Life of Ettoukasahwee: French and Indian Alliance in Pioneer America

Copied by Constance Evans July 11, 1947 Prairie du Chien, Wis.” 

This is the account of Pierre La Point and his Indian wife.

“The Sioux Indians inhabited the whole country north of Wisconsin river and

adjacent to the Mississippi.

In 1634 or there about many French voyagers and traders began emigrating to this

part of the country seeking the rich in minerals of various kinds.

The Jesuit priests came from France at an early period giving

spiritual instruction

to the Indians and gaining their love and respect.

The Sioux were friendly with the

Meroniness tribe and at war with the Winnebaggree, Chippewa and Fox Santes.

Many battles were being fought

when the British and French soldiers appeared on

the scene.

The white men coming from Europe usually were educated men, some of good families

seeking adventure and fortune in this beautiful land. Many of them marrying with Indian

maidens, some by law of the white man and some by Indian law. In almost

every case remaining true and loyal to them. The Indian women were always

true to her husband.

Among the Sioux there were many beautiful maidens.

Wabasha, the great chief of the Souix had several sisters, one who married a

Canadian Frenchman. Her name was Etoukasahwee. She was a tall

slender girl of a timid nature and retrieving manner particular to the maids

of the Sioux Indians. In her early youth she was chosen by Pierre La Pointe for his

wife, her brother Wabasha consenting to the marriage which ceremony was conducted

according to the customs at that time.

Pierre La Pointe was a man of fair education and a devout Roman Catholic.

He spent his spare time in teaching Etoukasahwee to read and write and instructed her

in religion. She was an apt scholar and with his instruction soon became a good

housekeeper and kept the little log cabin which they called home, neat and clean –

Two rooms being sufficient for their comfort.

Pierre being a carpenter was able to make many nice, comfortable and convenient

article of furniture for their use.

A large patch of ground attached to their premises

enabled them to raise all the necessities of their simple table.

Pierre was a very fair-skinned

man, his hair tinged with red – and blue eyes,

and altogether what is now called blond.

He was a warm friend of the Indians and acted as interpreter between them

and the officers who were sent with troops to subdue

Indians.

He was kind and wise in his judgement and for that reason was liked by

all who knew him.

Two daughters came to this quiet couple in this cabin by the Mississippi River,

which passed near to their front door. They were beautiful

girls, with their fathers complexion.

He took great pains to teach them to read and write and to help at

housekeeping.

There had come among them a good Jesuit priest Father Follet.

They were baptized and instructed and brought the teachings of this good father.

This was a very happy family, simple and wanting for very little,

attending church twice on Sundays and performing their daily duties during the week.

In front of the cabin was a sandy beach making a fine landing for boats of any kind.

This beach was the playground of all the children of the village.

The river at the place was broad and swift and many many times in

Spring and Fall the Indians would come

from their northern hunting expeditions and

their canoes would line the shore for

half a mile. They came down the river kneeling in their

long canoes, several in each boat, each having a paddle and giving stroke for stroke,

silently and swiftly gliding through the water and slip onto the sand without a sound.

Their children, playing

on the sand would run to meet and greet these mild men

with happy smiles,

following them without fear going with them to their homes

where they were

welcomed by the elders and seating themselves on their hammock or stretching

themselves upon the floor as was their custom – no fear or

dread of these men of the wild.

The men were given some simple food and drink.

They came to trade their furs for blankets, calicos, cloth & many trinkets at the village

store and depart as silently as they came.

Etoukasahwee and her children were fond of these red men.

She taught them to be kind and that they would be treated with kindness in return.

She taught many of the Indians the wonderful things she had learned

from her husband and the good

Father. They would collect around the Father’s door and Etoukasahwee and her

children act as interpreters for the good Father while he

told them of our Saviour.

Many were baptized and brought into the church believing in the Great Spirit as

they had been taught by the priest.  These Indians were proud of Etoukasahwee.

She seemed a superior being in their eyes and her influence

was for the good over the

whole tribe of Sioux. Her quiet gentle manner winning hearts on all sides.

There were sorrowful times for her. She could not follow the band on their many travels.

She must remain at home and guard her children and serve her husband and

during the wars between the Sioux and the Chippewas her life was in danger many

times. She many times took her children far into the woods

to live for days until she

was sure she would be safe in her home.

When Etoukasahwee’s daughters were about 10 or 12 the American soldiers were

sent to bring about peace between the Sioux, Chippewas, Menominess and other

tribes at war. These soldiers built a fort or barracks very near the home of Pierre

La Pointe and so gave protection to the residents of the village, but gave them many

trials as well. These soldiers with little to occupy their time and no amusement were a

source of great worry to mothers of growing girls. Pierre had instilled into the mind

of Etoukasahwee that she must guard the daughters with her

very life. She was fond of Pierre and to obey was her greatest pleasure.

Every moment

was spent in caring

and watching over these two beautiful girls.

When Pilagie was 17 there came an ex-British officer to smoke

with Pierre and to talk over some business affairs.

He was a fine looking man of thirty bearing the

evidence of good birth and education and he noticed this shy maiden and in the

course of a few days asked the father for her hand in marriage. Pierre hesitated as

Louis Crawford was not a Roman Catholic but of the Church of England and

subject to the British Crown. But after many consultations

and agreements as to the

religion of Pierre and his children, they were married by

the good father.

Pelagie La Pointe – Louis Crawford

Etoukasahwee was well pleased to have her daughter well settled in life in a snug

home just far distant from her own. Crawford was a man of refinement and in his

new home by the river gave evidence of his early surroundings

and began to be made

manifest in some instances of real luxury. Etoukasahwee

came daily to see this

home and looked with surprise at the many beautiful things

around her daughter

and when the Indians came from up the river they would go with her and look

everything over and talk to each other in that half whispering particular to them,

showing great respect for this woman who was of their own band.

Two children came to Louis and Pelagie, a boy and a girl. About

this time Pierre La Pointe passed away into the Spirit land

leaving Etoukasahwee and Theresa, his

other daughter alone. The sadness of the little home was pitiful. Etoukasahwee

mourned many days for this kind husband.

Soon Theresa was sought in marriage

by a Frenchman from Montreal and when she went away life see

made very lonely for Etoukasahwee.

She closed her cabin

and found a corner beside

the fireplace of

Pelagie and found comfort in caring for her grandchildren.

She could speak French,

English, Winnetago, Sioux- Menomines and Chippewa.

She was quiet and gentle

mannered and a devout Christian, watching over the

children, taking them to

church, she seemed contented.

She often went in her small canoe to visit the tribe and

attended the treaties when

ever they met

and received her share of the money for this

beautiful hunting ground.

Her grandchildren were fair and beautiful.

Mr. Crawford assisted in their

early education while they were still young he was called back

to England. After a few years his brother came and

brought Pelagie $500 saying it was

to be used in

educating his children – to send them to good schools. After they were sent away

Etoukasahwee and Pelagie were left alone. Soon, however, Pelagie

married a second time to a Frenchman named Antoine La Chappelle and continued

to occupy the home by the river. Eight children came to this couple so that

Etoukasahwee was very busy looking after the care and welfare of these dear

grandchildren – all of the pure blond type.

She was happy grandma again when starting off with these little

followers to the church where they in their turn received instruction

from Father Follet. She lived to see many of them grow to manhood and womanhood

and finally when it came time for her to go to her eternal rest many stood about

her to mourn.

Father Follet administered the last sacraments. She admonished all to be

true Christian and her works have borne fruit, these grandchildren, many of whom I

have known, have followed in her foot steps.

She peacefully passed away and was laid beside her

husband to whom she had been a true and loyal wife and of her may truly be said

‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ ”

This is an account of my own great grandmother. 

Signed:  Sophie Brunson Eddy

 The cover letter contains the following:

Sophie Crawford was taken to Mackinac by her father’s brother

to visit them. Dr. Mitchell’s son William married her.

She never returned to Prairie

du Chien. 

In Wan Bun, the history of Chicago, their names are mentioned

and she is spoken of

as a very beautiful and attractive woman of French & Indian decent. 

 It is quite evident that they are Catholics in

the sketch. This is the last page

of the account: 

“This is an account of my own great grandmother. 

Sophie Brunson Eddy 

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wioconto/Rita/Rita.htm

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