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Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year

[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin],   pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)

Page 16

This section of our state is referred to as the great north-
west. Here is the historical report of the origin of our town-
ship and the origin of the parish as well.
People of all denominations flooded the authorities office
to be listed on the next consignment (similar to the gold rush to
California.) Expeditions would be about every three months or so.
Communication was sent through the return of these expeditions.
A letter would cost 25  and usually an answer would come within
six months with the next group coming to the area.
In a year or two, three different routes were established.
One was opened by Charles de Pierre le Seur, associate of Perrot,
the route explored by Duluth from Chequegan Bay to the Brule river
(meaning bois brule-burnt wood), then on to the Saint Croix River
and on to the Mississippi River noted as the Sioux Country, a very
dangerous territory. Second route via Green Bay, Fox River and the
Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Third, from "Lac des Pouiant"
(Lake Michigan) to Chicago, then through Illinois and the Mississippi
River. All routes traveled the Great Lakes first, then to the
different routes. The voyage was long and tedious and navigation
was slow, besides being dangerous. Sometimes it required months
for one trip to reach its destination. This accounts for all the
ports, settlements and cities situated along the Saint Lawrence
River and Great Lakes where most of the loadings and landings were
made and around New York, Boston, California, Puget SoundWashington
and other Canadian ports.
Thus the progress of settling in this part of our country
continued rapidly. The blissful haven of L'Ouisconsin or "La
nouvelle France" belong to France at the time.
Conditions in Canada were becoming very unfavorable. It was
very densely populated and the English rulers restricted the
families to very small portions of land making it almost impossible
to maintain a family and make a livelihood. Not all could find
employment in the factories.
All this time the Indians were being pushed more and more into
the wilderness. (We can realize how they resented giving up their
hunting grounds). After the war of 1812 more lands became avail-
able for habitations. Our territory comprised much of Minnesota,
Michigan and part of Illinois and Iowa.
Good sized freighters could come up this far and on to "La
Chute du Saint Croix" (St. Croix Falls). This was considered the
head of navigation and accounts for the development of the little
town of Arcola, Minnesota, nine miles up river from Stillwater,
Osceola, Wisconsin and the Falls.  (Presumably this is how our
two white men came to this area). Louie and Joseph Parent had
been in Chicago for a few years and had left Mrs. Louie Parent

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