Archive for the ‘History’ category

May is American Indian Month in Minnesota

May 10, 2008

May is indeed American Indian Month in Minnesota. The Minnesota Sesquicentennial wanted to honor American Indians and American Indian history in Minnesota. We have done that with an essay on the Sesquicentennial web site that recognizes and remembers the history.

The Sesquicentennial has also started a blog entitled, Native American Minnesota: A journey of learning and understanding. Please take a moment to check it out.

A Look Back in History

April 12, 2008

Thanks to Mel AAnerud for his engaging passage spurred by our April 11 day in history

Who was the first white in what we now Call Minnesota. It was probably some French fur trader who happened here across Lake Superior. But Father Louis Hennepin gets most of the credit, but I would like you to consider Michael Accault, who has a very different slant on that first white exploration into Minnesota in 1680.

From the perspective of Michael Accault….. by Mel Aanerud

Good day, Good day.

I have just left a meeting with the commander…you know him Rene Cavalier De LaSalle, the great explorer.
He has just gotten this book from France and he read parts of it to me.
I will take it home and have my wife read the whole thing to me.
It entitled “A new discovery of a vast county in America between New France and new Mexico” and was written by the priest Father Louis Hennepin.
In it he says that he found the source of the Mississippi River and traveled it from its beginnings to New Lisbon and New Orleans, that he named everything in-between in the name of the King of France and that he converted all the Indians he met in his many travels to Christianity.
La Salle said that he exaggerated a bit…I said he is a ball faced liar.
It was in February of 1680, just five years ago, when La Salle planned a major exploration of the lands to the west of New France and Sioux Saint Marie.
La Salle led a group down the great lake which we now called Michigan and about a month later Daniel Grysolon De L’hut led another group west into what you now call Lake Superior.
I am sorry, I should introduce myself, I am Michael Accault and I was one of La Salle’s main lieutenants. We went to the end of the lake and took a river as far as it went west and south. A short portage into what is now called the Illinois River and we continued west and south.
We knew there was a great river in that direction from descriptions we had heard from the Spanish. But when we came upon the Mississippi even we were mightily impressed.
LaSalle had to decide what to do, and he decided to take the main group south on the river, for he wanted the most men with him, in case he happened upon any Spaniards who would claim we were trespassing. He pick me to lead one canoe north on the river and he allowed me to pick my companion.
I picked Picard DuGay, he was young, only seventeen and inexperienced, but he was big and strong and could paddle a canoe up stream nearly as fast as anyone else we had could paddle one down stream.
 LaSalle decided I should also take the priest Hennepin.
 I protested, but he insisted. For three reason; one: we might need his spiritual guidance, two: if we meet heathers, he could help convert them and three: he couldn’t stand having him around anymore and for his own Sanity, he foisted him on me.
We traveled north on this great river only two days, with father Hennepin from time to time standing in the canoe, risking our lives, raising his cross and naming this stream or that rock formation after some saint or other.
On the third day we met at least 40 canoes of natives coming south. We had asked the Ojibwa who the Indians were to the west and were told the ‘Nada Sioux Denya’. So I greeted them as such and they became very angry. I did not know that this meant ‘eaters of bad meat’ and was a negative description of the Dakota.
This was a war party that was going after some Winnebago Indians to the south. Some went on and others took us prisoner.
We were each put in a different canoe and became passengers heading north.
As if we were not prisoners at all, each time Father Hennepin saw something that he thought ought to be named he stood in the canoe, held out his cross and named it in the name of the king of France. The Indians were no happier about this than Picard and I had been.
He named a widening in the river ‘Lake St. Phillip’, and a river coming from the east ‘St Croix’ and one from the west ‘St Peter’, and a great falls we had to portage around, ‘St Anthony’ and when we left the bigger river and took a smaller one he called it ‘St. Francis.’
They took us to a very large settlement on the shores of a big lake, which Hennepin called ‘Lake St. Louis”. There must have been over a thousand Indian living there. They called the village Izatys.
They treated us very well, we were fed and clothes and housed, but we did not know why they were keeping us or if we would ever see home again.
Father Hennepin badgered them constantly about our God and how they could be saved by him. One day they bundled him into a canoe and took him out to an island on the south edge of that large lake that was only rock and bird guano.
I pleaded with them to bring him back. I was told that they had decided that if his God could save him, than they would think about listening to him about his God. But with him on the island they had a degree of peace they did not want to lose.
But now I became their nemesis as I pleaded and pleaded unceasingly. On the third day they finally brought him back. He wrote in his book that God had moved them to save him and he gave God all the credit.
We were rescued by Sir De L’hut in July of that same year. He had reached the end of Lake Superior and began down the St. Croix when he head there were whites at this village of Izatys. He was very interested as to whom this might be so he came across land to see. He had very few men with him, but they did have guns, the discharge of which created at great deal of respect among the Dakota.
We were taken back to Montreal and reports were made to LaSalle. Father Hennepin was asked, directed by LaSalle to go home to France on the next boat.
And now five years latter the book comes.
There was no way Hennepin could have done everything he said he did in his book, there just was not enough time. And also I know, because I was with him the whole time.
You have now named a county and a street after him and there a statues of him and he is given credit in your history books with discoveries he never made.
And what of Picard DuGay? No one has ever heard of him. He married an Indian and lived many years north of Montreal as a fur trapper and trader.
And what of me; Michael Accault, the leader of that expedition which were the very first white men every to step foot in what you now call Minnesota.
I continued in the military and made other explorations with and for LaSalle. I married Marie Suzanne who could read and write. I gathered some land to farm so that my sons would have it and with Francis La Forest as a partner we gained some wealth and influence in the fun trade. But does anyone remember me? Are there counties or roads or anything named after me? “No”
LaSalle told not to be too concerned, but that it normally was those who wrote, whither what they wrote was true of not, who would dictate history.

County of the Week – Fillmore

October 31, 2007

Fillmore County, Minnesota

Founded: Fillmore County was established March 5th, 1853.

History:

Fillmore County was named after President Millard Fillmore who served his presidency from 1850 to 1853.

The county seat is located in Preston, the shire town of Fillmore County.

The city of Chatfield is split between Fillmore and Olmsted County.

This part of the state lies in the driftless area, for it was ice free during the last ice age.

Many farms call Fillmore County home including Good Earth Village and Dream Acres.

At the time of statehood, Fillmore County had the highest population.

Laura and Almanzo Ingalls Wilder attended the Methodist Church in Spring Valley in 1890 and 1891.

Harmony is home to the largest Amish community in Minnesota.

Places to be:

· Each August Dream Acres holds a summer camp for kids.

· Self-guided tours around historic downtown areas.

· The city of Preston hosts the Fillmore County Fair every July.

· Rushford Days in the city of Rushford, July 16th – 22nd.

· Stop in Harmony and discover the Niagara Cave, for it was voted one of the top ten caves in the country.

Sites to see:

· Deer Creek Speedway

· Forestville State Park

· Good Earth Village

· Historic Bluff Country

· Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum

· Mystery Cave State Park

· Washburn-Zittleman House Museum

· Root River State Trail

· Niagara Cave

Population: As of the 2000 census, there were 21,122 people calling Fillmore County home.

Cites:

· Canton

· Chatfield

· Fountain

· Harmony

· Lanesboro

· Mabel

· Ostrander

· Peterson

· Preston

· Rushford Village

· Rushford

· Spring Valley*

· Whalan

· Wykoff

* largest city

Area: 865 sq. miles (553,082 acres)

 

Information gathered by Andrew Ferguson

Wahkon, Minnesota celebrates its Centennial!

July 23, 2007

Hi — greetings from Jane Leonard, Sesquicentennial Executive Director. I just returned tonight from Wahkon, MN, the community I consider my hometown. Wahkon is celebrating its Centennial this summer and the big event is next month, August 17-19, 2007, with fireworks, parade and an all-around good time planned.

Wahkon

The picture you see is of my niece Jane, and me, at Centennial headquarters. We represent the 4th and 5th generation of Bezansons and the 4th and 5th generations of Bergs, early white settlers to this region on the south end of Lake Mille Lacs in east central Minnesota. I was named after my great-great Aunt Jane Bezanson, and my niece Jane, was named after me.

My great-grantparents came to Minnesota from Nova Scotia and Sweden in the closing days of the 19th century and made it up to Wahkon and Isle Harbor Township at the turn of the 20th century as the little city on the south end of Lake Mille Lacs was just beginning. My great-grandparents helped start the Presbyterian church there that is also celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year. Like many Minnesotans, generations of our family have stayed connected through the years to communities like Wahkon. I spent every summer of my childhood at my grandparents farm there and now co-own the farm.

It was a truly amazing day at Wahkon Presbyterian, where generations of many families gathered and reminisced and looked toward the future together. I am blessed to have such a strong, loving group of people continue, to this day, to care about me and one another. The pastor spoke of connectedness, and another pastor, one of my favorites from growing up, talked about how this church family was so aware of what was going on in the world and so engaged in doing good works in that world. Such grace and faithfulness is inspiring.

From the perspective of Michael Accault….. by Mel Aanerud

June 8, 2007

I am very pleased to share the following email and story from Mel Aanerud. It is such a well written and entertaining glimpse of history behind the headlines. I’m going to read it with my kids before our annual trip to Fort Snelling….

Who was the first white in what we now Call Minnesota? It was probably some French fur trader who happened here across Lake Superior. But Father Louis Hennepin gets most of the credit, but I would like you to consider Michael Accault, who has a very different slant on that first white exploration into Minnesota in 1680.

From the perspective of Michael Accault….. by Mel Aanerud

Good day, Good day.

I have just left a meeting with the commander…you know him Rene Cavalier De LaSalle, the great explorer.

He has just gotten this book from France and he read parts of it to me.

I will take it home and have my wife read the whole thing to me.

It entitled “A new discovery of a vast county in America between New France and new Mexico” and was written by the priest Father Louis Hennepin.

In it he says that he found the source of the Mississippi River and traveled it from its beginnings to New Lisbon and New Orleans, that he named everything in-between in the name of the King of France and that he converted all the Indians he met in his many travels to Christianity.

La Salle said that he exaggerated a bit…I said he is a ball faced liar. (more…)

So you think you’re a Minnesotan?

June 7, 2007

Here’s a chance to show us what you know about Minnesota. Post your own Minnesota trivia here.

What do you know about the Minnesota flag?

 

 Flag Day is June 14th, an American holiday intended for people to honor the flag. Each state has its own flag along with interesting facts to go along with it. The Minnesota flag has some particularly interesting facts:
· The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota Sioux Indian language and it translates to “sky tinted waters” because there are 15,215 beautiful blue lakes in Minnesota
· The Minnesota state flag was officially adopted in 1893
· A woman by the name of Amelia Center was the one who originally designed the flag
· The seal is surrounded by 19 stars, representing Minnesota as the 19th state
· In the center of the flag is the state seal, and surrounding it is a wreath of the state flower, the lady slipper
 These symbols are important to Minnesotans because we can all identify with them. Seeing symbols that are significant to our state gives us a sense of unity.

Thanks to http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-mn.html for providing information

Submit your own fun facts about Minnesota and statehood.

Posted by: Laura Baratto, Minnesota Sesquicentennial fellow on June 7, 2007