Before Stratford, pp. 1-7
Before Stratford Early History The Indians The Stratford area was once a lush forest of trees, home to wildlife, flowers, and birds. The Indians passed through the region, hunting the wide varieties of game, catching fish in the rivers, as well as gathering the sap from the sugar maple trees so abundant in the area. Unfortunately, they left no written history, only stories passed down from one generation to the next which cannot be verified. Oral histories vary in the telling and can only be used as a loose interpretation of the way things were. It is only when the white man entered the region that written documen- tation became available, told from the white man's point of view. Several tribes were reported in southwestern Marathon County. The Chippewa and Winnebago Indians lived in Green Valley and Day townships when settlement came to the area. The Potawatomi were located in the same townships. They settled in the area after a peace treaty was signed between the Indians and the United States giving up their rights to their home in the Milwaukee area. As the population grew around Milwaukee, they were forced northward, finally settling in the Little Eau Pleine Valley. They would travel to Rozellville to trade at the store of John Brinkman Sr. and work for farmers in the area, helping them clear their land. More information can be found in the Town of Day Centennial Book on the life of the Indians in the Rozellville and Smokey Hill areas. An article from The Wausau Pilot, March 19, 1907, gives the historical information of the Indian migration to our area and their movement out of the county as white settlement increased. "The story deals with the old Saunders farm which is located in Section 32, town 26, range4 in what is known as the town of Day, the farm being located a short distance from the Little Eau Pleine river. There was an old Indian village on this farm. "The reasons the Indians came here are written in the congressional record of the 57th congress. "The government invited the Chippewa, Fox, Sac, Menominee, Iowa, Sioux, Winnebago and a portion of the Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes of Indians to meet in Prairie Indian woman from southwestern Marathon County. du Chein on Aug. 19, 1825, for the purpose of meeting its commissioners, Wm. Clark and Lewis Cass, to establish treaty and boundary claims. The government later established a number of reservations. The Menominees were assigned lands in what is now Shawano county and it was required that each Indian should register before entering the reservation. Part of the band refused to fill this requirement and moved into this county and built a village on what was afterwards the Saunders farm; another band moved to where the village of Auburndale is located. The country along the Eau Pleine rivers was especially attractive to them because it afforded good fishing, plenty of wild fowl and game and forests of sugar trees. There were upwards of 500 Indians located on this farm summer and winter. "In the silent, somnolent forests they built round, bark houses. A framework of poles and branches was made and bound together and entirely covered with large pieces of bark firmly held in place by tough, pliable, rope-like straps of dogwood bark. Usually they had a low platform constructed around the walls of their huts, which was used as a lounging place by day and as a bed by night. In the center was an open space with dirt floor. In winter and on stormy days they cooked their meals in this open space, the smoke wending its way upward through an aperture left in the roof.
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