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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States
(1880)

Durrie, D. S.
The public domain,   pp. [210]-230 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page [210]


                      THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.
                                      By D. S. DURRIE.
      In the early part of the seventeenth century, all the territory north
of the Ohio river,
  including the present state of Wisconsin, was an undiscovered region. As
far as now known, it
  was never visited by white men until the year 1634, when Jean Nicolet came
to the Green bay
  country as an ambassador from the French to the Winnebagoes. The Jesuit
fathers in 166o
  visited the south shore of Lake Superior; and, soon after, missions were
established at various
  points in the northwest.
      The French government appreciating the importance of possessing dominion
over this sec-
  tion, M. Talon, intendant of Canada, took steps to carry out this purpose,.
and availed himself
  of the good feelings entertained toward the French by a number of the Indian
tribes, to establish
  the authority of the French crown over this remote quarter. A small party
of men led by
  Daumont de St. Lusson, with Nicolas Perrot as interpreter, set out from
Quebec on this mission,
  in 167o, and St. Lusson sent to the tribes occupying a circuit of a hundred
leagues, inviting the
  nations, among them the Wisconsin tribes inhabiting the Green bay country,
by their chiefs and
  ambassadors, to meet him at the Sault Sainte Marie the following spring.
      In the month of May, 1671, fourteen tribes, by their representatives,
including the Miamis,
  Sacs, Winnebagoes, Menomonees, and Pottawattamies, arrived at the place
designated. On the
  morning of the fourteenth of June, " St. Lusson led his followers
to the top of the hill, all fully
  equipped and under arms. Here, too, in the vestments of their priestly
office were four Jesuits
  Claude Dablon, superior of the mission on the lakes, Gabriel Druillettes,
Claude Allouez, and
  Andre. All around, the great throng of Indians stood, or crouched, or reclined
at length with
  eyes and ears intent. A large cross of wood, had been made ready. Dablon,
in solemn form,
  pronounced his blessing on it; and then it was reared and planted in the
ground, while the
  Frenchmen, uncovered, sang the Vexillia Regis. Then a post of cedar was
planted beside it,
  with a metal plate attached, engraven with the royal arms; while St. Lusson's
followers sang the
  exaudiac,, and one of the priests uttered a prayer for the king. St. Lusson
now advanced, and,
  holding his sword in-one hand, and raising with the other a'sod of earth,
proclaimed in a loud
  voice " that he took possession of all the country occupied by the
tribes, and placed them under
  the king's protection.
     This act, however, was not regarded as sufficiently definite, and on
the eighth of May, 1689,
 Perrot, who was then commanding for the king at the post of Nadouesioux,
near Lake Pepin on
 'the west side of the Mississippi, commissioned by the Marquis de Denonville
to manage the
 interests of commerce west of Green bay took possession, in the name of
the king, with
 appropriate ceremonies, of the countries west of Lake Michigan as far as
the river St. Peter.
 The papers were signed by Perrot and others.
     By these solemn acts, the present limits of Wisconsin with much contiguous
territory, came
under the dominion of the French government, the possession of which continued
until October,
1761 -a period of ninety years from the gathering of the chiefs at the Sault
Ste. Marie in 167 .
     From the commencement of French occupancy up to the time-when the British
took posses-
sion, the district of country embraced within the present limits of this
state had but few white
inhabitants besides the roaming Indian traders; and of these few, the locations
were separated by
a distance of more than two hundred miles in a direct line, and nearly double
that distance by


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