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VOL. XI —NO. 21.
[ Written for the Pioneer and Democrat.] the: golden year. To the far-off Colchian shore, the Argo Crept o’er the storm-grey sea to touch the Fleece Which goldenly gleamed out upon the deep ; And when the sun went down, strained eyes did gaze To where the glittering ripple touched the wave, And maiked the goal of long and dreary toil. As Jason sailed to grasp the Golden Fleece, So, cycles later, toiled new Argos filled 1 With hearts expectant of the fancied joy, j To where the Western sands tossed in the spray Their more than Atrian wealth, and where the land 1 Glowed with the throbbing veins of virgin gold; 1 So men for years have sought the Golden shore, A few to grasp the gold, and more to fight Attenuating want and danger dark, Aud some to stretch in death their wearied limbs, In savage wilds, adding their ghastly bones To the grim thousands there. Thus ever men Have wasted youth and strength in distant hopes, The while the earth they spurn behind them far, Cradles a brighter gold and surer yield, Than sun scorched sands reveal, thromgh dewy toil. In truth, God’s earth doth bitterly reproach The wandering race ; for every year she calls For human toil to ease her of her wealth, And where man toileth not, she pants beneath Her own wild wealth ot bloom and waving grass. [here, Thank God! that man has learned the lesson And surely found the gold beneath his feet. Daily the full, golden sheaves, royally Roll to the sheltering barns, ’mid joyou3 song, Like glittering conquerors, victorious borne ' Into the bosom of imperial Rome. ! For every field of grain hath poured its tide Of waving affluence to the san-browned hands, And joyed the stronger hearts of those who toiled, i And braved the fervid sun for daily bread, j God’s sun and shower have dressed the mur muring land [with With rippling smiles ; have met the thankless A God like hand of grace and kindly look: Have poured a golden tide of wealth and bread Upon the universal man, and left j Him no complaint. And yet the Good Right Hand Which nursed these fields of bread and watered them With tenderest care— bringing the kindly sun To breathe his warmth and stir the germ of life, i Till th' inert grains sprang into merry stalks— This Good Right Hand works on, by man ignored. Remember you who murmur bitterly, Because you suffer for your own misdeed, In looking every where but unto God ; Remember evermore this Golden Year ; I Remember how the earth hath smiled with God, Aud let her smiles flow through thy thankless heart, As the soft flow of summer waves upon A flowery shore, or as the pleasant sound Of summer wind among the summer trees. ALROY. ! Ruse Township, Sep'. X, ISSO. THE EXPEDITION TO FRAZEE RIVER letters from Col. Nobles’ Parly. Burbauk's Stage Line—'The Anson Northru —Fort Abercrombie —Captain ILivis—English Noblemen and Scotch Lassies—A Present Fact and a Future Inference. Fort Abercrombie, July, 1859. On the 4th day of July the first regular mail stage to the Red River arrived at Fort Abercrombie, with the U. S. Mail and two coach loads of passengers tor the British settlements in the north, —eight days after the pioneer steamboat, “Auson Northup,” had returned from her first trip to Fort Garry, and unfolded to social use and value the long hidden scroll of navigable waters, on which Nature has written the pregnant prophecy ol future States and peoples. The establishment of a stage route to the Red River, and the opening of navigation on that stream to Lake Winnipeg, are the first accomplished links in the chain of active commercial communication, which it is the ambition of the people of Minnesota to stretch across the Northwestern wilderness to the Pacific Ocean. Aud when the gen tlemeu at Fort Abercrombie told me that the Anniversary of the nation’s proudest day had not been celebrated there in the usual torm for want of certain indispensable blank cartridges, I could not help thinking that the rumble of Burbank’s & Co’s four horse coaches, and the snort of Anson Northcp’B little steamboat, were a better echo to the million-throated voices of the day than all the sulphurous rancor of artille ry. These two events, which thus salute each other in the midst of the wilderness, open a new and cardinal epoch in the his tory of Minnesota. When I met Anson Northup and his party at Alexandria, after the comple tion of the round trip to Fort Garry, on his return to St. Paul, with a load of lady passengers from Selkirk, you will comprehend the chagrin I felt on being so atrociously cheated out of the romance of that first voyage on the secret waters of the north. It was some compensation for the loss of a personal share in the glory of the affair, that my friend Woodbury was on board the Anson Northrop, to fill the part of historian, and had taken ample notes for the benefit of the press. But, with the heavy imprint of Burbank & Co.’s coaches before us, to mark our way to the Red River, and the secret of the river stolen by the Anson Northrop, all sense of novelty seemed banished from the route. All the freshness had died out of the solitudes when Capt. Blakely had marked out stations and stables for a stage route; and the waters of the river, in the prospect of unwinding link by link the mystery of whose ways I had found a strange fascination, now, once ravished of their virgin charm, seem stale, and old, and dull. All about the voyage of the Anson Northrop, and—as your corres pondent, Mr. Taylor, came by stage—all about the adventurous opening of the stage through sloughs and woods, and over, and sometimes under rivers without bridges, you know, of course, already. If you think Blakely came by Abercrombie in any one horse hack concern, you must have a “mighty” poor opinion of Burbank & Co.’s resources : four-horse coaches, and two of them at that—nothing less than the best turnout of the establishment—to carry the mail weekly, as per contract, to Fort Aber crombie ; with a precious burden, beside, of rosy Scotch lassies, looking for their lovers among the icebergs, and of certain lazy, rollicking English boys, of whom, I think, I made mention in their place, before. And if you are indulging, Gentlemen Editors, in the arrogant delusion, which would be just like you by the way, that the “ Anson Northrop” is a mere scow, with an improvised attachment of engine and wheels, you will be, as usual, mightily mistaken, Gentlemen. The Anson Northrop, to be sure, is not as large nor as magnificent as an ocean steamship of the Collins’ line, but in her dimensions she is exactly suited to the capacity of the stream ; and in her appoint ments to the immediate necessities of the travel and trade hitherward. Everybody acquainted with the circumstances under which she was fitted up, and the materials at hand, expresses an unaffected astonish ment at the neatness and finish of the joiners’ work. Her cabin is contracted to be sure, and without carpet or gilding, or paint out side or in ; but these luxuries are not indis pensable in a country where the prevailing carpet is the green grass of the prairie, and where the voyage is performed almost with out a spectator for five hundred miles. The cabin is without staterooms ; but the smooth board bunks with their calico hangings, may be supposed to meet every demand t>f luxury, in a country where a buffalo robe spread upon the ground is a couch for a lord. ***** * Rough place, this Abercrombie ! Ten thousand dollars expended to make one moderately sized cottage on the prairie, for the quarters of commanding officer—which, by the way, absorbs eight-tenths of the ap propriation in a universal ceiling, and square edging and joining from top to bottom, and is not yet half finished—and the residue gone into a number of low mud-c Linked log huts for the subordinate and private fry, ar ranged in the form of a square under the big treees of Graham’s Point, to frighten the Indiaus. This is no place to requite with compli ments the graceful hospitality and courtesy of the officers whom we found at the fort, with one company of infautry, all which the caprices of the War Department have left there. Captain Davis was in expecta tion, with every mail, to receive orders to vacate the premises. Unless the govern ment intended to plant a fort somewhere on this unprotected frontier otter which it is ex tending its surveys, there should surely be a strong effort made by the friends of pro gress in this direction to impress upon the federal authorities the serious impolicy of this movement. It was interesting to observe in the hum ble rooms, which serve for the temporary quarters of the officers —how an educated taste can develope an air of comlort and even luxury from the rude materials of frontier life, and this too, in the quarters of a jolly set of bachelors—in which no part of the credit is to be awarded to the tact, the inventiveness, the refining influence ol female supervision. —We found the English party encamped just above the fort, and the bonnie Scotch lassies assigned, by the politeness of Capt. Davis, to a comfortable lodgment in some of the finished rooms of the commanding officers’ unoccupied quarters—the whole party deeply disappointed that the “ Anson Northrop ” was not to proceed for a time upon her second trip. Capt. Blakely,how ever, was energetically engaged in building a batteau lor the transportation of the party, with their innumerable trunks and other in dispensablesof English and Scotch comfort. SAINT PAUL, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1859 I have come to the conclusion that the girls are decidedly handsome—and then, when they are mothers, their children will be heroes. On the 7th, Kittson’s carts crossed the river here under the direction of his partner, Sargent, with several hundred packs of furs which had been brought down by the steamboat to the Fort and stored there. The passage of the carts and furs was made on the ‘ r Anson Northup.” The swimming of the cattle and horses across the stream, and their struggles to ascend the muddy banks opposite, afforded quite an exciting spectacle, and made a pleasant mornings’ holiday for the Fort people. j. a. w. Red River Scenery—Bad and Good Roads—Embryo Cities—Lafayette, Dakota, and Sheyenne—The Sheyenne. Editorial Correspondence of the Pioneer and Democrat. On the Road. July, 1859. From some misdirection, during the tem porary absence of Col. Nobles at the Fort, the train ascended the right bank of the river, with the view of crossing on the steamboat at Fort Abercrombie ; but this beiDg found inexpedient, it was resolved to make the crossing at Lafayette, about forty five miles farther down. The dark bays and promontories of tim ber which cover the spiral involutions of the river bottoms, close with its crooked shadows on our left, and the perpetual, mirage-like spectre of the Leaf or Pelican hills still banging on the far horizon of the East, were the only relief to the endless platitude of the wide sea ot grass about, until the black line of the timber on Buffalo, which flows into the Red above Lafayette, rose up before us, or when we caught glimpses of the Sheyenne woods through the parted foliage ol the trees on our left. We reached Lafayette on the 7th, and found the crossing, from the muddiness of the banks, so horribly bad, that the expedi tion will have performed a material service to the emigrant if its experience in this re spect should admonish the emigraut to take another route —of which route question by and by, when we get better posted. This I tnay say now, however, upon the authority of Sir George Simpson, whom we met near Graham’s Point, and of others who had just passed over the route— that a far better road than that taken by us, is the one which crosses the Red River at the ford some six miles above the fort, and thence by the old trail along the head of the streams, which Wood and Pope followed in 1849, under the guidance of Joseph Rolette. Ex. cept the Wild Rice Crossing, which might be bridged in two hours by half a dozen men, the road is as smooth and as dry as the sidewalks of Broadway the whole distance to Pembina. The road out from the Shay enue crossing to Elm river, passes over a low marshy surface, intersected with numer ous coulees and bad sloughs. Lafayette is the name given to a prospec tive town, laid out in the woods on the east bank of the river, nearly opposite the mouth of the Shayenne rive". There are a couple of log houses, whose builders seem to have taken a hint from the elevated styles of Egyp tian architecture, in so far as to place the houses on piles or blocks, some three or four feet above the ground and above the reach of the inundations, which once in a while sweep over the valley of this Northern Nile. Dakota City, perched with its single hut, upon the high bank opposite, is apparently beyond the reach of floods. Shayenne, where the “ Anson Northrop ” was built, is a mile further down, contained in two houses, nestling in the wooded fringe of the river bottom, where the ways on which the little steamer was launched and the loose timber strown about the eventful scene, are the most interesting objects. At the close of a toilsome afternoon,em ployed in crossing the train, Mr. Taylor and myself took a canoe ride of a half mile or so from the ferry to the mouth of the Shey enne. We found it a difficult job to paddle our little boat against the rapid current hereabout, but by a dexterous use of the roots and bushes along the banks, we man aged to pull ourselves to a point of observa tion. We found the mouth of the Sheyenne here nearly as wide as the Red River itself—perhaps 120 feet—and a strong, deep, smooth current issuing from it that indicated the immense volume of water it collects from its numerous tributaries in these long van-like reaches to the south and north. I should not forget to say that Mr. J. W. Taylor joined our party at Abercrom bie, on his way to Fort Garry, and enters with a most companionable zest into the novel life of the camp. Of the interior incidents of this life—of the routine of daily travel—of the social and domestic experiences of the camp—of sleep ing and waking, and eating and smoking— of mosquitoes and smudges, and woodtieks and—worse —I will attempt to tell you something whenever I can get round to it. J. A. W. Buffalos—Chasing the Monarch of the Prairies—Exciting Sport—The Game Bagged. Editorial Corre pondenee of the Pioneer 4" Democrat. Camp at Elm River, July 11, 1859, We had not gone over twenty-five miles from the mouth of the Sheyenne, where the half a dozen occupants of the few shanties thereabout, were half starving for something good to eat—fish as a regular article of diet not coming in that category—when, as I live! viands for a regiment of hungry gods! brought to us in the pockets of Jupiter’s old coat—a bull’s hide, you will remember, with a bill inside of it. Off to the right of us, some three miles away, as we neared the valley ol the Elm, some one caught sight of a solitary buffalo, careering at full speed towards the North west. There was some incredulity at first, till field glasses and telescopes had proved his genus and species, and settled him into a veritable bison bull; and then when every body had contributed his individual testi mony to the zoological fact in question, and claimed it as his particular discovery, there was some press of preparation to go after him and kill him, which came to nothing, as it was scarcely worth it. Ascending a ridge which overlooked the valley of the Elm, a few horsemen of us, a couple of hours afterwards, saw what we took fur two buffaloes browsing in the plains before us, some five miles to the Northwest, two apparently motionless, black specks, that looked like nothing else in all the stereo typed forms of the prairie, and logically must be buffaloes. Must be buffaloes ? thirty miles from the city of Shayenne where a steamboat had been built a few, weeks before, and men were living on crumbs of rusty pork?—real, live monsters of the desert, grazing at home, within a day’s journey of those townsites, that had posi tively been the subject of stock speculation, to the detriment m linly of the speculators ? Were these the bulls ot change, come from the Strand of Miniwakan, to toss Sheyenne Shari'S into the market again ? These were buffaloes indeed, but the sight of their shaggy shoulders, and sleek flanks, kindled less a thirst for the glory of conquer ing them in battle, than lor the juicy meat that lay stored for us under their royal hides. A slow trot of half an hour brought us within full view of the noble animals, still browsing gently, unconscious of our ap proach. Then Bill Caldwell and Judge Lynch, who were ahead, began to catch the enthusiasm of the chase, and let off at a rate of speed, that I did not care to extort just then from my precious “ Lady Mary, ” mare of mine, and which I blush to say, was not within the resources of “ Dan Rice,” friend Marble’s stolid Indian pony. Caldwell and Lynch, whose approach was mullled by the wind, had advanced within a quarter of a mile, when the buffaloes took the alarm—and, then, the chase! No thought now of the juicy meat under his shaggy mane; nothing but the bounding exultation of the swift pursuit—nothing now but to overmatch him in his majestic leap ; and the grand triumph of confronting and conquering the wild strength of the monarch of the prairies. Fuli rein to Lady Mary ! spurs to Dan Rice ! Flash—crash ! there — Caldwell and Lynch are tugging, closing to their terriflic sides, and pouring alternate broadsides into their flanks. Marble joins the chase, Dan Rice all wild with the hunter’s fire. On they go, brave boys! rushing and firing in a frantic glee ; while the stately old bulls kept steadily plunging forward, with lead enough in their sides to sink a ship, aud as heedless of the new sensation as a sixty gun frigate under a fire of musketry. The two animals separated, Marble fol lowing one alone, which he brought down with his maiden shot, breaking the animal’s leg the first time. As he had no more car tridges, he could not follow up this exploit; but the disabled animal was killed in the course of the day. In the meantime, Cald well and Lynch were joined by Nobles and Hamilton in the pursuit of the other buffalo; and it was not till they had run him two or three miles, and he had been pounded all over with bullets of every weight and form, that the august monster finally yielded to the unequal attack of four full blooded white individuals, and the combined fatality of dead shots. He fell like Caesar, scarcely turning in his track, while the shots were pouring into his bowels; he turned his large wild eye upon his pursuers, and sinking, with a splendid shiver, upon his fore knees, seemed lying down to rest, till the quick, tremulous wrench of his limbs, as he fell flat on the ground, told us that the noble brute was dead. The hunters stood around him, as he lay upon his side, at a respectful distance—whether from a feeling of reverence for the dead, or from a linger ing fear that be might not be dead about the horns, I cannot say. Then the smell of prospective viands re turned. The sleek hide was torn from his bleeding side; Jove’s pockets were searched to their innermost seam; and the treasures of fat meat carried home in two carts, to the camp on Elm River, where we remained on the day following (Sunday.) The day was spent in jerking buffalo meat, a process which consists simply in cutting the meat into thin slices and drying it in the sun or over a fire. Pemb'na—An Agreeable Change—Monotonous Scenery— The Red River Valley—A Blueberry Feast and ROiui dfcence—Kinnekinnick and Its Substitutes— Strawberri s—One of the Party goes a Berrying, and Loses his Way—Searching for a Philosopher. Editorial Correspondence of the Pioneer and Democrat. Pembina, July 25, 1859, One feels as if he had been dead a hundred years or so, and had woke out of a mild purgatorial probation—half unconditioned torpor, mere negation of all activities, and half an Inferno of mosquitoes—into another existence, in a strange, new world, in emerg ing from the sleepy days and sleepless nights of a journey down the Red River valley, and all its vacant towns and empty spaces, to find himself alive and talking face to face with these strange wild picturesque Pem binese—of whom by and by. The party arrived here on the 18th, nearly a week ago, in ten days from Elm river, or in thirteen days lrom Abercrom bie. There is nothing interesting in the route, which is a constant repetition of the level surface forms of the valley. The topography of one day’s journey is as like another as so many pancakes, which we seem to be turning off from the immense griddle of the horizon, smoking hot from the fiery oven of the sun. One day’s experience is that of every other. We plunge from a shore of wood in the morning to bury our selves for a few hours in a sea of grass, and to emerge at evening on apparently the same dark shore again. Beyond the Elm river, the principal streams we crossed, on our route, were the Goose, Turtle, Salt, Clark and Pembina rivers, all small streams, a rod or two only in width at the crossings, running in nearly the same general southeasterly direction, and embracing between these wooded val leys naked sketches of prairie from 18 to 25 miles wide. A dense growth of Ash, Ma ple, Elm, and Biss wood covers the narrow bottoms of all these streams, except where their shores, nearly level with the prairie, afford no protection against fire. That portion of the valley over which our trail guided us, consists of two or three immense plateaux, the difference of whose actual elevation is so slight, as to be scarce ly sensible in the transition, but which are in reality great enough to give an imposing ap pearance of abruptness in the illusory per spective of these dead levels—where a bunch of grass a little ranker than its neighbors seems a grove of wood, and a herb, dense enough to cast a shadow, is liable to be mistaken for a tree or a buffalo. The lower of those plateaux, adjacent to the R J d River, extends for tweuty or thirty miles back—a perfectly fiat surface, and showing immense districts of marsh, indica ted by the rank overgrowth of coarse sedge 3. The stagnant surface water, concealing the stinks of Acheron under its superficial sweetness, spreads for miles over t hese grassy flats, which are partially drained here and there in numerous centres and ravines, in which, in dry seasons, the water collects in deep, rush-margined sinks, where it keeps quite cool and pure —unless you stir it too deeply, and Acheron salutes you again with its vorive incense. In rainy seasons the redundant water a:- cumulates here in streams, and the centres become temporary rivers of considerable depth and velocity. All this level, which extends, on both sides of the river, along its whole length, is, in fact, the great Red River bottom, subject to inundations that at pe riods of years turn nearly the whole valley for hundreds of miles in length, and from fifty to seventy-five or more in breadth, into an inland sea. The trail generally avoids this alluvial bottom when it is practicable, and follows the higher and dryer ground of the upper plateau, above the junctions of the principal forks, whose gentle undula tions, or ranges of dome-like ridges, relieve the level lines of the horizon, and sloughs seldom interrupt the progress of carts. All the aspects ot vegetation indicate not only the better drainage of the surface, but the change of soil from the dense Nile Lake clays of the bottom, to a lighter and more silicious mould. The verdure is finer and sweeter, and spangled with constellations ot flowers—among which the deep scarlet of the lily, the soft blue of the harebell, the white and yellow gerauium, and several species of sunflower and native clover are conspicuous for their rich contrasts of color. The crossings of all the streams in the higher levels are excellent, with rocky bot toms and firm shores, while, on the lower plateau, the crossings are generally as bad as the most inextricable Red River mud can make them. In breaking through the ridg;es these streams form deep channels under high steep banks, whose winding gulls, darkened with NEW SERIES—NO. 195. masses of foliage, form fine pictures to re lieve the eternal platitudes of the plain around. Some of the finest of these points have been selected with the native taste of the voyageurs and Indians, as camping grounds. On the edge of the high bluffs of Salt River, where we camped on the evening of the 15th, the hungry party anticipated sup per by a delicious repast on a thick growth of blueberries which we found there. This, to me, familiar fruit—a species of huckle~ berry—tne first I have seen this side of the Alleghenies, awoke reminiscences long for gotten, of hazy blueberry fields, far away under the fogs of another sky, and I took my revenge on the luscious berries for many a thrashing I had receive 1 on their account in the good old truant school days, when this independent line of botanical investiga tion was not in the regular course of study— among the “ ceruleo-nasals,” as Holmes has it. The leaf of this shrub forms a fa vorite ingredient in the pemmican made up this way, instead of the pembina, or high bush cranberry, to which Dr. Parry assigns this place in his catalogue. Among the shrubbery of these bottoms, we found frequent bushes of the Comm Sericea, or Red Rod, a species of Dogwood conspicuous among the willow fringes of the streams. This is the only genuine Kinne kinnic of the Indians. The Red Osier, or Willow, as it is popularly called, also abounds. This is often mistaken for the real Kinnekinnic, and, indeed, is the com mon substitute for it among the Lake Su perior Indians, who have not access to the genuine article. When this is not to be obtained, the leaves of the cranberry and winterberry are used by the Indians to di lute the narcotic properties of the tobacco, whose effects are much increased by the universal Indian custom of exhaling the smoke from the nose. These latter diluents are said to be very pleasant. They are pre pared by passing the leaves through aflame, or more leisurely drying them by the fire, when the preparation is called Pahgezegum. The Kinnekinnic is prepared for smoking by scraping off and drying the inner bark of the Red Rod upon an extemporized gridi ron of willow withes, which the Indians contrive for the purpose. July 19,1859. It is a favorite quotation of my friend J., from ancient English Fuller, that “ doubtless God might have made a better berry than the strawberry, but doubtless God never did.” We had seen but few strawberries till we reached the valley of the Red River, where the rich clayey soil seems in the highest degree favorable to their growth ; and there they increased in abundauce and perfection as we went north ward though their beautiful red vines were almost everywhere woven with the grasses of the uplands. They are found generally in round patches, on gentle swells of the prai rie, where they reach the perfection of full ness and ripeness under the thick herbage, or are sprinkled in the deep but well sunned grasses which shadow the dark ruts of the trail. It is thus that nature dishes up her choicest delicacies in the path of the trav eller. If nature would just add a little cream to the repast, aud sprinkle a modi cum of sugar therein, it would do more credit to her hospitality. Our horsemen, regardless of this defect of preparation, might have been frequently seen in groups of halt a dozen or more, far behind the train kneeling on the sward, with the bridle in one hand, and with the other gathering handfulls of strawberries with a sweep of the fingers under the vines, drinking down their delicious juices like brimmiug goblets of red wine stolen from the cellars ot Oberon. Strawberries came nigh beiDg the ruin of one of the party, who could not withstand the fatal snare of these tempting vines. It happened thus : On the morning of the 14th, after starting from the middle branch of the Goose river, nature indicated an in tention of supplying our demand for cream for our strawberries from a bbffalo cow, that was seen with a small herd of bulls in the night. Judge Lynch and Bill Cald wall undertook to replenish our supply of meat, anefafter- a bard chase of three or four miles, succeeded in killing a young fat bull. Lynch was, on this occasion, the hero of the fatal shot, although Cald wei.’s horse did so well in the perilous me nage of tin fray as to earn for his master the soubriquet of “ Buffalo Bill.” In the meantime the train had stopped for an early morning, and two or three pack horses and saddles were sent after the meat. On their return, Henry Smith, a sharp eyed Cree Half-Breed, directed the atten tion of the party to a moving figure in the distance, visible only to eyes accustomed to the large circumference of the prairie horizon, and which, as Henry was never without a conservative suspicion of Indians, he believed to be an Indian. Col. Nobles, with his field glass, resolved the vital speck into the erratic cook of Agony Hall, who always went ahead with his last ox, fol lowing an eceentric twist of the trail ; a scientific gentleman by bis side, with a telescope that nothing could beat, made it out a buffalo ; and as there could be no mis take about the telescope, the quadrupedal theory superseded both the white and red bipedal hypothesis. The train went on some miles ahead and the