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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

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

Page 3

ing from federal troops, is well known. The Indians
straggled north as far as Horicon Marsh, hid in that
area, and were coming out, trying to get west to the
Mississippi, when they were discovered. The pursuit
along the Wisconsin River and the final slaughter of
the Indians at Bad Axe are not among Wisconsin's
more glorious episodes. The so-called menace ended
there, and the Indians never again arose in any signifi-
cant way. The war did influence settlement in certain
areas, because the troops who had pursued Black
Hawk liked the country and many came back to home-
    Wisconsin's animals were also victims of the
white man's supremacy after the Black Hawk War.
The last buffalo was shot in Trempealeau County in
1832; the last caribou was seen in Ashland County in
1840; the last elk was killed in Buffalo County in
1868. Although the exodus of so many Indians gave
the deer an opportunity to thrive in southern Wis-
consin for a time, the white man eventually decimat-
ed the herd. Wanton killing by means of dogs, hunt-
ing for market, impaling by placing sharp sticks
where deer jumped across small water courses, and
rope snaring almost wiped out the herd in southern
counties before the Civil War.
    After the Black Hawk War, government survey-
ors entered Wisconsin. The southern part, to the
Wisconsin River, was surveyed first. In their reports,
the surveyors indicated the quality of the land: first,
second, or third class; level, rolling, rough, or bro-
ken. They located oak openings; prairies; high, roll-
ing prairies; low, wet prairies; level, dry prairies.
    The surveyors' reports were useful to settlers in
choosing their lands and to speculators in locating
town sites. Even well-known personalities in the
East indulged in speculation here. Daniel Webster,
for example, invested in land at several places, in-
cluding Dane County and the Fox River Valley. So
did Caleb Cushing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ed-
ward Everett. Hercules Dousman and James Duane
Doty were buying and selling lands, Doty particular-
ly favoring the Four Lakes region where a new town,
Madison, was soon to be built.
    A surveying party consisted of two surveyors,
two axmen, and two chainmen. The surveyors were
usually men of good scientific training. A fine exam-
uw aecks it was everyone for himself, and hell in a rough sea.

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