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Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County

Mackesy, Lillian; Schubert, William E.; Brummund, Walter H.
Industrial progress,   pp. 141-163 PDF (6.9 MB)

Page 142

THE    LAND      OF    rHE    FOX
and setting his pole in the river bottom,
he walked the length of the boat, dis-
engaged the pole and then walked back
to the bow to start poling all over again.
Thirty tons of freight were carried in these
boats which measured from 40 to 60 feet
in length. When the Durhams came to
the rapids they were portaged by either
being pushed through the shallows at the
shoreline with the steel-tipped poles or
being pulled by oxen hired from some
enterprising settler who lived near the
portage. Indians frequently were used in
getting the boats and goods around the
  Henry A. Gallup, a traveler in 1836
on the Fox River, gives a description of
the Durham boats in action in his writ-
  ''Five miles further brought us to the
Grand Chute. Here was a perpendicular
fall in the river of seven feet, but close
to the shore the rock had worn away so
that a boat could take a plunge in going
down and be led by ropes if quite light.
Here the Durham boats which did all
the freighting at the time, up and down
the river, were obliged to discharge their
freight and roll it along the banks on
poles to above the falls. The boats were
then lifted and dragged up by a large
party of Indians and reloaded above.
   "The amount of freighting was then
considerable. All the government supplies
for Fort Winnebago were passed up this
way and detachments of soldiers often
passed in the same grand manner."
            EARLY ROADS
  The Menominee Indians at Little Chute
helped build one of the earliest important
roads in the county according to George
W. Lawe, Kaukauna pioneer, who de-
scribes in pioneer records how a wagon
road was cut in 1839 from Kaukauna to
connect with the Military road that ran
from Fort Howard at Green Bay through
Fond du Lac to Fort Crawford at Prairie
du Chien.
  'When I arrived in Kaukauna (1839),
I found a veritable wilderness, there were
no roads and no way of traveling except
on Indian trails or by water. Green Bay
was our source of supplies and I was
desirous of opening wagon communica-
tions with that place. I went down to see
Mr. Wright (Hoel Wright), the founder
of Wrightstown five miles down the river,
he was a particular friend of mine, and
had settled there four or five years before.
I wanted him to run a ferry across the
river so that he could reach the military
road running from Green Bay to Fond du
Lac. This he agreed to do if I would open
a road from Kaukauna to his ferry. I
pledged my word I would do so at once.
  "Much pleased in making such arrange-
ments, the next day I called on my neigh-
bor and laid the matter before him for
approval, expecting him to aid me, but
to my surprise he was opposed to any
such radical change. He said, 'My father
lived a good many years in Kaukauna and
had no wagon road to Green Bay; he got
along very well by travelling on horse-
back or afoot and I guess I can do the
  'Not to be overcome by this exhibition
of conservatism I resolved to try the head
Menominee Chief at Little Chute, Tyom-
etaw, and see if he would aid me. He
summoned young men to council-they
said yes we will go. The next day I had
50 Indians to help me. In the 2 days time
we had a road cut out. The next week we
all worked together again and cut the
road to Appleton. They were not worked
out highways but trails wide enough for
wagons from which logs and underbrush
were cut and removed."
  The next year Ephraim St. Louis
chopped a road for his ox team and cart
to travel from Little Chute to the Grand
Chute since, as he points out in the County
Pioneer Association records, settlements
round Lake Winnebago were increasing
and he found that money could be made
with his ox team and cart. He was in
those days his "own supervisor, path-

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