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One of Grace H. Flandrau's short books, published by the Great Northern Railway Company, circa 1925. It was also printed in The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, Volume 26, #2 (June, 1925). The book is 64 pages long and illustrated with black and white photographs. While the first part of the book is a history of the Verendrye travels, the second part consists of journals. The first one is called Journal of the First Expedition of Pierre Gaultier, Sieur de la Verendrye, to the Mandan Villages on the Missouri and was written by the elder Verendrye in the form of a letter in July of 1738. The second, Journal of the Voyage Made by Chevalier de la Verendrye with One of his Brothers In Search of the Western Sea was written by the son Francois or Louis Joseph during their 1742 trip.

Pierre Gaultier de la Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, was one of the first explorers of the North American northwest. He was born in 1685 at Three Rivers (Trois Rivieres), Quebec, Canada. At the age of twelve, Verendrye became a soldier. After fifteen years, he married Marie-Anne Dandonneau in 1712. In 1726 he was appointed commander of a trading post on Lake Nipigon, north of Lake Superior.

The Verendrye explorations really started in 1731, when Verendrye and some of his sons set off from Montreal by canoe to establish trading posts in the northwest. He spent the next five years along what is now the Minnesota/Canada border. In 1738, he traveled south, looking for a route to the Pacific through North Dakota on the Missouri River, contacting the Mandan Indians. Following his return to Montreal in 1740, he again sent his sons west while he stayed behind to oversee various trading posts. The sons buried an inscribed lead plate near Fort Pierre, South Dakota on their return in 1743 (it was found in 1913 by a schoolgirl). In 1744, Verendrye retired and, just before his death in 1749, he was awarded the Cross of St. Louis.

A photo of the lead plate is on display at the South Dakota State Historical Society. See http://www.sdhistory.org/mus_pug.htm

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