Press enter after choosing selection

A Legend Of The Mississippi

A Legend Of The Mississippi image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

To those of the present day who aro aequainted with Iowa by residence, suiumer visits, or familj connections, it secms almost incrediblo tüat highly cultivated as it now is, and tliickly dotted with towns and villages, this State was so lately the hunting ground of the Indians, aud that even withiu twenty years the Winnebagoes have carried on their invetérate warfare with the Saos and Foxes, where now the rapid rail car whirls you along for hundreds of miles without once losiug sight of habitations of civilized man. The discovery of the mineral resources on each side'of the Upper Missipsippi, in Northern Illinois and Iowa, must have resulted in an emigration to those parts exceeding the utmost anticipations of government; sinoe tho Winnebagoes bribed at a high price to remove froni their hauuts in Southern Wisconsiu to the "neutral ground in Iowa, wore, iu less than ten years, again brought out and driven far away to the' west; while warlike Saos and Foxes, with all that remains of the once powerful and seuii-civiltzed Iowas, who so long inhabited tho beautiful banks of the Des JSIoines, are now driven far beyoud the Missouri, ïnerged into one diminished and undreaded tribe. Taking into consideration the rapid progress of events on the banks of the Mississippi, Dubuque may be fairly pronounced au ancient city, dating upwards of two centuries siuce it received its name froni the early French settlers. - surrounded as it bas been until within about twenty ycars, with Indian tribes, amongst whoni the exchange of commodities, the gttlement of missions, and constant commuuications, produce a riendly feeling, strong fneudship exists, and intermarriages were not unfrequent; thus the removal of the native tribes ware attended on their own part with feelings of regret no payment eould compénsate, and of eninity and ill-will toward their aggressors that can be eradicated only with their own extinction. A. short time before tho purchase of the "Iowa country" from tho Sacs and Foxes, a man named Pierre Leclorc, of Frenck parentage, removed down the river frora Dubuque, and settled with his family in tho adjoining county, where tho little town pf Sabula has siiieo rigen. - Many years before, he had discovered a young Sac warrior lyiog wounded and almost dying, in an underbrush. Ho had met with a serious accident while huuting and but for timely assistance would have died in solitude and sufl'ering. Leclerc took hira to his own home and carcfully tended him ur_til he could rejoin his tribe, which kindness had been returned with a devoted and lasting friendahip; and he had never failed to visit his pre server with valuable presents of furs and deer skins every year from that time. But now a period lias arrived wheu the Indian, (a chief of his tribo,) must bid farewell forever, nud he sought his friend !n his new home for that purpose. He was moody and sorrowful, and gave utteraueo to rnany bitter aud revengeful oxpressions against the Americans, unwilling so admit the justice of a mutual treaty. "White man thinks thcre are treasures beneath our hunting grounds," eaid he, while a fierce and malignant expression overspread his features; :'he will dig up our hunting ground to find bullets to shoot down our warriors and our red deer, and will drive us to fierce tribes of the west. who make who make war upon us, and our wigwams will bo no more spread on these meadows." Leelero endeavored to paeify his Indian friend, who, by-aud-by became more calm and informed him that he was the possessor of a very important secret, and that if he would promise never to divulgo it, and submit himself entirely toiisguidance, he would conüde it to him. The man bad sufiicient confidence in the Iudian chief to make the required promise and yield himself up to his power. He was told he must be blindfolded and go wherever the chief would lead him immediately after sunset. Leelerc therefore permitted bandages to be bound carefully over his eyes, aud was conducted to the river and into a canoe, which after many circuitous twists and turas, was rowed steadily on for several hours, and turned suddenly this way aud that before stopping, in order, Leclerc conjectured, to more effectually disguise the direction they had taken. He was carefully conduoted on ehore, and led along a rough and tangled path, breaking through trees and bushes to effect their progress. After several minutes of this uncertain course he had to crawl on his hands and knees through a narrow passage which seemed likc a low, damp cave, for some distanco, uutil at lust he was bid to stand upright, and the bandago was removed from his eyes. To the astonishment of Leelero he found himself in total darkness, shut out from stars and sky- not a ray of light was discernable. He spoke and his voice resounded on all sides, rolling along from echo to echo, liko the rumbling of distant thunder. A cold chili ran through his frame, and his good Indian friend was woll nigh feiling. Had he inadvcrtently provoked his ire? And was he brought there to perish aionc? But the brave Sac was in the meantime producing a light, and suddenly setting fire to a heap of dry rubbish he had collectecl on the way, behold! what wonders were revealed to Leclerc. Hefound bimself in a va3t vault of glittering eryatals. High abuve his head, and around all sidp as far as the reinotest glimmer of light coulJ reach glistening crystals of load wcre packed ia cvery direction. Bright and smootb, liko miilions of little mirrors, shone tlie metal. ''Behold the treasures that He buried benoath our wigwams," exclaimed the Indian; "But tho Sao warrior alope knows thia cave, and he will never teil to white man the riohos of our hunting ground." Leclcro was permitted to ramble at will, and thoroughly conviuceJ himself of tho reality of this buried wealth, while the chief draergod in more branches to heap on tho firef but no information could be drawn from him. - And when at length the afitonishraent of old Pierre had abated, and hia visión satisfied with the beauty of this subterranean palace, the bandages veere replaoed over his eyes and lic was rc-condueted on bands and knees Jong the craggy paths to the canoe; and after a repetiti'on of the same deoeptive turnings, and five or six liours steady rowing, he was landed, taken to his own home, and onco more restored to the privilege of sight. Ou his death bed, "Pierre Ledere revealed the secret to his son, who subsequently speut upvvards of two years in exploring the banks of the Mississippi on each side within thirty miles of the spot where he dwelt, but in min. The treasure is still a buried secret. Thai it exsts, is a well kuown fact in the nfüghborïood, and who can foretell the ciroumtances that may soouer or later brin it forth? Tilia cave is supposed to be of galena orsulpliuret of load, whose orystáls are in cubes presenting a bright smooth surfaeo. The esistence ói lead throughout that región, extending fur beyond the miiiing district, is frequently de tected. Its presence ís ulso indica ted by the "leud plant" of botanista, "amor}ha eanescens," wliich is found n croat uantities for many miles iu the vicinity f the Mississippi; but whether this one mysterious cavern wil] ever be diticovred or not, belonga only to the future QOals of timo. Thn laveling of a road, r tho foundation of a building; the ngiculliiralist, or naturalist iu his reearches, may in a moment discover it; r, on tbecontrary, the hard working armar muy even now bo partaking bis aily meáis over ble unsuspected riches - the storrns of winter and debria í years having long sinco choked up II access to it; or the foundation of future city may have already cut off s diacovery for agos, and man is poruing his daily toil to amasa a forune for himself and family every ïour trainpling over and over "tho very Dot wliero wealth incalculable lies juried. - - i - i i i mm