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Title Memorial concerning the Illinois Country [manuscript]: [1940?]
Author Liette, Pierre de (d.1729)
Document Type Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Manuscript transcription, probably from around 1940, of an English translation by William Frederic Giese of the De Gannes Memorial concerning the Illinois country. Although the memorial is signed "De Gannes", this name was probably that of a secretary or transcriber, since the experiences and duties recounted by the author indicate without a doubt that he was Pierre de Liette, nephew of Henri de Tonty. The memorial describes the Illinois Country of the Miami and Illinois Indians, at the southern end of Lake Michigan, 140 leagues south of Michilimaquinac. De Liette, who came to the New World in 1687 as a youth, and quickly learned the language of the Miami and Illinois, relates his observations on Indian customs and ways of life. His detailed notes on the flora and fauna of the region include descriptions of the native trees, such as walnut, ash, whitewood, Norway maple, and cottonwood; birds such as bustards, swans, ducks, cranes, teals, and turkeys; animals such as "wood-rats" (possums), skunks, carps, and rattlesnakes; and fruits such as plums, medlars, pumpkins, and nuts. He also includes a detailed account of a five-week buffalo hunt by Illinois Indians in 1688, whom M. de Tonty allowed him to accompany. De Liette also describes the beauty of the Illinois physique, clothing, hairstyles, courtship practices, sorcery, cannibalism, treatment of women, races and games, medical practices, trade with Spaniards and other Indian tribes such as the Osage and Missourita, and war victories and capture of prisoners.
Names Giese, William Frederic; Tonty, M. de
Places Lake Michigan, Illinois, United States
Keywords memoir, translation, personal account, observation, custom, cultural contact, buffalo, hunting, dress, tradition, religion, ceremony, medicine, Spain, trade, war, captivity, kidnap
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Great Plains, Northeast
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference Ayer MS 3237
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue