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
Durrie, D. S.
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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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