Durbin, Elizabeth (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 25, Number 4 (September 1979)
Goff, Charles D.
Captain Whiting's journal, pp. 3-10
CAPTAIN WHITING'S JOURNAL In 1819, 30 years before Increase Lapham, a young army captain noted in a diary his scientific observations about the state. His accompanying watercolors may be the first artistic renderings by an American citizen of Wisconsin's natural beauties. by Charles D. Goff The unpublished Journal of the March of the Fifth Regiment in June 1819 From Green Bay to Prairie du Chien by Captain Henry Whiting of the US Army proves him to be a keen observer of natural phenomena in Wisconsin, a compe- tent cartographer and a talented ar- tist. The importance of the Journal, however, lies in the vivid descrip- tion of a bit of Wisconsin history and in the establishment of the author's position as the earliest known discoverer of several geological facts peculiar to Wiscon- sin. While Captain Whiting's Journal was chiefly a description of the Fox-Wisconsin valleys through which the Fifth Regiment "marched" in 1819, his account contained several scientific obser- vations which preceded by 30 or more years similar findings by In- crease Lapham, "Wisconsin's First Scientist." For example, Whiting's "Notes on the Tide at the Head of Green Bay" preceded by three decades Lapham's "Rise and Fall of Lake Michigan," mentioned as a possibility in 1847 and confirmed in 1849. Whiting's description of Middle Woodland (Hopewellian) or Late Woodland Indian structural remains on Lake Buffalo preceded Lapham's "Antiques of Wiscon- sin" (1855) by 36 years. Whiting's speculation that the difference in height between the left and right banks of the Fox seems "to favor an opinion that the left bank was once the boundary of Lake Michigan when the interjacent country might have overflowed" preceded Lapham's "Geological Formations in Wisconsin" by 32 years. Whiting's speculation was September 1979/Wisconsin Academy Review/3
Copyright 1979 by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright