It is interesting to keep returning to the same spots through the four seasons. Today I noticed that with all the foliage down, I could now see from a slightly different position a view of the Sturgeon River, little more than creek sized, that during the full grown season was invisible. This section of the river was the water supply for a 17th century Huron village. A haunting spot.
November light fading. temperature -1 degrees Celsius, dusting of snow lingering.
A few of these shots are within yards of a 17th century Huron village site. It is debated whether it is the site of the martyrdom of St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Gabriel Lalemant (French Jesuit missionaries) and many Christian Hurons at the hands of the warring Iroquois in 1649. Whenever I stop and look and photograph these spots, my imagination turns back and I keep one eye out for those Iroquois. This creek with the still water was most likely the water supply for that village.
description by T. Fegarty “In 1649 St. Ignace II, as named by the Jesuit missionaries who visited or lived there, was a relatively new Wendat village on a plateau about 50 feet above what is now known as the Sturgeon River in Tay Township. The village proper comprised 29 buildings, including a chapel – priests’ residence, occupied some 6 acres, and was surrounded by fortifications measuring some 2,000 feet in the round, including 2 main gateways. About 2 thousand people lived there.
The Wendat chose village sites for their defensive advantages: high ground, surrounding river and/or ravine and nearby year-round spring. Villages were fortified by palisades of pine trunks, some 15 feet tall. The people lived in long-houses, about 20 feet in width and up to 100 feet in length, with 20-100 people per house. These dwellings were constructed of saplings, their pointed and charred ends planted in holes in the ground. A census of the Huron nation by the Jesuits in 1639 reported 32 active villages, consisting of about 700 lodges and 20,000 people.
1649 saw the culmination of the war between the Wendat and their French allies against the Iroquois confederacy based in what is now upper New York State. A large Iroquois war party attacked and overran several Wendat villages, including St. Ignace II. At nearby St. Louis, on the Hogg River, the raiders captured two Jesuit missionaries, Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant, and brought them to St Ignace II, where they were tortured and killed. These events led the Jesuits to abandon and burn their headquarters at Ste. Marie on the Wye River, after burying the remains of Brebeuf there. They then retreated with their remaining Wendat converts first to Christian Island and then to Quebec in the following year. They took with them relics (small bone fragments) of the martyrs.”