There are many variants of this name: Chau Wau Kau /De Carrie/, Chau Wau Kau /Decorah/, Eechauwaukak, Ee-chau-wau-kak, Chau /Decarrie/, Marie /Decorah/, Marie /Decarrie/.
The Hocąk (Winnebago) name is rather eccentric. For one, all female names end in wį-ga, where -wį- is a female gender infix, and -ga is a definite article used for personal names. Given the variations, it seems clear that the name means, "Muskrat." The standard word for muskrat is wicawak, but we also have hicąwąk (Kinzie). The /h/ is often dropped before a preceding vowel, so we have Dorsey's icawáK. The slightly corrupted name Ee-chau-wau-kak comes from this version of the word (Icąwąk-ka). Sometimes the word for water, nį, is prefixed to yield nįcawák. In early times, it was foreshortened to cowo (for cawa). (Merrell) This explains the shorter personal name, Chau-Wau-Kau (for Cawaka < Cawak-ka).
Marie will have been a member of the Thunderbird Clan as the daughter of a chief from that clan, and "Muskrat" is not a name in that clan. Therefore, it is a nickname. It should be noted that the word for muskrats was also used for 25¢ pieces, since they were exchanged for a muskrat skin. However, there is another interesting possibility. Since we may deduce that she was first married to Big Rat, the question arises as to what kind of "rat" this name refers. Given the unflattering character of the name, it may be that the "rat" meant was the muskrat, and that his name was properly Cawakaxetega. At the time, widows in white culture retained their former married names, so that at her marriage to Perriche, she will have been "Mrs. Muskrat," which is Cawaka-wį-ga, literally, "Muskrat's Woman."
Inasmuch as her husband was French, her official first name was "Marie," however, in various affidavits, she appears under the Anglicized name "Mary."
Cawaka lived with her husband near Depere or Rapids Des Pere, Wisconsin.
Waggoner says (p. 5), "(Chou-ge-ka) Decora, fathered two daughters, Marie or E-chau-wa-cau and Therese or Mah-na-tee-see, who are erroneously described as 'full-blood' Winnebago women in the affidavits."
Francis Roy testified that, "... the mother of the said Mary Bellair Sr. was the daughter of a Winnebago Squa or Woman by the name Mary Dekorree and that Mary Dekorre [or Dekorri] was Sister of Chief Dekorre [or Dekorri] of the Winnebago Tribe of Indians; that this affiant has seen said Mary Dekorree Bellair nursed & taken care of by Mary Dekorre [or Dekorri] when an infant in the arms; and that she the said Mary Bellair is about the age of Thirty years old; that the Father of Mrs. Mary Bellair was Pierish Grignon; that this affiant also knows that Mrs. Bellair has a daughter now living with her — by the name of Mary of the age of about fifteen or sixteen, that the Father of the said Mary Bellair Jr was a French man by the name of Lewis Bellair now dead. (Waggoner, 41b)
"Louis Menaige, a Canadian, served in the War of 1812. He was a resident of Portage and was living there in 1832. He married Margaret, daughter of Perrish Grignon and his wife, Es-chah-wan-kah, a sister of the Old Decorah. Their children were Peter, Josette, and two others." - Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923 [unpublished]), 260-261.
Jipson (226) sums up her genealogy: The Old Decorah also had a sister called Es-chah-wau-kah, who married Perrish Grignon, and had a son Amable, who married Archange LaBathe about 1827, and died in Prairie du Chien in 1836, leaving three children: Antoine, born about 1828, Hypolite, born about 1830, and Archange, born about 1834. Other children of Es-chah-wau-kah were Lavoine, Margaret who married Louis Monagu, and Mariette Josette Monagu, who married John Baptiste Benway, was also said to be a granddaughter of Es-chah-wau-kah. Margaret, who married Louis Monague, had four children: Peter, born 1820, Josette and two others, Mary (probably Mariette) married Louis Bellair, and in 1838, was said to be about thrity years of age. She had a daughter, Ma[r]y aged fifteen (1838).”
The Wisconsin Death Index records her decease on 6 Nov 1838 in Green Bay.
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