August 22, 1681: Duluth’s namesake called “King of the Outlaws”

On this day in 1681, French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle called Duluth’s namesake, Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Luht, the “King of the Outlaws.” du Luht had left La Salle’s company to “rescue” Father Louis Hennepin from the hands of the Ojibwe, but the missionary was a guest of the natives, not their prisoner. According to du Luht biographer Milan Kovakovic, La Salle “seized the  opportunity to denigrate [du Luht’s] reputation and portray him as and adventurer with no scruples.” and that “jealousy and petty rivalries were surprisingly commonplace among French explorers.” When du Luht returned to Quebec that summer he was arrested and imprisoned over rumors he had “dealt with the Indians for personal gain and even engaged in trade with the English.” Soon thereafter Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy, the governor of New France, pardoned him and others accused of likewise crimes. Still, du Luht then travelled to his native France to clear his name. When du Luht died in 1710, Tracy remarked that “he was a very honest man.” Read more about du Luht in a biography by former Duluth mayor Trevanion Hugo, here.

Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Luht depicted in his hometown of Saint-Germain-Laval, France, in this painting by Duluth artist David Ericson. (Image: Duluth Public Library)t

If we “save” the LS&M, we first need a viable plan for its future

This article also appears in the Sunday August 13 edition of the Duluth News Tribune. August is a historic month for the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad. Its final spike was driven August 1, 1870, and passenger service between St. Paul and Duluth began three weeks later. August 2017 finds Duluth’s civic leaders considering the…


Duluth Playgrounds & Sporting Facilities

The role of urban parks started to change nationally by the early 1900s as more people recognized that children in cities needed safe places to play—someplace other than empty lots or busy streets. Reformers began to advocate for the creation of playgrounds for the children, not just because the streets were dangerous, but also because…

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