Metis 1855 - 1856


1855 - 1856


This photo taken in 1855 reads:


It is obvious these are not Indians but rather Metis. The man on the far right is my great great grandfather, Louis Gurnoe, a.k.a. Garneau (1790-1863), being of 50% mixed blood. He was also known as Gournon, Gornow and Gaunaux.

The man on the far left is Louis Cadotte, born 1802 brother of Archange Cadotte Gurnoe, a.k.a. Julia Nolan (born 1798), listed 50% mixed blood, who is married to Louis Gurnoe on the far right. The other men are John Bouche, Obogan, and O'Shawan.

Louis Gurnoe (1790-1863) appeared to have relocated the younger members of his family from Bay Mills, Michigan on the Saint Mary River to Bayfield, Wisconsin near La Pointe. La Pointe, on Madeline Island east of Bayfield, is the home of about four hundred Canadian Metis and Native Chippewa, many working for the American Fur Company. Other members of the family selected Duluth, Minnesota at the head of Lake Superior, or Saint Cloud, Minnesota on the Mississippi. Some stayed at Bay Mills or Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.

Heather Cadotte Armstrong suggests the identification is in error. Click picture to see a larger view and Heather's suggested corrections.

Several hundred Metis from a very widely spread country converged at the ancient Metis trading center, La Point, to trade.

The Railway had reached St. Paul, Missouri Territories this year, intensifying pressure on the Chippewa and Dakota Sioux Indian Territories. This also increased the trade up the Red River. Two to three hundred Red River carts are hauling about half the goods sent from St. Paul to Red River. Some Metis freighters drive ten carts. They hauled furs, pemmican, moccasins and skin garments to St. Paul, Missouri Territories and returned with groceries, tobacco, liquor, dry goods, ammunition, farm implements, glass for windows and even pianos.

Red River at this time boasted eight churches, and there are forty two mission stations within territory claimed by the Hudson Bay Company. The churches include twelve Catholic, five Wesley, one Presbyterian and the rest are churches of England, all within the Metis' Territory. The 'dolly mops' or barmaids, as the missionary wives are called, began to hobnob with the fur trade gentlemen. They continued in their attempt to set the social pace for the entire settlement. These missionary people condemned the natural order of things by placing country marriages as sinful unions. This belief permanently down graded the family unit which was an integral and essential element of the fur trade. They preached that a good wife must be clean and industrious in her habits and docile and obedient to her husband. Above all, she must be sexually pure. Once she has lost her chastity, she has from that moment all the vices. The missionaries equated the native nomadic life with barbarism. Proud hunters are instructed that handling a fork correctly and using handkerchiefs would save their immortal souls.

The Churches classified Country Wives as unchaste, and some European traders used the missionary zeal as an opportunity to cast off their Country Wives. This allowed them the freedom, with church approval, to marry younger overseas brides and thereby save their immortal souls. The English continued to class the children of country marriages as half-breed; a derogatory term implying of inferior quality, possibly as a result of the denial of their own half-breed origin of Celt, Red Paint, Roman, Viking, Norman, Anglo and Saxon backgrounds. Even to current times their culture strives to legitimize their beliefs and values, which conflict with history and other world Nations.

The Hudson Bay Company closed Fort Boise, Idaho because of the Snake River uprising of 1854.

February 22: The American Government entered into treaty with the Pillager and Mississippi Chippewa.

March 22: The American Government authorized General W.S. Harney to conduct operations against the Dakota Sioux in the Dakota Territory. The Governments intention was to drive them further to the west to make room for settlement.

May 24: The first practical ship locks at Sault Ste Marie opened, and cargo to Lake Superior no longer had to be broken and hauled. The opening of the St. Mary's rapids ship canal (Soo Locks) allowed direct shipping between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

July 31: Detroit, in the State of Michigan Treaty with the Ottawa and Chippewa (Ojibwa) Indians of Michigan, parties to the treaty of March 28, 1836. The Land Index of Sault Ste Marie, Grand River, Grand and little Traverse, Mackinac, Ottawa, and other bands of Chippewa.

A selected list of interest to myself includes:

Mrs. Alixie Cadotte

Charles Cadotte, #1

Charles Cadotte, #2

Isaac Cadotte

Louis Cadotte, #1

Louis Cadotte, #2

Mary Anne Cadotte

Sophia Cadotte

John Catodde

Louis Geneareaux

Archange Goenoe

Moses Greenbird

Eli Gurnoe

Francois Gurnoe

John Gurnoe

Ching Gwalk


The July 29, 1737 Chippewa Treaty St. Peters, Territory Michigan census mixed-bloods included:












November 21: Indian Agent Gilbert of Lake Superior issued two hundred and eighty seven Mixed Blood Chippewa applications for land script. Many applicants, by this time, have scattered over a wide area in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Most would receive their script within one year, but white men who were married to a Chippewa woman had to pay twenty five dollars. No further claims appear for Lake Superior until 1864 when some claim the Metis discovered script had real value in trade.


In the spring a public meeting is called in Red River where it is recorded that the Hudson Bay Company was called an usurper; tyrannically claiming rights and powers adverse to the interests of the Metis. They would circulate a petition requesting that the colony be annexed to Canada and, a year later, another petition asked that Red River become a Crown Colony.

Chief Factor William McKay, son of John McKay, is assigned to Fort Ellice on the Assiniboine River (1856-1872).

The Red Cliff Reservation three miles north of Bayfield, Wisconsin, established by Executive Order for Buffalo's Chippewa Band, is primarily for those of Catholic persuasion. The recognition of Bayfield, Wisconsin as a settlement occurred this year. The first dock is completed this year at Bayfield.

James W. Taylor, a prophet of St. Paul, Minnesota, arrived from Ohio. He believed the Saskatchewan Valley would become a great agricultural region. He spoke so enthusiastically that they named him Saskatchewan Taylor. He proposed a transcontinental railroad from British Columbia through the Saskatchewan Valley, Red River and Pembina to St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1859 he is appointed by President James Buchanan to investigate relations between the United States and the British Northwest.

(I)- George Simpson (1787-1860) of the Hudson Bay Company reported to London that English authority is being overrun by the numerical strength of the half-breed people. The population of Fort Garry is seven thousand, being mostly Metis. The ancient lake bottom to the south of the Assiniboine River and west of the Red River, known as the White Horse Plains, has a population of seven hundred. He would also report before a Parliamentary Committee that all the Hudson Bay lands are unfit for colonization. Company policy forced this type of conclusion. Colonel C.F. Smith received orders to stop the Canadians from buffalo hunting in the United States Territories.

His station established at the Metis settlement is just across the Canadian border on the Pembina River. Recent tension had been growing between the Canadian Metis and Dakota Sioux, as was reported by the Americans. They, however, have been telling the Dakota Sioux that the Canadians are taking their buffalo. This attempt to create problems doesn't take root, as the Dakota Sioux know the Snake People.

Lewis Henry Morgan researched and published the Iroquois system of kinship where inheritance and children are always assigned to the mother's tribe. Husband and wife normally belonged to different tribes. Morgan is surprised to discover, in 1857, that the Michigan Ojibwa had the same kinship system. The majority of the world had this system. Only the Indo-European and Semitic people developed the destructive paternal system. Unfortunately, this basic cultural decision has profound implications on one's fundamental set of beliefs and values.

Fort Hall, Idaho is abandoned because of the Snake River uprising of 1854.

May 8: The schooner 'Algonquian' arrived from Sault Ste Marie to Bayfield.

July 7: The steamer Manhattan arrived Bayfield, Wisconsin.

October 5: Census recorded 112 people at Bayfield, including 17 women and twenty two children.

December 10: Three hundred and twelve mixed blood Lake Superior Chippewa had received their land script. American white men who headed Mixed Blood families must pay twenty-five dollars in commission before receiving land script. Louis Gurnoe did not pay commission for his script, and that implies he is at least a first generation Metis.