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The Valley of the Lower Fox: historical, descriptive, picturesque
(1887)

The Fox and Wisconsin improvement,   pp. [12]-[19]


Page [12]

 
writer says: "In a short time we found the river to expand into a small
lake, 
called by the early Prench traders Little 1Butte des iVMorts, or " hill
of the dead," from the tact that on its 
banks are a number of mounds formerly used by the Indians as burial places,
and furthermore it is said 
that here took place a great massacre of the Fox Indians under a French officer
named Moran, just one 
hundred years ago. After traversing this lake we came to a large island called
by the Indians Me-na-sha, 
and here again the river becomes a rapid and this locality is known as Winnebago
Rapids. We passed 
across the first or northern branch of the river and paddled along the shore
of the island and ascended 
the southern branch and here we came in view of a large Indian village situated
on both sides of the 
river. This is the first Indian village we have seen during our trip.  A
great number of wigwams are 
in view and smoke ascending from many fires. We landed here and remained
the balance of the day and 
night. The Indians were very peaceable and indeed hospitable. They very cheerfully
provided us with 
fish and venison and made no objection to our going among them and examining
their wigwams and 
manner of cooking and living." 
       In the year 1830, Mrs. Doty, wife of Governor Doty, wrote the following
graphic description of 
the situation and scenery at Appleton: 
       "The brilliant light of the setting sun was resting on the high
wooded banks through which 
broke the beautiful, foaming, dashing waters of the Chute. The boat was speedily
turned toward a 
little headland projecting from the left bank, which had the advantage of
a long strip of level ground 
sufficiently spacious to afford a good encamping ground. I jumped ashore
before the boat was fairly 
pulled up by the men, and with the judge's help, made my way as rapidly as
possible to a point lower 
down the river, fromn which he said the best view of the Chute could be obtained.
 I was anxious to 
make a sketch before the daylight quite faded away. The left bank of the
river was to the west and, 
over a portion less elevated than the rest, the sun's parting rays fell upon
the boat, the men with their 
red caps and belts, and the two tents already pitched.  The smoke noxw beginning
to ascend from the 
evening fires, the high wooded bank beyond, up which the steep portage path
could just be discerned, 
and mote remote still, the long stretch of waterfall now darkening in the
shadow of the overhanging 
forests formed a lovely landscape to which the pencil of an artist could
alone do justice." 
       The Menomonee Indians, in 1836, surrendered to the Government all
their rights in this region, 
and retired to the Keshena reservation, about 6o miles north of Appleton.
They numbered then over 
2,000. The money to be paid by the Government was funded, and the interest,
at six per centum, was 
to be paid them semi-annually. 
       The Oneida Indians came here from the State of New VorkI in the ye
r 1822. Their reservation 
is in the northeastern part of ()utaganie county,, and extends into the adjoining
county of Brown. 
                THE FOX AND WISCONSIN IMPROVEMENT. 
       We have already said that the Fox River x as a link in one of the
most extensive and important 
waterways on the face of the globe, commencing in the Gulf of St. I.awrence
in the north and running 
through the interior of the country, along the chaint of the great ,lakes,
ip the lox and down the \Vis- 
consin and ending in the Gulf of Mexico. 
       The Government early discovered that the improvxement of this river
wold be of vast importance, 
and inaugurated a movement which ultimately resulted in its completion. 
       In 1836 a survey was made by Mr. A. J. Center, from Fort Hloward to
Tail Point, a distance of 
about six miles. 
       In 1837 a hurried survey was made under direction of the War Department.
       In 1838 the improvement of this route was recommended to Congress
by the Secretary of War, 
for the purpose of facilitating the transportation of troops and Iinunitions
of war to the frontier. In I839 
a preliminary survey, was made by Captain Cram under the directiou of the
Secretary of War. 


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