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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter 3

Carver's Cave Found

-As transcribed from pages 18 - 19


Old settlers will recall the facsimile of the old deeds given by Indian chiefs to the early white men which spoke of a great piece of land running from St. Anthony Falls: and mapped out so that it would take in all this part of the country. The copy was framed by W. K. Coffin for the Local Historical Society. In this connection the following from St. Paul may be of interest:

"David C. Shepard, Sr., of 324 Dayton avenue, St. Paul, has discovered that he is the possessor of a deed which conveys to his father and the latter's heirs and assigns a tract of land including all of the cities of Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Altoona, to say nothing of all of the city of St. Paul, a portion of Minneapolis, the villages of Hudson, Durand and many other Wisconsin hamlets. Mr. Shepard will not try to take possession of the property called for by this interesting document, but if the deed was worth anything he might become one of the greatest land-owners in the world. The only use that will be made of the deed is to exhibit it among the documents of the Minnesota Historical Society, to which organization Mr. Shepard has presented the old conveyance. The deed is signed by Martin King, the great grandson of Jonathan Carver, the early explorer to whom the chiefs of the Naudoessies Indian tribes conveyed a tract of land east of the Mississippi river, extending along the river from St. Anthony Falls, in Minneapolis, south to the junction of the Mississippi and Chippewa rivers, thence east one hundred miles, thence north one hundred and twenty miles, thence west in a straight line to St. Anthony Falls. These boundaries include Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Altoona and other cities and villages named. Martin King, as heir to Jonathan Carver, came into possession of the property named, theoretically at least, and he deeded it to Mr. Shepard's father and others. The latter deeds were executed at Lima, Livingston county, New York, April 20, 1838, and were recorded by Calvin H. Bryan, commissioner of the Supreme court of New York. Under the terms of the deed, Mr. Shepard's father paid only five hundred dollars for the land that is now worth millions.

"The original deed, the terms of which are repeated in the deed held by Mr. Shepard, was executed in Carver's cave, St. Paul (which has recently been re-located by the officials of St.
Paul). On May 1, 1767, Carver, in his writing, said this cave was often used for councils among the Indian tribes. The chiefs who signed this original deed conveying this vast tract of land to Carver were Haw-no-paw-gat-an and Otah-ton-goom-lish-eaw. In deeding the land to Carver, they reserved the right to fish and hunt on land not planted or improved. The original deed was recorded in the plantation office, White Hall, London.

"Mr. Shepard says he believes the deed is worthless, save as a historical document, but it sheds additional light on the famous original deed which some historians have intimated never existed. It is of special interest at this time since efforts are being made to raise funds to preserve Carver's cave as one of the historical spots of the Northwest. For many years the entrance to this cave had been lost, but within the past few months the county surveyor of Ramsey county, Minnesota, and the Dayton Bluff Commercial Club, a St. Paul organization, have located the cavern's entrance. A big lake has been discovered in the cave, and all attempts which have been made to drain the cavern have met with little success.

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