Monday, March 23, 2009

The Mission House at Stockbridge, Wisconsin

If you look at the picture of the church building from this post which I blogged on February 28th, 2009, you'll see that the artist of that drawing labeled his or her work as the "Stockbridge Indian Mission," the "First Congregational Church in Wisconsin," and finally asserted that it was "Built in 1829." I questioned that date when I first saw the drawing and now I can show you why I questioned it. The evidence is in this painting. Obviously the same building is pictured in both pieces of art. The dispute is over the date and location.

The painting you see above is from the front cover of The Stockbridge Story. I have already written a post about the book.

Take a look at the white man in the painting. Based on a photo I've seen, it is a good likeness of Rev. Cutting Marsh. Since Marsh ministered to the Stockbridge Mohicans both at Grand Kawkawlin/Statesburg, and at Stockbridge, his presence in the painting will not tell us the location of the building.

The artist of the painting above is LuLu [Doxtator] Mattson, the sister of the book's co-author, Elaine Doxtator Raddatz. Both are enrolled members of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians. Both LuLu Mattson and the artist of the drawing in my February, 28, 2009 post were using the same photo as a model. (I've seen that photo in the print version of the Wisconsin Historical Collections, but couldn't locate it on the web.)

Elaine Doxtator Raddatz and her sister LuLu Mattson are possibly the last of their kind: Stockbridge Indians born in Stockbridge, Wisconsin. The treaty of 1856 sent most of the tribe to the current reservation in Shawano County, but there were a handful of Indians who were acknowledged as legitimate landowners by the federal government and allowed to stay in Calumet County/the town of Stockbridge, known informally to Shawano County Indians as "down below."

Anyway, on the issue of which church building is pictured, I side with Elaine and LuLu (I've communicated with both of them, but not met either in person). I believe the painting above (and the drawing featured in my post of February 28, 2009) is of the mission house at Stockbridge, Wisconsin, and not Statesburg/Grand Kawkawlin. the evidence is found in the photo you see below.
This is a photo of that same building. Sometime after this building was last used as a church/school/courthouse, it was converted into a blacksmith shop. Look at the church in the painting and then imagine the same building with the front steeple-part knocked out. The blog format tends to shrink most graphics somewhat which may make it harder to see the similarities in the painting and the photo, but if you ask me, it clearly is the same building: The Stockbridge [Wisconsin] Mission House, built in 1834.

Read about the last sermon preached in the old building.

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