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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
([1949])

Magnus, J. F.
Tillers of the soil,   pp. 125-140 PDF (3.8 MB)


Page 125


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


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