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Stratford centennial
(1891-1991)

Before Stratford,   pp. 1-7


Page 1

Before Stratford
Early History
The Indians
The Stratford area was once a lush forest of trees, home to
wildlife, flowers, and birds. The Indians passed through the
region, hunting the wide varieties of game, catching fish in the
rivers, as well as gathering the sap from the sugar maple trees
so abundant in the area.
Unfortunately, they left no written history, only stories
passed down from one generation to the next which cannot be
verified. Oral histories vary in the telling and can only be used
as a loose interpretation of the way things were. It is only
when the white man entered the region that written documen-
tation became available, told from the white man's point of
view.
Several tribes were reported in southwestern Marathon
County. The Chippewa and Winnebago Indians lived in
Green Valley and Day townships when settlement came to the
area.
The Potawatomi were located in the same townships. They
settled in the area after a peace treaty was signed between the
Indians and the United States giving up their rights to their
home in the Milwaukee area. As the population grew around
Milwaukee, they were forced northward, finally settling in the
Little Eau Pleine Valley. They would travel to Rozellville to
trade at the store of John Brinkman Sr. and work for farmers
in the area, helping them clear their land. More information
can be found in the Town of Day Centennial Book on the life
of the Indians in the Rozellville and Smokey Hill areas.
An article from The Wausau Pilot, March 19, 1907, gives
the historical information of the Indian migration to our area
and their movement out of the county as white settlement
increased.
"The story deals with the old Saunders farm which is
located in Section 32, town 26, range4 in what is known as the
town of Day, the farm being located a short distance from the
Little Eau Pleine river. There was an old Indian village on this
farm.
"The reasons the Indians came here are written in the
congressional record of the 57th congress.
"The government invited the Chippewa, Fox, Sac,
Menominee, Iowa, Sioux, Winnebago and a portion of the
Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes of Indians to meet in Prairie
Indian woman from
southwestern Marathon County.
du Chein on Aug. 19, 1825, for the purpose of meeting its
commissioners, Wm. Clark and Lewis Cass, to establish
treaty and boundary claims. The government later established
a number of reservations. The Menominees were assigned
lands in what is now Shawano county and it was required that
each Indian should register before entering the reservation.
Part of the band refused to fill this requirement and moved into
this county and built a village on what was afterwards the
Saunders farm; another band moved to where the village of
Auburndale is located. The country along the Eau Pleine
rivers was especially attractive to them because it afforded
good fishing, plenty of wild fowl and game and forests of
sugar trees. There were upwards of 500 Indians located on
this farm summer and winter.
"In the silent, somnolent forests they built round, bark
houses. A framework of poles and branches was made and
bound together and entirely covered with large pieces of bark
firmly held in place by tough, pliable, rope-like straps of
dogwood bark. Usually they had a low platform constructed
around the walls of their huts, which was used as a lounging
place by day and as a bed by night. In the center was an open
space with dirt floor. In winter and on stormy days they
cooked their meals in this open space, the smoke wending its
way upward through an aperture left in the roof.


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