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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Butterfield, C. W.
III.--Pre-territorial annals of Wisconsin,   pp. 29-41 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 31

first structure erected by civilized man in Wisconsin. At La Pointe, in the
county, he established the mission of the Holy Ghost.
     The next Catholic mission in what is now Wisconsin was that of St. Francis
Xavier, founded
 also by Allouez. Upon the second of December, 1669, he first attended to
his priestly devotions
 upon the waters of Green bay. This mission, for the first two years of its
existence, was a
 migratory one. The surrounding tribes were all visited, including the Pottawattamies,
 onees, Winnebagoes, and Sacs and Foxes. However, in 1671, one hundred and
five years before
 the Declaration of Independence, there was erected, at what is now Depere,
Brown county, a
 chapel for the mission of St. Francis Xavier. Thus early did the Jesuit
Fathers, in their plain
 garbs and unarmed, carry the cross to many of the benighted heathen occupying
the country
 circumscribed by Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior, and the "greatriver
"-the Mississippi.
     French domination in Wisconsin dates from the year 167M, the very year
in which it seems
the indomitable LaSalle, upon his first expedition, passed the mouth of Green
bay, but did not
enter it. France then took formal possession of the whole of the country
of the upper lakes.
By this time, the commerce with the western tribes had so attached them to
her interests that
she determined to extend her power to the utmost limits-vague and indeterminate
as they
were-of Canada. An agent-Daumont de St. Lusson-was dispatched to the distant
proposing a congress of Indian nations at the Falls of Ste. Mary, between
Lake Huron and Lake
Superior. The invitation was extended far and near. The principal chiefs
of Wisconsin tribes,
gathered by Nicolas Perrot in Green bay, were present at the meeting. Then
and there, with
due ceremony, it was announced that the great Northwest was placed under
the protection of
the French government. And why not ?   She had discovered it.--had to a certain
explored it-had to a limited extent established commerce with it-and her
missionaries had
proclaimed the faith to the wondering savages. But none of her agents-none
of the fur-
traders-none of the missionaries--had yet reached the Mississippi, the "great
river," concerning
which so many marvels had been heard, although it is claimed that, in I1669,
it had been seen
by the intrepid La Salle. But the time for its discovery, or properly re-discovery,
was at hand, if,
indeed, it can be called, with propriety, a re-discovery, since its existence
to the westward was
already known to every white man particularly interested in matters appertaining
to the North-
west. Now, however, for the first time, its upper half was to be, to a certain
extent, explored.
For the first time, a white man was to behold its vast tribute, above the
Illinois river, rolling
onward toward the Mexican gulf. Who was that man?   His name was Louis Joliet;
with him
was Father James Marquette.
    Born at Quebec, in 1645, educated by the Jesuits, and first resolving
to be a priest, then
turning fur-trader, Joliet had, finally, been sent with an associate to explore
the copper mines of
Lake Superior. He was a man of close and intelligent observation, and possessed
mathematical acquirements. At this time, 1673, he was a merchant, courageous,
hardy, enter-
prising. He was appointed by French authorities at Quebec to "discover"
the Mississippi. He
passed up the lakes to Mackinaw, and found at Point St. Ignace, on the north
side of the strait,
Father James Marquette, who readily agreed to accompany him. Their outfit
was very simple:
two birch-bark canoes and a supply of smoked meat and Indian corn. They had
a company of
five men with them, beginning their voyage on the seventeenth of May, 1673.
Passing the straits,
they coasted the northern shores of Lake Michigan, moved up Green bay and
Fox river to the
portage. They crossed to the Wisconsin, down which they paddled their frail
canoes, until, On
the seventeenth of June, they entered-" discovered "-the Mississippi.
So the northern, the
eastern and the western boundary of what is now Wisconsin had "been
reached at this date;
therefore, it may be said that its territory had been explore.d sufficiently
for the forming of a.

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