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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
(1880)

History of Columbia County: Chapter I,   pp. [309]-[325] ff. PDF (9.3 MB)


Page 317


HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY.
streams are of considerable size and drain large areas. They all make much
southing in their
courses, so that their lengths are much greater than the actual distances
from the sources to the
Wisconsin at the nearest point; and all of them have a very considerable
descent, making
many rapids and falls over the tilted edges of schistose and gneissic rocks,
even down to within
short distances of their junctions with the main river.   The streams on
the west side head on
the high country along the line of the Fourth Principal Meridian, about forty
miles west 'of the
Wisconsin, and at elevations of from two hundred to three hundred feet above
their mouths;
those on the east head on the divide between the Wisconsin and Wolf, about
twenty miles east,
at elevations not very much less.  Reaching back, as these streams do, into
a country largely
timbered with pine, and having so large a descent, they are of great value
for logging and
milling purposes.
      The second section of the Wisconsin River begins at Point Basse, with
a width of from
 seven hundred to nineĆ½ hundred feet.  The next sixty miles of its
course, to the head of the
 Dalles, is a southerly stretch, with a wide bow to the westward, through
sand plains, here and
 there timbered with dwarf oaks and interspersed with marshes. These plains
stretch away to
 the east and west for twenty miles from the river bottom, gradually rising
in both directions.
 Scattered over them, at intervals of one to ten miles, are erosion peaks
of sandstone, from fifty
 to three hundred feet in height, rising precipitously from the level ground.
 Some of these
 are near and on the bank of the river, which is also, in places, bordered
by low, mural expos-
 ures of the same sandstone. The river itself is constantly obstructed-by
shifting sand-bars,
 resulting from the ancient disintegration of the sandstone, which, in the
vicinity, everywhere
 forms the basement rock; but its course is not interrupted by rock rapids.
As it nears the
 northern line of Columbia County, the high ground that limits the sand plain
on the west
 curving southeastward, finally reaches the edge of the stream, which, by
its southeasterly
 course for the last twenty miles, has itself approached the high ground
on the east. The two
 ridges thus closing in upon the river, have caused it to cut for itself
the deep, narrow gorge
 known as the Dalles.
      In the second section of its course, the Wisconsin receives several
important tributaries.
 Of those on the east, the principal ones are Duck Creek and Ten-Mile Creek,
in the southern
 part of Wood County; and the Little and Big Roche-a-Cris Creeks, both in
Adams County.
 The two former head in a large marsh twenty-five miles east of and over
one hundred feet above
 the main stream. The two latter head on the high, dividing ridge, on the
west line of Wau-
 shara County, at elevations between one hundred and fifty and two hundred
feet above their
 mouths.   These streams do not pass through a timbered country, but have
very valuable water-
 powers. Of those on the'west, two are large and important-the Yellow and
Lemonweir
 Rivers. Yellow River heads in Township 25 north, in the adjoining corners
of Wood, Jackson
 and Clark Counties, and runs a general southerly course, nearly parallel
to the Wisconsin for
 over seventy miles-the two gradually approaching one another and joining
in Township 17
 north of Range 4 east. The Yellow River has its Archoean and sandstone sections-the
former
 exceedingly rocky and much broken by rapids and falls, the latter comparatively
sluggish and
 without rock rapids.  The upper portions of the river extend into the pine
regions, and much
 logging is done in times of high water. The water-powers are of great value.
The Lemonweir
 is also a large stream. Heading in a timbered region in the southeast corner
of Jackson
 County, it flows southward for some distance through Monroe and entering
Juneau on the mid-
 dle of its west side, crosses it in a southeasterly direction, reaching
the Wisconsin in Section
 24, in Township 15 north, of Range 5 east, having descended in its length
of some seventy
 miles about two hundred feet.
     The Wisconsin enters the gorge already spoken of as the Dalles not far
above the southern
boundary line of Juneau and Adams Counties. This well-known passage, of about
seven and one-
half miles, is hereafter described. At its foot, between the counties of
Sauk and Columbia, the
Wisconsin enters upon the last section of its course, and also upon the most
remarkable bend in
:its whole length. Through the Dalles, its general course is southward, hut
it now turns almost
317


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