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)
HISTORY OF WISCONSIN. the present boundary line between the present States of Iowa and Missouri; north, to the terri- torial line between the United States and Canada; and west, to the Missouri and White Earth rivers. It so continued down to the fourth of July, 1836. A retrospective glance at the history of this region for forty years previous to the last men- tioned year, including the time which elapsed after the surrender of the western posts, in 1796,, by the British, discloses many facts of interest and importance. The Anglo-Americans, not long after the region of country west of Lake Michigan became a part of Indiana Territory, began now and then to cast an eye, either through the opening of the Great Lakes or the Mississippi, upon its rolling rivers, its outspread prairies, and its dense forests, and to covet the goodly land ; but the settlers at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien were mostly French Canadians at this date, although a few were Americans. The General Govern- ment, however, began to take measures preparatory to its occupation, by purchasing, in 1804, a tract in what is now the southwest portion of the State, of the Indians, and by holding the various tribes to a strict account for any murders committed by them on American citizens passing through their territories or trading with them. Comparative peace reigned in the incipient settle- ments at the head of Green bay and at the mouth of the Wisconsin, which was changed by the breaking out of the war of 18i-2, with Great Britain. The English early succeeded in securing the Wisconsin Indian tribes as their allies in this war; and the taking of Mackinaw by the British in July, 1812, virtually put the latter in posses- sion of what is now the eastern portion of the State. Early in 1814, the government authorities of the United States caused to be fitted out at St. Louis a large boat, having on board all the men that could be mustered and spared from the lower country, and sent up the Mississippi to protect the upper region and the few settlers therein. The troops landed at Prairie du Chien, and immediately proceeded to fortify. Not long after, Colonel McKay, of the British army, crossing the country by course of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, with over five hundred British and Indians, received the surrender of the whole force. The officers and men. were paroled and sent down the river. This was the only battle fought upon Wisconsin soil during the last war with England. The post at Prairie du Chien was left in command of a captain with two compa.- nies from Mackinaw.' He remained there until after the peace of I815, when the place was evacuated by the British. When it became generally known to the Indian tribes in what is now Wisconsin, that the contest between the United States and Great Britain was at an end, they generally expressed themselves as ready and willing to make treaties with the General Government-eager, in fact, to establish friendly relations with the power they had so recently been hostile to. This was, therefore, a favorable moment for taking actual possession of the country between the Missis- sippi and Lake Michigan; and United States troops were soon ordered to occupy the two prom- inent points between Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. At the former place was erected Fort Howard; at the latter Fort Crawford. At Green Bay, half a hundred (or less) French Cana- dians cultivated the soil; at Prairie du Chien, there were not more than thirty houses, mostly occupied by traders, while on the prairie outside the village, a number of farms were cultivated. Such was Wisconsin when, at the close of the last war with Great Britain, it began in earnest to be occupied by Americans. The latter were few in number, but in i818, they began to feel, now that the country was attached to Michigan Territory and the laws of the United States were extended over them, that they were not altogether beyond the protection of a government of their own, notwithstanding they were surrounded by savage tribes. Their happiness was increased upon the erection, by proclamation of Lewis Cass, governor of the Territory of Michigan, of three Territorial counties: Michilimackinac, Brown and Crawford. Their establishment dates 36
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