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The first miners in the region of Wisconsin were the Indians. Archeologists have found clear evidence that an aboriginal mining industry of large proportions was located on the shores of Lake Superior. The belief that the American Indians did not utilize metals was abandoned years ago, because of the proof afforded by the great number of copper implements and ornaments that have been found in Wisconsin. Our earlier scientists were astonished to find these prehistoric copper artifacts in such numbers upon our soil. Later search has resulted in more and more coming to light. Over twenty years ago a count was made and thirteen thousand copper pieces had been recovered from Wisconsin mounds and village sites. Henry E. Hamilton, the chief collector of Wisconsin copper artifacts, has expressed his belief that the copper articles manufactured by the North American Indians amounted to millions.

Copper implements and ornaments are likewise found in Ohio mounds, and in sites along the Atlantic coast plain as far south as Georgia and Florida. The manufacture of these metallic articles was formerly attributed to a preIndian race called the mound builders, who were thought to have been of a higher culture than the aborigines found by the whites when they discovered the western continent. Now that the theory of the mound builders as a separate race has been abandoned, it is freely admitted that the prehistoric Indians had sufficient skill to have been the manufacturers of the copper artifacts found in the mounds. None of these show signs of casting or of melting by fire. Modern Indians and the present Eskimo have not lost the art of fashioning copper without smelting. Plates as thin

as those used in the making of ornaments may be beaten out and shaped with stones, and the edges of the metal hardened in the process. Indeed, it is probable that the prehistoric miners and artificers considered the copper nuggets only as a peculiar kind of stone.

The source of the prehistoric copper is not difficult to find. The glacial drift brought down into the northern Mississippi and Ohio valleys many small pieces of copper, which were seized upon by the Indian workers; but the chief source of their supply was the Lake Superior deposits. As early as 1848, when agents of the Minnesota Mining Company were prospecting in the northern peninsula of Michigan, they found hundreds of abandoned diggings along the copper lode. As mining in this region progressed, prehistoric workings were located over a range one hundred miles long and from three to five miles wide in Ontonagon, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties; these were soon discovered to have been opened on the richest parts of the lode, and the early prospectors profited by the sagacity of their remote predecessors. On the north shore of Lake Superior, also, Indian mines have been discovered, and the prehistoric workings on Isle Royale are the most extensive yet found. Numberless pits have been seen from which copper was taken, and excavations of another type seem to have been used by the prehistoric miners as dwellings. William H. Holmes, one of our leading archeologists, is convinced that the Lake Superior mines were worked by Indians for hundreds of years.

The methods employed by these primitive miners are shown by the remains that have been found. Stone hammers were evidently used and with these copper masses were pounded until flakes were broken off. They cared little for large masses of metal, since these were too refractory for their methods of transportation and manufacture. Evidences of the use of fire abound, but heat was used, not

to melt the metal, but to loosen the rock strata in which it was embedded. After fires were built, water was dashed upon the heated rocks to crack them. In some of the deeper pits ladders have been found and wooden props on which small masses of the metal were raised. Immense numbers of broken stone hammers and axes lie around these old workings, and everything testifies to the indefatigable industry of these primitive miners.

No studies have yet been made of the tribal affinities of these first miners on Lake Superior. Some archeologists hold that the region about this great lake was the primitive home of the great Siouan race, and that therefore the early miners must have belonged to this stock. Radisson, the first observer of the Lake Superior peoples, noted that some of his Siouan visitors wore in their ears crescents and stars of copper polished until it shone. On the other hand, few copper artifacts have been found on prehistoric Siouan sites, and even the Wisconsin Winnebago (belonging to the Siouan family) acquired the copper artifacts they had by intertribal trade, and not by manufacture. So few metallic remains have been found in Winnebago graves and village sites, that Paul Radin, their recent historian, definitely asserts that members of this tribe were never copper makers.

On the other hand, evidence is fast accumulating that the greater number of copper artifacts are to be found on Algonquian sites. In Wisconsin the richest finds of prehistoric copper have been made along the Lake Michigan littoral, on sites associated with the Menominee and Potawatomi villages of historic times. The Georgia and Ohio mounds in which copper ornaments have been found are thought to have been the burial places of Algonquian peoples. Most of the early explorers along the Atlantic coast found the aborigines they met supplied with copper ornaments, and these tribes were nearly all of the Algonquian stock. It seems then reasonable to suppose that the

ancient miners of Lake Superior were the ancestors of the historic Algonquian tribes, all the more since the original home of this great race is thought to have been northwest of the Great Lakes, and that from this region they migrated east and south. Whether we can Whether we can ever identify these primitive miners any more closely than to say that they were probably Algonquian is doubtful. The great branch of that race which now occupies the lands around Lake Superior-the Chippewa—were not there when the whites first came west. Moreover, the Chippewa knew nothing of mining methods. They were in possession of many copper nuggets, which they regarded as sacred and cherished "as household gods"; but although they acted as purveyors of the metal, they denied all knowledge of the ancient mines, declaring that these had existed before they came to Lake Superior.

Certain natural facts gave an impetus to the primitive use of Lake Superior copper; one was its color, which made it highly prized, for when polished it glowed almost like gold. "Red copper" it was always called by the first explorers. The second fact was its purity. Because of these qualities its use was widespread, and it early came to the notice of European adventurers. Fish, furs, and metals were the first resources of the New World to be sought and exploited. Mines were especially in demand because of the riches Spain had acquired in Central and Southern America. So the French discoverers of the St. Lawrence were alert for evidences of mineral wealth; and Jacques Cartier, who in 1535 first entered that river, was told by the savages something about the copper of the upper lakes. One of the chiefs that he carried off to France made him a present of "a great knife of red copper that came from the Saguenay." Cartier's successor, Samuel de Champlain, on his first visit to Canada in 1603 was told that the Huron Indians wore bracelets of copper, brought from a mine in the far north.

These, he was told, were of "very fine copper.' Lescarbot, one of Champlain's contemporaries, wrote that the people beyond the Saguenay had much gold and red copper. Sagard, who was the earliest author to visit the western country, wrote of the Hurons: "Their treasures consist principally in quantities of pelts of different animals terrestrial and amphibious. There are also mines of copper which should not be slighted. . . . about eighty or one hundred leagues from the Huron country there is a mine of red Copper, of which the Interpreter showed me an ingot on his return from a voyage he made to that country."

A quarter of a century then elapsed in which we find no mention of copper mines. In 1653 Father Bressani, an Italian Jesuit, when describing the resources of America wrote: "There is a Copper ore, which is very pure, and which has no need of passing through the fire; but it is in places far distant and hard to reach, which render its transportation almost impossible. We have seen it in the hands of the Barbarians, but no one has visited the place."

The first western traders were watchful for signs of copper in the distant countries they sought. The traders in Lake Superior from 1660 to 1663 carried to the colony news of heavy deposits. From their information, Pierre Boucher wrote in his History of Canada in 1664: "In Lake Superior there is a large island, about fifty leagues around, in which there is a fine mine of red copper; there are also found in several places large pieces of this metal in a pure state. . . . They [the traders] have told me that they saw an ingot of pure Copper, weighing according to their estimate more than eight hundred pounds, which lay along the shore; they say that the savages when passing by, make a fire above this, after which they cut off pieces with their axes; one of the traders tried to do the same, and broke his hatchet in pieces"-thus showing the superiority of stone over iron tools for primitive copper mining.

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