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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter I: Prairie du Chien and the Red Cedar,   pp. 1-6


Page 5

HISTORY OF DUN  COUNTY
boundarv, measured due north 120 miles, passes about six miles east of Marshfield,
Wisconsin, through the west part of Marathon County, and along the east line of
Taylor and Price Counties to the northeast corner of the grant in Iron County,
about two miles southeast from 'Mercer, Wisconsin. On the northwest, a straight
line running thence to the Falls of St. Anthony passes near Rossville, in Sawyer
County, across the Red Cedar Lake and upper Turtle Lake in Barron County,
and by the railroad towns of Turtle Lake and Amery, crosses the St. Croix about
two miles north of the Apple River, and crosses the central part of White Bear Lake
in Minnesota.
There is no evidence that Carver at any time took possession of the lands
granted or ever tried to enforce a right of possession, but his heirs and their grantees
have ineffectually tried to establish a title under the deed. The possession of the
site of Menomonie has been claimed by many Indian tribes; France, Great Britain
and the United States have successively exercised dominion over it, but Carver made
the first private claim of ownership to it. This claim, the United States in 1854
ignored by issuing to William Wilson a patent covering a part of the site of Men-
omonie. A decision of the United States supreme court made in 1823 in effect ruled
out the Carver claim and deed. Chief Justice Marshall wrote the opinion filed by
the court. He reviews the historv of the socalled Indian lands, and points out as a
fact that the French and English from the time of their earliest discoveries and
conquests in North America had insisted that the fee in all lands vested in the power
making the discovery or conquest and that the right of the Indian tribes therein
was limited to mere occupancy. And that when these sovereign powers ceded to.
the United States parts of these lands so held such absolute fee therein vested in this
nation. The court held that by the established law, whether right or wrong as
an abstract proposition in ethics, the Indian tribes had only a right to remain in
posF- ssion of the lands until the dominant power saw fit to disposess them. In
the (ye of the law the Indians held no claim to or right in the lands that they could
sell and convey. They have been permitted to cede them to the nation in power
but never to cede them to another nation nor under any inherent or original right
to sell or surrender them to individuals.
Froii the time of Le Sueur's journey to that of Carver's, incidental mention in
the official correspondence of Canada is made of traders being on the upper reaches
of the Mississippi River and of French officers building forts on Lake Pepin to
protect the traders and to conciliate Indian tribes that they might be kept from
joining, at first the Sauk and Foxes in their war against the French and still later the
tribes friendly to the Sauk and Foxes in their war against the French and later the
tribes friendly to the English during the seven years of war. For over a half a
century, from 1700 to 1767, no direct accounts of travellers are found relating to
Prairie du Chien and the Chippewa River Country. The warfare above mentioned
prevented settlement and discouraged exploration.
Carver in his book of travels has given what seems to be the first authentic and
trustworthy description of the Chippewa River and has also given the first direct
and particular account of Prairie du Chien. Carver says nothing of permanent
settlers nor of resident traders. It is a much disputed question, this of the first
white occupier or settler of Prairie du Chien, who he was or whence he came.
Tradition has it that Jean Marie Cardinelli and his wife, both French, were the
first real settlers of Prairie du Chien. They are said to have come there, bringing
with them an Omaha Indian as a slave, some time between 1720 and 1730.
The next personal and succinct account of Prairie du Chien, after that of Carver,
is given by Peter Pond, a successful fur trader. He, like Carver, was a Connecticut
man born and bred. In 1773 he first traded on the Mississippi, and his account
pertains to this and the two ensuing years. Pond seems to have entered the
Western trade with a good deal of confidence and he and his partner accumulated
an immense quantity of goods at Mackinaw for the Indian trade. He says: "I
divided my goods into twelve parts and fitted out twelve large canoes for different
parts of the Mississippi River. Each canoe was made of birch bark and white
cedar; they would carry 7,000 weight.' At Green Bay he "engaged nine clerks


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