John L's Old Maps / Supplementary Pages:    


With a little literature review and history –
much more of which can be found
on the various pages on this site.

Sources for the maps in the
Old Map Collection pages
are given here.


Old Map Collection – web version 4.2 (5/24/07):
  Part 1: c.1710-1857
  Part 2: 1873-1920
Supplementary Pages:
•  Evolution of Northwest Territory
•  Photos:  Source of Brule & St. Croix Rivers
•  Photos:  Sources of the Mississippi River
•  Photos:  Railroads and Trails
•  Views of the Apostle Islands
•  References (this page)

Cartography in General

This section will feature a number of books dealing with map-making in general, including collections of historical and unusual maps.

  • Jacobs, Frank.  2009.  Strange Maps – An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities. Viking Studio, Penguin Group. Note the description and reviews here.

  • More to come!

Hayward, Wisconsin History

Many interesting articles on Hayward area history appear in The Visitor, which is printed by The Country Print Shop, Inc. (P.O. Box 548, Hayward, WI 54843).

Books by the late historian Eldon Marple are invaluable to anyone interested in the history of Northwestern Wisconsin and particularly the Hayward area. The following are the four original compilations with their original publishing information.

  • 1971. The Visitor Who Came to Stay. Legacy of the Hayward Area. Country Print Shop, Hayward, WI.

  • 1976. A History of the Hayward Lakes Region...through the eyes of The Visitor Who Came and Stayed. Chicago Bay Grafix, Hayward, WI.

  • 1979. The Hayward Lakes Region. A Century of History for the Visitor. The Book Store, Hayward, WI.

  • 1984. The Visitor Writes Again. Country Print Shop, Hayward, WI.

Schoolcraft & Allen Expeditions – Mississippi, St. Croix and Brule Rivers

The following reference historical items relating to the source of the Mississippi River as examined by the Schoolcraft Expeditions of 1820 and 1832 (the latter with Lt. James Allen) and also the area of the St. Croix and Brule Rivers (and intervening portage) explored in 1832. One may find pdf copies of the original 19th Century books on the web. The "full titles" may be seen cited in part or in full wherever they may be referenced in publications. The recent books by Williams and Mason add journals, letters and notes by various participants and also some newspaper accounts.

  • Schoolcraft, Henry R. 1821. [Full title:] Narrative Journal of Travels through the Northwestern Regions of the United States extending from Detroit through the Great Chain of American Lakes, to the Sources of the Mississippi River. Performed as a Member of the Expedition under Governor Cass. In the Year 1820. E. & E. Horsford, Albany, NY.

  • Allen, James A. 1834. [Full title:] Schoolcraft and Allen – Expedition to North-West Indians. Letter from the Secretary of War transmitting a Map and Report of Lieut. Allen and H. B. Schoolcraft's Visit to the Northwest Indians in 1832. April 12, 1834. Read, and laid upon the table. Gales & Seaton, Washington.  (Any of the following are also seen in citations: "23d Cong., 1st sess., House of Representatives Document 323.")

    Although Lake Itasca was already known (under various names) as the actual source of the Mississippi River by natives and explorers prior to the 1832 expedition, this publication is the first which details the geographical position of the lake and the northward flow of the Mississippi out of it. Lt. Allen gives the coordinates of the lake's outlet as lat. 47°10'N and long. 95°54'W which is close to the actual 47°14'N and 95°12'W.

    The publication in its original form (minus the map) is downloadable here. No report from Schoolcraft is included; he saves that for his 1834 book (next). Part of the Report is Lt. Allen's Journal of the expedition. The entry for July 13, 1832 – the visit to Lake Itasca – is reproduced here.

    From what I can surmise from various on-line sources, this "letter" was published in a black leather volume with the insertion of Lt. Allen's map which had been redrawn by Lt. Drayton. Drayton's revisions alter some of the terrain and eliminate Allen's carefully described pond that drained out both ends into the St. Croix and the Brule! (The Drayton map is shown here.) A map closer to Allen's original is in Schoolcraft's 1834 volume, and its St. Croix/Bois Brule portion is shown as Map 4 on the first maps page.

    Some biographical notes on the short but eventful life of James Allen are here. At the Itasca State Park, one may find information about Lt. Allen impossible to locate. Imagine a historical display which includes the Lewis & Clark Expedition without any mention of Clark.

  • Schoolcraft, Henry R. 1834. [Full title:] Narrative of an Expedition Through the Upper Mississippi to Itasca Lake, the Actual Source of This River; Embracing an Exploratory Trip through the St. Croix and Burntwood (or Broule) Rivers; in 1832. Harper & Brothers, New York.

  • Schoolcraft, Henry R. 1855. [Full title:] Summary Narrative of an Exploratory Expedition to the Sources of the Mississippi River, in 1820: Resumed and Completed, by the Discovery of its Origin in Itasca Lake, in 1832. Lippincott, Grambo and Co., Philadelphia, PA.  (Short title: Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi River.)

    This book summarizes the 1820 and 1832 expeditions and reproduces Allen's original sketch map of Lake Itasca (shown here); other Allen maps are redrawn by Capt. S. Eastman.

  • Williams, Mentor L. (ed.). 1992. Schoolcraft's Narrative Journal of Travels. [1820 expedition.] Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI.

  • Mason, Philip P. (ed.). 1993. Schoolcraft's Expedition to Lake Itasca. The Discovery of the Source of the Mississippi. [1832 expedition plus Schoolcraft's summary of his 1831 travels.] Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, MI.

    The editor expounds upon the accuracy and detail of Lt. Allen's mapping efforts but does not include maps from any expedition participant in this book.

Giacomo Constantino Beltrami

xBeltrami's published account of his 1823 travels through what is now the northern two-thirds of Minnesota (part of the work cited below) included a visit to the high ground between the Mississippi River and Red River drainage basins. (The latter river flows into Lake Winnipeg.) His determination that "Lake Julia" seeped into both watersheds led him to declare the lake to be the northern source of the Mississippi River. As the well-known (and occasionally visited by non-natives) "Lac La Biche" was recognized as the likely western source of the Mississippi, he anticipated that its geographic position would soon be correctly determined – as it indeed was in the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition of 1832 where Lac La Biche was renamed Lake Itasca.

Click on the image on the right for a full view of the portrait of Beltrami by Gian Antonio Micheli, reproduced on this site with permission of the Minnesota Historical Society.

  • Beltrami, J. C. 1828. [Full title:] A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, Leading to the Discovery of the Sources of the Mississippi and Bloody River. Volume II. Hunt and Clarke, London.  Both Volumes I and II are available as reprints from various publishers including Kessinger Publishing (for Vol. II).

  • Hill, A. J. 1857. Constantine Beltrami. Collections of the Historical Society of Minnesota for the Year 1857, pp. 13-20. This appears to be his official biography, prepared for the establishment of Beltrami County in Minnesota.

This and the following section (which continues to grow) were added to this reference page several weeks in anticipation of my late August, 2009 expedition that was subsequently summarized in my first Mississippi River page. Needless to say, reading about these old explorations (and those of Schoolcraft & Co., above) provided enough inspiration to actually go see for myself some of the ultimate headwaters of the Mississippi (beyond Lake Itasca) and start filling up the web with photos and movies from repeated visits far off-trail.

Other 19th-Century Mississippi River Source Explorations

On a very tight schedule – according to J. V. Brower's 1893 reference (below) – the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition had just enough time to locate and fix the position of the source of the Mississippi River as it exits Lake Itasca. A detailed exploration of the tributaries had to wait until the explorations of Nicollet a few years later. Returning to Allen's sketch map (referred to above), that pinched-off body of water to the south (with the tributary stream) appears to be a representation of what would become known as "Elk Lake." The features on the sketch map appearing to the south of their travels were based on information provided by the natives whose assistance (with maps of their own!) Schoolcraft and Allen were privileged to have.

Jean-Nicolas Nicollet (also known as Joseph N. Nicollet) made note of five creeks that entered Lake Itasca, and found most impressive the one that has since been named for him. In his Report to both houses of Congress (published in 1843 and 1845; both editions cited below), he wrote extensively of the stream, its associated lakes, and the overall basin whose contributing streams poured out of the surrounding hills. To the east of his creek, he noted on his map a representation of the sizable lake (presently called Elk Lake) which empties into Lake Itasca through a very short stream (presently called Chambers Creek), but there are no such details in the text of the Report. Lest it be thought that Nicollet passed over the lake and its feeders entirely and relied on local information for his map – and/or considered Elk Lake to be just a bay of Lake Itasca and not worth any special mention – one will find his descriptions of Elk Lake (and its inlets and outlet) plainly discussed in his more extensive Journals which were finally published in 1970 (cited below). As opposed to the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition, Nicollet spent three days (at the end of August, 1836) in the Lake Itasca area. Probably not realizing the aforementioned tight schedule the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition was on, Nicollet had already criticized Allen (in his Journal, Aug. 5) for occasional carelessness in mapmaking, stating "...good science cannot be accomplished by traveling a hundred miles a day. Why go to the trouble of mustering a national expedition and end up throwing confusion over the work done by the brave Major Pike thirty years earlier?" (I will have to add Pike to the list of publications below as I have recently added Nicollet's Journals.)

It was left to Julius Chambers in 1872 to make a more public mention of Elk Lake and its tributaries. Itasca and Elk Lakes (as they are now known) had been respectively called Elk Lake (French: "Lac La Biche") and Pokegama Lakes by the natives whose ancestors were of course the actual discoverers of any and all of the natural features in the area. Whether Elk Lake was ever a bay of Lake Itasca was a matter of debate among writers of the 19th Century. In his 1893 volume (referenced below), Brower gives some credence to that view, stating: "In the summer of 1890, after copious rainfall, Lake Itasca rose a foot or more above Elk lake, and Chambers creek flowed into instead of out from it, a certain indication that Itasca lake draws its principal supply from beyond the narrow limits of Elk Lake."

To counter an argument that a tributary of Elk Lake – i.e., Elk Creek – should be considered the ultimate, continuous, open-water source of the Mississippi, Brower (1893, p. 260) remarked how much he saw it dried up in August, 1889 such that it could only be considered an intermittant stream. Elk Creek is shown as such on a topographical map on the Microsoft Research Maps site where its origin appears as "Elk Pool," about the same latitude as Whipple Lake.

The course of Elk Creek might be worth checking out during wet and dry periods of the year, and possibly there could be occasional input from Little Elk Lake farther south? (Recall that the current direction at Itasca State Park is from south to north.) Perhaps a dry segment of Elk Creek would resemble that which I have seen between Floating Moss Lake and the Mississippi Springs in early August, 2010. (See Photo 6 on this page and also "Note 3" here.)

Establishing the beginning of the longest continuous open-water course of water that continues into the Mississippi River (which begins to act like a coherent river at the mouth of Lake Itasca) was apparently accomplished by the detailed and scientific explorations of J. V. Brower. His originating streams are (1) a tributary of Nicollet Creek (i.e., Howard Creek) which eventually flows into the southwest arm of Lake Itasca and (2) Mary Creek which flows through an extended valley and Mary Lake and eventually empties into the eastern arm. It appears that the Nicollet Creek system (with Howard Creek) has the edge. Most importantly, it was determined in his studies that the inlet bearing the greatest volume of water entering Lake Itasca is Nicollet Creek, beating out Chambers Creek which connects with Elk Lake. Indeed, Nicollet had called his creek "the infant Mississippi" and "a cradled Hercules" in his Report.

The Microsoft Research Maps (formerly Terraserver-USA) site shows aerial photos in stunning detail along with topographical maps which label corresponding roads, elevations and section numbers; click here and type in "Lake Itasca" and "Minnesota." For one thing, you will see that Elk Lake takes up most of Section 22.

The following are listed chronologically as to the explorations of the subject matter – not according to publication date. One can utilize a search engine to find copies of any of them on the web, but nothing beats an authentic hard copy. Nicollet's Report and Journals include his Mississippi and St. Croix/Brule explorations of 1836 and 1837, respectively. Chambers had indeed preceded Glazier and published his results in newspaper articles in the 1870s. Glazier was to receive condemnation for rampant falsification of information, and it was his notoriety that instigated the thorough researches of Clarke and Brower who each include in their reports a denouncement of Glazier's falsehoods and an examination of Nicollet's three lakes and associated creeks and springs.

Clarke and (especially) Brower – and also Chambers who subsequently went along with Brower's arguments – apparently got confused about Nicollet's descriptions and locations of his three lakes. Instigating this confusion was their insistance that Nicollet was writing about tracing the course of his three lakes while going upstream, while Nicollet made clear (especially in his Journals) that, while keeping the course of his stream in view, he took a hike some miles away from Lake Itasca and then looped back, closely following his creek and three lakes downstream. Furthermore, the editor of Nicollet's Journals recognizes Whipple Lake as Nicollet's upper lake.

  • Nicollet, J. N. 1843. Report Intended to Illustrate a Map of the Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River. (26th Cong., 2nd sess., Senate Document 237.) Blair and Rives, Washington, D.C. This report accompanies Nicollet's map (published in 1843), and the map and Report were reissued in 1845 for the House (see next in list). The Senate Document can be read in its original form (without the map) here.

  • Nicollet, J. N. 1845. Report Intended to Illustrate a Map of the Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River. (28th Cong., 2nd sess., House of Representatives Document 52.) Blair and Rives, Washington, D.C.

  • Bray, Martha Coleman (ed.). 1970. The Journals of Joseph N. Nicollet. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

  • (An analysis by a very amateur historian/geographer of Nicollet's observations in the valley of his "Infant Mississippi" – with a side-by-side comparison between his Journal and Official Report – is here.)

  • Chambers, Julius. 1910. The Mississippi River and its Wonderful Valley. The Knickerbocker Press, New York.

  • Glazier, Williard. 1894. Headwaters of the Mississippi. Rand, McNally & Co., Chicago and New York. Reprinted by the University of Michigan University Library.

  • Various authors including Hopewell Clarke. 1887. [Full title:] The Source of the Mississippi Comprising  I. Letter from Messrs. Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor, & Company; II. Report of Hopewell Clarke, Chief of the I. B. T. & Co. Expedition to the Headwaters of the Mississippi, October 1886. Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co., New York & Chicago. This is a reprint of an article in Science (Dec. 24, 1886) and can be read here.

  • Brower, J. V. 1891. The Source of the Mississippi River. The Journal of the Manchester Geographical Society, Vol. VII, pp. 301-310.

  • Brower, J. V. 1893. The Mississippi River and its Source. Harrison & Smith, State Printers, Minneapolis. This is Volume 7 of the official Minnesota Historical Collections. A reprint by the University of Michigan University Library left out a key map whose page is reproduced here.

  • (Brower was soon to embark on an expedition to find the ultimate source of the Missouri River. See the next section, below.)

  • Brower, J. V. 1904. Itasca State Park – An Illustrated History. McGill-Warner Company, St. Paul. This is Volume 11 of the official Minnesota Historical Collections.

  • (An analysis by the aforementioned parenthetical amateur listed above seeks to relate present-day observations of the Nicollet Creek system to those of Clarke and Brower. Click here and scroll way down.)

Some excellent and classic summaries of the explorations of the Itasca Lake area through Brower follow. Much of this material is a refutation of Glazier's misrepresentations, and as long as the Itasca State Park persists in the display of Glazier as glorious antihero, these references add a much-needed substance to the show. Coues adds notes from his own explorations.

  • Hurlbut, George C. 1891. The Pretended Discovery of the Source of the Mississippi River by Capt. Willard Glazier. Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, Vol. 23, pp. 378-385. Included is a large fold-out of Brower's detailed hydrographic map, dated 1891.

  • Coues, Elliot. 1897. Historico-Geographical Notes on the Mississippi River, from Cass Lake to Lake Itasca. Annals of Iowa, Vol. 10, pp. 20-31. This interesting article is a good summary of the explorations of the area with additional observations and opinions of the author.

  • Levasseur, E. 1898. The Question of the Sources of the Mississippi River. Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. VIII, pp. 213-225.

  • Winchell, N. H. 1898. The Source of the Mississippi. Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. VIII, pp. 226-231.

Brower on the Source of the Missouri River

After his explorations of the Itasca Basin, Brower went on to trace the ultimate source of the Missouri River which he found in Culver's Canyon (also known as Hell Roaring Canyon) in the Centennial Mountains on August 28, 1895. This is in far southern Montana, about 19 miles WSW of West Yellowstone, MT. No photo was published of the site (perhaps none were taken), but thankfully an August, 2005 photo of "Brower's Spring" can be found on the web here.

The water from Brower's Spring flows successively into Hell Roaring Creek, Red Rock Creek, the Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes, Red Rock River, Clark Canyon Reservoir, Beaverhead River, Big Hole River, and the Jefferson River which is one of the three major forks of what is named the Missouri River. In doing so, it begins by heading in a westerly direction – away from Brower's Spring at the very convoluted Continental Divide (best visualized with a road map such as the atlas referenced below) and then through the Centennial Valley. It then makes a broad, clockwise turn through much of the state of Montana, heading eventually toward the east and south toward the Gulf of Mexico. This is not unlike the Mississippi River which starts out by flowing north, eventually making its clockwise turn (on a smaller scale) toward the east and south to the Gulf.

In his 1897 publication of this discovery (below), Brower expressed regret that the name "Mississippi River" was applied to the entire stream from the Itasca Basin to the Gulf of Mexico. He states the following about the naming of the rivers and the view of the Missouri by the explorers and settlers of European origin: "Had the discovery of this principal and chief river channel proceeded from the West toward the East, there would have been but one name for its entire course from the continental divide [Brower's Spring] to the Gulf of Mexico, and the mouth of the Mississippi would be where is now the mouth of the Missouri."

  • Brower, J. V. 1897. The Missouri River and its Utmost Source. The Pioneer Press, St. Paul.

  • Benchmark Maps. 2015. Montana Road & Recreation Atlas. Benchmark Maps, 120 Cremona Drive, Suite H, Santa Barbara, CA 93117. This atlas shows the above-named streams and lakes and also labels "Source of the Missouri River (Brower's Spring)" at a clearly-defined location. If one is unable to hike or take a horse-ride to this spot, Hell Roaring Creek is at least crossed by (and viewable from) the Red Rock Pass Road which passes through the general area. I'll be there in the Summer of 2017. Thank you Benchmark Maps!

How Rivers Should be Named

In several of the references on this page (starting with Beltrami, 1828), mention is made of naming conventions and how names should be applied to the main streams and their major tributaries. What should decide which stream's name should trump the other below their junction? Length, width, volume, the angle at which they meet, and the overall directional trend are a few of the considerations posed which would be more scientific than putting emphasis on tradition and the sequence of discovery.

The Missouri River is the longest branch of the Mississippi. Perhaps the ideal situation would be to have a completely new name for the stream thus formed; likewise, the river from the junction with the Ohio (the most voluminous branch) to the Gulf would also have its own name. For what is traditionally called the Mississippi River, the three main divisions are designated Upper, Middle, and Lower; this naming convention appears to suffice for the present as indicated here. Furthermore, the Mississippi River appears to keep its "directional integrity" at the junction with the Missouri as seen here, and determination of which of the two comes through with a higher volume at that point is not fixed on either one of the rivers as noted here.

A valuable, contemporary discussion of this topic which includes the points presented above is found here. Also take a look at the "Discovering Lewis & Clark" site for more historical perspectives.

More on the St. Croix and Brule River Area

The references given above relating to the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition of 1832 and also to Nicollet's Journals and Report contain extensive notes concerning the state of these rivers and the intervening portage in the 1830s.

The following three books give interesting historical and contemporary information about the St. Croix and Brule Rivers and include stories of noted individuals who utilized the portage over the years – including Daniel Graysolon du Lhut who cut trees and broke dozens of beaver dams as he charged up the Brule in 1680, and Lt. James Allen in 1832 who was the first to record the presence of brook trout on the Brule. The Marshall book discusses the proposed Lake Superior to Mississippi River canal which is mentioned on this site here. A web page on the subject with a map can be found here. Ross summarizes the evolution of the Great Lakes as they emerge from the retreating glacier, indicating the St. Croix River as a major outlet during the Lake Duluth Stage – a little more of which is discussed here. Ross also provides a close-up map of the St. Croix-Brule portage area, but the major theme of his book concerns historical and geographical details about the Apostle Islands.

  • Dunn, James T. 1993. The St. Croix: Midwest Border River. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York.

  • Marshall, Albert M. 1954. Brule Country. North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN.

  • Ross, Hamilton N. 2000. La Pointe: Village Outpost on Madeline Island. State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. Originally published in 1960 by North Central Pub., St. Paul.

Here is an excellent overview of the geography and history of the Brule region with lots of illustrations, chronological lists, and directions where one can drive and/or walk through the area and see where people lived and traveled so many years ago:

  • Wisherd, Nan. 2005. Pathways – The Earliest History of Northern Wisconsin's Brule Region. Waino Publishing, Brule, WI.

The Apostle Islands

For the Apostle Islands, these references (in addition to Ross and the 1855 Schoolcraft volume, above) are also noted on the Apostle Islands pages (here & here) and the Steamboat Island page:

  • Nelson, Charles R. 2001. On Thin Ice – Windsleds at Madeline Island. This is available from the Windsled Museum website.

  • Nuhfer, Edward B. 2004. A Guidebook to the Geology of Lake Superior's National Lakeshore. Eastern National, Fort Washington, PA. Book includes poetry by Mary P. Dalles.

  • Strzok, Dave. 2003. The Visitor's Guide to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. This is available at the Keeper of the Light in Bayfield, WI.

  • Turner, J. M. 1888 & 1890. Lake Superior Region. W. E. Prudhomme, Ashland, WI. Turner only takes credit for being editor and illustrator. Book at first glance appears to be overwhelmingly full of blank pages. However, the text is printed on one side of the page; the accompanying illustrations are likewise, but are facing the text with the insertion of a tissue sheet to protect the images. Amazing photos and insights. A 19th-century coffee-table book of genuine substance.

Evolution of the Northwest Territory

The following contain valuable information regarding the evolution of territories, states and counties from the old Northwest Territory. The volumes edited by Long (part of a series intended to cover the entire U.S.) trace the entire history of county boundaries in detail and include interesting details about counties "attached" to other counties for judicial and other purposes as they become fully "organized" and eventually "independant." A brief history of county creation in Michigan is given here.

  • Wisconsin Highway Planning Survey (ed.). 1947. A History of Wisconsin Highway Development, 1835-1945. Official state publication, Madison, WI.

  • Thorndale, W. and W. Dollarhide. 1987. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Geneological Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.

  • Long, J. H. (ed.). 1997. Michigan – Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

  • Long, J. H. (ed.). 1997. Wisconsin – Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

  • Long, J. H. (ed.). 2000. Minnesota – Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

  • Lanegran, D. A. 2008. Minnesota on the Map: A Historical Atlas. Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul, MN.

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This page was last modified on 12/2/16 at 3:00 PM, CST.
John Lindquist:  homepage, complete site outline.
Department of Bacteriology – U.W., Madison
And if I could do it all over again, I should pass on the
Microbiology studies in order to seriously take up Geography
and Surveying, and thus be a happy camper and get out more.