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1683 Fur Trade Expedition

Description of a Fur Trading Expedition which Jean Desrosiers participated. They were tricked and taken captive by the Iroquois only to later be assisted by the Mascoutins.

1683 Fur Trade Expedition

During the summer of 1683 (Aug 10), Rene Le Gardeau, Sieur de Beauvais, with thirteen others, our ancestor Jean Dessosiers and his brother Antoine, departed from Missilimakina with seven canoes of merchandise to trade among the Illinois. They arrived on 4 December at the lower end of Lake Michigan, and wintered in the valley of the Teakiki or Kankskee River. On 23 February 1684, four of their party were sent to go hunting on the river Teakiki in the direction of the river Ilinois, about six leagues below them, to try and get some store of meat for continuing their trip. They were discovered by sixteen Iroquois who had disguised themselves has Illinois both in their language and their dress. The hunting party arrived back at the camp on 26th of February with the Indians who asked to remain two days in their camp to rest. After the two days, the Indians left assuring the Frenchmen that they could go along the river Teakiki in complete safety; and that if we should meet their people, they had nothing to fear.  On Sunday 5 March, they resumed their journey along the river Teakiki to reach Fort St. Louis, where they hoped to do their trading. They were greatly astonished when, after travelling two hours, we saw 200 Iroquois waiting for them at the rapids. They crossed to the other side of the river, to make use of their bales of goods and their canoes to fortify their position, and arrange to defend themselves in case of an attack. However, it was all in vain; for sixty of the Iroquois threw themselves into the water in the rapids, shouting to the Frenchmen, "Do not be afraid," "we are your brothers, and wish to trade with you." At the same moment, the Iroquois seized the Frenchmenís weapons and took them, and their seven canoes, to land, where they pillaged all our goods and canoes. The Frenchmen showed them the licenses from the Governor-General and his letters to M. de La Durantaye and the Chevalier de Baugis, which they tore up with great scorn.

The Iroquois first told the Frenchmen that they were their slaves, and that they were going to take them away to their country. They kept the Frenchmen with them nine days, marching on land in the direction of Fort. St. Louis. On 14 March when they were at the river Chicagou (Des Plaines River, Chicago Illinois) the Frenchmen were released without provisions or canoes or arms except with two worthless guns and a little lead. The Frenchmen were told not to go to Fort St. Louis, the Iroquois were going to attack the Fort and if the Frenchmen were found there, they would be tomahawk. On the 19th, they met thirty Mascoutins and begged them to take pity on them and give them something to eat and some guides to direct them to the Mission of St Francois Xavier at La Baye Des Puants.. They ultimately reached Quebec, where they made a very long and indignant protest on the subject of their unwarranted misfortunes.

SOURCE:  Macalester College Contributions, pg 138

Missilimakina - Missilimakinac spelling in old records (Michillimackinac) at the top of Lake Michigan  and the straits which connected Lake Superior to the other Great Lakes.

Fort Saint Louis at Starved Rock Illinois, 80 miles southwest of Chicago.

Mission of St Francois Xavier at La Baye Des Puants (The Bay of Sticking Water, Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Owner/SourceMacalester College Contributions, pg 138
Date20 Jun 2014
Linked toDESROSIERS JEAN BAPTISTE, dit Dutremble

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