The Valley of the Lower Fox: historical, descriptive, picturesque
The Valley in 1825, pp. -
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 Iýundred, 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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