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

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

Page 13

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: ....1 e..An In
the time ox the nrst settlement or Wreen
Bay, over two hundred years ago, this
immediate locality has participated
more or less directly in the interests of
the royageer or the sojourner on its
lakes and rivers. Here was the great
highway through which all had to pass
in reaching  the  Mississippi where
trading ports and missions had been es-
tablished; hence in all that concerned
for many years, the discovery and final
settlement ofthe country, this particu-
lar spot has its share of the importance
attaching to the whole.
The history of the red man will be
appreciated by future generations as
that of an extinct race, and not till
then will his vices, for which he is
scarcely accountable, be forgotten, and
his virtues be remembered.
In 1827 the head Chief of the Me-
nomonees died leaving no male offspring.
The mnale line having run out there
arose a necessity for a successor, and a
good deal of excitement arose among
the tribes, each claiming the right to
elect the new chief. The difficulty was
reported to the President when lie ap-
pointed two commissiolers. Gov. Cass
an-l Col. McKinney to decide the vex-
ed question. They assembled the tribe
at Little Butte des Morts, and after
heaTing the arguments, and examin
ig all the claims of the different
bands, they elected Oshkosh as best
qualified to serve his people as head
chief, and the appointment seemed to
satistyall parties. Oshkosh then lived
with a portion of his tribe on the head
waters of the Wisconsin River; a tract of
country was afterwards reserved to them
on the Wolf River. where the little
remnant of that tribe now dwell.
This tribe had at one time several
Indian slaves which they had bought of
oLLIVL iURNS, whose practice it was to
make war on the Pawnees, Osages, and
others, and hold as slaves their captives;
but this practice was abandoned after a
few yz ars and their slaves set at liberty,
under the advice of the French and
English Traders, as being repulsive to
their ideas of right.
Of the lineage (f the new Chief
Oshkosh we have but a meager outline.
He was the grand-son of Cha-kau-cho-
ka-ma, or the "old chief" long, head
chief of the M1lenomonees. He was born
in 1795 and died in 1858. He was en-
gaged on the side of the British in the
war 1812-15. under Tomah, whence he
derived the title, brave. That he was
brave though in a bad cause is very
probable. Mr. Grignon says of him;
"He is of medium     size,  possessing
much good sense and ability, but is a
great slave to strong drink, and two
of his sons surpass their father in that
His name has descended to our fair
city, with what propriety, I leave to
others to decide. It was originally
pronounced Oskosh, and as it ought to
be, as being far more convenient in its
orthography, easier of pronunciation
and decidedly more harmonious in sound
than the present method of pronoun-
cing it. All Indian names are expres-
sive and often beautiful, and generally
refer to somue animal, thing or place,
and the definition quite often is sug.
gestive of events of great moment, or
perhaps of exceeding beauty. Of the
signification of the name Oskosh, there
is some variance of opinion. That
which is generally attributed to it, is,
brave, but I think that a title given him
for some brave act, rather than the true
meaning of the term. In the Chip.
pewa dialect it means the Hoof, or
extremity of some animal; by others it
is said to mean the Toe-nail. This

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