Plumbing the Depths of the Upper Mississippi Valley:
Julien Dubuque, Native Americans, and Lead Mining
Pierre Lebeau, Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, and Robert C. Wiederaenders
104 pages, maps, illustrations. | 2008
Julien Dubuque, born in Quebec, received a grant in 1788 from the Mesquakie in northeastern Iowa that allowed him to operate for twenty-two years a rich vein of lead at the Peosta mine, later known as the Mines of Spain, located at the site of today’s city of Dubuque.
The book presents a biography of Julien Dubuque by Robert Charles Wiederaenders. The section by Lucy Eldersveld Murphy brings out a usually unknown aspect of gender roles in the Mesquakie tribes involved in the exploitation of lead and describes the mining techniques used by the Native Americans and the increasing economic importance that lead mining assumed in the trade relations between Natives and Europeans. The documents in the appendix edited and translated by B. Pierre Lebeau, include the estate inventory, bills of sale, letters, etc. and offer details regarding Dubuque’s business activities and his relationships with other traders.
Robert Charles Wiederaenders, a retired church archivist, received a graduate degree from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago after graduate studies in history. He is a long time member of the Center for French Colonial Studies and a member of the board of the Dubuque Historical Society.
Lucy Eldersveld Murphy is Associate Professor of History at Ohio State University. The University of Nebraska Press published her major work, A Gathering of Rivers: Indians, Metis, and Mining in the Western Great Lakes, 1737–1832 in 2000. She edited with Rebecca Kugel, Native Women’s History in Eastern North America Before 1900: A Guide to Research and Writing (Nebraska, 2007).
Pierre Lebeau, Professor Emeritus of History at North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, is past president of the Center and a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards for the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society and the Journal of Illinois History.
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