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Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest

Winnebago County,   pp. 94-137 PDF (36.5 MB)

Page 94

[page 94]
of the State; and the track of railroad lines on
both shores, may be traced by the smoke of
the locomotive.
What a spectacle is here afforded of the
wonderful progress of the age! Twenty-eight
years ago this location was one of the frontiers
of Western civilization; and the Indian title
not then extinguished to the tract lying west
of the Fox River, only ten miles distant from
Oshkosh, then a frontier village. Now popu-
lous cities, marts of trade and commerce, with
educational institutions, and all the luxuries,
and elegancies of modern social life, cluster
around these waters - highly cultivated farms
cover the whole face of the country - railroads
stretch away in every direction; and the empire of
modern progress holds undisputed sway. The
Indian wigwam and the pioneer's log cabin are
supplanted by the stately mansion and towering 
steeple - the bark canoe and the voyageur's 
bateau have given way to the magnificent 
steamer and graceful sail craft; and the
generous hospitalities of the pioneer - his
hearty  welcome - his kindly manners and
his brave enterprises that opened up the
pathway of progress, are among the things of
the past.
And now, if the writer, who has endeavored 
to sketch the country on the line of
these great water courses, and the outlines of
its eventful history of two centuries, with its
transformations from a wilderness into the populous centers of busy life,
has succeeded in
drawing the picture, that portion of his task is
ended, and the next subject will be the history 
of Winnebago County, and its several
cities and towns.
The Fox River Valley and Central Wisconsin
Indescribably Charming in its Picturesque Beauty 
of Commingled Prairie, Woodland, Lakes and Rivers
The Lovely Water Scenery an Especial Feature 
The Richest Fertility of Soil, with Good Water 
and a Healthful Climate 
The Fox Valley a Conjunction of Three Distinct Types of
Country, with Great Natural Elements of Productive
Wealth, and One of the Chief Business Thoroughfares of
the State.
BY an examination of the map of Wisconsin, it will 
be seen that the Wisconsin, and Upper and Lower
Fox Rivers form a water-line through the
entire breadth of the State, whose main
direction is nearly northeast from the mouth
of the Wisconsin, on the Mississippi, to that
of the Lower Fox, at Green Bay.  This line
is the  dividing  point between two  districts of very distinct physical
features.  The
territory lying south of this river line, comprises the great rich prairie
and opening dis-
trict of the State, which stretches from 
Winnebago county to its southern and western
limits. This vast tract, with the exception of
the strip of timbered land in the counties 
bordering Lake Michigan, constitutes the northeastern section of that great
empire of fertile, prairie and openings, which
extends to the south and west for distances
that include whole States in their vast limitations, and presenting in almost
one continuous
body a tract of agricultural country, whose
territorial immensity and fertility is unparalleled in the wide world. That
portion of it
included in the limits of the State of Wisconsin is more diversified with
openings and
detached bodies of timber, and consequently
does not present those great monotonous
stretches of level prairie, which largely abound
in the more southern portions of the district.
The face of this prairie and opening country of
Wisconsin is indescribably charming in its
picturesque beauty of commingled prairie, wood
land, lakes and rivers; forming vast rural
landscapes of the most exquisite loveliness.
Here are lakes rivaling the finest in the world,
with handsome sloping banks rising in the
most graceful undulations.
The rolling prairie, in a succession of
smoothly rounded ridges, stretching away, as
far as eye can reach, dotted with picturesque
openings and bordered with the dense foliage
of the more heavily wooded slopes, affording
views, whose distant vistas fade into a perspective that resembles some enchanting
mirage of wooded hills and grassy lawns, with
glimpses of water flecking the whole scene in
artistic light and shadows.  But in all this
magnificent countly, there is no tract that can
surpass, and but few that can equal, that
embraced in the counties of Winnebago,
Green Lake and western Fond du Lac. These
now present one expanse of highly cultivated
farms, with farm houses that, in many instances 
are elegant rural villas; spacious barns and
good fences, giving every evidence of the
wealth and thrift of their occupants.
In Green Lake and Winnebago counties,the 
beautiful water scenery is an especial feature, 
which gives additional charms to the
contrasting varieties of prairie and woodland.
These large bodies of water modify the heat of
summer, and purify the air, which is delight-
fully exhilarating and healthful. These lakes

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