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Biographical and statistical history of the city of Oshkosh, Winnebago Co., Wisconsin : its early history, progress, and present condition
(1867)

Oshkosh,   pp. [3]-76 ff. PDF (21.6 MB)


Page 6


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what with the above is as follows: In
speaking of the Tumuli, or mounds in-
dicating the burial places of the dead
this writer says: "The tumulus at the
great Butte des Morts, in Winnebago
county, has undoubtedly been erected
both as a burial place and a monument,
it is literally the 'hill of the dead.' The
earth has not only covered the bodies of
warriors slain in battle. but it has been
raised up as a record of events disastrous
to the Outagamie (Fox) tribe of Indians,
whose principal village at an early
period was at this place. This mound
is nevertheless to be considered of
modern structure, because the time of
its erection, or at least the event which
it commemorates, can be referred to, if
not in correct history, at least in tradi
tionary account. Here it is said the
Foxes had their stronghold, and from
this point not only were predatory in-
cursions made against the neighboring
tribes, but the early French traders were
compelled to submit to exactions in their
voyages along the Fox River. It thus
became necessary for the French to
inflict such punishment on them as
should be the means of deterring them
in future from their depredations. Ac-
cordingly in 1706. an expedition under
Capt. Morand, was fitted out and sent
against them at Little Butte des Morts
In the attack upon them at this their
stronghold, by surprise, more than one
thousand of their warriors perished;
and this event gives to the spot the
name of "Little Butte des Morts."
CAUSE OF THE WAR.
The cause that led to this conflict
was the great hostility of the Foxes
toward the French. The Foxes (called
Outagamies) sometimes joined by the
Sauks (Sacs) had long held possession of
the banks of the Fox river and sought
every opportunity of making themselves
troublesome. Their stronghold was at
this "Little Bute," on the points of
land on what is now known as Little
Butte des Morts Lake, a beautiful bayr
or a widening of the river just below
Doty's Island, between Neenah and
Menasha They had a village in w hich
they  were somewhat defended     by
mounds and ditches, and annoyed the
traders by the exactions of tribute from
every boat that passed up the river.
Their custom was on seeing boats ap-
proaching-and they were always on
the lookout-to place a signal of a bunch
of grass on a pole, by day, and a torch
by night, being a demand to "'heave to"
and pay toll, which the boats had in-
variably to comply with or do worse,
which was to run the gauntlet of the
Indians in their ambush along the shore.
So aggravating had these exactions
become, that the navigation of the
river became one of extreme difficulty
and danger; consequently Capt. Mor-
and was ordered to disperse this lhostile
tribe at whatever cost. Ile nittvx utp
the river in his fleet of Dulihanm boats,
canoes and barges, each boat having ian
oil cloth to  cover  its  cargo, and
when near the point he halted odn sent
a detachment of men ashore to p;ss
around in rear of the savages, and to
act in concert. Those remaining in tI e
boats were all concealed under the oin
cloths, except two men. in ordel to L. ice
their enemy by surprise. Ile ;  daw ie
well understood signal and the crouIhI
ing savages ready to enfomee the de
mand, and ordered his boats to ;ino
near shore, thereby throwing the in-
dians completely off their guard, as they
saw rich booty in the great nromnber of
the boats, and their unusual acqui(s-
enee in coining to land; when at a saifa-
ble distance the signal was given and
the oil cloth covering was thrown ce,
rose seyeral hundred well loaded n
kets pouring their charge into the in-


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