The History


Jonathan Carver

There comes a time in a man's life when he must go into the real world and live on his own. This is what Jonathan Carver believed when he left the British army and went to discover new lands. Jonathan Carver came from a wealthy family that could afford to put him through any school and anything he could ever wish to do. He became the first Anglo-Saxon to explore the regions of the Upper Lakes and Upper Mississippi valley.

After his explorations, he wrote a book called "Carver's Travels." It was the first best seller related to Wisconsin. In writing his book, he made it sound as though he was in charge of the journey, but in actuality he was just a part of a larger group and his general, who was in charge, sent him out to explore the regions of the Upper Lakes and Upper Mississippi valley. Carver was led by two other people. This is the reason that skeptics say they believe that other parts of his story may also be exaggerations, such as the land deed. This is a map of the land that the deed covers in North Central Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota.

The Chiefs of the Naudoissies (Sioux Indians) gave him, "the land from the Falls of St. Anthony, running on the East bank of the Mississippi River nearly southeast as far as the south end of Lake Pepin, where the Chippewa joins the Mississippi, and 160 English miles north, and thence again to the falls of St. Anthony in a direct straight line," as shown above. These are the exact words to the deed that Jonathan Carver received from the Chiefs of the Naudoissies.

This area is much of north and central Wisconsin. Eau Claire, Menomonie, and St. Paul are some of the cities that are in this land granted to Jonathan Carver in 1766. He described this area as being the most beautiful he had ever seen. He became one of the chiefs of the Naudoissies.

After he received this deed, he went back to Britain to show off what he had gotten from the Native Americans. He left his wife and children in Boston and married another woman in Britain. He died soon after he returned from the colonies. When he died his relatives sold the deed to George M. Spurlock from Louisville, Kentucky and Henry Schmidt from the City of Richmond. They went back to the colonies and tried to claim it.

Here is a copy of the land deed. It reads exactly as in the parentheses below.

"This indenture, made this Nineteenth day of January in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty four (1864) between George M. Spurlock of the city of Louisville, state of Kentucky, gentlemen of the other part, and Henry Schmidt of the City of Richmond of the other part: whereas Haunapajatan 'turtle' Otchtongoomlisheau 'snake' chiefs of the Naudoissie Indians did by their certain deed, under their respective hands and seals, give, grant, and convey to a certain Jonathan Carver, a certain territory or tract of land, which said deed to the said Jonathan Carver is in the words and figures following, to wit:

"To Jonathan Carver, a chief under the most mighty and potent George the third, king of the English and other nations, the fame of whose courageous warriors have reached our ears and has been more fully told us by our brother Jonathan aforesaid, whom we rejoice to see amongst us, and bring us good news from his country. We the chiefs of the Naudoissiesm who have hereunto set our hands and seals, do by these presents for ourselves and heirs forever, in return for the many presents and other good services done by the said Jonathan to ourselves and allies, give, grant, and convey to him the said Jonathan, and his heirs and assigns the whole of a certain tract, or territory of land, bounded as follows:

'from the Falls of St. Anthony, running on the east bank of the Mississippi River nearly Southeast as far as south end of Lake Pepin, where the Chippewa joins the Mississippi, and from thence North six days travel, at twenty English mile per day, and for thence again to the Falls of St. Anthony in a direct straight line.

'We do for ourselves, our heirs and assigns, forever give unto the said Jonathan, his heirs and assigns forever, all the said lands, with all the trees, rocks, and river therein, reserving for ourselves heirs the sole liberty of hunting and fishing on lands not planted or improved by the said Jonathan, his heirs or assigns. To which we have affixed. To which we have affixed our respective seals at the Great Cave, May the first, one thousand seven hundred and sixty seven."

We are still unsure whether Jonathan Carver actually did receive this deed because of all the stories he told that lacked credibility. Even if he didn't, he tells a great story about this land we now call home.

Be sure to check out Round Hill history if you would like to see where Jonathan Carver camped his first night while he was in the area.

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All information in this story was found in the Durand Free Library in the book Just People of the Friendly Valley and in a pamphlet about Jonathan Carver.

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