-- From the Rice Lake Chronotype, 24 Dec 1924
Ira Isham Tells of Indian Feast
400 Indian Ate Up Forty
Oxen Roasted in Big Fire near Cameron
Large Barn at Logging Camp Burned Down During Winter of 1862
How nearly 400 Indians feasted on forty oxen roasted to death in a logging camp fire near Cameron in 1862 was recalled by Chief Ira O. Isham of Reserve in a visit at the Chronotype office Friday.
Knapp, Stout & Company had a large camp at the upper end of the Cameron Flat, said Mr. Isham, near the place where the present highway crosses Cranberry Creek on the way to Barron. Not far from the camp was a large barn in which 40 oxen where cared for. One night one of the old fashioned lanterns in some manner set fire to the barn, which was discovered too late to be put out or even to rescue the oxen. The animals were roasted nice and brown, and preserved enough so that there was a lot of meat left. This attracted Indians for twenty miles, said Mr. Isham, and how the braves and squaws feasted on those 40 oxen in the winter of '62 will always remain fresh in his mind.
There were many Indians in Barron County in 1862, says Mr. Isham, that being about the time his father came to Barron County. The only white settlement in the county outside of logging camps was at Prairie Farm. Rice Lake was a tribal headquarters, and here and at Long Lake (Washburn County) the Indians were very numerous. A few of the Indians worked in the logging camps, but most of them preferred trapping, hunting and fishing as a means of livelihood.
Mr. Isham's father ran a sawmill at Chippewa Falls in the summer time, and in the winter he traded with the Indians in this North Country. His wife was a squaw. After losing his mill holdings in Chippewa Falls owing to floods, the elder Isham moved to Barron County. He built a log cabin on Meadow Creek where he lived for a time and then moved into another log house on the Long Lake Road, where he lived until 1880, when he moved to the reservation at Reserve where he spent the remainder of his days.
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