Why Does This Blog Exist?

You never know what you'll find here - anything with genealogical or historical value is fair game. This blog will be updated as I clean out my office, go through boxes and piles, or find pertinent items at antique shops. In the meantime, I hope you find something of interest here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

St. Paul–Chapter X–Zebulon M. Pike

(From “St. Paul Location-Development-Opportunities” by F. C. Miller, Ph. D., Webb Book Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1928)

What he greatly thought he nobly dared. – Homer

Soon after the United States had purchased the province of Louisiana from Napoleon, the Federal Government sent out several exploring expeditions into the new territory.  The first expedition was headed by Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike.

Lieutenant Pike ascended the Mississippi River and on September 21, 1805 arrived at the Site of St. Paul.   He says in a record of his expedition:   "Embarked at a seasonable
hour, breakfasted at the Sioux village on the eastside" [of the Mississippi River, now a part of St, Paul). "It" [ the village ] "consists of eleven lodges, just below a ledge of rocks"
[Indian Mounds Park].  "The village was evacuated at the time, all the Indians having gone out to gather wild rice. About two miles above " [ Indian Mounds Park ] "saw three bears swimming across the river, but at too great distance from us to have killed them; they made the shore before I could come up with them.   Passed a camp of Sioux of four lodges, in which I saw only one man, whose name was Black Soldier.   The garrulity of  the women astonished me, for at the other camps they never opened their lips; but here they flocked around us with all their tongues going at the same time.   The cause of this freedom must have been the absence of their lords and masters.   We made our camp on the big island" [Pike Island] "opposite St. Peter [Minnesota River].

“September 23, 1805.  Prepared for the council which we commenced about 12 o’clock.  I had a bower or shade made of my sails, on the beach, into which only my gentlemen (traders] and the chiefs entered. I then addressed them in a speech, which, though long and touching on many points, had for its principal object the granting of land at this place
(Fort Snelling], the Falls of St, Anthony, and St. Croix [river] and making peace with the Chippewas. It was replied to by [ three chiefs ]. They gave me the land required, about 100,000 acres [for] $200,000 and promised me a safe passport for myself and any [Chippewa chiefs I might bring down, but spoke doubtfully with respect to peace. I gave them presents to the amount of $200, and, as soon as the council was over, I allowed the traders to pass out to them some liquor, which, with what I myself gave them, was
equal to 00 gallons. In one half hour they were all embarked for their respective villages."

Upon his return from the upper Mississippi, Lieutenant Pike was ordered to lead an exploring expedition through the very center of the territory obtained by the Louisiana Purchase.  On this trip, he discovered the well-known mountain giant, called in his honor Pike's Peak. The country through which Pike was traveling being practically unknown,  Pike lost his way, wandered into Spanish territory, and was arrested by the Spanish authorities. Upon proper identification, he was promptly released.

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