During those years, he made several trips for Henry H. Sibley, agent of the American Fur Company, the man who was to become Minnesota's first governor, and assisted Franklin Steele in filling government contracts, notably the one supplying Fort Ripley on the upper Mississippi. In 1862 he was in North Dakota on business for Indian Commissioner Dole. The Sioux outbreak occurred and the Sissetons laid siege to Fort Abercrombie. Bottineau, who was in the fort at the time of the attack, offered to go for help. He slipped through the Indian encampments, made his way over Leaf Mountain and managed to get to Sauk Center, Minnesota, from where help could be dispatched to the fort.

During 1863-64 he scouted for General Sibley's military expedition into North Dakota and guided Captain Fisk's expedition to Montana. Also, in 1863, Bottineau served as interpreter when the Old Crossing Treaty was signed at Huot, Minnesota (see Stop # 10). Similar exploits and expeditions appear to have made up his "career" until 1876 when Pierre Bottineau, with two of his sons, Henry and William, came to what is now Red Lake Falls and staked a claim on land on the Clearwater River south of town. They built a shanty and planted a garden. After a time, Pierre returned to Osseo, Minnesota (a town he also founded and where he had been living) to move the rest of his family here, leaving the two young men to care for the little house and garden. One day the brothers went swimming, with tragic results. Henry, who was 19, became very ill, probably with pneumonia. William did the best he could, and finally got word to Crookston to notify his parents. They arrived just before Henry died. ...

Pierre Bottineau's contribution to Red Lake Falls continued for many years. According to a June 25, 1931 Red Lake Falls Gazette article, he traveled to Canada in 1878 and induced a large number of settlers to move here. There is evidence that he influenced many French Canadians from Ramsey and Hennepin counties to do likewise. He served on the village council from 1882 until February, 1887, and was its president in 1885.

Red Lake Falls' appreciation has culminated in the establishment of the permanent memorial to Pierre Bottineau in St. Joseph's Cemetery . The memorial is located on a triangle from which one can look south to Pierre's homestead.

{The following is taken from A History of Red Lake County, edited by Anne Healy and Sherry Kankel, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, 1976.}

By far the most important and colorful character ever to have lived in this area is the founder of Red Lake Falls, Pierre Bottineau, last of the great voyageurs, the "Kit Carson of the Northwest".

To quote a portion of his eulogy printed in the Minneapolis Journal at the time ofhis death on July 27, 1895:

"With the passing of Pierre Bottineau, the days of the voyageurs and coureurs du bois pass into history .He was one of the last of that long line of hardy pioneers which the French race has given to America. ... Traversing the savage wilderness, thousands of miles beyond the limits of the settlements, they learned the forest and prairie as a book, and their knowledge was an invaluable, almost indispensable, aid in the work of laying the foundations upon which populous states have arisen."

Pierre Bottineau was born in 1817 in the Red River Country at Bear Point, near the mouth of the Turtle River. He was the son of Joseph (some accounts say "Charles") Bottineau and Clear Sky, a Chippewa woman also called "Margaret"

Pierre inherited characteristics from both parents that served him well. He was described as being over six feet tall, weighing around 200 pounds. One old biographical sketch described him as having "piercing black eyes", and adds that he was of "attractive appearance in spite of his swarthy complexion. He was naturally of manly instincts and gentlemanly deportment, polite, agreeable and of a kindly disposition, and always true to his word and to his fellow men."

In the earlier years of his life, Pierre's headquarters were in Canada, in the Selkirk Settlement (Winnipeg. Manitoba, Canada). In 1830 he made his first long trip, carrying messages for the fur company from Selkirk to Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin). After that, he made several trips from the Hudson Bay Company's posts in Manitoba to the stations of the American Fur Company in various parts of Minnesota. ...

In 1840, Bottineau became a nominal resident of St. Paul, though he continued to follow the migratory life of a hunter and voyageur and often served the officers at Fort Snelling as guide and interpreter. In the latter capacity, it was said that he was fluent not only in French and English, but in Sioux, Chippewa, Cree, Mandan and Winnebago as well.