19th Century, education, Exploration, France, government, History, maps, Minnesota, Native Americans, Science, State Government

Nicollet Maps of Upper Mississippi River 1843

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French astronomer Joseph Nicollet’s accurate maps of the upper Mississippi region, made over the course of several visits to Fort Snelling, are published by the U.S. Senate in 1843.*

Thanks for the blessing of accurate maps. Thanks that You give us a real assessment of the situations of our lives. Thank you that good maps help define land uses and indirectly, land disputes!

As I ponder Messr. Nicollet’s involvement in the life of this state, I quickly come to the question, “Why is an astronomer mapping terra firma so far from home?” Although I know so little about astronomy, I can easily imagine that he was trained to map the vastness of space. Perhaps working on such a small scale was a new challenge to him, or no challenge at all. His motives in this work are unknown to me, but would be an interesting campfire story.

However, I am practicing thinking about history as the Eternal Now. This is where Your Spirit leads me. I thank You that You led this man outside his discipline. I thank You that he was taken far beyond his home into the wilderness of North America. I thank You that he shared his gift, even if it was second place to astronomy! Will You bless us as his progeny to embrace the moments in life we are taken out of our expertise, and into the woods?

*www.dipity.com/Minnesota/History/Minnesota-History/

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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, Exploration, France, History, Intercession, maps, Minnesota, Native Americans

Allouez Creates Map of Lake Superior 1671

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“Partie Occidentale du Canada ou de la Nouvelle France ou sont les Nations des Ilinois, de Tracy, les Iroquois, et Plusieurs autres Peuples; avec la Louisiane Nouvellement Decouverte etc. . . . 1688” Vincenzo Maria Coronelli / Jean-Baptiste Nolin. raremaps.com

 

“Claude Allouez, a missionary on Madeline Island in the 1660s, explores the western and northern shores of Lake Superior. In 1671, he produces one of the best early maps of the lake, indicating the first European awareness of Minnesota.” *

Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the Way! Thank You for the roadmap of forgiveness that restores broken hearts and relationship! Thank You for the discipline of map-making and bless Allouez, his generations, and dwellings for this gift! Will You bless all future Minnesotans who are committed to showing us the way?

*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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