Looking over Voayager Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady

Aunt Marianne Labuche will be the next bronze sculpture. She was Prairie Du Chien's first Physician. She rescued and nursed her granddaughter, baby Louise Gagnier who had been scalped and left for dead. Photo is small replica.


Dedicated in 2013, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Shelter will provide families and friends to gather, share a meal, and imagine the possibilities.

Bluff Top Tombs

CollagesOne of the more interesting stories about Prairie du Chien is about  Michael Brisbois, a fur trader,  whose tomb is located high atop  a bluff north of the city. According to the story,  he wanted to be buried on top of the bluff so he could look down eternally on his rival, Joseph Rolette, also a fur trader, who is buried in the Old French Cemetery.

in those days, nothing prevented one from being laid to rest on private property in rural areas. Today, the tomb  is only accessible through private land. The tomb is marked by a weather beaten cross which can be seen from the valley below.

These are the names of those who are with Michel Brisbois on the bluff:
Brisbois, Michael died Apr;1,1837,age 77 years,6 months
B. W. Oct;4,1808---June 15,1885
Therese Apr; 27,1815---July 23,1849,wife of B. W.

Tilmont, J. A. May 25,1816---Feb;26,1872,born in Brussels

Bernard (B. W) was Michael Brisbois son.  Therese was Michael Brisbois Wife. Joseph A. (J. A. ) Tilmont was a druggist. He was not related to the Brisbois family and it is unknown why he is buried on the bluff.

Michel [aka Michael] was born in Val-Maska, Quebec, Canada, in 1759. He attended school in Quebec. Soon turning to the fur trade, he worked out of DSC_0045Mackinac (1778), and in 1781 he moved his operations to Prairie du Chien where, with other French Canadian traders, he founded the first permanent white settlement. Although sympathizing with the British in the struggle for control of the Northwest Territory, he accepted a commission in the Illinois Territorial Militia (1809). During the War of 1812, he furnished supplies to both the American and British forces but maintained a pro-British attitude. Arrested for treason at the close of the war, he was sent to St. Louis for trial but was acquitted. He was appointed associate justice for Crawford County by Governor Cass of Michigan Territory (1819), and thereafter held various local offices in the Prairie du Chien area. In 1785 Michel married a Winnebago woman (reputedly the illegitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville) and had three Metis children: Angellic, Michel and Antoine. She lived with her Winnebago relatives. Michel's second marriage on August 8, 1796, was in Mackinaw City, Michigan, to Domitelle (Madelaine) Gautier de Verville, legitimate daughter of Charles Gautier de Verville. To Michel and his second wife, a son Bernard Walter Brisbois was born in Prairie du Chien in 1808. Michel died in Prairie du Chien in June, 1837. (1)



(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Brisbois

Erdenberger House

old cabin 2The two story log cabin, standing at 113 Villa Louis Road on St, Feriole Island, in Prairie du Chien WI, is known as the Charles and Minnie Erdenberger home and then known as William and Esther Obmascher home.(1) It is believed to be constructed by Chas Erdenberger in 1859.

Erdenberger left his wife, Wilhelmina Fritsche,  for Caroline Schultz (who was married at the time to William Snyder). Chas went back to Pennsylvania, where he changed his last name to Morganroth. (2)

When the houses were cleared from St. Feiole Island, the original house looked like the photo on the right. 10351908_10202827744283427_1158072999495428051_n The house picture is from the 4th ward relocation in the late 1960s.

A Fall Visit to the The Mississippi River Sculpture Park – *

All over the world the Mississippi River is introduced to countless school children as one of the most important features of our continent. How better can we learn than to actually see and touch these bronze people from out of the pages of our history?
It is an experience not to be forgotten to stand by the great warrior Black Hawk or lie down beside the resting Voyageur.
Dr. Beaumont and his son Israel will not be forgotten by children who touch the frog in his hands. Victoria Victorious adds her poetry to the statue of the Victorian Lady, and Emma Big Bear will always remind us of times past merging with times present.
As each new figure is introduced into the park people will return to have their pictures taken with these characters from our past. Families will remember their heritage as they stroll among the statues. Stories will be written about the lives of these bronze people and teach others about them.
Visitors may learn about the making of bronze sculpture and gain appreciation for the expression of fine art.(1)
Fascinating history and towering rugged bluffs make this Prairie du Chien and St Feriole Island a memorable visit. Prairie du Chien, located four hours south of Minneapolis and two hours west of Madison, is nestled in a pristine landscape of rural hills and valleys.
The driftless area boasts scores of rocky bluffs and winding trails. Prairie du Chien lies at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers.
Anytime a a great time to visit Prairie du Chien, and The Mississippi River Sculpture Park. Fall is a spectacular time. Make the Mississippi River Sculpture Park one of your places as a “Must See”.
--(1)*Florence Bird

The Black Hawk Tree*

220px-Black_Hawk_TreeThe Black Hawk Tree, or Black Hawk's Tree, was a cottonwood tree located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, United States. Local legend held that Sauk leader Black Hawk used it to elude his pursuers, though there are differing details and versions of the story.  (Photo - Left - 1915 postcard of the Black Hawk Tree)
In one version of the tale, the tree was said to have been used by Black Hawk during the 1790s to evade capture from troops stationed at Fort Crawford.Black Hawk would later became famous for his role in leading a band of Sauk and Fox, known as the British Band, back into Illinois in violation of several disputed treaties. The event triggered the Black Hawk War of 1832.
Another version of the story held that one day, after his capture following the Black Hawk War, he was being escorted by Lieutenant Jefferson Davis and managed to escape. While eluding his pursuers, it is said, Black Hawk hid himself among the branches of the tree. This version of the story appeared in the LaCrosse Tribune in 1922; even then, the story noted, there were those who pronounced the tale a "myth."
In reality, the local legend is probably untrue. Most historians believe that while Black Hawk was in Prairie du Chien once, it was not until after the decisive battle of the Black Hawk War at the mouth of the Bad Axe River. By this time, in August 1832, Black Hawk had surrendered to the custody of the Ho-Chunk and could not have hidden in the tree.
Regardless of the veracity of the tale, the tree was unique in a settled area that had few trees and a large population utilizing wood for various purposes. A 1906 article in the Prairie du Chien Union debunked the popular tale, outlining the ownership of the property, the writer's interviews with the subjects, and their assertion that the tree was not planted until at least the 1840s. The same article went on to assert the tree had a right to "importance and honorable mention" because of its namesake and the injustices he faced during the 1832 "war of extermination."
Newspaper accounts stated that visitors purposely passed the tree in automobiles and many stopped to view the tree. By 1922, the once two-trunked tree was reduced to one trunk and was in decline.  During a windstorm in the 1920s, the Black Hawk Tree was destroyed, but even after its death the site continued to be marked. The Black Hawk Tree is, without question, the most well-known tree in the Prairie du Chien area and part of local lore. The Black Hawk Tree, like other trees in Wisconsin such as the Hanerville Oak, was so revered that the road was detoured around it to save it from being cut down.
Even after the tree's destruction, and certainty that the tale is not true, the legend persists. When the tree came down, the road it grew from was renamed from Bluff Street to Black Hawk Avenue.A piece of wood, purportedly from the Black Hawk Tree, hangs in the museum at Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien.