Fur Trader Louis Provencalle

Fur Trader Louis Provencalle (HM1FWW)

Location: St. Peter, MN 56082 Nicollet County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 21.161', W 93° 57.09'

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Because of its importance as a river crossing, Traverse des Sioux was a major distribution point for the fur trade.

As early as the 1770s, the Dakota were trading here for guns, blankets, and kettles. One prominent local trader was the French-Canadian Louis Provencalle, who worked here from 1826 until about 1848. Provencalle, his Dakota wife, and their four children lived in a cabin near this site. Their cabin (sketched here after the family had abandoned it) was used as a dining room, kitchen, and warehouse during the July 1851 treaty negotiations.


Provencalle was good at arithmetic but could not read or write. He kept track of his credits and debits with a system of pictograms. Each person or type of trade good had a specific mark or figure. According to the missionary Samuel Pond, "This mode of keeping accounts had one advantage over the others, in that the Indians could easily learn to read this picture writing and see for themselves how their accounts stood." For example, the curved-horn figure on the bottom of this page from one of Provencalle's credit books stands for a decorated powder horn.

Minnesota Historical Society

Traverse des Sioux
Series This marker is part of the Minnesota Historical Society series
Placed ByThe Minnesota Historical Society
By K. Linzmeier, May 5, 2014
2. Close-up of Sketch and Ledger  Marker ConditionNo reports yet Date Added Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 10:09am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 424167 N 4911486
Decimal Degrees44.35268333, -93.95150000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 21.161', W 93° 57.09'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 21' 9.66" N, 93° 57' 5.4" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507, 651
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2001 N Minnesota Ave, St. Peter MN 56082, US
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