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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 98, August 21, 1853

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Identifier: DX04027568

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 98, August 21, 1853

Description: Describes meeting a cannibal named Swift Runner on Michipicoten Island.


constructed, two or three girls and a squaw crouched in front. A canoe coming to the shore, the object of our visit was indicated to us. T’was a young savage, perhaps 25, who had eaten his father, uncle and aunt. Journeying from Moose Lake the north-west with them, the party were hunger stricken, ‘twas in savage winter time, the old man died, — his son ate him, and successively his Uncle and Aunt, after killing them. I took a close look at this red-skin cannibal, walking up to him, as he got out of the canoe. He had a fleshy, repulsive face, rather indicative of coarse sensuality than aught else, — as the miner said “he was a chuckle headed looking fellow.” One of our party bought agates of him. Other stories I learn. Among them the one of the Indians dying by the vengeance of the Great Spirit, (id est cooking their meat on with copper in the boiling vessel,) for visiting the island. And another, that the inner mountains, indicated to us, were the residence of a mighty serpent, 60 feet long, and immortal. That his cast-skins had been found. Off, and away from Michipicotten’s rocky shore. And now our journey draws to a close. As the sun sunk below the lake’s horizon, with bars of red glory, rapidly growing dusk in the fast gathering mist, into which we were steering, I walked to & fro with [Frank] Hillard, and of on the top of the upper deck, and felt sorrowful at heart. So many pleasant aces to drift off, for evermore! How well I seem to know them all. Another day, and never to meet again. Luke Xerxes contemplating his army I felt tis a sad thing to think all this human sympathy and feeling is so finite. Bed by 11, fellows drinking, tale telling and carousing in the Bar Saloon

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-08-21

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Cannibalism
Great Lakes (North America)
Indians of North America
Michipicoten Island (Ont.)
Superior, Lake


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