29th. The atmosphere has regained its equilibrium fully. It is mild throughout the day. Indians begin to come in freely from the adjacent shores. Sow radishes and other early seeds.
30th. The schooner “Napoleon,” and the “Eliza,” from Lake Ontario, come in. The Indian world, also, seems to have awaked from its winter’s repose. Pabaumitabi visits the office with a large retinue of Ottawas. Shabowawa with his band appear from the Chenoes. Vessels and canoes now again cross, each other’s track in the harbor.
Visit to Isle Rond—Site of an ancient Indian village—Ossuarie—Indian prophet—Traditions of Chusco and Yon respecting the ancient village and bone deposit—Indian speech—Tradition of Mrs. La Fromboise respecting Chicago—Etymology of the name—Origin of the Bonga family among the Chippewas—Traditions of Viancour—Of Nolan—Of the chief Aishquagonaibe, and of Sagitondowa—Evidences of antique cultivation on the Island of Mackinack—View of affairs at Washington—The Senate an area of intellectual excitement—A road directed to be cut through the wilderness from Saginaw—Traditions of Ossaganac and of Little Bear Skin respecting the Lake Tribes.
1834. May 1st. At last “the winter is gone and past,” and the voice of the robin, if not of the “turtle,” begins to be heard in the land. The whole day is mild, clear, and pleasant, notwithstanding a moderate wind from the east. The schooner “Huron” comes in without a mail—a sad disappointment, as we have been a long time without one.
I strolled up over the cliffs with my children, after their return from school at noon, to gather wild flowers, it being May-day. We came in with the spring beauty, called miscodeed by the Indians, the adder’s tongue, and some wild violets.
The day being fine and the lake calm, I visited the Isle Rond—the locality of an old and long abandoned village. On landing on the south side, discovered the site of an ancient Indian town—an open area of several acres, with graves and boulder grave stones. Deep paths had been worn to the water. The graves had inclosures, more or less decayed, of cedar and birch bark, and the whole had the appearance of having been last occupied about seventy years ago. Yet the graves were, as usual, east and west. I discovered near this site remains of more ancient occupancy, in a deposit of human bones laid in a trench north and south. This had all the appearance of one of the antique ossuaries, constructed by an elder race, who collected the bones of their dead periodically. The Indians call this island Min-nis-ais, Little Island. Speaking of it, the local termination ing is added.
During the day the old Indian prophet Chusco came in, having passed the winter at Chingossamo’s village on the Cheboigan River, accompanied by an Indian of that village, who calls himself Yon, which is probably a corruption of John, for he says that his father was an Englishman, and his mother a Chippewa of St. Mary’s.