Monday, January 05, 2009

The Story of Orphan Joe

This story was told to Mr. LaFromboise by his father Louis LaFromboise. It is about an orphan Metis by the name of Joe LaFoyee...

This orphan Halfbreed boy Joe LaFoyee went on the buffalo hunt from Walhalla Dakota Territory in 1853 he being about 20 years old at the time. He and two other Half Breed men - Mr. LaFromboise does not remember their names - took 3 tobaggans with 3 dogs to a tobaggan with them on the hunt. Joe LaFoyee and his two partners came across a herd of buffalos about 60 miles west of Walhalla Dak. Territory. Joe's two partners shot a buffalo and Joe's dogs ran after the herd and threw Joe LaFoyee off his tobaggon.

There was a snow storm starting and Joe could not find his dogs. So he went back to where his two partners had shot the buffalo . When he got to where they were they were just loading the buffalo on there tobaggans. Joe told them that he had lost his dogs. He told them that he was going to look for them. His two partners told him that they would wait till noon for him, it being about 7 O'Clock in the morning then. His two partners waited until 4 O'Clock in the afternoon and a bad snow storm started and Joe's partners were sure Joe had got lost.

Joe LaFoyee had got lost and he walked north into Canada about 60 miles. He froze his feet. He was lost for 11 days. At night he would make a bed of bushes and in the day time he would keep on walking. On the 11th day he reached a woods on the Canadian side of the boarder and sat down on a log to rest. Just as he sat down he heard a shot, and he looked around and saw an elk coming towards him. When the elk got just a few yds. in front of him, it dropped dead. Pretty soon an Indian came along to where the elk had dropped. The Indian took off his coat and started to skin the elk. Joe LaFoyee tryed to holler at the Indian, but he was too weak to holler loud, so he tried to get up and he could not get up.

The Indian look around and saw him, and Joe waved at him to come over where he was. The Indian picked up his gun and went over to where Joe LaFoyee was sitting. When the Indian saw that Joe's feet were frozen and Joe half starved, the Indian told Joe he would go and get his dogs and tobaggan. The Indian lived about 1/2 mile from where he was sitting. The Indian got his dogs and tobaggan and some blankets and loaded Joe LaFoyee on the tobaggan. The Indian brought along a piece of bear's fat and told Joe to suck it , not too swallow it. When the Indian got Joe to the Indian's shack, he had his squaw make him some stew from buffalo meat and gave Joe the stew.

He kept Joe at his place for 24 hours, then he loaded Joe on the tobaggan and brought him to Walhalla Dak. Territory. It took the Indian 3 days to make the trip of about 120 miles. They arrived at Walhalla Dakota Territory at 11 O'Clock at night . The Indian took Joe LaFoyee to Old Man Morinette's place; this was the man that Joe stayed with before he went on the buffalo hunt.

Mr. Morinette sent out word that Joe had arrived home alive. The people thought that Joe had died. They then called for an old maid by the name of Miss Grumbo, she was a kind of doctor among the halfbreeds and Indians at Walhalla Dakota Territory. Miss Grumbo had Joe moved over to her place. She took off all his toes on both feet.

It took about 2 months to cure Joe LaFoyee. About 1 year later Joe LaFoyee married Miss. Grumbo. That was in 1854. Joe LaFoyee and his wife went to Manitoba in 1865.

From the Biography of Joseph LaFromboise [Pembina County Pioneers Project]