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

Chapter II: Early lumbering operations,   pp. 7-19

Page 15

From the account of Schoolcraft of his journey down the Red Cedar River in
August, 1831, we learn that this second stream which he passed on August 11,
here referred to by Lockwood was "a creek just below" the creek on which the
first mill was built. And from it we also find this first stream estimated to be 15
miles below the falls of the Menomonee River, at present Cedar Falls, then called
"Kakabika Falls."  Lockwood in writing about the dam construction by Perkins
says it was across "a stream running into the Menomonee, about twenty miles from
its mouth." These two accounts clearly locate the first and second dams as built
on Wilson Creek and the third on Gilbert Creek.
Schoolcraft in his account also mentions the fact that after two hours run from
the falls he "reached the site of a saw mill," and further that "a Mr. Wallace, who
with ten men was in charge of it, and was engaged in reconstructing a dam that had
been carried off by the last spring freshet, represented Messrs. Rolette and Lock-
wood of Prairie du Chien." He said that no Sioux had been here for seven years.
At that time a mill was here and the Sioux came and encamped in it. Wallace also
told him there was a mill on a stream just below but not in sight from the river.
The Mr. Wallace mentioned is probably Captain George Wales, a confusion be-
tween the two names being entirely possible. It is known that Gilbert Creek mill
was built some distance up that creek and not visible from the Red Cedar River.
Schoolcraft asked Wallace "where the lines between the Sioux and the Chippewas
crossed. He said above."  On a map accompanying the report the Chippewa-
Sioux boundary under the treaty of.1825 is shown to cross Wilson Creek about one
one mile above its mouth and to cross the Menomonee River at a less distance
above the mill, then it is represented by a straight line running to the Chippewa
River at a point near the mouth of Mud Creek.
After the freshet of June 1831, Lockwood makes no further mention of the
MIenomonee mills, the record made by S, hoolcraft under date of August, 1831 is not
In 1836 or 1837, Mr. Fonda again visited the mills on the Red Cedar. He
speaks of going to Lockwood's mills on the Menomoniee in 1836 or 1837 and remain-
ing two years. In another he casually remarks "In 1839 while in the Menomoniee
pineries," and in still another place he speaks of an election at Prairie du Chien in
1840 as having taken place "the year after my coming down from Lockwood's mills.
This would indicate that he was here in 1837-39.
Of these two years he writes: "I went to the mills on the Menomoniee River.
I went to Lake Pepin with my family in the steam boat Science. At the lake were
two trading houses. Immediately upon our arrival at the lake, a fierce battle was
fought on its shores, between the Sioux and Chippewas, which resulted in the defeat
of the latter. I passed the scene of the fight, and saw the mutilated bodies of the
dead Indians. The Chippewa Indians were better warriors than the Sioux, but
being poor, their arms are almost valueless, which accounts for their defeat. From
the lake we went up the Chippewa River in Mackinaw boats. The water of the
Chippewa is as red as wine, and a crimson streak may be seen for some distance
below its mouth. This color I attribute to deposits of iron-ore through which the
channel on the river runs. On reaching the mills, (there being three of them,)
I entered upon my duties as a lumberman. The mills were situated on the Me-
nomonee River, in a tract of neutral ground between the Chippewa and Sioux
Indians. These two tribes were constantly warring against each other, and I had
frequent opportunities to see war parties of both tribes. There were some Chippe-
was living near the mills, who sold game, maple sugar, wild fruits and such like
articles to the mill hands.
On one occasion the hands had gone to work, and left their cabin locked up,
when a number of Chippewas came in their absence, crept through a window,
stole the blankets from the beds, pork from the barrel, filled their blankets with
flour and started away with all their plunder. Fortunately, the mill hands dis-
covered their loss early. They pursued the Indians, overtook them, gave them a
good whipping, and took away everything that had been stolen. It was with such
incidents as these, that we relieved the monotony of life in the pinery.

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