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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

A Sunday near Omro

Editor's Note:

Marsh begins to reveal his religious beliefs in this entry. He expresses his humility and inadequacy by explicitly seeking God's sanction to succeed in the voyage, and he shows his strict interpretation of the letter of the commandments in his condemnation of the other travelers who work on the Sabbath.


Samuel Irwin: "There was quite a large family of the Irwins who came early to Green Bay Robert Irwin and lady, their sons Robert, Alexander J. and Samuel, and three daughters. They have all passed away except two daughters, who are married and reside in Green Bay Mrs. J. V. Suydam and Mrs Follett... Their eldest daughter, now Mrs. Mary C. Mitchell of Green Bay, was the first American child born in what is now Wisconsin." (Ebenezer Childs, "Recollections of Wisconsin Since 1820", WHC IV: 165). All three male Irwins became prominent in the business and social life of the town.


boat: probably a Durham boat rather than a canoe. These typically had a crew of seven and progressed by poling rather than paddling.



Sab[bath, June] 15th [1834].

... the day was warm and delightful. Held our meeting [church service] under the shade of an oak... In the eve. held a prayer meeting in which all took part, the object of which was to pray for the object of our journey -- that God could guide and bless us and use us as the instruments of doing some good to the benighted Sacs & Foxes.


In the morning a Winnebago [Ho-Chunk] called who was coming down Fox R. and said he had eaten nothing for 2 days. Soon after a boat came up, Saml Irwin master, going to the Portage, but as tho' conscious of doing wrong, he did not come to the tent; and after he had breakfeasted with his men, went on, caring more for the loss of his men's wages than for breaking the commandment of God [by working on a Sunday].


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