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Town of Day, 101 years

The town of Day,   pp. 11-42

Page 11

By Muriel Berger
There is a legend told that when the mists surround
"Smokey Hill", Indian spirits are abroad. Maybe they
mourn for their untimely deaths at the hands of the
warring tribes who fought over the land on which their
village was built. Or, maybe, they mourn the total
alteration of the scene they once knew by the invading
white man.
It was the Chippewas who located their main village on
the northwest corner of section 28 in the town of Green
Valley, an island that dominated the area along the Little
Eau Pleine River. Smokey Hill is what it is now called
since the lake is drained, although it is only slightly higher
than the surrounding lands. It was once a vantage point
that commanded the entire valley. Then, the island was
wooded, had water and game available, and was much
prized as a campsite.
Although white men had not set foot in the area, the
winds of colonization that stirred Europe, also ruffled the
waters of Rice Lake. This was because the French, now
with a fort at Green Bay, were primarily interested in the
valuable furs collected from the friendly Chippewas, and
wanted to see them firmly in control of the region. This
would insure the French of a steady supply of furs to send
back to France.
In 1755, or perhaps 1758, the exact year is lost in time,
the Chippewas decided to take their annual spring trip
along the "Sugar Maple River", as they called the Little
Eau Pleine, to tap and collect sap for their supply of sugar
and syrup. As was their custom, a few remained on the
island, perhaps the elderly and those who for other
reasons would not be useful in the task of gathering the
It was then that the Winnebagos moved in. As Indians
were accustomed to fight, therewere no prisoners taken.
The entire remnant of Indians left behind was dead, and
the village was now in the possession of the Winnebagos.
The Chippewas realized that without help they had
little chance of regaining control of their village site, so
they sent a runner to Green Bay to enlist the French in the
fight. The French, eager to maintain this rich fur-trading
area under the control of their friends rather than the
hated and warlike Winnebagos, promptly sent help.
By a long and circuitous route, probably over the Fox
River to Portage, then up the Wisconsin River to the Big
Eau Pleine, they arrived at a spot where the Little Eau
Pleine was only a mile and half away. Portaging here, the
French lieutenant and his dozen men with their rifles and
cannons, joined the Chippewa warriors. If it seems like
they took the long way around, it has to be noted that this
was probably the only way they could have transported a
They divided forces, one group attacking the island
from the west, driving the Winnebagos to the east, into
the waiting arms of the other half of the war party. The
cannons, firing from a distance, drove the Winnebagos to
the east, into the waiting arms of the other half of the
party, resulting in a massacre. And the French then
returned to Green Bay, secure in the knowldge that the
profitable fur trade was soon to be resqrd.
This story recorded by John Brinkmann, an early
settler in Rozellville, was told to him by Peter Chaurette, a
half-breed Indian, who heard the story from his parents.
Chaurette, buried in a Rozellville cemetery, died in 1884 at
the age of 74.
When the whiteman again returned to the areas of Day
and Green Valley, they found the Potowatami Indians
there. This tribe's first villages in Wisconsin were on the
Milwaukee River near Lake Michigan, and later they
spread into the Green Bay area. But, by 1833 Milwaukee
had grown rapidly, and a treaty was signed between these
Indians and the United States government to force the
evacuation of the Indians to make way for the growing
white settlements. They were forced to move to Kansas.
But this treeless area seemed bare and lifeless to these
woodland Indians who could never look upon Kansas as a
home.   Finally a small band of about two hundred
Potawatamis moved into the area now encompassed by the
town of Day.
The Chippewas and Winnebagos had been forced
earlier to leave their old territories to move further west.
So the Potawatomis moved into this area. These were the
Indians found by the early settlers. They had a trail that

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