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The Valley of the Lower Fox: historical, descriptive, picturesque

The Valley in 1825,   pp. [11]-[12]

Page [11]

                                    THE VALLEY IN 1825. 
        A description of the Valley, as it appeared to a visitor in 1825,
has been preserved, and from it 
 we make a few extracts: 
        "At the head of Green Bay we entered the Fox River. Near the
mouth of this river is situated 
 Fort Howard, where there are stationcd three companies of U. S. troops under
the command of Major 
 Meigs. The buildings are all enclosed within a high board fence, whitewashed
or painted, and the whole 
 structure looks neat and trim. A sentry was posted and kept guard in front
of the entrance. The stars 
 and stripes floated from the flag staff, and the surrounding country seemed
a dense forest. Not a house 
 or inhabitant was visible. *  *  *   *  * 
        Tl-ree miles further up the river we arrived at our destination,
"the settlement," known here as 
 Shantytown. The old' fort originally built by the English was located near
here; it has now  nearly all 
 disappeared. *   *   *  *  * 
        This uncouth name was given to the place by the soldiers of the old
fort.   There are only three 
 or four American families here. The W'hitney's, the Irwin's and the Lawrence's;
alzo two or three Eng- 
 lish families who came here many ,years ago, when the English held the old
fort.    All the rest of 
 the inhabitants are French Canadians and their descendants, many of whom
married Indian wives. 
 The language most generally spoken is French, interspersed with a good deal
of Menomonee Indian, 
 and some English.    The houses do not exceed one hundred in number.   
  They are mostly situated 
 along the bank of the river and are some distance apart from each other.
The houses are all built 
 of logs, one story high, excepting the tavern or public house, which is
two stories high. This house 
 is kept by Colonel Irwin, and is used at times for all kinds of gatherings,
as well as for Court House 
 and election purposes. *  *    *  *  * 
       John Jacob Astor of New York, has a large store house here, and several
other trading posts 
 in the interior of the country; and here in the spring is gathered the fruits
of the winter's hunting 
 and shipped to New York.      The Indians come from great distances to trade.
*   *   *  *  * 
       Presently we came in sight of De Pere.   (The translation of these
two French words signify 
the place of the father.) There is nothing here but an old dilapidated log
church, surrounded by a 
few huts also dilapidated.  The place seems abandoned.   Here a French Jesuit
missionary, named 
Claudeus Allouez, nearly a century  and a half ago, planted the cross, and
reported the Indians in 
the surrounding neighborhood as numbering about six IĆ½undred, and
not only they, but thousands of 
others from a distance, had been baptized and admitted to the church. The
inhabitants now seem to 
be very few.    Those that turned out to gaze at us were all Indians.   
  The women and children 
were in a half nude state, and very degraded, filthy, and entirely void of
everything approaching 
Christian civilization. There is also an old saw mill here, but it seemis
to have been idle for some time." 
       At Little Kakalin the writer mentions the Oneida Indians, and at Grand
Kaukauna, a trading 
post, kept by Mr. Grignon. 
       At Grand Chute, ( Appleton), the writer described the scenery as follows:
       " Here the river falls forty feet within a mile and a half. The
volume of water seems to be great- 
er than at any point on the river and in places rushes with a perpendicular
fall over it of four feet. The 
banks on both sides vary from fifty to seventy feet in height and are quite
precipitous. The river thence 
winds in graceful curves over a rocky bottom, dashed here and there against
rocky obstructions and throw- 
ing silvery sprays and sheets into crystal mounds and hillocks. In the midst
of this grand rapid is an 
island covered with a dense growth of majestic oak, maple and beach forest
trees, andfon either side are 
deep ravines like valleys that give an impression that they are grand avenues
formed and adorned by 
the hand of nature, as entrances to some undiscovered Elysium beyond.  Charmed
with the rare beauty 
and grandeur of this place, we make our way up the steep banks and reach
the table land above, and 
from here the landscape is exceedingly beautiful. The air is pure and invigorating,
the water is clear as 
crystal, and the varied hues of the autumn forests which roll in profound
undulations far away in the 
dim distance present a picture of rare beauty." .... 

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