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The United Empire Loyalist Settlement at Long Point, Lake Erie
Chapter XI. Early Accounts of Long Point

The earliest mention we have of the Lake Erie country is in the records of Father Daillon, of whom there will be further mention made in Chapter XIV. Father Daillon visited what is now South-western Ontario in 1626, and though it is somewhat uncertain what district he is describing, it is probable he was near the Lake Erie shore, for he speaks of the great number of wild fowl in the marshes and along the streams. He also mentions the larger game, for he says, “The deer, with which this country abounds, are easily captured, for they have but little sense of fear, and the Indians drive them into wedge-shaped inclosures. The streams abound in fish, and the marshes in wild ducks and turkeys.”

Forty-four years later we have reliable mention of Long Point in the journal of Galinee. For this information the writer is indebted directly to Mr. J. H. Coyne, M.A., of St. Thomas, who is preparing for the press the journal of Galinde. Father Galinde and Father Dollier de Casson were two Sulpician priests, who made a voyage of discovery through lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron in the years 1669 and 1670, returning to Montreal via the Sault, Lake Nipissing and the Ottawa river.

Galinee’s party, consisting of the other priest and seven Frenchmen (nine in all), reached Black Creek, where it joins the River Lynn (near the present site of Port Dover), in October, 1669. There they encamped for the winter. On the 23rd of March following, they went down to the lake shore and planted a cross, with the Royal arms affixed, and a written declaration that they had taken possession of it as unoccupied territory in the name of King Louis XIV. On the 26th of March they proceeded from the river mouth in three canoes. Off Turkey Point they were stopped by a head wind and forced to land. One of their canoes being insecurely beached was carried out into the bay and lost, and the cargo of the lost canoe had to be divided between the other two. Four men took charge of the canoes, and five, including the two priests, had to proceed west to Kettle Creek by land. It seems that they marched from the Point about two miles to the high bank, and then followed substantially the present lake road through the location of Port Rowan to Big Creek, about where is the present Port Royal. This stream they followed up for some distance, but being dismayed at the widening swamp, walked down the east bank to the mouth of the creek. There they built a raft and crossed without accident. They went on to the portage, where their companions joined them some days later. After celebrating Easter together they again separated. On the shore near the present site of Port Stanley they found the canoe Joliet had left the previous September on his return from the exploration of the Mississippi. From there to Point Pelde they travelled in canoes. At the latter point a storm wrecked one of the canoes, and its cargo was entirely lost, including the altar service, which they had intended to leave in a mission among the Potawatamies1 Thus they were obliged to give up the idea of the mission altogether, and after making their way as far as Sault Ste. Marie they travelled home by the ordinary route, namely, by the French and Ottawa rivers.

Galine speaks of the Long Point country in glowing terms. He mentions the immense herds of deer, which were to be seen feeding together. He admired the great walnut trees, with their savory fruit, also the chestnuts, hickory nuts, the wild grapes and apples, and says that it is a perfect paradise and well suited for settlement.

In the journal of Charlevoix, of the date June, 1721, there is mention of Long Point, a sandy ridge of land which had to be portaged.

Thus it will be seen that though the country had been explored and commended by French discoverers, it was destined to remain for more than a century without settlement, until a strong and sturdy band of Loyalists should rear for themselves new homes among the forests.

[The Potawatamies (or Pouteouatamis) have a village near Detroit of one hundred and eighty men. They bear for device the golden Carp, the Frog, the Crab, and the Tortoise. They also compose the Village of St. Joseph, south of Lake Michigan, to the number of one hundred warriors. (Report of M. de Joncaire, “Documentary History of New York,” Vol. I., p. 25.)]

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