Territorial Dispatch 170 years ….

Posted 5/18/22

Territorial Dispatch 170 years ago THE DAKOTA FRIEND/DAKOTA TAWAXITKU KIN August 1852 The story of Joseph Renville (continued and concluded from last week) In 1819 Col. Snelling commenced the …

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Territorial Dispatch 170 years ….


Territorial Dispatch 170 years ago THE DAKOTA FRIEND/DAKOTA TAWAXITKU KIN August 1852 The story of Joseph Renville (continued and concluded from last week) In 1819 Col. Snelling commenced the erection of the massive stone fort at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota. From this time Renville became more acquainted with the people of the United States, and some of his posts being within the limits fo the Republic, and there being great commotion in the Hudson’s Bay Company, he with several other experienced trappers established a new company in 1822, which they called the Columbia Fur Company. Of this new organization he was the presiding genius. When Major Long arrived at Fort Saint Anthony, as Snelling was then called, in the year 1823, he became acquainted with Renville, and engaged him as the interpreter of the expedition to explore the Minnesota, and Red River of the North.

The Historian of the expedition, Professor Keating gave to the world, one of the most interesting accounts of the Dakota nation, that has ever been published, and he states that for the information he is indebted to the subject of this sketch.

Shortly after the Columbia Fur Company commenced its operations, the American Fur Company of New York, of which John Jacob Astor, was one of the directors, not wishing any rivals in the trade, purchased their posts, and good will, and retained the “couriers des bois” (forest runners/voyageurs).

Under this new arrangement, Renville removed to Lac-qui-Parle, and erected a trading house, and here he resided until the end of his days.

Living as he had done for more than a half century among the Dakotas, over whom he exercised an unbounded control, it was not surprising that in his advanced age he sometimes exhibited a domineering disposition. As long as Minnesota exists, he should be known as one given to hospitality. He invariably showed himself to be the friend of the Indian, the Traveller, and the Missionary.

He used his influence towards the raising of grain amongst the Dakota. He was instrumental in having the first seed corn planted on the Upper Minnesota. An Indian never left his house hungry, and they delighted to do him honor…( much time passes, Renville’s wife joins the Church of Christ at Lacqui- Parle)…In 1841, he was chosen and ordained a ruling Elder, and from that time, till his death, discharged the duties of the office in a manner acceptable both to the native members of the Church, and the Mission.

After a sickness of some days, in March 1846, his strong frame began to give evidence of speedy decay. He was aware that he was soon to take “His chamber in the silent halls of death,” but he knew “in whom he had believed,” and went, “Not like a quarry slave, at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed,, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

Sixty-seven years passed by, before he closed his eyes upon the world. The citizens of Kentucky delight in the memory of Daniel Boone; let the citizens of Minnesota, not forget Joseph Renville.

The writer is well aware, that the deceased had some defects of character, which made him appear double- minded or unstable, if not double-faced, but has borne in mind the trite maxim “De mortuis, nil nisi bonum.”

“Of the dead, nothing except good.” St. Paul.

Indian Farming.—The Indian’s of Six’s band (bigger than immediate family, but smaller than a tribe) have formerly planted from eighty to one hundred acres of corn on the low land along the Minnesota river, and raised good crops, till the last two years, when almost their whole fields have been destroyed by floods. At the usual time of planting this year, their ground was underwater, and consequently they have planted only, perhaps five or ten acres, in little patches here and there. The Lake Calhoun band have also lost their crops both of the two last years. This season they have planted about ten acres on the upland instead of thirty-five or forty as usual on the low land. The other bands of the Mdewankantonwans plant on the upland and have under cultivation about their usual quantity. Crow’s band have about sixty acres of corn which now looks exceedingly well. The Indians are spending most of their time in feasting, dances and games, patiently waiting for the President to ratify or reject the treaty. Many of them would like well to have the treaty rejected, because then they could harass without hindrance, the hundreds who have made “claims” on their land and eventually enjoy the luxury, for it is a luxury to them, of making another treaty… Addendum: The Dakota Mission deems it inadvisable, while the Indians are so unsettled, to continue the Friend.

If the prospect is more encouraging it will be resumed hereafter.

One month earlier July 1852 …A Mr. Babcock and some others are building a saw mill some four miles above here on the opposite side of the river. They say it will be in operation in June, treaty ratified or not.

It is not probable that the members of Congress are all aware of the number of persons who will be pecuniarily (i.e. “monetarily”) injured, nor the extent to which they will be injured by the rejection of the “Sioux Treaty.” It would in very many instances be the wreck of all their earthly hopes and fortunes.

P. S. Since the above was in type, we are gratified to learn that the treaty has been ratified.