Friday, January 9, 2009

Sac & Fox Mission Trip, Part III

I've been reading Cutting Marsh's journal of the Sac and Fox Expedition. As you can see above, his hand-writing isn't the easiest to make out, but the journal is a worth-while read for anybody who is interested in what it was like to travel the Midwest in the 1830's. One disappointment is that, so far, Marsh has said very little about his traveling companions, four Stockbridge Mohicans, all devout Christians. On the positive side, Marsh relates a remarkable trip. Along the Mississippi River, and into what is now Iowa, Marsh runs into "Winnebagoes" (we now call them Ho-Chunk Indians), observes young Sioux men dancing, and meets quite a few whites. He describes most of the whites as being either "professors of Methodism" or "Universalists," and laments that the Indians are "in darkness" (meaning that they weren't Christians).

It seems there are between two to four men named Davenport that Marsh comes in contact with during the trip. In Part II of this series of posts, I told you about a trader named George Davenport. It seems that in Marsh's entries of June 28-29, 1834 he is dealing with a different Davenport, this one being a United States Indian Agent. Although Marsh said he found Agent Davenport to be "quite an agreeable man," he was the one to tell Marsh that Sac and Fox Chief Keokuck (see photo) had already declined the offer to have a mission school for his people. Davenport told Marsh that Keokuck "said the Great Spirit had given them mouths to speak with and they did not wish to learn to talk on paper."

Like the good Calvinist that he was, Marsh remarked in his journal, "perhaps it is on account of the pride in my heart that God seems to thwart my designs."

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