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Gard, Robert Edward / My land, my home, my Wisconsin : the epic story of the Wisconsin farm and farm family from settlement days to the present
(1978)

[The land, the land, and the people coming],   pp. [unnumbered]-18 PDF (11.9 MB)


Page 2


Breaking home ties.
     French and English, the first white men who
occupied Wisconsin, contributed little to agriculture,
but much to exploration and description of the coun-
try and relationships with the Indians.
     From the earliest times of human habitation in
Wisconsin, the Fox and Wisconsin rivers constituted
the main route between Lake Michigan and the Mis-
sissippi River. According to the lore of the Winne-
bago, Iroquois, Huron, Menominee, Potawatomi, Sauk,
Fox, Chippewa, and Sioux, all used the waterway and
crossed between the Fox and the Wisconsin at the
Portage. This highway of water became a great
meeting ground of the early whites-explorers such
as Nicolet, Marquette, and Joliet, fur traders, the
military, and settlers.
     The prehistoric peoples and the later Indians,
before contact with whites, had their own kind of
agriculture*, It was very primitive, but old Indian
corn fields have been identified. Stone implements
and arrowheads are still turned up in fields by plows
or after a rain; occasionally a knife or a spearhead
of copper is found.
    Some of the older scholars like Henry Schooleraft
knew a lot about the routes the ancient Indians traveled
and how the copper objects got scattered over this Wis-
consin country. On the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper
Michigan the white people rediscovered those copper mine
pits dug by some mysterious people ages ago. How many
thousand years before the white man were the Indians
mining copper? Grandfather found a piece of copper
shaped like , spearhead in our south field, back in the
1880s. Even then there were collectors around who were
searching for the old relics. Grandfather saw an ad in a
Milwaukee paper and sold the copper spearhead for seven
dollars. After that he kept looking for other pieces but
the one was all he ever found. The State Historical So-
nut ang augu, ana i saw granalatner-s spearhteat
It had several indentations in the flat base that ti
might mean the number of large animals, or n
spear had killed. Anyway, our farm has been a pa
that lore. We have one Indian mound on a flat be,
river. It was made in the shape of a big bird. Oi
have always wondered who the people were who i
    When the white settlers came in the 183
1840s, they found no comfort in close asso
wtn thneir red brotners, and little by little the
dians in southern Wisconsin were crowded out
dispersed in forced migrations west and north i
Iowa or Minnesota or the Dakotas. Narcisse, the s(
of the famous Milwaukee pioneer Solomon June&
led an early migration of Winnebago from the Hot
con Marsh area to a reservation in Iowa. They di
not want to leave, and some drifted back, but t!
Wisconsin country of plenty was never theirs agai
    The Black Hawk War in 1832 was the politica
military event that resolved the problem of red ms
versus settler in southern Wisconsin. The conflict i
self was hardly a war, though a few whites and mol
Indians were killed. It was important because it ha
tened white settlement.
    Treaties to gain cession of Indian lands were b
ing constantly negotiated. Before 1832, white settl,
ment in Wisconsin was mostly limited to son
patches along the Lake Michigan shore, along ti
Mississippi at Prairie du Chien, and in the soul
where some Welsh and Cornish and native Amel
cans were mining lead. Miners and such farmers I
there were in the region joined Henry Dodge al
other military leaders to chase out the Indians.
    The whole sad story of how Black Hawk led h
ragged band out of Illinois and into Wisconsin, fie
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