John L's Old Maps / Supplementary Pages:
With a little literature review and history –
Cartography in General
This section will feature a number of books dealing with map-making in general, including collections of historical and unusual maps.
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.
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.
Giacomo Constantino Beltrami
Beltrami'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. He anticipated that the geographic position of the western source would soon be officially determined as it indeed was in the Schoolcraft-Allen Expedition of 1832 where Lac La Biche was not only proven to be the source but also renamed Lake Itasca. French-speaking visitors and residents had been calling it "Lac La Biche" as the natives had named it after the female elk.
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.
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 the natives referred to as Pokegama Lake; eventually it became known as Elk Lake which appears confusingly related to Itasca's original name. 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?"
Backing up to 1805, U.S. military officer Lt. Zebulon Pike was ordered to find the source of the Mississippi River, but he became detoured onto Leech Lake. His findings were published in a volume (in the list below) heavily edited by Elliot Coues whose essay-length footnotes clarified Pike's role in the proper context of discovery. Coues gives great credit to the work of others who came later – including the aforementioned Allen and Nicollet – and shows great respect for the contribution of Beltrami. As do a few other authors and explorers, Coues refers to William Morrison, a very early (non-French) fur trader and occasional resident near Lac La Biche at the beginning of the 19th century. Check out this interesting article relating to Pike's legacy.
Recall from above that Itasca and Elk Lakes (as they are now known) had been respectively called Elk Lake (French: "Lac La Biche") and Pokegama Lake by the natives whose ancestors were of course the actual discoverers of any and all of the natural features in the area. It was left to Julius Chambers in 1872 to make a more public mention of Elk (the former Pokegama) Lake and its tributaries. 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."
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 (MSR, formerly Terraserver-USA) site showed black-and-white aerial photos of the Itasca Basin (and everywhere else) in stunning detail – more so than in the color photos available now. I managed to copy some of these maps to my Mississippi River pages (sometimes with additional embellishments) before the MSR resource was unreasonably taken off the web. An example showing the source of Howard Creek is shown here under "Still More Geography." (Be sure to click on it for the enlargement.) As another example of a MSR aerial photo, one which features Lake Itasca (with its three "arms") is shown here along with Elk Lake (lower left, taking up most of a square mile) and Mary Lake (lower right); unfortunately I didn't keep a larger, more-detailed photo. (And remember that the direction of the current is from south to north; i.e., bottom to top.)
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The references in the following list are arranged chronologically according to the sequence of the explorations – 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. Willard 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. Furthermore, Chambers had indeed preceded Glazier in visiting the Itasca basin, and he published his accurate results in newspaper articles (not yet cited below, but noted in other references nonetheless) in the 1870s.
On page 15 of this official document of the Minnesota State Legislature is an accounting of the ignominiac Willard Glazier's selective plagiarism in order to give himself credit for discovering and naming (with his name to supercede that of Elk Lake) the source of the Mississippi River upstream of Lake Itasca. As stated in this document, the Legislature passed a law in 1889 "forbidding any school from using a geography text with Glazier's historical version of the headwaters."
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.
Following are some excellent and classic summaries of the explorations of the Itasca Basin through Brower. Much of this material is a refutation of Glazier's misrepresentations. As long as the Itasca State Park persists in the display of Glazier as glorious antihero and ignores such notable explorers as Lt. Allen, these references add a much-needed substance to the show. Coues (editor of the Pike journals – see above) adds notes from his own explorations.
Lewis & Clark and Brower on the Ultimate Source of the Missouri River
In their quest to maintain as westerly an expedition as possible from the "three forks" of the Missouri River, the Lewis and Clark Expedition headed up the Jefferson and Beaverhead Rivers and then up Horse Prairie Creek – one of the two ultimate forks of the Beaverhead. (The easterly/southerly fork was called "Red Rock Creek" and is today known as Red Rock River whose upper tributary has kept the "Creek" designation as indicated below.) From Horse Prairie Creek, they came to a withering side branch, Trail Creek, whose source was very near Lemhi Pass at the Continental Divide. Passing those, they made themselves certain in August, 1805 of at least four things: (1) They had discovered the source of the Missouri; (2) they were over the Divide (then the western boundary of the U.S.); (3) commerce would find no navigable "Northwest Passage" through the continent; but still (4) it had to be all downstream from there to the Pacific Ocean even though they could see nothing but mountain ranges toward the west. Shown on page 99 in the Salisbury volume listed below (which contains almost 200 black-and-white photos and drawings) are how the westerly and easterly views from Lemhi Pass appear to the modern-day visitor.
Having myself traveled many hours through unpaved roads of southern Montana in 2016-17, I came up with the following thought: It would be a moot point to determine if the Lewis and Clark Expedition would have had an easier time – in crossing mountain ranges, portaging, and navigating streams – by taking the southeast fork of the Beaverhead River instead of going west with Horse Prairie Creek. In doing that, they would have gone up the Red Rock River/Creek and crossed the Divide near tributaries of the Snake River which would have taken them west again. If they had actually gone that way, they probably would have discovered a more significant extension of the Missouri River.
Ninety years after Lewis and Clark discovered the western source of the Missouri River and soon after J. V. Brower completed his explorations of the Itasca Basin (above section), Brower went on to trace the southern and 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.
From the source and going downstream, 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 (which is flooded over the aforementioned junction of the Red Rock and Horse Prairie streams), Beaverhead River and then the Jefferson River. The Jefferson and Madison Rivers join to form the Missouri which is soon to take in the Gallatin River; such is the situation at the "three forks" of the Missouri. This entire route can be visualized with a map such as the road atlas which is referenced below with additional comments. Backing up a bit: As the Red Rock River flows through the Centennial Valley in a westerly direction, it and the successive streams join to make a broad, clockwise turn – with the Missouri River heading out of Montana in an easterly direction, continuing this trend in a very general way as it joins the Mississippi which heads south to the Gulf of Mexico. This is not unlike the Mississippi River itself which starts out by flowing north from the Itasca basin, eventually making its clockwise turn (on a much 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 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."
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 has been 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. (Consider the supplemental diagram 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.
But, what about geological history as a factor in naming rivers, or (at least) in determining whether or not a tributary (however obscure presently) should be seriously considered as the ultimate source? A 2012 essay by Wendell Duffield which was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune suggests the Little Minnesota River as the ultimate source stream of the Mississippi River. It presently originates in northeastern South Dakota and follows the deep channel of the ancient River Warren as it flows into the Minnesota River, presently a major tributary of the Mississippi. In ancient times, the Mississippi above that point was a relative trickle as it flowed into the Warren which carried meltwater from a receding glacier to the north. (I won't give away anything more about this interesting article.)
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.
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:
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.
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Essays which form a part of this literature review are copyrighted.
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And if I could do it all over again, I probably would pass on the
Microbiology program in order to take up Geomorphology and
Surveying, and thus be a happy camper and get out more.