By Mary Elise Antoine & Lacy Edersveld Murphy
Discover life on the Midwestern frontier in this rare collection of stories from fur trading days by colorful chronicler Albert Coryer, the grandson of a fur trade voyageur-turned-farmer who collected history and folklore in the late 1800s and early 1990s in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Coryer soaked up all the tales of bygone times from his parents, grandparents, and neighbors—old fur trade families, Native Americans, French Canadian farmers and descendants—who lived in the city’s Frenchtown area. In his journals, Coryer recorded their local oral traditions, narratives about early residents and landmarks, stories of interesting and funny events, details of ethnic customs, and folklore. Late in life, this lively caretaker of Wisconsin’s fur-trading past drew a detailed, illustrated map of the area and began to write his stories out longhand.
Editors Mary Elise Antione and Lacy Edersveld Murphy add sharp historical context to Coryer’s map, stories, interview transcript, and colorful accounts of life—and Prairie du Chien— in the late nineteenth century, when the Midwestern frontier was undergoing significant demographic, social, and economic change.