Richard J Harney.

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

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a salary of $300 each per annum, fi\-e female
school teachers, at $60 each per annum, and
mechanics, tools and farming implements. In
1834, Winnebago Rapids (the site of Neenah),
was selected for the location of the agency,
where the Indians were to be instructed in the
arts of civilized life; and in that year Nathaniel




Pcny, appointed by the Government, as one I
of the farmers, came to this site and erected a
h)g house, into wliich he mo\ed with his
famii\-. In 1 <S35, the Government made con-
tracts for tlie building of the saw and grist
mills, and the erection of the log houses, with
\Yilliam Dickenson and David Whitney of
(ireen Hay. These parties, with a large num-
ber of mechanics, entered upon the work, and
erected the mills and the bodies of some thirty
odd log-houses.

The mill occupied the present site of the
Winnebago Paper Mills, I)a\is, Ford & Co.,
and adjacent to them were the residences of
the miller. Colonel Daviil Johnson, and of the
blacksmiths, Jourdan & Hunter. The saw-
mill had one upright saw and the gristmill two
runs of stone.

Four log 'louses in ditt'erent localities were
occupied respectively by Nathaniel Perry,
Clark Dickenson, Robert Irwin and Ira Baird,
who w ere appointed by the Government to act
in the capacity of instructors of the Indians in
the art of agriculture.

Some thirty odd log-houses in three rows,
were in various stages of completion, and par-
tially occupied by the Menominces, who
seemed to be generally averse to living in
them; preferring to pitch their wigwams outside.
About this time, Richard Pritchett settled
at the Rapids, and was allowed to occupy one
of the houses. Archibald Caldwell came about
the same time and li\eil with a Menominee
woman as his consort. He took a deep inter-
est in the welfare of the Indians and was highh'
esteemed by them.

The Indians, not pri)ving very apt pupils in
anj'thing requiring very steady application anil
industry, the project was soon abandoned;
and the whites, who were in the employment
of the Government, left the place. Clark
Dickenson moving into the southern part of
the County, finally settled at Oslikosh, and
was at one time Register of Deeds.

In 1838, the small pox broke out auKuig the
Indians at the Winnebago Rapids agency, and
the Government surgeon was sent from Kau-
kauna, by the agent at that place; but on his
arrival, instead of \-isiting the patients, he
sought out Caldwell, left his medicine chest
with him, gave him instructions for treating
the disease and fled to a place of -afcty. Cald-
well and his wife faithfuU)- administered to the
sick ones, and were untiring in their exertions,
until the)' were at last stricken themselves witli
the contagion. Caldwell's wife died, but he
recovered, and continued to reside in the
vicinity of Neenah for man}- _\ears, and fmalK-
removed to Shiocton.

The buildings at the Rapids fell into neglect
and deca\-, and the Government advertised
for sale the land, buildings, tools and imple-
ments. In 1844, Harrison Reed purchased
the same, and commenced the permanent set-
tlement of Neenah.


I'iiM I'ermaiienl Settlers in Winnebago County — The Stanleys
and Gallups — The First Houses in Oshkosh — Henry A.
Gallup's Interesting Narrative — New Accessions to the
Population in the Arrival of the Wrights and Evanses —
First Matrimonial Event in the County — Joseph Jackson
Sets a Gooil Example to the Bachelors.

HI", first permanent settlers in Winne-
bago County, in its American occu-
pation, were the Stanleys and the •
s^S^S*^ Ciallups, who settled at the present

' siteol Oshkosh, in 1836. Those who

preceded them were temporary occupants,
either connected with the old French-Indian
occupation, or in the empK)yment of the Gov-
ernment, and mo\-ing with the Indians from
place to place. That settlement which pro-
duces substantial results in the progress and
improvement of a country, was now to com-

Webster Staiile}', while in the emplo}-n-ient
of the Government, engaged in transporting
supplies from Fort Howard to P'ort VVinne-'
bago, in 1835, obser\x'd, as he passed this
place, its natural beauty and great advantageSj
and was %o fa\'orably impressed with it that he
resoKed to settle on the same.

In 1836, he was engaged in the construction
of the Government buildings at Winnebago
Rapids, and, on their completion, he procured
one of the agenc\'s Durjiam boats, and load-
ing it witli a year's supply of provisions, htm
ber, tools and such furniture as he was posses-
sed of, he and his famiK' embarked, and were
on their way to the foot of Lake Butte des
Morts, a localit\- that had ])articularly charmed
hi 111.

The\- reached Cjarlic Island the first night,
where they remained till morning, when they
again started and reached the mouth of the
Fox in the afternoon. They landed on the
south side, and Mr. Stanley, and his son Henr\-,
thoroughly explored the location, and then
encamped for the night. The next morning
they started for the locality afterwards known
as Coon's Point, now in the Fifth Ward of the
City of (Oshkosh, where they duly arrived and
unloaded their t/oods. The crew assisted hii-n




to erect a shanty, into which the family moved,
and then the former took their departure.

Stanley's nearest neighbor was one Knaggs,
an Indian trader on the opposite side of the
river. With him Mr. Stanley soon became
acquainted, and accepted an offer to take the
ferry and tavern business of Knagg's, on shares.
He therefore moved the establishment to his
side of the ri\'er, and commenced his new-

During that year the Government made a
treaty at Cedar Rapids with the Menominee
Indians, Governor Dodge acting as com
missioner, which resulted in the cession
to the United States of about four million
acres of land, lying north of Fox River and
west of Lake Winnebago. The Governor,
while on his return home from the treaty-coun-
cil, was ferried across the river by Mr. Stan-
ley, whom he informed of the result. Our
pioneer then lost no time in availing himself of
the knowledge of the purcliase, and being-
joined by Mr. Gallup and the sons of the lat-
ter, they made claims to the tract lying on the
north side of the mouth of the rivei-. Mr.
Gallop's claim embraced the beautiful point
formed by the mouth of the river and Lake
Winnebago; and contained one hundred and
seventy acres. Mr. Stanley's tract adjoined
Mr. Gallup's to the west, one hundred and
seventeen acres. The}- erected a house on
Mr. Stanley's claim, in -which both families
•lived until the following November, when Mr.
Gallup built a log house on his own land, and
the future city of Oshkosh had its first perma-
nent residents.

These two families led the way in the
present occupancy of the country. We find
them here in the midst of an unsettled wilder-
ness, the nearest point of intercourse with civ-
ilization being Green Bay and Milwaukee,
some fifty and seventy-five miles distant,
respectively; with no lines of travel, and the
nearest settler at Neenah, thirteen miles dis-
tant, and the Piers at Fond du Lac, the only
white settlers and civilized habitation between
here and Milwaukee. But this part of the
early history of Oshkosh is best told in the
following very interesting and well-written
narrative, from the pen of Henry A. Gallup.
After mentioning their arrival at Green Ha\',
and describing that place, he says;

~: " When we left Ohio our destination was Lake Winnebago,
and leaving our father, and mother, and sister, in good quar-
ters, myself and brother started for that particular locality
without making any inquiries, except as to the direction and
distance. We started on foot, our course being up the Fox
River. A sandy road of five miles, thickly settled by French
and half-breeds, with quaint-looking houses, many of them sur-

rounded by palisades and' the windows secured by shutters,
lirought us to Depere, a rival of Green Bay. Here we found
quite a number of houses, and extensive preparations for build-
ing more. We were told here it was necessar}- to cross ihe
river, and were accordingly ferried over in a skiff, an Indian
trail pointed out to us to follow, and were told it was ten miles
to the first house. Five miles carried us beyond civilization.
We expected to find a new country, l)ut were quite unprepared
to find it entirely unsettled, and a foot path ten miles in length
struck me as remarkable. Our trail led us directly along the
river. Sometimes we were on the top of the hill, and then our
path would wind down to the very water's edge to avoid some
deep ravine, as nature seldom makes bridges. The scenery
was beautiful, the side of tlie river we were upon was quite
open, while the other side was heavily timbered. The waters
of the broad river undisturbed, except by an occasional Indian
canoe, which seemed to float so beautifully, we were son-y we
had not adopted that mode of travel. Our trail would some-
times pass through a grove of wild plum or crab apple trees
with scarcely room enough for a person to pass, which "sug-
dested to us ambuscades, and we were always glad when we
were through with them. Indian file was the mode of travel-
ing in those days. Our ten miles was soon over ; when we
came down upon a low natural prairie, covered with a luxur-
iant growth of grass; the river had quite an expansion, and in
it were several little grass islands. This was Petit Kackalin,
and here was the house spoken of; a log house with the usual
lay-out buildings, and surrounded by a dozen Indian wigwams.
This was the residence of Eleazer Williams. The veritable
Dauphin of France ; but he was as ignorant of the fact at that
time, as we were ourselves. As we approached the house, we
were beset by an army of Indian dogs, and their bark was as
intelligible to us as anything we heard on the premises. The
Indians looked their astonishment at seeing two Kich-e-ma-ka-
man boys in their encampment. We made many ini[uirie» of
them, but got laughed at for our pains. As none of Williams'
family__ could be found, it seemed like seeking information
under difficulties ; and finding the trail that led up the river,
we pushed on, feeling satisfied that if we had gained no inform-
ation, we had not imparted any, so the Indians and we were
even. Our next point, we had been told, was Grand Kack-a-
lin, which, for some reason — perhaps the name — we supposed
was quite a place. . About sundown, we came down from the
high bank upon which our trail had been, upon the most beau-
tiful flat of land I ever saw, covered with a tuft of short grass
and dotted all over with little groves of crab-apple and plum
trees. The flat contained perhaps a hundred acres, the hill
enclosing it in the shape of a crescent, and the boiling rapid
river in front, which here is more than half a mile in width.
Here we found several large springs, \ery strongly impreg-
nated with sulphur, at which we drank. Upon this flat we
discovered a large pile of buildings which consisted of a large
dwelling-house and trading-post, with the necessary out build-
ings, and belonging to Mr. Grignon, an Indian trader. This
was the Grand Kackalin, but the name is applied to the rapids
in the river.

"Our greeting here was still more cordial than at our last
place of calling, as there were more dogs. At this house we
applied for food and lodging, but without success. Things
began to have rather an unpleasant look, and we began to
think we were too far from home — twenty miles from Green
Bay and fifteen from any place.

"On looking about the premises we discovered, for the first




time after crossing the river, something that wore pantaloons ;
and on accosting him, found that he could speak English.
He was half negro, and the balance Stockbridge Indian. He
informed us that Mr. Grignon was not at home, and there
would be no use of trying to get accommodations in his absence.
That he lived directly on the opposite side of the river — that
his canoe would not carry us — but he would get an Indian to
lake us over, and that we should be his guest over night. To
all these propositions we readily consented, and procuring an
Indian to take us across, we got into a log canoe, when our
ferryman, an old Indian of perhaps eighty or ninety years, tak-
ing his position in the stern with a shoving pole, shoved us
safely through the boiling waters. Passing the night under
the hospitable roof of our mixed friend, we hailed our native
ferryman, and were again soon upon our march.

"At a point five miles from the Grand Kack-a-lin, called
Little Chute, we found a Catholic Mission in course of erection,
to which Nym Crynkle gives a very ancient origin. The man-
ner of building was a very curious one, which was by setting
up posts about eight feet apart, and then filling up between
with small logs and pinning through the posts into the corners
of the logs. There were but one or two men at work upon it.
It was afterwards occupied by a Catholic priest, who was also
a physician, and administered to one band of the Menomonee
Indians, both bodily and spiritually, with very beneficial
results. Five miles further brought us to the Grand Chute,
now Appleton. Here was a perpendicular fall in the river of
seven feet, but close to the shore the rock had worn away so
that a boat could take the plunge in going down, and be led
up by ropes if quite light. Here the Durham boats, which
did all the freighting at that time up and down the river, were
obliged to discharge their freight and roll it along under the
bank on poles to above the falls. The boats were then lifted
and dragged up by a large party of Indians and reloaded
above. The amount of freighting was then considerable. All
the Government supplies for Fort Winnebago were passed up
this way and detachments of soldiers often passed in the same
manner. Nothing could exceed the grandeur of the scenery
at this point, everything at that time being in its wild and nat-
ural state, and no habitation within miles. Just below the
falls, at the mouth of a little ravine, was a little plat of grass turf
among a grove of plum and forest trees, entwined with wild
grape vines, which was the favorite camping-ground, and a
more enchanting spot was never found. Ihad the pleasure of
camping here two nights that same fall, in the month of Novem-
ber under most unfavorable circumstances — a crew of drunken
Indians with nothing but the canopy of Heaven above us. But
still the place had attractions for me. following the bank of
the river a short distance above, our trail suddenly diverged
fiom the river, and we found ourselves floundering through
the woods and mud of Mud Creek. This was the first place
we had found but what had some attractions. This was dis-
mal enough. A few miles and we emerged into another
enchanting spot of ground known as Little Bntte des Morts, or
Mounds of the Dead. Here on a rising piece of ground are
several large mounds where the dead of some Indian battle had
been buried. An expansion of the river here is called Little
Butte des Morts Lake, at the upper end of which appears to be
quite a village. This was Winnebago Rapids, (now Neenah.)
Here the Government had built a grist .and saw mill and had
commenced the building of a large number of small log houses
for the Menominee Indians, which were in diflTerent stages of
completion, when the work was slopped by the Indians con-

senting to sell the land to the Government. Some of the houses
the Indians had taken possession of by tearing out the floors
and pitching their tent on the ground inside the walls. They
were also furnished with four farmers to instruct the Indians in
farming, at a salary of $300 per annum, which the Indians
paid. These farmers were the only inhabitants of the place, at
the house of one of whom, Mr. Clark Dickinson, we were
welcomed and furnished with our dinner. We could make
but a short stay, as we still had sixteen miles to travel without
a habitation.

" Our trail now ran across the country, through prairies
and openings, to Knagg's Ferry, now in the Fifth Ward of the
City of Oshkosh, and just above Algoma Bridge. I do not
suppose I could, at this time, trace that trail through all the
highly cultivated fields between these two points. But at that
time it was a lonesome journey, indeed; all the low ground
was covered with water a foot deep, and grass up to our arms,
and in the whole distance we did not see a living thing with
the exception of a few prairie chickens. Arriving at the river
at the point mentioned, we found a log house belonging to Mr.
Knaggs, a half-breed, and owner of the ferry, but which was
then run by Webster Stanley, who lived on the opposite side of
the river in a board shanty, and who, in answer to our call,
came over for us. We were once more among friends. Mr.
Stanley had, about two years before, left Ohio and went to
Green Bay, and then to Winnebago Rapids, and had, within
thirty days previous to our arrival at the ferry, moved to thjj
point. We now learned that our journey, from where we had
crossed the river five miles from Green Bay, had all been
through Indian territory, and that we were now for the first
time on Government land.

" We had at last arrived at our journey s end, and our next
object was to bring up the family. There were just two ways
to do it. One way was on horseback, by land ; the other by
waier. We adopted the latter, and, procuring a large bark
canoe and an Indian, we started. Passing down the river we
stopped at an Indian encampment on what is now Jackson's
Point, and procured another Indian, which was thought to be
sufficient crew — respectively named No-to-kee-sleek and
Kish-e-quom — two fellows who were full of fun and frolic,
and who, if we could have talked with them would, no doubt,
have been very companionable. We then saw, for the first
time, the spot on which the City of Oshkosh now stands. Our
Indians worked with a will, and we very soon passed through
Lake Winnebago, and were in the rapid waters of the Lower
Fox. Here the Indians laid aside their paddles and taking
long poles confined themselves entirely to steering the boat
clear of rocks, the sharp points of many of which were above
water. We were leisurely enjoying the beautiful scenery of
the river when we were startled by the sudden velocity of out
canoe and the wild whoop of our Indians. On looking about
us we found ourselves on the very brink of the falls. The
Indians had, from a listless manner and sitting posture, sud-
denly sprang to their feet, one in the bow, and the other in the
stern, and every nerve was strung, for their energies were to be
tried to the utmost. Their manner was really terrifying. We
had hardly time to notice so much before we had taken the
fearful leap and were in the breakers below. One false set
with the steering pole and we were surely lost. I watched the
Indians closely — they were as pale and slern as marble stat-
ues. The bow of our canoe, when we descended into the
breakers, struck a rock, which stove considerable of a hole
through it, when our leeward Indian, with the quickness of




thought, had his blanket over the hole and his foot upon it.
We were going with the speed of a race-horse. About a mile
below the falls we were enabled to make a landing and repair
damages. We again encountered very rapid and rough water
at the Kack-a-lin, but the Indians were masters of the situation
and we passed through in safety, and arrived at Green Bay
towards night of the same day. Taking the family and a few
necessary articles into our frail craft, the next day we started
on our return, which we accomplished in two days ; the Indians
using paddles in still water, poles in moderately swift water,
and walking and leading the canofe when it was very rapid.

"The appearance of the country on the west shore of Lake
Winnebago, from Neenah up, was beautiful to look upon from
our canoe — heavily timbered from Neenah to Garlic Island,
and the balance of the way openings.

"We had now arrived at the point started for
when we left Ohio — the veritable Lake Win-
nebago. Now the questions to decide were:
Where to locate? Who to buy of? Should
we buy? The country from Oshkosh to Nee-
nah then belonged to the Menominee Indians.
From Oshkosh (or Fox River) south to where
Fond du Lac now is, and around on the east
side of the lake as far as Calumet, belonged to
the Government. Then came the Brother-
town Indians' land, fronting six miles on the
lake ; and, adjoining them north, the Stock-
bridge Indians, with the same amount of front-
age ; the Government owning the balance of
the country around to Menasha.

"We now decided to make the circuit of the
lake, so as to better understand the situation,
which we accomplished in about a week's time,
using a pack-horse to carry our baggage, and
encountering but one white family in the round
trip, which was Mr. Pier, who had just built a
log house on the Fond du Lac Creek. After
getting back and comparing notes, the follow-
ing was the summing up of all we had seen
and heard : First from Green Bay to this point
of our sojournment on the west side of the
river and lake belonged to the Indians, and
but three white families the entire distance of
fifty miles, and but one family between i3s and
Fort Winnebago (now Portage City) and Mr.
Pier's the only house between here and Mil-
waukee and Sheboygan. Being better pleased
with the west side of the lake than any other
place we had seen, and learning that the Gov-
ernment intended trying to purchase it of the
Indians the coming fall, we decided to await
the issue, in the meantime amusing ourselves
with hunting and fishing and explorations. In
September I had the pleasure of ferrying Gov-
ernor Dodge and suite over the river myself —
the ferryman being absent — who was on his
way to the annual Indian payment then held
at Cedar Rapids, near the Grand Chute, (now
Appleton.) The entire party (six I think)
were on horseback, the Governor armed to the

teeth. He had two pairs of pistols, and a
bowie knife on his person, and a brace of large
horse pistols in his saddle holsters, I suppose
to impress upon the Menominees, what he told
the Winnebagoes a few years before — that he
was as brave as Julius Ca;sar At this pay-
ment then held, the treaty was formed, ceding
to the Government the territory from here to
Green Bay, and although the treaty could not
be ratified until December, we did not choose
to wait — never doubting but what the old vet-
eran Governor knew what he was about.
Accordingly in the month of October, 1836,
we commenced the erection of two log houses
on ground now within the city of Oshkosh.
The Indians were quite plenty here at that
time and manifested some curiosity as to what
we were doing, but were perfectly friendly.
Mr. Webster Stanley was the owner and occu-
pant of the first house. About the first of Novem-
ber we had to make another trip to Green Bay
for our goods. We hired a boat called a lighter,
this time, of about six tons capacity, and with
a crew often or twelve Indians we made the
trip up in seven days, arriving at home on the
evening of the sixteenth of November. Camp-
ing out and cooking rations for that trip was
anything but pleasant at that season of the
year. It was the last day that a boat could
have passed through, the lake freezing entirely
over that night.

"Although liking the excitement of a new
country, I must confess that that first winter
was rather tedious. Our two families were the
only ones nearer than Neenah or Fond du Lac,
with no roads but the Lake, and surrounded
by Indians, no less than five hundred winter-
ing within what is now the City of Oshkosh.
The next summer was passed rather more
pleasantly, the monotony being relieved by an
occasional Durham boat passing up the river
with supplies for Fort Winnebago, and fre-
quently a company of United States soldiers.

"We had made some little progress in the
way of farming, and in the fall of 1837 had
raised some few crops, and sowed the first acre
of winter wheat ever sowed in Wisconsin, and
only to have the most of it stolen by the Indians,
the next summer, as soon as harvested, they
carrying it off in the sheaf in their canoe.

"In the winter of 1837 we had the first
accession to our population by the arrival of

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 21 of 71)