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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Leaving Mineral Point By Night

Editor's Note:

John Messersmith is not identified, though a "John Messersmith Jr." had served under Henry Dodge in the Black Hawk War.

"Mr. Blish" was probably David Blish Whitney, a cousin of Daniel Whitney who oversaw the shot tower operation and "died at Helena on Aug. 29, 1838, aged 34 years; he was buried on the east slope of quarry hill, southeast of the shot-tower" [WHC 13:349].

Daniel Whitney was a pioneer merchant and lumberman who owned the shot tower at Helena; see his entry in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History.

Fri [Sept] 12th <>

Early this morning was awaked by the rain, felt a little disappointed as I had all things in readiness for leaving for Ft. Winnebago. Considerable of rain fell accompanied with thunder and lightening.

Towards eve[ning] met with a Mr. John Messersmith who lives about 12 miles distant who informed me that he expected Mr. Blish, Mr. D. Whitney's agent, would be at his house that eve[ning], and as he intended to return home this eve[ning], I concluded to accompany him.

Accordingly after supper we set out, it being a very fine moon-light night. As we rode through the prairies with nothing to interrupt the deep silence which prevailed except the barking of the prairie wolves, we indulged ourselves freely in conversation upon various subjects.

Mr. Messersmith appeared to be a very sociable, intelligent man, and a German by birth but does not possess religion, nor do any of his family. A remark which he made in the course of the conversation is worthy of observation: "That he was accustomed to invite a neighbor to ask a blessing when he sat down at his table to eat, but soon he would be talking about foolish things and vain things and even say things which he did not believe." This he thought tended to bring a reproach upon religion, and he thought right too.

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