20th. I had now performed my last labor at St. Mary’s—which was the preparation of my narrative of the expedition to Itasca Lake. I looked, in parting, with fond regret at the trees I had planted, the house I had built, the walks I had constructed, the garden I had cultivated, the meadow lands I had reclaimed from the tangled forest, and the wide and noble prospects which surrounded Elmwood. All was to be left—and I only waited for a suitable vessel to embark, bag and baggage, for the sacred island whose formal polysyllables had formed the dread of my spelling days at school—Michilimackinack.
Earliest point of French occupancy in the area of the Upper Lakes—Removal of my residence from the Sault St. Marie to the island of Michilimackinack—Trip to New York—Its objects—American Philosophical Society—Michilimackinack; its etymology—The rage for investment in western lands begins—Traditions of Saganosh—Of Porlier—Of Perrault—Of Captain Thorn—Of the chief, Old Wing—Of Mudjekewis, of Thunder Bay—Character of Indian tradition respecting the massacre at old Fort Mackinack in 1763.
1833. June 1st. The cascades, or rapids of Sault de Ste. Marie, which occur at the point of the sinking of the water level between Lakes Superior and Huron, were, it seems, first visited, under the French government, by Charles Raumbault, in 1641. It appears to have been one of the earliest points occupied. In 1668, Claude D’Ablon and James Marquette established there the mission of St. Mary—since which, the place and the rapids have borne that name.
I had been a member of the first exploring expedition which the U.S. Government sent into that region in 1820. Troops landed here to occupy it in 1822, on which occasion I was entrusted by the President, with the management of Indian affairs. I had now lived almost eleven years at this ancient and remote point of settlement, which is at the foot of the geological basin of Lake Superior—a period which, aside from official duties, was, in truth, devoted to the study of the history, customs, and languages of the Indians. These years are consecrated in my memory as a period of intellectual enjoyment, and of profound and pleasing seclusion from the world. It was not without deep regret that I quitted long cherished scenes, abounding in the wild magnificence of nature, and went back one step into the area of the noisy world, for it was impressed on my mind, that I should never find a theatre of equal repose, and one so well adapted to my simple and domestic tastes and habits. For I left here in the precincts of Elmwood, a beautiful seat, which I had adorned with trees of my own planting, which abounded in every convenience and comfort, and commanded one of the most magnificent prospects in the world.