Mississippi River Sculpture Park

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Marianne LaBuche

Mary Ann LaBouche

The sixth Sculpture, created by sculptor, Florence Bird, for the Mississippi River Sculpture Park is Mary Ann LaBouche - the first woman doctor in Prairie du Chien .Mary Ann LaBouche was born prior to 1774 in Cahokia, Illinois. She was of African and French descent. Mary Ann moved to Prairie du Chien at a young age. She was married three times.

Her first husband was a man named Francois DuChouquette and they had two sons. The second husband was Claude Gagnier Sr. and they had three sons and three daughters. Mary Ann's third husband was Charles Menard and together they had three sons and two daughters.

At some point in her adult life, she started to care for the sick and injured and delivered babies. When someone needed medical attention Aunt Mary was summoned. Ever after a surgeon was available at Fort Crawford many preferred Aunt Mary's help and her "yarb tea" to restore health.

We are all familiar with the story of the baby who survived a scalping at the hands of the Winnebago and Red Bird on June 28, 1827. The baby's name was Mary (or Louisa Gagnier). Her father was Rijeste Gagnier who was killed on that day and her grandmother was Aunt Mary. Aunt Mary's most famous patient was presumed dead and was being prepared for burial when her breathing was noticed. Aunt Mary took over and nursed her granddaughter back to health. She supposedly put a piece of silver on the wound to cover and protect it.

Mary (Louisa) led a long and normal life. She married twice and had 13 children. She lived to be 80 years old.

Emma Big Bear

Emma Big Bear

The bronze statue was unveiled and dedicated on July 16, 2011. Her statue joins four other bronze figures: Blackhawk,Dr. Beaumont and his son Israel, a Victorian Lady, and The Vogageur which depict local people from the historical past or represent a way of life from the past. The artist is Florence Bird and eventually, there will be 24 life-size statues in the park.

Emma Big Bear Holt (1869-1968) is known in northeast Iowa for two reasons; as one of the last Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) living a traditional Ho-Chunk lifestyle in northeast Iowa and the handcrafted baskets she sold.

Time has been kind to the memory of Emma Big Bear. Through the eyes of early 20th century locals, her way of life stood out in sharp contrast to theirs. She chose to live closer to nature by building a wickiup for winters and living in a tent in the summers near Waukon Junction, three miles north of Effigy Mounds National Monument. After her husband and daughter passed away, she moved south to McGregor, a small river town, where she built another wickiup near the Mississippi River, which would occasionally flood during the spring. Only in her old age did she live in a small house in Marquette, Iowa, another small river town south of the monument. Although she wasn't born in northeast Iowa, she called it home for many years. She had family in Nebraska and Wisconsin, but chose to live in northeast Iowa, and specifically around what is now Effigy Mounds National Monument. She and her husband, Henry, lived off the land and had an intimate knowledge of the plants and animals in this landscape.

Source: http://iagenweb.org/clayton/misc/EmmaBigBear.htm (Installation video)

Julian Coryer/The Voyageur

Julian Coryer/The Voyageur

(Video) (Video 2) Coryer was a professional canoeman or voyageur who traveled by canoe for the Hudson Bay Company during the fur trade era. Julian Coryer was born along the St. Lawrence. At the age of sixteen, he left Canada. He enlisted, or hired out, to the Hudson Bay Fur Company for a period of four years, and traveled, as the voyageurs did on their old voyageurs' route, the Hudson Bay Route, finally through the Great Lakes to Green Bay.

There, they traveled down the Fox River to Portage. And then at Portage, they made portage,

The voyageurs carried everything into the Wisconsin River, the source of the Wisconsin River, and then down to Prairie du Chien, which was the next place between Green Bay and St. Louis.

Black Hawk

Black Hawk

Black Hawk is a life-size bronze statue in the Mississippi River Sculpture Park, is one of six life-size bronze statues installed as phase one of this developing sculpture park.

Black Hawk (Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak, Black Sparrow Hawk, 1767-1838), a Sauk war chief, led a faction of Sauk and Fox in 1832 to defend their ancestral lands that had been ceded to the U.S. in an 1804 treaty. This action resulted in the Black Hawk War which ended with the Battle of Bad Axe near Prairie du Chien. Black Hawk escaped but surrendered at Ft. Crawford a few weeks later in August 1832. (Dedicated October 8, 2005) Installation Video

Victorian Lady

Victorian Lady

This Victorian woman's clothing, circa 1894, was known as a "tailor suit" and was considered appropriate for an active woman. It consisted of a one-piece bodice with large leg-o-mutton sleeves. Typically made from dark wool broadcloth, the bodice front and collar were often made of silk. (Dedicated November 4, 2006) (Installation Video)

Dr. Beaumont and son, Israel

Dr. Beaumont and son, Israel

The installation of the bronze sculpture, Dr. Beaumont, was held on June 10, 2006. Dr. Beaumont (1785-1853) was a famous pioneer of medical physiology. His extensive experiments on one man, Alexis St. Martin, formed the basis for much of our knowledge of the human digestive system. He served as the Army surgeon at Ft. Crawford during the 1820s and 1830s, the era of the Black Hawk War. (Installation video)

The Fire Ring

The central point of the sculpture park is a 6 foot wide fire circle, where stories are told, songs are sung, and the mythical characters come to life. It is built of local stone with bronze plaques attached to the outside rim. The bronze plaques depict some of the mythical characters and symbols of the many and varied cultures that have come together near this confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. So many people from around the world have met here. (Video)