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The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1923

Schaefer, Joseph
A brief outline of Wisconsin history,   pp. [5]-16 ff. PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 8

with the Indians continued to be French. The French had
long been accustomed to the business; their trappers, hunters,
and voyageurs were glad to take service under English and
Americans, and many of their more intelligent young men be-
came clerks and factors in the English and American trading
companies. To the Indians, therefore, changes of sovereignty
made but little difference. It was mainly the French-Cana-
dians of the fur trade tradition who formed the little colonies
at Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, and other points in the state
which gave so picturesque a feature to early Wisconsin his-
tory and, on the entrance of the settlers from New England,
made the first of our race questions.2 The fur trade brought
the native tribes under the domination of white men, tempered
their warlike spirit, and disintegrated their organization for
offensive action. The absence of Indian wars, when white
settlers entered-except the numerically insignificant Black
Hawk War-is largely attributable to the Indian trade car-
ried on for two centuries by the tactful French. A pleasing
reminder of the French regime in Wisconsin is the prevalence
of musical French place names, rather numerously interspersed
with names having an Indian origin and the more common
English names.
                     American Beginners
  The fur trade "managed by Americans but almost wholly
manned by French"3 continued to be the principal industry of
Wisconsin until 1834. In that year land offices were opened
at Green Bay and at Mineral Point, and settlers began to pour
in through the port at Milwaukee, also by way of Chicago, up
the Mississippi, and overland from the settled parts of Illinois,
Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio.
  Wisconsin was late in settling because the earlier westward
migration had been largely directed and controlled by the
Ohio river.4 The Erie Canal, opened in 1825, made a new
line of emigration from the northeast, and in a few years
northern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan were
receiving their thousands of immigrants yearly. Only the
lead region in the southwestern part of our state had received
  2 Reuben G. Thwaites, Wisconsin, Preface.
  4 See population map, United States Census for 1830. in Blue Book, 1921,

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