Food Shortages on the Frontier | News, Sports, Jobs

Last week I spoke with Pasti about its introduction to the Lake Superior copper belt in the mid-1840s. Much has been written about pasties from the region since the mid-20th century, so other foods of historical importance are less well known. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons, at least one of which is to give the reader the impression that pasties were the only food consumed in copper areas, and therefore the only thing miners ate. to leave. Another reason is the cultural fixation of pasty historical aspects, regardless of taste or ethnic culture, on which early settlers in the copper region and areas within the Northwest Ordinance of 1789 relied for survival. Completely ignoring other foods.

From 1840 to the early 1870s, the south shore of Lake Superior was the northwesternmost point of the 1789 Northwest Ordinance. It was the Northwest Frontier. After Congress ratified Lapointe’s Treaty of Copper in October 1842, that portion of the territory was opened to European-American settlers in his March 1843. The region was ill-prepared for the human flooding of the coast.

There were no overland routes to the area, and the lake had only two ships, neither designed for passenger service. The first was John Jacob Astor, his two-masted schooner, built in 1835 under the direction of Ramsey Crooks, president of the American Fur Company, of Mastership Builders. Built by George Washington Jones. It was 78 feet long and weighed 112 tons. Four years later, AFC changed the rigging of the schooner from Topsail her schooner to Square rig her brig.

The second ship was the fore and aft schooner Algonquin, built in 1838-39 for the Cleveland North Western Lake Company under the command of Cyrus Mendenhall. Met. Like Astor, Algonquin was built by George Washington Jones of Black River, Ohio. She was only 54 feet in length and was a small single-decker freighter built specifically for transporting wooden barrels between La She Point and Sault She St in Wisconsin Territory. rice field. Marie. These two ships were the sole means of transporting food to the ever-growing mining sites. Food didn’t always arrive.

In the fall of 1845, Reverend Eric H. Day was ordained the first missionary to the area.

“That plan” In 1889 he wrote, “It was in what was then the ‘Northwest’, 25 miles west of the westernmost point of Lake Superior.” Appointed to the Methodist Mission at Lapointe, his ship was caught in a ferocious storm on Lake Superior as he approached it.

“Cargo on deck was dumped indiscriminately.” he wrote, “The barrels broke and some, filled with corn, jumped over the breakwater and landed in the sea unbroken.”

Historical documents like Day’s provide overwhelming evidence that food was always scarce on the frontier.

Another Methodist missionary, the Reverend John H. Pitezel, was on the south shore of Lake Superior at about the same time as Reverend Day. In his memoirs, he wrote of his 1845 spending Christmas time in Sault. As New Year approaches, Marie’s mission is…“I took this opportunity to bake a barrel of flour into bread, make a barrel of bean soup, and provide miscellaneous trinkets.”

The next day, after a public service at 10:00 a.m., the missionaries “We distributed corn, pork and other foodstuffs to visitors, including barrels of bean soup, which was one of the most important luxuries of the time.”

John H. Forster, an engineer and historian who seemed to be active wherever mining was taking place, was hired in 1870 at the Silver Islet Mine, about 20 miles north of Isle Royale, Ontario. It was done.

Forster writes in his: “The History of the Settlement of Silver Islet on the North Shore of Lake Superior” Published in Michigan Historical Collections, Volume 14, 1908, “A lot of the fish was taken out of the ice, and we were able to transform the much-needed diet from salted pork and beef.”

A mining site in Minnesota in the Ontonagon area whose company’s 1859 annual report recorded a population of 1,215 at the site.located about 12 miles from “mouth” Summer was a difficult time to get food from Onnagon’s port to the place. The task was nearly impossible during the seven-month winter season. The company has done everything it can to ensure that residents and animals have enough food.

“We added about 70 acres of cleared land during the year.” Mine investigator JB Townsend reported: “We are currently farming about 400 acres in addition to what is occupied by buildings and improvements.” The 1859 harvest was 2,200 bushels of potatoes, 1,200 bushels of turnips, and 170 tons of hay and oats. Townsend complained that the year’s product was more or less a failure than the previous year’s.

The following year the weather conditions were much better than in 1859. In 1860 over 10,000 bushels of potatoes and he over 2,000 bushels of turnips were harvested. These were vegetables that were easy to plant, easy to harvest, could be stored for months at a time, and grew well in the thin soils of the region.

On the Lake Superior frontier, food shortages were a very real fear even before the settlements were opened. Mendenhall’s schooner was claimed by him to be the first American ship to enter his harbor, Copper, which occurred in May 1840. fishing grounds there. In his letter, when he left his crew of six to fish there, “Provided them with instructions to plant potatoes, corn, beans, and other seeds, but they reported that they could not find suitable land to offer encouragement in their opinion, and therefore omitted the planting.

Four years later, the U.S. Army established Fort Wilkins at Copper Harbor, not far from the area where Mendenhall was trying to establish a fishery.Postmaster Captain Robert E. Clary, in a report written in 1845, noted that the post office gardens were “Has brought us less than the seed that was planted…”

Clary, like everyone else on the Lake Superior frontier, learned that during the winter of 1844-45, Brig Aston (the larger of the two ships on the lake that year) stormed into Copper Harbor. faced serious difficulties after being shipwrecked in Eagle He was a director of the Lake Superior Copper Company, which had mines on the River, and quickly realized the ramifications of the Aster wreck.

“The brig Astor was wrecked in the fall of the same year.” Its unofficial company report states: “When the waterway opened in the spring of 1845, only Algonquin-on-the-Lake remained for freight and passenger transport.”

A letter from the mining agent, Charles H. Gratiot, to one of the directors, read: “South Shore, Lake Superior, Eagle River” On January 25, 1845, it was opened as follows.

“The Brig Astor disaster has caused us a lot of embarrassment, lost time, and money, as we had to ship all our supplies from the fort to this place. I had to buy a large Mackinaw boat to carry part of the Marie; Because of heavy storms and heavy snow, Gratiot’s life was in jeopardy on several occasions trying to get food and winter provisions from the Sioux River to the Eagle River in open boats on the south bank of the lake.

“It’s over” he wrote, “However, I will try to avoid such trips in the future.”

The Astor wreck demonstrated the vulnerability of settlements along the southern shore of Lake Superior to the Wild West Frontier. In addition to the uncertainty of shipping, the high fees charged by shipowners for freight transport made it difficult to purchase enough food to sustain the mining sites during the winter. Anything that is locally shot or trapped, and if possible farmable, can be eaten at Frontier, regardless of flavor or taste. was welcomed.

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