Looking over Voyageur Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady


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

Marianne La Buche

Marianne La Buche Dedicated June 7 2020.

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.


What’s in a Name?

name-tagSpelling Complicates Search for Descendants*

            Searching for descendants of Marianne Labuche has gotten me into the most complicated spelling puzzle of my life.  The grandmother who saved her granddaughter's life was French, but by 1830, the officials who were writing down names were English speakers, so they recorded names the way they thought they were hearing them.  The biggest change I know of, so far anyway, was a family named Gauthier then, now known as Gokey.  But the Gokeys aren't anywhere on the Labuche family tree, so that spelling isn't my problem.
            Depending on where a descendant discovered the name of the grandmother, she would be listed in the records as Mary Ann or Marianne, La Buche or La Bouche.  She was listed as Marianne Labuche when local historian Mary Antoine found the name in the records for her children's baptisms and her marriage to Charles Menard, her third husband.
The grandmother had 13 children, and one of those was Registe Gagnier or Francois Regis. The first spelling showed up in a document about that branch of the family tree provided by Alice DuCharme Kirschbaum, a descendant who lives in Prairie du Chien. This ancestor was the father of Louise, the name used on her baptism and her marriage to her first husband, Amable Moreaux, or Louisa, as some other records list her.
The Mississippi River Sculpture Park Board has decided to rely on the spelling as it shows up on the list provided by Mary Antoine as the most accurate. Here are the names of the 13 children of the first generation, plus the 13 children the injured baby brought into the world with her two husbands after she healed and grew up.
Children of Marianne Labuche
1. Married Duchouquette
Francois Duchouquette
Charles Duchouquette
2. Married Claude Gagnier
Helen born circa 1795
Francois Regis born circa 1796
Claude born circa 1798
Melanie born circa 1800
Adelaide born circa 1800
3. Married Charles Menard 12 May 1817
Julie born 6 April 1805
Margueritte Born 6 April 1805
Charles born 22 February 1807
Louis born 1814
Pascal born about 1815
Children of Marie Louise Gagnier
1. Married Amable Moreaux 5 August 1843
Isadore born 1844
Aurelie born 1846
Caroline born 1847 (Dead by 1855)
Lillian born 1848 (Dead by 1855)
David born 1852
Virginia born 1 September 1853*
Sophia born 1856*
Emilie born 1857
Rosana born 1858*
Esther born 1859*
2. Married Combe Cherrier 1 March 1863
Madeline born 1863
Felix Combe born 1865
Louise born 1869
*In 1870 Federal Census listed with the last name Cherrier
In addition to Francois Regis, we've heard recently from a descendant of his brother Basil. And from the branch that starts with the granddaughter, we've also heard from a descendant of Isadore. If you see a name that sounds familiar, even if the spelling isn't, please let us know at marl@centurytel.net.
--Marilyn Leys