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)
PRE-TERRITORIAL ANNALS OF WISCONSIN. first structure erected by civilized man in Wisconsin. At La Pointe, in the present.Ashland 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, Menom-. 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 tribes, 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 extent 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 considerable 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. 31
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