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

Holand, Hjalmar Rued, 1872-1963 / Wisconsin's Belgian community : an account of the early events in the Belgian settlement in northeastern Wisconsin with particular reference to the Belgians in Door County
(1933)

Chapter I: The first Belgian pioneers,   pp. [9]-16 PDF (132.9 KB)


Page 10


10        WISCONSIN'S BELGIAN COMMUNITY
on its homeward journey, never to be heard from again.
With it was lost a fortune in furs which had been obtained
from the Indians to defray the expenses of the expedition.
    Meanwhile Hennepin with about twenty other men
traveled in birch-bark canoes to the south end of Lake
Michigan. It was the season of fall storms, and a whole
month was spent in traveling the length of Door County.
    Eventually the party reached the lower reaches of the
Illinois river, and from here Hennepin with two other men
were sent to explore the upper Mississippi river which had
been discovered only seven years previously. They were
the first white men known to have reached St. Anthony
Falls, named by Hennepin, now in the heart of Minneapolis.
On his way back he traveled by way of the Wisconsin river
and the Fox river, stopping for a brief rest at the Jesuit
mission on the site of the present city of DePere. As he
traveled by canoe, the first day's journey from there would
bring him approximately to the site of the present village
of Dyckesville, the first favorable camping place he would
come to, toward the end of the day's journey. He therefore
probably camped here, little dreaming that his campsite
was later to become the center of the largest settlement of
his countrymen in America.
    But that was long ago, and very few if any Belgians
followed him for almost two hundred years. Eventually
a few venturesome souls from the seaports found their way
to the new world, but they wrote but few letters home, and
their example was not followed by many. It is not known
that any Belgians from the farming districts emigrated to
America until 1853.
    In the early part of that year a farmer by the name
of Francois Petiniot from the commune of Grez Doiceau in


Go up to Top of Page