Richard J Harney.

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

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Menominees avenged an injury. This event
is celebrated by the Menominees with one of
their most popular dances.

After something more than ayear's residence
at Green Baj', Doctor Linde removed to Osh-

kosh. He purchased one and a half acres of
land, the present site of the First National
Bank and postofiice. While living on this place
his wife died, when he sold the place to Col-
onel Lucas Miller, and moved to Fond du
Lac, and again engaged in the practice of his
profession, which he followed for about a year,
when he embarked in the fur trade. At this
time, about 1852, he married a niece of Gov-
ernor Doty — Miss Sarah M. Davis — who
died the next year in child-birth. Shortly after
this event, he moved with his son F"red, eight
years old, to Mukwa, where he lived for fi\e
years, chiefly trappingand hunting. * *

For two years Walter James, son of G. P. R.
James, the English novelist, lived with him.
James, the elder, was Consul at Norfolk, and
for a period, acting as English Embassador to
the United States. He made a visit to his
son and the Doctor, participating with much
zest in all the novel incidents of a back-woods
life. After a morning's hunt, of a fine Indian
summer day in October, during which G.P. R.
James killed a deer, and while they were sit-
ting down in the house after dinner, the dogs
gave signs of the near approach of game. The
Doctor, who was lying down comfortably
smoking, called to Walter James to take his
rifle. He did so, and no. sooner reached the
door, than he fired, standing just inside the
door-step, bringing down a large buck, whose
last jump was in the vegetable garden, where
he fell dead.

After a residence of five years at Mukwa,
Doctor Linde removed to Oshkosh, where he
has since resided and engaged in the practice
of his profession, and is now associated with
his son. Doctor F. H. Linde, in an extensive
practice. He has risen to eminence as one of the
leading physicians of the State, and among
the highest of the State Medical Association.
His son, Fred, has already established his rep-
utation as a successful practitioner, and is
devotedly attentive to his profession.

The old hunter and trapper has had to suc-
cumb to the civilization which crowded him
and the Indians from theirold hunting-grounds;
but the Doctor says, were it not for his child-
ren, he would return with the greatest pleasure
to his beloved frontier life, and the enjoj'ments
and hardships of the chase.


In April, 1852, a great excitement pre\'ailed
throughout the county, occasioned b)' the
supposed discovery of a white child among the
Menominees, that they were suspected of hav-
ing stolen two j-ears prexious.

The father of the lost child w as Mr. Alvin




Partridge, who lived on a farm in the Town of
Vinland, and owned a piece of woodland
which was situated about five miles from his
residence. To this place he repaired with his
family early in the spring, and lived in a camp
while he was engaged in making maple sugar.
His little son, Casper, three or four years old,
wandered away from the camp, and was missed
immediatel}' after his disappearance, when
search was made for him; but night came on
and the child could not be found. The ago-
nized parents were frantic with grief, and the
sympathising settlers from far and near, num-
bering hundreds, turned out and searched
night and day, scouring the woods in every
direction; but no trace of him could be discov-
ered, with the exception of a small piece of
his dress, which was found near the edge of a
marsh. What became of the poor little fellow
is to this day, a matter of conjecture; many
believing that he wandered off to the Rat
River marshes, which were partly frozen and
got into some deep hole of mud and water.

Two years after this sad occurrence, the
bereaved parents were informed that a Menom-
inee woman, named Nah-Kom, was in posses-
sion of a child that was suspected to be the
lost one. Mr. Partridge at once went to see
Nah-Kom, who very kindly consented to go
with her little boy to see Mrs. Partridge, and
remained at Partridge's house over night. It
became very evident to Mrs. Partridge that
the child was not hers, as she failed to
recognize any resemblance, and the boy
showed no signs of remembering any of the
things about the house, that the lost child was
so familiar with; so Nah-Kom was suffered to
depart with her child, who was a half-breed,
and bore some resemblance to a white child,
which was all the reason for the suspicion that
it had been stolen.

Although the parents of the lost child, and
especially the mother, were convinced at first
that the boy with Nah-Kom was not their
child, they seem to have been afterwards per-
suaded through the persistent efforts of friends,
to take legal measures for the recovery of the
child. Therefore, Mr. Partridge's brother,
who was most persistent in the matter, took
out the necessar}' papers, and accompanied by
a deputy sheriff of Winnebago County,
Kendrick Kimball, went to Nah-Kom's camp,
which was then in the western part of Wau-
shara County, and demanded the boy, who
was to remain in the custody of the officer till
the court determined the case. The Indians
at once complied with the demands of the law,
although poor Nah-Kom cried until she found
she could accompany the child. Although the

Menominees had been invariably kind to the
whites, and had in many instances saved many
white families from perishing with hunger;
still, the sheriff found eight or ten teams
loaded with armed men, which shows how
easy it is to create an unjust hostility toward
the poor Indian.

Mr. Kimball, however, took no one with
him but the parties immediately concerned,
and found no difficulty with the Indians. He
brought Nah-Kom with her little boy, and
another Menominee woman for company for
her, to Oshkosh, and kept the boy at his house
over two weeks.

The trial was before Court Commissioner
Buttrick, and was attended b}- an immense
concourse of people.

Those who were familiar with Indians, on
seeing Nah-Kom and the child, had not the
least doubt that the child was hers, and that it
was a half-breed. The most conclusive evi-
dence was given in favor of Nah-Kom's claim
to be the mother of the boy; among other,
that of a most estimable lady, Mrs. Dousman,
of Keshena, who was cognizant of the child's
baptism, and had seen him frequently from
babyhood to the time of the trial. The interper-
ter and traders, and the chief, Oshkosh, also
testified to a personal knowledge of the child
from the time of its birth.

After hearing all the evidence in the case
the court allowed- Mr. Partridge to keep the
child in his family, pending the decision.
After duly considering the case, the court
decided in favor of the claim of Nah-Kom,
and the sheriff, with an order, started for the
boy. Arriving at Partridge's house, the sheriff
was told that if the boy went, Mr. Partridge
must go too, and he was requested to wait till
a team could be harnessed. The sheriff con-
sented, but before the team was harnessed,
some twenty men assembled and informed the
sheriff that he could not have the boy. The
child was then spirited away; but the Indian
agent took measures by which the Menom-
inees recovered him. The Partridges
then instituted another trial before Judge
Smith in Milwaukee. The court again decided
in favor of the Indians, but that the child
should remain in the hands of the sheriff for
two days, to give the Partridges time to com-
mence new proceedings, if the\' desired; but
instead of taking legal measures to obtain him,
they managed in some way to get possession
of him and ran him off. This is what the
Indians call white man's justice, and is to the
certain knowledge of the writer, about a fair
sample of the general treatment thej' have
received at the hands of the whites.




The father and the mother of the lost child,
if left to their own judgment, would not have
made any effort to get the boy, believing it
was not theirs; but the over-officiousness of
irresponsible parties, worked up their feelings
to a high pitch, which were intensified by the
painful uncertainty ot the fate of their lost one.
The bereaved parents were to be pitied, and
so was the poor Indian mother, so unjustly
bereft of her child.

The Partridges fled to Kansas with the boy,
where he grew to manhood in their family, and
served as a soldier in the late war.

The skeleton of a four or five year old child
was afterwards found on a marsh, not far from
the site of the Partridge sugar-camp.

The head men of the Menominees were in
Milwaukee in attendance at the trial, and when
the child was thus unlawfully taken away, they
went to the Scntir/c/ office, accompanied by
William Johnson, the interpreter. Captain
William Powell, and Robert Grignon, to tell
the world, through the medium of the press, of
the wrong that had been done them. Their
request was readily granted, when Oshkosh
spoke as follows:

"We have called upon you, and have shaken
hands with you with a good heart. We have
come to ask your aid We want you to pub-
lish what we say. You see that I am grow-
ing gray. I am an old man. I have seen
many years. I was quite a young man when
the Americans came to my place at Green
Bay. It was in \?>\C They shook hands
with us, and told us they had come to live
among us, and make us happy, and that if we
followed their counsel, we should have no
trouble. At a council we held, in 1827. at
Little Buttes des Morts, General Cass told us
the same thing — that the Americans were our
friends, and if we followed their advice we
should always be happy. Again, in 1836, at
Cedar Point, we met Governor Dodge, who
came from the General Government to treat
with us, and told us that whatever he prom-
ised, our Great P'ather, the President, would
perform. Our Great Father, he said, was very
glad that we had submitted to his wishes, and
made a treaty to cede a part of our lands. And
he promised that our Great Father, the Pres-
ident, would always protect us like his own
children, and would always hold our hands in
his. Governor Dodge told us that our Great
Father was very strong, and owned all the
country, and that no one would dare to trouble
us, or do us wrong, as he would protect us.
He told us, too, that whenever we got into
difficulty or anything happened we did not like,
to call upon our Great I""ather, and he would

have justice done. And now we come to you
to remind our Great Father, through your
paper, of his promise, and ask him to fulfill it.
We alwaj's thought much of Governor Dodge,
as an honest man, and we thought more of
him when he came to us on the part of the
Government. We believed all that he told us.
We have done what we agreed to do. We
have been always friendly with the whites, and
have taken up arms for them against our
Indian brothers. If any of our young men
were foolish, the chiefs were the first to rebuke
them, and to give them advice. We have
respected our white neighbors, and now we
want their help. It was at the paj'ment, at
Lake Pauwaygan (Poygan), made by Colonel
Jones, that this boy was born. I then lixed
on the Wisconsin River, and was notified to
come to the payment with my tribe. The roll
had all been made up, and the payment was to
be made the next day. During the night this
boy was born. I was told of it in the morn-
ing, and asked Colonel Jones to put his name
on the roll. The Colonel said this could not
be, but if the chiefs were willing, the child
should have his share. They were all willing;
the boy's share was given to me, and I gave it
to his mother. It was this same child — the
same one now taken from us. And now we
want your help to get back the child. We still
hope to find him. We cannot give him up.
We want you to satisfy the public that the
child is ours. We hoped to take him home
with us this time. We came from a great dis-
tance. Once before the child was carried off
by force, after the law had decided in our
favor, and now he is again carried away. We
are grieved and disappointed. This is why we
ask your help. "


Mr. Rich migrated from Lewis County, New
\"ork, to this county in October, 1845, and
entered the lands now comprised in his pres-
ent farm. At that time the county was a
wilderness, with onl)- three or four log-houses
between Oshkosh and Neenali.

Mr. Rich in his migrations landed at She- '
boygan, and started on foot for Winnebago
County. After reaching Ceresco he took the
Indian trail which passed around the head of
Rush Lake for Stanley's Ferry (now Oshkosh),
and arrived at the river shore at dark, when he
was ferried over and put up at Stanley's tav^.
ern, on the present site of the Gang Mill. This
tavern, with Amos Dodge's little Indian trad-
ing post and a few log-houses, constituted the
Oshkosh of that day.

About two hundred Indians were encamped




on the river shores near the ferry; and just
after Mr. Rich's arrival Mr. Stanley came into
the house with a pail of water and remarked
to his family, "Charley Carron pushed me
as I passed him, " when a woman said:
"Stanley! You have got to kill that Indian,
and you may as well do it now as any time. "

In a little while Stanley, who had again went
out, came back to the house and saidthat Car-
ron had struck at Dodge with a knife, and
that the knife had entered a plug of tobacco in
the pocket of the latter.

Mr. Rich now witnessed the scene that fol-
lowed. Dodge picked up a handspike and
struck Carron a blow with it that felled him,
and then followed up the blow by giving Car-
ron a terrible mauling. In the melee another
Indian was accidentally struck by Dodge,
which occasioned considerable feeling among
the Indians who thought it had been done pur-
posely. The only whites on the scene were
the Stanleys, Amos Dodge, Charley Wescott,
C. L. Rich and two other travellers. The row
was kept up until midnight, when the Indians
got Carrovv back to his camp and quiet pre-

In the morning Carron came into the house
and took breakfast with them, and friendly
feelings prevailed between the formerly bellig-
erent parties. The fumes of the whiskey had
passed off, and Carrow, for the time being,
was a sadder but wiser man. The principal
dish on the breakfast table was muskrat stew,
and this was the first time Mr. Rich had ever
tested its excellency.

After a general exploration of the country,
he selected his present location and entered
and paid for the same. Sometimes parties of
Indians would camp on his place, and at first
he was a little apprehensive. During the next
year (1846), an immense immigration poured
into this county and log-cabins sprang up in
every direction; breaking and splitting rails
was pushed with great vigor, and the work of
improvement continued, until Winnebago
County presented an expanse of cultivated

In 1S46 Mr. Whittemore, one of Mr. Rich's
neighbors sowed two hundred acres of winter
wheat, and harvested a splendid crop, thirty
bushels per .".ere of the finest quality of grain.
Mr. Rich w as also successful in raising winter
wheat. The herds of Indian ponies, which, at
that time, were running at large, sometimes
grazed it too close, but the settlers had the use
of the ponies as a compensation. The best
quality of w heat sold at the time for fifty cents
a bushel.

Mr. Rich's fine farm which he settled on at

that early day is now in a high state of culti-
vation. It is situated on Section 35
of the Town of Oshkosh, and contains 345 acres,
with spacious barns and outbuildings, one of
which is one hundred and twenty-five feet by
forty-five feet, with twenty-four foot posts
The yield of wheat has averaged twenty bush-
els per acre In connection with this farm Mr.
Rich has a stock farm in Outagamie County,
containing one thousand acres, on which he
pastures all his young stock and where he keeps
seventy milch cows, the milk of which is con-
verted into cheese at the factory on his place.
The old pioneer seems to have stuck his
stakes in a good place for him, for he has pros-
pered financially, physically and socially, hav-
ing been a representative man of this county
since his advent. He has been for several
terms a leading member of the County Board,
and represented his county in the State Legis-
lature as senator.


Compilation of Early Official Data of Winnebago County — i>
Compiled from the Records and Other Authentic Sources,
Expressly for this Work, by W. H. Webster — Organiza-
tion of County — First Election — Proceedings of County
Board — Elections — first Town Organization Embraces the
Whole County — County E.xpenses — Locating County
Seat — First Term of Court — Organization of Towns —
Erection of County Buildings — Court House, Etc.

llNNEBAGO COUNTY was first
set off from Brown County, by act of
^ the Legislature, January 6th, 1840,
with following boundaries: North, by
I the north line of Township 20; east,
by the line dividing Ranges 17 and
extending through Lake Winnebago;
south, by the north line of Township 16,
extending into the lake, until it intersects the
aforesaid line, and west by the lines divid-
ing Ranges 13 and 14 (the same as at

Nathaniel Perry, Robert Cirignon, and Mor-
gan L. Martin, were, by the same act, appointed
Commissioners to locate a seat of justice at
any point in the county, and to purchase the
quarter section of land, for the use of the
County, upon which the same was located.

We find no record showing that these duties
were ever performed or any organization per-
fected or authorized by or under this act; but
prior to this, by an act approved March 8th,
1839, a town was organized from Townships
20 and 21, Ranges 16 and 17, to be called
Winnebago, the first election to be held at
Perry's dwelling-house; also, the Town of




Buttcs des Morts, from Townships iSand 19,
Ranges 15, 16 and the fractions in 17, the first
election to be held in the house of Webster

February 18th, 1842, an act was approved
organizing the counties of Winnebago and
Calumet, from and after the first Monday in
April, 1843; the first election to be held in the
school-house in Manchester (CalumetCounty),
the firstMonday in April, 1843, the said coun-
ties to remain attached to Brown County for
judicial purposes. The same date, an act
authorizing Webster Stanley to keep a ferry
on Section 23, Town 18, Range 16.

Monday, April 4th, and Tuesday, April 5th,

1842, an election was held at the house of
Webster Stanley in the Town of Buttes des
Morts, without authority of any kind, and
town officers were elected (for result see Town
of Oshkosh). This was the first election within
the county, and, being unauthorized, was legal-
ized by the Legislature, March 29, 1843.

By an act of the Legislature, approved
December6 ,1836, to amend certain acts passed
by the Legislature of Michigan, dated March
6th, April 17th and 22nd, 1833 it was pro-
A vided " That each county within this territory
now organized, or that may be hereafter organ-
ized, be, and the same is declared, one town-
ship for all purposes of raising taxes, and pro-
viding for defraying the pubHc and necessary
expenses in tiie respective counties, and to reg-
ulate highways; and that there shall be elected,
at the annual town meeting in each county,
three supervisors, who shall perform, in addi-
tion to their duties assigned them as a county
board, the duties heretofore performed by the
township board. " (The clerk was also to act
as county and town clerk.)

An act approved December 20, 1837, pro-
vides for the organization of a board of county
commissioners to consist of three qualified
electors. -

Act of April I, 1843: "The Town of Buttes
des Morts, County of Winnebago, shall here-
after be known as Winnebago, embracing all
territory within the limits of said county, and
future elections shall be held at the house of
Webster Stanley."


in accordance with the act of 1842, the
annual town election was held at the house of
Webster Stanley, the first, Monday, April 4,

1843, and"on motion, W. C. Isbell was chosen
moderator, and sworn by W. A. Boyd, clerk."
The result was the election of Wm. C. Isbell,
chairman; L. B. Porlier and Chester Ford,
supervisors, and Geo. F. Wright, clerk, with a

full set of officers. (See Town of Oshkosh.)
These supervisors and the clerk subsequently
performed the duties of the Count)- Board in
pursuance of the law of December. 6, i 836, and
April, 1 , 1843, already quoted, and the follow-
ing is a verbatim copy of the record of pro-
ceedings at the first meetingas a county board.


"Board of County Super\isors met at the
house of Webster Stanlej-, May i, 1843 Pres-
ent, Wm. C. Isbell, Chairman, and Chester
Ford, Supervisor; a quorum. Wm. W. Wright,
County Treasurer, filed his bond, with C. J.
Coon and Edward E. Brennan as sureties;
approved. George F. Wright was unanimously
appointed Clerk of Board of Supervisors.
The Board adjourned to meet again on Satur-
day, the sixth instant, at one o'clock P. M."

May 6, Supervisors met according to
adjournment. Present: Their honors, Wm. C.
Isbell, Chairman, and Chester Ford, Super-
visor. Voted to raise by tax, for county pur-
poses, fifty dollars. Resolved to adopt this
seal; device, an eagle holding a snake in iiis
claws. May 6, 1843, covnty estimates:

Dickenson §2 25

"Election, Sept., 1842 7 00

Election, May, 1843 8 00

Stationery 25

Clerk Board Supervisors 2 00

Election Returns S 00

September Election, 1843 10 25

Supervisors' Annual Meeting S 00

" Special " 10 00

Clerks, stationery 2 00

Treasurer I 00

Total Ss8 75


Ma}- I, 1843, a special election was held for
sheriff in the district; of Brown County, at the
same time and place (house of Webster Stan-
ley), and by the same officers, for judge of
probate, for the district composed of Winne-
bago, Calumet, Fond du Lac and Marquette
counties; also, for justice for the Town of
Buttes des Morts; Clark Dickenson, Ebenezer
Childs and Jason Wilkins, received the highest
number of votes for justices, of which tliere
were twenty polled, si.xteen for sheritT, and
twenty-five for judge of probate.

These election returns are each certified by
Wm. C. Isbell, chairman, Chester Ford,
supervisor, G. F. Wright, and Clark Dicken- 1
son, clerks.

January 22, 1844, the Legislature passed an
act, authorizing the voters of Winnebago to 1
vote at the next town meeting, for and againsti
being attached to Fond du Lac County, fori

[ 1 844-47 ■



judicial purposes; and on the twenty-sixth of
the same month, to vote at the general elec-
tion, on the fourth Monday in September,
next, for and against State Government.


At the annual town election held at the
house of Webster Stanley, April 2, 1844,
for the Town of Winnebago, under act of
April I, 1843, Harrison Reed was elected
Chairman; Wm. C. Isbell and C. R. Luce,
Supervisors; Chester Ford, Jason Wilkins and
George F. Wright, Justices.

The highest number of votes cast for these
officers was twenty-three. F"or being attached
to Fond du Lac County, twenty-five votes; for
remaining attached to Brown County, five

The first county election was held the fourth
Monday in September, 1844, resulting in the
election'of W. C. Isbell, Register of Deeds;
George F. Wright, Clerk of the Board of
Supervisors; Wm. W. Wright, Treasurer; Ira
F. Aiken, Cororier ; Samuel L. Brooks, Dis-
trict Attorney. Highest number of votes
polled was nineteen. For State government,
four; against, nineteen.

Representatives and members of the coun-
cil were also voted for; also judge of probate,
of which T. J. Townsend received twenty, and
R. ¥. Eaton two. A sheriff" was also voted

October 1, 1844, the County Treasurer
made the following (%'crbatini) report:
To the Board of Supervisors of Winnebago

County, Wisconsin Territory:

The undersigned submit the following
report of the state of the treasury, for the cur-
rent year. There has been received into the
treasury, of

H. A. Gallup, colleciorof taxe^^ $36 75

J. L. Mead i 60

J. L. Mead 30

Online LibraryRichard J HarneyHistory of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest → online text (page 25 of 71)