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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

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


Page 23

from this period are Euro-American. Agricultural expansion and urban development in southern
Wisconsin have obliterated many resources associated with the government military-American
Indian context. These resources included stockades and blockhouses built during the Black
Hawk War, none of which are documented for the Janesville area.
While government dealings associated with American Indians had a great effect on the groups
living in the Janesville area, very few actual events have been documented. Undocumented
sites may exist in the form of single or multiple American Indian burials located along the path
of Black Hawk's flight and encampments associated with the Black Hawk War (see the Black
Hawk War theme below).
Settlement Theme
The later years of American Indian occupation in southern Wisconsin coincided with the
general advancement of Euro-American settlers from the southwest (up the Mississippi River)
and from the east. This section will outline American Indian incidents in the Janesville area
associated with the statewide Settlement Theme.
Between 1836, when the Wisconsin Territory was created, and the turn of the century,
Wisconsin was populated by a massive influx of immigrants. Some of these settlers came from
other parts of the United States while others came from Europe. The first influx of settlers
tended to occupy the southern tier of counties, including Rock County. Prior to the Black Hawk
War in 1832, the region that includes Janesville was inhabited primarily by tribal groups such
as the Winnebago and the Potawatomi. By the mid-nineteenth century, indigenous tribal
groups were induced to cede most of their lands to the U. S. government. Thus, the history of
settlement in Rock County was made possible by the coerced reduction of American Indian lands
and the forced removal of the largest portion of the aboriginal population.
For a time, however, the aboriginal inhabitants of Rock County and the early settlers lived
together. Less than one year before the Wisconsin Territory was created, John Inman, George
Follman, William Holmes, and Joshua Holmes settled on the south bank of the Rock River
opposite the "Big Rock" (Gregory 1932:612-613). The log cabin they constructed was the first
known structure within the present city limits of Janesville.
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A portion of the south bank of the Rock River in 1873.
Prehistoric and Historic Native American Occupation
23


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