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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

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  • Metoxen's Conversation with Black Hawk
    Oct. 13th [1834] Interview with Mr. Metoxen. Mr. M. stated that on his return from Ke-o-kucks village upon the Iowa he met Black Hawk and his band at a trading house, about 30 m. below Rock Island, and that B....

  • Home Again
    [Fri] Sept. 19th After supper we lay down to rest, although the night was rather cold, still I rested comfortably, until between 3 and 4 o'clock in the A.M. when my company, Majors Rees and Bushnell, arose and prepared some...

  • East from Portage Across the Prairies
    Thurs. [Sept] 18th Rose early in the morn. It was remarkably clear and pleasant, the storm had passed over, the air was much cooler and there was a delightful calm. After a season of devotion I went out and had...

  • Fort Winnebago, Portage
    Wed. [Sept] 17th Rainy most of the day. Passed the time mostly with Dr. McDougall, a very fine man and a christian. Towards night it cleared off and was pleasant. Passed the night at Col. C's....

  • A Trader's Morality
    Tues. [Sept] 16th Early in the morn[ing] set out in company with the mail carrier, a Mr. Smith - a dutchman, and Mr. R., for the Portage. Most of our way was through Prairies, some of them very fine, and...

  • Dodgeville to Rowan's
    Mon [Sept] 15th Appearance of rain in the morn[ing], and the wind from the South. Mr. M. expressed his strong desire for the welfare of his children and said although he was not good himself still he wished his children...

  • On the Road to Dodgeville
    [Sept] 14th Sab[bath] Set out at the usual time in company with Mr. and Mrs. M. to go to Dodgeville, about 4 miles distant. Here was introduced to a Capt. Henry and his lady, the latter a professor of religion...

  • Theological Debate with a Farmer
    [Sept] 13th Sat. Waited the whole day for Mr. Blish to return from Helena and was intending to go to the Blue Mounds and pass the Sab[bath] there. During the day had much conversation with Mr. M[essersmith]. In the morning...

  • Leaving Mineral Point By Night
    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...

  • Mineral Point in 1834
    Thurs [Sept] 11th Spent the day in making preparation for leaving to go to Frt. Winnebago... Description of the place. The buildings at this place are all situated near the S.E. end of a ridge, are few in number, not...

  • Galena to Mineral Point
    Wed [Sept] 10th <> Again bade the good people adieu and left on horseback for Mineral Point. The first settlement of note was at the white oak springs where were a few buildings, the next was Gratiots Grove; here there...

  • Stuck in Galena
    Tues [Sept] 9th Expected to have left this morning in Mr. Nichols' carriage but was disappointed. Passed a considerable [part] of the day in making preparations to go to Mineral Point. And in the eve[ning] attended the meeting at Dr....

  • Soul Saving and Lead Smelting
    Mon. [Sept.] 8th Attended to some secular business, obtained some money of Capt. Comstock, and received of Mr. H. a sum of money. In the eve[ning] had a little meeting at Dr. Newhall's. Mrs. N. a very fine lady. I...

  • Religion in Galena
    Sab. [Sept.] 7th Early this morning arrived at Galena. After securing my baggage called upon the Rev. R. and was very cordially received. At nine o'clock the bell rang for the S[unday] S[service]. Soon I was invited to go in....

  • "A Place of Great Moral Darkness"
    6th Sat. Early this morn[ing] the boat was under way and I bade adieu to Rock I[sland], a place of great moral darkness and wickedness where none scarcely call on the name of Jehovah. Was engaged most of the day...

  • Sauk Military History
    Sept 5th Fri. Spent most of the day in writing to a friend Dr. M. of Ohio. Wars of the Sacs etc. Mr. D. said, that it was the Sacs who took the British ft. at Mackinaw, and an Indian...

  • Good and Evil
    [Sept] 4th Thurs Many of the Fox Indns here to day and yesterday - about all have left. Amongst the rest was Pow-we-sheak who appeared very friendly, and I had considerable of conversation with him during his stay but did...

  • How Appanoose Was Not Converted
    Wed. [Sept. 3rd] [mislabelled as Sept. 4th] ... I have omitted to note previously, that Col. D. at a late council of the chiefs and head men of the Sac & Fox nation, recommended strongly to them to accept of...

  • Mammoth Bones
    Tues [Sept.] 2nd ... I have omitted in its proper place to mention that mammoth bones have been found in the Red Cedar river near Pow-we-sheak's village in a state of petrification. Near the place where they are found an...

  • Visit to The Winnebago Prophet
    Sept. 1st 1834 At sun about an hour high set out in company with two Indns, one the old man who had so kindly entertained me. After riding a short distance came to a small Winnebago village containing about six...

  • Guarding Against Horse Thieves
    Sabbath [Aug.] 31st. Awoke this morning in health and felt a desire to keep the Sabbath as God had commanded and not profane it by traveling, although my interpreter Joseph Gore was very anxious to go on to the trading-post....

  • Black Hawk's Home
    Sat. [Aug.] 30th Soon after breakfast I went to visit Pah-ship-pe-nos the head chief's lodge, as he is so considered by the people themselves although he was so constituted by the whites. P. is an old man perhaps 60 years...

  • From Powesheik to Keokuk
    Fri. [Aug.] 29th Rose early and went down upon the bank of the river in order to have a season of devotion. Whilst there I heard again the song of a drunken party coming up the river. Soon I returned...

  • Poweshiek's Village
    Thurs [Aug] 28th The old woman [with whose family they had stayed overnight] was a half breed. I inquired of them who made the river, etc. "Man-i-to-wuk" she replied. By this she meant the Great Spirit and We-suk-ka. Then said...

  • On the Road Again
    Wed [Aug] 27th Set out about 7 o'clock with a lad named Joseph Gore on my tour. We had not traveled far before we found that Mr Le Clair, the interpreter, had directed us wrong. We soon turned back after...

  • Preparing for Another Journey
    Tues [Aug] 26th Passed the day in obtaining horses and preparing to visit the villages upon the Ioway and Ceder rivers. Passed the night at the Agency house....

  • Indian Punishments for Murder
    Mon [Aug] 25th Had another conversation with Mr D[avenport], the trader. He mentioned the Indian custom respecting putting a murderer to death. The murderer may make it up by presents if disposed, although sometimes, the friends are a long time...

  • Rock Island Again
    Sabbath [Aug.] 24th Arose and found to my sorrow that we were out a considerable distance from Rock Island for I had expected to arrive early in the morning. Nothing was congenial with the Spirit of the Sabbath. I however...

  • By Steamboat to Rock Island
    Sat. [Aug.] 23rd Weather cooler. Spent most of the day in writing. At eve. just as I was making calculations for spending the Sabbath at that place, saw the light of a steam boat and concluded to go on board....

  • "Surely a fearful doom must await them..."
    Fri. Aug. 22nd Felt rather unwell this morning, consequently have accomplished little this day. This P.M. two Fox Indns living about 70 miles distant arrived having come with skins in order to purchase whiskey. They were meanly clad and their...

  • Another Day Without Writing
    Again, Rev. Marsh made no notes....

  • A Rare Day of Silence
    Rev. Marsh made no diary entry this day, one of very few such occasions....

  • Another Debate on the Value of Civilization
    [Aug] 19 Tues Indians ideas respecting different manner of life from the white people. The Great Spirit made us different and put us upon this Island and intended that we should live so. But you have horses, saddles and bridles...

  • Indians' View of the Black Hawk War
    Mon [Aug.] 18th <> Called upon Dr Russell and had a short interview with him at his house. ... Cause of the Black Hawk war in 1832: Dr. R. said that he considered one cause of it the indecisive manner...

  • A Long-Awaited Church Service
    Aug. 17th 1834 Sabbath. Arose about sunrise and had a season of devotion. Felt rather languid as the weather was very warm. Prepared to go out to the Bluff to preach. Went to my trunk to get some things which...

  • Interview with Black Hawk
    Sat. [Aug.] 16th Held a short conversation with Black Hawk. He said that the Great Spirit made all things and that He had made two places, for the red and white men to go to after death. But that the...

  • A Lift from Black Hawk
    Fri. [Aug.] 15th Quite early was called for to start. When I arrived found a passage provided for me on board Bl. Hs. [Black Hawk's] large canoe. And here I also met with his son. There were 5 canoes and...

  • Arriving at (and Leaving) Keokuck's
    Thurs [Aug.] 14th Sometime before sun-rise we were again on our way. The weather had changed and a fine breeze from the North made it pleasant traveling. We were now in the midst of a vast prairie on our left;...

  • Indians Refuse to Pray
    Wed [Aug.] 13th Rose by daylight this morning. ... By sunrise or before we were again on our way. Our course more easterly ... The prairie continued with little variation except we crossed one creek or ravine and saw rather...

  • Across the Wide Prairie
    Thurs [Aug.] 12th Early this morning procured a passage to Ke-o-kucks town on the Ioway river and set out in company with four or five Indians, being on the return from their Summer hunt. To carry their packs they had...

  • Fox Chiefs Denounce Alcohol & Reject Marsh's Plan
    Mon [Aug.] 11th Pagan Feast ...In the eve I requested the chief to call his head men together as I had something to say to them. I then made a short speech upon the subject of temperance, setting forth its...

  • A Religious Dialogue
    August 10th 1834 Sabbath Weather as usual very pleasant and warm. At breakfast we invited Appenooc. It had before been intimated to me that he was skeptical in his belief of his own religion, although in him it did not...

  • Appenoose Hears Marsh's Proposal
    [August 9, 1834] After I returned from my morning retirement, I found the chief quite sober. They had commenced another sacred feast, and he told something of its design. The songs he said, only a few words of which were...

  • Economics of the Liquor Trade
    [Aug.] 8th Fri. Last eve was the time appointed by Appenoose for me to lay before him my object [in coming to the village]. As I sat in my apartment near his in the lodge noting down the occurences of...

  • Prayer, Partying, and Self-Pity
    Aug. 7th Thurs Spent the day in collecting words, writing, and in preparation to meet the Chiefs of A's band. Have had some enlargement of soul in prayer, as I trust and felt some sweet complacency in commending the great...

  • Fox Gender Roles
    [Aug 6, 1834] The Industry of Ah-pen-oos's Band Since I arrived here in the month of April they have built their village which consists of 8 lodges all of peeled bark, and one over 100 feet in length; prepared their...

  • Chief Appanoose and His Wives
    Aug. 5th Weather delightful this morning, not as warm as usual as rain had fallen some time previous and it had just cleared off, and all nature seemed to wear a smiling aspect. Bless the Lord O my Soul for...

  • Drunken Frolic / List of Chiefs
    Aug. 4th First Mon. in the month Resolved to spend as much of this day as possible in supplication and prayer for the object of my tour, that God would by his Spirit open the hearts of the chief and...

  • Sabbath-Keeping at Appanoose's Village
    Aug. 3rd Sabbath. Rejoiced to behold its sacred light. Still, here it dawns upon those who have for ages and generations sat in pagan darkness and superstition. I made some effort to have a meeting but found an unwillingness because...

  • A Dog Feast
    Aug. 2nd Was informed this morn. that a dog had been slain and that they were preparing for a sacred feast or Mah-mah-to-moan, invocation, as they do not [consider?] these feasts but invocations, as they are designed for a kind...

  • The "Shawnee" Dance
    August 1st Fri. Weather very warm. Spent the A.M. in writing, & the P.M. partly in the wood in reflection etc. During the day [?] three young [?] went [to] solicit provisions for a feast and night dance called Ah-ne-pap-ne....

  • A Midsummer Celebration
    Thurs [July] 31st About sun-rise this morn. the village crier went up and down in front of the houses giving information that there would be a dance and directions also respecting sweeping the lodges etc. During the day much preparation...

  • Second Visit to Appanoose's Village
    [July] 30th Wed. About breakfast time arrived at a small island on which we found two girls, who had been left there whilst their parents went out to hunt; all they had to eat that I saw was some sunfish...

  • Indian Hospitality / Des Moines River
    [July] 29th Tues. Weather this morn. mild and warm. Soon after sun-rise we were on our way, but the Indn soon discovered a deer and went and killed him and also a turkey and as soon as we came up,...

  • "Surrounded by Pagans, I Sleep under the Leaves"
    Mon [July] 28th But little rain had fallen during the night as I had feared might be the case. My repose was quiet and undisturbed during the night. Thanks to my gracious Preserver and most kind and Bountiful Benefactor for...

  • Another Sabbath Broken
    27th [July] Sabbath Early this morn awoke and saw my Indn. making preparation to start. I thought of thy holy light, and the privileges enjoyed in places where the gospel is preached but I am now far from such places...

  • Moral Dilemma on the Des Moines
    26th July Fri. eve. had a high fever after I lay down to rest, which lasted a considerable [part] of the night and prevented me from sleeping much. This morn (Sat.) felt tolerably well and before sunrise were on our...

  • Gambling on the Frontier
    [July] 25th About 9 o'clock A.M. left this place, the Indns. having become in a measure sobered, as what of their whiskey remained until morning was thrown away. Called at Mr. Fergusons [?] and purchased a small quantity of meal......

  • Leaving Phelps' Trading Post
    [July] 24th <> Hired an Indian Che-moak-a-pim, Big-potatoe, to carry me to Appenooces village. Started about 9 o'clock A.M. in a canoe, himself, wife and child, she being very sick. Passed up the river 5 or 6 miles and camped...

  • 13-Foot Corn
    23rd July Early this morn. sent an Indian -- Che-Moak-a-Pin or Big Potatoe, to the Rapids on Miss.[issippi] for a bundle of things which I had left there. Felt more unwell than usual, still my appetite tolerably good, & had...

  • Always the Missionary
    22 July Weather being very warm I did not accomplish much; felt some apprehensions lest I might not immediately recover. Had some conversation with Mrs. Wells, Mrs. P's mother, and found her heart very much opposed to the sovereignty of...

  • More Tolerable to Live amongst Indians
    Mon. [July] 21st Weather very warm, perhaps more so than any one previous this summer. My health better, as it appears to me. Still I have occasional pains in my bowels. During the day and eve took laudanum 3 times....

  • A Birthday Reflection
    July 20th [Sunday] My Birth Day. This day I have completed thirty four years. How old, how soon have childhood and youth passed and now I find myself near if not quite at the meridian of life; and yet how...

  • A Debate on the Merits of Civilization
    July 19th Saturday Subjects of talk with the Indians Ind[Indian]. The Great Spirit has given us the game to subsist upon and we wish still to pursue the chase. Ans[Answer]. Has he not given you the soil also? In its...

  • A Drunken Brawl Among Settlers
    July 18th P.M. 18th July. Whilst sitting in the house and waiting for dinner, a party came across the river who had been over to the traders' store and had probably drank very freely also of the intoxicating cup, and...

  • O Lord, Purify This Region!
    July 17th Conversed much during the P.M. with a Mrs. Wells, mother of Mrs. P[helps], my hostess. Found her mind in a state of great darkness and ignorance, too, respecting divine things, thinking that she loved God and Jesus Christ...

  • At Phelps' Trading post
    July 16th Wednesday. After breakfast we set out on our way down the river. Rested but little during the night and felt somewhat unwell in the morning and had some diarrhea. Arrived at Mr. Wm. Phelps' about 10 o'clock A.M....

  • Half-way to Phelps'
    July 15th Tues. Tues. Foul and rainy this morning. But after our usual devotions and taking a little refreshment we set out. Considerable of rain [sic] fell during the forenoon, and my feet and legs were much wet, still I...

  • Back Through the Prairie
    [July] 14th. Mon. Weather warm. Early in the morn. we made preparations for leaving Appenoore’s village. About 9 o’clock we swam the horses across the river and started. Most of the a.m. were travelling upon prairies. Some of them appeared...

  • Sabbath at Appanoose's Village
    July 13th 1834 [Sunday] Was awaked early this morn. as usual by women at their accustomed labor, making mats, bags, etc. For they know not the command "remember the Sabbath day.” Even the clerk himself said that in times past...

  • Appanoose's Village
    July 12th 1834 Spent the day as mentioned before at Appenooces' village. [In his report to the missionary board the next year, Marsh described Appanoose’s village this way:] “Ap-pen-oor-es village, called Ah-taum-way-e-nauk, (Perseverance Town). This is situated upon the south...

  • An Interview with Two Chiefs
    [July 11. This is the last significant gap in the Marsh diary. We’ve inserted the transcript of a short conversation from the Draper Manuscripts between Wapello, the most important Fox chief, Mas-Co, a Sauk chief, and Morrill Martson, U.S. Indian...

  • The Heritage of the Fox Nation
    [July 10. Marsh had probably reached Appanoose's village by this day but did not write in his diary, so we give another excerpt from the manuscript notes of U.S. Indian agent Morrill Marston. These paragraphs summarize what the Fox told...

  • The Fox Nation in 1820
    [July 9. Because Marsh wrote nothing this day, we’ve inserted excerpts from the journal of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft who visited the Fox in the summer of 1820 to learn about the mineral resources of the Upper Mississippi. The full text...

  • The Morals of a Sauk Warrior
    [July 8. Because Marsh, still on an overland trail up the Des Moines River, wrote nothing in his diary this day, we give excerpts from W. H. Keating’s interview with the 35-year-old warrior Wennebea, who was his guide across Illinois...

  • Sauk Chiefs in 1820
    [July 7. Marsh again made no comments in his diary so we excerpt here a report by U.S. Indian agent Morrill Marston describing Sauk leaders in 1820, before white squatters and soldiers had pushed them west of the Mississippi. The...

  • The Sauk Nation in 1823
    [July 6. While Marsh is on the rain-soaked trail to Appenoose's village and not writing, we insert an eyewitness account by one of his contemporaries. In June of 1823, William H. Keating crossed from Chicago to Prairie du Chien guided...

  • A Week on the Road
    [July 5, 1834: Here begins the only significant gap in the diary. The report Marsh submitted to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions the next year contains a summary of this week:] My connexion with Dr. Williamson was...

  • A Strategy for Reaching the Indians
    Fri. 4th [July 1834] Spent the day with the above-mentioned Br[ethren] in consultation respecting missionary subjects. They concluded to have Dr. W[illiamson] accompany me to explore the River Des Moines and visit [Sauk chief] Open-u-ses village, and if a suitable...

  • Meeting with other Missionaries
    Thurs 3d [July 1834] Passed the day with Dr. W[illiamson] in hearing his report from the Sioux and a conversation upon Missionary subjects. In the eve., Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury and Rev. Mr. Byington arrived on board the Steam Boat. The...

  • Aboard the Steamboat Winnebago
    2d [July 1834] Wed. Called on Dr. Emerson at his quarters. This gentleman treated me very politely indeed... While conversing upon the subject of religion with a son of Mr. D[avenport], a man came informing me that the Steam Boat...

  • First Meeting with the Fox
    July 1st [1834] Many of the Fox Indians called, with whom I conversed a little. They appeared very interesting and intelligent, and my heart was drawn out in pity for them -- "O Lord, cut short the days of darkness"...

  • Two More Davenports
    30th [June 1834] Mon[day] Called upon Geo. Davenport, Esq., and had a long interview with him respecting Missions amongst Indians. He plainly declared that he was not oppposed, but that it is a very good thing. This gentleman is a...

  • "They did not wish to learn to talk on paper"
    29th [June 1834] Sab[bath] Was awakened early this morn. by the arrival of a Steam Boat ascending the river and bound to Galena. The agent, Mr. D.[Davenport], returned, he having been down by previous appointment to meet the Sac and...

  • Arrival at Rock Island
    28th [June 1834] Sixty-four miles from Rock Island. About half past seven we set out and contrary to our expectations we had a good day for running. About four o'clock we arrived at the commencement of a settlement 25 miles...

  • Approaching Rock Island
    27th [June 1834] Set out at the usual time but had not run far before it commenced raining and continued to most of the day. Thought much of the comfort which they enjoy who during such times have a convenient...

  • Canoe Repairs and Fever River
    26th [June 1834] About 8 o'clock, after repairing the canoe, we again set out and had a fine day for running, and at night camped near the mouth of Fever [Galena] River. Rainy during the night....

  • At Prairie du Chien
    25th [June 1834] Arrived at Prairie du Chien in the A.M... Called upon Judge Lockwood and conversed with him respecting the Sioux, but he gave little encouragement respecting the establishment of missions amongst them. Prairie du C. is delightfully situated...

  • To the Mississippi
    24th [June 1834] Early in the morn. left with the hope of reaching the R.[?river?] that night. About 9 or 10 o'cl. called at the English Prairie to breakfast. There we found a man from Kentucky living alone with 2...

  • Stuck in the Wisconsin River Bottoms
    23d [June 1834], Mon. Very rainy most of the day and unable to proceed on our journey....

  • At the Helena Shot Tower
    22d [June, 1834] Sab[bath]. Felt somewhat fatigued by my journey, still my health was good and was enabled to perform the duties of the day very comfortably. About eleven o'clock a few collected and I preached upon the subject of...

  • A Historic Battlefield
    June 21, 1834 At an early hour we were on our way and after running a number of miles stopped at what is called Sac Prairie and breakfasted. At this prairie a battle was fought [in] 1832 between the Sacs,...

  • Thunder on the Wisconsin
    20th [June, 1834]. Was busy during the A.M. in making preparation to leave and cross the Portage into the Wisconsin. Had an interview with Mrs. Cutler, found her a very accomplished lady, formerly from Salem, Mass., a member of the...

  • Fort Winnebago and the Portage
    [June 19th, 1834] At night we encamped at the foot of Lake De Buff, or Buffalo Lake, a fine beautiful body of water about 15 miles long. At the head of this is Mud Lake, or more properly a continuation...

  • Encounter with the Ho-Chunk
    18th [June 1834] Started from a place where had been a Winnebago [Ho-Chunk] village. In the course of a few miles we entered Lake Opukw-wa or Rush Lake [Puckaway Lake], and found it indeed rightly named for it was more...

  • Sick in a Maze of Swamps
    17th, Tues [June 17, 1834] Benj. Farmer more unwell than usual and we could not start so soon on that account, it being between 10 & 11 before we left....

  • Beauty & Death on the Upper Fox
    Mon.[day, June 16, 1834] As we passed up the river in some places saw beautiful Prairies covered with rank grass, and groves of woods scattered here and there in rows, as tho' planted there by art. -- In others, the...

  • A Sunday near Omro
    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...

  • Neenah to Omro
    Sat. 14th [June, 1834] About 2 or 3 o'clock we again entered the Fox River and having rigged our canoe with oars ascended the river rapidly, finding the current not near so strong as it had been between the Gr...

  • Up the Fox River
    June 13, 1834 About 9 o'clock we parted with our little company, J. W. Quinney, Andrew M. and Austin Q., Mr. Metoxen having left early in the morn. Two helped us up over the Grand Chute... When we arrived at...

  • Setting Out
    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...

  • Summer 1834: A Preacher Among the Indians
    Each summer the Wisconsin Historical Society streams out through RSS the transcript of a historic diary. This year we have chosen the 1834 travel journal of Rev. Cutting Marsh (1800-1873) as he crossed Wisconsin to visit the Sauk and Fox...



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