La Salle Watching for the "Griffon"
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1972-26-769
C.W. Jefferys' notes about this picture from The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 1
In 1679 La Salle began the building of a vessel on a creek on the east bank of the Niagara near Lake Erie. She was named The Griffon, in honour of Frontenac, whose coat of arms bore that mythical monster. On August 7th, La Salle and his followers embarked, and the vessel, the first to sail on the upper lakes, proceeded on her voyage to Green Bay, Lake Michigan. Here she was laden with furs, and in the middle of September was sent back to Niagara with orders to return as soon as her cargo was discharged. Meanwhile La Salle proceeded to the southern end of the lake, where he was to await The Griffon bringing the supplies he needed for his journey down the Mississippi. He watched and waited in vain until December, when reluctantly he set out to winter in the Illinois country. No word of the fate of The Griffon reached him; somewhere in Lake Huron or Lake Michigan she was wrecked; but to this day no one knows how or where.
Hennepin's Voyages contains an engraving depicting the building of The Griffon, but we cannot tell how authentic any of its details are, and some of them are absurdly incorrect, such as the inclusion of a palm tree in the landscape setting.
- Jefferys, Charles W. 1942 The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 1, p. 165
“Early Canada Historical Narratives -- LA SALLE.” Accessed July 23, 2017. http://www.uppercanadahistory.ca/finna/finna3a.html.