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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Mackesy, Lillian
Earliest settlers,   pp. 32-42 PDF (4.9 MB)

Page 32

           By Lillian Mackesy
  The county's first settlers were fur trad-
ers. Dominique Ducharme, the very earli-
est settler on record, built a homestead
and fur trading post at Grand Kakalin
(Kaukauna) in 1790 on lands acquired by
deed from the Indians. This land was pur-
chased in 1813 by Augustin Grignon, who
enlarged and improved the original Du-
charme cabin for his family.
  The log homes and trading posts of the
Grignon brothers, Augustin and Hippo-
lyte, descendants of the famous French-
Canadian de Langlade family, were both
close to the river bank of the Fox on flat
land below the protecting rise of wooded
bluffs, one at the beginning of the treach-
erous rapids at the Grand Chute (Apple-
ton) and the other at the end of the series
of rapids at Kakalin. Although Augustin
settled at Kakalin some 20 years before
his brother, both their homes were havens
of refuge for weary travelers, traders and
settlers in their vicinity.
  For many years the log house of Augus-
tin Grignon and his Menominee Indian
wife, Nancy McCrea, was the only habi-
tation on the river between Fort Howard
(Green Bay) and Fort Winnebago (Por-
tage). It was here that the six Grignon
children, Charles, Alexander, Paul, Louis,
Margaret and Sophia grew up.
  Mrs. Mary Brevoort Bristol, in the Wis-
consin Historical Collection, mentions the
isolation of the Grignons in a description
of the wedding of Margaret Grignon,
Augustin's daughter. This author seemed
particularly impressed by the food at the
wedding feast.
  "At that time (1824) there was nothing
between Fort Howard and Fort Winne-
bago but grand Kaukauna where stood
one house occupied by Augustin Grignon
where I was invited to attend his daugh-
ter's wedding. She married Ebenezer
Childs, quite a large party attended; all
came in a large boat called a botteau. The
bride was dressed in white muslin; on the
table were all kinds of wild meat-bear,
deer, muskrat, raccoon, turkey, quail,
pigeon, skunk and porcupine with all the
quills on. Her mother was Indian.
  This was without a doubt, as Mrs.
Bristol explains, the first wedding in what
is now Outagamie County.
  Another interesting description of the
river area is found in the sketch of James

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