Sherman Hall Journals 1832

Journal of Rev. S. Hall, May 22, 1832 - July 28, 1832.
[A.B.C.F.M. MSS., 74, no 44 -- A.D.S.]
May 22. This morning Mr. Ayer and Mrs. Campbell left
us on their return to Mackinaw. The traders are also gone, and
my wife and myself are left alone, with none to converse with in our
native tongue and no one to interpret for us. I shall now
be obliged to make use of the little Indian I have acquired to
do the business I must necessarily transact with those about me.
It is however almost impossible to make myself understood, or to
understand the Indians. We expect a lonesome time till the return
of the traders.
It is trying to be deprived of the means of giving this people
instruction during the present summer. For two or three months
past nearly all the Indians have been absent from the island, and
we have been unable to give them instruction; now just as they
are returning to camp near our house, we shall be again deprived
of the means of communicating instruction for want of an interpreter.
It seems however to be the will of Providence that it should be so.
24. About an hour before sun down last evening, a canoe
was discovered several miles distant, making toward the island,
It was seen to move to rapidly for Indians. Every eye was in-
tently fixed to discover who could be the visiter [sic]. It
soon came to land at some distance from our house, and shortly
after I was agreeably surprised to see Mr. Boutwell appearing.
The canoe was that of Mr. Schoolcraft who, with several others is
1 See note at head of No. 42. At head of this section Mr. Greene
wrote: Mr. Hall's Journal. No. 3.
on an exploring expedition, under a commission from the War De-
partment, to the head waters of the Missisippi. Mr. B[outwell]
is to accompany the expedition. Their visit, though short, has
been very cheering to us in our seclusion. It is but seldom we
receive a visit from friends abroad. Their visit will for a long
time make us forget our seclusion, and amimate {sic] us in our
labours, since they brought us so much cheering intelligence of
what the Lord has been doing for his Zion, since we left the
civilized world. They also brought us letters from our friends
in new England, the first we have received since our arrival
here. We were treated with very great respect by Mr. S[chool-
craft] and the party. Mr. S[Cholcraft apprised us of his most
cordial wishes for our success in giving the gospel to these
Indians, and of his readiness to cooperate with us. We received
from him several valuable presents.
The young Indian mentioned in a letter from Mr. Boutwell,
name Poguojineni, accompanied him to this place where he chose
to remain till Mr. B. s. return. I hope he will be useful here
in conversing with the Indians about Christianity, while I have
no interpreter, as well as assistance to me in acquiring the
25. Sabbath. Our meeting was attended by a larger number
than has been present on any Sabbath for considerable time. The
increased interest to hear has been excited, very evidently,
through the influence of the young Indian mentioned above. A
large part of those present at our family devotions, understand
only Indian, and I have therefore called on this young man
frequently to pray, At our evening worship particularly, the number
present has not been less than 20, including the children of Mr.
W[arren's]s family, which lives with ours during his absence.
I met the children to-day at the usual hour of meeting to sing
I also read a part of a tract in the Ojibue language after which
Poquoj-ini addressed those present, and prayed. He was listened
to with apparent interest.
In the evening at our family worship, our house was crowded
with those who came to attend. There were 40 or more present.
After singing several hymns, the young Indian addressed those
present and concluded with prayer.
After the exercises of the evening, and Indian who arrived
here last week from the interior, came to me and said he wished
his son, a lad of about a dozen years, to attend school, and
also to learn the hymns which the children sing. At first I
thought he wanted to leave his son in our family, and I told
him we could not take him. I soon found I had misunderstood him,
and told him I should be glad to teach him, if he would send him
to school. He said also that he and his wife wished to come
and learn to sing; that he did not wish to kill and do other bad
things as many of the Indians do. He wished to learn God's word.
he has been much with Poquo-jineni for several days past.
What the result of the present interest on the part of the
Indians will be, I cannot tell. It may be that the Lord is
preparing the hearts of some here for the good seed. If so,
I trust he will send some one to aid in sowing it. Perhaps the
excitement is produced by the novelty of hearing some one address
them on religious subjects and pray in their own language. I
feel greatly encouraged to hope, that, if I can acquire their
language so as to be able to address them directly in it, they
will feel more interest in instruction than they have heretofore
July 4. The interest which the Indians have appeared to
take of late in our meetings and family worship seems to be only the
effect of novelty. Their interest in these exercises is now evi-
dently subsiding.
July 22. The Indians have lost their interest in our re-
ligious exercises and very few of them now come to meeting. The
sabbath exercise is nearly deserted execpt by the children. Those
who pretend to observe the sabbath, seem rather disposed to go in-
to the woods after berries, than to attend meeting. Things have
returned to their former state. Indifference to the word of life,
and to all instruction seems to possess the heart of every one.
Poquoj-inini is discouraged, and says when he talks to the Indians
about Christianity, they make no reply. He has no society in which
he seems to take delight. I cannot communicate much with him for
want of an interpreter. He has apparently been faith[ful] in con-
versing with the Indians, and has ma[n]ifested a strictly consistent
religious character since he has been here.
Aug. 6. This evening Mr Schoolcraft arrived here, on his
return form the North. His arrival was unexpected as he accomplish-
ed his tour in less time than was anticipated. Mr. Boutwell re-
turned with him to this place where he is to remain for the present
to be associated with me in my labour here.
7. This morning Mr. S[choolcraft] and his party left for the
Sault Ste Marie. Doct. Houghton remains till the arrival of Lieut.
Allen, who fell behind of Mr. S[choolcrat] after leaving St. Peters.
Poquoj-inini left with Mr. S[choolcraft].
We are indebted to Doct Houghton for medical aid which he grat-
uitously afforded our family as he passed up, and shall be greatly
gratified with an opportunity of becoming more acquainted with him,
as well as with the enjoyment of his society a few days in our ex-
ile. It is impossible for us at times, to forget that we are se-
cluded from the world, and when we can meet with one from the land
of our fathers, it is truly refreshing to our spirits.
ll. Lieut. Allen arrived to-day and is obliged to remain
till morning to repair his boat. We are glad of an opportunity to
become more acquainted with him.
12. This morning Lieut. A[llen] and Doct H[oughton] left
us. We regret very much to part with them so soon. Their visit
has been truly grateful to us.
Our meeting was attended to-day by about the usual number.
Mr. B[outwell] read a part of the first chapter of Genesis from a
manuscript translated in Indian, and prayed.
14. An Indian arrived to-day from the Sault Ste Marie and
brought us letters which contain the intelligence that the Cholera
has reached our country and is making great ravages at Quebec and
Montreal, and that it was rapidly advancing up the lakes towards
A few cases had already occured at Mackinaw. We feel some
alarmed lest the boats which will arrive here soon, may bring the
disease to us.
18. This morning the boat which we sent to Mackinaw for
provisions arrived, and brought us letters which stated that no
cases of cholera had occured [sic] at the Saulte as late as Aug.
19, and that only a few cases had occured at Mackinaw, and those
on board a vessel in the harbour and in the port. We feel less
alarmed for our safety than when we received the other intelligence.
Sept. 11. This morning I left La Point for a visit to Lac du
Flambeau accompanied by one man, to carry my provisions and baggage
and as my guide through the woods. Our way lay down the lake about
20 miles to the mouth of the Montreal river. As I had only one
man with me, I was obliged to take a paddle and manage one end of
the canoe myself. About 4 o'clock P.M. we reached the place where
we were to leave the lake. Here we laid up our canoe, formed our
baggage into packs, my man taking our provisions and cooking utensels
[sic], and I my blanket and coat and a gun, and commenced our march
across the Forty Five Mile Portage. We had gone but a few rods from
the trading post at the mouth of the Montreal river, before we found
ourselves immersed in a thick forest of large hemlock, birch and
maple timber. we continued our march about an hour and half and
reached the fording place in the Montreal river. The river is sever-
al rods wide at this place and very rocky. We crossed it and made
our encampment for the night on the bank. here we cooked our evening
repast, and after partaking of it, laid ourselves to repose in the
open air, each covered with a single blanket.
18. This morning as soon as it was sufficiently light to
follow the path, we arrose [sic] and prepared to recommence our march.
my man dressed himself in the habit of a voyageur, that is, a short shirt,
a red woollen cap, a pair of deer skin leggins which reach from the
ancles a little above the knees, and are held up by a string secured
to a belt about the waist, the azion of the Indians, and a pair
of deer skin moccasins without stocking on the feet. The thighs are
left bare.This is the dress of voyageurs in summer and winter,
and is substantially the common dress of the Indians.
Our march during the day was through a dense forest of tall, heavy
timber, consisting of yellow birch, maple, basswood, hemlock, a little
white ash and oak, and occasionally a few large white pines. We
passed several spots of light timbered land, and once went some dis-
tance over a bed of rocks. We passed also several prairies covered
with a heavy growth of hay. The rivers, several of which we crossed
during the day were comparatively small, and at this season are
easily forded. We also passed several cedar and tamarack swamps
which were wet and muddy, and at some seasons are almost impassible.
Our road was a small foot path, which has been formed by those
who make this wilderness their highway to the interior around the
head waters of the Chippeway river and those numerous lakes which
feed it. It has never been improved by the hand of man, except
occasionally a tree which the winds of heaven have thrown across it,
has been cut off. in the first formation of it, no regard was paid
to the best ground or the shortest distance; but where the first
happened to go, the second followed, and thus it became a road. Of
course it was crooked and uneven.
The ground in this great forest is not as level as much of the the
western country. We crossed no high hills, but the surface of the
country was continually undulating. The soil appeared to be of ex-
cellent quality, and capable of furnishing the means of subsistence
for a dense population, if it should be cleared of its present heavy
burden of timber and suitably tilled. It is not stony, though stones
are to be found nearly all the way. The country seems to be well
watered with clear transparent streams.
A little past the middle of the day we overtook the men in Mr
Oakes' employment transporting the goods for his trade across the
portage. All the goods for the Lac du Flambeau department of the
Indian trade, together with a considerable quantity of provisions,
are carried across this portage on the backs of men. Not a pound
of flour, or salt, or butter or lard, or pork, or scarcely any other
article of living consumed at the post, except vegetables, a little
corn, wild rice, and fish, and a small quantity of wild meat, but
must be carried across this portage, on men's backs. All the tobacco,
shot, balls & le[a]d used in the trade, and every heavy utensil for
household use, or implement for cultivating the ground, which cannot
be made for unskilful mechanics on the spot, all nails and glass
for building, and the tools necessary for mechanical purposes, must
all find their way through this forest in the same manner. The furs
and peltries collected in this department, many of which are brought
some hundreds of miles before they reach Lac du Flambeau, are con-
veyed to market over the same road and with the same kind of convey-
The goods are obtained at Mackinaw, and brought through the lake
a distance of 500, or 600 miles in boats rowed by men. At the com-mencement
of the portage, they are put up into packs or bales conven-
ient for carrying, which in the language of the country are termed pieces.
Each piece is allowed to weigh 80 pounds. A barrel of flour
is put into two bags, and each is considered a piece. A keg of port
or a keg of gun powder is considered also a piece, and a bushel and
a half of corn. Two of these pieces constitute each man's load.
The carrier uses a collar, which is composed of a strap of leather-
er about three inches wide in the middle of which smaller straps are
attached of a sufficient length to tie round the object to be carried.
These straps are tied round each end of the piece which is then swung
upon the back, the lower part resting about the loins, and the collar
is brought over the top of the head. The person, when he takes his
load, inclines a little forward, so that it rests considerably on the
back, and draws but gently on the collar suspended across the head.
After the first piece is thus swung on the back, the second is tak[e]n
top of the head. I was surprised to see that ease these men,
after they had suspended the first piece, would raise up the second
place it on the top of it.
The party consisted of ten men, and each man had ten pieces,
or five loads to carry across the portage. They keep the whole
of the goods together; that is, each one takes one load and marches
with it, the distance of on[e] half or one third of a mile, and then
returns for a second. Thus they repeat till all their loads are
brought up to this point. Each man's pieces are allotted to him
at the commencement of the portage, and he keeps the same through.
There are in all 122 poses or stopping places on this portage. The
carreers march very rapidly when loaded. About 200 of these pieces,
in goods and provisions, are required for this department annually.
When we passed these men they had 16 days on the portage, and
had got about two thirds of the way across it.
After they cross this, they have two other portages to make be-
fore they reach Lac du Flambeau, one of which is 150 or 200 rods,
and the other about three miles in length.
These men were all dressed in the voyageur style, i.e. in the
manner which I described above. They appeared generally in good
spirits, though some of them said it was hard business. One man in
particular, I could not but feel a deep sympathy for. This was his
first year in the country, and this probably the first time he had
converted himself into a horse and baggage waggon to transport goods
from the manufacturer to the far distant consumer. His back had be-
come so heated and chafed by his loads, that several large boils had
formed, and which of themselves were very painful; yet his loads
rested on them when he carried. He said in the morning when he first
commenced his daily task, he could hardly endure the pain he suffer-
ed notwithstanding he continued to carry his quota of goods with
his companions.
We marched till late in the afternoon, without finding occasion
to use the gun I had taken the trouble to carry. At lengnt [sic]
however we found ourselves in the midst of a fine flock of partridges,
upon which we made ware [sic], and bore off three in triumph to grace
our evening meal.
It had been our intention to have reached the lake at the end
of the portage to-day, but the night closing in upon us too soon for
this, we made our encampment several miles short of it, at a place
called Pine River. Here we found the old encampment of some Indian
family, which had lately passed the same road and cooked our supper
by a fire made of the brands which they had left, and rested our weary
limbs on the boughs which they had made their temporary bed.
19. After a comfortable and refreshing nights rest, I awoke
early, and we soon commenced our march. We had not gone far before
the clouds which were driven rapidly before a strong S. West wind be-
gan to blacken and portend a fall of rain. son the rain began to
descend in a heavy shower, and by the time we reached the end of the
portage, we were thoroughly drenched. I found my situation rather
uncomfortable; my voyageur did not heed it at all. The rain however
did not continue long, as the wind soon changed to the west and the
clouds dispersed. The afternoon was clear and pleasant.
We were now to embark on the lake at which we had arrived, in
a canoe. After our arrival we made a paddle, repaired an old canoe
which we found here, and made preparation for our passage down the
lake. It was nearly noon before we were ready to ply our paddles.
We were now to embark on the waters which communicate with the
great river of the United States, and roll for thousands of miles
through "the great valley". This lake is the upper one of a chain
which some distance below discharge their waters into the Chippeway
river. We passed several miles nearly across its whole length, when
by a small, blind outlet, we made our entrance into a shallow and rapid river,
down which we passed a few miles, when it alternately
widened and narrowed into lakes and rivers. Through this watery
highway, we made our journey till late in the afternoon, when we came
to a portage of perhaps 150 rods, across a sandy plain, which took
us from one small lake to another. At the commencement of this
portage we landed and disposed of our baggage for a land march. Now
our little barque which had borne us during the afternoon, was in
turn to be borne by us. I took the baggage, while my voyager took
the canoe and we made our march across the portage. Again we em-
barked on a very small lake, which soon terminated in a muddy
stream, hardly wide enough to admit our little canoe and which
formed the outlet of this into another small lake.
Near where we embarked, we passed a small village of Indians,
known by the name of the little Village. Our passage across these lakes was
short probably not exceeding two miles. Here we reached
the portage which was to take us to the Chippeway river. As before
I took the baggage while my man took the canoe, and commenced our
march, hoping to reach the river, which was three of four miles dis-
tant, before we encamped. After we left the lake, we ascended on
to high ground, which was covered with a heavy growth of hemlock
and hard wood it was nearly sundown before we left the lake, and
the darkness overtook us so soon, that we were obliged to encamp
before we reached the river. We laid down our loads and kindled a
fire and prepared to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. We
were near a tamarack swamp, which produced a damp and unpleasant
atmosphere during the night. The weather had become considerable
cool during the preceeding [sic] after noon, of which I was not aware
till too late to provide a sufficient quantity of wood to keep a fire
during the whole night, and our encampment being in the open air and
not sufficient by trees, a single blanket was not sufficient to shield
me from the cold and frost, and I passed a rather uncomfortable night.
20. This morning as soon as light, we recommenced our march
through a swamp of mud and water. Every thing was covered with frost,
and the ground through the swamp was slightly stiffened by the cold
of the night. The water which immediately pierced the deer skin shoes,
which [I] wore on my feet was extremely cold and uncomfortable.
In about an hour we reached the Chippeway river, and were soon
floating down its rapid current, and in two or three hours we reached
the mouth of the Lac du Flamabeau river, which we began to ascend, to-
wards the lake and the termination of our journey.
The banks of the Chippeway where we passed are low, and are over-
flowed in high water. At this time they are covered with a very large
growth of prairie grass, which when cut in season makes excellent
food for cattle. Most of the ground on the banks of the river is too
low for tillage. At a little distance back, are every where to be
seen ridges of pine. The channel for the river is generally narrow,
form 40 to 60 feet wide, and generally deep. Its course is very
crooked. We saw some Indian rice growing along it.
The Lac du Flambeau river is the outlet of a chain of lakes in
the neighbourhood of the one from which it derives it name. Near
its mouth it resembles the Chippeway very much except that it is not
so large. Farther up it becomes wider, passing through swamps and
marshes, and has but little current. Its channel at this season if
full of wild rice and weeds, which very much obstruct the passage
of canoes. its course is extremely crooked. Back at some distance
from the river, are ridges of pine.
We made our way up this river against a strong wind by slow
degrees and with hard work, and reached the port a little before
sundown, in the midst of a heavy shower of rain, by which we were
completely drenched. I was very cordially received by Mr. Oakes
and family, and was glad to find in his house a comfortable shelter
from the storm and inclement weather to which we had been exposed
the night and day previous, and to enjoy once more the society of
friends. The first object we met with after we left lake Superior,
which indicated and approach to civilized people, was some stacks
of hay which Mr. Oakes had cut and put up a little distance down
The Lac du Flambeau river. You may sometimes see round an Indian vil-
lage a small field of corn or potatoes, but never any forage for
cattle. They keep no kinds of animals but dogs.
23. The village of the Indians is two or three miles distant
from the trading post. This morning three men having heard that I
had arrived came, as they said, to see me, and to hear what I had to
say to them. Two of them were young mwn, and the other, I should
judge to be about 50, of a straight, well proportioned body and Ribs,
not very tall, a countenance rather dignified, a keen arch looking
eye, and a carriage that told him to be a man who claimed some
title to chieftianship among his band. When he stood His figure
was very erect, and his gait, when he moved, showed affectation,
and left no uncertain indication that he intended to make an impres-
sion in his favour upon the minds of those who saw him. His dress
was a blanket, a pair of leather leggin, a pair of moccasins, and a
black silk handkerchief around his neck . He wore no shirt, and when
his blanket dropped from his shoulder, he displayed an exceedingly muscular
pair of arms and a wide breast. He had a large skunk skin
bound around his head, the tail in full size swinging loose. In one
ear was tied a short string two or three inches in lingth [sic], on
the end of which was suspended about half a dozen glass beads. The
others were dressed in a manner very little different, except they had
ornaments on the hair. All had more or less paint on their faces.
I greeted them in a friendly manner and told them I was glad to see
them, and if they would listen, I would tell them something about God
and his word. I explained to them the object of the Board in sending us
to the Indians, and after collecting a few others about the post, I preached to t
hem some of the great doctrines of the Bible, and tried
to direct them to Jesus. They listened with much apparent seriousness
to what I told them.
Towards evening one of them came again, and I spoke to him
considerable time on religious subjects. After talking awhile, I told
him, if he had anything to say in reply to what i had told him, I
would listen to it. He said but little, except that when his child
was sick a few months ago, all the conjuring and medicine of the Indians
did not save its life.
This was probably the first time these benighted heathens ever
heard of Jesus, or were told that they are immortal. May it not how-
ever be the last that they will hear the truths of revelation, & the
offers of life be presented to them. May the time soon come when all
these benighted Indians shall hear the voice of the son of God and
shall live. In the afternoon the few people at this time about the
post were collicted and we held another religious exercise.
28. One of the head of the men of the band came to the post to-day,
with whom I conversed considerable time respecting our mission to
this country. He is a man of considerable influence in the band
and brother of the late chief, who died last winter. He declined
giving any opinion respecting missions to the Indians, till he
could see the whole band together in council. He showed by his
conversations that he was not opposed to having teachers sent among
the Indians.
From the window where I was sitting I witnessed one of the
most disgusting scenes I have every seen among these Indians. an
old woman was sitting upon1
1 Continued in No. 4 (45).

Journal of Rev. S. Hall, Sept 28, 1832 - January 30, 1833.1
[A.B.C.F.M. MSS., 74, no. 45 -- A.D.S.]

the ground, while her son who was grown up to manhood, was lying
at full length by her side with his head resting on her lap. She
was busily at work with her fingers among the hairs, hunting the
lice [&] the animals which lodge there. As often as she found one,
it met its fate between her teeth. The frequent motion of her hand
to her mouth, showed that her efforts to destroy the noxious animals
were not without success.
Oct. 1. Collected what Indians I could and explained to
them [the] object of my visit to this place and the design of the
Board in sending missionaries to this country. No chief was pres-
ent, and I got no expression of their opinion on the subject. It
appeared from the conversation that one of them felt opposed to the
establishment of missions in the country. I had expected to see
nearly all the band together, and I intended to hold a council with
them, and get some expression from them of their feeling on the sub-
ject of instruction. But it was found impossible to do this, as
they] began to leave for their fall hunts earlier than usual, and be-
fore the whole band collected near the post. They make their fall
and winter hunts low down on the Chippiway river, and usually collect
around the trading post in the fall, and desert the river together.
I have stated our object to several individuals, some of whom are
among the head men of the band. None have made objections, and I
could discover nothing unfavourable in the disposition of any of the
band. From the best information I could obtain, I should think a

1 See note at head of No . 45. At the top of this sheet Mr. Greene
wrote: Mr. Hall's Journal No. 4.

mission among that band would meet with no greater opposition from
among the Indians than the mission at La Pointe does.

The Indians of that band are very much scattered. In the summer
they separate into small villages about the numerous lakes in the
section of the country which they occupy. They leave the upper coun-
try in the fall and do not r return till about March. They are engaged
during the season for sugar making, in that business. During the
time they are in the deer country they are constantly moving from
place to place. About the first [of] January they commence their
march to the upper country, which time they change their en-
campment every second day till they reach their place of destina-
tion more than two months afterwards. It will be very difficult
therefore to come in contact with them to give them instruction.
Scarcely a family remains in the vicinity of Lac du Flambeau during
the winter. If a station should be established among that band, it
would benefit them very little unless the missionary should spend
much of his time in itinerating. The traders keep men with them
constantly during the tine they are gone to the lower country. It
would be a difficult place to supply a family with provisions. Pota-
toes, corn, and other grains would grown in the neighbourhood of Lac
du Flambeau, if cultivated

5 Arrived at La Pointe last evening, after being three days
on our journey from Lac du Flambeau. The weather was delightful and
we found our journey home less unpleasant, than the one in going in.
Dec. 23. "The sick man"who has been mentioned frequently
in my journal, died last night. He has had for two months past, re-
peated attacks of bleeding at the lungs, attended uniformly with great
distress. rDuring this period, in which his sufferings have been very
great, he has appeared to hold fast his faith in God, and bear his
pain with Christian fortitude. He has left evidence that he heartily
renounced his heathenism, and trusted in the true God. Often when
he has thought himself near his end, he has appeared to rejoice that
the time of his delivery from his mortal state was at hand, and has
expressed a most confident belief that he was going to be happy with God.
he has appeared to take an increasing pleasure in our
visits to him, in which we have uniformly sung Indian hymns, and some-
times prayed. A few days ago he requested us to visit him oftener,
for he was too weak, he said, to pray much himself, but wanted some
one to pray or sing with him all the time. Mr. Boutwell and myself
visited him in the early part of the last evening, when we found him very
low. After singing several hymns, some of which he particularly named,
we left him, expecting to see him again in the morning. shortly af-
ter we had retired to bed,an Indian came to the house and said he
was dead. We regretted that we had not been there to see him in his
last moments. We were told that he left his dying testimony in fav-
our of the Christian religion. He shook hands with his friends and
exhorted them to throw away all their medicine sacks and believe in God.
He told them that they believed there was no God; but he knew there
was. He could see him. He was dying and should be with him.
These are some of the fruits of our labours which God has per-
mitted us to see. It is encouraging to our hearts and abundantly
pays us for all the sacrifices we have made to give these people the
gospel. In this case God has shown himself faithful in fulfilling
his promises, that his word shall not return void.
This morning the friends of the departed sent to request us to
assisit [sic] in burying the body. They desired him to be buried
after the manner of white people. We prepared a decent coffin and
wrapped the body in a sheet, removing the blankets which they had

wrapped around it. While I was engaged in making the coffin, Mr.
Boutwell spent some some [sic] time at the lodge with the Indians
who were collected there, in religious conversation, to which
they were attentive. At the grave a short prayer was offered and
an Indian hymn sung. After the interment, we invited the people
to go to the schoolhouse, where we would hold a religious exercise.
Nearly all the male friends of the deceased attended and several
of the near female relatives. We had a more full and attentive
meeting than ever before.
We hope the Lord will make use of this dispensation of his
providence, for the advancement of his cause among these Indians.
We cannot but hope that he has blessings in store for these be-
nighted sons of the forest. Our trust is in him. Vain is the help
of man. We cannot touch the heart. The spirit of the lord alone
Jan. 30, 1833. Last evening I heard that a boy on the main
shore, was very sick, and that probably he would not survive longs.
It was so late when the news came, that it was inconvenient for me
to visit him, the distance being two or three miles. This morning
early, intelligence came that he was dead. I immediately went to
the encampment of the Indians. When I entered the lodge where the
boy died, I found the body wrapped up in blankets and lying on one
side of the lodge which was nearly full of Indians who were smoking.
After seating myself among them, I asked them several questions,
when, where, &c, they designed to bury the dead, and inquired if
they wanted any assistance from us. They replied that they wanted
a coffin and a sheet to wrap the body in. I returned home and made
a coffin and then Mr. Boutwell and myself went over again, hoping not
only to testify our readiness and synmpathize with them in times of af-

fliction, but also to bear testimony to the gospel before them, and
to show them were to look for consolation. It was soon appeared very ev-
ident that they did not wish us to interfere with their mode of bur-
ial by conducting any religious exercises on the occasion. They re-
quested us to put the body into the coffin, after which the principle[sic]
chief stood up and made a kind of prayer speech which I was not able
to understand. After which, while some of the Indians were digging a
grave, they were still and we proposed to sing a hymn. When I asked
if they were willing we should sing, one of the Indians replied that
he did not know,which he intended for nothing else than a denial. The
Indians then immediately commenced a conversation with us to occupy
the time. One began by thanking us for the assistance we had render-
ed them, and said the friends would long remember it. When we found
they would not listen to us, we went out and assisted in digging the
grave. After the body was put into the coffin, one of the Indians
took a small piece of cloth, in which some apparently hard substance
was tied up in two separate parts, each about as big as a man's fist,
and put it into the coffin. After this and some little ceremony which
they performed over the body, they requested to have the coffin closed.
After the coffin was nailed up, the clothes which the persons had worn,
and a pan of wild rice which was cooked, were placed upon the lid of
the coffin. After the grave was dug, which was but a few rods dis-
tant, the coffin was carried out by the Indians and followed by the
relatives and friends of the deceased. The clothes & the rice also
were carried out and placed by the side of the grave where they re-
mained when we left the ground. The mother and one or two other
women wept aloud as they followed the body to the place of burial, and for
a few minutes after they a rrived at the grave, aside from which I
heard no lamentation and saw no tears. The body was put into the

ground an covered by the Indians, while the relations sat near by.
It is the custom with these Indians to remain considerable time
at the grave after they bury, and after the body is interred, each
one, male and female, lights his pipe and smokes. During this
time the lodge, where the person died, is taken down by some friends
and removed to another place. They never return to the same lodge
after the burial.
While the grave was filling up one of the Indians stood up
and made a kind of address to some invisible spirit, after which
he commenced singing a heathen song or tune, keeping time to the
same with a box of rattles which he held in his hand. After the
grave was full, there was time of silence. I endeavoured to im-
prove it for addressing a few words to them, which the occasion sug-
gested to me. I spoke of the immortality of the soul, the resur-
rection, and the necessity of a new heart. No one seemed to pay any
attention to what I said, or appeared displeased that I spoke to
After the body was put into the coffin, Mr. B[outwell] and
myself left the lodge to assist in digging the grave. During our
absence,one of the Indians observed to our interpreter, that the
Indians sing and pray at their funirals [sic] as well as the white
people. They ask the Great Spirit that the soul may go to be happy.
He said the Great Spirit made the Indians good at first, and they had
no need of a new heart, alluding to the doctrine of the new birth
which I have frequently preached to them. This is the first time
the Indians have advanced any such sentiment to us through I did not
doubt that they felt at heart, that they were good enough. He also
observed that when any of them are sick and die they assuage their
grief by dancing, singing and drumming. He then took his drum and

and began to beat it and sing.
The boy who died was brought, three or four days ago, from Mont-
real river, a distance of about 20 miles, by his relatives, in order
to have these Indians conjure and drum over him, to drive away his dis-
ease. Two days ago they made a great medicine dance for him, when
they collected a large lodge made for the purpose, and danced and
drummed and sung and haloed. There can be but little doubt that their
treatment of him, was the means of hastening his death. Surely the
tender mercies of the heathen are cruel.

S. Hall

March 25, 1833

Rev. Sherman Hall to Rev. David Greene, Sept. 28, 1832.
[A.B.C.F.S. MSS., 74: no.41 -- A.L.S.]
Lac du Flambeau Sept. 28, 1832
Mr. David Greene, )
Missy Rooms, Boston )
Dear Sir,
This is the trading post occupied by Mr. Oakes. I am now
spending a few days here, whiether I came principally to visit this
band of Indians, to explain to them the object of the Board in send-
missionaries to this country, and to ascertain their feelings in
regard to instruction. As it is probable an opportunity will occur
before long, of sending to Green Bay through one of Mr. Oakes' out
posts, I will improve it to address a line to you. Another oppor-
of sending out of the Indian country, will not probably occur
for several months.
My present visit to this place will complete the labour of ex-
ploring necessary to make the report required of us by our Instruc-
tions from the Committee. This report we shall make out during
the winter and forward to Boston, by the first opportunity, unless
Mr. Boutwell shall return to N. England next spring, which probably
he will not do. That report will, I hope, enable the Committee to de-
termine what it is expedient for them to do at present, for these
benighted pagans. In the meantime our prospects at the Pointe are
so encouraging as to induce us to write to the Committee without de-
lay for more help. It is the opinion of all, I believe, who have
sufficient information on the subject to judge, that that place pre-
sents more facilities for the commencement of missionary efforts
among these Indians, than any other in the country. The reasons
which induce this opinion need not now be given. We commenced a
school soon after our arrival, which has been continued, except for
a few weeks in the spring when all were at the sugar camp. This
school was taught by Mr. Ayer and myself during the fall and winter.
During the spring and Summer I had charge of it alone, till Mr.
Boutwell returned from his tour to the Missisippi, since which time
he has had the care of it. It has considerably increased this fall.
Several men employed in the service of the American Fur Company to
[sic] the interior of Lake Superior, left children at the Pointe to
spend the winter. There is every prospect that the school will con-
tinue to increase, if children can be left there at the expense of
their parents.
We are very much in want of a teacher whose time shall be devot-
ed principally to the instruction and care of the children. There
is enough, and more than enough, labour required by the mission,
to occupy the time of Mr. Boutwell and myself without employing
it in teaching school. It is only the importance of maintaining a
school that induces us to leave other important labour unperformed for teach-
ing. Should we ever become so well acquainted with the Indian
language as to be able to preach in it and translate books, our time
will all be needed for these employments. If we preach to the Indians,
we must Indians them from place to place where they go. With their
present feelings they will not come to us for instruction. We must
carry the gospel to them, even into their lodges. Besides if we shall
be able to preach in the Indian language, it is doubtful whether with the
same number of labourers in the country as at present, or evenwith a
greater number, we ought both to remain at the same place; or at least,
if our place is the residence of both, whether one ought
not to be nearly all the time absent among the Indians. If one
is confined to the school, a large share of the labours of both
will be required at the station. Our family is such at present as
to require the time of Mrs. Hall to be devoted to domestic concerns.
Miss Stevens, who came from the mission at Mackinaw to spend the
year with us, has not sufficient heal[h] to teach. For these reasons
I write you at this time with the hope that you may be able to send
us a teacher next year. With the present character of our school,
a female of suitable qualifications will answer, if no young man
should stand ready to volunteer his services. In some respects a
female teacher would posses advantages over a male. She would be
able to teach girls needle work and other domestic arts, which would
be a matter of some importance. She should be a person of decision
of character, possessed of a good share of resolution, contented to
be anyhwere, Then in the path of duty, a person who enjoys good
health, and who is willing to deny herself many of the comforts and
conveniences of life for the sake of Christ and the heathen. In
short, she should possess the spirit of him "who went about doing
good." It is desirable that she should be acquainted with the sys-
of instruction pursued in infant schools. Such a person would
render us essential service. And may we not hope the Lord has dis-
posed the heart of some one thus qualified, during his late seasons
of blessing among his people, to come to this field, and whom the
Churches are willing to send to us.
Should the committee find a teacher for this station,
I sup[p]ose many inquiries will be made respecting climate, living &c.
I will therefore say a few words on these points: There is no more healthy
climate in the world than that about Lake Superior, and from
thence to the head raters of the Missisippi; and no northern climate perhaps
more agreeable, especially in the vicinity of the lake. I think we
are less liable to violent and sudden changes of weather here, than
in N. England. On the lake we do not experience greater degrees of
heat and cold than are common to northern parts of N.E. We
make use of nearly the same kinds and quantity of clothing here,
that we used to do in the East.
Our Living is necessarily simple, being principally fish, salt
meat and bread. The staple article of living is fish which is taken
out of the lake. It is of good quality and every foreigner soon be-
comes fond of it as an article of living. We raise garden vegitables
[sic] of almost all kinds. There are no fruits in the country except
a few wild ones. The mode of travelling to get into the country
you are sufficiently acquainted with to give all necessary inform-
tion. It is unpleasant and fatiguing but has been endured by fe-
males in more than one instance.
Mr. Ayer has gone to Sandy Lake with Mr. Aitkin, to remain in
his family as teacher of his children. He will probably collect a
small school of half breed and Indian children. Mr. Aitkins is very
desirous to have the Board or some other Society establish a mis-
sionary station at Sandy Lake, or somewhere else in his department of
trade. There are many reasons, as it appears to me, for commenc-
ing a station at his post. Mr. Boutwell thinks it ought to be lower
down on the Missisippi. It seems desirable that something should
be done in that quarter, and done soon. Should Mr. Ayer, who ex-
pects to return next summer, find things favourable for missionary
efforts in that quarter, perhaps Mr. Boutwell or myself may think
it our duty to go there next year, unless the Board can spare another
missionary for this country. When we make our report, we shall give
our opinion, and the reason for it, more fully on this subject.
It is expected that an express will be sent from Mackinaw to
La Pointe in Jan. or Feb. next. Any communications which shall reach
M[ackinaw] in season will reach us by it. This will probably be the
only opportunity of getting intelligence from the States, which we
shall have before next Spring or Summer
Our family were well when I left home, and our prospects as en-
couraging as usual. We received a box of clothing from our friends
by way of Boston, when the traders returned. Another box of goods
which was sent last year arrived at Mackinaw last spring.
Yours affectionately,
S. Hall
[To] Mr. D. Green.
[Postmark:] Mackinaw 27
Nov 16
[Addressed:] Mr. David Greene
Missionary Rooms
Boston Masstts
[Endorsed:] Rev. Sherman Hall,
Dec. 4, 1832
Ans. Dec. 12, 1832.

Lac du Flambeau, Sept. 30, 1832
Dear Brother - - I am now at this place on a visit of a few days to the
Indians here. This is the trading post occupied by Mr. Oaks, one of the
principle traders of the American Fur Company. I left La Pointe on the 17th
inst, and shall return very soon. Our family were well when I, left. There
will probably bit an opportunity of sending to Green Bay in a few months
by way of one of Mr. O.'s outposts, and I will improve it to write
a letter or two to my distant friends. I do not feel very confident however
that these letters will ever reach N. England. It is probably the only oppor-
tunity I shall have to send to a Post-Office before the latter part of winter,
if before next summer. I had expected opportunities of sending to St. Peters,
but the opposition to the trade of the A. F. [Ms. illegible: one letter] in
that quarter having ceased, there are not the facilities of sending this year
as last. An Express is expected. to be sent from Mackinaw to La Pointe in Jan.
or Feb. next and return. There is no certainity however that it will be sent.
If you hear no more from us till next summer, you need not be surprised. We
shall write to our friends by every opportunity. When these will occur we cannot
Your two letters and one from sister L. and letters from various other
friends together with a box of clothing &c. and the box containing my wife's
goods, reached us on the return of Mr. Warren in Aug. These were the first
letters I had received from my friends after I left Mackinaw last year. B.
received one from one of her sisters by Mr. Boutwell in June, which was written a
year ago. The letters and papers we received were indeed a "feast of fat
things" to us. I am greatly obliged to you for the Chronicle and other papers
which you sent, which is the only complete file of paper, we have been able
to obtain. Those sent by mail all arrived. We feel ourselves under very
great obligations to our friends for the box they sent us, both on account
of its intrinsic value, and as a pledge that we are remembered by them and
receive their sympathies & prayers. We can assure them that such tokens of their
regard and sympathy are not a little encourage us in our work. We hope they
will remember us again in a similar manner. They are to us as kindred and
friends indeed, and to see the names of one and another attached to their
contribution, seems almost to bring us again into the society of those who
were once our associates, and whom we can never forget. Our hearts were
made glad too by the cheering intelligence of what the Lord has wrought for
the churches of late; and especially of what he has done for our native place
and for our friends. Our joy was almost to great when we read the names of
some our dearest friends, "our kindred according to the flesh," amongst the
number of those who had covenanted to be the Lords. They seem to us dearer
than ever. We feel that they are drawn around our hearts by a new cord of at-
tachment, by a cord too which death itself cannot sever.
I could dwell on these subjects till my sheet should be full. But the
various inquiries which you make demand the remainder of it. You inquire re-
specting the manner of building in this country. You are aware I suppose that
the Indians build no kind of timbered houses. Their dwellings consist of a
few barks thrown over a slight frame work of small poles set in the ground
and tied together with a bark string at the top. The timbered houses are
therefore built by those who come to this country for trade. You are also
aware that we have no mills of any kind for sawing timber or grinding grain.
All timber for building must be prepared by hand. A few buildings are reared
nearly in the old Yankee manner of building log houses, that is of round
timbers locked together at the ends. The most common method however, is to
build with hewed timber. There is a great abundance of good building timber
almost everywhere in this country. When a building is to be put up, the timber
(at the right hand of the page, typed sideways was the following comment.)
Don't forget the [Ms. illegible: one word] I wrote for.
for the sills, beams & posts are cut and squared into suitable sticks, usually
with a common axe, for a hewer's broad axe is seldom seen here, and no body
knows how to use it. The sills & beams are generally locked or halfed together
at the corners of the building, for few can frame them together with tenant
and mortice. A mortice is made in the sill for a post wherever it is needed
& an other in the beam. A groove is made in each post from top to bottom
about 2 inches in width, and three or four inches deep. Timbers are then
hewed six or seven inches thick and the ends cut till they are fitted to the
groove in the post, and of sufficient length to reach from one post to another. They
are then introduced one after another till the walls of the building are
completed. These timbers answer every purpose answered by studs, braces, and
boarding in the English mode of building. Whenever a window or a door is re-
quired, posts are erected, into which the ends of the timbers are introduced, instead
of of [sic] the main posts, and thus the required hole is made in the wall. A post
is placed at the centre of each end of the building which is continued above
the beam as high as the top of the roof is intended to be. A stick of timber
is then laid on the top of these posts reaching from one end of the building
to the other, and forms the ridge pole. The roof is then formed by laying one
end of timbers on this ridge pole and the other on the plate till the whole is
covered. These timbers answer the purpose of boards on the roofs of English
buildings. For shingling cedar barks are used. These barks are taken from
the white cedar which is plenty in this part of the country, in the early part
of summer. A single piece from 4 to 5 feet in length is pealed from each tree
which is left standing. It is a smooth bark, not thick, rather stringy, and
not brittle when dry. These barks are put upon the timbers of the roof in the
manner of shingles, and are secured by narrow strips of board which are laid
across them and spiked to the timbers. A roof of this kind will last several
- 4 -
years. The cracks between the timbers in the walls are plastered with a
hard clay which abounds in this country and are then covered with cedar bark
in the manner of the roof, if the building is intended for a house. We have
now completed the body of our building without the use of boards. Windows are
made of the same materials and in the same manner here as in N. England, that is,
a sash and glass makes a window, except occasionally a dried deerskin is used in
the stead there of. Sashes are made here; glass, nails and all other foreign
materials for building are imported as other foreign goods are. To this post they
are brought more than 50 miles of the way on men's backs. We come now to the in-
side of our building where boards are at least convenient. These are all
made by hand. The log is cut and hewed on two opposite sides to the thickness
of 9 inches or a foot. It is then raised to the height of 6 or 7 feet from
the ground and rests upon timbers. Lines are then struck as near to each other
as the thickness of the board requires a saw which is made to follow. One man stands
upon the stick to be sawed, and manages one end of a saw 5 or six feet in length, and
made for this kind of business; while a second stands under it and manages the other.
The saw operates nearly in the same manner as that of a common saw mill.
It is not however confined in a frame like [Ms. torn: one word illegible].
The timber is cut only with the downward stroke which both the men
contribute to produce. Two men will saw from a dozen to 20 of these
boards per day, which are usually 10 or 12 feet in length. After our boards
are made, floors, partitions, doors &c. can made in this country as well as
any other. For purposes. of plastering, cementing &c. clay is used instead
of lime, none of which is found about Lake Superior. Chimneys are made of
stones and clay, the art ofbrick making not having travelled so high up yet.
The manner I cannot nowdescribe. It is not however like the Yankee manner of
building stone chimnies
Now as to living. The grand article of Living at La Pointe is fish. The
same is true of many other places in the Indian country. We have some salt meat
which is brought into the country. Our flour and our corn are also imported as
very little of the latter and none of the former is raised in the country.
Peas, potatoes & garden vegetables we raise in sufficient quantities for our consumption.
Fresh meat is seldom seen at our station. In some parts of the
country wild meat, such as deer, bear &c. is plenty at some seasons. There are
now at the Pointe a small stock of cattle which is increasing. Our family have
one cow. Fish is generally taken in nets. The nets and manner in which they
are used, I have not time now to describe. They are set in the water and re-
main from night till morning and sometimes longer. We cook our fish by boiling
it in water, by broiling on a gridiron, and by frying it in fat. We usually eat it
without butter.Fish usually constitutes a part of every meal with us,
when we can get it. We always have it fresh except a part of the winter. We
never salt any except late in the fall. It is not so easily obtained in winter
as in summer. It is the fashion to take but two meals a day in this country.
The people here think themselves happy if they get something to eat twice in
24 hours. We follow the fashion of the country, and get no dinner We now care but
little about our middle meal. The butter, lard, tallow &c. which comes
over is principally of foreign production. A little butter is now made at the
Pointe but not enough to supply the inhabitants. As for cheese, a single one
which a friend at Mackinaw gave us, constituted our stock for last year, and
we had one for our present year 's supply. This was probably made in Ohio.
Our sugar molasses &c. is the production of the country and is extracted from the
maple tree. We make use of hulled corn & peas as articles of living in our family.
We obtain also a little wild rice occasionally. It is not very plenty however about us.
Our living is on the whole good. It is simple, wholesome, plain, substantial, and
relishes well. We are contented with it, and though it has a great deal of sameness,
we do not get tired of it. We have a good supply of potatoes thisyear. You never
need to feel the least anxiety about us on account of our
living. It is good enough for us and we can always obtain suitable quantities
of provisions by laying in a stock in season. I have filled my sheet without
saying half I want to. We shall answer L. 's and the little girls letters by
the next opportunity of sending. They must not wait for letters from us before
they write again. We thank them for their letters. Betsey & the little girls
enjoy good health.
Mr Aaron Hall Jr.
Corners, Weathersfield
[The following paragraph was written at the bottom of the page below the
This little corner of my sheet I will devote to mother. Tell her I regret to hear
of her sickness last spring -- hope she has now recovered. I shall never forget
her while I live -- my thougts [sic] often dwell on her. We shall probably never
meet again this side the grave. I regret to have been the occasion of pain to was
her by going so far from her. A conviction that it was my duty to leave my friends
for the sake of the heathen was the only motive that brought me to this wilder-
ness. The same conviction continues me here contentedly. She need feel no
concern for us. We have enough to eat, and to wear, and never enjoyed better
health. God will provide for us all things necessary. We have perhaps never
enjoyed more in the same length of time, than since we have been in field of
the Lord. We have had trials, but they have for our good we hope. She should
feel no anxiety on our account. We are in the hands of the Lord.
[The following paragraph was written across the page below the superscription.]
Tell Mr. S. Parker I got his letter & am obliged to him for writing. I shall
send a letter to Mr. Converse with this. Betsey sends one also to Mrs. Bennet.
She would have written to Lydia & others if she had supposed there would have been
an opportunity of sending. I am glad to hear that your health has improved
since I left you. Keep the Chronicle for me. Write early in the winter &
this fall too. I will write a letter for the Chronicle as soon as I can. I
could not find time now. Give my love to Father, your wife and all my
friends. Yours affectionately,
S. Hall