Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Magnus, J. F.
Tillers of the soil, pp. 125-140 PDF (3.8 MB)
TILLERS OF THE SOIL By J. F. Magnus The history of modern agriculture in Outagamie County had its first beginnings during the early days of Wisconsin settle- ment. However, county agriculture has felt the impact of many important in- fluences. They- include the pre-historic agriculture carried on by the native In- dians, the extensive fur trade and the early development of Wisconsin lumber industry. All of these have played a part in the evolution of agriculture as we know it today. INDIANS, FIRST FARMERS The first crude farming had been de- veloped by the Indians long before the coming of the white man. Father Claude Allouez, who visited the Indians in in- terior Wisconsin in 1670, describes early agriculture among the Fox Indians in the Jesfuit Relations. "These savages are settled in an ex- cellent country-the soil which is black there, yielding them Indian corn in abun- dance. They live by hunting during the winter, returning to their cabins toward its close, and living there on Indian corn that they had hidden away the previous autumn; they season it with fish.'' Another early explorer, Jonathan Carver, who traveled through Wisconsin in 1766, has also left records of agriculture among the Indians. He wrote, 'The land adjacent to the Lake (Winnebago) is very fertile, abounding with grapes, plums, and other fruits which grow spontane- ously. The Winnebagoes raise in it a great quantity of Indian corn, beans, pumpkins, squashes, watermelons, with some to- bacco." These first records of early Wisconsin explorers are substantiated by records of later traders. Robert Dixon, a leading trader of the British period, wrote in 1793 that the Indians at the falls of the Fox River raised Indian corn, squash, potatoes, melons and cucumbers in great abundance and good tobacco. He found large quanti- ties of wild oats growing on the low lands near the river. During the fur trade era great and even revolutionary changes took place in Indi- an life and customs. These, on the whole, were not always advantageous to the Indians. The trade supplied the natives 125
Images cannot be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the Appleton Public Library. For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright