CCHA, Report, 23 (1956), 41-52
The Visit of
Father Allouez to Lake Nipigon
Rev. Francis J.
Jesuit Seminary, Toronto, Ontario
The Diocese of Fort William was erected on April 29, 1952. It comprises that part of Ontario which is bounded on the west by the Manitoba border; on the north by the height of land dividing the watershed of the Albany River from the waters that flow into Lake Superior; on the east by the 86th degree of longitude; and on the south by the international boundary. The Catholics of this new diocese are desirous of learning something of the beginning of the Church in this vast territory. Who was the first priest to visit the area? When and where was the first Mass celebrated? What is known of early missionary efforts in the region? It is the purpose of this paper to answer those questions as best we can from the records that have come down to us.
The first priest who visited the north shore of Lake Superior was Father Claude Allouez, S.J. During the early summer of 1667 he was at Lake Nipigon where he went to meet the Nipissings, an Algonkian tribe. Allouez had established in 1665 the Mission of the Holy Spirit on Chequamegon Bay in the present State of Wisconsin. From there he set out early in May, 1667, accompanied by two Indians, to visit the Christians among the Nipissings. While there he said the first Mass ever to be celebrated in what is now Fort William Diocese. This is his story.
Claude Allouez was born at St. Didier, France, probably in 1622. He made his studies at the Jesuit College at Puy. While there he had St. John Francis Regis for spiritual guide and instructor in Christian Doctrine. The Saint had begged the Jesuit General to be allowed to go on the Canadian Mission, but had been refused. But it was through his influence that young Claude Allouez first conceived the idea of becoming a Jesuit missionary himself. On September 25, 1639, accompanied by his brother Ignace, Claude entered the novitiate at Toulouse. During the course of his training for the priesthood, and for ten years after his ordination, he kept asking to be sent to the missions of New France. He had finally persuaded himself that God wanted him to remain in France when, on March 3, 1657, he received a letter from his Superior stating that his oft-repeated request was to be granted at last. He was to sail for Canada shortly. Filled with joy at the news he exclaimed: “Lord, here I am. My heart is ready. Take me.”1
Father Allouez was a man of middle height, rather stocky in build, hardy, and quite strong enough to endure the hardships that were ahead of him. He possessed a strong will, and was not easily turned aside from any course he had set himself. He was prudent, energetic, well-informed, of good practical judgment, calm in outward appearance, but burning with a zeal within. He was the very type of man needed on the Canadian missions.2
The new recruit sailed for Canada with Mr. d’Argenson who was coming out to take over the duties of governor of New France. They arrived at Quebec on July 11, 1658. During the next six years Allouez was stationed at Quebec, and also at Three Rivers where he was Superior for a time. He studied the Huron and Algonkian languages, and was initiated into the work of the Indian missions in the Three Rivers neighbourhood. In 1664 he was ready to go to the Ottawa country on Lake Superior. Bishop Laval appointed him Vicar General of the whole Northwest country, and he went to Montreal late in the summer to join the usual Indian flotilla on its way back to Lake Superior. But he arrived there too late: the Indians had left already. So he returned to Three Rivers to wait another year.3
Finally on August 8, 1665, Allouez began the long trip to Lake Superior accompanied by six Frenchmen and more than four hundred Indians. The journey up the Ottawa, by the Mattawa, across Lake Nipissing, down the French River, and along the north shore of Georgian Bay was an extremely arduous experience even under the most favourable conditions. But on this occasion the Indians treated the missionary very badly indeed: they showed him plainly that he was a most unwelcome fellow-traveller; they stole some of his possessions; they vented their fury upon him because of his unskilled paddling. At one point the Ottawa chief ordered him left behind. Abandoned in the deep forest, what could the poor man do but fall on his knees and pray? Fortunately, one of the Indians took pity on him, and returned to bring him in his canoe. But his sufferings were by no means ended. Long hours at the paddle utterly exhausted him, and there was no food but the nauseous mess of boiled lichen, tripe de roche, and some badly spoiled venison. Then there was the very difficult problem of transporting his personal effects, some books, his altar equipment, and a two-years’ supply of wine over the thirty-six portages. In spite of everything he managed to reach Sault Ste. Marie by the beginning of September. From there he and the six Frenchmen took a more leisurely trip along the south shore of Lake Superior. It was when they arrived at the portage across the Keweenaw peninsula that Father Allouez stopped to say Mass, the first he was able to celebrate since leaving the St. Lawrence on August 8.4 It was the spot where the first priest to come to Lake Superior, Father René Ménard, had wintered in 1660-61.5
On October 1st the travellers reached Chequamegon Bay where the new mission, called La Pointe de Saint-Esprit, was to be established. There were two large Indian villages on the shore of this bay, one occupied by Hurons, the other by Ottawas and representatives of other Algonkian tribes. These Hurons belonged to the Tionnontate or Petun tribe, part of which had been converted to Christianity by St. Charles Garnier6 while they still lived on their home-lands southeast and east of Nottawasaga Bay in southern Ontario. They had fled northwards when the fierce Iroquois attack of 1649 had destroyed a large part of their nation.7 A fair number of those whom Allouez met at Chequamegon Bay were therefore Christians at least in name. The Ottawas at the bay were also fugitives before the Iroquois onslaught towards the Northwest. They had formerly dwelt on Manitoulin and on other Islands in Georgian Bay. Besides the Indians, there were probably about a dozen Frenchmen at Chequamegon Bay in 1665.8 The first coureurs de bois, Radisson and Des Groseilliers, had established a trading post there, probably in 1660.9 The rich cargo of furs these two had brought down to Montreal during the summer of 1660, had lured to the west the pioneers of that movement which was to effect such great changes in the whole Northwest during the next two hundred years or so. But Chequamegon Bay was the only centre of the fur trade in the upper country as yet.
Allouez built a small chapel of bark midway between the two Indian villages.10 This rude sanctuary in the wilderness was the first church erected west of Georgian Bay. As there was nothing left of the old Huronia missions in 1665, it was at the time the only chapel west of the Montreal area. Here the devoted missionary gathered his Christians together, and undid, as best he could, the ravages to faith and morality fifteen years of separation from priest and Sacraments had wrought in their half-pagan souls. Here also he instructed the pagans of some ten different nations who flocked in from many directions to see the new Black Robe. He suffered much from hunger, loneliness, and the horrors of pagan life around him. But he had the great consolation of knowing that a hundred or more children whom he had baptized before death, had gone straight to Heaven. And little by little his flock was growing.
But the missionary’s eyes were cast
longingly on the great fields that lay ripe for the harvest all around him. He
was all alone at La Pointe de Saint-Esprit as yet, and could not leave his
neophytes for long. He did pay a visit to the Sioux in the west, but he knew
nothing of their language, and work among them would have to be deferred to a
later date. He spent a month, probably during the summer of 1666, among the
Saulteurs or Ojibways in the Sault Ste. Marie region. A mission was begun among
them in 1668 by Father James Marquette. Then one day Allouez heard of some poor
abandoned Christians among the Nipissings, and he resolved to visit them during
the summer of 1667.
But who were these Nipissings? Whence had they come? And who had evangelized them? We are deeply interested, for they were the first Christians to inhabit the territory of what is now Fort William Diocese.
The first mention of the Nipissings in Canadian history occurs when Champlain was told of them by other Algonkian tribes on the occasion of his trip up the Ottawa to Allumette Island in 1613. They were said to inhabit a region around a lake in the west, and were called Nebicerini.11 They were a rather nomadic people who roamed around hunting and fishing in the great forest area north, west, and south of the lake which bears their name. Jean Nicolet, the explorer, went to live among them in 1620, and he was adopted as a member of the tribe. He set down in his journal copious notes about their customs and way of life.12 When Quebec was captured by the English in 1629 Nicolet sought refuge among the Nipissings, and remained with them till Canada was restored to the French Crown in 1632. All our information about the Nipissings is derived from Nicolet and the Jesuits who began mission work among them in 1640.
We are told that the Nipissings lived in scattered villages composed of bark huts of the most primitive type of construction. These were hastily erected, and as hastily abandoned when the tribe decided to move to a new location. There was hardly any social organization among them. Once in a while the older men would assemble in council, but their decisions imposed no obligations on anyone. The women were the drudges, for the men were hunters and warriors who never stooped to menial tasks. Unlike the Hurons, with whom they were friendly, the Nipissings do not seem to have practiced any form of agriculture. In religion they were worshippers of the sun and moon. Sorcerers and shamans were very numerous and influential in the tribe. The Jesuits thought these were devil-worshippers. Innumerable superstitious ceremonies and sacrificial offerings to the spirits of the dead, and to animal spirits, were their most characteristic practices. Morality was practically unknown among the Nipissings, and the greatest obstacle the missionaries met with was a deep-seated addiction to polygamy, and other forms of shamelessness in sex behaviour.13
Father Claude Pijart was the apostle of the Nipissings. The tribe had come down for the winter of 1640-41 to what is now the Parry Sound district. There Pijart and Father Charles Raymbault began instructing them in November, 1640, and they continued the work all the following winter. In the spring of 1641 Pijart, accompanied now by Father René Ménard,14 followed them north to their summer camps. Across rivers, lakes and mountains the two Jesuits travelled after them, suffering incredible indignities and hardships to win this degraded people for Christ. Father Pijart worked nine years altogether among the Nipissings. There were almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of their conversion, but he had succeeded at last in forming a small Christian community when the great blow of 1649-50 fell. For the Iroquois invasions of those years not only destroyed all the missions in Huronia, and the Jesuits were forced out of the whole Georgian Bay area, but the war drove tribe after tribe north and west from their usual habitats in north-eastern Ontario. The Nipissings fled with their neighbours, the Amikoues, or Amikouets,15 to the Lake Nipigon region.16 It was there that Father Allouez found the relics of Pijart’s Christians in 1667.
Allouez tells the story of his trip to Lake Nipigon in his journal, extracts from which were published in the Relation for 1666-67.17
“On the sixth of May of this year, 1667, I embarked in a Canoe with two Savages to serve me as guides, throughout this Journey. Meeting on the way two-score Savages from the North Bay,18 I conveyed to them the first tidings of the Faith, for which they thanked me with some politeness.
“Continuing our journey, on the seventeenth we crossed a portion of our great Lake,19 paddling for twelve hours without dropping the paddle from the hand. God rendered me very sensible aid; for, as there were but three of us in our Canoe, I was obliged to paddle with all my strength, together with the Savages, in order to make the most of the calm, without which we would have been in great danger, utterly spent as we were with toil and lack of food. Nevertheless we lay down supper-less at nightfall, and on the morrow contented ourselves with a frugal meal of Indian corn and water; for the wind and the rain prevented our Savages from casting their nets.
“On the nineteenth, invited by the beautiful weather, we covered eighteen leagues, paddling from daybreak till Sunset, without respite and without landing.
“On the twentieth, finding nothing in our nets, we continued on our journey, munching some grains of dry corn. On the following day, God refreshed us with two small fishes, which gave us new life. Heaven’s blessings increased on the next day, our Savages catching so many sturgeon that they were obliged to leave part of them at the water’s edge.
“Coasting along the Northern shore of this great Lake on the twenty-third, we passed from Island to Island, these being very frequent. There is one, at least twenty leagues long, where are found pieces of copper, which is held by Frenchmen who have examined it here to be true red copper.20
“After accomplishing a good part of our journey on the Lake, we left it on the twenty-fifth of this month of May, and consigned ourselves to a River, so full of rapids and falls that even our Savages could go no farther;21 and learning that Lake Alimibegong was still frozen over,22 they gladly took the two days’ rest imposed upon them by necessity.
“As we drew near our journey’s end, we occasionally met Nipissirinien Savages, wandering from their homes to seek a livelihood in the woods. Gathering together a considerable number of them for the celebration of Whitsuntide,23 I prepared them by a long instruction for the hearing of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which I celebrated in a Chapel of Foliage. They listened with as much piety and decorum as do our Savages of Quebec in our Chapel at Sillery; and to me it was the sweetest refreshment I had during the Journey, entirely removing all past fatigue.”
We have here the first record of a Mass having been said in the present-day Diocese of Fort William. That it was not only the first one recorded, but actually the first Mass said north of Lake Superior must be reckoned as very probable. For under the rude and primitive conditions of canoe travel in the wilderness of those days it was not usual, nor indeed always possible, for a priest to celebrate at every stopover on their journeys. Though the missionary carried some sort of portable altar, it was not easy to erect a table for Mass. None could be carried of course in their light canoes. Sometimes rough makeshift underpinnings were driven into the ground, and paddles were used for the surface of the altar-table.24 They had no boards, for there were no saw-mills. But even such flimsy altars set up by lake or stream took time to erect, and from his account we see that Allouez and his companions made stopovers only at sunset, and they were on their way again at sunrise. They had no time or energy to erect altars. Quite apart from that, wine for Mass had very probably to be spared for the important occasions when a sufficient number of Christians were gathered together. Allouez could hardly have had much wine left in the summer of 1667, for his only supply was what was left of that brought up from Three Rivers in 1665. We read in the annals of early missionary travels of there being no wine left for Mass, and of attempts being made to ferment some from the juice of wild grapes. It is unlikely, moreover, that Allouez would omit mentioning so important an event as the celebration of Mass at a stopover, since he notes in his journal matters of so much less significance. We have seen that the Mass he said at the Keweenaw portage in mid-September, 1665, is prominently featured in his description of the trip from the St. Lawrence to Chequamegon Bay. And that was the first Mass he had said since leaving Montreal a month and a half before. Unfortunately, the exact site of this historic event, the first Mass said anywhere in Canada west of Sault Ste. Marie, cannot be located with any degree of certainty. It may be asserted, however, that this Whitsunday Mass of May 29, 1667, was very probably said in the near vicinity of Virgin Falls where the Nipigon River begins to flow southwards. This is shown by a careful consideration of a cross on a map and a few words in Allouez’ journal.
The map to which we refer is an early one of Lakes Huron, Superior, Michigan, and the upper Mississippi valley. On this map crosses mark the sites of early Jesuit missions as well as places the missionaries visited for apostolic purposes. The original of this map is in the Bibliothèque de la Marine, Paris, but it has been reproduced in various publications.25 The map is undated and its author unknown, but cartographers agree that it was drawn not later than 1680.26 Now one of the crosses on this map is placed near the south-eastern shore of Lake Nipigon. The general shape and contours of the lake are, unfortunately, too badly drawn to identify the exact spot which the cross indicates. All we can say is that it points to a place somewhere in Kilkenny, Kitto, or Eva townships. But there can be no doubt about its indicating the site of the Nipissing village Allouez visited in 1667. For it is quite certain that no other missionary ever went to Lake Nipigon before 1726, and it is most improbable that any priest was ever there again till 1852. There is no record of Allouez’ or any other Jesuit’s ever going back, and there was no need of their doing so. For not long after the visit of 1667 the Nipissings, and their neighbours the Amikouets, returned to their old homes north and east of Georgian Bay. They were there attended by the Jesuits stationed at Sault Ste.. Marie.27 We may take it then that the cross on the 1680 map indicates the site of the Nipissing village which Allouez reached on June 3, 1667, and is in commemoration of that visit. But how does that help us to locate his celebration of Mass on May 29th? It was certainly not said in the Nipissing village.
The following lines from Allouez’ journal, where he tells us what happened between May 29th and June 3rd, next comes to our assistance: “We spent six days in paddling from Island to Island seeking some outlet; and finally, after many detours we reached the Nipissiriniens on the third of June.”28 The point under consideration is the place from which the party set out on this six days’ journey. For that was the place where they were on May 29th, the day on which the first Mass was celebrated. Now this could only have been somewhere on or near that half-mile southern shore of the narrow inlet where the waters of Lake Nipigon enter the river. The bay just north of this inlet is studded with islands, and there are several others just north and east of it in the lake. These are certainly the islands to which Father Allouez refers. It is important to consider that the six days were not consumed wandering indefinitely around Lake Nipigon looking for the Nipissing village. For the Indians who had attended Mass on Pentecost were Nipissings, and Allouez would most surely have found out from them, if his own guides did not know it, that it was in a general north-easterly direction that he must go to find the village. It was not therefore ignorance of where to find their destination on the lake, nor its great distance from where they were, which caused the six days’ delay in reaching the Nipissings. The difficulty was rather that of finding a passage for their frail canoe through the floating and half-melted ice which choked the bay and the lower part of the lake between the various islands. This can be the only meaning of the “outlet” they were seeking, and the “many detours” they were obliged to make. We must remember that when the party was at the mouth of the Nipigon River on May 25th, news reached them that Lake Nipigon was still frozen over. No doubt the ice was breaking up a few days later. On the basis of this argument we may conclude with some semblance of probability that the Mass of May 29th was celebrated at or near the opening of the Nipigon River on the inlet near what is now called Virgin Falls.
We may now return to the narrative in which Father Allouez writes of his sojourn in the village of the Nipissings:
“It [i.e. the village] is composed of Savages, mostly idolators, with some Christians of long standing. Among them I found twenty who made public profession of Christianity. I did not lack occupation with both classes during the two weeks’ sojourn in their country, and I worked as diligently as my health, broken by the fatigues of the journey, allowed. I found more resistance here than anywhere to infant baptism;29 but the more the devil opposes us, the more must we strive to confound him. He is hardly pleased, I think, to see me make this latest journey, which is nearly five hundred leagues in length going and coming, including the detours we were obliged to make.”30
Father Allouez gives us no account of his return trip to Chequamegon Bay. He may not have returned there at that time, but could have followed the north shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie. We do know that he accompanied the usual summer party of Ottawas on their way to the St. Lawrence, and arrived at Quebec on August the third, 1667.31 He remained there only two days. He had brought with him some samples of the Lake Superior copper ore, and Talon, the Intendant, became greatly interested. He despatched Jean Péré and Adrien Jolliet up to explore and report on the copper deposits in the Lake Superior area.32
But Allouez had gone to Quebec in search of fellow-labourers for the great Northwestern harvests. Father Louis Nicolas and Brother Louis La Boèsme were given him, and four men were hired for the construction and agricultural work Allouez planned to do at La Pointe de Saint-Esprit. The Indians refused, however, to take so many back with them, and Allouez had to be content to take Father Nicolas and one workman along with him.33 But Nicolas did not prove to be a very useful helper, and early in the spring of 1668 he returned to Quebec.34
Meanwhile Father Allouez continued his labours at Chequamegon Bay, without, however, achieving much success. During the summer of 1668 he had determined to abandon the Ottawas altogether. They had long listened to his instructions without making the slightest move to give up their heathen practices and embrace Christianity. But when it was learned that the Black Robe intended leaving, a Council was called, and one Ottawa tribe, the Kiskakons, promised to join the Church. So Allouez decided to remain another winter to instruct them.35 Many of the Kiskakons had been baptized when Father James Marquette came from the Sault to replace Allouez during September, 1669. The future discoverer of the Mississippi stayed at Chequamegon Bay till 1671.36) That year the Sioux declared war on all the Lake Superior tribes. To escape these “Iroquois of the West” the Hurons and the Christian Kiskakons migrated with Marquette to Michillimackinac where the mission of St. Ignace was established. The other Ottawa tribes returned to their former homes on the Georgian Bay Islands. Chequamegon Bay was thus abandoned, and not far for a hundred and sixty-four years would the sound of the sanctuary bell be heard over its waters. It was in 1835 that the great missionary, Father (later Bishop), Frederick Baraga, came there to open a mission once more, and from there once again would he, and another Slovenian priest, Father Pierz, cross the great Lake to sow the Gospel seed in the territory of Fort William Diocese.
It is beside our purpose to follow the subsequent career of Father Allouez. For twenty more years he laboured among the Potawatomies, Miamis, and Illinois tribes south and west of Lake Michigan. During the night of August 27-28, 1689, near what is now the city of Niles, Michigan, he passed to his well-merited reward. Like Brebeuf he had written a description of what kind of man the Indian missionary of those days must be. It was found among his papers after his death, and thus, quite unconsciously, he portrays for us a sketch of his own life and character.
“The Jesuits who come from old France to New France must be called by a special and particularly strong vocation. They must be men dead to the spirit of the world and to themselves, apostolic men, saintly men, who seek nothing but God and the salvation of souls. They must be lovers of the cross and of self-abnegation; they must prefer the conversion of an Indian to conquering an empire. They have to live in the Canadian forests as. precursors of Christ, and be in a small way other John the Baptists crying out in the wilderness to the Indians that happiness comes through Christ alone. They must seek their only support, and receive their only comfort, and find their only treasure in God alone, for to Him alone it belongs to call them to Canada ...
“To convert the Indian there is no need of miracles, but there is great need of doing them much good, of suffering much, of never complaining except to God alone, and of regarding oneself as a very useless and unprofitable servant after all.. .”37
1The details about Allouez’s early life are given in Rochmonteix, “Les Jésuites et la Nouvelle France au XVIIe Siècle,” II, pp. 351-354.
2“The Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus,” cited by Rochmonteix, op. cit., p. 354.
3“Journal des Jésuites” (2e éd., Montréal, 1892), p. 328.
4This journey is described in “Jesuit Relations,” Thwaites edition, (Hereinafter JR), vol. L, pp. 249-255.
5Father Ménard had come to Keweenaw Bay on October 15, 1660. During the winter he spent there he made only six or seven converts, and in the spring of 1661 he went on to Chequamegon Bay. In June of that year he went seeking out some Indians in the forest, and became lost in the Wisconsin woods. He died either of starvation or by the hand of some prowling savage.
6JR, vol. L, p. 297.
7JR, vol. LI, p. 306. See also “The Downfall of the Huron Nation,” by C. C. James (Trans. of the Royal Society of Canada, 2nd series, XII, section ii, pp. 311-346).
8“Les coureurs de bois au Lac Supérieur vers 1660,” par Benjamin Sulte (Trans. of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, V, section i, pp. 249-266).
9Radisson's Account of his Third Journey, 1658-1660, pub. in “Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699,” ed. by Louisa P. Kellogg (New York, 1917), p. 50. See also Grace Lee Nute, “Caesars of the Wilderness” (New York, 1943), p. 60.
10JR, vol. L, pp. 297 and foll.
11“Quatrième Voyage du Sr. de Champlain,” pub. in The Works of Samuel de Champlain (Champlain Society ed.), II, p. 284 and passim.
12The chief contents of Nicolet’s journal were incorporated into the Jesuit Relation of 1640-43.
13See “The Nipissings” in the Twenty-Ninth Archeological Report, 1917, being part of the Appendix to the Report of the Minister of Education, Ontario, pp. 9-23.
14Raymbault accompanied Father Isaac Jogues to Sault Ste. Marie during the summer of 1641. He then returned to Quebec where he died late in 1642.
15These formely inhabited the Algoma district between the Nipissing territory and the Ojibway lands around Sault Ste. Marie. See B. Sulte, “La Baie Verte et le Lac Supérieur, 1665.” (Trans. of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd series, VI, section i, pp. 3-34)
16Nicolas Perrot, “"Mémoire sur les Maeurs, Coustumes et Religion des Sauvages de l’Amérique Septentrionale,” publié pour la première fois par le R.P. J. Tailhan, S.J. (Leipzig et Paris, 1864), p. 81.
17JR, vol. LI, pp. 63 and foll.
18The “North Bay,” “Sea of the North,” and similar expressions, were used by the French at this period to designate Hudson’s Bay. They were not certain as yet that the North Bay of which the Indians spoke was the same as that which they knew Henry Hudson had discovered. See JR, vol. LIV, p. 135, where Father Dablon gives reasons for taking a trip to the North Sea, and wonders if it will prove to be “Hudson's Bay.” The Indians from the North Bay that Allouez met were most probably Kilistinins or Crees.
19Nellis M. Crouse, in his Doctoral Dissertation, “Contributions of the Canadian Jesuits to the Geographical Knowledge of New France,” states (p. 123), “This remarkable feat of crossing even a portion of Lake Superior was not an unusual one with the Indians, for by taking advantage of favorable weather they could cover the distance from Keweenaw Point to Isle Royale (approximately forty-five miles) from sunrise to sunset.” But it does not seem that Allouez crossed the Lake at that place, for it appears from the narrative that it was only on May 23rd, not on the 19th, that they came near Isle Royale. It is very probable that he crossed much nearer the head of the Lake to some point on the Minnesota portion of the northern shore.
20There can be little doubt that this was Isle Royale. On the Jesuit map of Lake Superior of 1671, and on other early maps, it was called Isle Minong. In his description of the copper deposits on the shores of Lake Superior in the Relation of 1669-71 (JR, vol. LIV, pp. 159 and foil.), Father Dablon gives a full account of this island and its red copper as he had heard of them from Indians and French voyageurs.
21We conclude that this was the Nipigon River for the following reasons:
i) Allouez calls his two Indian fellow-travellers “guides”: presumably therefore they knew that the most direct route to their destination from Lake Superior was up the Nipigon River.
ii) On the 1680 map of mission sites, to which reference will be made in the text shortly, the only river connecting Lake Nipigon with Lake Superior is the Nipigon. The Black Sturgeon and other streams by which more or less long portages could be made, are not marked on this map at all.
iii) The Nipigon is “full of rapids and falls.” In its relatively short length of forty-three miles there are fifteen waterfalls.
22Lake Nipigon was called during the French regime “Alemibegong,” “Alemipigon,” “Nemipigon,” “Alimbeg,” etc. Later it was also called Lake Ste. Anne; on Father Hennepin’s maps of 1682 and 1697 it is named Lake St. Joseph. See Ernest Voorhis, “Historic Forts and Trading Posts of the French Regime and of the English Fur Trading Companies,” Ottawa, 1930, p. 128.
23Pentecost Sunday fell on May 29th in the year 1667.
24We read of this use of paddles in the document, “Ce qui s’est passé de plus remarquable dans le voyage de MM. D'Olier et Galinée.” published with English translation by J. H. Coyne in Ontario Historical Society, Papers and Records, IV. Part I, p. 48.
25V.g. opposite page 150 in “The French Régime in Wisconsin and the Northwest,” by Louisa P. Kellogg (Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, 1925). A much better reproduction is Carte No. 17 in A. L. Pinart’s “"Recueil de Cartes, Plans, et Vues relatifs aux Etats-Unis et au Canada, etc., 1651-1731” (Paris, 1893).
26See Pinart, op. cit., Introductory remarks on Carte No. 17.
27JR, vol. LV, pp. 147-155; vol. LVI, pp. 93 and foll.; vol. LVII, pp. 239 and foll.
28These words of Allouez are the immediate continuation of his narrative after what we have cited above. JR, vol. LI, pp. 55, 56.
29One of the superstitions of the Indians was the fear that Baptism would cause the death of their children. This was the chief reason for the Ottawas opposing the trip of Allouez with them to the upper country in 1665. It is clear of course that it was infants in danger of death who were baptized in preference to all others, and the Indians falsely concluded that it was the Baptism that caused death.
30JR, vol. LI, p. 69.
31JR, vol. LI, p. 75.
32Despite what has long been claimed in many books it appears that it was not Louis Jolliet, the Mississippi explorer, but his elder brother Adrien, who went up to Lake Superior with Péré in 1667. Father Jean Delanglez, S.J. has definitely proved this, we think, in his book, “Life and Voyages of Louis Jolliet, 1645-1700” (Chicago, 1948). See also “Louis Jolliet, Early Years, 1645-1674,” by Delanglez in Mid-America, XXVII, pp. 3-25.
33JR, vol. LI, p. 73.
34Marie de L’Incarnation, Lettres (éd. Richaudeau, Tournai, 1876), vol. II, pp. 373, 374. Nicolas spent five years on the Iroquois missions later, but he was not of the heroic mold of those who could endure to the end. He returned to France and there left the Jesuit Order.
35JR, vol. LII, p. 205.
36JR, vol. LV, pp. 100 and foll.
37Margry, Découvertes et Etablissements, etc. (Paris, 1876-1386), vol. I, pp 71, 72.