19th Century, Business, Economics, History, Industry, Minnesota, Native Americans, Politics, trade

1st Lumber Mills in MN 1848

history_franklinSteele

Pioneer businessman Franklin Steele builds a sawmill at the falls of Saint Anthony. By 1856, there are eight mills at the falls.*

May I sit with You and observe this chapter of life in my state? Mr. Steele came here through the invitation of the man who would become his brother-in-law; Henry Hastings Sibley, a prominent Minnesotan. He staked an advantageous claim on the east bank of the St. Anthony Falls. Soon, he established a partial dam, sawmills, and a crew upriver to supply him logs, and commence a successful business. **

Digging further, this is what I found:
“But Steele surreptitiously staked the first claim on the choicest land before sunrise on the first day of legal settlement.” *** Is there nothing new under the sun? Once again, a man becomes successful through an inside scoop, and bending the rules to his advantage. We, indeed, are people of mixed motives, bearing both good and bad fruit!

Will You forgive his offense to You in making an illegal claim? Will You forgive his offense to all parties affected in his day whether Native, immigrant, loggers, and sawyers? Will You restore the losses of Steele’s contemporaries?

Yet, we too sometimes exhibit the same heart as Steele; we try to grow beautiful things from ugly roots! We often esteem the shrewd, and shun those led by conscience. We are so in love with success stories that we brush past those whom our heroes stepped on and over in the process. Will You forgive us our “illegal claims” today?

Precisely because I am a man with a mixed up heart like Franklin, I am drawn to Your mercy! Through Your kindness, I can offer honest thanks for the accomplishments of others with on-again/off-again hearts. Thanks for providing ample waterpower in Minnesota! Thanks for the resources of wood! Thanks for Franklin Steele who put together an enterprise to use both for the betterment of Minnesota!

http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Steele
*** http://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/historyculture/upload/River_Ch_6.pdf

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17th Century, Catholic, Culture, Exploration, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Hennepin publishes book about his travels 1683 

UnknownHennepin exaggerates his exploring feats in a book he writes after returning to France. In one colorful chapter he romanticizes St. Anthony Falls, turning it into a dream destination for adventure travelers. Hennepin becomes famous as his book is translated and read throughout Europe.

Hennepin writes that the falling water “of itself is terrible, and has something in it very astonishing.” Printed in multiple languages and editions, the book’s original title translates to Description of Louisiana: newly discovered to the southwest of New France, by order of the King. With a map of the land: the customs and the way of life of the natives. Dedicated to His Majesty by the R.P. Louis Hennepin, Franciscan missionary and apostolic notary.*

Thank you for choosing Father Hennepin to relay this story to France and the Continent! Often, You choose a spokesman who is imperfectly perfect for the job. In this way, we the recipients automatically relate to the humanity of the message.

Where Hennepin may have exaggerated his adventures; will You forgive him? Will You also forgive those of us like him who may embellish the truth because we lack the trust that the straight story is enough? Will You credit him with the fortitude to put pen to paper, and at least attempt to record what he experienced?

Lord, we are trapped at times by the limitations of words, and especially we historians who wrestle with tone and style. If we insert our voice into historical writing, we may be taken as “too passionate”, or “not impartial.” If we attempt to remain a transparent, neutral reporter, our personality still can betray us through our unspoken biases, our framing of events, and even the limitations or vastness of our vocabulary!

Will You bless those, like Hennepin, who may record our history for those a continent away? Will You give humility to reader and writer to appreciate the limitations of one human’s perceptions? Will You give present and future generations of explorers the bravery to simply write: whether ornamented or truncated?

Lord Jesus, thanks for Your book! Thanks for the power of story to connect head and heart! Will You give power to the stories of Minnesota, and help us to know each other better?

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  Currently the timeline seems to be unavailable.

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17th Century, Catholic, Culture, Exploration, France, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Native Americans

Hennepin at Falls of St. Anthony 1680  

 

 

Source:Google Images

“Early explorer who named St. Anthony Falls” copyright Ken Fox

 

“Louis Hennepin, a missionary with the La Salle expedition in Illinois, is sent up the Mississippi to explore the country. The Dakota stop him and his two companions and take them to a village near Lake Mille Lacs. While Hennepin is with the Dakota, he sees a great waterfall on the Mississippi and names it after his favorite saint–Saint Anthony.” *

Lord, thanks that You position us to encounter Your mystery! I don’t know if Hennepin was stopped by force or friendliness, but thank You that You moved him to see the Falls, and the Dakotas to lead him! What a gift these Dakotas’ shared with a total stranger?! What a generosity of spirit! Will You remember their willingness to share the findings of their exploration? Release us from any false judgments or assumptions, Hennepin to Dakota, or vice versa, that stem from this event. Release Your blessings on both groups; the explorers and first residents of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amen.

*Note – PrayThroughHistory uses the timeline located for several years at the Minnesota Historical Society Web site, at this URL:mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm .  Currently the timeline seems to be unavailable. I am hopeful that it will be back up in the future, as it was a valuable, user-friendly tool for anyone wishing to explore Minnesota history.

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