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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Raney, William F.
Our state,   pp. 11-18 PDF (3.2 MB)

Page 11

By William F. Raney
  We of Outagamie County join with
the other counties of the state in con-
gratulating Wisconsin on the completion
of her first century. The Act of Congress
admitting Wisconsin to the Union was
approved by President Polk, May 29, 1848;
on June 7, Nelson Dewey, a Democrat
of Grant County, took the oath of office
and became the first governor.
           FIRST PEOPLES
  No one knows how long the Indians
had occupied Wisconsin before 1848. Jean
Nicolet, the first European to see it,
came in 1634. For about 200 years after
his short visit, it was permitted to the
Indians to live and fight in Wisconsin
much as they pleased. Their life was, of
course, modified by the use of firearms and
other goods of European origin, and to
buy what they needed they were obliged
to devote themselves unremittingly to the
pursuit of fur-bearing animals.
  At Green Bay a small French-speaking
community, closely bound up with the
Indian trade, came into existence. In
1820, when it was about to be submerged
in an English-speaking flood, this French-
Canadian community is believed to have
numbered about 50 families; that is,
probably, some 250 or 300 persons. There
was a similar community, but much
smaller, at Prairie du Chien; some scat-
tered Frenchmen lived elsewhere alone or
among the Indians. There are some place
names of French origin in Wisconsin to-
day, but the 'Wisconsin Creoles" as
Thwaites once called them, were not
numerous enough to leave an appreciable
impress on the Wisconsin of today. The
office of the American Fur Company at
Green Bay was closed in 1845, and this
date may be taken to mark the end of
the fur trade in eastern and southern
  Before Wisconsin could become an
English-speaking community, the Indians
must be removed or gathered into reser-
vations. The various tribes were treated
by the federal government as having some

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