Richard J Harney.

History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest online

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Siou.x, exulted in their mournful victory, which
was purchased at the cost of the lives of
between seventy and eighty of their warriors. "

In 1825, Gov. Cass assembled the Sioux,
Chippewas, Winnebagoes, Menominees, Sacs
and Foxes, for the purpose of determining
the boundary lines of the territory of the
respective tribes. The Sioux and Chippewas
got into a violent dispute about their respect-
ive claims; the Sioux claiming territory to the
south shore of Lake Superior. When the
Governor asked the Sioux upon what ground
they founded their claim, they answered: "By
the occupation of our forefathers. " He then
asked the Chippewas the same question, when
Hole-in- the-day, the celebrated chief of the
Chippewas, arose, and in his usual impetuous
manner, said: "My father, we claim it upon
the same ground that you claim this country
from the British King — by conquest! We
drove them from the country by force of arms,
and have since occupied it. " Then said the
Governor: "You have a right to it."

Hole-in-the-day was at this time the great
head chief of the Mississippi Chippewas. He
was not a hereditary chieftain, but had
risen to that position through his great ability
in the field, and council, and his acts of daring
and bravery. His oratory was of the highest
type of savage eloquence, electrifying his
auditors by its force and grandeur. He pos-
sessed all the elements of a great leader; was
a terror to the Sioux, and none among his own
people dared to question his authority.

William W\ Warren, an educated descend-
ant of the Chippewas, says that "Hole-in-the-
day and his brother. Strong Ground, distin-
guished themselves in the warfare of their
tribes with the Sioux, and by their deeds of
valor obtained an extensive influence over their
"ellowsofthe Mississippi. By repeated and
lelling blows, aided by others, they forced the
I Sioux to fall back from the woods on to their
Western prairies, and eventually altogether to
evacuate that portion of their former country
ying north of Sac River, and southeast of Leaf
R.iver to the Mississippi. Strong Ground was
IS fine a specimen of an Indian as ever trod
:he soil of America. He was one of those
lonor-loving chiefs, not only by name, but by
lature, also, and noted for his unflinching
Jravery. * * Hole-in-the-day, his

lounger brother, was equally brave, * * *
lad not the firmness of his brother.



Strong Ground, but was more cunning, and
soon came to understand the policy of the
whites. He was ambitious, and through his
cunning, stepped above his more straight-for-
ward brother, and became head chief. He
had a proud and domineering spirit, and
liked to be implicitly obeyed. * * * Notwith-
standing his harsh and haughty temper, there
was in the breast of this man much of the milk
of human kindness, and he had that way
about him that induced the few who really
loved him to be willing even to die for him.
During his life time he distinguished himself in
eight different fights, where blood was freely
shed. At St. Peters he was almost mortally
wounded, a bullet passing through his right
breast, and coming out near the spine. On
this occasion his daughter waskilled; and from
this time can be dated the blood-thirstiness
with which he ever after pursued his enemies.
He had married a daughter of Bi Aus Wah, a
chief so distinguished among the Chippewas,
that he may be said to have laid the foundation
of a dynasty of chieftaindom, which has
descended to his children, and the benefits of
which they are reaping after him.

His bravery was fully proved by his crossing
the Mississippi, and, with but two brave com-
rades, firing on the large Sioux village, Ka-
po-sia, below the mouth of the St. Peters.
They narrowly escaped the general chase that
was made for them by many Sioux warriors,
crossing the Mississippi under a shower of bul-
lets. There is nothing in modern warfare to
surpass this daring exploit. "

" His son who succeeded him in the chieftain-
ship became even more distinguished than his
father. He ruled like a prince, and declared
that he was a greater chief than his father,
because he was equally brave in the field and
able in council, and had the additional merit
of birthright. He was imperious and brave in
the highest degree.

The St. Paul Press, at the time of his death
in 1868, in a notice of him says:
* * * * "Hole-in-the-day has been
accustomed to play a conspicuous part in all
.treaty negotiations with the Mississippi Chip-
pewas, and from long practice had become a
cunning and unscrupulous intriguer, skilled in
all the mysteries of Indian diplomacy. * *
There was something almost romantic in his
reckless daring on the war-path. He was the
Chippewa Cid or Coeiir de Lion, from the
gleam of whose battle-axe, whole armies of
saracen Sioux fled, as before irresistble fate.
His exploits would fill a book.

"The first appearance of the younger Hole-in-
the-day in public council was at Fond du Lac,



58



EARLY HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST.



L 1 700.



Lake Superior, in July, 1847. At that time
the Upper Country of the Mississippi, extend-
ing to Lake Superior, was owned by the Chip-
pewas of Lake Superior, and the Chippewas
of the Mississippi. The former were repre-
sented in force. The Chippewas of the Missis-
sippi, headed by Hole-in-the-day, owing to
the great distance they had to travel, had but
a small delegation in attendance, and Hole-in-
the-day was late in reaching the council
ground.

"Prior to his coming, several talks v.-ere held
with the Indians, in which they admitted that
they had allowed Hole-in-the-day 's father to
take the lead in their councils, but said that
were he then alive they would make him take
a back seat; that his son was a mere boy, and
were he there he would have nothing to say;
consequently it was useless to wait for him.
The commissioners, however, thought differ-
ently and waited. After his arrival the council
was formally opened. The comrfiissioners
stated their business and requested a reply from
the Indians. Hole-in-the-day was led up to the
stand by two of his braves and made a speech
to which all the Indians present gave hearty
and audible assent. The change in the face of
things at the appearance of Hole-in-the-day
showed his bravery and commanding influence;
but was also somewhat amusing. Here were
powerful chiefs of all the Chippewa tribes,
some of them seventy or eighty years old, who
before his coming spoke of him as a boy who
could have no voice in the council; saying
there was no use in waiting for him; but when
he appeared they became his most submissive
and obedient servants; and this in a treaty in
which a million of acres of land were ceded.
The terms of the treaty were concluded
between the commissioners and Hole-in-the-
day alone. Thelatter, after this was done, with-
drew, and sent word to the chiefs of the Mis-
sissippi and Lake Superior bands to go and
sign it. After it had been duly signed by the
commissioners, the chief head men and war-
riors, and witnessed by the interpreters and
other persons present, Hole-in-the-day, who
had not been present at these little formalities,
called upon the commissioners with two of his
attcndent chiefs and had appended to the
treaty the following words:

" ' Fathers: The country our Great Father
sent you to purchase, belongs to me. It was
once my father's. He took it from the Sioux.
He, by his bravery, made himself head chief
of the Chippewa nation. I am a greater man
than my father was, for I am as brave as he
was, and on my mother's side, I am hereditary
head chief of the nation. The land you want



belongs to me. If I say sell, the Great Father
will have it; if I say not sell, he will do with-
out it. These Indians you see behind me have
nothing to say about it. I approve of this
treaty and consent to the same.

Fond du Lac, August 3d, 1847.

P(1-Go-Nk-Shik,
His X Mark. Or, Hole-Ix-The-D.w."'

' ' He made his influence in negotiations tell to
his own personal advantage. He spent with
profusion, for he was as great a prodigal as he
was a warrior. Disdaining the humble bark
wigwam of his tribe he lived in a good house,
near Crow-Wing, and kept horses and sur-
rounded himself with luxuries. He kept posted
in national affairs by taking the St. Paul
Press, of which he was a regular subscriber,
and other papers which he had read to him by
art interpreter every day of their arrival. "

Although the advanced bands of the Chip-
pewa nation had reached the western extremity
of Lake Superior as early as 1668, they were
not, as before stated, insufficient force to main-
tain possession, and it is supposed that the)-
did not permanently occupy- the country until
about 1700. Since that time they drove the
Sioux from the territory lying between the
St. Croix and Mississippi. In 1843 there were
over SiOOO souls in one agency in that district.

While the Sioux were fully engaged in
resisting the encroachments of the Chippe-
was, the Sacs, Foxes and Menominees, who
were also Algonquin tribes from Canada,
obtained permanent possession of the country
bordering Green Bay, and from the lower to
the Upper Fox. Outagamie county takes its
name from its former occupants, the Outa-
gamies (Foxes).

Bands of other tribes were met there by the^
Missionaries, but these were only temporary
sojourners. The Bay seems to have been a
favorite place of rendezvous for the various
tribes of the Algonquin race. F'or after thC'
Sioux had driven the Chippewas from the mis-
sion of La Pointe a large number of the latter
congregated around the newly established mis-
sion, at the mouth of the F"ox, in 1669.

Nicolet, at the time of his visit to the Bay,
1 639, found the Pottawattamies in that locality.
In 1652, bands of the Hurons were moving
through the country between Green Bay and
La Pointe. These, and a band of Ottawas
were driven out of the country by the Sioux,
and the Pottawattamies were at the Sault St.
Marie, in 1641, to which place they had fled
from the pursuit of the Sioux. From which it
would appear that it must have been after the
e.xploration of Nicolet that the Sacs, Fo.xes,
and Menominees obtained permanent posses-



i/oo.]



EARLY HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST.



59



sion of the Fox River and Green Bay country.
The Menominees are first mentioned in the
Jesuit Relations in 1669, the time of the estab-
lishment of the mission at La Baye.

The Winnebagoes inhabited the district west
of Lake Winnebago and south of the Upper
Fox, and a large portion of the southern and
western part of Wisconsin. They also occupied
the small tract between the head of Lake Win-
nebago and the Lower Fox, bounded on the
east by a line from Little Kaukauna to the
east shore of Lake Winnebago.- This included
Doty's Island and East Menasha.

They are called by some authorities a Daco-
tah tribe; but this is undoubtedly an error; for
their traditional history is, that they came from
Spanish America, and Carver, the Northwest-
ern explorer, says: "The Winnebagoes most
probably came from Mexico on the approach
of the Spaniards; and that they had an unal-
terable attachment to the Sioux, whom, they
said, gave them the earliest succor duringtheir
migration." "Which attachment," says Alfred
Brunson "has continued to this day, there
never having been a war between them."

"Their dialect is neither Algonquin nor
Dacotah, and is," says Mr. Bronson, of
Prairie Du Chien, who is good authority,
"totally different from every Indian nation yet
discovered; it being a very uncouth, gutteral
jargon, which none of their neighbors will
attempt to learn. They converse with other
nations in the Chippewa tongue, which is the
prevailing language throughout all tribes, from
the Mohawks of Canada, to those who inhabit
the borders of the Mississsippi, and from the
Hurons and Illinois to such as dwell at Green
•Bay. "

The French seem to have agreed pretty well
with the Winnebagoes, but the early American
settlers, while they generally speak well of the
Menominees, had a very unfavorable opinion
of the former tribe.

Their principal village was at Doty's Island.
It was here that Capt. Jonathan Carver was so
hospitably entertained by the princess of this
village, Ho-po-Ko-e-Kan, (Glory of the
Morning). She was the daughter of the head
chief of the Winnebagoes and the widow of a
French trader, De Kaury, and the mother of
the celebrated De Kaurys, powerful Winne-
bago chieftains.

Pesheu, or Wild Cats' village, was on Garlic
Island, and Black Wolf, the distinguished head
chief of the Winnebagoes, had his village at
the point of that name, on the lake shore,
about eight miles south of Oshkosh. The
corn hills of their planting grounds were plainly
visible a few years ago.



Mitchell & Osborn's History of Winnebago
Connty, published in 1856, gives a very
humorous account of the manner in which this
shrewd old chief adroitly shifted a bit of
disagreeable business from his own hands to
that of another.

Pow-wa-ga-nieu was a very celebrated chief
of the Menominees. His great strength was
only equalled by his bravery and nobleness of
spirit. He never would take the scalp of a
woman or child, and it is related of him that
on several occasions he defended the lives of
those whom his warriors had subdued in
battle.

" Kish-ke-ne-kat, or Cut Finger, head war chief of the Pot-
tawattamies of Chicago, was a great brave, and, like some
successful white braves, somewhat of a bully. Among other of
his habits was an ugly one, of insulting the greatest brave of
any tribe he might be visiting, and such was the
awing effect of his reputation that none, as yet,
resented it. As was his wont, he sent one of his young men
to Black Wolf, to inform him of a visit he intended to pay to
that Chief, moved thereto, by Black Wolf's great reputation as
a brave. Black Wolf, knowing Cut Finger's habits, thought it
best to get his Menominee friend, Pow-wa-ga-nieu, to assist in
dispensing his hospitalities to the Pottawattamie. Therein he
showed his great wisdom. The Illinois Chief made his
appearance at Black Wolf's village with three hundred war-
riors, and, not being expected there, did not find the Chief; so
according to custom he started after him to Algoma, whither he
had gone to a corn-husking,on the planting ground of his friend
Pee-shan. Black Wolf, by this time apprised of his coming,
assembled his and the Menominee braves to receive him. On
their arrival they sat down on a pleasant spot within hailing
distance of their hosts. A young Winnebago, who could
speak the Pottawottamie tongue, presented the pipe to the
great Chief with the usual compliments. While the pipe was
going round. Cut Finger inquired w'nich was Black Wolf. The
interpreter pointed him out. " Who is that who seems to be as
great as he, sitting by his side ?" " That's Pow-wa-ga-nieu,
the great Menominee." Cut Fnger's eyes snapped with
delight at the prospect of humbling the great warrior before
his young men. Bidding the Winnebago to tell Black Wolf
that he would shake his hand; before the young men arose he
started and paid the usual courtesies to that chief. After these
preliminaries were settled on both sides. Cut Finger asked :
'Who is he,this who occupies a place of so much honor? he must
be a great Indian.' 'This is the bravest Menominee, Pow-wa-
ga-nieu.' 'Ah, is that the great Pow-wa-ga-nieu, who fills the
songs of the nations ? let me look at him.' He walked all
round the chief, examining him with the critical air of a horse
jockey. Pow-wa-ga-nieu, all this time keeping profound
silence, having a good idea what it was going to amount to.
'Well,' at last broke forth Cut Finger, 'you are a fine Indian, a
great Indian, a strong Indian, but you don't look like a brave
Indian. I have seen braver looking Indians than you in my
travels; I am a great traveler. I think you must have got a
great deal of your reputation by your size. You don't look
brave — you look sleepy. You have no tongue, you don't
speak.' Then, telling the young Menominees that he was
going to satisfy himself as to the courage of their chief, he
took hold of the bunch of hair the old warrior always kept on



60



EARLY HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST.



[1800-29.*



his crown for the convenience of any Sac or Fox who might
find it necessary to scalp him, and gave him a good shaking,
saying all the time, 'You are sleepy, you have no tongue,' and
a plentiful supply of aborignal banter. Pow-wa-ga nieu, aided
by his strength and a neck that could withstand anything but
rum, sustained but little damage from this, and submmitted
with Indian calmness, until his tormentor had got through.
After satisfying himself, Cut Finger announced to Black Wolf
. that he would go and sit among his warriors until Black Wolf
gave the word to rise.

" Pow-wa-ga-nieu immediately set himself about fixing the
flint of his Pottawattamie friend. He opened his sack, and
drew forth his cap of war-eagle feathers — itself equal to a
small band of Sacs and Foxes — put it on his head and picked
up his lance and club. His young men feared an unpleasant
result, but none dared to speak except his brother, who admon-
ished him to ' do nothing rash.' One glance of Pow-wa-ga-
nieu's eye and an emphatic ' I'm mad now! ' sent that respect-
able Menominee to his seat, excusing himself by saying that
Pow-waga-nieu ' knew what a fool he always made of him-
self when he got a-going.' Stretching himself up to his full
height, he stalked toward the Pottawattamies in a style that
excited the universal admiration of his friends, especially old
Black Wolf, who not only admired his friend, but also
his own tact in shifting this particular scrape on to that friend's
shoulders.

' My friends,' said the old brave to the Pottawattamies, ' I
am glad to see you here ; you look brave — you are brave ; many
of you I have met on the war-path, and know you are brave ;
some of your youngest I do not know, it being many years
since I went to war. I am glad to see you look so well. 1
have heard much of your chief, but I don't think him very
brave ; I think him a coward. He looks sleepy, and I am
going to see if he is worthy to lead such braves as you.'
Whereupon, throwing his weapons upon the ground, he seized
the Pottawattamie chief by the hair, which he wore very long,
as in prophetic anticipation of some such retribution as this. He
shook him with all his might, and continued to shake him until
the young men remonstrated, saying they were satisfied. He
stopped without relinquishing his hold.turned around his head,
looked his followers down into silence, and shook again with
the vim of a man whose whole heart was in the performance of
an evident and pious duty. The life was nearly out of Kish-ke-
ne kat, but the brave Menominee bore that individual's suffering
with the same fortitude that he had borne his own. Satisfied
at last, he raised his enemy up by the hair, and threw him
from him ; at the same time he picked up his club and lance
and waited to see ' what he was going to do about it.' Cut
ringer raised himself on his elbow and rubbed his head, not
daring to look up, while the Menominee invited him to look
up and see a man, if he was one himself, ' to come and decide
this matter like men,' which, being unattended to, he went
back to his seat at the right hand of Black Wolf, who had
been all this time smoking with the utmost indifference, as,
indeed, it was no aftair of his.

" Kish-ke ne kat continued to recline on his arm. Pow-
wa-ga-nieu eyeing him all the time, and when the Pottawatta-
mie would steal a glance at the great war cap, the eye under it
would make him turn again, at the same time his ears were
assailed with, 'why don't you look up ? what are you afraid
of ? come and talk to me,' and such taunts. Cut Finger saw
that his position among his young men was getttng to be rather
delicate, and the last invitation, as a means of reconciling all



parties, met his view ; so rising, and laying his hand on his sore
head, he said : 'My friends; there is no dodging the fact that
Pow-wa-ga-nieu is a brave, a very brave, Indian ; braver than
I, and I'll go and tell him so.' Gathering himself up, he
walked over to the chiefs, and told Pow-wa-ga-nieu that he had
come over to shake him by the hand. ' You are a great chief:
I have shook many chiefs ; none have resented till now ; if you
had submitted, you would have been disgraced in the eyes of
my young men; now they will honor. I am a great traveler. 1
am going to all the tribes of the south. I will tell those
who have spoken well of you how you have used rne. They
will believe me, for I have pulled all their heads, as you have
pulled mine ; you are as great as if you had pulled theirs, also.
Let us shake hands and be friends.' Pow-wa-ga-nieu, who
was a good fellow at bottom, reciprocated the good feelings of
the now friendly chief, and a lasting friendship sprung up
between them, and showed itself in the interchange of presents
every year, as long as they both lived.

" The war-eagle cap, which contributed so much toward
this victory, is, now in the hands of Pow-wa-ga-nieu's son, and
can be seen any time by those who doubt the truth of the fore-
going."

Hoo Choup, or Four Legs, had his \illage at
the outlet of the lake. He was ambitious to
effect a distinguished alliance for a \'ery ugly
daughter, and proposed to confer on John H.
Kinzie, of the American Fur Company, the
distinction of being his son-in-law. This honor
was declined b)- Mr. Kinzie, his affections
being pre-engaged.

When General Leavenworth, with a body
of United States troops, passed up the Lower
Fox, in 1819, he was hailed at Winnebago
Rapids by Hoo Choup, who appeared before
him in all the overpowering grandeur of Indian
ornamentation, and in the most pompous man-
ner stalked forward and announced "that the
lake was locked." General Leavenworth
drawing his rifle up to his shoulder, said to his
intrepreter, "tell him this is the key that I
shall unlock it with." Hoo Choup, being
impressed with this very practicable and sum-
mary method of opening the lake, and deem-
ing discretion the better part of valor, with-
drew his opposition, and the expedition pro-
ceeded unmolested on its way.

In 1 829, the Winnebagoes ceded to the gov-
ernment, all the lands to which they laid claim
east of the Mississippi. They however, remained
in the country for many years after; but the
tribe has dwindled to a mere remnant of its
former strength and was finallj' remoxed across
the Mississippi.



I750.]



EARLY HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST



61




CHAPTER XVIII.

The French Posts and Settlements in the West — The Coureur
de Bois — His Mode of Life and Canoe Voyages — • French
Officers Trained in Forest Warfare, in the Campaigns of
the Fox Valley — De Beaujeu at the Battle of the Monon-
gahela — De Langlade, the Pioneer Settler of Wisconsin,
Plans and Executes the Defeat of Braddock — The Opening
and Closing of the French-Indian War — De Lang-
lade Attempts to Repeat his Exploit in the Battle of the
Monongahela, by an Ambuscade of a Large Division of
Wolf's Army before Quebec — De Langlade Returns to his
Home in Green Bay — ■ Pontiac's War — Massacre of the
English Garrison at Michilimackinac.

FTER the expulsion of the Sauks
and Foxes from this valley, the
greatest harmony prevailed between
the French and Indians of the West.
The whole net-work of lakes and rivers west
of the Alleghanies, was now in the possession
of New France, and a series of posts extended
from Montreal to the Mississippi. One at
Niagara guarded the entrance to the lakes.
One at Detroit controlled the passage between
Lakes Erie and Huron. Another at the Straits
of St. Marys, and one at Michilimackinac com-
manded the entrance to Lakes Superior and
Michigan. The post at Green Bay secured the
mouth of the Fox, which was the chief
entrance-way to the great Mississippi valley.
One at the mouth of the St. Joseph, controlled
the route from the head of Lake Michigan to
the Illinois, by the Kankakee portage; while
posts on the Wabash and Maumee, with Fort
Du Quesne on the Ohio, secured the control of
the Ohio valley, and completed the circuit from
Quebec and Montreal through the Great
Lakes, the Fox and Wisconsin, to the Missis-
sippi, and up the Ohio to its tributaries on the
Western slope of the Alleghanies.

Little French settlements sprang up adjacent
to many of these posts, which constituted in
1750 the only settlements in the whole interior.
Their communication with each other was by
canoe navigation, and the chief business was



Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 12 of 71)