saw mill for the Indians, under contract with Major J. B. Bassett, then Indian agent.
loaded the engine, boiler and mill machinery into a flatboat at the old village of Crow Wing and poled the boat up the Crow
Wing River to the mouth of Leaf River and up that river to Leaf Lake. The party was made up of the late Wm. L. Dow, Little
Falls, Minn., Mr. ___ McCabe, of Minneapolis, Minn., Mr. Jerry Bartrum and a brother of his, whose name I have forgotten,
and myself, with about half a dozen Indians who helped pole the boat.
We found the water very low that spring and in many places were obliged to build wing dams to raise
the water sufficiently to enable use to get up over the rapids; when we got into Leaf River we found it so crooked that our
boat, which was seventy feet long, could scarcely make the turns and we were greatly delayed and did not reach Ruffee’s
Landing on Leaf Lake as soon as we expected; we ran short of provisions and the last few days lived on fish which we caught
in the river. We left the boat at Ruffee’s Landing, and the cargo was afterwards loaded onto wagons and hauled through
to White Earth Lake. After leaving our boat, we went to Otter Tail Lake where Charley Peake had a trading store, only to find
he had nothing to eat except fish and potatoes, and for four days, while we were waiting for the teams which started from
the Crow Wing Agency the day after we did and which were greatly delayed by bad roads, we shared his generous hospitality
and scant bill of fare. At Otter Tail Lake was also located Mr. Van Norse, to whom we were indebted for many courtesies.
When we reached Buffalo River we were obliged to bridge that stream before we could get our teams across,
and while there Major Bassett overtook us and went ahead to White Earth and sent back Mr. Paul Beaulieu to pilot us in to
Upon our arrival we immediately commenced work on the saw-mill, and soon had it running. It was located
about two miles east of the present village on the bank of White Earth Lake.
Thompson & Peake had banked a lot of pine logs across the lake the winter before, and from these
we sawed quite a lot of lumber and shingles and then left the mill in charge of Anton St. Germain, who ran it for some time.
The following winter I built
a saw-mill at Red Lake for the Indians of that agency; the mill was located at the outlet of the lake and was run by water
power. The firmof Thompson & Peake, who did the lumbering at White Earth the winter before I went there, was composed