Richard J Harney.

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

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Farm and Residence of George Rogers

'* " Commodore Rogers

*' '* Mrs Mark Plummer

*' *' George M.Wakefield

•' " C. L. Rich

Cheese Factory, John Ryf


Cheese Factory, James G. Pickett, Pickett Homestead

Farm Residence of J . H. Maxwe'l

Farm Besldence of David K. Lawrence

*' E.B.Ransom

" " The Late George Miller

*■ " William H Clark





Farm Residence of William Simmons

" " Milan Ford

" '* Hiram B. Cook


Farm Residence of Carlton Foster

t» *' Ebenezer Hubbard . . . ;

" R. C. Wood


Farm Residence of Charles Morgan

" " George b lemming

" " Alexander Bangs

" " Geo. A. Randall..


Farm Residence of Andrew Sutherland

" " Jerome Betry

" " Chas. Wm. Kurz


Waukau Flouring Mills, Bean & Palfrey

Farm Residence of L. Hinman

F. L, Bartlett

Personal Notices.





ciry OF osHKosH.


James L. Clark, Star Match Works 169

Foster & Jones, Sash, Door and Lumber M'f 'rs . 1 '0

Robert McMillen & Co., Sash, Door and Lumber M'f 'rs ... ^P

WiUiamson, Libbey k Co., Sash and Door M'f 'rs 1"2

S Radford & Bro., Sash, Door and Lumber M'f'rs 296 (*) 334

Geo. W. Pratt, Lumber M'f'r 348-296(0

C. N. Paine & Co., Lumber M'f 'rs I'S

296 U)


Johns. Fraker, Shingle M'f'r ;^.;- •;;;,■,• '

Cook, Brown & Co., Brick, Lime and Dram Tile M'f rs

H. C. GustavuB & Co., Flour .M'f'rs

Parsons & Goodf eUow, Carriage Works

Martin Battis, Steam BoUer M'f'r •;■"

John F. Morse, Foundry and Machine Shop ^9b W^iV

Wm. Spikes & Co., Furniture M 'f 'rs and Dealers 2% (m) 336

B. H Soper, Furniture M'f 'rand Dealer 296Cm)34o

J. R.Loper, Soap iMTr 33j

W. W. Daggett, Oshkosh Business College '«>

Wm. Hill & Co., Dry Goods 155 j~„?

Carswell & Hughes, Dry Goods ,,„ "Jojf

Sam'l Eckstein, Merchant TaUor 179 and 326

Andrew Haben, Merchant Tailor „„„ ■ ., ,111

Schmit Bros ., i runk Factory 296 u) ™d 17J

Ferdinand Hermann, Grocer j,]A

Geo. F. Stroud, Oils, Paints and Glass 175anad^u

Sam'l M. Hay, Hardware }<%

Tom Wall, Freight Agent M. & St. Paul R. R ™

Gustavus r'esch ■ J^

Beckwith House ?*?

E W. Viall, Grocer 296u«)and347

Leonard Mayer, Grocer ■^^^Pj^"^^^

John Begliner, Grocer olo *"^ mo

A. Lichtenberger, Grocer ■»■* and d^i

WiUeS: Ploetz, Hardware 296(m)and322

James Kennedy, Grocer 296(?M) and331

Chas. Quinlan, Grocer ?S5!"' *°?S

K. E. Bennett. Grocer 296 ( « ) and dJ8

Sebastian Ostertag, Grocer ?^5 1"! ''"? oSS

Holmes & VanDoren, Grocers . 296 («.) and 3d8

C. A. Johnson & Co., Boots and Shoes 349 and 328

Geo. F. Eastman, Books and Stationery 296(m.) and 348

Henry Schneider, Building Contractor 296(0 and 340

Thos. Policy, Building Contractor 296 (i) and 340

\l' eisbrod & Harshaw, Lawyers ^60

Wm. KeUey, Clocks, Watches and Jeweby Back Lover.

Eugene Fraker ^^


A . H . F. Krueger


Carl J. Kraby, Insurance Agent

Bergstrom Bros. & Co., Stove Works

Whitenackfe Mitchell .

John Roberts' Summer Resort


Webster & Lawson, Hub and Spoke Factory 227

Menasha Wooden Ware Company 223 and 342

S. S. Roby '^^


The last paragraph in first column, Page 50, should read:
procured by Gen. Lewis Cass from the Archives of the War
Department of France, while he was officiating, etc.

The last paragraph in second column. Page 60, should be:
In 1829, the Winnebagoes ceded a portion of their lands near
the lead mines; and 1833, they ceded all of their lands south
of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, In 1838, they relinquished
their claims to all of their lands east of the Mississippi.

The last paragraph in second column. Page 67, should be:
The Post at Prairie du Chien instead of Green Bay.

Page 68, the date at head of page should be: 181 2.

Page 88, in last paragraph, first column should be. Govern-
ment lands, instead of Government bonds.

The second paragraph on Page 94 should be : thirty-two
years ago, instead of twenty-eight.

On Page 149 should be : the High School Building was
erected in 1867, instead of 1857.

Page 139, Geo. Mayer, Watchmaker and Jeweller. His
name ought to be inserted as one of the firms doing business
in Oshkosh in 1850.

The several town officers, mentioned in this work as present
town officers, are those of 1879.

Page 195, last paragraph, should read: In September, 1S36,
the Menominees ceded that portion of Winnebago County,
which lies north of the Upper Fox Rivtr, except the small
tract east of the Lower Fox, which was formerly Winnebago
territory, and ceded by that tribe to the Government in 1833.








The Fox River Valley of Central Wisconsin — A Record of
Two Centuries, Commencing with the First Explorations
of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers — The Links Connecting
the Great Water Courses of the United States — The
Ancient Thoroughfare of the Frontier and Aboriginal
Traffic and Travel of the Great West — Some of the
First Pages of American Civilization Found in Central

fN one of the higher elevations of the
State of Wisconsin, being in the north-
T§^ ern portion of Lincohi County, and
: •' borderingthe northern line of the State,
iiiiipj is a tract of country embracing about
i^ two thousand square miles, nearly one-
fourth of which is comprised of lakes, about
two hundred in number, beautiful bodies of
water of crystal transparency, some separated,
others in groups, dotting the entire surface of
this large tract like the islands of the Grecian
Archipelago that of the Mediterranean Sea.

The rocky ranges and high elevations of this
region intercept the rain-clouds of Lake Super-
ior in their southern passage, and gather their
falling waters into these innumerable rocky
basins. These lakes are the primitive sources
of the Wisconsin River which, flowing south-
erly through nearly the entire length of the
State, and receiving the tributary streams of
this great central valley, pours its flood into
the Mississippi.

The Wisconsin, after making a large deflec-
tion to the east, turns suddenly at a point in

Columbia County called "The Portage," and
flows from there directly to the southwest. At
this point it approaches to within about a mile
of another river, the Fox, which runs in the
very opposite direction — to the northeast —
and empties its waters into Lake Winnebago,
en route for Lake Michigan. This narrow strip,
dividing the beds of the two rivers, is a very
interesting natural feature, although its appear-
ance is very commonplace; for here is almost a
union of two streams, of which the waters of
the one flow to mingle with the tropical waves
of the Gulf of Mexico, and those of the other
to mix with that flood of waters which, pour-
ing over Niagara and through the St. Law-
rence, washes the icebergs of the North Atlantic.

It was through these great arteries that the
civilization of the West was pioneered, and all
the commerce and white settlement of the
Northwest, for over a hundred years, had its
initial point in the Valley of the Fox, which
was the main entrance-way to the vast prairie-
world of the interior.

Two centuries ago, the first traflic carried on
between the French and the Indians instinct-
ively followed that line of trade which flows
through the present commercial centers of the
Valley of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago.
The French bateau and Indian canoe were the
primitive flow of that commerce which was
destined to pour its mighty volume through
this natural outlet of the Northwest.

The first record of the white man in the




West is found in tlic history of his explorations
and habitations in the Valley of the Fox;
and that record, too, comprises some of the
very earliest pages of American history.

The Fox and Wisconsin Rivers and Lake
Winnebaf,^) formed important links in that line
of communication which, with Montreal ami
Ouebec for a base, extended through the St.
Lawrence, the Great Lakes, the l''ox and Wis-
consin, the Mississippi and the Ohio, whose
upper waters almt)st completed the circuit to
Lake Erie. The way-stations on this lont( line
of travel were: Three Rivers, Detroit, Old
Michilmackinac, Green Hay, Prairie du Chien,
Kaskaskia and Fort du Ouesne. From 1639
t(5 1820 this route was almost the exclusive line
of Western trade and traffic, and all the white
settlements were confined to the immediate
borders of these great water courses. The fur
trade developed into large proportions. Organ-
ized companies were formed in Montreal and
Quebec. These were superseded by the Ameri-
can Fur Company, which frequently sent up
the Fox River flotillas which numbered from
fifty to one hundred bateaux and canoes.
This, too, was the line on which moved the armed
expeditions in Western warfare for over a cen-
tury and a half of the white man's history in
the Valley of the Mississippi. Here, also, was
the line of travel of thepublic functionaries and
representatives of the three governments which
respectively ruled the country during that
period. It will be seen, therefore, that our
beautiful Fox River Valley is the location of
the oldest Western settlement — and intimately
associated with the earlier pages of Ameiican

The advent of civilized man in this region is
nearly contemporaneous with the founding of
Jamestown and New York; for it was in 1606
that King James gave the charter for the
Colonies of Virginia, and in 1609 that Henry
Hudson discovered the Bay of New York and
the North River. In 1621 the Dutch West
India Company purchased Manhattan Island
from the Indians for twenty-five dollars; and
as late as 1620 the first permanent settle-
ment was made in New ICngland; while in 1639
(and it is now claimed to have been as early as
1634) Nicollet, interpreter at Three Rivers,
commissioned by the Government of New
France, traversed the I'ox Rivers and Lake of
the Winnebagoes, for the purpose of disco\'ery
and of making treaties witli the Indians. At
the time of his voyage, it was believed that
our Great Lakes and the Western water
courses afforded a pa.ssage to the East Indies;
and as the Winnebagoes were a race distinct
from the Algonquins and Dacotahs, and speak-

ing a language so different from the other
Indian dialects that no other Indians ever
speak it or understand it, the Algonquins
regarded them as foreigners, and claimed that
they had intercourse with some distant people.
Indian imagination so pictured these strangers
who, it was alleged, visited the Winnebagoes,
that Nicollet thought it probable that the (ireat
River afforded a water communication with

After ascending the Lower Fox to Lake
Winnebago, and just before reaching the chief
town of the Winnebagoes, he put on a robe of
Chinese damask, richly embroidered with
birds and flowers, as if anticipating a meeting
with the Celestials; and when he was ushered
into the presence of the Indians, dressed in 1
this rich habit, and with a pistol in each hand,
which he discharged, they regarded him as a
Manitou armed with thunder and lightning
His presence was so imposing that the\
lavished on him every expression of Indian I
respect and admiration, and made him the |
recipient of a most bountiful hospitalitj-, over a I
hundred beavers being consumed at one feast.

At the council which was held at the foot of'
the lake he made the first treaty ever entered
into between the Indians of the West and
Europeans, and this at so early a time that
the Puritans had only, a few years before,
landed at Plymouth Rock, and had not as yi t
penetrated the country fifty miles inland.

This was the first preparatory measurr
toward that French colonization of the North
west which has left its historic land-marks ol
the early progress of civilization in the Missis
sippi Valley.

When it is remembered that a Mission was
established near the mouth of the Lower Fox
as early as 1668, and atrading post a few years
later, it will be seen how intimately the ^ Fox '
Valley is associated with the great historical '
events of the earliest civilized occupancy of the
continent; and that the early history of tlu
Northwest is so interwoven with the ver\
beginnings of American civilization thai 1
it cannot be intelligently discussed without!
considering the initial points of its progress I
The writer will, therefore, endeavor to briefly
trace the chief events which led to the present
occupancy of this region by the mixed Euro-
pean races which now inhabit it.

The French occupanc)' of the country orig- '
inated in the second voyage of Jaques Cartier;
to America in 1535. He ascended the St.
Lawrence and came to anchor opposite that
grand promontory known as the Gibralter of
America — the site of Ouebec. It was known
by the Indian name of Stadicone. The mag-




nificent St. Lawrence, at this point a mile
wide, washed the base of the rugged cliff which
rose in towering majesty from the broad
stream, and a few Indian wigwams occupied
the site of the future city of Quebec. Here
reposed, in the solitude of the vast wilderness,
oneof the most enduring monuments of Ameri-
can history. The majestic cliff then in its
silent grandeur, was destined to become
famous as the spot where the heroes. Wolf
and Montcalm, laid down their lives in a
battle which involved the political destiny of a
continent. The field of Abraham, upon which
was to be fought the great, decisive battle for
American Empire, between the Cross of St.
George and the Fleur de lis of France, then
slumbered in savage solitude.

Cartier returned to France in the Spring,
and in 1541 again ascended the St. Lawrence,
as the advance ot a colony under Roberval,
commissioned by the King of France. He
anchored off Cap- Rouge. Here he landed,
built a fort, cleared land and planted it. This
was the first attempt at agriculture by civilized
man on the continent.

For about a year the colonists lived here in
amity with the Indians. This was twenty-
four years before the founding of St. Augus-
tine, and sixty-six years before the settlement
of Jamestown. In all that vast wilderness,
from the Gulf of Mexico to the Polar Seas,
there was not another civilized being.

Roberval, who was to follow Cartier with
another fleet and a reinforcement of colonists,
not arriving long after the expected time, the
latter abandoned the place and returned to
France. Rober\al arrived at Cap Rouge
shortly after Cartier's departure, and landed
his colonists, composed of soldiers, mechanics,
laborers, women and children. Here they
erected a large structure, and, after enduring
for a short time the hard vicissitudes of a life
subject to the contingencies of such a situa-
tion, the remnant of the colony, wasted by dis-
ease and privations, returned to France. That
country shortly afterwards entered upon an era
of fratricidal strife; the civil convulsions of
Europe left no opportunity for American col-
onization; the first act in American civilization
came to a close, and the country for half a cen-
tury was left in the undisturbed possession of
its savage occupants.


Samuel de Champlain, the Pioneer Explorer of the In'.crioi —
Founds Quebec — Forms an Alliance with the Algonquins
and Huron?.

f:FTER an interval of sixty odd years

French colonization received a new

impetus, and now was to begin that

*?^p' mighty process which was to trans-

form a wilderness continent into a

civilization whose grandeur, power and useful

achievements have rivaled the greatest nations

of Europe.

And now appears on the scene a name
deservedly as enduring as American history —
the great pioneer in the civilized occupancy of
the interior of the continent — Samuel de Cham •
plain. This brave explorer and noble Chris-
tian gentleman was the discoverer of the Great
Lakes. His arduous and dangerous explora-
tions, the diligence and accuracy with which
he mapped out the gcographj^ of a large part
of the country and its water courses, his noble
efforts to advance the ends of civilization and
the exemplary habits of his life, have won for
him an enviable position in the annals of
American history.

In 1603, he sailed up the St. Lawrence, and
explored it to Mont Ro\'al. The Indian tribes
that Cartier had found there had disappeared,
and Algonquins had taken their place. He
returned to F"rance, and, in the following year,
accompanied De Monts who, with a feudal
commission from the King of France, as Lieu-
tcnant-General of Acadia, went to establish a
colony in what is now Nova Scotia. After
exploring the Bay of Funday, of which the
untiring Champlain made a coast survey, and
maps and charts, they selected the mouth of
the St. Croix as the site of their colony,
erected buildings, and enclosed them with a
palisade; and now, once more we find the
French the only European inhabitants on the
continent, except the Spaniards in Florida.
The iMiglish had as yet made no settlement.
Says Parkman: "It was from France that these
barbarous shores first learned to serve the ends
of peaceful industry. "

But the colony at St. Croix must be left to
its fate while attention is called to the enter-
prises of Champlain, which pioneered the set-
tlement of the Northwest — the feeble begin- '
nings of that early civilization of the North-
west, which was a cross with barbarism — a
romantic mingling of the elements of barbaric
and civilized life, over which P'rance reared its
standard and marshaled its dusky retainers in"
the solitudes of the wilderness, in its efforts to
erect a French-Indian Empire whose terri-




torial proportions should embrace the interior
of the continent. It was a stupendous scheme;
and for over a century the standard of France
waved triumphantly over the great Valleys of
the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi. During
all that period, the I'Inglish and other European
colonies were confined to the strip of territory
skirting the Atlantic, and the Flciir dc lis. of
I'"rance was the only flag that waved west of
the Alleghanies.

Champlain, having returned t(j France,
again embarked for America in 1608, in charge
of a colony whose destination was the St. Law-
rence River. The stately ship sailed up that
broad stream, through the hush of the mighty
solitude that brooded over its surrounding for-
ests, and came to anchor opposite the present
site of Ouebec, the place selected for a settle-
ment. Here the colonists landed, and the
sound of the a.xe is heard reverberating its
echoes in the wilderness. So«n a number of
comfortable buildings are erected, and sur-
rounded by a wooden wall. Their architec-
tural proportions are a source of wonder to the
Indians, who are admiring spectators of the
skill of their white brothers. In the back-
ground are the rugged cliffs and dense forests.
In the front the waters of the majestic St.
Lawrence, on which a ship lies gracefully out-
lined. At a little distance on the bank is a
cluster of wigwams, and occasionally a canoe
glides along, and mysteriously disappears in the
shadow of cliff or forest.

The colonists clear up a piece of ground for
a garden, which they cultivate. They hunt,
fish and barter with the Indians ; summer
passes, and the cold weather of a Canadian
winter approaches. Heavy falls of snow cover
the ground to such a depth that the)- are
obliged to learn from their friends — the Indians
— how to use snow shoes. The Indians occa-
sionally bring them wild game, and are some-
times their near neighbors; but the terrible
scurvy breaks out, and prevails with such
virulence that only eight of the colony are alive
in the spring.

The dreary winter passes awa\% the songs
of the returning birds and the sounds of insect
life are again heard; the buds and blossoms
expand, the hill-side ri\ulets ripple in the
warm sunshine, and nature assumes the cheer-
ful hues of her summer-day life. Hope once
more inspires the survivors, and their hearts
are further gladdened by the arrival of a ves-
sel from I'"rance, bringing succor and a rein-
forcement of colonists.

Champlain now .set to work for a general
exploration of the surrounding countrj'; but,
in this enterprise, he must have the assistance

of his Indian friends; and from the very begin-
ning of their intercourse with the Indians, and
through the whole long period of their intimate
relations with them, the French seem to have
had their good will and unbounded confidence
and respect.

Champlain soon acquired some knowledge
of the Algonquin language and the customs of
that numerous family of Indians; and he
learned from them that there was a distinct
nation — the Iroquois — a confederacy of five
nations, inhabiting the territory now the State
of New York — a formidable body that were
the terror of the American wilds. Their war-
parties were continually out making predatory
raids, desolating the country of their neigh-
bors, and keeping other tribes in constant fear
of ,an attack. The only expedient way for him
to explore was to join a war-part)' of Algon-
quins. The)- would ha\e to fight their way,
for in all probability they would meet war par-
ties of the Iroquois, and then they must fight
or be captured. Champlain, therefore, joined
his fortunes to the Algonquins and Hurons,
forming an alliance with them for mutual pro-


I lulian Tribes — Divisioii.s ami I'oimlaliiin — LocalKin nf ihc
Various Nations — Green Hay and the Lake Winnebago
aiid Kox River Country the Centers of Large Indian Popu-
lations — The Bellitjerent Iroi|Uois.

HE whole Indian population in all the
territory l)'ing between the Mississippi
and the Atlantic did not exceed two
hundred thousand, and this was so
scattered that vast solitudes intervened
between the little tracts which were occupied
by the villages of the several tribes.

The great body of the country was an unin-
habited wilderness, with an occasional Indian
settlement. The traveler, at that day, passing
from the mouth of the St. Lawrence, on the
south side of the river, to Lake Ontario, would
find the country, for nearly the whole distance,
an uninhabiteil district. On the north side, he
would tra\'el hundreds of miles without meet-
ing a human being. At last he would reach
the huts of Taddousac, and after leaving them
would again pass through the long, dreary soli-
tude between that point and Stadicone — the
site of Ouebec — where evidences of Indian
population would again begin to appear; from
there to the mouth of the Ottawa, no inhabi-
tants were to be found, other than temporary




sojourners — the deadly Iroquois, lurking in
the dark recesses of the forest, or a hunting
party of Algonquins ; but if it were the sea-
son of the periodical descent of the Ottawas
and Hurons, with their yearly harvest of furs,
he would see the St. Lawrence covered with
fleets of canoes, to enliven tlie scene for a few
days, when, disappearing as suddenly as they
came, the place would relapse into a solitude.
Proceeding up the Ottawa he would trax'erse
hundreds of miles, through an uninhabited
region, until he reached the \'illages arid planting
grounds of the Ottawas; from thence, passing
through a vast wilderness, to the Lake of the
Nippissings, another Indian settlement would
be met. From this point, down French River
and southward, for over a hundred miles, along
the shore of Lake Huron, no inhabitants were
to be found until reaching the pleasant coun-
try of the Hurons. Skirting the shores of
.Lake Huron, northward to the shores of Lake
Superior, he would find a desolate, uninhab-
ited waste. From that point, in a southwest-
erly direction to the Mississippi, traveling
through a portion of what is now the State of
Wisconsin, he would find only occasional roving
bands of the Chippewas, contesting with the
Sioux of the Mississippi for the possession of
the south shore of Lake Superior — the ancient
hunting-ground of the Dacotahs. On the Mis-
sissippi he would find the lodges of the Daco-

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 2 of 71)