An Introduction to Upper Country: A Journal of the Lake Superior Region
Anyone familiar with early North American history, especially New France in the Great Lakes region, knows the phrase and what it denotes: The vast, remote and challenging terrain bordering the biggest coldest freshwater lake on earth.
Anyone who has lived in or traveled the Upper Country also knows the connotation of the phrase: As with the name of The Big Lake, to us it denotes not only northern-most latitude, as it did for the French in their phrase "pays d'en haut," but also carries a cachet of environmental superiority.
But who said it first?
Probably the missionaries, but which ones, and when? Referring to natives farther up (that is, farther southwest on) the St. Lawrence River from Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal (in the 71 volumes of the Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents), the missionaries and their superiors wrote of "upper Algonkins" (JR Vol. 46, Jerome Lalement), "upper Iroquois" (JR Vol. 60, Claude Dablon), and "upper tribes" (JR Vol. 64, Etienne Carheil); and "their [specific tribes'] country," and "that country" (several instances).
In the Relation of Vol. VI 1633 doc. xxi, Father Paul LeJeune, S.J. writes of the ". . . murder of a Frenchman by up-country natives . . ." according to Reuben Gold Thwaites in his Preface; but LeJeune's letter in the original French uses no phrase remotely resembling "pays d'en haut."
Thwaites, the editor of the English translation of the Relations, also used the phrase "upper country" in his Preface (1896) to Vol. 35, 1669, but the phrase is not in the original letter written by the Jesuit Superior in Kebec, Father Paul Ragueneau.
The phrase never caught on with New France map makers. Nicolas Sanson, the "Father of French Map Makers," used Jesuit sketches and other reports for his pioneering 1656 Map of Nouvelle France. No "Upper Country." The Lake Superior (or Lac Tracy, after the Lieutenant-General of New France) region is designated on various other maps, including Coronelli's 1688 effort and Guillaume de L'sle's 1718 series, as "Partie du Canada," "Haute Louisiane," or by specific tribe names.
But "superieur" in French meant "uppermost." So by extension, the name of the lake would apply to the surrounding country and the phrase "Upper Country" was implied, at two removes.
Implied but not used.
Cartier or Champlain?--No. The French phrase "Pays d'en Haut" described the territory north and west of Montreal, dependent on the New France colony of Canada (as distinct from other New France colonies such as Acadia, Newfoundland, Louisiana, and later Upper Louisiana--a.k.a. "Pays des Illinois"). The Pays d'en Haut was first explored by Samuel de Champlain in his 1613 excursion from the St. Lawrence almost to Lake Huron via the Ottawa River. Cartier had much earlier (1535) probably glimpsed that inviting terrain--especially wide stretches of the Ottawa River--from the high ground near the Iroquois camp of Hochelaga near present-day Montreal.
But the phrase does not appear in any of their writings.
It does occur--370 times in 31 documents--in the collections of the Champlain Society in Canada. Champlain's successors found the phrase handy, and employed it.
Among the Champlain Society's collections of the correspondence of the far-roaming Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de la Verendrye, "pays d'en haut" pops up several times, beginning in 1731.
By 1691, the insouciant rascal Antoine de Lamothe, Sieur de Cadillac, reporting from the Mackinac Straits, writes of the fur trade ". . . in the Upper Country."
"Upper Country" had arrived.
And it stayed. Amid the debates over the controversial trade of the Toledo Strip for the U. P. that preceded Michigan's admission to the U. S. as a state in 1837, the venerable Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wrote in praise of ". . . the large area of territory in the upper country . . . ."
More recently, great historians of the Northwest Territory--Louise Phelps Kellogg, Joseph L. Peyser, Claiborne Skinner--have used "Upper Country" prominently in their works.
Once in use, the phrase got adopted for far-flung applications. Today the Pays-d'en-Haut is an official regional county municipality in Laurentide, Quebec. And in English, from high terrain hiking trails in California to grades of tobacco in northern Maryland to the route of St. Paul in Ephesus (via King James's translators), "upper country" denotes altitude, latitude, and apostolic zeal.
Youthful zeal in the articles herein stems from their provenance. They began as term papers for Dr. Russell M. Magnaghi in his Upper Peninsula history classes at Northern Michigan University. Supported by archival and field research and extensively copy-edited, these articles provide aspects of the outposts and inner workings of life in the Lake Superior Region. Of necessity, we focus first on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and hope for submissions from other borderlands--especially Canadian--of the Big Lake.
Thanks go to the Provost of NMU for the grant that supports the Journal, to our Board of Review, and especially to Dr. Magnaghi for his persistence in shepherding the project to publication.
Upper County 2015
Muting Labor Discontent: Paternalism on the Michigan Iron Ranges
Dr. Terry S. Reynolds
Corporate Supported Ethnic Conflict on the Mesabi Range, 1890-1930
Dr. Paul Lubo na
Rumrunning on Lake Superior: The Arbutus Story
Russell M. Magnaghi Ph.D.
An Environmental History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: An Outline
Robert Archibald Ph.D.
Photographing Upper Peninsula Waterfalls
Credits and Copyright
EDITOR: Gabe Logan, Ph.D.
PRODUCTION AND DESIGN: Kimberly Mason and James Shefchik ARTICLE REVIEW BOARD:
Gabe Logan, Ph. D. Robert Archibald, Ph. D.
Russell Magnaghi, Ph. D. Kathryn Johnson, M.A.
Front cover photograph by Gabe Logan
Upper Country: A Journal of the Lake Superior Region, can be viewed on Northern Michigan University's Center
for Upper Peninsula Studies web site: www.nmu.edu/upstudies.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for screening and pos ng; or mail wri en comments and submit manuscripts to Upper Country, c/o The Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Room 208 Cohodas, Marque e, MI 49855.
Copyright © Northern Michigan University. All rights reserved.
Photocopying of excerpts for review purposes granted by the copyright holder. Responsibility for the contents herein is that of the authors.
Please address submissions in print form to Upper Country, c/o The Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Room 208 Cohodas, Marque e, MI, USA 49855.
Original papers welcomed. Short photo-essays considered; image format informa on available upon request. Images with misleading manipula on will not be considered for acceptance. Concurrent submissions accepted. All papers reviewed by the Ar cle Review Board. Copyright is assigned to the Journal's copyright holder upon acceptance.
Format should follow the MLA/APA/Chicago Manual guidelines. Length, 6000 words maximum. Please use End- Notes with superscript numbers in text; please do not use in-text parenthe cal cita ons. Author's name, paper tle, and page number on the top each page. A short abstract is not required.
The right to edit text is reserved to the Journal, with the proviso that e-mailed or printed proofs of edited ar cles must be returned from the Journal to the author for e-mailed or wri en approval prior to publica on. Authors must obtain re-print permission for previously published or copyrighted material.
Upper County 2014
Russell Magnaghi and Ted Bays
Report: Italians at Sault, Canada, 1914
Translated by Russell Magnaghi
Ore: Algoma Ore: The Helen and Magpie Mines
Cut: The West Neebish Channel
Brew: Breweries in the Lake Superior Basin: An Essay
Reform: The Struggle for Control of Hibbing
Credits and Copyright
ARTICLE REVIEW BOARD:
Michael Marsden, St. Norbert College, DePere, WIRobert Archibald, Director, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis (retired)Russell Magnaghi, Director, Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
- --p. 20 : Fig. 1, The Weekendica (Hoefferle)
- --p. 21 : Fig. 2, Norwich Knobs (Hoefferle)
- --p. 21 : Fig. 4, The Dam Shack (Hoefferle)
- --p. 22 : Fig. 5, Back Shack (Hoefferle)
- --p. 60 : Big Finn Hall (Lakehead University, Parks Canada)
- --p. 62 : LS&I Ore Dock and Niagara (J. Deo, T. Buchkoe)
Front cover photograph by NASA Landsat (public domain)
Upper Country: A Journal of the Lake Superior Region, can be viewed, and obtained in print form, from Lulu.com.
The journal can also be viewed at www.lakesuperiorjournal.com.
Send comments via our website at for screening and posting; or mail written comments and submit manuscripts to Upper Country, c/o The Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Room 208, Marquette, MI 49855.
Copyright © Northern Michigan University. All rights reserved. Photocopying of excerpts for review purposes granted by the copyright holder. Responsibility for the contents herein is that of the authors.
Please address submissions in print form to Upper Country, c/o The Center for Upper Peninsula Studies, Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle Avenue, Marquette, MI, USA 49855.
Original papers welcomed. Short photo-essays considered; image format information available upon request. Images with misleading manipulation will not be considered for acceptance. Concurrent submissions accepted. All papers reviewed by the Article Review Board. Copyright is assigned to the Journal's copyright holder upon acceptance.
Format should follow the MLA/APA/Chicago Manual guidelines available through the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Length, 6000 words maximum. Please use End-Notes with superscript numbers in text; please do not use in-text parenthetical citations. Author's name, paper title, and page number on the top each page is most helpful. A short abstract is not required.
The right to edit text is reserved to the Journal, with the proviso that e-mailed or printed proofs of edited articles must be returned from the Journal to the author for e-mailed or written approval prior to publication. Authors must obtain re-print permission for previously published or copyrighted material.
Upper Country 2013
Foreward — Russell Magnaghi
Introduction — Ted Bays
Vernacular Architecture: Making Something Out of Nothing
The Upper Country in the War of 1812, A Chronology
Russell Magnaghi and Ted Bays
Big Finn Hall, Thunder Bay, Ontario
The LS&I Ore Dock, Marquette, MI
The Upper Country, by Claiborne Skinner