Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tour of the American Lakes

Calvin Colton was an ordinary minister during the 1820's and then two things happened which changed his career path. First his voice failed, making preaching no longer possible, the other was that his wife died, making adventurous wilderness travel an option. So Colton headed out to what was called the Northwest Territory, now Wisconsin, to make observations which he recorded in Tour of the American Lakes, and Among the Indians of the North-west Territory, in 1830: Disclosing the Character and Prospects of the Indian Race (Re-printed by Kennikat Press in 1972).

Colton's report of the Stockbridge Mohicans and his description of their tribal Bible made it clear that he believed in the lost tribes theory

I saw a Bible yesterday, safely kept in a sort of ark, at their place of worship, (a remarkable relic of Hebrew custom), printed at Oxford, England, in 1717, of the largest and finest type I have ever seen.... It was transported with the tribe [from MA] to the state of New York; - and for aught I know, with all the sacerdotal solemnities of their Hebrew fathers, in ancient days..... Their reverence for this volume and for the ark which contains it is almost superstitious (pages 187-190).

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