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Toepel, M. G.; Kuehn, Hazel L. (ed.) / The Wisconsin Blue Book, 1958

Wisconsin in 1958,   pp. [69]-[228] PDF (45.4 MB)

Page 79

                 WISCONSIN'S PEOPLE
                                 It took more than 200 years
                               from 1634 to 1840 to bring Wis-
consin's population which other-
wise consisted of a few thousand
Indians to some 30,000 white in-
habitants enumerated in the first
federal census of the Wisconsin
  The first white inhabitants came
from France and Canada as fur
traders  and   explorers  of the
Great Lakes-Mississippi waterway
which they hoped weuld lead at
length to the Orient. They did
survey and establish the primary
    W4LWi(I iULLL            prri
tory and fixed the sites of and gave names to many of our important
cities of today. They exploited the Indian economically but accepted
him socially. Intermarriage was frequent and accepted. Wisconsin
was French territory until the close of the French and Indian War
when it came under British domination until the Revolutionary War.
The economic exploitation of the Indian continued. Nevertheless,
there are probably several times more Indians today in Wisconsin
than in 1634, some 12,196 according to the 1950 U.S. Census, and
their assimilation will undoubtedly be much accelerated from
here on.
   It was the migrating lead miners from Missouri and Illinois of
English and Welsh ancestry who organized the first permanent set-
tlement in southwestern Wisconsin during the 1830's and who dom-
inated the early history of Wisconsin as a territory and state. This
dominance began to break down when tales of the fertile soil of the
new West spread to New England and other eastern states and
brought a rapidly rising influx of Yankee farmers, augmented by
large numbers of recently arrived Germans and Norwegians and
other Europeans who threw their support behind the rising tide of
Yankee leadership. For a generation this leadership was in the sad-
dle culturally and brought to Wisconsin local government, free and
public education and freedom of religion, readily accepted and en-
thusiastically supported by the freedom and land-hungry European
immigrants. They spread the news to their relatives at home who
followed them by the thousands.

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