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Town of Day, 101 years
(1881-1982)

Down through history,   pp. 6-10


Page 8

occurred. Surprisingly they were fairly accurate but later
on they had to resurvey and correct the errors. One of the
corrections made was to take into account the fact that
earth was round, and that the square townships had to
reflect the earth's shape. This resulted in range lines
which are corrections on original surveying jobs.
In May of 1800, Congress divided the area into two
territories, dividing by a line north from the mouth of the
Kentucky River to Canada. The eastern section was "The
Territory Northwest of the River Ohio", and the
remainder the Indiana Territory. Ohio was carved out,
and admitted to the union in 1803. Michigan was admitted
in 1809, after agreeing to give up some land along the
south shores of Lake Michigan, they were given territory
that should have been part of Wisconsin. Indiana was
admitted in 1816, and Illinois, because they wished to
retain a port along Lake Michigan, took more of the land
claimed by Wisconsin in 1818. What was left became the
Wisconsin Territory in 1836, and included lands of Iowa,
Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota.
Meanwhile, the British, who had never given up their
trading activities in Wisconsin, took another opportunity
to regain political control of the land, too. A European war
again spilled over into the new American nation. America
allied with the French, and the War of 1812 started as the
United States entered the fray.
TheTreaty of Ghent in 1814 again sealed the fate of
Wisconsin as the United States maintained control of all of
the lands they had gained in the Revolutionary War.
Thus, the British finally left Wisconsin. They had left
little impression here. They developed no institutions,
organized no government, afid built no settlements. This
all had to be done by the immigrants who began to flood
the land.
The first of these were the lead miners in the 1820's
and 1830's. The deposits of lead had been long known by
the Indians, and whites as well. Perrot, a French explorer,
had taught the Indians to use a crude smelter in 1790. But
in 1822, Colonel James A. Johnson came to Galena,
Illinois, and began extensive mining with both white and
negro slaves.
The rush was on, and soon a settlement sprang up at
New   Diggings in present Lafayette County, and
Hardscrabble, now Hazel Green. John Bonner, at Hazel
Green, started digging. At four and a half feet he found
"block mineral", and by nightfall, he had 17,000 pounds
of ore at eighty dollars a ton.
By boats, wagons and coaches they came, the miners,
gamblers, and drifters to build shanty towns, and to start
digging for the ore. The population mushroomed from one
hundred in early 1825, to ten thousand in 1828.
The height of the lead mining era was in the 1840's,
when Wisconsin lead production reached more than half of
the output of the nation. It is from these miners that the
nickname, "Badger State" was taken. Badgers were the
leadminers who dug themselves homes in the hillside, and
stayed for the winter instead of returning home for the
winter.
In 1836 there were few settlements in Wisconsin.
There were forts at Green Bay, Portage, and Prairie du
Chien, and the village of Milwaukee, founded by Solomon
Juneau in 1818, and, of course, the lead mining
settlements. There were no roads or bridges. When the
territorial capitol was decided upon in 1836, a crew of men
was sent out from Milwaukee to begin construction. Thirty-
8
six workmen and six teams of oxen took ten days to travel
the eighty miles between the two sites.
Pine forests covered nearly two-thirds of the state
when the Europeans arrived. It was a great resource to
the early settlers for building cabins and for fuel in the
long Wisconsin winters. It was the enemy of the farmer,
too, who had to remove not only the trees, but also the
huge stumps before he could go about the business of
raising food to survive.
But, it was also the start of the lumber industry. In
1819 a mill was erected on the Black River at Black River
Falls, but Indians burned it down the next year. In
1827-1828 Daniel Whitney received permission from the
Indians to erect a shingle mill on the upper Wisconsin
River in what is now Wood County. In rapid succession
mills sprang up at Stevens Point, Plover, Nekoosa, and
Port Edwards. The lumber industry was off and running.
There was a great deal of concern at first because
lumbering took place in what was considered Indian lands.
Since it was the concern of the commander at Fort
Winnebago, now the city of Portage, that peace be
maintained, he vigorously opposed any licenses of mills
for lumbering. Major David E. Twiggs refused to allow
Whitney to keep his shingle mill going, but soon had to
accept the fact that lumbering washere to stay. Treaties
were made with the Indians to allow lumbering to take
place in certain areas. One of these treaties which
affected the development of the land which would become
known as Marathon County in the future, was the "three
mile survey". This was a strip of land extending from Fort
Winnebago to Little Bull Falls, Mosinee today. It was
three miles wide on either side of the Wisconsin River,
and allowed lumbering to be carried on in these
designated areas, unmolested by the Indians. But, it was
not long before the lumbering had extended outside the
strip. The demands of the growing nation for lumber were
insatiable, and as long as the market existed, there were
people willing to risk Indians and the army to cash in on
the wealth.
As soon as the question of the Indians was settled, the
"pinery men", as they were called, appeared. Like
"couriur de Bois", the early fur traders, and the lead
miners, the lumbermen had no intention of staying. It was
another case of get rich, and get out!
Since no one could envision that these magnificent
trees would ever run out, the lumber barrons wanted only
the pine. Hardwoods did not float, and there was no way
to market them, so they were either ignored or destroyed
if they were in the way. They came into an area, cut what
they wanted as fast as they could, and then moved on.
Behind them they left a vast sea of cut-over land, with tall
stumps sticking out of the litter of the tops and discarded
limbs. It was supposed, if anyone even thought about it,
that this debris would eventually rot away, or a farmer
would clear it up to begin farming. Unfortunately, it often
fed the flames of the devastating forest fires that swept
through the cut-over land, destroying villages and virgin
timber in its wake. Debris also littered the river banks too
and that was quickly transported in the spring floods to
spread trash all the way along the river shores as far as the
Mississippi, and farther.
It would be easy to point a finger at these methods.
The lumber jacks worked thirteen hours a day in all
weather, and he did as he was told. He knew no better.
The lumber barrons, although no one would ever accuse


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