.

His chronicle goes on

to describe the trade goods and presents

which he gave to the MENOMINEEs and other tribes. This impressive list shows that the Indians were expected to devote their time and energies as British mercenaries and fur trappers:2



-

Smoked red-deerskins for warriors' shoes Item-large birch-bark, north canoes, Masts, halliards, sails, flags, oars and paddles Broaches, medals, bridles, saddles, Large rolls of bark, awls, watap (pine-root), gum, Lines, spunges, pipes, tobacco, rum, Guns, powder, shot, fire-steel and flint, Salt pork and biscuit, without stint; Rich arm bands, gorgets and nose-bobs, Made of French Crowns and Spanish cobs; Lac'd coats, chintz shirts, plnm'd hats for chiefs, And for your beaux silk handkerchiefs ; Paints, mirror