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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 36

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
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

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