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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Setting Out

Editor's Note:

When he began this journey, Marsh had been living among the Stockbridge Indians alongside the Fox River in the vicinity of modern Kaukauna for several years. He had built up a small following among the Indians, who had emigrated from New York in the 1820s, but he was by no means universally welcomed.

During his life Marsh kept dozens of pocket notebooks. This is the opening page of the series he took along in the summer of 1834. These are about 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide -- much smaller than the version you see on the screen in our Turning Points online collection.

Nearly every page is covered with his tiny scrawl. When he is transcribing an interview or making notes on a meeting, his hand-writing becomes larger and spreads out as he attempts to keep up with the spoken words. He appears to have often returned to the page later and clarified his writing, occasionally interlining comments or inserting dropped words. He systematically used abbreviations such as "t." for "the", "Ind." for "Indian", and "Gr. S." for "Great Spirit."

Statesburg: the Stockbridge settlement on the south side of modern Kaukauna, where the Stockbridge were living in 1834.

Austin Quinney (1791-1865) or Ikutauam, was an elected chief of the Stockbridge and a leader in their migration from New York to Wisconsin in the 1820s.

Metoxen: John Metoxen (1770-1858) in 1822 joined the main band of Stockbridge and helped found the settlement at Statesburg. In the early 1830s the tribe settled on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, and here Metoxen became a powerful spokesman for Indian interests. He was also a leading layman in the Presbyterian mission church at Stockbridge, and one of Marsh's strong supporters in the Stockbridge community.

Smithfield: Smithfield was a second Mohican settlement, at the site of the modern village of Kimberly, where the "Big Orchard" group of Stockbridge and Brothertown Indians resided after 1830. It was directly across the river, and a mile west of, the modern village of Little Chute. It was abandoned when the Stockbridge moved to their new home on Lake Winnebago between 1832 and 1834.

June 12th 1834

A delegation in company with myself left Statesburg on the Fox River upon an exploring tour and to visit the Sac and Fox Indians.

The weather in the P.M. foul and quite rainy. The Indians collected at Austin Quinney's and took dinner with their friends who were going, at the close of which speeches were made to the head man, John Metoxen.

Late in the P.M. we got ready to start. A very considerable number of the people had assembled on the occasion and I made a short address and commended them to God in prayer, and then bade them adieu, perhaps to meet them no more on this side of eternity. ... We went as far as Smithfield accompanied by some of the people and there passed the night.

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