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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history

1. Prehistoric and historic Native American occupation,   pp. 1-42

Page 16

boundary of the present limits of the county, the other at its extreme southern boundary.
The first mentioned was located ... within the present town of Milton, on the west side
of Lake Koshkonong, and upon its immediate bank, about three-fourths of a mile north
of the point where Rock River leaves the Lake. The Indian name of this village was
Tay-e-hee-dah. When, in 1834, the Government Surveyors were there, they described
it as the "ruins of an old Indian village." At the beginning of the Black Hawk War, it
was found deserted....
Below Tay-e-hee-dah, at or near the mouth of the Yahara (Catfish), on the west side
of Rock River, it is probable that there was also an Indian village....Still further down
the river at a point where the city of Beloit is now located, was the Winnebago village
called by the early explorers and travelers, the Turtle....When the army under Gen.
Atkinson marched by the point, in pursuit of the famous Sac chief, the dwellings were
found deserted. (Butterfield 1879:324).
American victory in the Revolution and acquisition of lands east of the Mississippi meant little
to Wisconsin's Native Americans. These groups still considered the British as the principals in
charge, with the French-Canadian element still serving as fur trade representatives. American
influence soon began to be felt, however, with the westward movement of settlers. This
settlement meant military posts to protect American territory, citizens, and investments. Thus
began a long period of treaties between the government of the United States and the various
tribal groups in the Wisconsin area. Increasing American visibility and the signing of treaties
did not persuade the region's aboriginal inhabitants to forsake the British. Anti-American
sentiments ran high among the Winnebago, and they were among the earliest recruits to the
Shawnee prophet Tenskwatawa (the Prophet) and his militaristic brother Tecumseh. Those
who followed Tecumseh would join the British forces against the Americans during the War of
1812. Throughout this conflict, it was the American Indian allies who were responsible for the
British victories in the Upper Midwest. Not all Winnebago, however, were pro-British during
the War of 1812. Potawatomi allegiance was also divided. Pro-American sentiment was due to
the fur trade. American traders from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois had access to the
Winnebago and Potawatomi living along the western shore of Lake Michigan and the Rock
River. These groups found it difficult to side against the Americans during the conflict.
Interestingly, several years after the War of 1812, when the Americans persuaded many of
Wisconsin's tribal groups to sign a peace treaty, they overlooked the Rock River Winnebago.
Apparently, Americans were not aware of the complexities of political and settlement patterns
among the aboriginal groups.
In 1825, the Americans called the tribal groups to a council at Prairie du Chien. At this council,
physical tribal boundaries were set. It was these boundaries that caused the Winnebago to kill
several American miners who were working mines on Winnebago land. American military
forces quickly retaliated, however, and no further incidents occurred. Earlier land sales and an
attempt to forcibly move his band west of the Mississippi provoked the Sauk chief Black
Hawk into flight across Illinois and Wisconsin and several military confrontations with the
Americans. The years following the Black Hawk War consisted of more treaties and further
displacements of tribal groups. Group amalgamation continued, as did forced removal west of
the Mississippi. The Winnebago and many other groups resisted removal. At least four
Prehistoric and Historic Native American Occupation

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