University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Madison Public Schools (Wis.); Instructional Materials Center / The early history of the Madison area

Part of Mrs. Peck's letter that describes trip to Madison, and the first days there,   p. 7

Page 7

                                       Source: Wisconsin Magazine of History
                                                Spring 1962 
                        AND THE     FIRST DAYS THERE 
         We started from Brigham's place, at the Blue Mounds, on Thursday,
    13th of April, after dinner, with our teams. We traveled about seven
    where some person had made a claim, and had laid about five rounds of
    towards a cabin. We camped therein that night with a tent over us. The
next day, 
    the 14th, we pushed on - a more pleasant day I never wish to seeo but
I had a 
    severe headache before night. We pitched our tent on a little rise of
    within three miles of Madison; spread down our beds, and rested comfortably
    till near 3 o'clock on Saturday morning when we were awakened by a tremendous
    wind storm, and howling of wolves, and found snow five or six inches
deep which 
    continued to fall until after we arrived in Madison. 
         Well, now, here we are at Madison, on the 15th, sitting in a wagon
    a tree, with a bed-quilt thrown over my own and little boy's head, in
a tremendous 
    storm of snow and sleet, twenty-five miles from any inhabitants on one
    (Blue Mounds), and nearly one hundred on the other (Milwaukee). What
is to be 
    done? Go into the buildings with no floors laid, and nothing but great
    laid across to walk on? No; I must have the buildings painted with lime,
    floors laid first- only one saw-mill in the Territory, and that way up
in the 
    Wisconsin Pinery, and not completed, and of course no lumber; but there
    a pile of puncheons--just build me a pen under this tree, and move in
my stove, 
    and we will crawl in there. Sure enough, we soon had it completed, and
a fire built. 
*        Some two weeks from this time, or about the first of May, on a pleasant
    there were about fifteen men arrived from Milwaukee, to look a road through,
    see Madison. Among the number were A. A, Bird, the two Pixley's merchants,
    and Col. Morton of the Land Office--but I cannot enumerate names. Well,
we had 
    a spacious diningroom under the broad canopy of heaven--where I spread
    for them. A portion of the party, the hired men, set out on their return
the next 
    day. We immediately sent a team to the other side of Fourth Lake, where
    had been some hay put up by a party of French and Indians, and got a
load of it, 
    with which we filled our bed-ticks; we then laid down puncheons in one
end of 
    one of the buildings, spread down our beds, built a fire of chips (hewn
from the 
    logs) at the other end between the sleepers, tacked three of four sheets
of bed- 
    curtains around the walls, and there they rested; and they staid with
us three or 
    four days, enjoying themselves hunting and fishing around the lakes,
and looking 
    at the country; and then left for Mineral Point, or perhaps Galena; and
in eight 
    or ten days Bird returned, accompanied by Judge Doty, Ebenezer Brigham
    and others. 
    Judge Doty observed, "Why do you not move into your house?"
"Why, my dear 
    sir," I replied, "I must have it plastered with lime first."
Said he, "we do not 
    know as there is a lime quarry within a hundred miles of you, and you
need not 
    expect to live in this pen until there is one found and burned. No, no,
you must 
    move in; we will help daub up the kitchen part on the outside with mud,
and when 
    the lime is found, you can finish the inside to suit you." So at
it they went (only 
    think, Governors, Esquires and Mayors, in prospective, daubing cabins!),
 _ and by night we were all comfortably situated in the kitchen. 

Go up to Top of Page