Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Raney, William F.
Our state, pp. 11-18 PDF (3.2 MB)
7 OUR STATE By William F. Raney We of Outagamie County join with the other counties of the state in con- gratulating Wisconsin on the completion of her first century. The Act of Congress admitting Wisconsin to the Union was approved by President Polk, May 29, 1848; on June 7, Nelson Dewey, a Democrat of Grant County, took the oath of office and became the first governor. FIRST PEOPLES No one knows how long the Indians had occupied Wisconsin before 1848. Jean Nicolet, the first European to see it, came in 1634. For about 200 years after his short visit, it was permitted to the Indians to live and fight in Wisconsin much as they pleased. Their life was, of course, modified by the use of firearms and other goods of European origin, and to buy what they needed they were obliged to devote themselves unremittingly to the pursuit of fur-bearing animals. At Green Bay a small French-speaking community, closely bound up with the Indian trade, came into existence. In 1820, when it was about to be submerged in an English-speaking flood, this French- Canadian community is believed to have numbered about 50 families; that is, probably, some 250 or 300 persons. There was a similar community, but much smaller, at Prairie du Chien; some scat- tered Frenchmen lived elsewhere alone or among the Indians. There are some place names of French origin in Wisconsin to- day, but the 'Wisconsin Creoles" as Thwaites once called them, were not numerous enough to leave an appreciable impress on the Wisconsin of today. The office of the American Fur Company at Green Bay was closed in 1845, and this date may be taken to mark the end of the fur trade in eastern and southern Wisconsin. Before Wisconsin could become an English-speaking community, the Indians must be removed or gathered into reser- vations. The various tribes were treated by the federal government as having some 11
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