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MINNESOTA


328


MINNESOTA


north-east of the Mississippi, to take possession for, and in tl\e name of, the King, of tlie countries and ' rivers inhabited by the said tribes, and of which they are the proprietors. The present act done in our pres- ence, and signed with our hand and subscribed."

Without delay, practical measures were taken to ensure the rights of France. A map of the year 1700 shows a fort on the west side of Lake Pepin. In UiU,') a second post was established by Le Sueur on an island above the lake. Thus, in the beginning of the eighteenth century what was officially termed "La Baye Department", consisting of a line of military and trading posts, was organized to command the waterway from Green Bay to the Falls of St. Anthony. Not until 1727, however, were systematic efforts made to establish permanent military garrisons north of the mouth of the Wisconsin River.

In the spring of 16S5 Governor De La Barre of New France sent from Quebec to the west twenty men inider the command of Nicholas Perrot to establish friendly alliances with the Dakotas. Proceeding to the Mississippi, he established a post near the outlet of Lake Pepin, which was known as Fort Perrot. War having been declared in 1687 between the French and the Indians, Perrot and his followers left the Missis- sippi River and repaired to Mackinac. Early in 1689, however, he returned with a party of forty men to his post on Lake Pepin, and re-estal)lished trade with the Dakotas. On a map published in 1700 this post is denominated Fort. Bon Secours; three years later it was marked Fort Le Sueur, but was in that year aban- doned. In a much later map it is correctly called Fort Perrot. In 1700, acting upon the recommendation of the Governor of Louisiana, Pierre Le Sueur, a native of Artois, France, came to the region now known as Mirmesota with an intelligent ship carpenter named Penicaut and about twenty others, in search of cop- per which, according to earlier explorers, existed in the Sioux coimtry. Le Sueur and his party spent the winter of that year in the neighbourhood of the great bend of the ^linisotah, and there gathered a large quantity of green earth which was supposed to con- tain copper in the cnwle state. Froin the circum- stance that this earth is sometimes described by Le Sueur and his contemporaries as "blue earth", that name has been given to the tributary of the Minnesota River at the mouth of which Le Sueur spent a winter and built a fort, and also to the .country within which the site of this old fort is situated. The Dakota word Mahkahto means blue or green earth, and that word, corrupted in the course of time to Mankato, is the name of the county seat of Blue Earth County.

\ trading company, formed in Montreal to carry on traffic in furs with the Indians of the La Baye Depart- ment, dispatched on 16 Jime, 1727, an expedition un- der Rene Boucher to the land of the Sioux. The ex- pedition arrived at its destination on the shore of Lake Pepin on 17 Septemter. Two Jesuit missionaries, Michel Guignas and Nicholas de Gonnor, accompanied Boucher and his small command. Before the end of Octoter a small fort, called Beauharnois as a compli- ment to the Governor of New France, was built on the low lands opposite the towering cliff which now bears the name of Maiden Rock. A chapel was erected within the enclosure of Fort Beauharnois, and was dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. This was the first Christian temple to cast its beneficent shadow upon the soil of Minnesota. The first ceremony of note in the new chapel was the celebration of the feast of St. Charles of which Father Guignas writes: "We did not forget that the 4th day of the month [November] wa.s the saint's day of the general. Holy Mass was said for him in th(^ morning, and we were well prepared to celebrate the event in the evening, but the slowness of the pyrotechnists and the variable- ness of the weather let! to the postponement of the celebration to the 14th of the same month, when


some very beautiful rockets wore shot off and the air was made to resound with a hundred shouts of 'Vive le Roy' and 'Vive Charles de Beauharnois'. . . . What contributed very much to the merry-making was the fright of some Indians. When the.se poor people saw fireworks in the air and the stars falling from the sky, the women and children fled and the more courageous of the men cried for mercy, and earnestly beggeil that we should stop the astonishing play of the terrible medicine." It may be stated in expla- nation that, among all the American Indians, any phenomenon which exerted a powerful influence upon the physical and nervous system was desig- nated by a term corresponding to the word medicine in other languages.

In a report made in October, 1728, by the Governor of Canada to the Government of France, Fort Beau- harnois was said to be badly situated on account of freshets " and, therefore," as the report, says, " this fort could be removed four or five arpents from the lake shore without prejudice to the views entertained in building it on its present site." The report declares that the interests of religion, of the service, and of the colony demand that the fort on the bank of Lake Pepin be permanently maintained. In September, 1730, Fort Beauharnois was rebuilt on a plot of higher ground near the old establishment. LIpon this lofty site, surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in America, now stands the Ursuline Convent, Villa Maria. The convent chapel very properly bears the same name as its historic predecessor, St. Michael the Archangel. Sieur Linctot was made commandant of the new fort in June, 1731, and in 1735 was succeeded by St. Pierre. The Dakotas having shown a very hos- tile spirit, St. Pierre decided to abandon Fort Beau- harnois, and accordingly on 13 May, 1737, the post was burned. In 1743, and again in 1746, representa- tive chiefs of the Dakota nation made a journey to Quebec and presented to the Government of New France a petition for the re-establishment of the fort and for the restoration of trade relations. Their re- quest was not granted until 1750, when Pierre Marin was commissioned to rebuild the little fortress. Fort Beauharnois was retained until the outbreak of the war between the English and French, but it was never occupied after the surrender which followed the defeat of Montcalm in the famous battle of Quebec (1759).

About one-third of the state, comprising its north- eastern part to the east of the Mississippi, was in- cluded in the territory surrendered by Great Britain tmder the treaty of 1783, at the end of the War of Independence; the greater portion (about two-thirds) of the territory embraced within the boundaries of Minnesota, however, was included in the Louisiana Purchase, ceded to the United States by France in 1803. In 1805 a grant of land nine miles square, at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Peter (now Minnesota) Rivers, was obtained from the Sioux In- dians. A military post was established on the grant in 1819, and in 1820 arrangements were made for the erection of a fort, which was completed in 1822 and named, at first Fort St. Anthony, but later Fort Snelling after the commanding officer. The grant has ever since been known as the Fort Snelling Reserva- tion. In 1823 the first steamboat ascended the Mis- sissippi as far as Fort Snelling, and annually thereafter one or two trips were made by steamboats to this ,

isolated post for a number of years.

From the date of the English victory over the French until the establishment of Fort St. Anthony by the Government of the United States, conditions were unfavourable for the maintenance of Catholic missions in the Upper Mississippi country. However, some colonists from Switzerland, who possessed the true Faith and spoke the French language, having migrated from their original settlements near Fort Garry in Canada to a place seven or eight miles below