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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

[From book "History of northern Wisconsin" printed in 1881 by Western Historical Company of Chicago],   pp. 5-10 PDF (4.1 MB)

Page 5

St. Croix County seems to have been the headquarters
for the lodgment of drift, as there are immense beds of
sand and gravel, representing turbulence in their deposition,
with occasional beds of clay, which denote a placid period.
In some places, the rivers have cut their way through
sharply defined banks; but, as they get down lower, the
banks become wider apart. There are several quite well-
defined trap-ledges crossing the St. Croix River above the
county, with a direction E. N. E. and W. S. W.
A prominent rock is the Potsdam sandstone, which was
deposited in the ancient Silurian Sea, and has since been
raised without commotion, as the layers are found in a
horizontal position, even over the upturned edges of rocks
of a crystalline character. This sandstone is represented
as being nowhere more than 900 feet thick, while the
Superior sandstone is thought to be at least 4,000 feet in
There is in the county some croppings of the St. Peters
sandstone, and the Lower Magnesian limestone, with a little
Trenton and Galena limestone, but none of the Niagara
limestone found in the eastern part of the State.
The details of tWe geology of the county have not been
elaborated, and the promises for scientific or mineral reward
are not flattering; but, as to the practical question regarding
the capability of the soil to support inhabitants, a part of it,
as already indicated, is exceptionally good; and where the
vegetable mold is apparently deficient, it has the basis for
satisfactory productiveness, and will treat the cultivator with
the same liberality that he bestows upon it.
The county has an area of about 460,000 acres. Ten
miles below Hudson, the river gradually expands until
opposite the city, it is perhaps a mile wide; it then gradu-
ally contracts, and, when a few miles above Stillwater,
assumes the regular width of the river. This expansion,
which has a channel mostly on the west side, is called
Lake St. Croix. The bluffs, above the western bank of the
river, are somewhat broken and irregular. The eastern
bank more regular in its slope toward the river.
The western tier of towns is more hilly than the others,
the central tiers are undulating prairie, and better adapted
to agricultnre than any other part of the county.
The eastern tier, from north to south across the county,
is the hardwood section, which meets the great pine region
near the center of Dunn County.
The varieties of wood are hickory, butternut, red, black
and white oaks, with rock maple, and in the northeast
corner of the county there is pine.
Among the rivers, the most important, after the St.
Croix, are the Willow and the Apple; the former, going
into the St. Croix in the northwestern part of the county,
and the latter at Hudson. Hay River, which forms the
west branch of the Red Cedar in Dunn County, rises near
the head-waters of the Apple River, and runs in an opposite
CROIX   COUNTY.                                    945
Most of the rivers which abound in the county arise
rather abruptly from springs, which furnish remarkably
pure water, and, as the waters accumulate in the rivers, fine,
although limited, water-powers are furnished, which seldom
fail even in a dry time.
The Rush, Kinnickinnic and Eau Galle rise in the
southern part of the county, and find their way respectively
into Lake Pepin, Lake St. Croix and the Chippewa. There
are several small lakes, among them Bell, Twin, Bass, Perch
and Cedar.
The greatest trouble with the Indians was caused by
their importunate begging and thieving propensities. Visi-
tations were made from the Dakotas or Sioux on the West,
and from the Ojibways or Chippewas on, the East. Each
tribe had its peculiarities, and there was a remarkable
sameness in the form, size and general appearance of each
one of the same tribe. The one could be readily dis-
tinguished from the other; the Sioux were lighter colored
than the Chippewas; the Sioux had dug-outs, the Chippewas
birch bark canoes like those still made by the Oldtown
Indians near Bangor, in Maine. The moccasin of the
Sioux was sewed in front from the toe up, the Chippewas
had a band of foxing around the upper part of the mocca-
sin. As to the belt, that indispensable adjunct to every
Indian wardrobe, and which he has to buckle up as he gets
hungry, and let out as he gormandizes, the Sioux had a
plain, unornamented affair, while the Chippewa had porcu-
pine quills, beads and whatever trinkets he could obtain to
embellish his girdle. The Sioux wore skins, the Chippewas
fabrics. A band on leaving a point, would stick a bush in
the ground or plant it in the stream, and an expert would
tell at once whether it was left by the Chippewas or Sioux.
The Chippewa's wigwam was covered with bark, the Sioux
with skins. To show the character of the warfare indulged
in by these two hostile tribes, an account of an affair wit-
nessed by a man who was several hours held as a prisoner
to prevent his giving information of the movement, will be
related: On the west bank of the Mississippi below St.
Paul, some time in 1842 or 1843, was located an Indian
village, with perhaps 200 braves. On the opposite side ot
the river was a trader who had a Sioux squaw for a wife.
Several hundred Chippewas came down and ranged them-
selves on either side of a ravine leading to the river, in
ambush. They then sent about twenty warriors to the
river, who, finding the trader's squaw in the garden, shot
her. After securing her scalp, the murderers indulged in
a war dance on the bank of the river; the Sioux rallied to
a man; the river was soon black with their canoes coming
over. The Chippewas, waiting until their foes were on the
point of landing, fled up the ravine followed by the Sioux
to receive the effective fire of the Chippewas. Those who
survived this onslaught fled and bravely attempted with the
re-enforcements constantly arriving, to flank their enemies,
by going up another ravine; this contingency had been pro-

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