Historic Diaries: James Doty, 1820
June 23, 1820: Approaching Keweenaw Peninsula
Schoolcraft left more detail this day than did Doty: "The wind now flagging, we went under oars to the mouth of Huron river, a distance of eleven leagues, where we encamped at four in the afternoon, in consequence of rain. In the course of the day, we have successively passed the Garlic, St. John's Salmon Trout, and Pine rivers, all streams of secondary magnitude, and originating in highlands at no great distance from the lake. These highlands, which have been visible with the naked eye, appear from inspection with a glass to consist of rugged peaks of granite. Off the Huron river, at the distance of five or six miles in the lake, lie the picturesque cluster of Huron Islands. They appear to be high, rocky, and barren, with some trees."
He also noted a plant that is often mentioned in travelers' accounts: "… we here first noticed a creeping plant called kinni-kinick by the Indians, which is used as a substitute for tobacco. This plant appears to have escaped the notice of the indefatigable Pursh, nor do I find any description of it in Michaux, or Eaton. It is a creeping evergreen with an ovate leaf, of a deep green colour, and velvet-like appearance, and is common to sandy soils. I suspect it to be a new variety of chimaphila. The Indians prepare it by drying the leaf over a moderate fire, and bruising it between the fingers so that it, in some degree, resembles cut tobacco. In this state it is smoked, and is very mild and pleasant. They, however, prefer mixing it with a portion of the common tobacco (nicotiana tobacum) or perhaps it is done with a view to economy. As the kinnikinick only flourishes on sandy grounds, it is not always to be procured, in which case they employ other substances, the most common of which is the bark scraped off the small red twigs of the acer spicatum, or maple bush. Certain species of willows are also resorted to."
Location: east of modern Skanee, Mich.
View Doty's handwritten manuscript of this page
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At half past 5 we rose, breakfasted & embarked. The course from the point on which we encamped to one about 12 or 14 m. distant is N. W. About the middle of this point Garlic river enters, 15 miles from dead river. We then crossed a bay 2 miles deep and 12 across, course N. 20 W. in the bottom of which Riviere St. Jean enters, 15 miles from Garlic river. Crossed another bay 5 miles [wide] & 1 deep course N. 52 W. — Another 2 1/2 deep & 4 miles from pt. to pt. N. 74 W. Salmon Trout or Burnt Wood river empties.
In crossing the next bay we steered from point to point N. 72 W. 3 miles, depth 1 mile. At the foot of this bay pine river empties. The same course continued across a small bay 2 miles. The next bay we crossed was 5 m. long and 3/4 of a m. deep, N. 68 W. From this we could see the Long [Keeweenau] point across which is the portage. We then steered S. 80 W. 2 miles passing several small points and one creek, to a point, around which we turned and steered to the foot of a small bay, landed and encamped in a pine grove at the mouth of the Huron river.
The water of the river is dark & deep, though the entrance into it is obstructed by sand bars. It is about 50 yards wide, and runs in a S. westerly direction. Off its mouth, or rather a little below, lie 5 small Islands called the Huron Islands. They are about 2 miles from shore. The country which we have passed to day is timbered with larger quantities of pine than that of yesterday. In some places however the sugar maple entirely predominates. Here was an Indian grave handsomely picketed in, with a cross raised over it. Picked a few ripe strawberries today.