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Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest
(1880)

[History of towns],   pp. 230-296 (n) PDF (57.0 MB)


Page 230


HISTORY OF WJNNEBAGO COUNTY, WISCONSIN
TOWN OF MENASHA,
[COMPILED FOR THIS WORK BY WM. N. WEBSTER.
CHAPTER LIX.
Soil, Face of Country -Timber, Water and Productions -
Little Buttes des Morts-Organization of the Town-
First Births - First Marriage - First Death - First
Settlers.
HE Town of Menasha, including the city
El1| of the same name, being the northern
half of Township Twenty, north, Range
Seventeen, east, is situated in the
north-east corner of the County, and is
bounded, north by the Town of Grand
Chute, in Outagamie County, east by Lake
Winnebago, and the Town of Harrison, in Cal-
umet County, south by Neenah and the lake,
west by Clayton, comprising, after deducting
for Little Buttes des Morts Lake, some sixteen
sections, which, lying above the lakes, is gen-
erally level, with slight undulations.
Its surface, originally covered with a dense
growth of timber, principally sugar-maple,
white and swamp oak, beach, hickory, ash and
basswood, interspersed in the northwest por-
tion of the town, with groves of pine, has been,
to a large extent, cleared of timber and con-
verted into excellent farming lands.
The soil is a rich vegetable mold, with deep
clay sub-soil, and a lime-stone base, producing
a fine growth of wheat, oats, rye, or barley,
and is particularly adapted to grazing. Nat-
ural meadows are abundant, and, in fact, all
varieties of grasses seem natural.
Little Buttes des Morts Lake and Fox River
running north, through the town, divide it
nearly equally, and with several small streams,
afford an abundance of water.
Along the shores of Buttes des Morts, an
unlimited amount of clay, of the finest quality,
for brick-making, is found, and this branch of
industry is extensively followed, producing
annually, immense quantities of brick, which
are now used extensively in the vicinity and
shipped abroad. Good lime-stone is also
abundant.
In 1849, Mr. James Ladd constructed a
lime-kiln on his present farm (west side of
Lake Buttes des Morts), from which he supplied
this entire section of country, including that
used at Lawrence University, which he deliv-
ered on the ground, at fifteen cents per
bushel.
The stone being generally located below the
surface it was found much less expensive to
obtain the raw  material from  the immense
range on the east shore of Lake Winnebago,
which is much lighter in color and has almost
entirely taken the place of stone from local
quarries.
Buttes des Morts, literally "Hills of the
Dead, "-this name designates two points
within the county of great historical interest.
The Grand Buttes des Morts is situated nine
miles above Oshkosh, upon a delightful eleva-
tion, where the village of the same name now
stands.
Commanding an extensive view, including
the junction of the Fox and Wolf Rivers,
which, mingling their waters at its foot, spread
over a surface some two miles in width and
about seven in length, called, Big Buttes des
Morts Lake.
The other, Little Buttes des Morts, below
Lake Winnebago, and directly west of the City
of Menasha, across a smaller expansion of Fox
River, called Little Buttes des Morts Lake. The
ground here, rising high above the lake, was
surmounted by several large mounds, which,
within the past few years, have been almost
entirely removed, and on the same spot we
now find the tracks, depot and crossing of the
Chicago & Northwestern and Wisconsin Cen-
tral railroads. In excavating for these tracks,
quantities of human bones, implements of iron
and copper were unearthed.
Some two hundred years ago, these two
points were the headquarters of powerful
Indian tribes, the location of their principal
villages, their theatre of action, the scene of
desperate conflicts between different tribes,
their final destruction by the French, and
finally their last resting-place.
The Town of Neenah, of which this was once
a part, was divided January 6, 1855, by order
,  I fi   1-,.f., -_3-s -  3 r C.s v_-   -   IDA
VI UIC tl UUILLy DUaru U1 .upervisors, and tne
Town of Menasha organized.
Previous to this division, a rivalry had sprung
up, very naturally, between the two sides of
the river.
The place of holding town elections had, long
prior to this date, been established, by act of
the Legislature, at Neenah.
The Village of Menasha had for some time
agitated the subject and claimed that the elec-
tion should be held alternately at that place,
and, until April 5, 1853, the question was to be
contested at the polls, but Neenah out-voted
the Town of Menasha. The question being
upon the place of holding the next election,
and of dividing the town, one hundred and
eighty-two votes were cast for holding the next
election at the Winnebago Exchange, in Nee-
nah, and the same number against a division,
[i849-53s


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