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Among others v/ho early settled at this place, may be
mentioned Pierre Griguon, a native of Montreal, who mar-
ried for his second wife, a daughter of Charles Do Langlade.
Green Bay was his home, and the head-iiuarters for liis
business operations. He h id several oilier trading posts or
agencies for tratlickingwitii tli^j 1 mliaus. lie was an intelli-
gent and successful business man.

Augustiii Grignon, who resided fur many years on his
farm, on the northern shore of Fox river, a I'.nv miles above
the city of Oshkosh, in Winnebago county, was one of his

Early Wisconsin Exploration and Settlement. 289

sons. He is also represented as an intelligent and worthy
citizen, tliougli of mixed Erencli and Indian blood. In his
narrative, obtained by Gorrcspondinj^- Secretary of onr State
Historical Society, a large aoK^unt of valuable history of
the early times in Wisconsin has beun preserved from obliv-
ion. Angustin Grignon died m the year lyiJO, at tlie age of
about eighty years.

One early event in the history of Wisconsin dcstji'ves
particular niention. In thii year 1 ."til, Lieutenant J ames
Gorrell, attended by a body of soldiers in the British Service,
visited the country in and around (Ireen Bay. This was
near the close of tiie Frencli and Indian wars against the
British American Colonies. His mission was to establish
friendly relations betweon the Indians and traders, and the
British Government, wliich had come into the possession of
the country. He made presents of powder and belts of
waupum to the Indians; and assured them that he had not
come to their homes as their enemy, but to preserve peace
and order. The Indians, wherever lie went, received him
with kindness, and expressed their gratitude that their
Great Father, the English King, was willing to pardon them
for having lately taken up arm-^ against liim, in behalf of
the Frencli. They promised to treat the iCnglish traders
well, who miglit come to their settlement; and expressed
the hope tiiat they woulil get goods much cheaper of them
than hey had of the French.

The English Government continued thereafter to hold
possession of tlie country now kn<jvvn as Wisconsin, until
after the war of the American Ilevolution, when it fell into
the possession of tlie Government of the United States,
though the transfer was not formally made until after Jay's
treaty in the year KtJo. During all tliose early times, (Jreen
Bay wasagreat emporium of traile between the Indians and
the whiles.

The United States Government built Fort Howard, just
across the river from Green Bay, in the year Iblti. It was
shortly after that Green Bay was visited by James Biddle,
of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who was a contractor to sup-
ply this and other military posts in the North-West with

;200 Wisconsin State Himtokical Society.

provisions. In a coniinunication from him, some yeai's ago,
to our Historical Society, we yathor something in rchition
to the country and its inhabitants at tliat pt^riod. 'JMr W'in-
nebayoes uccuiiied tlie region about Lake Winueljago, and
the Menonn)nees around (Jreen Bay. Tonudi was tln'U the
chief of the hitter tribe. He did not hohl tlui chieftainsliip,
as heret(jfore explained, by an hereditary right, but was
appointed to that ])osition for his superior sagacity and

About the year 1811, ^Ir. Ihddle states, the celebrated In-
dian chief, Tecumseh, visited tliu ^lenomonees for the pur-
pose of enlisting them in the cause of the British against
the Americans. For tliis object he went to the region of
Green Bay, wliere he obtained a council, and hearing from
Tomah and his people, whom he addressed in a nuinner as
he best could. In the course of his speech, with true In-
dian eloquence, he pictured the glory as well as. tlie certainty
of success; in contirmation of which, he recaiatulated to
them his own hitherto prosperous career, tlie number of bat-
tles he had fought, the victories he had won, the enemies he
had slain, and the scalps he had taken from the heads of
warrior foes. TonuUi ajjpeared sensible of the influence of
such an address upon his people, and feared its conse-
quences, for he was opposed to leading them into a war.
His reply was in a tone to allay the feeling i)ro(luced by the
speech of Tecumseh, in the course of which, he saitl to his
warriors, that tliey had heard tlie words of Tecumseh,
heard of the battles he had fought, of the enemies he had
slain, and (;f the scalps he had taken. He then })aused, and
while the deei<est silence reigned throughout the audience,
he slowly lifted his hands, and with his e3'es tixed u]»on
them, and in a lowei', but not less prouder tone, contiiuieil —
" But it is my boast that these hands artuinsullied by human
blood !" He concluded his speech by saying that he was
aware of the encroachim^nts of the Americans upon the
Indians; he thought, however, that their condition Avould be
equally bad, if their counti-y fell into the possession of the
British. He counseled his tribe against embracing the
proposition of Tecumseh; but tlnally said, that if any of his

Early Wisconsin Exploration and Settlement. :29i

young men wished to join the Shawanoe leader, they were
at Hberty to do so. His counsel for a period prevailed; but
at length tiie intrigues and iniluences of Col, Kob(irt Dick-
son, and other Britisli ti'aders, inv<:!igled tlieni into the war
of 1812-15 against the Americans.

Passing over the early settlements at La Pointe, Prairie
du Chien and Milwaukee, tiie Black Hawk War, our twelve
years of Territorial pupilage, and thirty-six of full State-
hood, we come down to the year 1^>>~), with a population of
a million and a half within our borders, ranking far above
the average of the States of the Union in point of wealth,
education and importance — made up of energetic and in-
telligent citizens from nearly all States and all regions — •
presenting a rich and prosperous couutry, all dotted over
with thousands of beautiful churches, public and normal
schools, colleges and seminaries of learning, with our mag-
nificent State University, and our almost unequaled public
Libraries — all proclaiming a splendid triumph oyer the
early savage state, and the advent of a permanent and
higher civilization.



Corresponding Mi'inber MuHsachusttls and W'i^ronnin l{i:itoricnl Sacialies, and Hon.
Vice l'rc.->idtnt uj the New Emjlantl Hi^tui ic-lJcn(jalo(jic(d Society.

Benjamin Suite, in Notes on Jean Nicolet, published in
1879, in Vol. VIII, of the Wisconsla Historical Collections,
shows that this interpreter of a traJing company, Nicolet,
visited as early as 1034, the region around Green Bay, and
the next year returned to Canada. This paved the way for
other enterprising explorers and traders. It is only of recent
occurrence that we have had a full account of the early ex-
plorations of lladisson and Groseilliers in Wisconsin and

Mr Gideon D. Scull, of London, discovered not long since,
in the library of the British .Museum, manuscript journals
of Peter Kadisson, the Frenchman, who with his brother-
in-hiw, i\[6dard Chouart, the Sicur des Groseilliers, had
penetrated Central Wisconsin, and was the first to visit tlM
region now known as j\Iinn','sota. Mr. Scull transcribed the
journals for the Prince Society, l^aston,which published
them in 1885.

Ptadisson was not a scholar, was careless about dates, and
the transcriber of the manuscri[)ts, or the type-setter, has
mangled many Indian words; and yet there are facts in tlie
vokime which may modify some of tiie statements of mod-
ern historians as to the exploration of the North- West.
These manuscript journals have a curious history. They
once belonged Samuel Pepy-^, of the court of Charles the
Second, whose charming "Diary" is found in every well
filled gentleman's library. In time they became attached
to the Bodleian collection of manuscripts, and at length
founa their way to the British ^luseum.

Notes on Ea.rly Wisconsin Exploration. 293

roiia.ntic carekr of radisson.

Peter d'Esprit, Sieur Radisson, was born at St. Malu, and
when young, in 1051, arrived in Canada. The next year,
while on an expedition, he was captured by the ^loliawks,
and reached Fort Orang-e, now Albany, where for a time he
acted as interpreter, lie went to Manhattan, now New
York City, and from thence sailed, and, in January, IDoi, ar-
rived at Amsterdam. In -a few months he returned to
Canada, and in 1G57 was among the Oaondagas, but in the
spring of l')58 returned to Three Hi vers, Canada, (j|r(jseil-
liers and his brotlier indaw, Radisson, in 1U58, determined
to explore the region of the Great Lakes. Radisson, in his
journal, writes: "As soon as the resolution was made,
many undertake the voyage; for where is lucre, there are
enough people to be had."

In the miildle of June, with twenty-nine Frenchmen and
six Indians, they left Three Rivers, and by way of the
Ottawa river reached Lake Huron.' Thence they visited
Manitoulin island, where the liuronshad a village. Passing
through the Straits of Mackinaw to Lake j\Iichigan, they
reached Green Bay, and after visiting the Standing llair
tribe, so called because they kept their hair brushed up,
they went to the Poutauotemick village. During the winter
they became acquainted with the Escotecke or Maskoutens,
and learned about the Sioux and Christinos.

In the spring of 1659, Radisson proposed that the Hurons of
their party should visit the refugees of their tribe toward
the sources of the Wisconsin and Black rivers. In October,
1G59, a visit was made to the Sault of Lake Superior, to the
Indians whom Radisson calls Pauvestigouce. The Algon-
quins called these Pawitagouek, People of the Falls. lEere
the French passed the winter; and, in the spring of lOuO, re-
turned to the Green Bay region, where Radisson mentions
he went up a great river which branched, one turning west
and the other south toward ]\lexico. It is possible he may have
followed the Wisconsin as far as the Mississippi river. In
August, 16C0, Radisson and Groseilliers returned to Quebec*

' Radisson's Journal.

^ Journal des Jesuites, par M. M. les Abbes Laverdiere et Cosgrain, Que-
bec, 1771.

29i Wisconsin State Historical Society.


In tlie spring of 1GG2, Grosseillers and Ridissoii proposed
to make another tour to the rem jtest nations, and the (Gov-
ernor of (Janada expressed his willingness to give them a
license, provided they would take with them two of liis ser-
vants and allow him one half of the peltries obtained. Look-
ing upon the demand as unjust, they quietly mide their ar-
rangements to slip away, which they did on the second of
May,' in company with a party <d' Indians returning to the
Sault, at the entrance of Lake Superior. Their purpase was
to lind Hudson's Bay by way of Lake Superior. In time
they camped by the Utawas, now OLtawa river. Lake Huron,
"ready" writes liadisson, " to wander on that sweet sea."
Following the route from CJeorgian Biy, by the straits of
the Manitoulin island, they camj to the rapids "that make
the separation of the Lake of the Hurons and that we call
Superior, or Upper" lake. Here they rested for some time,
and ate " assickamack, " whitefish.


While Radisson's dates are confusing, yet he gives a very
correct account of the earliest explorations of the south
shore of Lake Superior, and asserts that he was the first
white man to visit the Arched R)ck. The first stopping
place, after entering Lake Superior was an isle designated
as "Isle of the Four Beggirs;" from ihence they paddled
toward the south shore, and came to a small stream, which
the Indians called Pawabick Konesibis, and in the vicinity
found pieces of coj)per, and were told that it was abundant;
probably th(^ Little Iron river. TUo weatiuu- was b(!Coming
cold, and they pushed on to an escarpment of rocks, which
Indians called Namitouck Sinagoit. Witliin an arch was a
cave, and liadisson writes: " I gave it the name of the Por-
tal of St. Peter, because my name is so-called, and that I was
the first Christian who ever saw it. "

The next they saw were three beautiful islands in front of
a very deep bay. The islands are called Trinity; these, on
modern maps, are marked Huron islands. Going to th e

'^Journal des Jesuites.

Notes on Early Wisconsin Exploration. 295

main land, thoy camped three days at the mouth of the Hu-
ron river. The next journey was the Porta^^e river, on the
west shore of Keweenaw IJay, where nuich was heard of
rich copper deposits. Here the canoes wore taken <udiore,
and by a well- beaten trail a portage was made to the other
side of Keweenaw l^oint and much distance saved. Five
days' journey along the south bhore of the lake brought
their canoes to an encampment of Christinos, not far from
the ]\[ontreal river of modern maps. A half- day's journey
brought the two explorers to a point two leagues long jutting
out into the lake, but only sixty paces in width. By a short
portage the beautiful bay of (Jheguamegon was discovered,
and Groseilliers anil liadisson, with their Huron guides,
went to the head of the bay and camped near a small stream,
between the modern towns of Ashland and AVashburn,


The Hurons told the Frenchmen that they wished to go
to a village live da>s' distant, to vibit their wives and friends.
A settlement of refugee Hui-ons was at this time toward
the sources of the Black and Chippewa rivers, in Wisconsin.
Groseilliers and Radisson agreed to wait for them fourteen
days, and occui)ied the interval in building the first rude Euro.
pean fort or trading post on Lake Superior. It was of pick-
ets in the shape of a triangle. The door faced the lake,
fire-place in the middle, and sleeping i>lace in the right-hand
corner. It was surrounded by an abattis of branches of
trees, and around the whole was suspended -a long cord
upon which were small bells which took the place of sen-
tries. A small brook was near by. On the twelfth day of
their robidence at the Bay, some of the Hurons canui back
with fifty young men, and preparatitnis were made to visit
their village. The Frenchmen, after a march of four days
through the forest, reached a village near a lake eight
leagues in circumference. The next day they reached a
settlement of one hundred wigwams, and were the guests
of the chief. Here were met some Malhominees (Meno-
minees), and an old man of the tribe adopted Radisson as

296 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

his son. Tiie winter was passed in following the Indians
while hunting. The snow was deep, and there was much
suffering from scurvy and hunger. In the Spring, a deputa-
tion of Nadoues Seronons (Sioux), known as the Tju-uf or
Buffalo people, arrived, 13 lid in a great council expressed
their wish to be on friendly terms with the French. The
French were told that Tantanga was the name fur the buf-
falo. The Sioux wore in their noses and ears rings of
copper wire, to which in cold weather they attached feathers
or down to break the force of the wind — rude face-nmlUers.
Their drums were earthen pots wound with dried skins.
They wanted to have thun<ler to take home with them —
that is, a gun, which they called miniskoick — and the
French to make peace for them witli the Christinos, their
enemies. Radi^son mentions, that aftrr this council, he
visited the Bu3uf Sioux, who were distant "seven small
journeys/' and found a prairie town of lodges of skins and
mats, the population very numerous, and one man had four-
teen wives; that where they were there was no wood, but
in the winter they moved to the woods of the north. These
were probably Prairie Sioux or loways, who in the summer
hunted bulow the Minnesota river. After remaining six
weeks he returned to the Huron village. Returning to Lake
Superior, Groseilliers and Radisson coasted along the west-
ern shore, and heard of another lake, probably Nepigon,
and explored the region from Groscillier, now Pigeon river,
northward to the tributaries of Hudson Bay, but did not go
to Lake AVinnipeg, as some have written.

This primitive establishment at the southern extremity of
Cheguamegon Bay, became a great depot for Indian trade,
which flourished for some time.' Pierre Boucher, in a little

^This locality of Radisson aud Groseilliers seems to have been selected
for the early missiou establishment of Father Allouez — at the head of
Chequamegou Bay; or, "near the soutlnvest corner of the Bay, and be-
tween the head of the Bay and the modern town of Washburn," as Father
Verwyst describes it, as indicated by the Jesuit map of 1071, most probably
drawn by Marquette and Allouez. This was probably not very far from
the mouth of Whittlesey Creek, nearly three miles west of Ashland, where
was a migratory colony of Hurons aoid Ottawae, which Father Allouez

Notes on Early Wisconsin Exploration. 29?

book published in Paris, in HiDJ^, mentions that four or five
Frenchmen lately returned from Like Superior, who had
discovered a large island full of copper, and had been absent
three years.


Returning to (^'lebeo, for t; 1,000, the Governor gave them
permission to make a fort at Three Rivers, and bear a coat-
ofarms. But his exactions became so great that they went
to the English settlements, and in h>\jo they went with
Commissioner Carteret in Capt. (iillam's vessel to England.
.They were entertained at Oxford by Carteret, and the next
winter passed three months at Windsor with Sir Peter
Colleton. Radissun married in Londcm a daughter of Sir
John Kirk, and accompanied from the Tiiames Capt.
Gillam, of Roston, in KJo:, in the ship Non Such to Hudson's
Bay, where (Roseilliers and he establi^hed English trading
posts. A son of Gov. Wuithrop, of Connecticut, on Dec. 11,
1C71, writes to his father from Boston: '• All the news is
that Zachary Gillam is returned from the North- West pass-
age with abundence of beaver."

Hayes River, of Hudson's Bay, was named from Sir Peter
Hayes, one of the founders of the Hudson's Bay company,
who always remained friendly to the two Frenchmen who
had been the occasion of organizing the corporation; but
with others they had some dispute, and, in U)7r>, they went
to Paris and offered themselves to the French. In UJS>, they
appeared in Hudson's Bay, under the French flag, and cap-
tured their former associates, and changed the name of
Port Nelson to Port ]k.urbon, and seized an English ship
called the '' BacheloFs Delight." Toward the close of De-
cember, lOSiJ, the Frenchmen again arrived in Paris. Lord
Preston, the English ambassador, on Jan. ID, M^l, wrote
home: " Sent my secretary to know if the king had ordered
any answer concerning the attack upon Nelson's post. I

found there in 1G65. Jesuit Relations, 1GG7; Rev. Chrysostom Verwy&t's
Missionary Labors of Father Marquette, Menard and Allouez in the Lake
Superior Region. Milwaukee and Chicago, 1886, pp. 175-18;5. ^ ^ ^

20-H. C.

298 Wisconsin State Historical Society.

find the great support of MOns de la Barre, the present gov-
ernor of C'anada, is from the Jesuits of this court, wliich
order hath always a great number of misbionaries in that
region, wiio, besides the eonversion of intidels, have had the
address to engross the wliole castor trade from whicli tliey
draw considerable advantage. •■ lladition (laidis-

son) arrived abcjut the time } ou mentioned at Jtochelle, and
hath be(;n in ]'aiis these iivt; days. There eamo on shore,
at the same time, fi'om a merchant vessel, IjCsGroselliercs, a
person whuse story is well known in those countries."

IJy the persuasions of Lord l^reston and Sir James Hayes,
the two Frenclnnen agreed to goto J^^ugland, were jirestmteil
to tlie king in the spi'ing, and Jiadissi'ii saih-d for Huds(jn"s
Jlay, where lie had the ii'iTiich IhiglowL'ivd, and the l-^nglish
banner again hoisted.

In KJtio, some traders from Cheguamegon visited Cana<ia,
and invited the Jestiit AUoue/ to retiu-n with them, lie
reached the iJa}^ on the first of Octobej". lie remained there
several years, but on the third of November, IGGD, left Sault
Ste. Marie for the tjreen I>ay region. He writes: "Two
canoes of Pouteouatamis wishing to take me to their country,
not that I might instruct thein, they having no disposition
to receive the failh, but to pacify some young Frenchnum,
who were among them for the ptirpose of trading." ' On
the second of December, the- eve of St. Francis Xaviei-'s day,
he reached a point in the Ureen IJuy region wliere were
French traders; and, the next day, eight of them attended

In September, IHSO, Du Litth and some other white men,
left the Sioux of thel\lille Lacs region. Hennepin, who had
accompanied two of La Salle's tradei's up the Mississippi,
and had met with Du Luth, who iuid been in the Lake
Superior region for a long period, writes as follows:
"Toward the end of September, having no implements to
begin an establishment, we resolved to tell these i)eople, that
for their benefit wo would have to return to the French
settlements. The grand chief of the Issati or Nadouessioux

' Jesuit Relations, 1GG9-70.

Notes Ox\ Early Wisconsin Exploration. 29i>

consented, and traced in pencil, on paper I gave hirn, the
route for four hundrt-d leaj^ues. "

La Salle, under date of August •?'3, li;s:3, wrote in opposition
to Du Luth engaging- in trade, as follows: " But, if they go
by way of the Ouisconsing, wiierc for the present, the chase
of the buffalo is carried on, and where I have coinnioncecl
an establishment, they will ruin the trade, of which I am
laying the foundation." '

Du Luth was in France early in l''S], but in the sprii.g
returned to Canada. The Jc-'^uit luigclran, on August 2y)j
1GS:J, wrote that on the eighth of the month, Du Luth had
left i\hi.ckinaw, with thirty men, by way of Green Bay, to
trade witii ihe Sioux. ]>efore b'.S'.i, a trading post or fort
was established at the heal waters of the Croix river,
the point which in Jiuie, IsiJo, hail been visited by Du Luth.
It IS marked on Franquelin's niaj).

In the sp]-ing of 1GS5, Nicholas Perrot was made com-
mandant for the west, and the next winter he passed on
the banks of the Missis.-;ipjji, where lie was first vioittd by
the loways, Upon Frani^uelin's map of ](J8S, is marked ihe
"^butte,"' where the French wintered, not far from the Black
river. La Potherie asserts, that they stopped where there
were woods, at the foot of a high hill {an pied (V uue Monta-
gue,) behind which was a large prairie.' Major Long, in his
Canoe I'o ijaye of 1S17, writing of " Montague qui treniiie
Veau " refers to " high bluff lands, insulated by a broad, flat

Perrot was soon ordered to proceed with allies to join the
French in the war against the Senecas of New York. In
the fall of Ibsr, after ice had begun to form on the Fox
river, Perrot passed down the Wisconsin, to the ?i[ississip])i
river, and returned to the post on the east bank of the river,*
where in 1GS5-G, he had passed the winter.

' Alurgry ii, 254.

"La Potherie, VoL IL, Paris, 1722.

» When Peuicaut in 1700, passed through Lake Bon Secours, as Pepin,
until this period had been called, the fort was standing on the east shore.
His words translated are: -'To the right and left of its shores there are also
prairies; in that on the right, on th« Lake Shore, there is a fort, which was

300 Wisconsin State PIistorical Society.

According to La Potherie, it was not until the next spring
after the rivur was free from ice, that the Sioux came down
to the post, and escorted liim to their country. A recent
perusal of T.a Potherie convinces tlie ^\■riter that theru was
uo post on Pake Pepin before thici j)eriod.

Penicaut, a m('ml)er of Le Sueur's expedition, in 1?0(), re-
'lers to the fort built by Perrot, on ti\e right bank of the
Lake,, to one ascending, and ujion l^'ranqutilin's maj) above
the "Pt. des Sauteurs," the Chippewa river of our maps,
appears marked " Fort St. Antoine;" and here in May, U,s[)]
Perrot took fornuil possession of the region. Li the '• ]'roces
Verbal,'" among others mtntioned tis present during this
ceremonial, is M. de Bois-Guillot, commandant les Prancois
aux environs de Siskonche, sur le },[ississii)pi. "

Upon Fran(iuelin's niap, ju^,t above the moutii of the Wis-
consin, the site of Prairie du Ciiien on the Mississippi, is
marked "Fort St. Nicolas/' which must have been Bois-

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