An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
May 3 , 2003 - Issue 86
Interesting Sidelights on the History of the Early Fur Trade Industry (Part 4)
From The Eau Claire Leader - Sunday August 9, 1925
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)
ADDITIONAL FUR TRADE LETTERS
far the letter published have pertained principally to the Ermatinger
and Truman Warren family. Lyman Warren lived much longer than his brother
Truman, and evidently was a man of more importance in affairs at La Pointe.
It was after the death of Truman Warren that Lyman Warren came down the
Chippewa. He was connected to Jean Brunet in building the first sawmill
at Chippewa Falls in 1836, which sawmill was first on the river. He also
during the 40's was subagent and farmer at the government post located
close to Chippewa City. The veteran Methodist preacher, Father Brunson,
tells of visiting him there and mentions Warren's fine library, also notes
what an excellent cook and housekeeper Warren's part Ojibway wife was.
Up to very recently, three of Lyman Warren's daughters, aged women, were
still living. The writer has been for some months in correspondence with
Mrs. Julia Spears, of Detroit, Minnesota, one of those daughters, but
a few days ago received an obituary notice to the effect that this old
lady had just died. She was a most interesting and intelligent person
and a mine of information pertaining to the Cadotte, Warren and Ermatinger
families. Some months ago she sent the writer and old family letter, written
from New York State by Lyman Warren, Sr. to his fur trader son. This letter
addressed to Lyman Warren, at La Pointe or Chippewa Mills, is given below.)
Clarkson (New York), August 16, 1841.
wrote you about William and Edward. We have heard nothing from them since
they left here for home. George a short time after the boys left got rather
uneasy at Rochester and we did not altogether blame him, and he left the
place. Henry tried at a number of printing offices to get him a place
but without success and he left here for the Western country to try to
get some employment. Henry let him have some money to go with. Henry received
from him a few days ago a line that he had got into business on the Ohio
Canal for the season and had a prospect of better business in the winter,
but did not write what it was.
received your letter this spring past about the place that I live on and
is making arrangements to meet the payments thereon stipulated. The little
girls are under the care of Delia. She has not yet gone to keeping house
but will in a short time and take the girls with her for a time. Henry
has employed her to take care of the girls. She goes but a short distance
from our house.
is on a packet this summer that runs from Rochester to Buffalo and is
doing very well. Nancy is with the girls and all are well and contented.
We are all well except your mother and myself. We are both troubled with
inflammation in our eyes.
come and see us or send me a line how it is with you,
Henry and Delia referred to were an uncle and aunt of the younger Warrens
from the west. The Edward and George mentioned were the twin sons of Truman
Warren, and were born at La Pointe on Lake Superior. Edward was the one
killed in a hunting accident and George Warren was the one already referred
to at some length, who lived many years near Chippewa Falls. The Nancy
mentioned was a sister of Edward and George, and was the Nancy mentioned
in Elisha Ermatinger's Civil War letter. The William mentioned was a son
of Lyman Warren and was a really remarkable character, of whom special
reference was made in the Presidents talk at Jim Falls. All the
children of both Truman and Lyman Warren were given a good education,
and much credit for this is due to their grandfather in New York, the
writer of the letter above. He had the children brought east and put into
school. Judging from this letter Henry Warren seems to have given considerable
assistance to his younger half brother and sister of part Ojibwa blood.
The following are some letters lately received from Mrs. Julia Spears,
Lyman Warren Jr.'s daughter and sister of William Whipple Warren, historian
of the Ojibway tribe, member of the territorial legislature of Minnesota
and we have lately learned one of the first editors of the St. Paul Pioneer
Minnesota, October 23, 1924,
Michel Cadotte was sent into the Lake Superior region, where he soon became a great favorite with the Indians and married a daughter of White Crane, hereditary chief of the village. He lived on the island of La Pointe, where he built a large house and trading post. He had large cedar posts built around his buildings and gardens for protection from the Indians. It was always called the Old Fort. He lived there until he died in 1836. He had three sons and three daughters.
I have no pictures of my father and uncle Truman.
grandmother, who is 92 years of age, wrote the above and asked me to copy
it on the typewriter, because she was afraid it wouldn't be quite plain
to you. Though she still writes beautifully her eyesight is getting dim.
Another Letter from Mrs. Spears
Minnesota, October 26, 1924,
brother Truman A. Warren was the government farmer for the Indians, who
lived at Bad River about 15 miles on the main land from La Pointe. That
is where they made there garden and what other farming they did. The government
farmer, carpenter, and blacksmith all had good houses to live in and received
1846 father was getting quite sick and he had quite a few valuable things
at Chippewa Falls to take back with him to La Pointe with a one-horse
train, when the lakes were frozen. He was planning to go to Detroit to
a hospital. He had two trunks at the wharf to be taken on a vessel in
one of the trunks he kept all his papers and articles he valued. At Sault
Ste. Marie this trunk was found to be missing. Losing all his business
papers made father worse. After being in the hospital six months he was
brought home very sick and died a short time later.
no papers to consult, my brother William could do nothing about settling
up the business.
1849 the American Fur Company all left La Pointe and moved to St. Paul.
The buildings were then sold and tore down. As they were tearing down
one of the large stores they found my father's trunk in one of the vaults.
It was broken open and all the papers taken and all the silverware that
was not marked, but those marked with my mother's name were left in the
trunk. We were notified but my brother had gone to New York, so there
was nothing done about it. The men who had charge of the American Fur
Company were C.W. Borup and Charles Oakes of St. Paul.
James Ermatinger was my uncle. He married my Uncle Truman's widow. They always lived near Chippewa Falls (Vermillion Rapids, now Jim Falls). This place where he lived was one of the headquarters of the American Fur Company. Uncle was one of the traders and he farmed a little.
Minnesota, November 10, 1924,
father moved to the Chippewa River about 1839, where he was appointed
subagent for the Ojibways on the reservation. He located his post a few
miles above Chippewa Falls, at a place now known as Chippewa City. In
connection with Jean Brunet he built a sawmill and opened a farm which
was soon furnished with accommodations buildings.
went to the Chippewa River in 1848, to visit my aunt, Mrs. James Ermatinger,
with my cousin Nancy Warren, my deceased uncle Truman's daughter. They
lived on a farm by the river at a place called Vermillion Rapids (now
Jim Falls) about 12 miles from the mill up the river, but going to the
village at the mill one could see the farm buildings from the road.
P. Warren and his brother Edward were fur traders at that time. They had
their trading post a few miles from the mill. Edward was killed in a hunting
accident in 1848.
old Frenchman that told you about the trading post, which was by the main
road and other buildings, was right. When my father was through with them
he let the nephews, George and Edward, have the buildings and that was
where they had their trading post and house by the main road, a few miles
from the mill but in sight of the other buildings by the river at Chippewa
The mill at that time was owned by H.S. Allen, he lived there with his family in a nice house. I heard of his death a few years ago. I left the Chippewa River in 1850. I send you my picture. I have none of my mother.
Julia A. Spears
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