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Sword and Pen - Ventures and Adventures of Willard Glazier
by John Algernon Owens
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Burlington Hawkeye.

"In the summer of 1881, Captain Willard Glazier, well known as a popular writer, made a remarkable canoe voyage from the source of the Mississippi down its entire length to the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to starting on this unprecedented voyage, he organized and led an expedition to the headwaters of the river in Northern Minnesota, with a view of setting at rest the vexed question as to the true source of the mighty river. Captain Glazier and his party left Saint Paul, duly equipped with canoes and commissariat, July Fourth, 1881, and arrived at Lake Itasca July twenty-first. Thence, by the aid of his Indian guides, he penetrated to another lake beyond Itasca, and connected therewith by a stream which is a continuation of the Mississippi, and at that point is simply a narrow creek. The lake thus entered by Captain Glazier he claims to be the true source of the Father of Waters. LAKE GLAZIER now appears on the maps as the source of the Great River."

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Saint Paul Times.

... "Captain Glazier's claims are supported emphatically by the overwhelming testimony of thousands of the most distinguished and competent authorities in the Northwest. Glazier undoubtedly expended much time and treasure in investigating not only the source of the Mississippi, but the geography and history of the entire river, from its source to the Gulf.... The leading map publishers have endorsed his claims, and do so in a way that leaves no doubt that they place implicit confidence in him as a careful and trustworthy geographer and historian. Rand, McNally & Co., and George F. Cram, of Chicago; Matthews, Northrup & Co., of Buffalo; A. S. Barnes & Co., of New York; University Publishing Company, of New York; W. & A. K. Johnston, of Edinburgh, Scotland; MacMillan & Co., London and New York; W. M. Bradley & Brother, Philadelphia, and many others of the leading publishing houses, who have a heavy personal interest in investigating the accuracy of everything they publish, acknowledge Captain Glazier's claims by accepting his views, and reproducing them in their books and maps. The press, bar, pulpit, and legislature of the State of Minnesota give unqualified assent through many of their leading members, to the position of Captain Glazier."

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Chicago Times.

"The most interesting portion of Captain Glazier's 'Down the Great River' is the beginning, where the author gives the details of an expedition made in 1881 by himself with five companions, when he claims, with good grounds, to have fixed the actual, true source of the Great River. His attention was called in 1876 to the fact that, though everybody knows the mouth of the stream, there was then much uncertainty about the source. In 1881 he found time to organize the expedition named, and crossing the country to Itasca, embarked and pushed through that lake up a stream flowing into it, and came upon another considerable body of water fed by three streams originating in springs at the foot of a curved range of hills some miles further on. This lake he fixed upon as the true source, and since his published accounts many geographers and map-workers have modified their works according to his discoveries. He does not claim to be the actual discoverer of the lake, as such, but only to have been the first to discover and establish the fact that it is the highest link in a chain in which Itasca is another; or, in other words, the true source of the river. The Indian name of the lake is Pokegama, and this, the author says, he would have retained, but was overruled by the other five, who insisted on calling it LAKE GLAZIER. For the particulars of the interesting story the reader must be referred to the volume itself. Captain Glazier is an old traveler and a practised writer. The manner of his journey down the Mississippi enabled him to see well all there was to see, and he enables his readers to see also."

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Chicago Inter-Ocean.

"Readers of 'Soldiers of the Saddle,' 'Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape,' and other writings of Captain Glazier will require no urging to read the entertaining volume 'Down the Great River.' It is an account of the discovery of the true source of the Mississippi River, with pictorial and descriptive views of cities, towns and scenery gathered from a canoe voyage from its head waters to the Gulf. For fifty years American youth have been taught that 'the Mississippi rises in Lake Itasca,' until Captain Glazier, in this memorable journey of one hundred and seventeen days in his canoe, demonstrated the error and mapped the facts so accurately as to settle the question for all time. Leading geographers and educational publishers have already made changes in their maps and given due credit to Captain Glazier and his new lake. To say the Mississippi rises in LAKE GLAZIER is only doing simple justice to the intrepid explorer and hero of many battles. The book is charmingly written, mainly in the form of a diary, and contains facts of great value, so interwoven with incidents and fine descriptions and novel adventures as to be as interesting as the best romance. One could scarcely find better history or finer descriptions or be more fully impressed with the breadth and length and grandeur of American possessions than by journeying with Captain Glazier in his canoe down the grand river of the continent. The volume is handsomely printed and bound and well illustrated."

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Chicago Evening Journal.

"However the knowledge may affect the world at large that the source of the mighty Mississippi is other than generations of geography students have been taught that it was, there is little doubt left in the reader's mind, after perusing Captain Willard Glazier's 'Down the Great River,' that we have all been in the wrong about it, and that this most peerless river was born, not in Itasca's sparkling springs, but in another wider and deeper lake that lies still further south and bears the name of its discoverer, the author of this interesting volume of exploration and adventure. There is something charming in the simple thought of an expedition such as the one undertaken by Captain Glazier. Imagine long, silent days of absolutely unbroken communion with Nature! Slipping along in a frail canoe, without the sound of an uncongenial human speech, of clanging bells or grating wheels, through circling hours of unbroken calm, with only the swish of bending reeds and lapping waters to break the hush and remind one of a sentient world. Perhaps the author and his Indian guides occasionally exchanged a word, or the two white companions and himself indulged in a laugh that started the rattling echoes of the hills, but there was no chatter, no twaddle, no dissensions. The narrative reads like a story. Reading it, one longs to start for LAKE GLAZIER to-morrow, and thence descending, halt not in his long course until his faithful canoe slips out into the waters of the Southern Gulf, three thousand miles away. A man with a soul in him would rather take such a trip with all its hardships and its perils than go on a hundred cut-and-dried trips to Europe. The book is handsomely bound and well illustrated."

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Chicago Herald.

"For half a century or more it has been understood that Lake Itasca was the source of the Mississippi River, but Captain Willard Glazier has exploded this theory by a canoe voyage undertaken in 1881. The results of his investigations were given to geographers at the time and accepted as satisfactory and complete. Maps were at once changed by the map publishers, and LAKE GLAZIER, a tributary of Lake Itasca, was set down as the true source of the 'Father of Waters.' The story of Captain Glazier's adventures is told by him in a book entitled 'Down the Great River,' which is entertaining as well as being of importance as a contribution to the geography and history of this country. Together with two companions and several guides, Glazier first discovered that the lake now bearing his name was the true source of the Great River, and then journeyed by canoe from that point to the mouth of the Mississippi, a distance of 3,184 miles. This trip occupied one hundred and seventeen days and was attended with various haps and mishaps and numerous adventures of an exciting character. It is not easy from a mere book description to realize the extent and importance of such a trip as that made by Captain Glazier. More than a hundred days of roughing it along one of the greatest waterways in the world could not fail to be productive of much that would interest even a casual reader, and as Captain Glazier is an experienced traveller and a skilled writer, he has made the most of his opportunities."

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Springfield (Ohio) Times.

"The latest book from the pen of Willard Glazier, the well-known soldier-author, is entitled 'Down the Great River.' It is a work of great geographical and historical value, and settles beyond peradventure the disputed question of the true source of the Mississippi. Aside from its scientific value, the work is a charmingly entertaining narrative of the thrilling adventures and amusing incidents of a canoe trip over the whole length of the Mississippi from its source in the cold regions of the North to where it rolls into the ocean over the burning sands of the Gulf coast. It is highly instructive and interesting in its graphic descriptions and character sketches, depicting the varied human nature, local customs, and folk-lore that find habitation along the banks of the Great River. The book is well worth the perusal of every one, and an American library without it would be incomplete."

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Ohio State Journal.

"It seems strange that for nearly fifty years up to 1881, no new thing had been discovered concerning the great Mississippi, whose source in the vast wilderness of the Northwest was supposed to be in Lake Itasca. In that year, however, Captain Willard Glazier, an adventurous spirit, determined to finally solve the mystery of the source of the 'Father of Waters,' and also to navigate its entire length from source to sea. Accordingly he traced with infinite hardship the narrowing stream above Itasca until its true source was finally reached in what is now known as LAKE GLAZIER. Then, turning about, he floated down the constantly growing stream until its mighty volume was emptied into the Gulf of Mexico. Of this great trip, replete with adventure and abounding in incident, he has given a most graphic and interesting account under the title of 'Down the Great River.'"

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The Wheeling Intelligencer.

"Captain Glazier's name is familiar to the reading public of America through his earlier works, 'Soldiers of the Saddle,' 'Capture, Prison-Pen and Escape,' 'Battles for the Union,' 'Heroes of Three Wars,' 'Peculiarities of American Cities,' and 'Ocean to Ocean on Horseback.' His latest book, 'Down the Great River,' is his most important essay in the field of literature, and is in several respects unique. It is a very interesting account of a remarkable canoe voyage from the head waters of the Mississippi to the Gulf; but its importance comes from the fact that, until this voyage was made, the source of the Mississippi was universally placed in Lake Itasca, whereas Glazier and his party demonstrated that a higher basin, now put down in all the new maps and geographies as LAKE GLAZIER, is really the primary reservoir of the Mississippi. It seems almost incredible, but is nevertheless true, that for over forty years previous to 1881, when Captain Glazier made his discovery, it was accepted as settled that Lake Itasca was the remotest body of water from the mouth of the Mississippi. The falsity of this theory, however, has been established and an important discovery given to the geographical world. No discovery rivaling this in interest and importance has been made on the American continent for half a century."

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Philadelphia Public Ledger.

"By the discoveries of Captain Willard Glazier, made in 1881, Lake Itasca is dislodged from its former eminence as the source of the Mississippi, the real head-waters of that mighty stream being traced to LAKE GLAZIER, a distance of 3,184 miles from the Gulf of Mexico."

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Brooklyn Eagle.

"Captain Glazier's very clear map of the Great River shows the True Source to be south of Lake Itasca, accepted by Schoolcraft in 1832 as the head-waters in disregard of the stream entering its southwestern arm.... To Captain Glazier belongs the identification of the fountain-head of the Mississippi."

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Philadelphia Times.

"Captain Willard Glazier has lately discovered the True Source of the Mississippi, which is not in Lake Itasca, but in another lake to the south of it, and succeeds in proving his discovery to the satisfaction of the most competent judges, to wit, the geographers and educational publishers of the country. These accept the new source by placing it on their maps and calling it after its discoverer, 'Lake Glazier.'"

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New York Observer.

"To Captain Glazier is undoubtedly due the honor of tracing the Father of Waters, the great American river, up to its real source in the network of lakes that occupies the central and northern portion of the State of Minnesota."

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Minneapolis Journal.

"...That what is now known as LAKE GLAZIER is the True Source of the Mississippi River; and that to Captain Glazier is due the credit of first placing the fact before the public by accurate chart and maps, is unquestionably true."

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Philadelphia North American.

"The True Source of the Mississippi is settled beyond controversy. Glazier's name will hereafter be classed with those of De Soto, La Salle, and Hennepin, whose names are forever associated with the Great River which divides the United States."

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Philadelphia Inquirer.

"Several years ago Captain Glazier, while meditating upon the exploits of De Soto, Marquette, Father Hennepin and La Salle, the heroic old explorers, who led the way to the Great River of North America, regretted that, although its mouth was discovered by the Chevalier La Salle nearly two hundred years ago, there was still much uncertainty as to its True Source.... The discovery and final location of the source of the Mississippi has now received general recognition in this country and Europe, and there certainly seems to be no doubt of the validity of Captain Glazier's claim. His account of the discovery is very entertaining reading."



CONCLUSION.

The reader who is interested in the question discussed in this Appendix has, we venture to assert, found ample evidence to justify the author of "Down the Great River" in his claim to have been the first to locate the veritable source of the Mississippi. The testimony is of such a character that it is impossible for an impartial critic to arrive at any other verdict than that the fountain-head of the Father of Waters is not in Lake Itasca, but in the lake to the south of it, now known as LAKE GLAZIER. The declarations of the Indians and pioneers in the vicinity of the source of this river are altogether corroborative of Captain Glazier and his companions; the press of Minnesota speaks with but one voice, while geographers and educational publishers are almost unanimous in their recognition of the facts developed by his expedition.

HUBBARD BROTHERS, Publishers of "Down The Great River." 723 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, April 30, 1888.

THE END

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