University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

The Valley of the Lower Fox: historical, descriptive, picturesque

An historic spot,   pp. [27]-[36]

Page [27]

                                         DOTY ISLAND. 
       The two outlets of Lake Winnebago, known as the Menasha and Neenah
channels of the 
 Fox River, unite in Little Lake Buttes des Morts, and form an island which
is known as Doty Island. It 
 was thus named in honor of James 1)uane Doty from circumstances already
mentioned. The island 
 is about one mile in its greatest width, and about one and one-half miles
in its greatest length. 
 Upon the cast is Lake Winnebago, on the west Little Lake Buttes des Morts,
and the north and 
 south boundaries are the two channels of the river.   One half the island
belongs to the city of 
 Menasha which lies upon the north channel of the river, and the other half
belongs to the city of 
 Neenah which lies on the south channel of the river. It is a most delightful
spot and its scenery 
 is not surpassed in this country. It was originally heavily timbered with
oak and hickory and the 
 march of progress has hewn its way with a careful hand, and the forest has
been disturbed only 
 so far as has been necessary to use and beautify the space. 
       This island was once the home of the \Vinnebagoes, a powerful tribe
of Indians, from whom 
 the lake derives its name.   Here was their village and corn ground and
here, too, was fought one 
 of the most disastrous battles of the French and Indian wars. The following
is the account of that 
 battle as already published.   The stronghold and principal village of the
Sacs and Foxes was on the 
 banks of the Little Buttes des Morts, below Doty Island. They were fortified
by mounds and ditches, 
 and attacked the traders in their passage up and down the river, from whom
they demanded tribute. 'IThe 
 boats were obliged to stop and comply with their extortionate exactions.
So annoying had this become, 
 that an expedition was fitted out against them  under the command of Captain
Moran in 1746.  He 
 proceeded with a large fleet of Durham boats and canoes, covered with oil
cloth to conceal the cargo. 
 When he neared the Indian Blockade he sent a land detachment to attack them
in the rear.  Wnen he 
 came opposite the village, the Indians as usual signalled him to stop. Ile
at once complied with the 
 request, and when the boats approached the sh we the Indians throngecd the
bank in great numbers, pre- 
 paratory to boarding the boats, when to their surprise the oil cloth was
thrown off, and several hundred 
 armed men arose and poured into them a deadly discharge of musketry. The
detachment that was 
 formerly landed came up and cut off their retreat. More than a thousand
warriors perished in this short 
 and decisive battle." The burial place of those killed was marked by
a large, high mound wvhich is still 
 remembered. This circumstance gave the name of Little Lake Buttes des Morts,
or place of the dead, 
 to the lake. 
       Bordering on the south channel and near Lake Winnebago ii the old
Doty homestead, now "Rob- 
erts' Summer Resort." 
       Nearly opposite Roberts' Resort is 
                                     RIVERSIDE          PARK, 
which extends back from the river and is bounded on the east and south by
residence streets.  The 
river at this point is quite broad and winds itself along in graceful curves
until it reaches the Little Lake. 
Along the water's edge a driveway follows the winding course of the bank
and affords a ch .rming view. 
This is one of the most attractive spots for excursionists in this whole
region, and during the summer 
months there is scarcely a day that an excursion boat does not bring a load
of pleasure seekers to en- 
joy its delightful shade and views. The city of Neenah has recently taken
control of the park, and each 
year is increasing its beauty and attractiveness. 
                                    AN HISTORIC SPOT. 
       There is an historic spot in the grounds of lion. Aug. Ledyard Smith
at Appleton. In the lawn 
at the head of a ravine which is crossed by a rustic bridge, as shown in
the view which is given in this 
work, is a well nicely walled up and carefully guarded. In the midst of most
magnificent grounds it 

Go up to Top of Page