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Father Baraga's Timeline

A side-by-side view comparing the events that happened in Father Baraga's life with the events that happened with the Ojibwe Natives.  It shows the context of Father Baraga's missions.  Enjoy!

Father Baraga & the Missionaries


  • ​July 16: Birth of Amalia Baraga, Father Baraga's older sister


  • June 29: Birth of Irenaeus Frederic Baraga

Ojibwe and Regional Events

1803 (Age 6)

  • June 29: Birth of Antonia Baraga, Father Baraga's younger sister

  • Start of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe which directly affected where Frederic Baraga was living 








1806 (Age 9)

  • Had been instructed in Slovenian, German and French due to the Napoleonic Wars

1808 (Age 11)

  • Father Baraga's mother passed


  • Louisiana Purchase: French sold US title to land between Mississippi and Rockies which helped fund the Napoleons war.  Napoleon knew that he had lost the French takeover of the United States.


  • Lewis and Clark Expedition to Pacific

  • November 3: 4 Sauk Ojibway and 1 Meskwaki 'signed a treaty' with the United States ceding to them over 50 million acres of land which included land in Illinois, southwestern Wisconsin, and northeastern Missouri.  The Ojibway tribe disputed this at a later time.







1812 (Age 15)

  • Father Baraga's father passed.  He is now an orphan

  • Moved in with Jurij Dolinar, a lay professor at the diocesan seminary at Ljubljana

1813 (Age 16)

  • Added Latin language to his vocabulary

1814 (Age 17)

  • Worldwide restoration of the Jesuit Society by Pius VII





1815 (Age 18)

  • End of the Napoleanic Wars which affected the area Frederic Baraga resided 

1816 (Age 19)

  • Entered the University of Vienna (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, Vol 1 19)


  • November 7: Battle of Tippecanoe

  • Tecumseh's War started the American Revolution or War of 1812


  • American Revolution (War of 1812)  Some Ojibway were recruited for this war 

  • Fort Mackinac (where Father Baraga would arrive in 1831) was taken as a combined force of British, Canadian, and Native American soldiers captured Fort Mackinac from a small, unsuspecting American garrison



  • American's attempted to take Fort Mackinac again but failed.  The Ojibway helped the British and the British showed their loyalty to the Ojibway with consistent annual payments/items


  • Mackinac Island returned to the United States following end of War of 1812







  • March 3: Civilization Fund Act was passed by Congress to create religious schools in native villages and areas to stimulate the civilization process for Native Americans


1820 (Age 23)

  • Clement Mary Hofbauer, Father Baraga's spiritual guide and confession, passed

1821 (Age 24)

  • Summer: Father Baraga graduated from the University of Vienna, Austria with a law degree (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, Vol 1 19)

  • Influenced by Clement Mary Hofbauer (Teacher and Priest), Father Baraga entered the seminary (Walling and Rupp 29)

1823 (Age 26)

  • September 21: Father Baraga was ordained to the priesthood (Walling and Rupp 29)

1824 (Age 27)

  • Younger sister Antonia married Felix de Hoeffern.  Father Baraga renounced his estate to his sisters at this time (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, Vol 1 21)

  • Father Baraga started writing "Dusna Pasa" - The Pastor of the Soul - in Slovenian (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 21)

  • Father Baraga was sent as an assistant to St. Martin near Krainburg








1828 (Age 31)

  • Father Baraga was sent to Metlika in Lower Carniolia. 


1829​​ (Age 32)

  • March 18: Leopoldine Society began by Father Fenwick and Father Rese (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • May 29: The Leopoldinen Stiftung Society was established in Vienna under Archduke Rudolph, Cardinal Prince Archbishop of Olmuetz. 

  • June 21: Baraga received a pamphlet about the Leopoldine Society on the feast of St. Aloysius and considered it very significant.

  • Father P.S. Dejean, a French secular priest, came to Arbre Croche (where Father Baraga would later serve his first Ojibway mission) as its first resident pastor.  During this time he built a church and the first mass was held on August 23.

  • August 10: Father Baraga asked permission to apply for the missions in the United States (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • November 13: Father Baraga sends a letter to Bishop Fenwick to apply for the United States mission (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, Vol 1 21) but did not receive a response (Verwyst 85)




















  • Treaty of Prairie du Chien (WI) established a border between the Ojibway and Dakota people to try and create peace 


  • American Fur Company post built at Sandy Lake, MN (Minnesota was not established yet as a territory)

  • August 5: Treaty with the Chippewa concluded at the Fond Du Lac of Lake Superior


  • The American Fur Company achieved a monopoly on the fur trade.  The Company suddenly increased its prices by 300 percent.  The Ojibway returning from the hunt with expectations of trading for their yearly supplies found themselves cast into a debt cycle that would increase in the decades ahead.  Game became overhunted and the system collapsed under a burden of debt (Minnesota Indian Affairs Council)


1830 (Age 33)​

  • A protestant mission was founded on Madeline Island (the primary mission where Father Baraga would serve) by Frederick Ayer   

  • April 5: Father Baraga wrote a 2nd letter to Rt. Rev. Edward Fenwick, Bishop of Cincinnati to see if he could serve a mission to the native people in American (Verwyst 85)

  • July 2: Father Stephen Badin (First ordained Catholic priest in the United States) arrived in Detroit and offered his services to Father Fenwick and was offered to the Potawatomi mission (Jesuit Archives) 

  • September 22: A response came from Rt. Rev. Edward Fenwick that invited Baraga to the United States (Verwyst 85)

  • Father Baraga answered the request of Bishop Edward Fenwick to minister.  He was considered the first candidate for the Indian Mission through the Leopoline Society (Verwyst 88)

  • October 18: Father Baraga left Metlika, Slovenia to begin journey to America (Walling and Rupp 30). 

  • October 29: Father Baraga left Vienna, Austria (Verwyst 88) 

  • November 1: Father Baraga arrived in Vienna on the feast of All Saints Day

  • November 21: Father Badin dedicated a chapel on the St. Joseph to help the natives in that region.  There was a group of natives from Arbre Croche that attended the dedication.  The chapel and lands were designed to help the natives stay on the land instead of being transported west of the Mississippi (Jesuit Archives)

  • November 27: Father Baraga departed from Vienna

  • December 1: Father Baraga started his trip across the 

  • December 31 10:00am: Father Baraga arrived in New York and for the first time put his feet on what was considered the new world. (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 24)

  • First printing of Dusna Pasa (560 page Prayer Book in Slovenian) by Father Baraga is completed (Verwyst 85).  This book published over 84,000 copies through the year 1905


​1831 (Age 34)

  • January 4: Father Baraga left New York for Philadephia (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, 25)

  • January 9: Father Baraga delivered his first sermon in America in German in Philadephia (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie, 25)

  • January 18: Father Baraga arrived in Cincinnati, OH (Walling and Rupp 30).  He studied the Ottawa language which is a branch of the Algonquin language from a full blooded Ottawa William Makatebinessi who became his professor (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 26)

  • April 21: Father Baraga left Cincinnati to go to Arbre Croche, MI (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • May 15: Father Baraga arrived in Detroit, MI with Bishop Rese (Verwyst 98) (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 29)

  • Father Baraga spent time on Mackinac Island, MI at Ste. Anne's Catholic Church (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 29)

  • May 28: Father Baraga arrived in Arbre Croche, MI to learn the Ojibway language (Verwyst 98) (Walling and Rupp 30) (History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Vol 1 29)

1832​ (Age 35)

  • April: Father Baraga is the first priest at Beaver Island, MI (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • May (Mid): Father Baraga in Manistique, MI (Diocese of Marquette)

  • September 26: Death of Bishop Edward Fenwick from Cholera who invited Father Baraga to the United States (Walling and Rupp 30).  Father Rese took his place as interim Bishop.

  • December 17: First mention of desire to go to La Pointe, Madeline Island on Lake Superior (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Father Baraga published first Indian book: Otawa Anamie-Misinaigan (Walling and Rupp 30)


1833 (Age 36)

  • June 15: Father Baraga visited Grand Rapids, MI on Lake Michigan (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • September 23: Father Baraga arrived 'permanently' at Grand Rapids, MI (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Father Baraga established the first Catholic mission near Grand Rapids, MI on unceded land

  • Father Baraga heard rumors that the land that he was on would be a part of a treaty soon.  He stayed in the region to ensure that the native people had a church that they could attend and to learn to farm.  

  • Larger church built under Father Baraga's direction in Manistique, MI (Diocese of Marquette)

1834 (Age 37)

  • Father Baraga would endure life-threatening persecution from the Protestants in Grand Rapids.  He would also experience severe hardship from the fur traders and Protestants attempt to sabotage his mission in the area. 

1835 (Age 38)

  • Father Baraga wished to stay in Grand Rapids to help the natives stay on their land.  Father Baraga was asked to leave Grand Rapids from Bishop Rese for the greater good of the church.  He was told it was a fight that he would have a hard time winning.

  • February - July: Father Baraga at Cottrellville (aka Marine City) near Detroit, MI on Lake Erie (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Father Pierz departed for the missions of the United States after being inspired by the published letters of Father Baraga. 

  • July 10: Father Baraga left Sault Ste. Marie, MI

  • July 27: Father Baraga arrived at La Pointe, WI

  • Father Baraga established the St. Joseph Catholic Mission on La Pointe on Madeline Island halfway between Michel Cadotte’s fur trading fort (Grant’s Point) and the American Fur Company’s new settlement known as New Fort or Fort Ramsey (the present-day location of La Pointe) (Tanner and Pinther 1)

  • August: Father Baraga presided over the first burial on the cemetery grounds (Tanner and Pinther 1)

  • September 18: Father Pierz arrived in Detroit, MI

  • Father Baraga went to visit Fond Du Lac, MN to see the Cote family several times before 1837 (Woolworth 303)

1836​ (Age 39)

  • Summer: Father Pierz was transferred to the mission of Sault Ste. Marie where he ‘fought to keep the struggling mission operating.

  • September 29: Father Baraga left La Pointe, WI for Europe to print his Ojibway prayer book called Otawa Anamie-Misinaigan (Walling and Rupp 30)



1837 (Age 40)

  • Father Baraga published Otawa Anamie-Misinaigan - first book in the Ottawa language which included Catholic catechism

  • Father Baraga published a prayer book. See photo below.  This was published in France. (Freeman's Auction) This prayer book was in the region and created a curiosity for the Cote Family 

  • Father Baraga also published a book about the Native American’s called Abrégé de l'histoire des Indiens de l'Amérique septentrionale

  • September 30: A missionary was requested by the chief of Grand Portage, MN on behalf of the Cote (Woolworth 310) 

  • October 7: Father Baraga reached Grand Portage aboard the John Jacob Astor.  He baptized eight Chippewa and French children, some of whom were related to the Cote Family.

  • October 8: Father Baraga returned to La Pointe, WI (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Father Baraga married John W. Bell to Miss Margaret in the “Catholic Chapel” (Leo)


1838 (Age 41)

  • Father Baraga founded St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at La Pointe, WI (Tanner and Pinther 1)

  • Father Pierz left Sault Ste. Marie to establish the mission aboard the John Jacob Astor ship.  He visited Father Baraga in La Pointe for several days before going to Grand Portage in the same vessel. Father Pierz describes natives as ‘in misery and suffering from  famine’ (Woolworth 304)

  • June 28: Father Pierz reached Father Baraga at La Pointe, WI where Father Baraga persuaded Father Pierz to re-establish the mission at Grand Portage, MN as The American Fur Company was being established.  Pierre Picotte, a Metis who worked as an agent for the company, had been instructing the Ottawa in the Catechism and preparing them to join the Catholic Church.

  • Father Pierz soon baptized sixty-four people ranging from five days to seventy-five years old (Grand Portage)

  • Winter: Father Baraga composed his "Gagikwe-Masinaigan" Sermon Book which contained the epistles and gospels of all the Sundays and holydays of the year in addition to a short bible-history of the old Testament and instructive extracts from the four gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of St. Paul and other Apostles. (Verwyst 166)



  • Father Pierz took over the missions at Harbor Springs, MI where he remained for 12 years.  



  • May 28: Indian Removal Act was enacted by President Andrew Jackson which stated that all Native American’s needed to be moved west of the Mississippi river

  • July 1: Pokegan (the Potawatomi chief) with five natives appeared at Detroit to press the petition of his people for a resident pastor (Jesuit Archives)

  • American Fur Company monopolized the market and Astor left his company to be able to invest in land in Manhattan, NY
























  • Trail of Tears began near Charleston, TN

  • Underground Railroad began












  • The Black Hawk War begins around the southern end of Lake Michigan and the military use a route near where Father Baraga is serving.  This war started as a rebellion to the Indian Removal Act stating that the treaties that had been signed were fraudulently created and not signed by the chiefs.

  • Father Badin purchases 524 acres of land around South Bend from the government and landowners for the natives (University of Notre Dame Archives)






  • October 13: Consecration of Bishop John Baptist Purcell, Cincinnati, OH to replace Bishop Fenwick's position (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Detroit Diocese created; Frederic Rese named Bishop (Walling and Rupp 30)








  • La Pointe is established

  • AFC departments were sold to partners who included the Chouteaus, Henry Sibley, and Hercules Dousman 

  • The John Jacob Astor (ship) was built by Ramsay Crooks which was the first ship built on Lake Superior for trade


  • John W. Bell (fur trader) arrived in La Pointe and resided there until 1888 

  • Ramsay Crooks (fur trader) moved the American Fur Company headquarters from Mackinac Island to La Pointe. He vacationed on Mackinac Island through the summer and fall of this year 

  • John Jacob Astor boat was built on Mackinac Island which would serve as a vessel periodically for Father Baraga from La Pointe later on.  

  • Henry Schoolcraft would work with the natives to create treaty of 1836 which ceded the territory where Father Baraga just served.  The Catholic natives from Arbre Crochet, where Father Baraga first served, would be the ones to dissent (Bremer 158)












  • March 28: Treaty of 1836 signed which ceded the land in upper Michigan and in the eastern side of Michigan’s upper peninsula including Sault St. Marie (Tanner and Pinther 156-157) (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 28-31) 

  • The Cote family (Catholic fur traders) from Fond Du Lac moved to Grand Portage (Cochrane 83)

  • Start of commercial fishing for the AFC (Cochrane 83)


  • January 26: Michigan became a state

  • July 29: Chief Buffalo signed a treaty with the United States Government which ceded the eastern side of Minnesota, western side of Wisconsin to a little over the center of Wisconsin.  This did not include northern Wisconsin which was not ceded until 1848 (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 28,32) (Tanner and Pinther 156-157)

  • The Ojibway people began selling their land to be able to recover economically from the fur trade collapse of 1834.  Fur traders, through their political connections, were able to divert government payments for the American Indian land into their own pockets.  In effect, land cession treaties became a vast government bailout of the fur trade corporations.  (Minnesota Indian Affairs Council)

  • Financial Panic of 1837 

  • Fort Mackinac abandoned until 1840 to support Second Seminole War.  

  • The Ojibway signed a treaty giving the Folle Avoine to the United States. The Ojibway were supposed to move to the Crow Wing River. However, some family groups remained in the St. Croix Valley. Lumbering started in the St. Croix Valley. The Northern Outfit was reorganized and Dr. Charles W. W. Borup supervised the area from La Pointe.


  • Father Pierz was impressed by the Ojibway embrace of Catholicism.  Father Pierz wrote letters that described a ‘vivid glimpse’ into the daily life on the mission. 

  • The Potawatomi Ojibway Trail of Tears march begins as the Potawatomi Ojibway were marched, some in shackles, to Kansas 

  • The annuity payment time from the Hudson Bay Co was now more important than the fall hunting and trapping period.  The American Fur Co. received $3,500 of the $4,700 given to the Ojibway.  



  • In 1840, an early L’Anse settler named Pierre Crebassa wrote to Father Baraga at LaPorte, Wis. inviting him to come to the L’Anse area. Crebassa explained that a number of Native Americans came to him for readings from his old French Bible. Pierre Crebassa repeated his invitation every year until Father Baraga agreed to visit in early 1843.  (Diocese of Marquette)

























1843​​ (Age46)

  • May 24 - Father Baraga visited L'Anse (Walling and Rupp 30)  This became his home base for his various travels throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota​ 

  • June - Father Baraga left L’Anse and encouraged Crebassa to carry on the work of the church (Diocese of Marquette)

  • October - Father Baraga arrived 'permanently' at L'Anse (Walling and Rupp 30) which was just south of the Keweenaw Peninsula and Copper Harbor.

  • Father Baraga founded the mission in L’Anse, MI

  • Father Baraga earned the nickname “The Snowshoe Priest” at this time


1844 (Age 47)

  • September - The Holy Name of Jesus Church was dedicated at the present site in L’Anse, MI known as Assinins.  Assinins was named after a chief who was baptized by Father Baraga. (Diocese of Marquette)

1846 (Age 49)

  • Father Pierz went to the 'northwestern' bands due to a small-pox epidemic.  He sent for the vaccine and administered it to over 900 individuals.  He was in his 60's at this time.  Funds were given from the Leopoldine Society and the Ludwig Mission Society of Bavaria (Father Francis Pierz, Missionary, 115-116)

  • February: Father Baraga traveled 690 miles starting from L'Anse to La Pointe to Fond Du Lac back to La Pointe (Verwyst 191)

  • Reverend Father Otto Skolla took Father Baraga's place at La Pointe (Verwyst 192) in the spring of 1846 (They followed him to America, 26).  Father Skolla also took care of the missions in Fond du Lac and Grand Portage.  

  • Fall - Father Baraga erected a wooden cross in Schroeder, MN (which became known as Father Baraga's Cross) after a near fatal attempt at crossing Lake Superior to reach the native people in Grand Portage, MN from La Pointe.  Father Baraga's notes say that he was wanting to create a church in Grand Portage.  Louis Gaudin was his help for the trip (Verwyst 193) 

1847 (Age 50)

  • January 11: Father Baraga made a missionary trip to the mines at Keweenaw Point and spent three weeks there. (Verwyst 204)

  • May 10: Father Baraga made another missionary trip to the mines.  There were many German's there.  (Verwyst 204)

  • June 19: Father Baraga is back in L'Anse, MI. He was making a English-Otchipwe dictionary (Verwyst 205) 

  • October 18: Father Baraga was in Copper Harbor, MI


  • The post at Lake Pokegama was sold to a government sponsored farmer.  The Ojibway in the area are divided, some retaining traditional life styles, others adopting the agricultural life style recommended by the missionaries.



  • March 4: William Henry Harrison became United States President

  • April 4: John Tyler became United States President

  • Fur Trading market for Lake Superior Fish evaporated


  • October 1: Chief Buffalo participated in Battle of the Brule against the Sioux on the Brule River, WI

  • October 4 - Chief Buffalo signed the 1842 Treaty of La Pointe with the United States Government which ceased the lands in the Upper Peninsula to the United States Government (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 33) (Tanner and Pinther 156-157)  Ramsey Crooks helped to draw up this treaty on behalf of the government (Backerud).

  • The American Fur Company declared bankruptcy which was the Ojibways primary way of making money besides treaty payments.  Exact date unknown (Backerud)  It was taken over by Pierre Chouteau and the County of St. Louis.  Ramsey Crooks kept control of the Northern Outfit, but now traded with both Indians and whites.  The white population was rapidly increasing in St. Croix Valley.  Trade companies were invested in lumbering, banking, general merchandising, steamboats and land speculation.

  • William Warren (Chief Buffalo's Grandson) became interpreter at La Pointe until 1847


  • March 23 - 1842 Treaty of La Pointe was proclaimed

  • The Northern Trade was falling apart.  Many independent traders entered the area and Henry Sibley sent traders in from the South.

  • US opened mineral land agency office in Copper Harbor, MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

  • Ontonagon Copper Boulder (which was sacred to the Native populations) was purchased and brought to Detroit to be put on public exhibition.




  • Fort Wilkins was established on the Keweenaw Peninsula with an army.  "The troops stations there were intended to help with local law enforcement and to keep the peace between miners and local Ojibwas.  Some Chippewas opposed the treaty of La Pointe in 1842-1843." 

  • Governor Doty with presented an elaborate Peace Pipe from Chief Buffalo

  • June 21, 1844: Governor Doty ended his term as Governor of the Wisconsin Territory

  • August 20: Isle Royale Agreement is an adhesion to the 1842 Treaty of La Pointe - The Grand Portage Band were using the resources on Isle Royale thinking it was British territory previous to this treaty.

  • September 21: John Jacob Astor ship wreck at Copper Harbor, MI


  • La Pointe County Established in Wisconsin

  • Cliff Mine near Eagle River opened and was profitable!  

  • Douglas Houghton, who had done research on the copper and mineral deposits on Lake Superior, went on geological survey of the Lake Superior region that was funded by the federal government.  While working on the survey his boat capsized in a storm and he died.  Given his extensive research on the region in the 1830's his death sent shockwaves through the country and through Michigan.  


  • Those at Fort Wilkins were called to participate in the United States war with Mexico







  • The American Fur Company ceased trading

  • Henry Rice (fur trader) moved into Ojibway territory.  His "Chippewa Outfit" took many employees from Borup and the Northern Outfit.



  • Wisconsin gains statehood (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 24)

  • John Jacob Astor died with a fortune estimated to be $20 million.  He was the first multi-millionaire in the United States.  


  • Chippewa leaders went to Washington, DC to grant them lands surrounding seven of their villages, plus their sugar orchards and rice beds.  The tribes had to insist that they had never intended to leave and had signed the 1842 Treaty only to accommodate copper mining pursuits. (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 24)  

  • March 4: Zachary Taylor became United States President

  • The Northern Outfit was sold to Borup who renamed it the Northern Fur Co.  Borup later merged with the Chippewa Outfit.  Arguments between Rice and Sibley ended with Rice leaving and Borup left in charge of the "Minnesota Outfit."

  • The Copper Harbor lighthouse was built

  • The Cliffe Mine on Copper Harbor hit a rich copper vein in the rock.


1850​ (Age 53)

  • Father Baraga was in L'Anse, MI.  There were 800 Chippewa, 100 Metis and 20-30 Frenchmen who intermarried with the Chippewa women.  He purchased from the government for the families of his mission a tract of land which he divided into large lots on which was built houses for each family (Verwyst 197)

  • Father Baraga published "Publication of the Grammar" (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • Diocese of St. Paul was formed by the Vatican (130 Years in Christ, pg. 18)

  • End of 1850: Father Baraga went to the mines on the Keweenaw Peninsula north of L'Anse 





  • January: Father Baraga walked by snowshoe 24 hours straight and in the dark with only a piece of cake to return back to L'Anse, MI.  He risked his life to get back.

1852​ (Age 55)

  • Spring: Father Pierz secured a release from the Diocese of Detroit after ‘a series of disputes’.  He was recruited for the newly organized Diocese of Saint Paul. He was assigned a mission field comprising the whole of Minnesota Territory north of the Twin Cities. 

  • June 27 - Father Baraga started a diary in multiple languages (Walling and Rupp 30)

  • July 11: Father Baraga spent Sunday at Quincy Mine for the marriage of John Ryan.  He said he had difficulties with CC Douglas (who assisted Dr. Douglass Houghton in the geological survey of the upper peninsula.  He was also a member of the Michigan legislature.  Father Baraga wrote in his diary, "Say and write nothing that can be of any possible use to anybody against you which he underlined twice, first in blue-green ink and then in red ink.  

  • Baraga secures land in Eagle Harbor, MI which is north of L’Anse, MI. (Magnaghi)

  • In the winter Father Baraga went all the way from Mackinac Island to Detroit on Lake Huron in a sleigh drawn by two ponies.  He was anxious to get his Chippewa dictionary printed in Detroit.  It was about ten years of hard labor. The sleigh went through Lake Huron and Father Baraga somehow managed to save his manuscript! (Verywyst 200)


1853​ (Age 56)

  • July 1: Father Baraga mentions hearing loss for the first time (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • July 8: Father Baraga publishes the Dictionary of Otchipwe Language Explained in English (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • July 29: Rome approved the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Upper Michigan and appointed Frederic Baraga as Bishop (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • October 9: Father Baraga received official notification of his appointment as Bishop.

  • October 12: Father Baraga selected a site for the St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, MI

  • November 1: Father Baraga was consecrated Bishop by Pope Piux IX.  He was the first bishop of the Sault St. Marie Roman Catholic Diocese (Walling and Rupp 31) 

  • November: Wrote English and Chippewa pastoral letters (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • November 26: Departed from New York to Europe (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Father Baraga (now Bishop Baraga) was assigned the missions of Northern Michigan and some of the islands (The followed him to America, 148)

1854 (Age 57)

  • January 23rd: Father Baraga requests funds from the Leopoldine Society for the Marquette Cathedral.

  • February: Father Pierz complained to Bishop Cretin of St. Paul saying that within three days after the government pay all the provisions, blankets and money that they were in the hands of the Whiskey agents.  Within a month there was much sickness and suffering from lack of food.  The agents would follow the Ojibway to where they were hunting and get them drunk after they had obtained all their furs and then would be given all of their furs (Father Francis Pierz, Pg. 115)

  • April 24: Bishop Baraga represented the American church at the wedding of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph and Dutchess Elizabeth of Bavaria (Walling and Rupp 31, 57).  He was gifted a chalice from them while there. 

  • June 9: Bishop Baraga arrived at New York

  • June 12: Bishop Baraga went to Washington DC. Met with Commissioner of the General Land Office (Honorable Wilson) to seek for grant of land where the Catholic Church stands at Sault Ste Marie.  (See September 26, 1850 entry)  Then to the Secretary of Treasury (Honorable James Guthrie) about free passage of my religious articles (Secretary of Treasury was listed in the law, James Guthrie stepped into the office in 1853) (BIshop Baraga's journal)

  • June 14: Arrived again in New York to spend time with the Redemptorist Fathers.

  • July 3 & August 10, 1854: Bishop Baraga authorized Fr. Menet to purchase lands from Placidus Ord lots adjacent to the church due to denial from Washington to give back the lands to the Chippewa.

  • July 31: Bishop Baraga left New York

  • August 21: Bishop Baraga returned to Sault Ste. Marie (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • August 25-September 3: Bishop Baraga left for La Pointe and stayed there for eight days

  • September 4-September 16: Bishop Baraga went to Ontonagan

  • September 17-21: Bishop Baraga in Sault Ste. Marie

  • September 22-October 4: Bishop Baraga went to L'Anse

  • October 7: Bishop Baraga returned to Sault Ste. Marie

  • October 18: Bishop Baraga performed his first ordination for Rev. Henry Louis Thiele

  • December: The Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was published in the Bull "Ineffabilis" by Pope Pius IX (Pius IX: Kije Manito: Ineffabilis Deus) which Bishop Baraga later translated into Ojibway  

  • The Holy Redeemer Mission Church was dedicated to Bishop Baraga in Eagle Harbor, MI (Magnaghi)

  • Bishop Baraga was assigned missions in Northern Wisconsin by Bishop Henni and Northern and Lower Michigan by Bishop Charbonnel of Toronto (The followed him to America 148)


1855​ (Age 58)​

  • Bishop Baraga’s house was built in Marquette, MI and was the residence of the pastor for the soon to be built St. Peter Cathedral (Diocese of Marquette)

  • May 13-29: First Provincial Council of Cincinnati (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Bishop Baraga was given the missions in Canada by Bishop Charbonnel of Toronto.  The Bishop of St. Paul (Cretin) gave Bishop Baraga jurisdiction in northern and eastern Minnesota.  Bishop Baraga now had jurisdiction over the entire coast of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the northern banks of Lake Huron (They followed him to America, 148)

  • Father Agustus Van Parmel was the first missionary to visit Odonah on the newly established Bad River reservation.  He visited periodically throughout 1859.


  • Five Benedictine priests from Pennsylvania arrived on a steamboat at Sauk Rapids, MN where they founded Saint John’s Abbey.  This allowed Father Pierz to give his time and attention to the Ojibway people of Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac and Sandy Lake [4].

  • May 31: First edition of Diocesan Statutes was published (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • July 27: Cornerstone of the Cathedral of Saint Paul was laid







1857 (Age 60)

  • January 9: Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie approved (Walling and Rupp 31)


1858 (Age 61)

  • May 2-9: Second Provincial Council of Cincinnati (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • August 1: Father Pierz, along with Father Lawrence Lautischar established a mission at Red Lake (Father Francis Pierz 120-121)

  • December 10: Father Pierz received word that Father Lawrence Lautischar froze to death while attempting travel during the winter.  Father Pierz gave strict instruction to Father Lautischar not to travel during the winter. (Father Francis Pierz 120-121)

  • "Gagikwe-Masinaigan" Sermon Book was printed for missionaries (Verwyst 167)


1859 (Age 62)

  • Father Pierz visited Leech Lake his newest mission (Father Francis Pierz 120-121)


  • February 6: President Zachary Taylor signed executive order which cancelled the land usage rights of the Lake Superior Ojibway and ordered the Ojibway living in Wisconsin and Minnesota to prepare for removal (Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission 24)

  • July 9: President Zachary Taylor dies unexpectedly from cholera morbus and his vice president Millard Fillmore became United States President

  • September 26, 1850: Mission property at Sault Ste Marie was requisitioned by the War Department by an act of Congress for the expansion of Fort Brady so that the mission no longer owned the church property.  Pierz was still there?  See Father Baraga try and get that land back on June 13, 1854 in Washington, DC. meeting after he became bishop.

  • October 25: Start of the Sandy Lake Tragedy - 400+ Native Americans died from starvation, disease, food poisoning and exposure

  • December:  The families at Sandy Lake were finally given their provisions and allowed to travel back home.  It was now winter and they could not use their canoes but had to travel back in the dead of winter by foot. 


  • January: Ojibwe started to arrive home after Sandy Lake Tragedy

  • Presidential Removal Order of the Ojibway from 1850 suspended

  • Treaty of Traverse des Sioux treaty signed in 1851






















  • July 3 & August 10: Father 

  • September 30: 1854 Treaty of La Pointe was signed by Chief Buffalo and a number of other tribes which ceded territory on the west side of Lake Superior and created the reservations

  • “Indian Title to the North land had been extinguished” (Johnston 13)

  • Superior, WI surveyed and platted (Johnston 13)

  • Houghton, MI surveyed and platted

  • “At a time when American Indians were thought to be a vanishing species, the Ojibway who still lived in the area were yet another attraction" (Johnston 13)






















  • January 10: 1854 Treaty of La Pointe was ratified

  • The Ojibway from La Pointe were now split between Red Cliff Reservation and Bad River Reservation.  Red Cliff Reservation was primarily Roman Catholic and Chief Buffalo lived there.  The Bad River Reservation is where the Ojibway that were not Catholic went.

  • September 7 - Chief Buffalo died (Age 96)

  • The first wave of German, Luxembourger and Slovene settlers began to arrive in large numbers.

  • The Song of Hiawatha was published by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Johann Kohl arrives at La Pointe to live with the Ojibway and writes his book Kitchi-Gami: Life Among The Lake Superior Ojibway.  He travels with Father Baraga to learn of the Ojibwe.


  • Eastman Johnson (artist) arrived in Superior, WI 

  • The Crayon published a periodical about “The Indians in American Art”.  “It seems to us that the Indian has not received justice in American art…. It should be held in dutiful remembrance that he is fast passing away from the face of the earth.  Soon the last red man will have faded forever from his native land, and those who come after us will trust to our scanty records for their knowledge of his habits and appearance…. Absorbed in his quiet dignity, brave, honest, eminently truthful, and always thoroughly in earnest, he stands grandly apart from all other known savage life.  As such, let him be, for justice sake, sometimes represented.” (Johnston 16-17)


  • Eastman Johnson finished his second round of drawings of Ojibway people which were considered his best portraits (Johnston 13)







1860 (Age 63)

  • First hint of illness (slight stroke?) (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Father Baraga directed the construction of an orphanage and school on the west side of Keweenaw Bay in honor of Assinins, the first Ojibway he baptized.  



  • April 28-May 4: Third Provincial Council of Cincinnati (Walling and Rupp 31)


  • August 10: Death of Amelia Gressel - Father Baraga's sister who he often wrote (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Father Pierz wrote that no new missions were established due to the Sioux uprising which affected almost all of Minnesota (Father Francis Pierz 120-121)





1863 (Age 66)

  • Father Pierz sailed for Europe to recruit additional priests for the Minnesota missions.  

  • July 16: Bishop Baraga's last entry in his diary (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Second edition of Diocesan Statutes (Walling and Rupp 31)

1864 (Age 67)

  • Bishop Baraga was given a home in Sault St. Marie, MI which he affectionately called ‘his palace’. (Sault St. Marie)

  • Bishop Baraga laid the cornerstone for the St. Peter cathedral in Marquette, MI and construction for the cathedral began.

1866 (Age 69)

  • Around this year Father Baraga deeded the land consecrated near Keweenaw Bay to Chief Assinins and the other Keweenaw Bay Ojibway to ensure that they retained rights to their ancestral property.  

  • Bishop Baraga moved his headquarters to Marquette, MI (Walling and Rupp 31)

  • Father Edward Jacker (a close friend of Father Baraga) became pastor of the St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, MI and cared for Father Baraga during his final years

  • October 7: Opening of the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore; attack by Bishops towards Bishop Baraga

  • October 9: Bishop Baraga suffered a severe stroke.  (Walling and Rupp 31)


  • November 10: Bishop Baraga's last public appearance at Negaunee (Walling and Rupp 31)

1868 (Age 71)

  • January 19 - Father Baraga passes (Walling and Rupp 31)



  • March 4: Abraham Lincoln became United States President

  • April 12: Civil War Begins

  • Sioux were not given treaty payments as promised and were told to 'eat grass'


  • August 17: Sioux Uprising in Minnesota 

  • Father Pierz speaks directly with Chief Hole-In-The-Day and the other chiefs to stop the Ojibway from continuing to uprise and instead to make peace.  They heeded his call and went to make peace (Father Francis Pierz, 121-123)

  • December 26: Thirty eight Sioux were hanged in Mankato, MN which is 132 miles west of the Mississippi river which is considered the largest mass hanging in the United States


  • January 1: Abraham issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves.

  • September 23: St. Paul Pioneer Press issues a decree for "Indian-Hunters" that bounty for killing an Indian has increased to '$200 for each top-knot of a bloody heathen.' (St. Paul Pioneer Press)







  • May 13: Civil War ends

















  • Soldiers from Fort Mackinac return from the Civil War

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