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Brown county comprises that portion of Wisconsin lying at the southern 
extremity of a great arm of Lake Michigan, known from early times as Baye 
des Puans, la grande baye and finally (ireen Bay. This fine sheet of water 
ninety miles in length, joins the lake through inany deep and navigable chan- 
nels at Death's Door, where it attains a breadth of some thirty miles. In 
shape the l^ay resembles a mammoth Indian celt, and extending in a south- 
westerly direction gradually narrows from its widest part until its span does 
not exceed five miles. At its extreme point is situated the county seat, (jreen 
Bay, a city with a population of 30,000. 

The County's area is five hundred and eighteen square miles, twenty- four 
from its widest point from east to west, and thirty from north to south. On 
the north it is bounded by the bay and Oconto county, east by Kewaunee and 
Manitowoc counties, south by Manitowoc, Calumet and a small corner of 
Outagamie while Shawano and Outagamie counties form its western limit. 
The Oneida reservation lies half and half in Brown and Outagamie counties. 

Fox river cuts off the County's northwest corner, zigzagging toward the 
l3ay between wooded and fertile shores ; ^^'rightstown is the last river town within 
Brown county limits. 

On Green Bay the county's water line extends for fifteen miles along the 
western shore and a like distance on the eastern. Fox river gives a frontage of 
twenty miles on either shore ; East river flowing into the Fox near its mouth 
is navigable for some four miles. Both streams are extensively used for man- 
ufacturing purposes, and the entire inland area is largely devoted to dairying 
and agricultural pursuits. 

Tlie towns fronting on the bay are Suamico, Howard, Preble, Scott and 
Green Bay; those on the Fox river are Lawrence, Ashwaubenon, Wrights- 
town, Rockland, Depere, Allqutjz ,and, J'/eble. Inland lie Morrison, Holland, 
Glenmore, New DenmarV,' Eatoji, Hu'm'bold't and Pittsfield. 

The population of Brown couiity^ acK:ording to the census of 1910 is 54,098, 
and is composed of widely divers_^ ngiti'G).t"-alities. The original settlement was 
made by French Canadians, followed by English, Americans, Germans, Bel- 
gians, Flemish, Irish, Holla,nders, .ScanoiHavians, Danes, Bohemians and Poles. 

Although originally Brown county stood for the whole state it has been 
mercilessly shorn of its generous proportions until at the present time in the 
seventy-one counties now comprising Wisconsin, Brown stands fifty-six in 
point of size, the remaining fifty-five averaging anywhere from 1,497 square 
miles down the scale. Shawano in its secession took from Brown 1,135 square 
miles, Outagamie 634, the little counties of Kewaunee and Door 274 and 454 



respectively; Manitowoc 590 square miles, and so on through the acres of 
fertile land composing the twenty-two counties that were cut off from Brown. 

Notwithstanding this ruthless hacking away from the parent stem, Brown 
county continues to be regarded as the most important in Wisconsin. 

In point of history the rest of the state is obliged to stand as a blank num- 
ber up to 1840, while Brown county furnishes interesting material by the volume 
for every United States history that finds its way to the public library shelves. 

It is a wealthy county, the assessed valuation in the government census of 
1910 placing it twelfth in the long line of its larger sister counties. In population 
to the square mile Brown stands fifth in the state, the counties averaging 
higher being Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine and Winnebago. 

The total farm acreage is 301,519, on which 3,615 farms are located. Of 
these 3,349 are owned and operated l)y the farmer himself, 246 are under 
lease, and 20 are owned by farmers who employ a manager to look after the 

Green Bay, the county seat, is one of tlie most thriving and progressive Ijusi- 
ness cities in the United States, with the handsomest courthouse in the west. 
It guards the gate of the waterway which connects the St. Lawrence valley 
with that of the Mississippi, and is a central shipping ]ioint for coal and grain. 

Milwaukee, at present the largest city in Wisconsin, was originally platted 
and owned by Green Bay men, who had, however, largely disposed of their 
interests by 1855 ; the lead mines in southern Wisconsin were first controlled 
and operated by Green Bay capital, the tremendous water power of the Fox 
River valley was made available and of value through the progressive business 
spirit of Brown count}' men, and Wisconsin's capital, Madison, was first located, 
platted and named by Judge Doty, a prominent political leader in Brown county. 

In the formation of the territory and state of Wisconsin, and in the organ- 
ization of state, county and town government the men of this county took 
prominent part. The public press of Wisconsin had its beginnings here, and 
on the shores of Fox river the first advance toward permanent civilization and 
educational enlightenment was made. 

In compiling this history I have received valuable aid from my sister, Sarah 
Greene Martin, and from many others who have kindly given me permission 
to use manuscripts and family papers never before published. Among these 
may be mentioned Mrs. Curtis R. Merrill, Mrs. H. O. Crane, F. W. Taylor, 
J. H. M. Wigman, of Green Bay^'^-id '.M/ J\ Maes; ;af De Pere ; also Francis 
fjloodgood, of Milwaukee, wha'allowevi the ihStertiofi' ;of the interesting letter 
written by Lieutenant Henry H. Lohijg to-lKIr.jLB'ioodgood's mother, Caroline 
Whistler, then a girl of sixteen at Fot"t 'tf6\^"rd." ■' 

Thanks are also due Dr. Reuben' G-; Thwa'iteS,: secretary and superintendent 
of the State Historical Society ; Fredrik T.' ThWdttes of Madison, Arthur C. 
Neville, President of the Green Bay Historical Society ; Mrs. Dorr Clark, .Albert 
L. Gray, Elnier S. Hall, Clerk of Brown county, and Judge Carlton Merrill. 

(Reference, Wisconsin Blue Book, 191 1.) 






























































History of Brown County 


Brown county once eml^raced half the area of wiiat is now Wisconsin, but 
it has been gradually lopped off in e\ery direction until reduced to the present 
size. Twenty-two counties have been carved from Brown, which when erected 
by proclamation of Lewis Cass, Governor of Michigan Territory, on October 
twenty-sixth, 1818, had for its boundaries; north, the county of Michiliniacki- 
nac : east, that county and the northward extension of the line between Indiana 
and Illinois : west by a line drawn due north from the Illinois boundary, through 
the middle of the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, extending to 
the county of Michilimackinac. The Illinois line formed the southern boundary. 

The territory which now comprises Brown county has been subject to many 
iurisdictions, but always the land lying between De Pere and Green Bay formed 
its center and capital. It was an important post under the old French regime 
from 1669 to 1759 — it then came under British rule and remained practically a 
British colony until after the war of 1812. 

Under the ordinance of 1787, this section of country was included in the 
great Northwest Territory, defined as "The territory of the United States 
northwest of the River Ohio," the boundaries of which were imderstood 
to he the Ohio river on the south, the Mississippi river on the west, while on 
the north the territorial limit was the undefined and unsettled line between the 
British possessions and the United States. 

The area included in the original county of Brown was afterward added to 
the Territory of Ohio, then was transferred to Indiana with the county seat 
at old Vincennes ; later it became a part of Illinois, and when Illinois attained 
statehood in 1805 was handed over to Michigan which was set ofY as a separate 
territory on January eleventh, 1805. 

In 1834 Milwaukee county was set off from Brown and the western boun- 
dary of the latter was enlarged to extend to the Wisconsin river. In 1836 the 
entire counties of Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc and Marquette, likewise 
the townships of Washington. Dodge and Portage were taken from Brown. 


Between the years 1840 and 1850 Winnebago and Calnmet counties were erected 
from a portion of Brown and Marquette, Portage and Maiiitowoc counties 
enlarged from the same source. 

In 185 1 Oconto county was pared ott from the parent stem and in the same 
year Door and Kewaunee counties were als.o carved out of Brown. Later in 
that same year Outagamie county was erected from the remaining area of 
Brown, which was by this act reduced to its present boundaries. 

All this territory originally forming an integral part of Brown county and 
which was cut from it to make these thirteen counties was in succeeding years 
subdivided until twenty-two counties in all mark the original limits of old 

The county received its name in honor of Major-General Jacob Brown of 
the United States army, a successful leader in the war of 181 2. At its close he 
retained the conmiand of the northern division, and in 1821 was made General- 
in-Chief of the army. 

The fur trade was for two centuries the absorbing commercial interest of 
this region. It began with the coming of the first Frenchman and continued 
uninterruptedlv until there were no fur bearing animals of any value left in 
the woods to tempt the trapper. This portion of Brown County's history may 
be defined from the coming of Jean Nicolet in 1634 to 1844 when the American 
Fur Company wound up its business affairs in Green Bay for all time. 

Already the lumber industry had taken hold of the people and as the fur 
trade declined the great forests of pine, birch, maple, and hemlock called for 
the erection of mills to utilize the supjily of timber. This formed the largest 
interest in Brown county up to 1875, when practically no timber remained to 
be cut into lumber. The export of fish grew to be also a valuable factor in 
Brown county's prosperity, and the extensive fisheries were a valuable asset 
in its wealth. 

The necessary clearing away of the dense forests for milling purposes and 
the consumption of waste timber in the great charcoal kilns during the period 
when the iron furnaces were in full blast in De Pere and Green Bay, furnished 
another avenue for labor and one that ensured more lasting and safer profits 
than any preceding venture, z^griculture and dairying inaugurated still another 
industrial era, the best as far as substantial growth is concerned. Brown 
county soil is rich and productive and the profits upon a single good crop today 
amount to more than all the pecuniary gains won from the forest. De Fee 
because of its water power was always a manufacturing center and Green Bay 
has within recent years advanced rapidly in this direction, as have also Wrights- 
town and Little Rapids, but the backbone of Brown county's prosperity is agri- 
culture and the systematic scientific tilling of the soil. 

(References for Chapter I: Wis. Blue Book, 191 1 ; Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. 2: 
Strong's Territorial Wisconsin ; L. P. Kellogg's Boundaries of Wisconsin 
Counties; Wis. Hist. Proc, 1909.) 


C A L /M E 'T _ „ C^ 

M A n' I T a woe CO 


The geological history of Brown county is full of interest. The oldest 
geological formations exposed within the limits of the county are of limestone 
and shale. These rocks contain abundant remains called fossils, of animals 
which must once have lived in the sea, a fact clearly indicating that the region 
was once submerged. 

Millions of years ago a rather shallow sea covered a large part of North 
America, and in it accumulated mud and sand, worn from the unsubmerged 
portions of the continent. At times when no land waste was present, the 
remains of marine animals covered the sea bottom, thus forming considerable 
deposits of shells and lime mud. 

After an immense lapse of time, in which several hundred feet of such 
material gathered, a gradual uplift transformed the region into dry land. The 
lime muds hardened into limestone, the shells into fossils, and the clay muds 
into shale. Within the limits of Brown county occurred two thick formations 
of limestone separated by a bed of shale. These three formations were tilted 
in the course of the uplift, so that they descend gradually towards the east. 
On the west side of the county occurs what is known as the "Galena" lime- 
stone. This rock does not everywhere reach the surface, but is the first solid 
rock found beneath the soil, and other loose material. It is the rock found in 
the quarries at Duck Creek. 

East of the belt underlaid by this limestone is a band only a few miles wide 
where the "Cincinnati" shale is the "bed rock" or "ledge." It is seldom seen 
at the surface, except at the foot of some of the cliffs on Green Bay, this fact 
being due to the ease with which the weather breaks it down into loose clay. 
These clififs with their fretted and escarped surfaces add beauty to the shores 
of the bay. Rising abruptly from the water's edge they simulate here and 
there the ruins of some mediaeval castle carved into curious semblance of 
casement and column and hung with a soft green drapery of vines and ever- 

East of the shale and lying on top of it as it passes beneath the surface 
is the "Niagara" limestone. This hard rock forms the backbone of the great 
ridge of eastern Wisconsin. Beginning to the east of Horicon it stretches north 
through Door county continuing thence beneath the water where it is revealed 
by soundings until it rises again on the Michigan shore. It is traceable in 
local names, "the ledge" "Winnebago ridge" "the cascade"; is an adjunct of 
picturesque beauty to the landscape, and for many generations has furnished 
picknicking grounds for hosts of juveniles. Gashed by chasms, where at cer- 
tain seasons waterfalls leap from the projecting rocks, tunnelled by caves, the 


home until recent years of rattlesnake and wildcat, "the ledge" caps the barrier 
of hard flinty rock which resisted the force of the contending glaciers in pri- 
meval times. 

This ridge owes its existence to the hardness of the rock. Following the 
emergence of the country from the sea, the streams, wind and rain began at 
once to wear it down. The shale was worn away faster than was the hard 
limestone ; thus was formed the valley now occupied by Green Bay, Fox river 
and Lake Winnebago, which follows closely this strip of soft Cincinnati shale. 

Compared with the processes just described the ice age is a recent event 
in the geological history of Brown county. Tens of thousands of years ago 
the climate became colder and colder, until a great mass of ice accumulated 
upon the highlands of Canada. The weight of this ice caused it to spread out, 
and a glacier of enormous size was formed. Creeping towards the southwest, 
at the rate of probably less than a foot a day the glacier entered the valley now 
occupied by Lake Michigan. The Door county ridge of hard Niagara limestone 
served as a wedge to split the ice into two divisions. Of these the western one 
followed up the valley which passes through Brown county, it spread nearly 
as far west as Stevens Point, and southward almost to Janesville. The other 
filled the basin now occupied by Lake Michigan, 

Soil and loose rocks were stripped off by the ice, but it did not grind away 
any large hills, or otherwise profoundly modify the country. AVhen at last 
the climate became milder the front of the ice gradually melted, liberating the 
loose material or drift which it had picked up, and allowing it to gather on the 
ground, especially just at the edge of the glacier. These border deposits are 
called "terminal moraines." and it was the melting of great buried blocks of 
ice that gave rise to the abundant depressions without outlets called "kettles" 
from their resemblance to the large kettles used by early settlers for making 
soap. Notable examples of these are the deep indentations around Baird's 
Creek and the Octagon house. 

As the ice retreated still farther towards the northeast, water filled tlie 
valley it had vacated. At first this lake found an outlet along the line of the 
Upper Fox river into that of the Wisconsin at Portage. In the lake accumu- 
lated a great thickness of sand, gravel, and red clay, washed from the bare 
hills of drift just left by the glacier. This red clay now forms the soil of a 
large area in lower Brown county. 

With the retreat of the glacier the water level fell. The successive le\els 
of the lake are recorded in the ridges of sand and gravel formed by the waves 
along the ancient shores. Long used by the Indians as convenient routes of 
travel, their true origin was early recognized and commented upon in narra- 
tives of exploration. At Dyckesville, in the town of Scott, there is a fine exam- 
ple of this formation of nature in a distinct sand ridge seventeen feet above the 

These abandoned shore lines record the melting and gradual receding of 
the ice sheet. In the city of Green Bay and on its outskirts as at Long Tail 
Point, the shifting water line indicates that active deposition still goes on. 
Near the citv in the direction of Bay Beach for instance the old lake floor 
between the ridges and the present shore is e.xtensively ditched and cultivated 
as truck gardens, much of it being so close to present lake levels that it is too 


wet to be occupied. Back toward the interior, southeast of the city, there are 
irregular gravel deposits which seem to have been shaped by the melting ice 
and its short lived streams and floods rather than by shore deposits. 

When Lake Michigan reached its present level, the appearance of Brown 
county must have been substantially as it is today. The net result of the glacial 
period was to fill the deeper valleys with a great thickness of clay, sand, gravel 
and boulders so that the underlying rock is often deeply buried. Only the 
higher hills like the Door county ridge or "ledge" which existed before glacial 
times now project through the drift. In the time which has elapsed since the 
ice disappeared the streams have made but slight progress in wearing away 
the surface. Fox River has cut quite a deep channel as at Wrightstovvn and 
above, but the smaller streams have only formed narrow steep sided gullies. 
The same process of erosion as described before is nevertheless now going on 
Material is being removed from the land and carried into the great lakes or the 
sea where it is deposited. 

Such has been the geological history of Brown county. No volcanic erup- 
tions or other spectacular events have marked its even course. Yet it is none 
the less impressive, in that it shows only these slow processes. Continuing 
through untold ages they Imilt up the rocks on the sea bottom, elevated them 
into land, then in turn wore them away to be deposited elsewhere. The ice 
age was a comparatively recent incident in the development of the present face 
of the landscape. Being recent it has markedly altered the aspect of the country 
by smoothing over the older features with a mantle of loose material. 

(The geological data for Chapter II has been furnished by Fredrik T. 


Powerful and hidden forces of nature working not always silently formed 
as ages passed this habitable spot for man. The bare rocks were gradually 
clothed with \erdure, animal and plant life appeared; the streams were stocked 
with fish ; buffalo, elk, moose, bear and deer, the rightful prey of the men of 
the stone age, roamed its forests, while vast numbers of wild fowl inhabited 
its marshes and open waters, furnishing food and clothing for the people of 
these prehistoric and legendary days. How early in point of years man dwelt 
in this region is not known, but that it was inhabited many centuries before 
discovered by the French is a certainty. 

In the Green Bay public liljrary is a remarkable collection of stone and cop- 
per implements — weapons, tools, domestic articles and ornaments — furnishing 
the imly record of this period of Brown county's history. Through them we 
can trace with some degree of secjuence and definiteness the life and pursuits 
of our predecessors. Its owner, John P. Schumacher, has gathered this drift 
of bxgone generations almost entirely from Brown county in the immediate 
vicinity of Green Bay. There are spear heads, stone and copper axes, toma- 
hawks for use on the war path, spear heads for the chase ; celts for scraping the 
skins of animals and preparing them for clothing; bone needles to be threaded 
with sinew for sewing garments, and the birch bark covering for canoes. 
Hatchets are here that were used to lop the trees for firewood, cabin poles and 
the frames for water craft; arrow points beautifully chipped and polished, 
curious pipes of flint, pottery, buffalo horn, stone clay and red pipestone, and, 
from a later period it is supposed, numerous articles made of the copper 
obtained from ancient mines in upper Michigan. Many of these mines have 
been discovered in recent years with the stone hammers and axes as they were 
left in the pits when used last by the Indian miners. There are also copper and 
some siher ornaments brought by the traders as early as the seventeenth cen- 
tury and exchanged by them with the Indians for furs. 

The Schumacher collection of copper artifacts is one of the best and most 
complete in the state if not in the whole United States. Many of the articles 
in this exhijjit were in use before Columbus discovered America, and before 
Leif Ericson and his northmen penetrated this strange new world. 

The territory which is now Brown county was in those days thickly popu- 
lated ; its remoteness from the Iroquois — those tigers of the east, and the Sioux, 
wolves of the west, gave comparative security to the more peacefully inclined 
Indian tribes, and together with its abundance of food made it a paradise for 


savage life. The earliest definite record we possess locates the various tribes 
as follows : 

The Pottawatomies.i occupied Washington Island and the greater part of the 
east shore of Green Bay. They also had a large village of sixteen cabins at 
the mouth of the Big Suaniico (Oussouaniigong) on the west side of the bay. 

The Winnebagoes - were upon and near Red Banks on the east shore of the 
bay. X'imont says "they were a sedentary people and very numerous." Some 
Frenchmen called them Puans, because the Algonquin word Ouinipeg signifies 
"stinking water." (Relations, v. 2^. p. 275.) The name Winnepigous or 
"Men of the salt water" or sea, misled Champlain when tidings of the strange 
tribe living on Green Bay were brought to him, and caused him to believe that 
it was the sea and not a body of fresh water on the shores of which these 
people dwelt. Early travellers speak of the extensive marshes edging the bay, 
and of its thick water growth, and suggest that the marshy odor noticeable 
during the summer was responsible for the name "ill smelling," as the Winne- 
bagoes themselves were not more filthy in their haliits than other tribes, were 
in fact considered an industrious people, the squaws neater and more careful 
than the ordinary savage home maker. 

Entrenched on the heights of Red Banks, in legendarv lore their "(larden 
of Eden," the place where they "first saw light," the Winnebagoes grew strong 
and aggressive, holding the part of master over the other tribes along the bay. 
By reason of their peculiar situation, a tribe of the Siouan stock, renegades 
from their own people, surrounded on all sides by Algonkins, and conspicuous 
because of their isolation, they were the most prominent among the bay Indians 
and from the title given to them as aliens, of "Puans" or "men of the sea" the 
bay acquired the name which it held for a century or more, until a still more 
powerful tribe, the warlike Fox (Outagamie), became foremost in the history 
of this- region. (One explanation of the name Puan given to the Winnebagoes 
is that they were excessively fond of garlic and consequently smelt of that 

On both sides of the Winnebago fortification and village at Red Banks 
were villages of Pottawatomies, and across the bay lived the Menominees ■' on 
the river of the same name. They were not a very numerous people, and were 
called by the French "Folle Avoines," because of the quantities of wild rice 
that grew in their river. 

I — Spelled variously Pottawattomies, Poteouatami, Poueteouatamis, Poiitewatomi, Poiil- 
eouatemis; also called by the French Poux. The traditions of this tribe as first recorded 
by Father De Smet gave Longfellow the matter for his Hiawatha. They were a gentle, 
friendly tribe "very affable and cordial." — O'Shea, La Potherie. 

2 — VVinnebagoe, Winnepigoii, Ouinipigou, Puants, Puans. A tribe belonging to Sioux 
stock. The name derived from Winnipeg, "the sea," called "men of the sea," also called 
"Man eaters," because "any stranger coming among them was cooked in their kettles" — 
Jesuit Relations. La Potherie. 

3 — Menominees, Menomonees, Malouminek, Maloumines, Marouminc, Menomini, Mal- 
hominies, Oumalouminek. An Algonquin tribe living on their river of the same name. The 
name is the Algonquin term for the grain which grew in immense quantities along the borders 
of the .stream— in English, Wild Rice. The French called both the grain and tribe Folle 
Avoine — Wild Oats. 





The principal village of the Osaukee * was on the Fox river, near where 
the Beaumont House now stands. This tribe was from early days an ally of 
the Fox Indians, who were located on the Wolf river near New London when 
first visited by a Frenchman, Nicholas Perrot, in 1665, but who afterward 
moved their village to little Lake Butte des Morts and Doty's Island, where 
tliey remained to harass the French traders for many years. 

The Mascoutins,-"^ Kickapoos " and Miamis ' were located near Berlin, in 
what is now Green Lake county. 

For two hundred years at least and probably much longer these tril^es lived 
in practically one section of the country, that bordering on Green Bay and its 
tributary stream. Fox river. The widely prevalent idea that the Indians were 
before the coming of Europeans a nomadic people is largely a misconception. 
Unless driven from a favorite village ])y a stronger tribe they would dwell 
there contentedly for years, pursuing their life without thought of change. 

Algonkin (or Algonquin) was a name originally applied to a small tribe 
of Indians living on the Gatina river east of Ouel)ec. Later the term was 
extended to other tribes of the same stock living on the ujiper Ottawa river, the 
shores of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron as far as Sault Sainte Marie. Some 
of these people were driven by Iroquois cruelties to Mackinac and westward, 
and became consolidated with the trilie known as Ottawa. The Indian name 
was spelled by Nicholas Perrot Algonkin, and by the Jesuit chroniclers Algon- 
quin, Algonquain and Algonkin. From this is derived Algonquian, the appel- 
lation given to the ethnic stock and linguistic family most widely dififused through- 
out North America. To this stock belonged all the tribes inhabiting what is 
now Wisconsin, with the one exception — the Winnebagoe. 

The arts and industries of the bay Indians were not limited to the making 
of flint .-irrow points and clumsy imi)lements of stone. With their seemingly 
impossible tools they accomplished remarkable results. Canoes were framed 
from cedar, covered with strips of birch bark, and the seams daubed witli pitch 
gatliercd from resinous woods. When completed they were as tight and grace- 
ful a craft as ever floated, but difficult to navigate and dangerous in rough 
weather. Que of the disasters of these days of Indian occupation is com- 
memorated in the name "Death's Door;" a large canoe load of Pottawatomies 
crossing the mouth of Green Bay was overtaken by a gale, shipwrecked and the 
whole crew drowned. 

4— The name of this Algonquin tribe was spelled at different periods Onsakis, Sankee, 
Sakys, Sakis, Sauk and Sac. Their original country, according to the Jesuit Relations, the 
district in the east between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The Sauks were always closely 
united with the Fo.xes, and had probably a common origin. — O'Shea, Wis. Hist. Coll., vol. 3. 
5 — Mascoutins, Machkouteng, Machkoutens, Maskoutens, etc., were called by the Hurons 
the Fire-Nation, and AUouez and Marquette also give the name of this Algonquin tribe 
that derivation. Dablon, Charlevoi.x and Schoolcraft treat this as a mistake and derive it 
from Muskortenac, a prairie. 

e — Kickapoos, Kickabou, Kikapous, Kickaboua, etc., an Algonquin tribe. Charlevoi.\ 
says: 'The Kickapoos are neighbors of the Mascoutens and it seems that these two tribes 
have always been united in interest." 

7 — Miamis, an Algonquin tribe. Charlevoi.x says that they came from the Pacific, and 
in another place that they were originally near Chicago, where Perrot found their king, 
Tetinchoua, in 1671. The Jesuits found some tribes living with the Mascoutins on Fox river 
in 1669. 


Indian lodges and wigwams were constructed by means of poles driven in 
the ground and thatched with mats made of the long grass which grows tall on 
inland waters. In tlie center of this lodge was an opening in the thatch for 
the smoke of the fire to escape and the door was usually covered with a buck- 
skin curtain often painted with rude figures of men and animals. Later when 
the art of embroidering with colored porcupine quills came into use these cur- 
tains were still more highly embellished. The first European settlers and 
explorers speak of the Indian mounds at Point an Sable and extending far 
into the thick forests that in early days grew along the shore. These mounds 
had at that time, one hundred years or more ago, trees growing from their 
centers of apparently great age. John Rave, an intelligent Winnebago who in 
191 1 visited Red Banks, the home of his ancestors, says that what are often 
mistaken for oblong burial mounds were in reality elevations on which the In- 
dians built their lodges in order to keep them dry in rainy weather. 

Basket making was still another pursuit of these primitive times, and pot- 
tery was moulded from clay obtained along the bay shore. Great kettles like 
the one found by J. P. Schumacher at Little Red River (La Petite Riviere 
Rouge) in the northeast corner of the town of Scott near the line of Kewaunee 
county, one-quarter of a mile from Dyckesville, were used to cook in or to store 
grain. Nicholas Perrot in one of his harangues to the Indians in this \ icinity 
in 1683 bids them remember their miserable condition before the light of their 
French father Onontio had brought them help, for he had found them with 
no utensils or tools save "earthen pots and stone hatchets." while spoons of 
clam shells dipped out their sturgeon and wild rice stew. 

The yearly harvest of wild rice formed still another great industry. When 
as in Fox River and its tributaries the waving fields of grain extended to mid- 
channel the Indian women in July tied with strong withes great bunches together. 
Then when the crop was ripe they paddled their canoes through these alleys, and 
bending down the heavy sheaves of grain beat out the tasseled head with a 
paddle. Then followed the primitive method of extracting the inner kernel, 
which was done with a stone mortar and pestle. A fine example of a "spirit 
stone" or mortar is to be found on the Cormier farm at Ashwaubenon, a 
great stone with a depression in the center, in which the grain was placed to 
be ground out with stone hammers. There was also a smaller stone mortar 
found at the south end of Point au Sable, and a very small one of hematite was 
found by J. P. Schumacher at Big Suamico. 

The duties of the Indian women included the skinning of animals when 
brought in by the hunters, stretching and preparing the hides for use and 
fashioning them into moccasins and leggings. The latter were sometimes richly 
decorated with dyed porcupine quills. To get the fish at the landing and clean 
it; to make twine in order to provide nets for the men; to plant, hoe and garner 
the crops and to look after the cooking were also in their province. The 
women were aided in their tasks by the children and old men. Often prisoners 
of war were used as slaves and did a large part of the drudgery. 

There were few idle hands, for on the men devolved the making of canoes, 
paddles, poles and saddles; implements of stone and bone, and bows and 
arrows. They contrived conveniences for fishing such as were found by the 
first explorers at De Pere rapids, where the banks narrow and the waters rush 


and hurry. Here the Indians constructed an ingenious fish weir across the 
stream resembhng in appearance a rail fence. From this picturesque, though 
at times somewhat unsteady structure, the fishermen deftly speared the mighty 
sturgeon and muskellunge that were stopped in their mad rush down stream 
by closely set stakes often threaded by a heavy net. 

Indian cornfields were of amazing extent, and early travelers speak of the 
succulence of their bean and corn succotash. One of the first acts of cruelty 
in savage warfare was the destruction of an enemy's cornfield which doomed 
him to starvation and surrender, and this method of warfare was continued 
by the French in subduing the Indians. In the campaign against the Iroquois 
undertaken by Marquis Denonville in 1687, when Nicholas Perrot, Wisconsin's 
first governor, came into prominence, the amount of corn destroyed belonging 
to the enemy was 1,000,000 bushels. Beans, squashes, pumpkins and tobacco 
were raised in abundance, the Indian agriculturalist using primitive gardening 
tools of stone or wood. Sometimes sharp shells or flat bones were fastened 
into wooden handles by stout withes of wood or leather and used to scratch 
the soil for planting. 

Their pleasures were first of all war. Internecine squabbles between the 
(lift'erent triljes were constant, patched up l)y a make-believe peace to be broken 
almost immediately again. The woods, dense though they were in this vicinity, 
were threaded Ijy Indi;in trails where half naked dusky imps chased each 
other, for often the war party chose the path through the woods rather than a 
canoe voyage in reaching the Illinois country. The Indian mother sang her 
Ijaby to sleep with chants of mighty deeds of prowess to be accomplished by 
him when grown. 

^\'hen six years of age children whether boy or girl had their ears pierced 
by a fiat bodkin made of bone and the nose treated in the same manner with a 
stout awl. This ceremony was performed by a juggler assisted by five or six 
disci[)les. The aboriginal awl, samples of which can be seen in the Schumacher 
collection, was indeed an indispensable article in every day work, so much 
so that it was usually carried in the belt. In bead work, basket work, quill 
work, and sewing and canoe making it was indispensable. 

Their musical instruments were tlie flute made of two pieces of soft wood 
hollowed out, and tied together with leatiier thongs, and a small hollow bone 
made similar to the present flute which they blew at one end, making a shrill 
monotonous note. A drum formed of a hollow log with deer skin drawn tightly 
across the end, was beaten at all kinds of feasts, dances and games ; in dancing 
they kept time to the tap of the drum. Father Charlevoix in describing the 
ceremonies attendant on the coming of a new commandant to Fort St. Francis 
near the mouth of Fox river in the summer of 1721, sjieaks of the monotonv 
of this music, and the never ending dances of the braves. 

Gamljling was a passion with the bay Indians, the game of straws and of dice 
being especially prized. At the game of dice a whole village would wager its 
entire wealth against another and lose it all. Scjuatting on the ground men and 
women would play interminably, and when one party happened to throw a 
pair royal of six his entire tribe would rise to their feet and dance, keeping 
time to the sound of rattles made of gourds filled with beans. The game of 


lacrosse belongs to the earliest ages, and was a favorite although often a 
dangerous pastime. 

All the tribes seem to have been given much to feasts and pagan ceremonials. 
The Sauks and Foxes were esteemed deeply religious in that they propitiated 
constantly with gifts and oblations the dread spirits dwelling in caves, in fire, 
in air and water. The god of water was the great Panther whom the Algonkins 
called Michipissy. 

"Devil" river is synonymous with Manitou, so named by the Indians who told 
the French that a monster li\ed in a cave within its sharply shelving shore and 
deep channel ; that he had a large tail and when he rose to drink the waving of 
his tail stirred up high winds, but when he switched it sharply it roused great 
tempests. Therefore when departing on a journey upon any water they uttered 
the invocation "Thou who art the master of the winds favor us upon our 
voyage and give us pleasant weather," at the same time scattering tobacco upon 
the water. In especial was the bear held in reverence. Long harangues were 
made to his effigy, and he was propitiated by warriors going into battle with 
strange dances and gyrations and the observance of long fasts. Father Andre 
in 1673 describes his interviews with the haughty young warriors who appeared 
decked out with paint and feathers in jireparation for taking the war path in 
pursuit of the Sioux. He tells of how tliey skinned the sacred bear whole and 
set it up as a grotesque image in the center of a lodge selected for the purpose : 
the animal's snout painted a brilliant green ; and how around this dreadful 
effigy the warriors who besought the good offices of the fetich gyrated and 
danced "yelling all night long like one in despair." 

(References for Chapter III: Blair, Indian Tribes of the Upper Mississippi 
and Great Lakes; Thwaites, Wisconsin; A. C. Neville, Historic Sites on Green 
Bay; Wis. Hist. Proc, 1905; J. G. O'Shea, \\'is. Hist. Colls, \'ol. 3.) 


For how many hundreds of years this active busy Hfe went on, in the 
forests and along the streams of our county no one knows, but that for a very 
long time the tribal families of Pottawatomies, Sauks, Miamis, Alenominees 
and Foxes inhabited this section of country is well proved. Although so far 
inland these Indians were destined to be reached by the adventurous white race 
almost as soon as their brothers on the Atlantic coast. 

Hendrick Hudson had sailed for the first time the great river that bears 
his name in 1609, the Ma}flower made her initial voyage in 1620, and in 1634 
Jean Nicolet, an ad\-enturous Norman, made the long trip of 1,000 miles from 
Quebec to Green Bay. In New France, as Canada was then called, was to be 
found the spirit' of adventure, of romance and exploration wholly lacking 
among the prosaic English and Dutch on the Atlantic coast. Samuel de Cham- 
plain, governor of the Province of Quebec, was typical of all that the French 
stood for in North America. He was himself an explorer of no mean reputa- 
tion, and his discoveries added material and definite territory to the vague maps 
of that period. Champlain's map of the great lakes country drawn in 1632 
is a marvel of accurate guesswork; drafted as it was principally from Indian 
report couclicd in allegorical language, it yet gave a fair idea of Lake Huron 
and Lake Superior. 

Beyond the great water ( Lake Huron) so the Indians assured him was still 
another inland sea. and beyond that a wide sheet of water never seen by French- 
men, which Champlain figured jjossibly might be the China Sea. We now know 
this to have been Green Bay, but the popular idea in that day was that not very 
far to the westward lay the Chinese Empire, "far Cathay," and Champlain, astute 
explorer though he was, had no means of judging possible distances and cor- 
recting erroneous impressions. His imagination took fire when the savage vis- 
itors told him that on the shores of this great bay dwelt a strange people, "Men 
of the sea," who dift'ered entirely in appearance and custom from the surround- 
ing red men. Champlain, eager to discover what this nation of aliens might be, 
whether Indian or Mongolian, and unable to go himself chose as his envov the 
man of all others fitted for the enterprise — Jean Nicolet. 

Nicolet had come to New France in the year 1618, and "forasmuch as his 
nature and excellent memory inspired good hopes of him he was sent to winter 
with the Island Algonquins in order to learn their language. He tarried with 
them two years, and always joined the barbarians in their excursions and 
journeys." — Jesuit Relations. 

It had been Champlain's custom for years to send young men among 
the Indians for the purpose of learning their language and becoming acquainted 



with their manners and customs, preparing them in short to act as interpreter 
or in some other capacity for the One Hundred Associates, at that time the 
great fur corporation of Canada and the precursor of the Hudson's Bay Com- 

Nicolet later spent eight or nine years with the tribes in the vicinity of Lake 
Nipissing, isolated from ci\ilization, living the wild life of the savage and noting 
down his observations of Indian life and character. He is said to have been 
deeply religious and to ha\e suffered while in this exile for the consolations of 
the church "without which among the savages is great peril for the soul." 
On Nicolet's return to Quebec he entered the employ of the fur company, 
and at thirty-six years of age was chosen by Governor Champlain as liis envoy 
to arrange a peace between the Hurons and "People of the sea from whom they 
are absent about 300 leagues." 

The chronicler of this famous voyage of Jean Nicolet's is Father \'imont of 
the Jesuit order. Each year a circumstantial account of the society's work was 
sent to its superior in Paris, and among the multiplied items of daily life in 
Quebec and vicinity must be gleaned the story of the coming of the first white 
man to Green Bay. On the first of July, 1634, two fleets of canoes left Quebec 
and paddled up the St. Lawrence — the one to build a fort where today stands the 
town of Three Rivers, Canada, the other under the direction of Father Brebeuf 
to found a Jesuit mission among the Hurons. With the latter party was Jean 
Nicolet under commission from Champlain to [proceed to the Huron \ illages on 
(Georgian Bay, there to obtain men of that nation to act as his boatmen on 
the expedition to identify the "Winnepigous" or "men of the salt water." ^ 

Some time late in July Nicolet and his seven ITuron savages embarked. 
Skirting the northern shore of Georgian Bay they rounded the Manitoulin islands 
and reaching Sault Sainte Marie ascended the river as far as the rapids; then 
on to Mackinac island where the blue expanse of Lake Huron (la donee mer) 
met the clear green waters of its sister. Lake Alichigan. 

That Nicolet inirsued his journey with the knowledge that this alien people 
he sought was in reality a tril)e of Indians instead of a horde of Mongolians, is 
now certain. "He passed by many small nations" on his way, the most of 
whom had heard of the arrogant Puans who lived on the great bay, and before 
he rounded Point Detour and entered Big Bay de Noquet, the voyageur, knew 
without doubt that red men and not Chinese mandarins were the object of this 
wild, adventurous trip. 

Coasting along the low western shore of Green Bay he came to the Menomi- 
nees dwelling on the river that now Ijears their name and there found that the 
vVinnebagoes were two days distant. Wherever the party landed "they fastened 
two sticks in the earth, and hung gifts thereon so as to relieve those tribes from 
the notion of mistaking them for enemies to be massacred." One of his 
Hurons was dispatched by Nicolet to announce that a Frenchman, "a Manitoui- 
riniou," that is to say "a wonderful man," was on the way bringing to the Puans 

I — Later knowledge has revealed the fact that the "Gens de Mer," or Men of the Sea, 
were but the Winnebago of our day — a name derived from the Algonkin word Oiiinipegou, 
meaning "men of ihe fetid (or stinking) water.'' Ethnologists now believe that the term 
Ouincpeg, as applied by the Algonkins to the Winnebagoes, had no reference to the sea, 
but to certain ill-smelling sulphur springs in the neighborhood of Lake Winnipeg. — Thwaites, 



a message of peace with the Hurons. Full of curiosity and interest the Winne- 
bagoes received most affably Jean Nicolet's Indian messenger, and immediately 
dispatched several of their young men to meet and bring with honor this dis- 
tinguished stranger to their village. ''Thev meet him, they escort him, they 
carry all his baggage," thus the Jesuit narrative runs. 

From the lofty heights of Red Banks the cortege of canoes could be seen 
approaching for many miles distant. The steep clay bluff which rises eighty 
feet or more from the beach below was in 1634 crowned liy a palisaded fort, 
the earth works of which show it to have been of large proportions and strongly 
built. All around this ancient fortification and its enclosed lodges were fields 
of Indian corn, while a village of mat-co\ered cabins ran down hill southward 
and on to the plain below. It was an imposing stronghold for defense or obser- 
vation, and from it the wide stretch of blue bay ga\e protection from treacherous 

In order to impress the strange nation with the dignity of his mission Nicolet 
had provided himself with "a grand robe of Chinese damask, all strewn with 
flowers and birds of many colors," gorgeous to behold. In this the explorer 
arrayed himself, and the Indians watching from the rude bastions of their fort 
saw the long canoe propelled by swift paddles of tlie Huron "wild men" sweep 
up to their primitive landing place in fine style. 

In the center of the canoe rode a gayly decked, white man, who disembarked 
with the air of a conqueror raising in each hand 'as he did so a mysterious 
implement of iron. These with a terrific noise and-smoke he discharged toward 
the sun. "It is a Manitou who carries thimdei*. in both hands," cried the women 
and children, and fled before tlic mar\elous apparition, while the men more 
courageous prepared to do homage to this new deity. 

The important visit proceeded most successfully and amicably. News of 
Nicolet's coming having spread among the neighboring tribes a great council 
was held, the first of many that were to be carried on between palefaces and 
Indians in the limits of Brown county in coming years. "Four or five thou- 
sand warriors assembled, each of the chiefs gave a feast and at one of these 
not less than six score beaver were eaten. Peace was concluded." Thus ends 
Pere Vimont's account of the coming of the first white man to Green Bay. 

Jean Nicolet blazed the trail for exploration, commerce and civilization in 
this region. In his wake followed a varied unending procession of fur traders, 
missionaries, adventurous spirits in all walks of life, who were to make this y 
central point for trade and colonization. The place where the brave Norman 
met the Winnebago in friendly council in this twentieth century has become a 
conventional summer resort, with picturesque cottages gleaming through wooded 
glades. Its winding paths still recall the forest primeval, although the thick 
growth of juniper and fir which used to fringe the edge of the bluff has disap- 
peared. In the sandy soil the archjeologist still finds relics of Winnebago and 
Pottawatomie occupancy, and at a turn of the road which leads to Red River, 
to Dyckesville and other Brown county towns stands a rude boulder with bronze 
tablet attached. On it are marked these words: "1634-1909 — Commemorating 
the discovery of Wisconsin in 1634 by Jean Nicolet, emissary of Governor 
Champlain of New France. In this vicinity Nicolet first met the Winnebago 


Indians. Unveiled August 12, 1909, by members of the State Historical Society 
of Wisconsin and the Green Bay Historical Society." 

Nicolet well deserves a lasting monument, not only commemorative of his 
discovery of Wisconsin, but also of the man himself, the sturdy self-respecting 
and respected Norman whose few remaining years after his famous voyage 
were full of usefulness and honor. Beloved by the French and Indians and 
the trusted ally of the missionaries in their work of conversion, he contributed 
much toward the advancement of the colonies in Canada. His death was sud- 
den and much lamented. While making the trip from Quebec to Three Rivers 
to save an Indian prisoner from torture he was drowned in the St. Lawrence, 
October 27th, 1642. 

Not until 1658 is there further mention of Furopean exploration as far as 
Green Bay, and then by men as different from Jean Nicolet as can well be 
imagined. Champlain's ambition in sending his envoy to seek out new coun- 
tries was the spirit of exploration rather than trade, but the passion for the 
large and easily obtained profits to l^e gained in furs rapidly spread among the 
youth of New France ; agriculture was neglected and the whole masculine 
colony took to the woods. 

Medard Chouart Groseillers and his brother-in-law, Pierre d'Fsprit, Sieur 
Radisson, young men living in the colony of Quebec, determined in 1658 to 
explore the country of the great lakes. The two formed a brotherly partner- 
ship "to tra\ell and see countries" and Radisson with the true explorer's spirit 
l^ept a journal as keenly descriptive today as when he noted down events of 
the year 1658. In it he records that as soon as he and Groseillers made their 
resolution, "many undertake the voyage, for where is lucre there are enough peo- 
ple to be had." This might indicate that coureurs de bois or wood rangers were 
already seeking in considerable luimbers tlie rich fields of this western wilder- 

The two Frenchmen \isited first the ( )ttawas on the Manitoulin islands, 
and there met a band of Pottawatonfie "Ambassadors." Radisson grandilo- 
,'iuently calls them, who prayed the travelers to return with them to their villages 
on Cireen Bay. Here the winter was passed with the Pottawatomies at their 
large village, probably on the shore between Point au Sable and Red Banks. 

The Frenchmen's winter on Green Bay seems not to have been a very severe 
one in point of cold, but the following year Radisson gives a thrilling narrative 
of hardship and suft'ering from the extreme weather experienced in the northern 
part of what is now Wisconsin. On the shores of Lake Superior famine over- 
took them, not an unusual thing among the Indians in those da_vs during the 
extreme cold, when game disappeared entirely from the gaunt snow laden forests. 
The Indian lodges were filled with, starving folk and Radisson's wonderful 
word picture vividly impresses the reader as it did when fresh from his pen. two 
hundred and fifty-eight years ago. 

"\\'e staved 14 days in this place most miserable like a churchyard, 
for there did fall such a quantity of snow and frost and with such a thick nnst 
that all the snow stucke to those trees that are there so ruffe, cedars and thorns 
that caused ye darkness upon the earth that it is believed ye sun was eclips. 
* * * The two first weekes we did eate our doggs. Finally we became the 
very Image of death with barely strength to niake a hole in the snow to lay us 


down, * * or to cutt a little wood to make a tire to keep us from the 

rigour of the cold." 

Other daring spirits followed close upon Radisson and Groseillers. The 
journey from Quebec was a long and dangerous one but on the shores of 
"la grande baye" were to be found ample profits to repay the adventurous fur 
trader for all his toil. 


Toivn of Green Bay. Broivn County. Wisconsin 

No. I. A large Indian mound was located on the fractional northwest quar- 
ter of tiie northeast quarter, section 13, township 25, range 22, on the south shore 
of Green Bay and the east bank of a small creek (sometimes called Little Red 
river or Petite Riviere Rouge) extending south and east along the bank of the 
creek about 900 feet to a large sand hill called "The Hog Back." The foot of the 
hill is covered with remnants of fire pits and fragments of pottery and large 
quantities of flint chippings and pieces of flint (also a large heap of clay which 
was evidently used in the manufacture of pottery). The top of the hill was 
used for burials. 

No. 2. A smaller village was located in the fractional northwest quarter of 
the southwest quarter of section 13, township 25, range 22, on the south shore of 
( ireen Bay and the east shore of a small creek (sometimes called Little Red river 
or Petite Riviere Rouge). There was a small oval mound (now obliterated), 
about 200 feet east of the mouth of the creek and 100 feet south of the low 
water mark of Green Bay. 

Note. It is a question which of the two streams is the Little Red river or 
Petite Riviere Rouge as it was called by the early French settlers, as both are 
referred to by that name l)y the farmers in the neighborhoofl. 

Town of Suaniico, Brozvu County. Wisconsin 

No. I. An oval mound about 70 by 80 feet on land of Peter Devroy in the 
southeast quarter of the northwest quarter, section 23, township 25, range 20, 
being 100 feet north and 125 feet west from the center of Brucetown road and 
the north by east section line. 

No. 2. A large village site ( Oussaquaimmy. a village mentioned in the 

Jesuit relations), located on land of Anderson, along the west shore of 

Green Bay, covering the greater part of the fractional cast half section 24, town- 
ship 25, range 20, south of the Big Suamico river. 

No. 3. A village site on the farm of William Gokey on the northwest quarter 
of the southwest quarter of section 14, township 25, range 20. 

No. 4. A small village or camp on the land of Dr. Colver on west half of 
the southwest half, section 14, township 25, range 20. 

No. 5. Workshop on a sand hill on the southeast quarter of the southwest 
quarter of the, southeast quarter, section 15, township 25, range 20. 

Note. There are none of the usual signs of a village or camp at this hill 
except a few remnants of fire pits, but quantities of small flint-chippings. 

Vol. 1—2 


Note. Nos. 4 or 5 may have been part of village No. 3, being so close to 
them, in fact the whole territory between all the villages on both sides of the 
Big Suamico river shows signs of former occupation. 

Town of Preble, Bro-wii County. Wisconsin. 

There was a village on the east l)ank of East river ( De\il river ) on lot ;^'/ 
of Newberry's addition, division No. 2. 

(References for Chapter IV: Jesuit Relations, Vol. 23: Butterfield, Dis- 
covery of Northwest ; J. P. .Schumacher, 'Tndian Mounds ;" llebberd, Wiscon- 
sin, under French Dominion.) 


The site on the shore of Fox River where stood the Mission House of St. 
Frangois Xavier two hundred and forty-one years ago has never as in many 
similar instances been wholly lost. Through reminiscence and tradition and 
the writings of Fathers Allouez and Dablon almost the exact location of this 
pious retreat can be traced. Early American settlers found still visible the 
foundations of chapel and dwelling house (VV. H. C, Vol. 2) for although burned 
by hostile Indians in 1687, the stone foundations and stout timbers were not 
entirely destroyed and defied time's ravages. So the great name of its founder, 
Claude Allouez, and the work accomplished by him, withstand the waves of 
oblivion that have swallowed up other and less strong personalities. 

It was in the month of November, 1669, that Father Allouez began his 
journey to the great bay of the Puans, leaving his mission "La Pointe du Saint 
Esprit" on the shores of Chequamegon Bay in charge of Father Jacques Mar- 
quette. It is a season that in our northern latitudes means blustering north winds, 
with a strong skimming of ice, as the days shorten, on the borders of creek and 
river. Allouez had steadfastly purposed to reach the extremity of the bay before 
winter set in, and urged the two French voyageurs who accompanied him in his 
bark canoe to use every effort to gain this goal. All the experience of these skilled 
Canadian boatmen was called into requisition, for the journey was a dangerous 
and terril)le one. 

On the twenty-fourth of November ice began to form, cutting their perishable 
bark craft ; snow fell and their garments were drenched. At intervals they 
landed to mend their canoes and make friends with the Indians camped along 
the shores ; for the most part Pottawatomies, who like the voyageurs were short 
of provisions, for there was no game and it was too early in the season to spear 
the sturgeon. The travelers labored on. Father Allouez ever encouraging his 
companions and invoking the aid of St. Francis Xavier. while his crew implored 
the protection of St. Anne, patron saint of all voyageurs. 

When they reached the mouth of the river where they were to join a little 
band of fur traders, they found it closed by ice, but that night a tempestuous 
wind arose and cleared the channel, so that they were able to enter. On the 
second of December, 1669, they made port, landing a short distance up a stream 
on the west side of the bay. This point is now definitely identified as the Oconto 
river, where there was a large Indian village. 

Six Frenchmen had encamped here for purposes of trade, and these with 
the two voyageurs formed the worshipers at the first mass offered on these 
isolated shores. It was for Father Allouez a service of thanksgiving that his 
life had been spared through so many dangers, and that he had been enabled 



bo gain this goal of his pious hopes. Here AUouez spent the winter of 1669- 
70, visiting a number of Indian villages in the vicinit) , among them that of the 
Winnebagoes at Red Banks, also the Pottawatomie "who lived near them." 
One especially difficult trip was made by the priest in visiting these two tribes. 
After giving instruction to the dwellers in this encampment, in all perhaps one 
hundred and sixty persons. Father Allouez began his dangerous return jour- 
ney to Oconto. The cold on the open bay was so intense, with the mercury 
below zero and the unsheltered expanse by a cutting wind, that the mis- 
sionary was nearly overcome, and was forced to sink down on the snow. His 
nose was frozen, his strength well nigh exhausted, but in telling of the perilous 
trip he says, "through Providence I found in my cassiock a clove'' and the 
pungent spice so revived him that he was enabled to continue his journey. 

When the ice broke up under the rough winds of March, Father Allouez 
prepared to carry on his missionary work to the southward. Passing to the 
head of the bay he entered the river of the Puans (Fox River) a water high- 
way that became only a few years later, and continued to be for nearly two 
centuries, the most important route connecting the Mississippi with the great 
lakes. Allouez promptly rechristened the beautiful stream "Riviere St. Fran- 
(;ois." This name it retained until the middle of the eighteenth century, when 
constant war between the French and the war-like Fox or Outagamie nation 
made this section of country the peculiar territory of these aggressive Indians, and 
the waterway, which had become a source of contention between the comljatants 
was known as Riviere des Outagamies or Riviere des Resnards. 

To one who passes up Fox river today the journal kept by Father Allouez 
with its minute memoranda of people and places in that early period of our his- 
tory, is of absorbing interest. Although a tremendous water power has made the 
stream a center for manufacture and modern industries still one may even now 
float for miles along its waters and view practically the same general landscape 
as did Allouez on this first memorable journey — the steep overhanging banks 
fringed thickly by apple and other low growing trees, woodlands rising in the 
background with wide open spaces between, and the calm even flow of the river, 
unvexed for leagues by modern improvements. 

Allouez made a hasty review of the field at this lime and in May he was 
back at his Oconto mission. He stopped there but a short time, for in June he 
was due at Sault Ste. Marie where Sieur St. Lusson by royal authority was to 
claim for Louis XIV of France this wide western territory. With imposing 
ceremonies during which speeches were made by St. Lusson and Father Allouez, 
the arms of France were raised on high by Nicholas Perrot, and fastened to a 
solidly planted pole, while St. Lusson in a commanding voice took possession of 
this land in the name of the "most high, mighty and redoubted monarch Louis 
Fourteenth of the name. King of France and Navarre." 

In September, 1670, Allouez again made the voyage up the Fox River in 
company with Father Dablon, newly appointed Superior of all the Canadian 
missions. It was a pleasant journey in congenial companionship, full of variety 
and incident. Where the city of Kaukauna now overruns the once beautiful 
island and commanding blufifs the travelers found set up on the bank of the 
river a grotesque idol of stone, to which every red man in passing made hom- 
age and propitiatory offerings of tobacco. Without ceremony the missionaries 




tumbled this gayly painted image into tlie river, where it doubtless still rests. 
The Indians were uniformly docile, and gave glad welcome to the kindly 
"black robe," as they called the visiting priest, but Father Allouez was inex- 
pressibly shocked that they should treat him as a deity, and lay offerings of 
tobacco at his feet. "Take pity on us," they cried, "thou art a Manitou. We 
give thee tobacco to smoke. We are often ill, our children are dying; we 
are hungry. Hear us, Manitou ; we give thee tobacco to smoke,'' while Allouez 
in horror yet deeply touched by this plaintive appeal called upon them to give 
up their idolatries, and listen to him as he told them of the true and only 

In the winter of 1671-72 a permanent mission house was built on a pro- 
jection of land around which the last series of rapids eddy before Fox river 
makes its final sweep towards Green Bay. It was a level plateau, "a prairie"' 
leather Allouez calls it, with a sandy beach skirting its borders some five feet 
below. To the eastward the place was sheltered by high banks covered from 
base to crown by a heavy growth of forest. The mission of St. Frangois 
Xavier occupying this accessible and pleasant spot was at first merely a lodge 
such as the Indians used. This burned and was succeeded by a solidly con- 
structed chapel and dwelling house, probably built of logs with a stone founda- 
tion, for the missionaries, and still another structure for the traders and casual 
visitors of whom there were many coming and going. 

The mission at Rapides des Peres speedily became a center of interest for 
the whole northwest. Allouez was efficient as an organizer and wide expe- 
rience had taught him right methods in controlling and attaching to him the 
wily and childish savage. He was a man of indomitable courage and persever- 
ance with a thorough knowledge of the various Algonkin dialects and this last 
equipment made his missionary lal:)ors more successful than any of his colleagues, 
and gave him an immense advantage over Father Marquette and other contem- 
porary priests as an itinerant missioner. More help was urgently required how- 
ever and precisely the right person came to Father Allouez's assistance when in 
December, 1671, Father Louis Andre joined the mission. The fathers agreed to 
divide the field, Allottez to pass through the river villages to the prairie dwellers, 
the Miamis, Mascoutins, Kickapoos and Illinois, while Andre went to those In- 
dians living on the bay shore, the nomadic fisher population, who built their reed 
lodges close to the water's edge and speared through holes in the ice sturgeon 
and muskellunge, or set nets for smaller fry. 

Father Andre was at this time forty-one years of age, a native of southern 
France, strong of body and intellect, and with decided views as to the most 
eft'ective way of reaching the savage conscience. His recital of daily work 
sent to his superior in Paris is picturesque in the telling and through its pages 
we see the shore of the bay and the daily life there as in a picture; the Indian 
lodges clustered at Suamico and Point au Sable, the stretches of cornfield 
bounding them on either side, heaps of fish drying everywhere, within and 
without the low cabins — an industry that often made it impossible to hold 
service in the church, and drove the priest to the outside air, so close was the 
interior with this all-pervading fishy odor. 

Father Andre set forth from "the house," as he designates St. Franqois 
Xavier Mission, in the autumn of 1672, reaching Chouskouabika, — "the place 


of slippery stones," as it is translated— on the i6th .of November. It is impos- 
sible to locate this village accurately; no vestige of its Indian name remains, 
as in Oussouamigong (Suamico) and many other towns of today, to give 
hint of its prehistoric title. 

Six tribes inhabited this upper bay region in the thirty odd miles extend- 
mg between the present cities of Green Bay and Menominee. The population 
of these villages varied from 150 to 300 souls and the work in hand proved 
sufficient to keep Andre's heart and hand active. 

"Father Andre," writes Allouez, "by his firmness has succeeded in sub- 
duing the minds of the savages, who were most ferocious and superstitious, 
by gradually and with unswerving constancy subjecting them to the yoke of the 
Faith." To gain insight into the manner in which Father Andre accomplished 
this remarkable change we must look over his shoulder as he writes in his 
little reed hut at Chouskouabika. "The fire that broke out in my cabin on the 
22nd of December destroyed my writing case and journal," he notes down, 
and then proceeds to tell how the calamity really turned to good, for the savages 
immediately set about to remedy the loss by building him a hut according to 
their own methods, using straw to the height of a man; above this mats which 
they wove from the long grass of the marshes bordering the bay. The mats 
were laid with a slight slope, so that the water ran from their smooth surface. 
"They afford greater protection against cold and smoke than do bark cabins," 
Andre writes, "and one need fear neither rain nor snow within their comfortable 

The reference l)y Father Andre to the burning of his cabin leads one to 
wonder whether possibly at this time the priest lost his sole scientific instru- 
ment, a bronze compass and sextant combined; for two hundred and thirty 
years later, in the autumn of 1902, F. B. Duchateau and A. G. Holmes of 
Green Bay tracking over the site of an Algonquin village on the east shore 
of the bay near Point au Sable found one of these ancient instruments, black- 
ened and discolored from the centuries it had lain in the earth. The interest- 
ing relic was made in Paris, and bears upon its face the names and latitudes 
of the French forts and mission stations most important in the seventeenth 
century, from Montreal to "la baye." There is no name to give clue to its 
possil)le owner, Ijut it undoubtedly belonged to one of the early missionaries, 
in all probaliility Father Andre, as these bay villages were his especial field 

of labor. 

As the priest writes in his journal or rather on such scraps of paper 
as he has rescued from the conflagration, Indians enter the cabin, young war- 
riors with faces blackened and daubed with coarse paint, terrible to behold and 
looking more like fiends than men. "I found no better way of compelling them 
to clean their faces than to show them the painting of the devil to whom they 
made themselves similar, and to refuse them entrance into my cabin when they 
came to pray to God." 

But the father possessed a gift that aided him greatly in gaining an in- 
fluence over the children of his flock, a cultivated taste for music. He set to 
fascinating airs of old Provence pious teaching framed in such simple lan- 
guage as the savage youngsters could understand. The experiment proved 
most successful, and the little wild swarthy creatures followed the priest with 



devotion, playing on their rude instruments and chanting the melodious tunes 
he had taught them. 

\\'ith his singing children Father Andre passed up and down the shores 
of Baye des Puans, "making war against the jugglers, dreamers, and those 
who had many wives, and because the Indians passionately loved their children 
and would suffer anything from them, they allowed the reproaches strong as 
they were cast upon them in these songs." 

The cold in that winter of 1672-73 was intense, and the straw cabin was 
not proof against its inroads. AVhen Father Andre said mass at daybreak in 
order to avoid possible interruption, he thawed the wine by the smoky fire 
in the center of the cabin ; but it would freeze again before the consecration 
and the chalice stuck to his lips. Yet no word of complaint escaped him : it 
is only an interesting incident to be recorded in the day's story. 

On the first day of Lent, the sixth of March, 1673, Andre returned to the 
centra! mission house at Rapides des Peres. As I had given my word to Rev- 
erend I'^ather Allouez that I would proceed to the house at the beginning of 
March I started on the sixth, notwithstanding the gout that had attacked me 
on the previous day. For that reason I was compelled after walking two 
leagues to have myself dragged by a dog from the mouth of the river to the 
house. When the elders heard that I was to leave them they came to me and 
begged me to stay, saying, "Now that all pray, thou leavest us," but he assured 
them of his return. 

Life at St, Francois Xavier"s mission house was varied and busy enough, 
to judge from the journal of Father Allouez and the record of contemporary 
writers. Service in the chapel, attendance at Indian councils, visits to sepa- 
rate cabins and instruction given to their inmates ; careful noting of astronomi- 
cal data as when Father Allouez makes minute mention of an eclipse of the 
sun which occurred on the sixteenth day of April, 1670, and lasted for over 
two hours. Father Andre on the bay shore kept accurate record of the curi- 
ous tides that for many years and to this day puzzle students of inland water 

Many visitors came to the mission whose names are familiar now 
through history and romantic tale. Daniel (Ireysolon Dulhut, cotneur de bois 
and soldier of fortune, a typical outgrowth of that reckless life and age ; Baron 
Lahontan, courtier and dilettante whose blithe chronicle of his travels and ad- 
ventures savors of Baron Munchausen ; Henri de Tonti with the hand of copper 
who in his retreat with four companions from the beleaguered fort on Starved 
Rock, Illinois, reached the friendly shelter of the mission house in December, 
1680. In the first week of May, 1683, his cousin, Dulhut, was again in this region 
with thirty men, and valiantly helped to defend the mission stockade against an 
incursion of the Iroquois, just then raiding Wisconsin tribes who had fled from 
Lake Huron. 

In the spring of 1673 Father Jacques Marquette and his sturdy companion, 
Louis Joliet, stopped at St. Franqois Xavier on their way to that great and as 
yet unexplored stream "that flows toward the south, and empties into the sea 
of Florida or California as we believe." In the fall the travelers returned, Mar- 
quette broken in health and content to take a much needed respite from labor 
among his brethren at the Rapides des Peres. Joliet returned to Canada with 


news of their great discovery, and the priest settled down for the winter in the 
little mission station, a haven of rest for the delicate, over-worked apostle. Here 
during the short winter days, in the log cabin banked high with snow drifts. 
Marquette inscribed a careful record of summer wanderings along the mighty 
Mississippi, living over again the discovery and the exploration of that hitherto 
unknown stream. 

Rumors of disaster to the French by field and flood grew rife throughout 
New France. The Indians became insolent and threatened to enter into a 
league with the English. A contagious malady appeared in 1683 ''t the bay 
which caused great mortality and the superstitious savages accused the black 
robes of casting upon them some spell of witchcraft. Servants of the mission- 
aries having been assassinated by the Indians they believed that this scourge was 
a revenge devised by the priests, whose lives at St. Francois were in constant 
danger. "Scarcely did they escape the burning of their homes and a like fate for 
themselves. A friendly chief who had heard some one say that they should get 
rid of these religions came to live near them to protect them." 

It must have been prior to this event that Allouez wrote in his report that 
after September he would be in the mission house alone, the savages all depart- 
ing "'because this year there are neither ducks or acorns." Many bands of 
Indians passed that way whom he instructed. The Illinois in especial flocked 
to the mission house "in the conviction that the house of God will protect them." 
When they passed the church they threw tobacco all around it as a token of 
respect to the "greatest divinity of whom they have ever heard." 

In time Father Allouez passed on to other fields leaving a competent hel])er 
to carry on the work so well begun. Those who followed him found how- 
strong an impression had been made by the good priest's teachings, as when 
Father Marquette first went down to the mission of St. Esprit on Lake Supe- 
rior, founded bv .Allouez. . "The Indians were very glad to see me at first," 
he writes, "but when they learned that I did not know the language perfectly, 
and that Father Allouez who understood them thoroughly had been unwilling 
to return to them because they did not take enough interest in prayer, they 
acknowledged that they were well deserving this punishment and resolved to 
do better." 

A remarkable relic of these early days is a beautiful silver ostensorium, pre- 
sented to the St. Franqois Xavier mission by Nicholas Perrot. who, as commander 
of the entire western territory for many years, was most closely identified with 
the mission's life and work. Perrot's devotion to the Catholic church and his 
friendship to the Jesuits of St. Francois is shown by his gift of this receptacle 
for the sacred wafer in the celebration of the mass. The monstrance is richly 
wrought, possibly of foreign workmanship, and bears upon the base these wortls : 
"Ce soleil a este donne par Nicholas Perrot a la mission de St. Franqois Xavier 
en la Baye des Puants, 1686." 

During Perrot's absence from his command in 1687, the Indians became es- 
pecially mutinous, burned the chapel and storehouse of the mission and forced 
the priests to flee for their lives. The ostensorium was buried by the mission- 
aries for safe keeping and remained concealed until 1802, when a French habitant 
plowing his arpent of land at that point brought to light the historical relic. 

Dotibtless the missionaries hoped to return and recover their treasure when 





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1 ^^^^^^^ 


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f \l 





less troublous times should ensue, but for more than one hundred years it 
remained where its original owners had buried it. La Baye successively passed 
through the ownership of France and England to that of the United States; wars 
and treaties changed the map of our country, exploration opened up wide new 
stretches of territory, before this remarkably interesting relic of early faith in 
Wisconsin, the oldest memento of French occupancy in the west, was reclaimed. 

Father Allouez was transferred to the Illinois mission in 1676, and his posi- 
tion as head of St. Francois Xavier was given to Father Charles Albanel, Father 
Andre continuing his work among the tribes along the bay shore. Alljanel was 
assisted by Antoine Silvy, and in 1678-79 Father Allouez seems to have returned 
in order to conduct a mission among the Outagamie and Mascoutin villages, 
Father Silvy working with him. In 1681, Jean Enjalran was appointed superior 
of the Jesuit missions in the northwest, including the one at De Pere. He re- 
mained in charge assisted by other priests until 1688. During Father Enjalran's 
incumbency the chapel and storehouse were burned, Init not all of the establish- 
ment was destroyed, for in i6go Nicholas Perrot held council with the tribes in 
"the house of the Jesuits." No mention is made of the priests in charge and for 
several years following little is known or told of the work accomplishcfl, Init that 
there were still priests in charge of the St. Francois Xavier mission is without 
doubt. The first one definitely named is Father Henri Nouvel, who was there in 
1701, "borne down by the weight of nearly 80 years and by many ailments." He 
was relieved that same year, 1701, by Father Pierre Chardon, who was still in 
the Fox River field twenty-seven years later in 1728. 

Thus ends the story of St. Francois Xavier Mission, one of the most inter- 
esting and important episodes in western history. Three separate places received 
the name, for Father Allouez made careful investigation before establishing 
a permanent retreat. It was first given to the Oconto mission in the winter 
of i66g and 1670. In that same season a cross was planted on the heights of 
Red Banks among the Pottawatomies and Winnebagoes, which Allouez also 
includes under the same name. Finally the well built house and adjoining 
buildings on the shore at the Rapides des Peres, l)ecame the central and definite 
mission of St. Franqois Xavier. 

Still engaged in mission labors death overtook Father Allouez on August 6, 
1689, two years after the religious house founded by him at La Baye was 
reduced to ashes. Today the township and village of De Pere hold in their 
names the anglicized fragments of the French "Rapides des Peres." Railroad 
tracks and manufactories crowd the river front, where two hundred and forty- 
one years ago only a solitary Jesuit mission house reared its log walls. In 
place of a primitive fish weir made of boughs and running irregularly across 
the rapids, where dusky, painted savages speared the fish below, a solid bridge 
of steel spans the stream and a great paper mill shows when evening falls its 
hundred electric eyes of light. 

Yet on the grassy banks of the government lock and looking up the river 
it is comparatively easy to resuscitate the setting for that far off picture of an 
earlier century, and close to the steel tracks where traffic is busiest a bronze 
tablet on a granite boulder commemorates the fact that : "Near this spot stood 
the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, built in the winter of 1671-72 by Father 
Claude Allouez, S. J., as the center of his work in christianizing the Indians of 


Wisconsin. This memorial tablet was erected by the citizens of De Pere and 
unveiled by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. September 6, 1899." 

Jesuit missionaries connected with and residing at St. Francois Xavier mis- 
sion: Claude Allouez, Louis Andre, Charles Albanel, Jacques Marquette, 
Antoine Silvy, Jean Enjalran, Henri Nouvel, Pierre Chardon. 

(References for Chapter V: Jesuit Relations, Vols. 52, 53, 54; A. C. Neville. 
Historic Sites on Green Bay; Catholic Church in Wisconsin.) 



For two hundred years the absorbing interest in Canada and its dependency 
La Baye was the fur trade, the great commerce of the northwest. When the 
embryo United States of America was comprised in a series of httle isolated 
sea coast towns under English and Dutch rule, New France was a united colony 
embracing within its boundaries, a territory of some 200 miles. This colony, 
which did not in 1680 number all told more than 10,000 souls was destined to 
blaze the trail of exploration and civilization through the great lakes region 
with the one dominating influence to give impetus to French valor and dis- 
covery — the all embracing fur trade. 

It caught within its snare Cardinal Richelieu, the controlling power in far 
off France during the early part of the seventeenth century and the organiza- 
tion known as the One Hundred Associates, Canada's largest fur company, 
was the result. Other monopolies followed, that sought to engross entirely the 
lucrative peltry trafific until this far reaching commerce which at first bid fair 
to enrich the French colony became its bane and ultimate ruin. Louis XI\' 
while coveting the profits of the fur trade realized when too late its fatal 
results : the evil that indil¥erence to settled colonization had wrought in his 
North American possessions. He strove vainly in the latter part of his long 
reign to stem the flood that threatened to wreck his powerful influence in the 
western world, but England, well established by this time, and in league with 
the warlike Iroquois confederacy, defied the futile efforts of impoverished and 
demoralized Canada to dislodge her from her share of the beaver traffic. The 
inevitable encounter came and the linal fall of New France was the result. 

Green Bay and the Fox River valley early became an important point towards 
which the voyageur whether priest, explorer, or bush ranger cast longing eyes, 
for all were, directly or otherwise interested in this rich fur producing terri- 
tory where according to Jean Nicolet at one banquet alone one hundred and 
twenty beavers were eaten. The beaver was indeed until the Frenchman taught 
the Indian its value in trade, a delicacy much relished at savage feasts, the 
little animal being roasted whole and eaten in its fat. 

The fur trade being the life of Canada the colonial government favored the 
scheme of sending its young men to gain the trade of those remote tribes who 
dwelt on the large bay that was tributary to Lake Michigan, for the Jesuit 
Relations of this period state that the Hurons kept away from Canada, and in 
1653 the keeper of the government store in Montreal had not bought a beaver 
skin in a year, so difficult were they to obtain. 

Out of this traffic in beaver skins arose an evil which paralyzed the growth 
and morals of New France. The active and \'igorous youth of the colony 


took to the woods, where they were independent of civil or rehgious controL 
Not only were profits great, but in the pursuit of them there was a fascinating 
element of adventure and danger. 

To control this forest trade the government issued annual licenses to the 
number of twenty-five with privileges varying in different years. Baron LaHon- 
tan who visited La Baye in 1684 says that each license authorized the departure 
of two canoes loaded with goods. One canoe only was afterward allowed, 
bearing three men with about four hundred pounds of freight. This traffic in 
licenses was the occasion of graft and corruption. As might have been expected 
many more than the specified number were issued, and were purchased by those 
who sold to others, to merchants or voyageurs at a price varying from 1,000 
to 1,800 francs. 

Speculation ran riot, legitimate trade was almost entirely at a standstill 
and in the meantime the youth of Canada became demoralized and worthless, 
caring for no other pursuit than that of ranging the woods, with or without a 
license as the case might be, for with such an extent of country it was impossi- 
ble for the King's officers to control them. 

Baye des Puans and its tributary streams harbored usually in the numerous 
Indian villages that edged the shores, two or three of these wood rangers, or 
coureur de bois as they came to be designated, who camped with the Indians as 
did Radisson and Groseillers, partaking of Indian hospitality, which was always 
free, and bartering their store of goods for packages of pelts as the Indian hunt- 
ers brought them in. The story of the coureur de bois, those Robin Hoods of 
New France, forms a separate chapter in wilderness chronicles. Not all were 
renegades, but the name became a synonym for much that was loose and undis- 
ciplined. Part of the warp and woof of our history, closely identified with the 
missionaries and acknowledging the authority of the church above that of the 
king or governor, these first of commercial travelers acted as both traders and 
soldiers, and were alike the despair and defence of the Jesuit priests and the 
home colony. In many cases they reaped the large profits which the king and 
his fur comjiany wished to control, and paddled inland waterways, the spirit 
of adventure strong within them. With swagger and determined air of com- 
mand they intimidated double their number\ages, debauched the Indians 
with brandy and stirred up strife among the various tribes. 

Belonging to this guild of early fur traders l)Ut of different fiber was Nicho- 
las Perrot, who with Father Allouez stands out most prominently in our his- 
tory during the seventeenth century. When the rare relic of French occupancy 
in \\'isconsin. the silver ostensorium was found, the name of its owner, Niclio- 
las Perrot, was almost unknown. Not until the French and Canadian archives 
were searched, and histories of the eigh.teenth century referred to, was it dis- 
covered that the name of Perrot constantly occurs in the annals of New France 
l)etv,-een the years 1665 and 1700. P'or forty years, largely by his own unaided 
efforts, he held this territory for France and the king. An honesty of purpose 
in his intercourse with French and Indians made him notable in that age of 
false dealings, and his influence with the latter was unequaled. Successive 
governors of New France. De la Barre, Denonville, Frontenac, all called upon 
Perrot for assistance in time of need, even Dulhut, that intrepid spirit, acknowl- 
edging that Nicholas Perrot was the only man who could influence the Baye 



des Puans tribes to the extent of bringing them into line for war salHes against 
the Iroquois. His courage was absolute, and as we review this period we 
marvel at the indomitable indifference to personal danger shown in deadly 
crises by this famous coureur de bois. 

Brought by his parents to the Canadian colony when very young, Perrot 
was enrolled, a mere lad in the service of a priest, as an engage or donne. He 
managed the canoe when the father went forth on a missionary voyage, 
cooked, hunted, did the work of a servant, and in return received instruction, 
and much valuable experience. Around the camp-fire and in the Jesuit's house 
he heard of this unexplored part of the world. "Our Jean Xicolet," said the 
fathers proudly, "has gone farther west than any other Frenchman ;" so at the 
age of twenty-one, in the year 1665, Perrot witli a trading outfit started for 
La Baye. 

Following the same route as did Nicolet thirty-one years before Perrot 
reached in due time Baye des Puans, "Curiosity induced him to form the 
acc|uaintance of the Pottawatomie nation, who dwelt at the foot of the Baye 
des Puans, who had heard of the French, and their desire to become acquainted 
with them." This would indicate that Perrot was the first Frenchman that 
this Algonquin tribe had met, but it is certain that they were living with 
the Winnebagoes at Red Banks at least as early as 1637-8 ami doul)tless some 
of them must have seen Jean Nicolet. In the ensuing years they spread along 
the shores of the bay. When Allouez first encountered them in 1669, they had 
also taken possession of Huron (Washington) Island, and some of their bands 
were dispersed over the mainland at the entrance of the bay. 

When Perrot reached the Pottawatomie village he found war imminent 
between that tribe and the Menominees across the bay. The latter while hunt- 
ing with the Outagamis had by mistake slain a Pottawatomie and in revenge 
these incensed tribesmen deliberately tomahawked a Menominee who was among 
the Puans. The resolve to negotiate a peace between these neighboring tribes 
was Perrot's initial experience in this sort of diplomacy of which in later years 
he became a master. Among Indians in general the first act of friendship vva.s 
the smoking of the calumet — the pipe of peace — a religious rite of great sig 
nificance, for it indicated that in offering the pipe a chief accejited the treaty 
of peace and adopted the stranger as a brother. 

This method of "talking with strangers" Perrot also speaks of in his memoirs 
as "singing the calumet, which is one of the notable marks of distinction con- 
ferred by the Indians, for they render him who has had that honor a son of 
the trilje, ;in(l naturalize him as such." 

In the Menominee village after a harangue of great length and power Perrot 
presented to the offended tribe a gun, and a porcelain collar with the words : 
"You are angry against the Pouteouwatemis, whom you regard as your enemies 
but they are in much greater number than you, and I very much fear that the 
prairie people will join them in a league against you." At this prophecy the 
father of the murdered Menominee arose and took from Perrot the porcelain 
collar. He lighted silently the calumet and presented it first to their distinguished 
visitor, who after taking a few puff's returned it, when it was handed in turn to 
each of the company. Then the chief began to sing, holding the calumet in one 
hand and the porcelain collar in the other. He passed on and out of the cabin 


as he sang, holding up the calumet and collar toward the sun. Advancing and 
retreating he made the circuit of the village and again entered the lodge, where 
he declared that he attached himself wholly to the French, "from whom his 
tribe hoped for life and for obtaining all that is necessary to man." 

The Pottawatomies were at this time decidedly anxious over the fate of one 
of their bands who had made the trip to Montreal for the first time, and whom 
they feared had fallen a prey to the fierce Iroquois. Accordingly they had 
recourse to Perrot's guide, who was a master juggler. That false prophet built 
himself a little tower of poles and therein ensconced himself invoking all the 
infernal spirits to tell him where the Pottawatomies were. Perrot rebuking him 
for his trickery made a calculation of the probable length of time that it would 
require for the voyage and stay in Montreal, with such good success that when 
the canoes appeared close on the time predicted, and the travelers were informed 
that there was a Frenchman in their midst who had protected them in times of 
danger, they carried the coureur de bois "in a scarlet blanket ( Monsieur de la 
Salle was also honored with a like triumph at Huron Island) and made him go 
around the fort, while they marched in double files in front and behind him." 
The chief then gave an account of his voyage, "he did not forget Onontio who 
had called them his children and had regaled them with bread, prunes, and 
raisins, which seemed to them great delicacies." 

Perrot, at this time, met and formed an alliance with the Sakis, Puans and 
Outagamies, as well as the I^ottawatomies and Menominees. These tribes he 
locates as follows : "The Pottawatomies took the southern part of the bay, the 
Sakis the northern ; the Puants as they could not fish, had gone into the woods 
to live on deer and bears." In the spring of 1670, Perrot induced a large num- 
ber of these mixed tribes to make the trip into Canada for the great annual 
trading festival. In order to bring the fur trade home to the colonists the king 
ordered an annual fair to be held at Montreal. Hither came fleets of birch 
canoes laden with Indians and furs brought from the forest, un<ier the guidance 
of coureurs de bois. 

When Nicholas Perrot was an old man he wrote his memoirs in which he 
gave careful description of the Indian tribes among whom he had passed so 
many years. In these words he speaks of this voyage which proved an important 
event in the life of the young man of twenty-six: "More than 900 Ottawas 
descended to Montreal in canoes, we were five Frenchmen." 

A considerable portion of this large fleet was composed of Baye des Puans 
Indians, brave enough on their own soil, but terrified in strange waters where 
an Iroquois band might be encountered at any moment. At last, however, the 
protracted strain was at an end, and on an evening in July the great band of 
savages disembarked at Montreal and drew their canoes up on the beach. These 
visits of western Indians were the occasion for wild debauch throughout the 
colony. It meant for many of the Indians their first general meeting with white 
men. their first taste of intoxicating liquor. The priests and sober inhabitants 
sought to enforce order, but the soldiers showed themselves as undisciplined 
as coureurs de bois and increased rather than quelled disorder. 

Just before the conclave broke up an Indian belonging to Perrot's band 
was caught pilfering from a soldier and received summary punishment. Riot 
and bloodshed were now added to dissipation, and La Motte, a much esteemed 


officer, was sent for in hot haste to prevent by force of arms an uprising of the 
fierce "upper country savages." Perrot too was summoned, and by his efforts 
the disturbance was quelled, the soldier put under arrest, and the savages 
mollified with some pacific talk and the presentation of a few gewgaws. The 
afifair, however, did not end here, for the Indians although quieted at the time 
cherished revenge, and when in the autumn of that same year Fathers Dablon 
and Allouez came to the bay the coureurs de bois complained that because of the 
ill treatment received by the bay Indians while in Montreal they took every 
opportunity to plunder traders' goods and otherwise maltreat them. 

The priests held a council witli the congregated tribes, and reprimanded them 
severely for their misdemeanors, telling the older chiefs that they, being wiser 
than the others, would be held responsible for these evils, and would incur the 
displeasure of the governor. .\s they discoursed to their naked auditors Pere 
Dablon says their gravity was greatly put to the proof for a guard of these 
native warriors marched up and down before the door of the lodge aping the 
movements of the soldiers the\' had seen on guard befi.ire the governor's house 
in Alontreal. "We were almost overcome with laughter," he writes, "although 
we were treating of solemn matters, the mysteries of our religion and the neces- 
sity of belief if they would escape from everlasting fire." 

The ]\Iontreal incident was also instrumental in bringing Nicholas Perrot 
to the attention of Mar(|uis de Courcelles of Ouel)ec, who recommended him 
to Intendant Talon as the man best suited to accompany Simon Francois Dau- 
mont, Sieur de Lusson, westward, and assist him in gathering representatives 
of all the Indian trilies at the Sault Sainte Marie where was to be held tlie 
following year, iC)-i, the great ceremony of taking formal possession of the 
whole northwestern territory for I'rance and its king, Louis XI\'. 

When asked by Intendant Talon if he were willing to undertake this task 
for the government Perrot replied, "You must know Monsieur, that I am ever 
at your service, and stand ready to obey you." .\dmirably did the brave 
roureur de bois succeed not only in this undertaking for the honor of his coun- 
try, but in all succeeding years. .\t the .Sault in .May, 1671, met the allied tribes, 
fourteen in all, for those too wary to undertake the voyage sent gifts and homage 
by their comrade and representative Nicholas Perrot. Father Allouez made the 
opening address wherein he glorified the king of France as a great warrior, who 
led in person his armies to battle, and slew his thousands amid universal carnage. 

This fine bit of word painting delivered in the .\lgonquin tongue deeply 
impressed his listeners, and when at the close St. Lusson called upon those present 
to swear allegiance to this valiant monarch, the Indian whoop rose wildly in 
unison with the French cries of "vive le roi." During this tumult Perrot 
advanced and planted in the earth a stout pole of cedar, and beside it a large 
cross, both surmounted by the arms of France, while the chant of priests and 
soldiers sounded across the rushing waters of la Sault Sainte Marie, and St. 
Lusson drawing his sword took possession of an unlimited extent of unex- 
plored country "in the name of the most high, mighty and redoubtable monarch, 
Louis 14th of the name. King of France and Navarre." 

During the ensuing years, although continuing his interests in the west, 
Perrot was much of the time at Three Rivers, Canada. He had married, and 
his wife, Marie Madeline Raclot, brought him a small dower with which he 


bous^ht a farm between that place and Montreal. A family grew up around 
him filling with young life his log cabin on the St. Lawrence — Nicholas, Cle- 
mence, Michel, Marie and Claude, with the typical French names we seem to 
call lip a chattering crowd of black eyed little Gascons, greeting noisily the 
coureur de bois when he returned from making treaties or pursuing trade. 
The forest life engrossed him more and more, however, and the calm e.xistcnce 
of a habitant working soberly his arpent of land was little to the taste of one 
bred to wandering. 

Around Baye des Puans many changes had taken place in the decade fol- 
lowing the coming of Father Alloucz in 1669. Trade followed closely on the 
steps of evangelization. The mission house at the Rapides des Peres, included 
in its group of buildings a trading and store house for the convenience of 
coureurs de bois. In 1827 the foundations were still remaining, "at Depere, 
on the east side, a short distance above the dam, and near the bank. It was '.n 
the immediate neighborhood of an old place afterwards occupied by William 

Father .\llouez was transferred to the Illinois country in 1676, leaving 
Andre in charge of St. Francois Xavier. The place was a favorite rendezvous 
for coureurs de bois, and the fathers although disapproving the methods jnirsued 
by the lawless bush rangers yet made them welcome, for it strengthened the 
position of the church to continue friendly relations with these commercial 
outlaws. Many of them were like Perrot former engages of the priests, and 
personal friendship was added to the hospitable rule of welcoming all strangers 
who claimed harbor at the mission house. Meanwhile Governor Frontenac at 
Quebec was instituting vigorous measures to control the beaver traffic. "Three 
fourths of the trade in Skins or Fur came from the People that live around 
the great Lakes. . . . All persons of what Quality or Condition soever, 
are prohibited to go or send to these Lakes without a License under the pain of 
Death;" yet more and more the traffic grew, coureurs de bois remaining in the 
forest, not returning to the home colony for fear of punishment, and spend- 
ing years among the savages. 

Belonging to this fraternity of unlicensed traders was Dulhut, a name 
with a record famous in western annals of that period. Michilimackinac and 
La Baye knew him well, and one of his meteoric descents upon the latter 
place is given by Father Hennepin, a Recollet priest who was saved from ill- 
treatment at the hands of the Sioux by Greysolon Dulhut"s intercession. The 
coureur de bois, to escape from the penalties placed upon illicit trading, had 
not returned home for four years, having left Quebec for the woods in 1676. ■ 
He had lost all count of time as he acknowledged to Father Hennepin, and 
when the two reached St. Francois mission house in September, 1680, it was 
the first touch of civilization Dulhut had enjoyed in many a day. .Vt the "great 
Bay of the Puants" as Hennepin speaks of it, they found many Canadians, who 
"have come hither to Trade with the People of this Bay, contrary to an Order 
of the Viceroy." As there was some friction between the two great religious 
orders, Tesuit and Recollet, Father Flennepin gives no description of St. Francois 
Xavier "although he celebrated mass during the two days he remained there. 
It was the first time in nine months that he had celebrated the sacrament, 
having been prevented for want of wine. One of the Canadians had a little wine 


in a pewter flagon that he had brought from Canada ; "as for the rest I had still 
some Wafers by me which were as good as ever, having been kept in a steel- 
box that was very close." 

WJiile here Father Hennepin received by the hands of some savages the orna- 
ments of the chapel used by Father Zenobius Membre. who had been murdered 
and his chapel among the Illinois rifled. "We stayed two Days at the Bay of 
the Puants ; where we sung Te Deum, and myself said Mass and Preach'd," after 
which having secured a canoe much larger than the one they had arrived in 
they coasted along the shores of Green Bay, and reached IMichilimackinac where 
they wintered. 

It was in or about the year 1682 that a band of Miamis, Maskoutins and 
Kickapoos murdered the servants of the missionaries at St. Francois Xavier. 
Fearful that the French would avenge their death as is obligatory in Indian 
ethics they abandoned for the nonce their villages, and awaited in trepidation 
the expected return of Nicholas Perrot to "la baye.'' The commerce in peltries 
was becoming more and more complicated. A license at this time or a "conge" 
to trade, was the permission to take into the western country a canoe with 
eight men and loaded with merchandise. The buyer of the conge would choose 
three voyageurs to whom he gave a thousand ecus' worth of goods at high valua- 
tion. These goods would produce about twelve thousand francs profit, which 
was divided between the owner of the license and the traders sent out by him. 
Many abuses crept in, the market in beaver pelts became overstocked, and the 
"farmers of the west" could with difficulty dispose of them in France or foreign 

On the Illinois river Chevalier La Salle, exasperated by the ruin of the 
fur trade and the consequent demoralization of the entire western country 
which put an end to exploration and decent government, convened an assem- 
blage of mixed tribesmen and begged them not to trade with anyone not Ijear- 
ing a commission from him, at the same time ordering his men to plunder anv 
illegal trading outfit. "If the King has given to Monsieur de La Salle alone 
this country, have the goodness to let me know and I will conform myself to 
the orders of his majesty," wrote Governor Denonville in wrath to h'rance. 

La Salle's irregular proceeding caused no little trouble on the Fox River. 
Although he took precautions to prevent abuses caused by his imprudent order 
the firebrand had been thrown among an undisciplined throng only too eager 
for an opportunity to snatch, by murder if necessary, the coveted goods brought 
1)v the traders. At La Baye where trade was extensive, the savages plundered 
indifferently all canoes bearing trading outfits that they found passing up the 
Fox waterway, and when some of the tribes ventured to Montreal and found 
that the murder of the mission servants was not avenged or even reprimanded 
by the government, the Indians conceived a contempt for French valor, and 
returning to Baye des Puans grew more and more insolent and unruly. At St. 
Francois Xavier the courageous priests held their stand despite the hopelessness 
of the situation. The Outagamie Indians were especially a nation of highway- 
men, bold, reckless, indifferent to French domination. 

In 1684 a visitor came to the house of the Jesuits who has left a picture 
of life at La Baye that differs from any other written description, and is a pleas- 
ant interlude in the continued record of strenuous warfare and attempted eaforce- 


ment of the fur trade among the Indians. Baron Louis de Lahontan "accom- 
panied with my own detachment, and five Huntsmen was wafted in new canows 
loaded with Provisions and Ammunition and such Commodities as are proper 
for the savages, to the Bay of Pouteouatamis," in the month of September. 1684. 

The Fox River was first called by the French, Riviere des Puans. Father 
Allouez designated it as St. Francis River, but the name did not continue. When 
in the latter part of the seventeenth century the Fox Indians grew a powerful 
and important tribe with a large village on the upper waters of the stream it 
was called after them sometimes "Outagamie" (Fox), the Indian appellation, or 
"Riviere des Renards," the French translation for River of the Fox. Baron 
Lahontan writes that "the villages of the Sakis, the Pouteoutamis and some 
Malominies are situated on the side of that river, and the Jesuits have a House 
or College built upon it. This is a place of great Trade for Skins and Indian 
Corn, which these Savages sell to the Coureurs de bois, as they come and go, it 
being the nearest and most convenient Passage to the River of Mississippi. Next 
morning I was invited to a Feast with one of the three nations; and after having 
sent to "em some Dishes and Plates, pursuant to the custom of the Country, I 
went accordingly about Noon." 

The entertainment began with singing and dancing which lasted two hours, 
"being seasoned with Acclamations of Joy and Jests, which make up part of 
their ridiculous Musick. After that the Slaves came to serve, and all the com- 
pany sat down after eastern fashion, every one being provided with his mess. 
. . . First of all four Platters were set down before me, in the first of 
which there were two white Fish only boiled in water ; in the second the Tongue 
and Breast of a Roebuck boiled ; in the third two Woodhens ; the hind Feet 
or Trotters of a Bear, and the Tail of a Beaver, all roasted ; and the fourth con- 
tain'd a large quantity of Broth made of several sorts of Meat. For Drink 
they gave me a very pleasant Liquor, which was nothing but a Syrup of Maple 
beat up with Water. . . . The Feast lasted two hours ; after which I in- 
treated one of the Grandees to sing for me ; for in all the Ceremonies made use 
of among the Savages, 'tis the custom to imploy another to act for 'em. I made 
this Grandee a present of some pieces of tobacco, in order to oblige him to act 
my part till Night." 

These amicable social events tendered by the Indians to visiting Europeans 
became more infrequent as time went on, although when in favorable mood the 
savages loved dearly to impress their guests with much formality and pomp 
in entertainment. Only brief mention can be found of the visit of La Sueur in 
1683, or that of Henri de Tonti following that of Lahontan's entertainment 
in the fall of 1684. We have instead the story of Governor de la Barre's unfor- 
tunate expedition against the Iroquois, in which he engaged the influence 
of Nicholas Perrot to enlist the Indians in this vicinity. Dulhut. who was 
both feared and liked by the savages was told, on arriving at Mackinac from 
Lake Superior that the envoys sent to the bay tribes to engage them in this 
expedition had been met by absolute refusal. He also learned that the canoe 
of Nicholas Perrot who had received a permit from the governor to trade 
among the Ottawas had come in from Canada. "He sent for me, and told 
me that no one could, better than I, induce the tribe to unite with us in this 
war. . . . I set out, therefore, one Sunday, after I had heard holy mass. 


to go out among those peoples ; they listened to me and accepted the tomahawk 
and the presents. They only asked for a few days to repair the canoes." One 
of the chiefs declared to the villages that they should take an interest in this 
war and go to it since Ferret was taking part in it ; that the envoy should not 
be allowed to expose himself to danger unless his friends were there to share 
in it. There was much of this talk with prompt response, and in the end five 
hundred warriors were in readiness at the rendezvous including the untamable 
and perverse Outagamies. Even more would have joined the expedition says 
Perrot, in his memoirs, had there been canoes enough to carry them. 

From the first evil omens assailed the superstitious savages. A French 
soldier was killed by the accidental discharge of his gun ; a young Indian aim- 
ing at an elk shot instead his brother, who was paddling in the fore part of 
a canoe ; and finally an Ottawa was wounded, being taken for an elk in the 
bushes. Many times the warriors turned back declaring that the spirits opposed 
them in going to war, but Perrot by pretended scorn of their cowardice urged 
his band of savages to their purpose. When Niagara, the rendezvous, was 
reached where Perrot had been instructed to tell the Indians they might expect 
to find waiting for them three barks laden with "three hundred guns, other 
military supplies and all the food they should want," they found instead only 
silence and desolation. 

"Time passed and nothing came. They began to tell me that I had deceived 
them, and that the French were intending to betray and deliver them into the 
hands of the Iroquois." Then finally came a letter from De la Barre saying that 
"on account of a disease that had broken out in his camp and caused the death of 
nearly nine hundred Frenchmen" a peace had been patched up with the Iroquois, 
and that the Indian allies must return home. In a "memoir of the payments 
made by Sieur de la Durantaye to the Ottawas for the service of the King, 
and the execution of the orders of Alonsieur de la Barre in the years 1683-4 
appears the following item : Given to the Puants, the Saquis, the Outagamis, 
and the Malominis, on August 20, eleven pounds of tobacco, at eight francs a 
pound." (Tailhan.) 

After this inglorious campaign Perrot having seen his allies safely em- 
barked for their own country, returned home to Three Rivers, remaining there 
until the following spring. Then came the news of La Salle's mistaken policy 
and the order given by him to prevent trade with the Indians, and close upon 
this disturbing intelligence, Perrot received from the recently appointed gov- 
ernor of New France, Denonville, a commission as commander-in-chief of 
La Baye and its dependencies further west, and "even those regions which I 
might be able to discover." This important office having been accepted, Perrot 
departed for his new post, and discovered immediately the disastrous effect of 
La Salle's order, for whereas he had formerly no difficulty in keeping the 
Indians in check, and in preventing any pillage of his goods, constant watch- 
fulness and a strong guard was now an absolute necessity. 

At the mission of St. Frangois Xavier many councils were held, plots were 
discovered, reprimands were bestowed, barter and trade carried on. The store 
house was well filled with peltries awaiting shipment to Montreal and a profit- 
able season looked for. The Miamis to the number of forty, loaded with 
beaver skins, came from the south many leagues away to bring tribute and 


tell the commandant of their grievances. "When tney came near the house 
of the Jesuits, canoes were sent to them that they might cross a little stream," 
and the chief of the delegation sent his young warriors in advance to erect 
cabins for their accommodation. The place of rendezvous was the mission 
house to which they brought one hundred and sixty beaver skins, and piled 
them in two heaps. Then began the tale of indignities received at the hands 
of the Mascoutins, of murders committed by that tribe among the Miamis 
and the French, ending with the words, "those beaver skins which thou seest 
tell thee that we have no will but thine, that if thou tellest us to weep in silence 
we will not make any move." 

Perrot's oratory was powerful and much liked by the savages, for he had 
acc|uired the Indian's allegorical style to a remarkable degree. Thus as he 
divided his merchandise into two heaps, closely watched by Pottoueotomies, 
Sakis, and Miamis he announced dramatically: "I place a mat under your 
dead and ours, that they may sleep in peace ; and this other present is to cover 
them with a piece of bark in order that bad weather and rain may not disturl) 
them." Thus he satisfied the tribes with gifts and friendly talk and as he kept 
his promises was much esteemed ; "the most distinguished among the French- 
men," "his feet are on the ground, his head in the sky," "he is master of the whole 
earth," thus his savage vassals designated him. 

It was in the year following his appointment as commander at La Baye 
with a detachment of forty men, that Nicholas Perrot presented to the mission 
of .St. Francois Xa\'ier the world famous sih'er ostensorium, the oldest relic 
yet found of French occupancy in Wisconsin. In June, 1686, Governor Denon- 
ville wrote to Commander Durantaye at Mackinac that he purposed to make 
another sortie on the Iroquois, and urged him to gather the Ottawas for 
.service. "If Nicholas Perrot can assemble some Indians to join the force of 
M. Dulhude, he must make haste." Perrot's intimate knowledge of Indian 
campaigns made him well aware that no move would be made so late in the 
season, for aside from the assembling of the slow moving throng, which 
entailed endless harangues and urging, canoes must ]>e constructed -for a water 
expedition, carefully framed and sewed and pitched, and moreover the tribes 
were not as kindly disposed to listen to the war talk of Onontio as in former 
days. To make the circuit of the tribes Perrot "traveled sixty leagues on the 
plains without other guide than the fires, and the clouds of smoke that he saw." 
When he reached the Miamis he ofl:ered to them the club in l^ehalf of Onontio 
with several presents, and said to them, "The cries of your dead have been 
heard by your father, who desiring to take pity on you has resolved to sacri- 
fice his young men in order to destroy the man-eater who has devoured you." 
The club, the most primitive of war weapons, was accepted by the tribes 
and they gave their oath to use it against the Iroquois, but treachery was 
abroad, and Perrot could no longer depend upon the loyalty of his dusky 
henchmen. When near La Baye he received warning that his warehouses in 
the Trempeleau valley were to be plundered and burned by the Mascoutins, 
Kickapoos and Outagamies. After much diplomatic and threatening talk 
he dispersed the bands of disaffected savages who however excused themselves 
from accompanying the Denonville expedition on the plea that they were not 
accustomed to travel in canoes. Perrot doubtless with many misgivings pre- 


pared to obey the commands of Denonville, and in May, 1687, accompanied by 
the Pottawatomies, the only one of his Baye des Puans allies to stand by him in 
this campaign, he reached Alichilimackinac. As the canoes drew near, the Ot- 
tawa bands who were on the lookout — naked and having no other ornament than 
their bows and arrows — marched down to the shore abreast, and formed a battal- 
ion. At a certain distance from the water they began to defile, uttering cries from 
time to time. Meanwhile the Pottawatomies set themselves in battle array to 
make landing. When within gunshot from the land the Frenchmen who were 
with the Ottawas fired a volley of cartridges, the Ottawas uttered loud shouts 
of "Sassakoue" and the Pottawatomies gave their war cry. Finally when the 
landing must be made the Ottawas rushed into the water, clubs in hands, 
the Pottawatomies at the same moment darting forward in their canoes, clubs 
in hands. Then all was pell-mell, and the Ottawas lifted up the canoes which 
they bore to land. 

This expedition accomplished little outside of the destruction of the town 
and crops of the Senecas, and at its conclusion Perrot went on to Montreal 
in order to inu'chase new merchandise. While there he received the crush- 
ing news that the mission house of St. Frangois Xavier had been burned by the 
Outagamies, Mascoutins and Kickapoos, the same Indians who had once before 
threatened the destruction of Perrot's warehouses. In this disastrous con- 
flagration went the furs that the coureur de bois had been collecting for two 
or more years, biding his opportunity to get them past English traders and 
Irofjuois Indians to Montreal. The amount of his loss was 40,000 livres, about 
$7,500, which meant ruin to one whose sole dependence was the fur trade. 

In a letter written to one of his creditors August 20, 1684, Perrot explains 
how the orders given him to attend the war interfered with all chance of ship- 
ping his peltries to Canada, and thus paying debts incurred for merchandise, 
"as I brought back nothing, even to pay for merchandise that I carried out. for 
fear of being punished for disobedience, I am ashamed." (V. 2, p. 2^2.) Not 
all the establishment at Rapides des Peres was destroyed, for Perrot returned 
there in the fall of 1688 with a detachment of forty men; Denonville, who 
felt he had humiliated the haughty Iroquois, "was certain that trade could 
not be better maintained than by sending back all the voyageurs who had 
left their property in order to join the expedition." 

In the decade between 1680-90 the English made desperate efforts to direct 
the beaver traffic of western waters to Albany rather than Montreal. Not so 
desirable as comrades the Indians found them better paymasters than the 
French and their promise on the whole more to be relied on. After the fur 
fleets left Mackinac en route for Canadian markets they were often intercepted 
by well equipped English traders, who tempted by generous reward not only 
the Indians but their French comrades to barter away a whole cargo. 

This system of poaching on what the French considered their especial pre- 
serve caused most bitter feeling between the governors of New France and 

In 1886 Denonville writes: "It is only necessary to ask you again what 
length of time we occupy these posts, and who discovered them — you or we? 
Again who is in possession of them? Read the fifth article of the treaty of 


neutrality and you will see if you are justified in giving orders to establish 
your trade at Missilimaquina." 

Very cold and sarcastic is Governor Dongan's reply to what he calls 
"this most reflecting and provoking letter." "You tell of your having had 
Missionaries among them (the western Indians), it is a very charitable act, but 
I am well assured gives no just or title to the government of the country — 
Father Bryare writes to a gent; that the King of China never goes anywhere 
without two Jesuits with him ; I wonder why you make not like pretense to that 

It is an interesting and involved study of cause and effect, this fur trade 
tangle in the seventeenth century with La Baye and the Fox-Wisconsin water- 
ways the goal of desire for two great nations ; and while "Peiter Schuyler 
took examinations of ye antientist traders in Albany how many years agon 
they or any others had first traded with ye Indyans yt had ye Straws and 
Pipes thro' their noses and the ffarther Indyans." Nicholas Perrot was speed- 
ing his canoe toward these same "ffarther Indyans" only to find that discord 
and revolt were abroad in his post at La Baye. He was met at Washington 
Island entrance by a friendly and powerful chief of the Puan tribe, "a man 
of great sense who loved the French," and a contrary wind delaying their 
voyage up Green Bay Perrot had an opportunity to hear all the news. The 
chief informed him that the Mascoutins and Outagamies had determined to 
massacre all the French in their midst, "that the Outagamies had taken their 
hatchets which were dulled and broken, and had compelled a Jesuit brother 
to repair them; their Chief held a naked sword ready to kill him while he 
worked. The brother tried to represent to them their folly, but was so mal- 
treated that he had to take to his bed." 

Perrot thanked the Indian for his information and told him that his secret 
should be carefully kept; rewarding him with the gift of a gold trimmed 
jacket, one of the most coveted of all French gew-gaws. He said however 
to tell the Outagamies that Metaminens (little Indian Corn), a name the 
Indians had bestowed on him when he was adopted by the tribes, would 
under no circumstances visit their village as he was very angry with them. 
The warning given by the Puan was however only confirmation of what the 
commander at La Baye already knew; that the Outagamies were intriguing 
with the English to form between the western tribes and the Iroquois con- 
federation a league lasting enough to e.xterminate the French and drive them 
from this region forever. 

Quiet was restored for a brief season after Perrot's return to La Baye, 
but plots and counter-plots seethed constantly in the savage brain. The 
Ottawas at Mackinac hearing that all was peace among the Bay tribes judged 
it a fitting time to carry among them fire and sword. As the canoes approached 
the Rapides des Peres the savages could not refrain from shouting, "There is 
Metaminens who is going to stretch out legs of iron, and will compel us to 
retrace our steps, but let us make an effort and perhaps we shall step over 
them." The house of the Jesuits where the commander at La Baye resided 
had evidently been repaired or rebuilt after the fire of 1687. Here with 
much dignity he received the war delegation, apparently quite unawed by their 


blackened faces and fierce aspect. Without mentioning the object of their 
errand he invited them to smoke, and then asked them if they had l>rought 
any letters from Mackinac. "No, no letters," so their chief replied. 

That night Perrot roused this chief and demanded sternly that he deliver 
up the letter in his possession. "Dost thou not suppose that the Spirit who has 
made writing will be angry with thee for having robbed me? Thou art going 
to war; art thou immortal?" Believing that the power of Metaminens made 
plain to him the secret thoughts of men the chief delivered up the letter, which 
warned Perrot that should this expedition go through, all the allied tribes 
to the number of two thousand warriors would rise and cause a general war. 

In the morning the prominent Puans gathered, eager to hear what Perrot 
would say to the Ottawa incendiaries, who encamped about the mission house 
waited stealthily and suspiciously for the word of Metaminens. Perrot stood 
with the unlighted calumet in his hand, and at his feet twelve brasses of 
tobacco while the Ottawas and other Indians who loved to listen to the com- 
mandant's wealth of allegorical language crowded close about him : "Cin- 
agots, Ootouaks, and you other warriors: I am astonished that after having 
promised me last year that you would have no other will than Onontio's you 
should tarnish his glory by depriving him of the forces that I have with much 
labor obtained for him. You have forgotten that your ancestors in former 
days used earthern pots, stone hatchets and knives and bows ; and you will 
be obliged to use them again if Onontio abandons you. * * * Cease this 
hostile advance which he forbids. I do not wash the blackened countenances 
of your warriors : I do not take away the war club or the bow * * * hut I 
recommend to you to employ them against the Iroquois. If you transgress 
his (Onontio's) orders you may be sure that the spirit who made you all, 
who is master of life and death * * * will punish your disobedience if 
you do not agree to my demands." He lighted his calumet and throwing to 
them the twelve brasses of tobacco continued: "Warriors, let us smoke together." 
As a result the Ottawas returned to Michilimackinac appeased and resolved to 
take up arms only against the Iroquois. 

In i68g Perrot was entrusted with still greater responsibility by the French 
government. In addition to his command at La Baye he was further ordered 
to take possession for France of the "Bay of Puants, the lake and river of the 
Outagamies and Maskoutins. the river of the Ouiskonche and that of Mississippi, 
the country of the Nadouesioux. the Sainte Croix River and that of Saint 
Peter, and other places farther removed." 

This comprehensive order was executed by Perrot with all due ceremonials 
possible in the midst of the desert. Among the witnesses appear the names of 
Father Joseph J. Marest, the voyageur Le Sueur, and Boisguillot, commandant 
under Perrot "of the French in the vicinity of the Ouiskonche on the Missis- 
sippi." The act of taking possession is in the Archives of the Marine, and is 
dated at the post of St. Antoine, May 8, 1689. This fort was located on Lake 
Pepin, on the Wisconsin side, and its remains were plainly visible fifty years 
ago. Perrot's duties as commandant of the several forts built by him included 
the order "to keep peace among the diverse Indian tribes * * * to pre- 
vent brawls and riot among them and the coureurs de bois ; to seek out new 


countries and attach their inhabitants to France, and in time of war to collect 
bands of warriors and to act as their leader." 

The days had gone by when western tribesmen could be impressed by 
French pomp and circumstance, yet they still held in regard Nicholas Perrot, 
and listened to him when they would to no other envoy from the central 
government. The brave commandant of the west had lnowever many han-- 
breadth escapes, among others from the Mascoutins in 1692, who holding 
Perrot responsible for the death of one of their warriors condemned him to 
be burned wMtli a Pottawatomie chief who was his companion; both, how- 
ever, escaped through -a ruse of the Frenchman and reached (Ireen Bay in 
safety. A memento of Perrot at this period is preserved in the Wisconsin 
Historical Society. "I consent that from the first beaver which M. le Sueur 
will find at the Ottawas or elsewhere, belonging to us, he pay himself the sum 
of two thousand and two hundred and eighty-one livres, eight sols, six deniers, 
in beaver at the rate of the Quebec office, and this for a same amount which 
he paid to me for my quittance to M. Bertrand Armand. merchant at Montreal. 
In testimony of which I have signed the present made in duplicate at Montreal 
this 28th August 1695. 

"1 will pay the cartage of said beaver. 

"N. Perrot." 
Perrot's succeeding years were spent in continual cttorts to keep peace 
for the French and secure their good treatment from the hands of the savages. 
The country was in desperate plight, commerce was almost at a standstill, 
the English coming boldly into the territory of New France and trading for 
furs. The fields in Canada remained untilled. the mission outi)Osts were largely 
deserted, while famine and constant menace from surrounding Indian tribes 
depleted the French garrisons. Then came the final crushing catastrophe, 
the surprise of La Chine hamlet on the island of Montreal and in night and 
tempest the swift and terrible massacre of the entire population. 

In this crisis Perrot's lifelong training and loyalty stood his country in good 
stead. Fearless, depending solely on his personal influence, the brave com- 
mandant of La Baye w^ent from tribe to tribe calling on them to be faithful 
to the French, making known the treachery of the Iroquois, smoking innumer- 
able calumets with disaffected savages, appealing with unfailing sagacity to In- 
dian superstition or cowardice. In the end he prevented what would have other- 
wise occurred, a general massacre of the French throughout the northwest. 
Cadwallader Colden, English governor of Manhattan, writing fifty years later, 
gives scant praise to French valor, yet accords high honor to Nicholas Perrot 
who at this time "with wonderful sagacity and infinite hazard to his own person 
diverted the savages from their murderous purpose." 

In 1695 Perrot was at his quarters at La Baye post, with a command of 
sixty or eighty men, whom he sent forth to quell a desperate revolt among 
the Miamis, while at the same time he held with an iron grasp the Outagamies 
in partial subjection. The imperative recall of the coureurs de bois, by edict 
of the king was sent forth by the government in 1699. As a commercial ven- 
ture the western fur trade was no longer profitable, and had brought in its wake 
all sorts of confusion and misery to New France. The absolute suppression 





of trading licenses deprived Nicholas Perrot however of the last possible 
chance of retrieving his fortune. Harassed by debt, the coureur de bois 
made one attempt to claim from the King some recognition of the service he 
had rendered to France. A memorial representing his needs and the important 
work done by him was forwarded to the home office. "He is very poor and 
very miserable," wrote Governor De Callieres, "large sums are justly due 
him for what he has expended in the King's service," but in the voluminous 
correspondence received when a vessel arrived from the Canadian colony there 
was little chance for the ap])eal of a iiourgcois colonist to be heard. 

Althciugli neglected by the government there were many compensations 
remaining in the old voyager's existence. He still owned his log house in the 
Seignery de Becancour, Canada, of which in 1710 he was made magistrate. 
( io\-ernor Yaudrcuil favored the I'errots in all possible ways, and Perrot's 
biographer, I'^atlier Tailhan remarks naively, that although in the depths of 
po\erty the old coureur de bois found this easier to bear from the fact that 
the Durantayes, Joliets, and other comrades were in the same condition. Misery 
loves company, especially such good company, and having a snug house, a well- 
hlled pipe and a congenial gossip with whom to talk over old campaigns 
harder fates might be imagined for a retired voyageur in the sunset of his days. 

In Augu-".t 1701 a great council was held at Montreal. ( )nce more the St. 
Lawrence was covered with fleets of canoes as in the palmy days of Frencli 
su])remacy. From the bay country came representatives of all the warlike 
tribes. Foxes, Satiks, Pottawatomies. their sole reason -for seeking Montreal 
so they told Governor De Callieres, being the recall of Nicholas Perrot. When 
Ounomguisee chief of the Pottawatomies threw down before De Callieres a 
])acket of beaver he cried out that for his obedience in attending this council 
he asked from the governor but one recompense — that Perrot (Metaminens) 
lie returned to his post at Baye des Puans. "He is the most esteemed of all' 
I'rcnchnien who have come to us and will aid me as no other can in enforcing 
thy word." Then Noro, grand chief of the refractory Foxes told how his peo- 
ple had stifled their angry resentment toward the Chippewas and joined the 
other tribes in their trail to Montreal with the sole hope of procuring the return 
of Perrot. "We have no head left" he lamented "since he was taken from us." 

Their entreaties were met by vague promises: "Perhaps another year" thus 
his excellency temporized ; the Indians were sent back without their old and 
tried commander, and henceforth the names of Perrot, Vincennes and Dulhut 
became a memory only among the nomadic Ijands they had ruled so long. Only 
once in succeeding years does Sieur Nicholas Perrot emerge for a moment from 
the shadows closing around him, and then as presenting a petition to the 
government asking that clemency be shown to the Outagamies, for the cruel 
and unequal conflict between that tribe and the French, known as the Fox 
wars had already begun. 

The old Sieur Perrot urges, "they will listen to me, I can make peace with 
them," but the warning was unheeded and after that there is silence, the old 
voyageur's work is done. 

(References for Chapter VI : Tailhan, Nicholas Perrot; Indian Tribes of the 
Upper Mississippi, etc.; Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. 16: Doc. Hist, of N. Y., \'ol, i, 
Colden, History of the Five Nations.) 


The early part of the eighteenth century saw La Baye region, of which 
St. Franqois Xavier mission and trading house on Fox river was the pivotal 
point deserted save by persistent and wandering coureurs de hois. These free- 
booters of the wilderness disobeyed the King's orders to quit the upper lake 
country and continued to carry on illicit beaver commerce with the Indians. 
Eighty-four out of one hundred and four ignored the royal commands and 
made their way to the Mississippi, presumably by way of Green Bay, as this 
was considered the most lucrative post in the western territory. 

Father Enjalran and Sieur de Courtemanche, Lieutenant of troops and 
Captain of Guards were sent in 1700 with a peace treaty to the Indian tribes 
in the vicinity of Fox river, and also with a general order that all Iroquois 
prisoners among the western nations should be returned in order to placate the 
powerful confederacy of "the Five Nations." It was a difficult mission and 
only partially successful for there was no longer a French commandant in 
charge of La Baye post to enforce the orders of King Louis' deputy in New 
France, Governor de Callieres. 

In 1 701, the "Company of the Colony," an association formed to secure 
western trade proposed to open up commercial depots at various military posts, 
with Detroit as the central warehouse. It was not intended by the directors 
to "make beaver skins more abundant, for they are overstocked with them." 
but to institute some system in the peltry traffic, and if possible to exercise 
partial restraint over the coureurs de bois, who as Jesuits and high officials 
of the government agreed, were ruining alike trade and the only channel 
through which trade could be sustained — the Indian. 

The Jesuit missionary Joseph Marest, in a letter dated at Michillimackinac 
in October 1701, writes to La Mothe Cadillac at Detroit that "Our canoes left 
nearly 15 days ago for la Iiaie, Father Chardon embarked with the last ones 
to proceed also to la baie, to the assistance of Father Nouvel, who is bourne 
down by the weight of nearly 80 years and by many! ailments." Father 
Marest proceeds to tell of the arrival of Monsieur Arnauld, a well known 
trader, who had just returned from La Baye showing that the commerce in 
peltries continued uninterruptedly despite the disturbed state of the country. 
Arnaud, so the priest writes, brought no letters ; he merely gave information that 
Father Xouvel was holding a mission among the unfriendly tribes on Fox 
river, an old man of eighty years and l)owed by infirmities. The l(jneliness of 
the place was infinite, "never has it been in greater solitude'' so Arnaud reported 
to Cadillac, and Father Chardon must have found the isolated outpost almost 



insupportable after the departure of Father Nouvel, when be was left as sole 
resident in the one remaining building of St. Francois Xavier. 

All proof points to the fact that Father Chardon remained at La Baye and 
its vicinity continuously for the succeeding thirty years, his death occurring 
at Quebec in 1743, more than forty years after the letter was written telling 
of his arrival at Green Bay. When the French garrisoned a fort at this ix)int 
in 1717, they built it where Fort Howard stood one hundred years later, on the 
west side of Fox river where it widens out to the bay. A bouse was erected 
at the same time for the resident priest. Father Chardon, who until then must 
ha\'e dwelt in the deserted mission building at the Rapides des Peres. Strange 
and bloody sights did this solitary follower of Loyola witness; for this period 
marks the most desperate and sanguinary half century in Wisconsin history, 
that which witnessed the successive and unjust attempts of the French to 
exterminate the brave Fox nation. 

The Foxes who had come to the shores of River St. Francis so poor and 
starved that the}' were repulsi\-e by reason of their emaciation and wretched 
appearance had grown under favorable conditions fat and sleek, the owners of 
far stretching cornfields, and a \illage numbering many warriors. Tliey grew 
arrogant under jjrosperity, and lordetl it over the other western Indians all l)Ut 
the Sakis, who dwelt at the mouth of the Fox-Wisconsin waterway, thirty miles 
to tlie northward of the Fox stronghold, and who had lieen their allies long 
before both tribes emigrated to La Baye. 

The Indian name of this warlike people was ( )utaganiie, translated by the ' 
French, Renard, and by the English, Fox; their armorial device a Fox. 
.Although courageous in resenting injury or defending their rights, the Renards 
do not appear to ha\e been guilty of flagrant acts of treachery as other tribes, 
notably the Aliamis, "the gentlemen of the prairie" were discovered in, yet 
other nations, jealous of their power and resenting their haughty demeanor 
constantly reported them as stirring u;) strife and being disloyal to the French. 

In 1706 the garrisons and commandants had been withdrawn from most of 
the French posts on the upper lakes, with the belief that by concentrating the 
entire force in arms and all merchandise at Montreal the tribes from the west 
would be obliged to seek the home market in disposing of their beaver skins. 
Father Carheil writes from Michilimackinac of the deplorable state of aiTairs 
at these distant posts owing to the "traffic in Ijrandy, permission for which has 
been obtained from his Alajesty only by means of a pretext apparently rea- 
sonable but known to be false." Carheil asks that as this evil traffic renders 
useless the labors of the missionaries and as "all the villages of our savages 
are now only taverns as regards drunkenness," their Superior recall the priests 
from the western missions. 

Where, as at La Baye in 1706, there was no military post the Jesuits found 
it much easier to manage and teach both savages and coureurs de bois. "Before 
there were any Commandants here the missionaries were always listened to by 
the traders," complains one Jesuit brother, and indeed it was only when a 
garrison was commanded by one, who like Nicholas Perrot was in sympathy 
with the church and its scheme of civilization that these frontier outposts were 
jiroductive of any good in the maintenance of discipline or protection of prop- 


River St. Francis, so named by Father Allouez in 1670, had forty years 
later in 1710 completely lost this designation and was spoken of habitually as 
the "Riviere des Outagamis" or "la Riviere des Rtnards" the Foxes having 
preempted entirely this famous waterway. Tales of their treacherous dealing 
were rife among French and Indians. Nicholas Perrot, twenty years earlier had 
listened to the warning of the Puant chief that the Foxes meant to join with 
the other tribes in revolt, and although not placing entire confidence in the 
report reprimanded those Indians sharply. La Potherie says however that it 
was the intervention of the Outagamies that saved Nicholas Perrot from being 
burned at' the stake by the Miamis, and in his memorial in regard to the Fox 
nation delivered at Montreal, Perpot urges the government to consider that 
other tribes have shown much more treachery in their dealings with the French 
than have ever the Foxes. He tells of the many times the brave Outagamis 
interposed in tribal warfare, aiding the weaker combatants and saving them 
from certain destruction. "It is characteristic of that people not to forget 
the benefits that have been conferred upon them * * * if I had gone up 
with Monsieur de Louvigny to ask for peace, even though our allies were not 
inclined to it. they would have listened" (Indian Tribes Vol. r, pp. 268, 272.) 

Perrot's plea that the P^oxes should be spared was not heeded and in May 
of the year 1716, Sieur de Louvigny witli four hundred and twenty-five French 
and twelve hundred savage allies was sent to ([uell rebellion in La liaye and 
its dependencies. It was reported at headquarters that the Renards were 
intriguing with the Sioux on the west, and the English-sympathizing six nations 
on the east, thus linking in one confederacy the Indians dwelling throughout the 
vast stretch from Lake Ontario to the trans-Mississippi region and threatening 
by their superior numbers to overwhelm the trif)es allied to the French. 

In consetjuence of these constant alarms the Foxes were doomed to destruc- 
tion, every advance made by them to show their loyalty to the French govern- 
ment was repulsed, while their treachery was constantly prated of by the other 
bay tribes. De Louvigny attacked them in their principal village, some thirty- 
seven miles above the mouth of Fox river, where in a rude fort, surroundecl 
Uy a triple row of oak stakes, more than five hundred warriors and three thou- 
sand women and children had fled for protection. To this stronghold De 
Louvigny laid siege and on the third day while he was ])reparing to undermine 
their works the Foxes, failing a reinforcement of three hundred allies hourly 
expected, finally surrendered. 

This expedition resulted merely in the burning of a few Indian lodges, and 
the agreement by the Foxes to observe certain terms of peace. The official report 
in the archives of the Ministere des Colonies. Paris, gives, however, a different 
color to the affair and states impressively that "he ( De Louvigny) drove the 
Renards into their fort, and forced them to sue for peace on onerous conditions, 
which he believed they would not accept. The chief articles thereof were, that 
they should by force or by friendly council induce the Kickapous and the Mas- 
coutens their allies to do the same ; that they should give up all the captives of 
all the nations, etc." 

Six hostages were brought away by De Louvigny as a guarantee that the 
peace contract would be fulfilled, but reading between the lines one recognizes 
that this was merely a vast trading expedition disguised under a show of war 


in order to deceive tlie court in France. De Louvigny's contemporaries were not 
deceived ; Perrot derided the results secured and Charlevoix exposed as a fraud 
the pretended peace. The De Louvigny canoes left Montreal loaded with mer- 
chandise, among which were forty casks of brandy. The governor reported 
that the display of martial force was made without any expense to the King, 
the terms of peace stipulating that the Foxes were to pay the costs of the expedi- 
tion by the proceeds of their hunting. The Indians knew that this armistice 
was bought with the price of their beaver skins, and had no intention of per- 
manently abiding by the peace treaty. 

The early years of "Fort St. Francis" as the fort built in 1717 at~ the mouth 
of Fox river was called, continuing the name of Perrot's trading post at St. Fran- 
cois Xavier, were comparatively peaceful. The commandant was- Etienne Roe- 
bert, Sieur de la Morandiere, who in 1721 was relieved by Jacques Testard, 
Sieur de Alontigny. With this well known French officer came Pierre Frangois 
Xavier de Charlevoix, a noted Jesuit priest and author. Charlevoix' "Journal 
Flistorique" published in Paris some years later gives a pleasant picture of La 
Baye fort in the glow of a July afternoon ; an eighteenth century scene on Fox 
river rich in color and interest. In reaching Fort St. Francis the Jesuit and 
Captain de Montigny voyaged Baye des Puans by night as well as by day, for 
the weather was fine and the moon at the full. After telling of the islands 
at the mouth of the bay and the gulf or bay de Noquet, he continued: "We pro- 
ceeded on our journey during twenty-four consecutive hours, making only a 
short halt to say Mass and to eat dinner. The sun was so hot, and the Water 
of the Bay so warm that the pitch of our canoe melted in several places." 

Father Charlevoix remarks upon the beauty of the bay shore, "the most 
charming region in the world. It is even more agreeable to the sight than the 
Detroit country * * * d^g Puans formerly lived on the Shores of the bay, 
in a most delightful location: but they were attacked by the Illinois, wdio slew 
great numbers of them ; the rest took refuge on the River of the Outagamies 
which empties into the end of the Bay." 

Fully eight days were consumed in the trip from Mackinac but finally Fort 
St. Francis could be descried in the distance, a palisaded cantonment with a house 
for the commandant and separate lodgings for the resident missionary. Father 
Chardon. The Winnebagoes had built their cabins all around the fort, and 
across the river, was a village of Sakis. In the hot sunshine of a July after- 
noon the travelers disemljarked. The Indians of the two tribes having learned 
that their new commandant was in the canoe ranged themselves along the shore 
carrying their weapons : as soon as he came in sight they saluted him with a 
volley from their guns, accompanied with loud cries of delight. Then four of 
their principal men waded into the river to their waists, boarded the canoe and 
placed Montigny upon a large robe composed of deer skins. On thi* litter slung 
like a hammock with an Indian at each corner, they bore him to his lodging, 
"where they paid him compliments, and said very many flattering things to him." 

The following day notwithstanding the great heat the Sakis and Winnebagoes 
entertained their guests with dances on a large esplanade upon which the com- 
mandant's house fronted. It was a diverting spectacle for an hour or so, but 
when the Calumet dance, the Scout and Buffalo dances must all be given, the 
missionary grew* unutterably weary : on the whole, however, his visit was inter- 


esting and he learned much of the curious customs of our Indians wherewith 
he later entertained his friends, for Father Charlevoix was a man of the world 
and prized in Paris as a raconteur. He returned to Mackinac without ascend- 
ing Fox river, for on it dwelt "the Tribe which for the last twenty years has 
been more talked about than any other in these western Lands — the Outagamies," 
so that there was no safety in voyaging on it. 

In September of the following year, 1722, the Foxes met in council at the 
house of Monsieur de Montigny to give an account of their fierce attack upon 
the Iroquois, but when their Chief Oushala told of the murder of his nephew, 
]\Iinchilay, who was burned by that dreaded nation, their vengeance appeared 
to be not without cause. Montigny seems to have given them good advice and 
friendly warning but his position in this isolated post on Fox river was anything 
but an easy one. He acquired influence over the Renards to the extent of deter- 
ring them a number of times from warring on other tribes, and on the whole 
his administration was successful. He was greatly aided in his pacific policy 
by Father Chardon. Governor Vaudreuil writes in 1724 that "Father Chardon, 
a Jesuit who is at La Baye * * * jg greatly esteemed by the Renards," 
and through them by the Sioux, their friends. 

In August, 1724, Sieur Marchand De Lignery, in concert with Monsieur 
D'Amariton and the Reverend Fathers St. Pe and Chardon met the Sakis, Renards 
and Puans in the fort at La Baye. Later in the same year De Lignery, D'Amari- 
ton and Yilledonne, the commandant at Mackinac, held still another council at 
this point, and after much parley concluded a peace with the Renards. They 
were censured for their chicken-heartedness; "I am surprised that those Gentle- 
men at La Baye should Jiave concluded peace so soon," wrote a warlike individual 
to Governor Yaudreuil. 

The letters wherein the fort at La Baye is mentioned grow more and more 
discouraging in tone as time goes on. In 1727, the Sieur Duplessis Faber was in 
command, and his account for services as commandant amounts to two thou- 
sand, six hundred and one livres, certified by the missionary as correct. The 
Intendant Dupuy reports that he has allowed the sum of one thousand livres 
on this financial memorandum, for the Green Bay post with that on the river 
St. Joseph "have become more onerous" in consequence of the existing state 
of afifairs. Dupuy, however, feels bound to call attention to the fact that if 
the commandant advances presents to the savages in order to give weight to 
his words he must receive a return from them in beaver. 

In retrospect the conduct of the Foxes does not seem to have warranted the 
cruel and unremitting warfare waged upon them by the French and allied tribes. 
Even pacific Father Chardon although not advising extermination writes that "in 
order to compel the nation of the Renards to keep quiet and in awe of us it would 
be advisable: first, to deprive them of the refuge they have secured among the 
Scioux, and to that end prevent their being given any of the goods they procure 
in the upper country, especially at the post established at La Baye des Puans." 
This post the priest advises be suppressed, "as trade both in brandy and merchan- 
dise is notorious, as the commandants have bought these posts." 

La Baye continued to be the central point where French officers high in rank 
and of distinguished family met to consult with each other and to hold council 
with the warring tribes, and always it was the Foxes who received the blame and 


were held as the principal offenders, in 1727 Father Chardon emerges from the 
obscurity of his mission station on the banks of Fox river as aiding a party of 
Frenchmen who were on their way to establish a post in the Sioux country 
"Sieur Reaume, interpreter of the languages of the Indians at La Baye acted with 
zeal and devotion to the king's service. Even if my testimony, Monsieur, should 
not be deemed impartial. 1 must have the honor of telling you that the Reverend 
Father Chardon, an old missionary, was of very great service there." The mis- 
sionary and his companion accompanied the party as far as the village of the 
Renards smoothing the way everywhere for the stranger's receptio;i, and then 
"early in the morning of the following Sunday, the 17th of tlie month of August, 
Father Chardon departed with Sieur Reaume to return to La Baye." 

Sieur de Lignery's letter giving an account of his expedition against the 
Foxes is dated La Baye, August 30. 1728. and tells first of gathering from the 
different tribes an army of nearly "twelve hundred savages, and four hundred 
and fifty French. I proceeded to La Baye. where we arrived about midnight. I 
posted a detachment of savages on one side of the ri\er. and one of French on 
the other. With the hel]3 of some Sakis whom I had with me our French 
captured three Puans and a Renard, whom I gave to the tribes that they might 
drink of their broth. They put them to death on the following day." 

Nothing was accomplished by this campaign save the sacrifice of these four 
Indians, and the burning of immense fields of Indian corn, peas, beans and 
gourds, "of \\hich there wa.s so great a (|uantity that one could not believe it 
without seeing. Thus, Monsieur, terminated our Expedition, which will be no 
less advantage to the glory of the king than to the welfare of both Colonies 
inasmuch as one half of those people will die of hunger. "_ 

Father Crespel, a Recollet Flemish priest accompanied the Lignery expedi- 
tion as almoner and was a witness to the inhuman tortures inflicted by the invad- 
ers on the hapless Indian tribesmen. The Fox encampment at the mouth of 
l*'ox river adjoining the village of their allies the Sakis, was only temporary, as 
their permanent habitation at that date was at Lake Butte des Morts. It was a 
custom, however, with all the Indian nations to migrate at certain seasons for 
hunting, fishing or the gathering of wild rice, and as August was the month for 
the garnering of that grain and also for harvesting the large crops of Indian 
corn, it is probable that the Foxes had encamped at this fertile point for that 

It was impossible for Lignery and his ])arty to successfully execute a plan 
to surprise the enemy, for no sooner had the Pottowatomies at the mouth of 
(Ireen Bay sighted the fleet of canoes than a detachment of swift runners w-as 
dispatched by those Indians to warn the Sakis and Renards of impending danger. 
The day following the destruction of the Saki village Sieur de Lignery's band 
ascended Fox river to where a group of lodges marked the principal habitation 
of the Renards. One old man and three women were the only inmates, the 
remainder of the tribe having deserted the camp ; an auto da fe of the aged 
Indian was held and the village and surrounding fields of maize totally destroyed. 

The F'rench officer terminated his ruthless work by burning the W'innebago 
village surrounding Fort St. Francis and later the fort itself. For this un- 
authorized act he was sharply censured bv the government, "as he had people 
and ammunition and could wait for orders until the next year," but the mutin- 

Miss. ON St Fkanc.s Xa^.er f i67o-7i J 
T ^ -^ — ^ ' 


M^F or 
Historic 5ite5 on 

Gre:en Bay, V/i5C0N5iN 

Arthur C. Nlviue , i905 

in St Fr.hcis Xavie 
( 1*71-80 ) 


<jus spirit shown by the voyageurs, whicli he confesses caused him more trouble 
than he had ever before experienced coupled with Father Chardon's recommenda- 
tion that La Baye post be abandoned because of its dissolute character, doubtless 
led De Lignery to destroy it. 

An investigation into the expense incurred by the expedition was also made 
and Lignery accused of wasting and misappropriating the supplies. Not until 
two years later is there record of his being cleared of the indictment. The court- 
martial assembled for investigation acquitted and relieved him from the charge 
of misbehavior both as "regards the expedition under his charge, and the 
purchases of Provisions that he caused to be effected at Alichilimackinac." 

That Lignery was highly thought of is certain. He is said to have been the 
man in power in all the colony, "and French and savages would have marched 
under his orders with great pleasure," but to his official complaint the significant 
marginal note is appended, "M. De Lignery allows the Foxes to escape." indi- 
cating that the government, intent on the destruction of that tribe, considered 
him dilatory, and too much inclined to clemency in his treatment of the offend- 
ing Indian. Mis later war record, however, shows him as serving his country 
with great credit and bravery. 

A commander for still another expedition against the unsubdued Outaga- 
mies was found in Pierre Paul, Sieur Marin, who in May, 1730, established 
a !)ost among the ]\Ienoniinees. Marin joined the Folle Avoines in an attack 
on the Renards, on suspicion that the latter had either captured or killed a 
neighboring nation, — the Puans ; who had "not been seen walking about their 
villages for some time."' The war had indeed been going on for nearly a month 
and a half between the Puans and Foxes before inquiry was made. 

The Puans had built a fort on a small island in little Lake Butte des Morts 
in the ix'lief that the Foxes had abandoned permanently this part of the country 
when the latter returned and immediately commenced 'hostilities. In ]\Iarch, 
1731. Marin with a detachment of five Frenchmen headed a band of Alenominee 
warriors to go in aid of the besieged Puans. The campaign ended in the killing 
of one and wounding of two Frenchmen, ten killed and wounded among the 
Menominees and twenty-five among the Foxes, of whom the remainder with- 
drew leaving their villages deserted. The French on the fifth day of combat 
observed "Ravens alighting in the Fox fort, this left us no doubt that they 
were no longer there." 

On his return from this sortie Marin brought with him all the Puans. whom 
he left at La Baye where, so the narrative goes, they established themselves in a 

The final and crushing blow against the Fo.x nation was g'wen by Nicholas 
Coulon, Sieur de \illiers in the month of August, 1730. The tribe had been 
secretlv offered an asylum among the Iroquois and assured a safe passage 
through the lands of the Ottawas. They had begun the long march eastward, 
when the Mascoutins, Kickapoos and Illinois descried them on the trail, and 
at once notified the commandants at the dift"erent posts. A war party under 
De Yilliers numbering about fourteen hundred men started in jjursuit. The 
Foxes made a courageous stand, but finding themselves far outnumbered and 
being on the verge of starvation, tried to withdraw under cover of the night 
and a violent storm of wind and rain. The crying of the little children betrayed 

Vol- 1—4 


them, they were pursued, three hundred warriors were killed or captured, six- 
hundred women and children absolutely destroyed. 

In 1731 when the Green Bay post was reestablished under command of De 
Villiers a few poor fugitives of the haughty Renards, came begging for peace 
and their lives. To this exterminator of his nation came Kiala, a chief of renown 
and offered his life for the lives of his people. The commandant ordered that 
the poor savage be taken to Montreal, where Governor Beauharnois condemned 
him to slavery in Martinique, but chained in a slave gang the proud chief of the 
untamable Foxes did not long survive this inhuman sentence. 

Sieur de \'illiers. who had been sent to reestablish the post at the mouth 
of Fox river wrote that the Sakis had rebuilt their old village just across the 
river from the fort, and that they were there with their families. Permission 
liad been given to the voyageurs to carry stocks of trading goods to the place 
and Beauharnois wrote to France that he should continue the post as it was 
before evacuated. 

In a "Memoir of the King" despatched from I-"rance, May 12, 1733, Louis 
XV approves highly of the state of affairs at La Baye garrison ; the rebuild- 
ing of the fort, the blow inflicted by De \'illiers, and the placing of that officer 
in command. His majesty also commends Sieur Marquis de Beauharnois for 
sending voyageurs with supplies to that post. "Tranquility being no longer 
disturbed in that quarter, it will be easy for him to send them every year, as 
His Majesty recommends him to do." 

Tranquility might appear to brood over Fort St. Francis and the Fox river 
valley in the summer of 1733, as viewed from far off Versailles, but there was 
in reality restless wandering of savage bands hither and thither along the shores 
of the river and bay, engaged in never ending strife, bloodshed and torture. 

On July I. 1733. Beauharnois, a man ready to carry out the king's pleasure 
in resorting to extreme measures in the treatment of the Renards wrote at 
length to the French minister at Paris, .\fter reporting the action of the great 
chief Kiala, of his intention to banish the savage to Martinic|ue and of De 
Villiers' efficiency as commandant at La Baye, he pens the fatal words : "I am 
sending the Sieur de Villiers at once to return to la Baye with orders * '' * 
to bring all the Renards to Montreal or to destroy them. The Sieur de V^illiers 
has also orders if that wretched remnant will not obey to kill them without 
making a single prisoner, so as not to leave one of the race alive in the u]iper 
country, if possible." 

Beauharnois, the colonial government and King Louis in distant France 
counted too confidently on the cruel policy pursued toward the unfortunate 
Foxes. Hated though they were by other tribesmen, the French administration 
at La Baye had antagonized the Indians throughout the whole upper country 
and they no longer joined wholeheartedly in the extermination of that tribe. 
There was one Algonkin branch that had never mingled in the savage joy that 
animated French and Indians alike over the final humbling of the unhappy 
Renards. This was the Sakis, the Renards' long time allies, who when the 
few survivors came to ask refuge gave them shelter in the Saki village. The 
fatal tragedy that occurred in consequence of this alliance and Governor Beau- 
harnois' peremptory orders to Sieur de Villiers, the arrogant commandant at 
La Baye, is rehearsed minutely in a report sent to France by Beauharnois on 


November ii, 1733. "Monsieur de Villiers, the commandant of that post, 
(La Baye) arrived there on the i6th of September, alone in a canoe. He had 
left at a distance of half a league from there the Sieur Repentigny, a lieu- 
tenant who was commandant at Michilimackinac. together with two hundred 
savages * * * and about sixty French. The Sieur de \'illiers had given 
him orders to be ready to march as soon as he heard the signal of three gun 
shots. When Monsieur de \'illiers arrived at the French fort he at once sent 
for the Saki chiefs to inform them of their Father's ( Onontio) intentions. 
The chiefs came to him and he explained to them that their father had granted 
the remnant of the Renards who were with them their lives : but on the condi- 
tion that they should submit to his orders and go to Montreal." 

"After a council which lasted some time, as the Saki chiefs gave no positive 
answer, Monsieur de \'illiers sent four of them back to their fort to tell their 
tribe that if within a certain time they did not send the Renards to him he would 
go and get them himself, ^\'hen the specified time had elapsed, without tlie 
Renards ap])earing, and when Monsieur de \'illiers, whom the Sieur De Repen- 
tigny had joined, saw that the Sakis were not coming back he resolved to go to 
tiieir fort in person, accompanied by two of his children, by the Sieur Douville, 
the younger, his son-in-law. and by seven or eight French to ask them to deliver 
up the Renards to him. He had just given orders to the Sieur de Repentigny 
to guard the approaches to the Sakis fort with the remainder of the French 
lest the Renards should escape. When Monsieur de Villiers arrived at the 
door of the fort and asked the Sakis for the Renards, he found there some 
armed Sakis, who told him to withdraw, and when he tried to enter, a savage 
approached him with uplifted tomahawk; at the same moment three shots were 
fired, one of which killed one of the Sieur De \'illier's sons at his side. The 
father and the French discharged their pieces, and this was followed by other 
volleys from the Sakis, by which ^Monsieur de \'illiers was killed and three French 
were wounded." 

"Monsieur De Repentigny, who guarded the approaches on the side of the 
woods ran up and was killed a moment afterward in a sortie that the Sakis 
made against him. The Sieur Duplessis, a cadet in the troops, and six other 
French met the same fate. Two hundred of our savages who had remained 
in the French fort went to the assistance of the others, and when the Sakis 
saw them coming, they withdrew into their fort. Three of them were killed." 

This desperate revolt of the Sakis, who hitherto had kept out of the various 
embroilments in which the Renards had met their fate, took place in the Saki 
fort which stood on the east side of Fox river on the sandy ridge where Main 
street. Green Bay city runs today. Three days after this action the Sakis and 
their allies, the Renards, evacuated the fort and fled up the river. Ensign de 
Villiers, the son of the commandant had been stationed at "le petit Cacalin," 
(Little Rapids) with ten Frenchmen and fifty savages previous to the attack 
made by his father on the Sakis, in order to block the waterway for any escap- 
ing Renards. Returning from there and learning of the fate of the French gar- 
rison, he started in pursuit of the escaping Indians, overtaking them about 
four o'clock in the afternoon, eight leagues from La Baye post. 

De Villiers was aided by all the other tribes in the vicinity, Ottawas, Meno- 
niinees and Saulteurs. A fierce and bloody conflict took place lasting until 


nightfall. Both Indians and P'rench met with heavy loss, and the spot where 
the final stand of the Foxes and Sakis was made is now known as Little Butte 
des Morts. (Hill of the Dead.) 

Duplessis, who was killed was the son of the former commandant at La 
Ba3'e, of that name : Repentigny. who had left his command at Mackinac, to 
assist in the enforcement of the fatal order to bring by force the residue of the 
Foxes to Montreal, where they were to be sent into slavery, was also a well 
known officer in the colony. The brothers Des Musseaux, Daillebout, Ensign de 
Villiers' brother "a cadet,'' and Douville the younger were all prominent in 
colonial affairs. De Beauharnois, at once gave necessary orders to attack the 
Sakis and the remainder of the Renards to avenge the blood of the French that 
had l)ecn shed. The ensign Louis de Villiers, called "le grand Villiers" suc- 
ceeded to his father's command at La Baye post, promotion was suggested for 
the other survivors, and a pension for the widow, Madame de Villiers, was 
recommended, and later granted. 

The repulse of the French by the Saki garrison took place on September 
i6. 1733- The desperate courage shown by the Indians astonished both the 
French and their allies. Nothing was talked of, so Beauharnois reports, but 
this unexpected and fatal encounter at La Baye, and the best means to avenge 
French losses. The Sakis meanwhile had established themselves in a fort on an 
Iowa river in close proximity to that of the Foxes. They were reported as 
regretting their rash act in protecting at the risk of extermination the doomed 
Renards. The year following the tragedy at Fort La Baye saw another expedi- 
tion set forth under command of Sieur de Noyelle. Ninety young men eager 
to try their liand in the final subduing of the indoniitalile Foxes and their 
allies joined in the campaign, but the western tribes whom Nicholas Perrot called 
"creatures of contradiction" had undergone a change of heart following the bold 
and generous stand taken by the Sakis. 

Far from aiding De Noyelle's advance Indian guides led his band astray 
and in conseciuence the French endured a journey of incredible hardships. 
When they reached the Ottawa country they found that the Indians of Michili- 
mackinac had completely changed their minds ; that rather than aid in an attack 
upon the Sakis, the Ottawas begged that the lives of that tribe be spared on 
condition that the Renards be induced to place themselves at the mercy of their 
father, as thev had jiromised. De Noyelle, harassed and perplexed by this abso- 
lute change in the attitude of the savages retreated after a slight skirmish on 
April 19, 1735. with the promise of the Sakis that they would separate from 
the Foxes and return to Green Bay. 

The fort at La Baye continued to be garrisoned. In 1737 Claude Antoine 
de Berman, Sieur de la Martiniere, captain of troops, was in command, and 
from 1739-40, Sieur Marin, who. however, acted more as a peace commissioner 
than commander for La Baye and the Sioux country. During the summer of 
1742. Marin, with an immense concourse of savages, went to Montreal, where 
a general conference of the western tribes was held. The bay Indians pro- 
fessed that they had "no other will but that of Monsieur Marin." who. indeed. 
seemed in his treatment of them, just and generous. The Renards made a brief 
but dignified plea that mercy should be shown them, and defended the attack 
made by them on the Illinois by proving that it was in revenge for the nnirder 


of three of their women by that nation. They further promised that they 
would obey the words of Monsieur Marin, who said: "You Sakis and Renards, 
do not go to war against the children of your Father Onontio ; remain quiet at 

Joachim Sacquepee, Sieur de Gonincourt, in command at La Baye in 1742, 
adds still another highsounding name to the long list of French chevaliers, who in 
the small stockaded fort at the mouth of Fox river, made futile attempts to 
pacify the warring tribesmen, inhabiting the whole western territory. In the 
summer of that year, Sacquepee reports that all is quiet along Fox river, and 
the garrison enjoying peace, but as a large number of the warriors were al«ent 
with Marin at Montreal, this brief respite is easily explained. 

Notwithstanding the sure element of danger involved, constant communica- 
tion was carried on between Canada and the western forts, for it was the fur 
trade rather than military renown that spurred French valor to dangerous 
deeds. A curious scheme undertaken in 1743, was the farming out by the 
French government of military posts in the upper country, for the pursuance 
of trade. These beaver depots were sold at auction to the highest bidder, La 
Baye being assigned to the Sieur de la Gorgendiere, who rented the same to the 
Sieur Daillebout and other voyageurs at 20,450 livres. 

In October, 1743, Paul Louis Dazenard, Sieur de Lusignan, a distinguished 
officer of the colonial troops, was placed in command at La Baye. in preference 
to Sieur Marin, whom Beauharnois had destined for that post. The governor of 
New France veils his discomfiture over the non-appointment of his favorite in his 
letter to the French Minister dated at Quebec, October 13. 1743. 

"As regards the Sieur Marin, I had anticipated the intentions of His .Majesty, 
in giving to the Sieur de Lusignan the Command of the Post at La Baye, for 
which I had destined the former, less witli a view of having him profit l)v the 
advantages which this post might offer, than of having him succeed as he 
has done, in the mission with which I had charged him, for which he was 
eminently fitted by his talents and liy tlie Reputation which he has acquired 
among the Nations. * * * j ^-^n not refuse the same testimony to his son, 
who has succeeded in the details which the Sieur Marin entrusted to him in these 
Negotiations as completely as could be Hoped" (Vol. 17, p. 440). 

The system of farming out the different posts caused dissatisfaction among 
tile Indians because of extortionate prices charged by the French traders for 
tiieir goods. The English on the other hand brought in better goods at less 
price, and the hunters naturally sought the most profitable market with their 
peltries. At La Baye in the following year Monsieur de Lusignan, the com- 
mandant complains that the farmers exploiting the post are independent of 
and insubordinate to his orders. He reports that eiglit or ten coureurs de bois 
by the payment of 6000 livres in beaver skins have gained possession of this 
lucrative trade, the farmers agreeing to furnish them goods at the same price 
as is allowed to the trading posts. 

As De Lusignan had no garrison under his command lie was unable to 
control affairs in the Green Bay fort, the traders claiming that as they had paid 
the price asked for the privilege of carrying on the peltry traffic they were 
not to be interfered with in any method they might pursue. This mode of 


proceeding by the farmers was a direct infringement of the King's command 
and Sieur de Auge the chief instigator of trouble to Montreal, and to refuse to 
have any goods delivered at the fort unless the ooureur de bois could be 
forced to behave respectably. 

The stringent measures instituted by government evidently caused disgust 
among the bidders, for in 1746 no farmer would place a bid for La Baye. The 
last lease in favor of Monsieur de la Gorgendiere had expired, and the high 
price of goods, the full charge for licenses collected, and the obligation to 
transport the munitions required for the service at their own expense fright- 
ened off possil)le bidders. The commandant at Mackinac "provided for the 
safety and indifferently for the trade" of La Baye post by allowing two 
private indi\iduals to fit themselves out with goods, provided the sum of 1000 
livres was paid by them. 

There is a lease with accompanying agreements preserved in the colonial 
archives at Paris that was issued in April, 1747, to the Sieurs Cligancourt, 
Meniere and L'Echelle for the exclusive trade at the post of "la Baie des 
Puans." It is a curious and illuminating document rehearsing as it does the 
various stipulations necessary to carry on the fur trade at that date. The 
officer in txjmmand of the fort was not to enter into any trade directly or 
indirectly with the tribes ; the holders of the lease agreed to furnish him 
with fuel and lodging and to provide him with presents in moderation to give 
the savages in order to keep peace. The commandant must see to his own 
food, but the farmers, in other words the holders of the lease must convey 
to him every year provisions and goods to the amount of fifteen hundred pounds 
weight, from which tlie officer might purchase any supplies required. The 
lessees were also to carry "free of charge the commanding officer, his trunk. 
his money box and utensils required for the journey both in going to the said 
post and returning therefrom.'' 

There seems to have been at Green Bay during this period in rapid succes- 
sion an exceptional list of commandants. In the summer of 1747 Jean Jarret, 
Sieur de Vercheres, was placed in command ; "a worthy officer who has often 
commanded in the upper posts, and has acquitted himself so well that he has 
always been employed by the General, whenever his services were required." 
Vercheres was back and forth between Mackinac and the bay trying to subdue 
an uprising among the Indians of the upper country. There was continual 
menace from discontented and rebellious savages, who were insolent to the 
commandant ; pillaged and murdered PVenchmen whenever opportunity occurred. 

The commerce in furs continued despite the serious detriment to trade 
through the farming out of the posts and the reckless beha\iour of coureurs de 
bois. The largest consignment of goods sent to any of these trading stations 
was shipped to La Baye on October 7, 1747, but the farmers of all the posts 
complained that their losses were so heavy it would l)e impossible for them 
to pay the amount of rent asked for. The English too were constantly inter- 
fering with the trading ventures of the French, and bribed the Indian hunters 
openly to bring their furs to a more lucrative market. 

Etienne Auge, a lessee of the Green Bay post had from 1744 when his first 
contract was made been a thorn in the flesh of the commanding officer of the 


fort. Complaint was made of him at headquarters in Montreal, but again in 1747 
this offending trader signed in a partnership with two others to exploit the 
bay post. He however never reaped any benefit from the transaction, his 
notorious misconduct leading to his murder by a Menominee Indian shortry 
after the agreement was made. 

La Baye was constantly growing in importance, and the control of its trade 
was eagerly sought after by peltry merchants. The commandant at Fort St. 
Francis in 1750 was Pierre Mathurin, Sieur Millon, who belonged to a poor but 
ancient family in France, and by good service in the colony had been promoted to 
a lieutenancy in the colonial army. He must have merited the confidence of his 
government to ha\e been placed in command of the Bay post during this 
critical period but of his administration there is no record ; only his tragic 
death is recounted in one of the letters constantly passing between Governor 
Beauharnois at Quebec and the French minister in Paris. 

The officer, so the story goes, went alone in a small birch bark canoe, in which 
he raised a sail, although there was a high wind, to hunt at the mouth of a river 
about half a league from the fort. This was doubtless Duck Creek, famed from 
early times as a feeding ground for immense flocks of ducks, the wild rice all 
along that stream being very abundant. Night fell and Millon did not return ; 
diligent search was made by order of the Sieur de Combre, a gentleman cadet 
who was acting as an officer under Millon"s orders, but with no result, except 
that the overturned canoe was picked up, probably from the description at Grassy 
Island. The sail fastened to its mast was found by some Chippewa Indians at 
Point au Sable, about two leagues down the bay. 

During the winter there were all sorts of surmises as to Millon's fate, and 
it was feared that he had been murdered by the savages. His second officer, 
Sieur de Combre in the meantime held the command and was mentioned as 
performing his duty most satisfactorily. In the spring of 1750 the body of the 
unfortunate Millon was found but showing no marks of violence, and it was 
evident that the young officer had drowned by the accidental overturning of 
his canoe, a catastrophe (|uite likely to happen when the sail was raised in the 
small light craft. 

De Combre was relieved the following August by Sieur Marin, the same 
who twenty years earlier had assisted the Puans in their battle with the Foxes. 
All danger from the remaining fragment of the unfortunate Renards had now- 
passed, but the other tribesmen still gave constant trouble l\v plundering trading 
stations and murdering those in charge. The government had long urged the 
appointment of Marin the elder for the post at La Baye as being a wise and 
strong man for this difficult command. As second officer Charles Rene Des- 
jordy, Sieur de \'illebon was recommended "who is very fit for the position," 
and as Marin was also ordered to build a fort in the Sioux country, and have 
oversight of that nation in connection w^ith his duties at La Baye, Villebon 
was officer in command during his chief's absence. 

Farming out the posts in the western country was done away with and 
licenses were again issued to traders and coureurs de bois. "Having in the 
presence of the said traders fixed both the number and the price of the license 
T told them I would send off their canoes in several convovs under the com- 


mand of officers who would be going in the same direction." (La Jonquiere 
to French minister Vol. i8, p. 71.) 

The traders delayed starting their convoys, they demurred at the order 
to have an officer head the expedition, wishing the absolute freedom and com- 
plete control of trade, and exasperated the Intendant at Quebec to the point 
of threatened refusal of licenses to these insubordinates, or protection of any 
kind. These were days of stress at La Baye, nevertheless the post was much 
desired, one of the applicants for its command being Captain de Raymond of 
the Marine detachment in Canada, who writes to France that having come 
into possession of certain facts regarding a valuable copper mine in the north- 
west he asks to be given command at the Green Bay fort in order to pursue 
his discovery to the advantage of the government. Apparently the policy of 
the Marins, father and son, met with the approval of government for the peti- 
tion of Raymond was disallowed. 

Joseph Marin relieved his father at the post on Fox river in 1752. In April 
of that year came direful tidings. Disturbance was rife among the savages, and 
warning was given that the "Commandants of our posts have so much more 
cause to be on their guard since our enemies have steeped their hands in 
blood." Every week brought news of fresh disaster to the dependencies of 
France. The small pox ravaged alike the camps of white man and Indian, 
famine threatened and "the sorrowful condition of the entire upper country" 
was deplored. 

In August, 1752, an urgent application was made to the F'rench Minister 
by Governor Du Quesne. that carried much weight and was backed by influence. 
Francois Vaudreuil, Marquis de Rigaud, eighth son of that Vaudreuil who was 
governor of Canada from 1703 to 1725, had become involved m financial embar- 
rassments and to recuperate his fortunes the Governor of Canada, Du Quesne 
asked that he be given the post of La Baye, "on condition that it shall be 
exploited by the officer whom the governor-general shall find sufficiently cap- 
able and prudent to manage the great number of savages in that region." 

This clause indicates that the actual command of the post was to be gi\en 
to a subordinate officer, Marquis de Rigaud merely reaping the largest part 
of the profits gained through trade. Marin, who still commanded at the fort 
on Fox river as well as in the Sioux country, was giving excellent satisfaction. 
"The Indians of the North are very quiet," writes Du Quesne in 1754, "because 
Sieur Marin who commands at the Bay and leads the Indians at will has pro- 
cured repose for them by the peace he has caused to be concluded with the 

In 1753 the grant of La Baye was actually bestowed upon De Rigaud, and 
a lease of the post given for two years only Marin the younger being still in 
command. There is no record that the beneficiary of the crown visited his post 
during that time, and the year following he sent an urgent request for leave 
to be allowed to go to France on account of ill health, as he was convinced that 
the physicians of Paris would cure him completely. Du Quesne recommended 
that De Rigaud's request be allowed "as he is really not at all well," but at the 
same time censured the marquis for boasting that he held the post of La 
Baye gratuitously from the King, and that he had no rent to pay. He pro- 
ceeded to say that De Rigaud was a most kindhearted fellow, l)ut that this 



very trait had caused the government no end of trouble, especially after the 
marquis had been informed that his brother was to succeed Du Quesne as 
Governor of Canada. 

In these last years of French dominion all other interests seem annihilated 
in the intent pursuance of gain from the fur trade. New France was on the 
verge of a downfall which would loose forever her tenure in the western con- 
tinent and bar all further conquest, yet with no premonition of impending evil 
officers and nobility in the colonial government were absorbed in securing ille- 
gally all the profits attainable both from the government and in traffic with the 

In the instructions sent from Versailles in 1755, to Pierre de Rigaud. marquis 
of Cavagnal and Vaudreuil upon his transference from the governorship of 
Louisiana to that of Canada, special stress is laid upon the continuance of 
trade in these western posts including the one at La Baye. Hubert Couterot, 
a nephew of Rigaud and also of Governor \'audreuil was placed in command in 
1756, following the establishment of his uncle as governor of Canada. This 
high born young scamp who succeeded the two Marins as commander of the 
fort on Fox river held a part interest in the family lease and exploited the 
post simply for his own profit and that of his relatives. In 1757 La Baye 
is listed among the other important French forts as being "farmed for nine 
thousand francs ; all expense on the part of the king has been suppressed ; 
there are neither presents, nor certificates, nor interpreter's wages : all the cost 
is at the expense of the lessee." This meant that Rigaud de \'audreuii fur- 
nished at his own expense the trading outfit required at La Baye post and 
hired Lieutenant Couterot his nephew for two thousand francs, ($400.) to 
carry on trade with the Indians. 

Monsieur de Rigaud is spoken of at this time as "the possessor of La Baye 
des Puans, the Sioux and their dependencies.'' His non-residence at the post 
possibly reduced his profits and induced him in 1757 to take into partnership 
I. G. Hubert and Jacques (iiasson, both well known Mackinac traders. Lamy 
Hubert was one of the witnesses at the marriage of Charles de Langlade to 
Charlotte Bourassa in 1754. 

In none of the other garrisoned trading posts had theft and license gone 
so far as at La Baye. Certificates for expenses incurred on behalf of the 
Indians were fabricated by Couterot under the authority of Marquis de Rigaud. 
were passed on for signature to Governor \'audreuil and the money paid. Legal 
proofs of this system of graft were impossible to obtain, the signatures of the 
two \'audreuils high in power and officers of the king were not to be dis- 
puted. The abuses at La Baye became, however, current talk in the French 
colony. "This post has produced fifty thousand ecus worth in peltries and the 
cost has not been more than thirty thousand livres. Rigaud has presented five 
liundred thousand livres of certificates that the Marquis de Vaudreuil has signed," 
thus the French general Montcalm notes in his journal of December, 1758. 

That year saw Canada hard bestead by war with England and the restless- 
ness and treachery of the savages. The Indians of the western posts hardly 
knew which nation owned their allegiance, and were insolent and indifferent 
to authority. At La Baye, Lieutenant Hubert Couterot remained in command 
and Rigaud de Vaudreuil with his brother-in-law, Sieur d'Eschambault di\-ided 


the spoils. A long lease, the rascals complained was required in order to reim- 
burse the farmer for the great losses he was liable to incur at La Baye. This 
demand was made in March, 1758; in May following, comes to the colony 
"News from all the Upper Posts," and the bulletin announces that at La Baye 
the "Menominee Indians" have risen in revolt, killed eleven Canadians, missed 
the commandant but pillaged a storehouse. Later came additional information 
that twenty-two French had l)een killed, and that the commandant, Couterot 
had "shown himself inept through fear." 

The Menominees to "cover the bodies ' of those slain in this outbreak sent 
se\en of their tribe to Montreal that same summer. Of these prisoners the 
French shot three on the town s(|uare, while the remaining four were conscripted 
for the war "in order to e.xpiate their crime." 

Notwithstanding the shameless mismanagement of the (jreen Bay post which 
undoubtedly was responsible for the uprising of the Menominees, the Vaud- 
reuil influence at court w'as so strong that in January, 175Q, a letter was received 
from the French minister at Paris stating that it was the king's pleasure to bestow 
La Baye upon Monsieur and Madame Rigaud for life. "I had much pleasure 
in reporting favorably to the king on the service rendered by ^Monsieur de 
Rigaud in Canada. His Majesty is so satisfied with him that he has departed 
from the rule in his favor," so runs the flattermg screea. 

In his reply of thanks Rigaud de \'audreuil writes: "You will see by the 
report I send that I have done all 1 could under the unfortunate circumstances 
in which the colony was placed to gi\ e the king sure proofs of my zeal and faith- 
fulness in his service. * * * j ;,,j^ ^ gj-y grateful for your kindness in procur- 
ing from his majesty the concession for life of the post of la Bale, for Madame 
de Rigaud and myself." In a letter from Montcalm of March, 1759, that soldier, 
who as chief in command of the French colonial army, kept a keen watch on 
the few military posts still oi:)erated under the command of France, remarks 
ironically that "according to Monsieur, the Marquis de Vaudreuil there is good 
news from Michilimackinac, la bale, — great affection of the savages. Good 
news from Detroit — great affection of the .savages." No one knew better than 
Montcalm how hollow and unmeaning were these confident reports sent out by 
Governor Vaudreuil. One by one the French forts south of the St. Lawrence 
had been forced to surrender, until in the summer of 1750, but one remained, 
Ticonderoga, at the head of Lake George, thoroughly fortified, InU in constant 
danger of attack from a strong force under General Amherst. 

The long struggle between France and England for supremacy on the west- 
ern continent was at last drawing to a close. Acadia had been lost in the 
preceding year through the capture of Louisbourg by General Wolfe, and in 
June, 1759, the same indomitable commander, with nine thousand men, twenty- 
two ships of the line, frigates, sloops-of-war and a great number of transports, 
set sail for the St. Lawrence. Montcalm, thus menaced, resolved to mass his 
entire force on the elevations above Quebec. Then followed his defeat on the 
plains of Abraham, his death, the subsequent panic and hasty withdrawal 
of the troops by \''audreuil and the surrender of that French fortress on Septem- 
ber 17, 1759. 

La Baye had known no other rule but that of France. With the withdrawal 
of Hubert Couterot, the dishonest cringing nephew of Rigaud de Vaudreuil 


ended the line of French commanders who for nearly half a century had forced 
the western Indians to pay tribute in beaver skins sometimes to the govern- 
ment, usually to the officer himself. Not until the capitulation of Montreal 
on September 8, 1760, were all the French forts handed over to the English 
and their garrisons replaced by British redcoats. A change of masters had come, 
and the Indians of La Baye, mischievous because of the ill treatment received 
from the last incumbent, awaited restlessly and sullenly the inauguration of a 
new policy. 

(References for Chapter VII are: Wis. Hist. Coll., Vols. 16, 17; Charlevoix 
Journal Historique ; L. P. Kellogg, Fox Wars, Wis. Hist. Proc, 1907; Lahontan's 
Voyages; Hennepin's New Discovery.) 




Notwithstanding the disturbed state of the country and especially of that 
region surrounding the bay and its tributary streams, French Canadian voy- 
ageurs had as early as 1744 and doubtless even before this date, built houses 
along the shores of Fox River, in close proximity to Fort St. Francis. 

In only one of the many documents relating to La Baye post is the name St. 
Francis applied directly to the fort which stood at the entrance to Fox river. In 
Father Crespel's narrative of the Lignery expedition he speaks of the garrison 
at this point as "Fort St. Francis" and of Devil river as the "River Le Sueur," 
the latter receiving its designation probably in honor of the distinguished explorer 
and commandant of that name. The appellation, however, seems never to have 
come into general use. 

The level shores of Fo.x River were a fertile and delightful point for settle- 
ment ; life was easy for the habitant except for the hostility of the Indians, 
and this danger was in a measure lessened by the close proximity of a garri- 
soned fort. Therefore the traders, the Jourdains, Jean Baptiste Reaume and 
others, took up land and built snug cabins near the river bank, the water highway 
furnishing the easiest road of travel. 

Augustine Grignon, great grandson of Augustin Moras de Langlade, in his 
recollections published by the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1857, states that 
Augustin and his son Charles were traders at La Baye as early as 1745. No 
record can be found, however, to prove that the two men left Mackinac as a place 
of residence prior to 1760. Augustin was church warden in the Mackinac 
parish in 1756. and prominent as a witness at marriage ceremonies and as god- 
father at unnumbered christenings by the parish priest. His wife, Madame 
Langlade, also appears many times in the parish register as sponsor for the 
little French and Indian children of Mackinac, and at the baptism of Indian 
usually Pawnee slaves of whom there were many. 

Almost every important French family in the west at this time owned Pawnee 
Indian slaves, who were treated as pensioners and usually witli great kindness 
and generosity. That their religious welfare was carefully looked after is shown 
by the fact that 3iladame Langlade and other prominent French and Creole 
women stood sponsor for their slaves who were brought to the priest at Macki- 
nac to be baptized. 

As early as 1744 the parish register at Michilimackinac gives the names of 
whole families who were brought by canoe from Green Bay, still called at that 
time La Baye, to receive the sacred rite. This church register on the island 
also records the method of marriage practiced almost universally in the absence 



of a priest or magistrate, an agreement before witnesses of parties wishing 
to be imited in wedlock. Many marriages were contracted in this manner among 
the French habitants at La Baye post, the validity of the ceremony being recog- 
nized by the priest in charge when the children of such unions were brought 
to him for baptism. Madame Augustin de Langlade's brother was a powerful 
Ottawa chief, Nis-so-wa-quet or La Fourche, and this connection added greatly 
to the influence of her famous son, Charles Michel. Her first husband, Daniel 
Villeneuve was the father of three sons, two of whom were killed in a raid led by 
their halfbrother, Charles, and of three daughters. The eldest, Agathe, as the 
wife of Monsieur Souligny, a retired French officer, and after his death of 
Amable Roy, was one of the earliest residents in the little hamlet on Fox river. 
In common with other Alackinac traders, Augustin de Langlade was undoubt- 
edly back and forth between that place and Green I!ay, in the interests of the 
peltry traffic, taking part, as his great-grandson, Augustin related, in the life of 
both settlements, but his son Charles, had warrior blood in him and the French 
government recognizing his value as a commander kept him constantly engaged 
in leading Indian bands to war. 

On March 15, 1755, Charles de Langlade received his commission as ensign 
in the French army, following his appointment as cadet in 1750, when twenty- 
one years of age. The deed that brought him into prominence and from which 
he received much glory was the capture two years later of Pickawillany, an 
Indian town in Ohio, where English traders had for some time been endeavor- 
ing c|uite successfully, to undermine French influence with the savages. In 
the official report of this expedition sent to France from Quebec— on October 
25, 1752, by Governor Duquesne, he speaks of the •'Journal of Sieur de Lang- 
lade" which he has the honor of sending to the king, and predicts that the 
young officer's brilliant coup delivered at this time will put an end definitely to 
English trade on French territory. Duquesne also recommended that a yearly 
pension of 2CO livres be bestowed on Langlade, who "is very brave, has much 
influence on the minds of the savages and is very zealous when ordered to do 

Duquesne adds that Langlade at this time had "married a savage woman." 
This was an Ottawa Indian girl, by whom he had one son, Charles, sent at 
an early age to Canada where he was educated, and acknowledged as the 
legitimate son of Langlade. The marriage of Charles Michel de Langlade 
and Charlotte Enbroise Bourassa is recorded in the Mackinac register, under 
date of August 11, 1754, two years after Duquesne's letter of rec-ommendation 
was sent to France, Langlade being twenty-five and his bride nineteen. 

The year following the young officer took notable part in the campaign 
against the English force under General Braddock. The surprise of Braddock's 
army at the Monongahela ; the swift descent of Indians and French upon the 
camp; the total rout of the British forces and death of their general, have 
long been known in history, but only in recent years has it been recognized that 
to Langlade's prompt and strategic move the victory over a greatly superior 
force was due. 

On the twenty-ninth of June, 1759, it was reported at Montreal that Charles 
de Lan'^lade with Pierre Gautier de la Verendrye were coming down the St. 


Lawrence with twelve hundred Indians of the western tribes. Montcahn, 
menaced by the Enghsh forces under General Wolfe had summoned Langlade 
with his Indian allies to aid him in the defense of Quebec, and it is said that 
had the French general listened to the urgent appeal of the Creole leader and 
a sortie on the English army been made by his Indian forces that fatal day 
might have resulted in victory for the French arms. Instead followed the 
defeat of Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham, his death, the subsequent panic 
and hasty withdrawal of the troops by Vaudreuil and the surrender of the 
French stronghold, Quebec. 

Langlade once more in the following spring ( 1760) joined the reorganized 
army in the vain attempt to regain for France her Canadian provinces. When 
it became apparent that all hope was gone and peace upon any terms must be 
concluded, Langlade led back his Indian bands to their villages in the upper 
lake region, receiving in acknowledgment of service rendered a commission 
as retired lieutenant signed by Louis XV; shortly afterward letters from Gov- 
ernor Vaudreuil apprised him of the capitulation of Montreal. 

Immediately all French forts including that of La Baye were handed over 
to the English. The trading post and military garrison on Fox river had been 
badly mismanaged under French rule and in consequence rebellion and con- 
spiracy among the savages were of frequent occurrence. More than once the 
several tribes had risen and joined in determined revolt against their com- 
mandant and committed depredations on the fort and trading house. Ver- 
cheres, a man well \ersed in Indian diplomacy, bold and fearless, experienced 
their malice in 1749, when a general uprising took place, and the dishonest 
Hubert Couterot, "inept from fear" remains an unhappy figure in La Baye 

Marin the elder who took charge after the revolt under Vercheres, left 
Montreal with eight canoes, loaded with merchandise rather than armed men, 
in order to placate the unruly savages, and the policy followed in the last years 
of French rule tended toward peace rather than war. The colony surrounding 
Fort St. Francis had become a part of the Indian country, many of the traders 
had intermarried with the natives and strong bonds of family friendship did 
much to maintain calm in this storm centre, init the introduction of an alien 
element meant a division of profits in the fur trade and above all the French 
fur traders dreaded English domination and the diversion of commerce from 

On September 8, 1761, Captain Balfour of the 80th Regiment was ordered 
to march from Detroit with a detachment from the 60th and 80th regiments 
of the British Royal Americans, to take possession of, and leave garrisons 
at the posts of La Baye, Michilimackinac and St. Joseph. The Englishmen 
arrived at Mackinac by canoe on September 28th, where Captain Balfour met 
the Indians in friendly council. Here he left Lieutenant Leslie of the Goth 
regiment, giving him a command of one corporal, one drunnner and twenty- 
five privates of the same regiment. The remainder of the party under Bal- 
four's command sailed with a fair wind, from the island, for "La Bay" on 
October first, and notwithstanding contrary winds which detained them at the 
Grand River for four days, they arrived at the extremity of Green Bay on 
October 12, 1761. 


Couterot's administration had left old Fort St. Francis in wretched ooudi- 
tion. the Englishmen foun<l the houses without roof or cover of an\' kind, the 
stockade was rotten and ready to fall and a general air of destitution and neg- 
lect prevailed. CaiHain Balfour only remained two days at the bay post leaving 
in command on his departure Ensign James Gorrell, a native of Maryland, who 
had joined the 6oth foot. Royal Americans two years before. The journal of 
this youthful but responsil)le officer forms the principal historic source for the 
beginning of the English regime in \\'isconsin, covering as it does, the period 
from his assuming command at Green Bay in the autumn of 1761, to the depar- 
ture of the English troops from that post in 1763. The detachment under 
Gorrell numbered one sergeant, a corporal, fifteen privates and a French inter- 
preter. Goalie by name, who proved himself later untrustworthy and treacher- 

To this dismal outpost was given the name of Fort Edward Augustus, and 
La Baye from that time on ceased as the appellation for the fort at the mouth 
of Fox river. The Englishmen found but one family of Indians left in the 
village, the rest "being gone a hunting, according to their custom, at this time 
of the year," and there was little chance of their returning in any great number 
before early spring. It was a fortunate circumstance for Ensign Cjorrell, as he 
was destitute of any wampum belts, strings of wampum, tobacco or medals. 
Captain Donald Camjibell, the officer in charge at Detroit having failed to fur- 
nish the Green Bay detachment with these necessary articles toward holding 
initiatory councils with the Indians. 

Two English traders, Messrs. McKay from Albany and Goddard from Mon- 
treal had made bold to join this first invasion of the English into the French 
fur trading stronghold, and their coming only added to the difficulties of the 
young commander. He proved himself, however, very tactful and pacific ; 
efficient also in the discharge of his duty as head of the army post. During the 
long, cold winter the men were kept busy in repairing the dismantled fort and 
in procuring sufticient firewood to keep great fires Ijlazing in the bare rough bar- 
racks, and which Gorrell reports must be brought from a long distance away 

La Baye settlement now extended for some distance on both sides of the 
river and the French Creoles, the Jourdains, L'Eveilles, Augustin Langlade"s son- 
in-law, Pierre Le Due Souligny, the Ducharmes and many others were now 
definite residents of the place, and not friendly to English rule. They exas- 
perated the English traders by boasting of superior French valor, and it was 
complained that the Indians were kept in ferment by stories of open war between 
the French and English and warnings that should they come to the post to 
trade the new commander would put poison in their rum. 

Lieutenant Gorrell merits admiration for the tactful firmness displayed in 
keeping comparative peace and order in the midst of these diverse and warring 
elements. His time was amply engaged in maintaining strict discipline in his 
own garrison and in laying in a sufficient supply of wampum and trading 
articles to suitably reward the Indian hunters when they returned in the spring. 
He bought all the beads to be had in the kits of the traders and then borrowed 
from the squaws in the village all the wampum they had on hand, with the under- 
standing it should be returned with interest when the first trader from outside 
came to the place. At three different times during that hard winter Gorrell 




tried to send messengers to Detroit for supplies, both by way of Michilimackinac 
and St. Josephs, but without success. Sir William Johnson while in Detroit in 
October of 1/6 1, presented to Dennis Croghan, a trader, "one hundred and 
fifty earbobs of silver, two hundred brooches or breast buckles and ninety large ■ 
crosses of silver, to send to Ensign Gorrell of the Royal Americans posted at 
La Bay on Lake Michigan, in order to purchase therewith some curious skins 
and furs for General Amherst and myself" (Journal of Sir William John- 
son), but these trinkets were not received by Gorrell until the following year. 
Meantime the French Canadians, in residence near Fort Edward Augustus, 
did all in their power to harry and torment the plucky young commander. 
Tales of proposed raids and massacres by Indian tribesmen were constantly 
brought to him, but only made him more zealous in strengthening his fortifi- 
cation, and in making preparation to meet his unruly subjects in the spring. He 
succeeded in securing beads enough to have si.x belts made, one for each of the 
tribes that he found were in the habit of \isiting the place, in all about nine 
thousand warriors; with the Sioux, who also depended largely on the Fox 
river post, 39,000. After the supreme effort required to arrange for his six 
belts, (iorrell was told by the habitants that some nations demanded two, three 
or four of these peace trophies or as many as they had towns, and that the 
French always gave them in addition rum and money, thus annually renewing 
tlic peace compact. 

The outcome was eminently satisfactorx'. The Indians seemed well pleased 
with the frank, kindly, young English officer. They accepted his meagre gifts 
graciously and promised him obedience and many beaver skins. In the interval 
between the evacuation by the French of La Baye post and its regarrisoning by 
the English, the western Indians had been brought nearly to the verge of starva- 
tion for lack of ammunition and they were disposed to treat in friendly fashion 
with the new rulers of their territory. 

The English government, however, showed a decidedly parsimonious spirit 
toward their Indian subjects. Gorrell's request for a generous supply of pres- 
ents for the purpose of holding the friendship of the Indians was met by 
refusal, the general's orders lieing to give the savages only such supplies as 
were absolutely necessary to keep them in good humor. Gorrell reports that 
this answer to his request made him very uneasy, for the Canadians followed u[) 
his refusal to give rum to the Indians liy calling attention to the lavish expendi- 
tme of the French in contrast to the policy of the poverty-stricken English. 

In the spring of 1762, Ensign Gorrell received promotion to a lieutenancy, 
remaining at Fort Edward Augustus as officer in charge. His treatment of the 
great bands of Indians who crowded to the post during the summer and fall 
was remarkably judicious, and his small gifts of tobacco and a few trinkets 
seasoned with much good talk sent them away contented. To their repeated 
requests for rum he gave answer that their great father. King George, knowing 
that they were i)oor from Ijeing so long at war, had ordered that no rum be 
brought among them, lest they neglect their wives and children, and the pur- 
chase of clothing of which they stood much in need. The Indians seemed docile 
under the commandant's good advice and promised to follow any instructions he 

Vnl. 1—6 


might give, but said that the Frencli commandant always gave them rum as a 
true toi-;en of friendship. 

The winter of 1762-63 passed without any occurrence of note, except an 
increase in tlie number of traders, French and English who came to the little 
French hamlet of La Baye. Many went on to the Sioux country along the 
Mississippi, others sent up their goods, remaining themselves in the vicinity 
of the fort. Meantime, unknown to the commandant, Indian emissaries from the 
powerful chief Pontiac were carrying wampum war belts among the western 
tribes, to bribe them to join in the general uprising against the English, which 
the chief planned should be accomplished early in the spring of 1763. Con- 
stant squabbles continued between the English and French traders at Gorrell's 
post, and bad feeling was engendered among the Indians by the boastful talk 
of the rival nations. Among the most prominent of the English merchants 
were Gerrit Roseboom, Tennis Visscher, Cummin Shields and William Bruce, 
all well known Albany traders, who remained at La Baye all that winter. In the 
deposition made by them the following year as to conditions at the post during 
these troublous times there is much talk of the "Lyes propagated to disturb the 
Indians." Shields declared that he heard "Young Langlad say before him 
and Ducharm that there were 1,000 English killed at the Portage of Niagara," 
and many other boastful and untrue statements were made by Charles, accord- 
ing to the testimony of the angry trader. 

Gorrell held his peace and maintained a neutral stand among all these em- 
broilments, but he realized that the Indians were growing threatening and un- 
safe. News of the nuirder of his partner and relative Abraham Lansing by two 
Frenchmen was brought to the Dutch trader Roseboom, and added fuel to the 
mounting flame. Then on the eighteenth of May, 1763, when almost all the 
great Indian population had assembled at the Green Bay post on their return 
from the winter's hunt, Lieutenant Gorrell received private information that an 
attack was to be made on the little fort. Immediately he called the chiefs in 
council and told them that he knew of their design. The Ottawas said that they 
had heard nothing of the plot ; the Menominees admitted that the failure to re- 
ceive colors and medals promised them the preceding year had made their young 
men uneasy and discontented, but Gorrell by a belt and some strings of wampum 
renewed all his former treaties and the Indians went away apparently satisfied. 

Young Gorrell seems to have gone serenely on his way despite the anxious 
time. On June fourteenth a band of traders came down from the Saki country 
and confirmed the story of the murder of Lansing and his son by the French. 
With this band came Winnebagoes and other Indians asking that traders be 
sent among them and these Gorrell pacified with presents. 

On the following morning, June fifteenth, Gorrell having made up his careful 
account for the year was preparing to dispatch the document by Edward Moran, 
a trader leaving for Detroit, when in the sunshine outside the fort appeared ten 
Ottawas and a little crowd of Frenchmen bringing to the English commandant 
great news from Captain Etherington of Michilimackinac. 

"Dear Sir: (So the letter ran.) 

"This place was taken by surprise on the fourth instant, by the Chippewas 
at which time Lieutenant Jamet and twenty more were killed, and all the rest 
taken prisoners ; but our good friends the Ottawas have taken Lieutenant Les- 


ley, me, and eleven men out of their hands, and have promised to reinstate us 
again." The letter proceeded to instruct Gorrell to evacuate Fort Edward 
Augustus without delay and to proceed with his detachment and all the English 
traders at La Baye, to L'Arbre Croche, as a general revolt of Indian tribes under 
Pontiac was anticipated. 

Contrary winds prevailed on the capricious Baye des Puans, and it was not 
until six days later that Gorrell was able to make a start. In the meantime he 
had called the Menominee chiefs in council and apprised them of their brother 
Captain Etherington's distress. The lieutenant's straightforward policy with 
the Indians of the bay had made them his staunch friends, no heed was paid to 
the emissaries of Pontiac, and the chiefs when Gorrell placed the situation before 
them immediately called their entire village together and all unanimously agreed 
to accompany and protect their brave commander. Representatives from the 
other great tribes of Saki, W'innebago and Outagamie also joined the escort and 
it was the powerful influence of this large band of warriors, allies of the Ottawas, 
that, on their arrival at Michilimackinac, definitely stopped rebellion and allowed 
the release and safe conduct to Montreal of Etherington and the rest of the 
English prisoners. 

While the fleet was on the shore Ijelow Fort Edward Augustus awaiting 
favorable winds, the Indians busied themselves in gumming their canoes and 
preparing for the voyage, while the commandant collected all the traders within 
call and saw that the merchandise was packed for shipment, or placed under 
the care of a trusty French Canadian in the Fox river hamlet. He also gave 
freely of presents to the faithful Indians, a luxury that he had been obliged to 
forego heretofore. Finally on June twenty-first the convoy set forth, the canoe 
bearing Gorrell being placed in the center for fear of possible surprise and 
attack. At Beaver island great clouds of smoke rising in all directions made the 
expedition fear that the Ottawas had proved treacherous and that mischief was 
brewing. Then on the shore they saw three or four naked Indians holding up 
lighted calumets, who proved to be messengers from Etherington bearing the 
intelligence that the Chippewas were still on the war path ; that they had camped 
on Great Turtle island ( Mackinac of today ) and were plundering all canoes 
that passed that way. 

The English fort at Michilimackinac was situated on the mainland, where 
Mackinac City now stands. Under safe conduct of their Indian dependants the 
little band of Englishmen on June thirtieth, joined Captain Etherington at an 
Indian village about thirty miles from the fort where he and his remnant of a 
garrison were held as prisoners. Renewed negotiations between the friendly 
Bay Indians and the warring tribes finally led to the release of the Englishmen 
and their safe return to Montreal. 

Etherington in his instructions to Gorrell had bade him place Fort Edward 
Augustus under the care of the head chief of the Menominee nation, lest it be 
burnt before his return, which it was prophesied would be very soon, but the 
English lieutenant had looked his last upon the isolated, forest-girt little canton- 
ment and the line of traders' cabins on the shores of Fox river. Fort Edward 
Augustus was never regarrisoned, and Gorrell, still serving faithfully vmder 
the English flag died not many years later, on one of the islands of the Carib- 
bean sea. 


A certificate dated Niagara, Augvist i, 1764, the year following the Pontiac 
uprising, was sent to "Ogemavvnee, chief of the Menominys," by Sir William 
Johnson in recognition of loyalty shown by the western tribes at that time; 
"Whereas I have received from the officers who commanded the Out posts as 
well as from other persons on account of your good behaviour last year in pro- 
tecting the Officers, Soldiers, etc., of the Garrison of La Baye, and in escorting 
them down to Montreal as also the Effects of the Traders to a large amount and 
you having likewise entered into the strongest engagement of friendship for the 
English before me at this place, I do therefore give you this testimony of my 
esteem for your service and good behaviour. 

"Given under my hand and Seal at Arms the first day of August, 1764. 

"Wm. Johnson." 
The amount charged up by Evan, Shelby & Company, a Maryland firm, for 
losses in the Indian trade shows the amount of goods taken by the Indians at 
Fort Edward Augustus in 1763, as amounting to the sum of 1,440 pounds, in 
Pennsylvania currency. This was merchandise belonging to Edward Moran, and 
left at La Baye when the fort was evacuated. Gorrell's account of goods pur- 
chased by him from different traders for presents to the trilies amounted in 
1763 to 1,165 pounds, English money. 

Charles de Langlade had shown great discretion during the Pontiac upris- 
ing and was highly praised by Captain Etherington, the Commandant at Mack- 
inac, for his aid in preventing a general massacre at that place. The English 
officer writes to headquarters that he thoroughly believes Monsieur Langlade 
was entirely ignorant of the design of the Chippewas and that he did all in 
his power to quiet the savages and to save the lives of the officers and the 
soldiers who were taken prisoners. 

A letter of August 16, 1763 is addressed to Monsieur Langlade, pere, at La 
Baye, showing that the senior Landlade was residing at Green Bay at that period ; 
on the same date is one from Etherington at Montreal to Monsieur Langlade, 
Fils, at Michilimackinac thanking him for all his favors, which proves that 
Charles still had his residence at that post and was in command there. \Vhile 
La Baye proper, which included the fort and settlement at the mouth of the 
river was within the provincial limits of English control, there was a large terri- 
tory known as the Sioux country in the days of French rule, under authority 
of the commandant of Fort St. Francis, but not comprised in the cession made 
to England in 1760 and therefore not within British jurisdiction. This entire 
tract, however, was part of the gift bestowed by King Louis XV of France on 
Rigaud de \'audreuil and his wife, who on the accession of the British promptly 
sold this extensive domain to a "Mr. ^^'m. Grant" with exclusi\e right to trade, 
and with the liberty to erect houses and make establishments thereon. There- 
upon Sir William Johnson wrote an indignant letter of protest to the Lords of 
Trade telling of the trickery practiced by Governor Vaudreuil in procuring this 
grant for his brother just previous to Quebec's downfall, with the express 
determination of selling the same to some unwary Englishman who might hope 
to profit by this perquisite. How the complication was concluded is not known, 
but it is certain that La Baye did not go as a concession to any one person or 

All along the river shore French Canadians came in and took up claims, just 







a narrow strip of land running to the water's edge where lay the bark canoe of 
the owner. Houses were for the most part built of logs with bark covered roof, 
and were chinked with mud so that they were warm and snug. 

Fine gardens were the property of every habitant, filled with all sorts of 
succulent vegetables and melons of large size and delicious flavor. In every 
direction stretched wide fields of Indian corn, for succotash was a favorite Indian 
dish even in the days of Baron La Ilontan, and corn and dried peas the backbone 
of the Canadian voyageur's larder. These great corn fields were many of them 
tilled in common so that the whole settlement might have sufficient food, and 
thus "the commons" which at an early day occupied much space in Green Bay 
and vicinity, showed in their even furrows traces of primitive and extensive corn 
fields, dating back to still earlier occupants of the land, the Indians. 

Over this Acadian life Sieur Charles de Langlade (the de being added dur- 
ing his military exploits in Mackinac) exercised patriarchal sway. From the 
period of taking up his residence at "Baye Verte" as the place was now called, 
all disturbance from the surrounding Indians ceased entirely. Langlade, as well- 
trained and tactful in Indian diplomacy as was Nicholas Perrot of a century 
before, commanded alike the respect of French, English and savage. 

Still another pen picture of La Baye as it appeared in 1766, three years after 
the Tunc day that James Gorrell and his command evacuated Fort Edward 
Augustus, is the description given b}' Jonathan Carver, a keen faced periwigged 
traveller and trader, who in pursuance of a large grant of land supposedly due 
him, reached the southwest terminus of Green Bay in September of that year. 
Arriving on the 1 8th at fort La Baye he reports the buildings much dilapi- 
dated, not having been garrisoned since Gorrell's departure three years previous. 
A few families were living in the fort, on the west side of Fox river, while on 
the east side were considerable farms. 

The Langlade establishment com])rising (|uitc a grou]5 of dwellings for the 
immediate family, wide connections, and large trading house occupied an expen- 
sive tract of land on the east side of the river, between the present streets of 
Crooks and Stuart. To the river colony came in 1773, Pierre Grignon, a well 
born, educated Frenchman who later married Charles de Langlade's only daugh- 
ter, Domitelle. Tradition places the home of Langlade at the foot of Doty street, 
and close to the river, while Pierre i irignon's spacious dwelling is known to have 
stood at the intersection of Stuart and Washington streets. The description of 
this old house as given by John W. Arndt, depicts it as most interesting: "The 
roof was very steep, covered with cedar bark, of which there was many layers, 
showing that it had been frequently repaired without removing the old bark, 
which was now nearly six inches thick. 

"The upper floor was supported by heavy beams, 12x14 inches, crossing the 
building east and west, four feet apart and dressed with an inch bead worked 
on the lower corners. The floors were all made of two-inch pine plank, dressed, 
plowed and grooved. All the partitions were dressed in the same way, but on 
both sides. There were two chimneys, one on each gable, built of limestone and 
flush with the outside timbers, showing the stone from top to base. The fire- 
places were high and broad, projecting well into the room and would easily take 
in a four-foot log. 

"In the large front room was one of these fireplaces, also two triangular 


closets, one in the northeast, and the other in the southwest corner of the room. 
They were made of pine, each had four doors, two below and two above. The 
two upper doors of each closet were ornamented with a carving in demi-relief 
representing the royal insignia of France, the fleur des lis." 

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary war Langlade was induced to enter 
the British service, and this acquisition Captain De Peyster, at that time com- 
mandant of the fort at Michilimackinac declared equivalent to enlisting all the 
western tribes in that interest. These were exciting times at Baye Verte, for 
large bands of Indians collected by Captain Langlade and his nephew Gautier de 
Verville, rendezvoused at the little French village before passing on eastward 
and with pow-wbws and war dances made hideous revel in the place. 

It was previous to the war of the Revolution that Peter Pond, a British trader 
gives a detailed account of a trip westward in the interests of commerce. He 
tells of the immense delay and labor necessary in bringing a cargo of goods in 
1773 from Canada to Michilimackinac, where still another readjustment was 
made in preparation for carrying several canoes across Lake Michigan to 
Green Bay. Pond's narrative is the first in which the English "Green Bay" is 
used instead of La Baye or Baye \'erte for the small French village on Fo.x 
river. Here the traveller encamped for two days and finds the land excellent, 
"The inhabitants raising fine corn and other staples in their gardens. They 
have too another resource, the quantities of wild rice which in September they 
use for food. The French also raise fine black cattle and horses, with some 
swine." There was some trade. Pond reports, with the Indians, and the Menom- 
inees are the only tribe mentioned as having a village on the north part of 
the bay, and living by the game which was plentiful. 

The Menominee chief, Chawanon "Grand Chief of the Folle Avoines" in 
consideration of his fidelity, zeal and attachment to the king's government dur- 
ing the War of the Re\-olution. was given the "Great Medal" by the English 
government with the command that all the Indians should obey him as Grand 
Chief, and all ofticers in his majesty's service were to treat him accordingly 
The medal was bestowed on the 17th day of August, 1778, when the chief 
formed one of the band of allies who followed Langlade to Montreal and the 
document is ofticially signed and sealed by Frederick Haldimand, Captain-Gen- 
eral and Governor-in-chief of the province of Quebec. 

Chakachokama was the Indian name of this famous Menominee, "the old 
King" as he was called by the French habitants. "Old King's village," the 
cluster of Indian lodges which lay a half mile south of the fort on the west 
side of the river, appears as late as 1S20, in descriptions of government lands. 
The abbreviation of Chakachokama's name. Chawanon, is perpetuated today in 
Shawano, county and town. The old king was of great assistance to Langlade, 
who in the fall of 1778, was at Green Bay trying to keep the nations well dis- 
posed until new orders should be received from the seat of war. 

It was to stir up tlie Indians against the conquering George Rogers Clark 
who was sweeping everything before him in the Illinois countrv and had cap- 
tured Prairie du Chien, that De Peyster called a great council of the tribes at 
L'Arbre Croche in 1779. A messenger was sent to tiie Indians of Milwaukee 
but was met by cold indifference, then Verville essayed to rouse their enthusiasm 
but was treated with insolent ridicule, "Those runagates of Milwaukie." De 


Peyster calls them, "a horrid set of refractory Indians." Finally Charles de 
Langlade himself went to them and finding every appeal unavailing drew upon 
his knowledge of Indian superstition and caused a lodge to be built in the \il- 
lage center where a dog feast, dear to the Indian heart was prepared. A piece 
of dog's heart raw and bleeding was suspended at the door of the lodge and 
when the feast was over Langlade chanting a war song marched around the 
booth, biting, each time he passed the doorway, a piece from the raw heart. 
This irresi:stible appeal to all brave hearts among his guests brought one warrior 
after another to his feet, and soon all had joined in the march and song, had 
tasted of the dog's heart and were irrevocably pledged to follow their leader. 

A version of De Peyster's speech to the western Indians at this same great 
council held at L'Arbre Croche, July 4, 1779, was in later years rendered into 
verse by that officer, and is seasoned with many allusions to prominent military 
leaders and chiefs engaged in the war. In his poetical re\iew the W'innebagoes 
are said to: 

"Skulk in dens, lest old Langlade 

Should give their heads the batonade ; 

These suck their paws, like Northern bears. 

Exposing nothing but their ears, 

To hear if Gautier de \'erville 

Doth crave assistance from Lafeuille." 
Although constantly demanding aid from Langlade and \'erville the British 
leaders, De Peyster and Sinclair fretted and grumbled over the slow methods 
employed by the French Creoles in their military operations. The Winnebagoes 
and Menominecs were, De Peyster declares, naturally more brave than the 
Ottawas, and were therefore especially desired as allies, but the English captains 
could hardly realize that in order to enlist their interest and aid only the dila- 
tory Indian method of negotiation used by the experienced Langlade would be 
successful. They ignored too the fact that with the American cause went 
French sympathy and that Langlade and \'erville in standing by the English 
arms must overcome among their followers national prejudice as well. 

In his L'Arbre Croche speech De Peyster touches off the Menominee In- 
dians and the plenty which they enjoyed on the shores of Green Bay, from the 
fertility of the land and the large quantities of fish and game, 
" While none on earth live more at ease, 
Than Carong's brave Menominees." 
This same Carron, the half-breed interpreter for the old king Chakaucha- 
kama, was given in the days of Gorrell a handsome embroidered coat by Edward 
Moran, the trader, which partiality enraged the other Indians to the danger 
point. Carron's wife was the sister of Waupesin, the "Wild Potato," a promi- 
nent Menominee, and it was to him that the messengers from Pontiac gave the 
red wampum belt, thus inviting his tribe to assist in that conspiracy. As the 
bay Indians were loyal to Gorrell they resented the presentation of so highly 
esteemed a gift as an embroidered coat to any of the Wild Potato's kin, although 
Carron was a true friend to the English and was moreover "the handsomest man 
in the Indian village." 

The only knovvni autograph in existence of the Sieur Charles de Langlade 
is a letter written by him to Rocheblave and Porlier, a well known trading firm 


which operated between MichiHiiiackinac and La Baye. The coinnuniication is 
in regard to the sale of lands owned b_v him, througii which he hoped to satisfy 
a debt of six thousand one hundred and eighty-three livres. It is a dignified, 
well-writt,en letter and shows Langlade to have been an educated m^n, as well 
as a brave soldier. 

Aukewingeketauso, "a military concjueror," was the name bestowed by his 
Indian followers on the Green Bay hero. Even as late as October, 1800, when 
seventy-one years old, Langlade was dreaded by the Spaniards of Louisiana as 
possibly contemplating an attack on New Orleans with his bands of loyal Indians, 
who never seemed to have questioned his authority. The Marquis de Casa 
Calvo writing from New Orleans at this date speaks of Langlade as "the famous 
interpreter and leader Captain Langlade." His grandson Augustin Grignon 
relates that he died in the first years of the nineteenth century and was buried 
in the old Roman Catholic cemetery at Green Bay, which lay just north of the 
intersection of Adams and Chicago streets. 

WAR OF 1S12 

England formally yielded to the United States possession of the western coun- 
try and withdrew her garrisons in 1796, yet the settlement along Fox river 
extending from the ruins of the old French and English fort to the rapids at 
Little Kakalin recognized no other government. The fur trade was the great 
interest commercially, foremost in this traffic being Jacob Franks, his nephew 
John Lawc, Louis and Pierre Grignon, and Jacc|ues Porlier. The settlement 
was a flourishing one "grist, saw, horse mills and distilleries, abounding with 
cattle and horses and some hogs" (W. H. C, \'ol. 18, p. 438). The landscape 
is described as most lieautiful and interesting, the soil fertile as that of Ken- 
tucky, growing "garden productions of great size." No gayer settlement could 
be found west of Montreal. The people, who are characterized as "indolent, 
gay and intemperate," lived in comfort on their little farms, all doing a bit of 
trade with the Indians, for jjeltries were still plentiful, and securing in addi- 
tion all the game and fish needed for their tables. Of the prominent fami- 
lies each had its following of Indian retainers who fished and liunted for 
them and l)roughl in the spring (|uantities of most excellent maple sugar done 
up in bark mococks. 

(.)n November 26, 1803, Governor Harrison of Indiana Territory drew a 
commission appointing Charles Reaume as justice of the peace at Green Fiay. 
Reaume, who had been a resident of the ])lace for eleven years and owned a 
farm on La Riviere Glaise, now called Dutchman's Creek, assumed his judicial 
duties with much zeal, acquired a copy of Blackstone, as he was quite unlearned 
in the law, and on this and the customs of the country based his legal decisions. 

To judge from the many papers signed in his handwriting this sole repre- 
sentative of justice west of Lake Michigan was kept busy with his varied and 
responsible duties. There was no priest resident in Baye Verte at that time 
so Reaume christened the children, married the young people and gave excel- 
lent satisfaction in adjudicating disputes between rival traders or their engages. 
His old horn jackknife was displayed by the constable in place of a warrant. 

Capt"J{hT. IIIL LY CiR J ER . 








and as the county town of \'incennes was distant four or five liundred miles liis 
rule was absolute, and his decisions supreme. 

Reaume is described by a contemporary as appearing at all public occasions 
in a scarlet coat with facings of white silk and spangled buttons. His exer- 
cise of authority seems to have been tacitly acquiesced in by all, and although 
not read in the law his accurate knowledge of conditions in this part of the 
country was to be relied on and rendered his judiciary doubtless of some value 
(H. S. Baird, Vol. 2, p. 87). 

liv the provisions of a law enacted by congress in 1802 trafling licenses 
were to be granted to citizens of the I'nited States and to no others, but the 
traders at La liave independent of these restrictions, recognized no authority 
but that of Great Britain, and the advent in the autumn of great canoes loaded 
with merchandise from Montreal was the event of the year. The inhabitants 
would gather on the sandy point below Langlade's house, to watch the trader's 
fleet sweep in from the bay. Amidships sat the manager of the expedition, the 
"bourgeoise" whose word was law, while the crew formed in their gay toggery 
a bit of vivid color to be seen from a long distance away. The paddles handled 
by these experts struck the water in sharp and perfect time to the song that rose 
and fell, choruses endless in repetition, and reciting most trivial incidents; the 
music to which this French doggerel was set, would charm the listener with its 
wild, thrilling cadences, and make the tears start. It was one of tliese voyageur 
songs that caught the ear of Thomas Moore on his visit to Canada, and inspired 
his "Canadian boat song" with its refrain, 

"Row, brothers, row: the stream runrf fast, 
The rapids are near, and the daylight is past." 

John Jacob Astor and his Southwest Company had early in the century 
begun trading operations in Green Bay. The Astor Company dovetailed into 
the customs of La Baye as though to the mannerborn. Ramsay Crooks, Wil- 
son P. Hunt and Robert Stuart were veterans along fur-trading lines, and were 
hand-in-glove with John Lawe, the extensive Grignon connection and Jacques 
Porlier. Crooks, Astor's agent, was in constant and friendly correspondence 
vvith these leading men in the commerce of the Bay, giving advice or advancing 
money whenever required. A letter from Montreal (p. 336) 1810 says that the 
whole Indian trade is carried on by Americans. "Mr. Astore offered to pur- 
chase out the Machenau Company. He has a charter from Congress to an 
exclusive right to the Indian trade, and I understand that he is to be connected 
with the North West Company to make settlement of the Northwest coast of 
America." Before this letter reached its destination the adventurous founders 
of Astoria were already on their way to the Pacific coast. One party includ- 
ing Ramsay Crooks and Wilson P. Hunt stopped at the fur-trading depot at 
La Baye on its way across the continent ; another went by sailing vessel around 
Cape Horn, among these Gabriel Franchere, whose narrative published later, 
inspired Washington Irving's "Astoria." 

Diplomatic relations were strained between the United States and England 
and commerce both on the ocean and the great lakes was much disturbed. The 
non-transportation act barring trade between the two nations was passed by 
congress, March 2, 181 1, but Batteaux continued to bring goods for the Green 


Bay fur traders, sometimes complying witli the law, at others running the 
blockade at Michilimackinac. by passing that government station at night. 

War was declared on June i8, 1812, and just one month later a British force 
of 1,000 whites and Indians from Fort St. Josephs secretly effected a landing 
on the northwest shore of Mackinac Island, known today as "British Landing." 
The American garrison finding itself at the mercy of the invaders promptly 
surrendered, this being the first intimation the fort's commander had received 
that hostilities had definitely commenced between the two nations. 

Colonel Robert Dickson who in October, 1812, took charge of the Green 
Bay country for King George the Fourth, was an official well liked Ijy the trad- 
ing community on jovial occasions when he was the life of the party, but who 
became fussy and irascible under responsibility. The king's vessel ran aground 
just as the colonel was about to embark on her for his post at Baye Verte and 
delayed to exasperation his departure. His destination finally reached, the 
British officer was kept in a constant state of ferment between the failure of 
his government to supply him with articles necessary to hold the allegiance of 
his Indian dependants and the strenuous daily effort required to get sufficient 
food and ammunition from the little village of Baye Verte. 

By the king's orders all supplies and provisions needed for the soldiers 
encamped at the bay post, the garrison at Mackinac and for Colonel Dickson, 
who had set up royalist quarters on Garlic Island, Lake Winnebago, were to 
be furnished by the unfortunate inhabitants of the hamlet at the mouth of Fox 
river. Dickson's letters to the suave French gentlemen with whom he dealt 
are peremptory to the point of a dictatorial order. His subordinate officers at 
Green Bay were : 

Jacques Porlier, senior, captain of niiliti.-i and commissary. 

Jacques Porlier, junior, lieutenant of the Indian department. 

Pierre Grignon, captain of the Indian department. 

Louis Grignon, lieutenant of the Indian department. 

John Lawe, lieutenant. 

Jacob Franks, captain and commissary, and so on through a rather lengthy 
list of Green Bay fur traders. 

Young Jacques Porlier had just returned from school at Montreal when 
the war broke out and he entered with enthusiasm into the British ranks, 
serving with great credit as a lieutenant in the Michigan Fencibles and being 
later recommended by Captain Bulger of his majesty's troops as an ensign in 
the regular line. 

Lawe, the Porliers and Grignons did all in their power to aid Dickson in 
his sorry plight, but the resources of the village were absolutely inadequate 
for a large body of men ; the Creoles cached their wild rice and other grains 
and refused to sell for the paltry sum offered by the king's officers, for with 
the English government, as Louis Grignon writes at this time there was "always 
lack of money, lack of money." 

On December 19, 1812, Captain Pullman with a small detachment of regu- 
lars and a hit and miss band of lawless Canadian voyageurs. called the Michi- 
gan Fencibles, was despatched by Dickson to Green Bay, where they barracked 
in a vacant house on the west side of Fox river, possibly one of the buildings 
remaining of old Fort Edward Augustus. Of the Michigan Fencibles Cap- 


tain Bulger wrote later: "The Michigans are not the soldiers we ought to have 
here if we mean to retain the post. I would rather have 40 regular soldiers 
than 100 such men as the Michigans. The Indians too see the difference between 
them and Regulars. They in fact look upon them with contempt, having known 
them as voyageurs, they never can look upon them in the light of British sol- 

The troops levied mercilessly upon the impoverished settlement, until the 
forty or more families residing there were reduced to actual want. "You 
must do the best you can to feed them," writes Dickson to John Lawe. "If 
vour provision fails and the people refuse to sell, seize what is necessary in the 
king's name. I would by no means wish to proceed to extremities, but his 
Majesty's soldiers must be furnished with provisions." In addition to Lieu- 
tenant Pullman's garrison the great bands of half starved Indians made con- 
stant raids on the village, carrying off horses, hogs and oxen. The herds of 
fine black cattle which Jonathan Carver admired so much were slaughtered 
without mercy and the plentiful fields of maize stripped of their grain. 

A mill built by Pierre Grignon on Dutchman's Creek in Ashwaubenon was 
claimed by Dickson as king's property. "There must no Toll be paid at the 
mill. I will account to you for it and be so good as to tell Rabbis (Gabriel 
Rabbi), that he must not cheat the King, although he may cheat all the rest of 
the World, which I am convinced he does. If Masca will sell his Wheat without 
any further Stipulation at Three dollars a Bushel, take it; if not, we shall keep 
our Eye on it when Hunger shall make us keen." "Masca," the miller, whose 
real name was Dominique Brunette, was a well known French Creole at Baye 
N'erte and he and his son. Dominique, were among those who thirty years later 
organized the "Town of Howard," and who became town oflicials. 

On November 13, 1813, Dickson wrote to Grignon and Lawe that he had 
been directed l)y Captain Bullock, the commandant at Michilimackinac "to 
procure Beef, Flour and Pease for his garrison from La Baye. You will there- 
fore deliver Sergeant McGaipin what you can collect, taking his receipt for the 
same. The price agreed for with you is what is given for the same kinds of 
provisions at Michilimackinac. You will please furnish the Detachment of 
Michigan Fencibles with Provisions while at La Baye and for their route to 
Mackinac, sending in an account of the same and also what else may be neces- 
sary for their voyage.'' 

Later he writes, "The Indians are hurrying me and I want to get quit of 
them. Dire necessity compels me to send to you for Ten Bushels Wheat. The 
Indians are all starving." 

In reviewing this period the amount of food raised in the poverty-stricken 
little village of La Baye appears astonishing. Despite the devastation com- 
mitted by the starving Indians and the provisioning of Pullman's garrison, the 
commissary department consisting of John Lawe and Louis Grignon furnished 
in addition supplies sufficient to keep Dickson and his Indians alive and to send 
moreover to Mackinac thirty barrels of flour beside ungrounrl wheat. "Give 
the soldiers wheat and let them grind it with a hand mill," ordered Dickson 
from his lake fastness. 

The winter wore away and spring again shone over bay and river., By the 
last of March ducks began to fly in great abundance and the sturgeon were 


plentiful from Lake Winnebago to (jreen liay. On March ig, 1814. Dickson, 
always picturesque and pungent in language, wrote, "The season is advancing 
fast. This last fall of snow will accelerate the breaking up of the rivers. No 
new^s yet from the Mississippi. The exjiress from Mackinac is late, but I trust 
that we shall have good news when it comes"; and in a postscript, "Had 1 not 
received the supply of wheat you sent I believe one-half of the Inrliatis would 
have perished. I iiave been obliged to feed the people forty miles around me 
and have had other visitors in abundance. I am now looking out for ducks 
and the poissons dorr. We have not seen a sturgeon's Snout these ten days. 
The Bull is almost devoured, I shall send for no more Beef happen what will. 
Hunger is staring us in the face, but Providence will not abandon us. 
I am heartily tired of this kind of Life — anything for a Change. No news from 
the Prairie. Curse on their Negligence if no Accident has happened." 

On June 28, Dickson was in Michilimackinac and remained there during 
the principal event of the year for the western country ; the organizing of a 
force of whites and Indians to capture the .\merican fort at Prairie du Chien. 
The motley troop under command of Colonel William ^IcKay reached La 
Baye on July fourth. Here the force was augmented by all the able-bodied men 
of the hamlet, or as a report of the expedition expresses it; "Captain Pierre 
Grignon led all the inhabitants of La Baye," while young Jacques Porlicr went 
as lieutenant with the Michigan Fencibles. The band was more than doubled 
by tlie reinforcement of French, Winnelxigoes and Sauks who joincfl the detach- 
ment at the Fo.x River settlement. "I believe that the expedition you have 
joined will succeed without the necessity of fighting ; it seems to me that the 
number of savages ought to be sufficient to chase the enemy or at least divide 
them and make them yield," wrote the Indian agent at Mackinac to Jacques 
Porlier, on July fourteenth, and this prediction proved substantially true, the 
fort surrendering after some warlike skirmishing on July 17. 18 14. 

This martial invasion which took from the Green Bay settlement diu-ing 
the harvest season some thirty men did much damage, little grain was gath- 
ered and Louis Grignon Avrote in September to friends at Mackinac that the 
country was much de\-astated, cattle and Indians had done infinite damage to 
the crops and the wheat was completely ruined in the fields. 

On the thirteenth of November of that year Captain Bulger, of the 
Royal Newfoundland regiment, after a tempestuous passage from Macki- 
nac landed at La Baye, where he held Ijy instructions from the English gov- 
ernment a court of inquiry as to the losses sustained by the inhabitants of 
Green Bay from depredations committed on their property by the Indians. 
Tlie court consisted of Captain Bulger, president ; Robert Dickson, Esquire, 
agent and superintendent of the western Indians, and Captain Duncan Gra- 
ham of the Indian department. The result of the inquiry showed that the total 
amount of losses in cattle, etc.. was something over 2,981 pounds. There turn- 
ing a report of proceedings to Colonel ]\lcDouall at Mackinac, the court recom- 
mends that reparation be made to the impoverished inhabitants and declares 
that "the valuation has been affixed by a committee appointed for that purpose 
by the court and is deemed fair." Bulger later writes that he has "reason to 
believe that the enormous sum is not exaggerated." His account of the Green 
Bay settlement is most deplorable ; he gives a truthful statement of the pov- 


erty-stricken condition of the hamlet and of the serious devastation caused by 
the great bands of Indians, who roamed the surrounding country. "A vast 
concourse were assembled when I arrived . . . really a most distressing 
sight ; men, women and children, naked and in a state of starvation. Many of 
them had been from home all the summer fighting for us. Even those brave 
fellows, the Follesavoines, who behaved so nobly on the 4th of August, were 
starving before my eyes, and I had not the means of relieving them." 

It is a tragic incident in Brown county's history, the War of 1812, a story 
of starvation and keen suffering. Peace between the two great nations was 
concluded at Ghent in December, 1814, but not until the month of May fol- 
lowing was the news brought to the inhabitants of far off Baye Verte. Orders 
were received to hand Fort McKay over to the Americans much to the sur- 
prised disgust of the commanding officer at Mackinac, Colonel McDouall, who 
wrote to the fort's commandant. Captain Bulger, that the utmost caution and 
vigilance must be observed when the fort was evacuated ; and on his march to 
Green liay. he must "have a light two-pounder mounted in one of the boats 
and always ready for service," lest the sudden change of governments should 
be resisted by the Indians. A gaunt and hunger depleted swarm of Indians 
gathered to receive the parting gifts presented by the conscientious Bulger and 
at La Baye there was liarely grain enough left from English occupation to sow 
sparingly the fields. 

(References used in Chapter \'1I1 ; Wis. Hist. Colls., Vols, i, 11, 18, 19: 
Neville & Martin, Historic Green Bay; Arndt, Green Bay and Fox River \''alley.) 


Notwithstanding the crucial experiences of the Fox river vahey inhabi- 
tants both whites and Indians, during the tliree years' war between England 
and the United States, public sentiment and sympathy at La Baye went with 
the conquered- rather than the conqueror. The bluff, irritable Dickson and 
the just, outspoken Bulger were both thoroughly liked by. and good friends 
of. the western traders. The latter dreaded a change to a government of whose 
policy they were ignorant. Healths still went around the convivial board in 
the village of Baye Verte to "the King, the Prince Regent and Sir George Pro- 
vost," and it was predicted that the Americans would have a dangerous time 
in replacing officers armed with authority of "the King and the best of gov- 
ernments" by a provincial and less experienced corps of officials. 

On February 14. 1815, the wary fur trader John Jacob Astor wrote jocosely 
to his favorite factotum, Ramsay Crooks, "You will have heard of the word 
of peace; this will not lessen the value of muskrat skins. I wish that you 
could sell them all. and come on here (New York), as I shall probably engage 
in the Indian trade." This pleasantry was promptly followed, after the official 
notification of the conclusion of peace, by the reorganization of the South- 
west Company under the name of the American Fur Company with Astor at 
the head. The commerce in furs, still a lucrative traffic in the northwest, 
immediately engrossed the attention of departmental officials in Washington, 
and Alexander J. Dallas, acting secretary of war, recommended to the presi- 
dent, James Madison, that an Indian agency be established without delay on 
"the Fox River in the neighborhood of Green Bay, as the menaces of the Indians 
throughout the Indian country require immediate attention." It was further 
stipulated that the Indian agent should receive as a full compensation for his 
services a salary of one thousand dollars payable quarterly, with an allowance 
of six rations per diem, or an equivalent in money according to the price of 
provisions at the nearest military post. 

Of the Indians in the vicinity of the bay at that period the most numerous 
were the Menominees, who had villages not only near the French settlement 
of Bave Verte but also along the bay shore as far as their river, the Menomi- 
nee. Next to them in point of numbers came the Winnebagoes, with their 
largest village on Doty island, the Pottawatomies or Poux, as they were nick- 
named, a scattering of Outagamies and a few .Sauks. The Indian agent first 
appointed by Secretary Dallas was Charles Jouett, in charge at that time of 
the same department at Chicago, but this appointment was later changed and 
the "very eligible" agency at Green Bay given to Colonel John Bowyer, then 
lidding a like position at Detroit. 



In the meantime it was decided that in order to supply the demands of the 
large body of Indians in the vicinity of the Fox river waterway a government 
fur-trading factory should be established, and Major Matthew Irwin, a United 
States official who had gained some experience in the trade of furs, was assigned 
to the Green Eiay post. 

The letter of July 2>>. 1815. informing Major Irwin of his appointment 
remarks that as he had expressed a preference some time before for the posi- 
tion at Ureen ISay rather than Chicago, he might proceed .to that place imme- 
diately on the receipt of the order, the salary fixed to be $1,000 per annum, 
and allowance for subsistence money. $365. Later, however, it was deemed 
best that the factor should not undertake to carry his goods, which were valued 
at $9,^52.34, into the dangerous wilds surrounding Green Day without military- 
protection and Major Irwin was ordered to remain at Mackinac until the fol- 
lowing year when a fort would be established at the entrance to Fox river. 

In consequence the first official representing the new government to arrive 
was Colonel Bowyer, who reached his post in the early summer of 1816. Later 
he purchased the property belonging to judge Charles Reaume on la Riviere 
Glaise. Dutchman's creek, as the stream was called in later years, a name 
bestowed after Peter Ulricli, "the Dutchman," built a house upon its shore. 
Colonel Bowyer identified himself almost immediate!)- with the life of the little 
river hamlet and was popular alike with the French residents and the Indians. 
There is still preserved a courteous note asking hin-i to dine at Mr. Louis Grig- 
non's and his letters indicate a friendlv spirit existing between the traders 
and himself. 

Not so Matthew Irwin. I^>om llie first the factor's position was a difficult 
one. The resident traders were bitterly opposed to a trading post operated 
by government : possibly the experience gained by their fathers during French 
domination had prejudiced them against this n-iode of Indian traffic ; tliev feared 
too that the large stock of goods sent by the government might prove disastrous 
to other peltry merchants. Their fears were groundless, for as employees of 
the American Fur Company and possessing wide experience in trading meth- 
ods and in maintaining friendly relations whh the Indians they simi)ly barred out 

Major Irwin seems to have worried greatly over his failure to make good 
as an agent of the government, and the commissioner of Indian aiifairs, McKenny, 
while recognizing the difficulties and annoyances to be faced by the Green Bay 
factor chafed under the meager and disa])pointing reports recei\-ed from this 
important post. 

Astor's monopoly received much blame .md abuse from disgruntled out- 
siders. On June 20, 1816, William Henry Puthoff, Indian agent at Mackinac, 
wrote to his excellency, Lewis Cass, who had been appointed governor of the 
entire western territory. "Mr. Astor expresses surprise and regret at the 
passage of a law forbidding British subjects from trading with the Indians 
within the American limits, but observes that power is vested in the president 
to grant special licenses to that purpose." The letter proceeds to inform Gov- 
ernor Cass that a messenger has been dispatched to President Madison by John 
Jacob Astor asking that licenses be given to Jacob Franks and other of Astor's 
special friends in order that they may continue trading operations with the 


Indians at Green Bay. "I hope in God," he adds, "no such hcense will be 

John Jacob Astor, "The old Tyger" as he was called in familiar trading 
house parlance, had resumed his commerce in- furs on a much larger scale than 
before the war and the American Fur Company had gathered within its grasp 
not only the entire western country but also Canadian territory. Astor's prime 
agent was Ramsay Crooks and this tactful, experienced trader gradually gained 
boundless influence over the French Creoles in Green Bay and its vicinity. 

In comparison with this fur-trading Solon the attempt of Major Irwin to 
run a rival business was mere absurdity. According to gossip of the time the 
United States factor did not secure during his incumbency of seven years 
fifty dollars' worth of peltries, although the Indians brought him maple 
sugar in prodigious quantities, which he always bought, and which proved an 
unprofitable investment. Ramsay Crooks gave his views before an investigat- 
ing committee as to the failure" of the factory system at Green Bay and said 
that it was largely due to the fact that goods unsuitable to the Indian were 
provided. "Unless your committee should be of the opinion that men's and 
women's coarse and fine shoes, worsted and cotton hose, tea, Glauber salts, 
alum and anti-bilious pills are necessary to promote the comfort or restore the 
health of the aborigines; or that green silk fancy ribands and morocco slip- 
pers are indispensable to eke out the dress of our 'red sisters.' " 

The prospective establishment of a iiermanent military post on Fo.x river 
was the occasion of much interest throughout the entire country, for it meant 
that the United States intended to definitely put a stop to English interference 
both in trade and goxernment. Ikitish emissaries were still constantly creat- 
ing doubt and suspicion among the Indians and it was feared that chiefs such 
as the great Tomah, head of the Menominee nation, who had received a war 
medal and other marks of distinction from the English government, would 
not easily resign these in order to curry favor with the American interlopers. 

\\'ith the idea that resistance might be expected from the Indians, Colonel 
John ;\liller, commandant at Mackinac, ordered two companies of infantry and 
a detachment of artillery from that post "to cover the landing and aid in secur- 
ing the encampment of the troops destined to garrison in Green Bay." Miller 
imdertook the command of the expedition in person and early in July, 1816, 
orders to embark were received. 

The fleet consisting of three schooners, the "Washington," "Wayne," "Mink,'' 
and a sloop, the "Amelia," sailed from Mackinac on the twenty-sixth of July. 
There were on board. Colonel Miller of the third regiment. Colonel Cham- 
bers of the Rifles, Major Gratiot of the Engineers, a detachment of artillery 
tinder Captain Pierce and four companies of the third infantry amounting 
in all to five hundred men. On the twenty-ninth of the month the transports 
with the whole command were lying off the mouth of Green Bay at anchor, 
light and contrary winds having delayed their passage. The Washington, which 
carried the officers, put into the sheltered harbor of a large, well-wooded island 
just at the entrance of the bay. Not knowing that they were treading on the 
ancient camping ground of the Pottawatomies the American officers christened 
the island "Washington" in commemoration of their flagship as well as the 
Father of his country. 


As the fleet sailed up the bay another large island was sighted and to this 
they gave the name of the new commandant appointed to the Green I!ay post, 
Colonel Talbot Chambers. 

Augustin Grignon, who chaneed to be in MacUinac when tlie troops set 
sail, was pressed into the service of pilot on the Washington, the bay being 
an unknown and treacherous course to the American navigators and on either 
the seventh or eighth of August, contemporaries differing as to the day, the 
convoy entered the mouth of Fox river. 

It was a martial and imposing debarkation ; the four vessels, the largest 
heretofore seen on these waters and flying the American colors; the uniformed 
men descending into the small boats in military order ; the cannon showing their 
black muzzles above the bulwarks and on the shore the entire settlement assem- 
bled, French and Indians watching the spectacle with the greatest excitement 
and interest. It had been reported that eight hundred Indian warriors were 
under arms ready to oppose the American invasion, hence Colonel Miller's 
precaution in providing additional detachments from the Mackinac garrison, 
but there was no hostile feeling apparent and the few Indians in evidence wel- 
comed the new comers with much humility and friendship. 

Major Gratiot immediately made a survey to fix the site for the new fori, 
finally deciding to build where could still be seen the ruins of the English 
fortification which superseded that of the French. It was decided that a high 
stockade with strong pickets should be erected with a bastion at each angle 
mounted by a piece of artillery amply sufticient it was believed to beat off any 
Indian fcjrce that could be brought against it. Flic site having been definitely 
located, Colonel Miller returned without delay to Mackinac, leaving Colonel 
Chambers in command and a garrison consisting of two companies of riflemen 
and the same of infantry. 

At "old King's village," aljout half a mile above the fort. Chakauchakama, 
the Menominee king, was still living at a great age. As he was nearly blind 
and very feeble he was represented by Tomah, a fine looking, dignified \oung 
chief who spoke for the Menominees in the interview which took place with 
Colonel Miller. A member of the expedition. Dr. Henning, in speaking of 
these first days of American occupation says that the Winnebagoes were decid- 
edly opposed to the advent of the American troops, as were a part of the Meno- 
minees and that it was only the impression of force produced by the invasion 
of so large a number of armed men that kept them in subjection for the time 
being. He predicts, however, that a day of reckoning is at hand and adds that 
mutterings of the impending storm can already be heard. 

Colonel Bowyer also found the Winnebagoes hostile to the coming of a 
military force among them, but after two or three talks with their chiefs the 
agent sent them off apparently satisfied. He busied himself with calling in all 
medals presented by the British while in command, and replaced them by those 
of the United States. Hardly a chief but had his handsome silver medal, which 
was hung suspended by a cord around his neck, in token that henceforth he 
would fight the battles of the nation that bestowed the decoration. There was 
also a great demand for arm bands and small flags. 

The fort buildings were erected by the soldiers, although it is noted by a 
rival trader at the time that Louis Grignon will probably receive the contract 


for getting out the necessary timber. The work was done with a whip saw 
and an order issued by the government to the factor. Major Irwin instructs 
him to have suitable factory buildings constructed just outside the stockade 
by the soldiers and to give them in payment ten cents and a gill of whiskey per 
day. The commandant was urged to cooperate with the factory in placating 
the Indians and in persuading them not to sell their peltries to British traders. 

In the American state papers is to be found the record of the amount appro- 
priated by government for the erection of a fortification on Fox river, $21,000, 
and the amount expended, $20,477.60. On the fort was bestowed the name of 
Howard, in memory of General Benjamin Howard of the United States army, 
a gallant officer who was in command of the western territory during the 
War of 1812, but who died before peace was concluded. 

Major Gratiot remained at ( jrcen Bay only long enough to see the fort 
buildings well under way, leaving the superintendence of the work and its com- 
pletion to the commandant and Lewis Morgan, United States agent of fortifica- 
tions. In 1820 the government caused a sawmill to be erected at the Little 
Kakalin (Little Rapids), and from the lumber there sawed the later buildings 
of the fort were put up : the large house for the commanding o|ificer, the vv'are- 
house, the hospital, and surgeon's quarters. They were comfortable and well 
built dwellings, with a broad hall running through the center, and spacious 
rooms opening from this on both sides. The officers' quarters were a story 
and a half in height, with wide dormer windows in the roof ; the barracks 
for the men seem to have been of plainer and more practical construction, with 
two full stories and ample accommodations. 

Green Bay is described at this time as containing from forty-five to forty- 
eight families, all openly professing to be subjects of Great Britain, and ruled 
by from ten to twelve traders, who lived in patriarchal comfort, were all in 
league with the American Fur Company, and included the names of Grignon, 
Lawe, and Porlier with their extensive connections. Times had become much 
more prosperous, and the want caused by the war was being rapidly replaced 
by plenty. 

In October, 1816, the difliciilties of Major Irwin were increased by having 
the rifle corps at the fort plunder his stores and application was made to the 
commandant to have the theft made good by his order. There was delay too 
in the erection of a factory building, also an agency house for the use of Colonel 
Bowyer. That gentleman, although described as all that could be desired in 
ability and tactful treatment of the Indians was far from pleased with Judge 
Reaume's old house into which he had moved on his first arrival. "No bet- 
ter than a hovel," he pronounced it, and calls for a residence more fitting his 
position as a government official: "Five hundred dollars per annum for house 
rent . . . five dollars per cord for wood, the price established by the troops 
for fuel," made his establishment difficult to maintain on $5,000 a year. Colonel 
Talbot Chambers is described by one of the traders as "violent and exacting, 
but just and sociable," and ^lajor Irwin as a gentleman, although not a success 
in the fur trade (Vol. 19, p. 447, Jacques Porlier). 

In May, 1817, Colonel Chambers was transferred to Prairie du Chien, and 
his letters from that post illuminate the fur-trading situation, especially at 
Green Bay. The confidential correspondence of the American officer shows 


him to have been in league with the British sympathizers, and that far from 
aiding his own go\ernment in the attempt to gain the loyaHy and trade of the 
Indians he was in reality abetting the rival faction in order to favor his good 
friends, Jacob Franks, John I.awe and others. "You may certainly calculate." 
he writes, "on every exertion which I can make for you. The commanding 
officer here has a great deal in his power ; it shall he exerted to the utmost in 
your behalf, but keep everything which I write you quiet." This, while Major 
Irwin at Green Bay was writing in despair to the Indian department, "All the 
families here, except one, are British subjects, consisting of about fifty fami- 
lies. They were actively opposed to the United States, during the late war 
. . . whilst these and other British subjects are suffered to enter and con- 
tinue in this country as traders it will be useless to continue this factory here," 
and so forth. Meantime Colonel Bowyer, the Indian agent, who was making 
excellent progress in conciliating the disaffected tribes and according to reports 
sent in by employees of the Astor company was absorbing the best of the pel- 
try traffic, promptly expelled from the Green Bay league one of its most 
aggressive members, John Drew, a prominent Mackinac trader. Drew pro- 
tested strongly against what he termed unjust partiality as the other British 
traders at Green Bay were not interfered with. 

In the spring succeeding the arrival of the troops settlement was commenced 
on the bay shore eight miles below the fort, afterwards called Bay Settle- 
ment, and homesteaders on both sides of the river had taken up farms all the 
way through to Rapides des Peres. By the arrival of the Americans a home 
market was furnished for surplus products, for game and garden truck : ves- 
sels began to arrive with regularity bringing supplies to the garrison and the 
people experienced the advantages of lake commerce and navigation. 

Already the lumber and milling industry destined to form such an important 
feature in Brown county's history began to compete with the fur trade antl 
almost every prominent man among the early settlers owned milling interests. 
Among the most interesting records of early days are the Indian deeds to be 
found in the county register's office at Green Bay. Among these is one executed 
by the Menominee nation in favor of Jacob Franks in 1794, ceding land on 
la Riviere du Diable for a milling site, upon which, Franks, a few years later, 
erected the first mill to be found in the whole northwest territory. 

The site of this old mill has been definitely located by the Green Bay His- 
torical Society and is just east of De Pere, near what is now the north line of 
private claim number 34. This was a sawmill, but the year following its con- 
struction Franks put up a gristmill, two houses and a large quantity of fence 
on the same property. These buildings were erected it is said by an Ameri- 
can named Bradley ; the gristmill was one run of stones and is spoken of by 
Augustin Grignon as "a very serviceable mill." Later Franks sold his interest 
to his nephew, John Lawe, who continued to operate it to the satisfaction of 
the people disposing of it finally to William Dickenson. Lawe's mill, for more 
than a quarter of a century a well known landmark, appears on the first plat 
made of Brown county property, the one mapped by Isaac Lee, government 
land commissioner in 1820. In Mrs. Baird's reminiscences, "Life in Terri- 
torial Wisconsin," Lawe's mill is mentioned as being often in early times 
visited by gay sleighing parties and many merrymakings were held there. 

THJ Nil 7,- VOPT 




Previous to the building of this first mill grinding was done entirely by 
hand mills witli a double crank for two persons to turn and which held about 
half a bushel of grain. This style of portable machine was popular, as it could 
be easily carried in a canoe and the grinding process was more rapid than the 
Indian method of beating out the grain with a stone. During the War of 1812 
Colonel Dickson ordered that the soldiers at La Baye grind their wheat with a 
hand mill and also requested John Lawe to send up one for his own use on 
Doty island. 

Pierre Antoine Grignon, early in the nineteenth century, possibly 1804, 
put up a horse mill of about four horse power by which fifteen bushels of 
grain could be ground in one day. It was a slow and tedious process, and 
proving an expensive one, the mill was abandoned after a year's trial. Grig- 
non a few years later experimented with a small mill on the slough which in 
those days cut east from Fox river and on which was situated the historic home 
of his father Pierre Grignon. The stones to run this primitive mill were made at 
Baye Verte and were only three feet in diameter. 

The little stream or "Adams street slough," as it was designated in later 
years proving insufficient for practical purposes, the ambitious miller made 
another and much more successful attempt, obtained a good pair of stones 
from Mackinac and built both a grist and sawmill in 1810 on Reaum's Creek 
or the "Riviere Glaise," as it was commonly called. This was the mill made 
famous by Colonel Dickson during the War of 1812, and which seems to have 
been damaged permanently by the constant harrying deinands made ui)on it 
by the irascible hunger driven Englishmen; possibly it was destroyed, for we 
hear nothing of it after the conclusion of the war except the general statement 
made by the army surgeon, Henning, in i8i6. In speaking of the devastation of 
this vicinity by the war just concluded, he says, that previous to that period the 
people had grist and sawmills, distilleries and widely cultivated fields. One of the 
logs used in the foundation of Pierre Grignon's mill on Riviere Glaise was 
still to be seen only a few years ago extending out into the stream. 

From the departure of Father Chardon in 1728, until 1825, one hundred 
years later, when Father Badin built the first church at Shantytown, there was 
no resident priest in Brown county. Religious instruction by a clergyman 
seems to have been suspended entirely throughout the territory traversed by 
the Jesuits so many years before. The French settlers along the shores of Fo.x 
River went by canoe load to Michilimackinac for the rite of baptism and some- 
times for the marriage ceremony. It is said that the vicar general of the 
Roman Catholic church in the west made a visitation to Green Bay in the sum- 
mer of 1821, saying mass for the devout among the residents in the house of 
Pierre Grignon, but no record remains to verify the supposition. There is 
also a tradition of a visiting priest and of a great cross raised on the west side 
of Fo.x river half way between Green Bay and De Pere, but there is not a single 
written line to support this story. We have instead the signature of Charles 
Reaume, "Ju?^ ^ Paix" affixed to certain marriage certificates and the resi- 
dent priest at Mackinac, Father Janon constantly records such data as the bap- 
tism of Marie Judith Lusignan, daughter of Frangois Lusignan and Agathe 
Langlade, who say that they were married before two witnesses at Green Bay. 


Sometimes there is a signed record of baptism privately performed by "Char- 
ley Reaume." 

There is no mention of a chaplain at Fort Howard with the coming of the 
troops in 1816, nevertheless this record remains as evidence that religious rites 
were performed two years later. 

"Green Bay, June 9th, 1818. 

"I hereby certify that Elizabeth and Ursula, Daughters of Mr. Louis Grig- 
non and Mrs. Catherine, were Baptized according to the Rubrick of the Church 
of England, the Ninth Day of June, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen 
by me. 

"Samuel Peters, LL.D., A. D. D. and Clerk in Holy Orders." 

Samuel Andrew Peters who visited Green Bay in the early summer of 1818, 
was a clergyman of the Church of England, and a native of the United States, 
having been born in Hebron, Connecticut, December 12, 1735. He graduated 
at Yale college and was placed in charge of the churches of Hartford and 

Peters was a Tory and an active one, giving warm support to the royalist 
cause during the Revolutionary war. He was obliged finally to flee to Eng- 
land, where he revenged himself on his patriotic Puritan friends by publish- 
ing a book called "General History of Connecticut," which has been charac- 
terized by irate Federalists as the "most inscrupulous and malicious of lying- 
narratives." In 1794 the Church of England priest was chosen bishop of Ver- 
mont, but was never consecrated, as he was still a resident of England. He, 
however, returned to America in 1803, and at the age of eighty-two made a 
journey to the falls of St. Anthony, claiming a large tract of land in that 
region. In the spring following, on his return trip to New York, he made 
his visit to Green Bay and baptized the little French children of the hamlet. 
Dr. Peters was without doubt a man of learning and wit, of good family and 
of repute in the church, but his royalist sympathies wrought his ruin linancially, 
and as "Parson Peters" he was much caricatured in the pamphlet literature 
of the day. 

Although the homes and trading houses of the early French and English 
settlers, the Grignons, Porliers and Lawes were built not more than a mile beyond 
the fort and the knot of habitant cottages closely fringed the river shore to 
within a stone's throw of the stockade, American settlement began in what is 
now the town of Allouez on the east side of the river and three miles from its 
mouth. No fairer site could have been chosen, for the ground was high, with 
open spaces in the woodland and the river unvexed by rapids at this point, swept 
on between its high banks a broad and tranquil stream. 

Among the earliest and most highly respected of the American colonists was 
Robert Irwin, junior, who came from the east in 1817, and who was followed 
two years later by Daniel Whitney, the founder of the city of Green Bay. In 
1822-23 Robert Irwin, senior, and his son, Alexander J. Irwin, prominent both 
in political and social life, joined their fortunes with the other Americans at 
the Bay, and in 1821 came Albert G. Ellis, eminent among the early educators 
of the state and later surveyor general of the territory of Wisconsin. It was 
fortunate that men of high character and sterling worth, all of whom were 


active in promoting the best interests of Brown county, should have been instru- 
mental in its early settlement. 

There was no village bearing the name of Green Bay for many years subse- 
quent, although "the bay" continued to be a designation for the settlements in 
its vicinity. In 1820, Colonel Joseph Lee Smith, commandant at Fort Howard, 
decided to move the cantonment to the high land midway between the mouth of 
the river and the Rapides des Peres, intending to erect stone fortifications, the 
stone to be quarried from the limestone ledge over which the rapids rushed. A 
detachment of troops was detailed to erect the buildings, which were placed on 
the high ground overlooking a wide stretch of country. Between the stockade 
and the river were built into the banks which rose quite steeply from the river's 
shore, a line of oddly constructed cabins, where all kinds of articles were sold 
for the convenience of the garrison. These curious dwellings with their stout 
door jambs and roofing of timber were situated all along the stretch of river 
bottom below the rising ground, and because of their lowly appearance and 
rough construction were called "shanties." From this grew the name of "Shanty- 
town," a title dear to the hearts of the old residents of this fair and fertile slope. 

When the first United States court convened in this initial American settle- 
ment in Wisconsin, Judge Doty bestirred himself to have a less plebian name 
bestowed upon the county seat of Brown. A plat was made of the hamlet and 
below in large letters was printed the name Menomineeville, but this perfectly 
suitable cognomen was never popular and plain Shantytown the place remained 
until, as township boundaries were defined, the village was included in Bellevue. 
Each year settlement grew along the shores of Fox river, among the pioneer 
colonists being Ebenezer Childs and the Dickenson brothers, Joseph and Wil- 
liam, who settled at the De Pare rapids. In 1823, Henry S. Baird took up 
his residence at Shantytown, and that same year John P. Arndt, one of the 
prominent pioneers, bought a part of the Langlade estate and with his fam- 
ily located across the river from Fort Howard. According to the United States 
law for the government of land and naval service it was provided at 
that time that "no person who has been enlisted as a soldier shall be liable 
to arrest or imprisonment for any debt contracted by him during the term 
of his enlistment." During the first years of American occupation brawls 
were frequent between the soldiers from the garrison and the keepers of 
the small groceries where liquor could always be obtained, for the enlisted 
men not infrequently sold their uniform and accoutrements in order to obtain 
the coveted dram. The officers, exasperated by the action of the shop keepers 
in accepting the men's clothing in exchange for liquor and goods, would often 
take advantage of the existing law to aid the soldiers in evading the just payment 
of their debts. For the few closing days of his term of enlistment the debtor 
would be granted leave of absence so that if arrested before he left the post he 
could enter the plea of unexpired enlistment as a bar to detention. In those 
days it was lawful to arrest dishonest debtors and imprison them until they paid 
llicir debts or were otherwise discharged and the first jail in this jtart of the 
country was also a debtors' prison. 

On the whole, however, the Americans both in civil and military life adapted 
tlieniselves successfully to the oddities and lawlessness of the frontier post on 
Fox River, and as for the French Creoles, they were quite as suave and courteous 


to the newcomers as ever they had been to the EngHsh, while the Indians found 
them as ready to buy furs and for as high a price as their former masters. 

An inevitable consequence of the occupation of Brown county by a new 
government was the adjustment of claims made by the inhabitants to property 
occupied by them. Accordingly in August, 1820, Isaac Lee, a specially appointed 
government commissioner, reached the bay and the day following his arrival 
went from house to house as he reports, giving notice of his errand. The letter 
of instruction to Lee from the land commissioners at Detroit warned him of the 
difficulties of his mission, as it was feared "from the characteristic want of 
caution of, the Canadian French as regards the preservation of their title deeds 
that most of their claims will be attempted to be supported by proving continued 
possession by means of affidavits." 

Commissioner Lee performed his duties most satisfactorily not only to his 
employers but also to the majority of the Green Bay claimants, who recognized 
him as a kindly, painstaking man, desirous of seeing justice done. The map made 
from Lee's report of the settlement is the first plat of Brown county, although 
only of that part lying between Fox and Devil rivers from east to west, and 
from Duck creek to the rapids at De Pere, north and south. It shows Fox River 
to be bounded closely by farms, the largest not occupying a water frontage of 
over five hundred feet, but extending inland an indefinite distance. 

The commissioner returned from adjudicating claims at Prairie du Chien on 
November 16, 1820, and from the lateness of the season was obliged to pass the 
winter at "the bay." It was possibly for the French inhabitants a fortunate 
circumstance, for opportunity was thus given to investigate and listen to testi- 
mony, and Lee's official report to the land commissioners at Detroit is a much 
more friendly and minute document than it might otherwise have been. He 
recommended clemency toward the careless Canadian habitant, who for many 
years had been tossed from one government to another until he hardly knew to 
which one he owed allegiance, who had been evicted from land he had long and 
industriously tilled, and left without title deed or any proof whatever of his 

Many of the claims were disallowed because the time of residence was less 
than required by law, which called for an exclusive and individual possession 
of the land from July, 1796, to March, 1807. This insured the claimants owner- 
ship of the property up to 1821, or a term of twenty-five years. The clause in 
relation to individual possession had reference to certain tracts of land which 
had been used from time immemorial by the village in common, or as "a com- 
mon," where crops of corn or wheat sufficient to supply the entire community 
were harvested or the village cattle herded. 

The complaint forwarded by Judge Alatthew Irwin just previous to this 
allotment, setting forth that the six hundred families residing in the place were 
all still loyal subjects of Great Britain, was recognized by the insistence on the 
part of the commissioner that each claimant should take oath of allegiance to 
the United States. 

The prominent fur traders, the Porliers. Lawes and the Grignons, received 
not even a reprimand for the active part taken by them against the United States 
during the War of 1812 and no further inquiry was made after the oath of 
allegiance was taken, with the explanatory clause that the "protection of our 


government being entirely withdrawn from this district of country, the inhabitants 
were compelled to yield to the tyranny and caprice of the reigning power and 
its savage allies." 

The old French claims were under dispute for many years, and were passed 
down through many generations, for the families of these early settlers inter- 
married until the connections were legion. The names of Porlier, Vieau, Beaupre, 
Langevin and Guardipie found in many legal papers recall the days of French 
occupancy of Brown county when boundary lines were marked by an elm tree 
or by a bend in the river rather than a surveyor's stake. 

Throughout the towns of Bellevue, Allouez, Depere, Ashwaubenon and 
Howard, ran these narrow strips of property mapped off by the early French 
settlers, all fronting on the river, which furnished, with the bay. Brown county's 
highway to the outside world for two centuries. 

On September, 1825, the plat of the town of Menomineeville was laid out by 
John Lawe, proprietor. A large piece of land was set off as a site for the public 
buildings to be erected there, as the deed states, "the seat of justice having been 
situated upon this lot." The streets were laid off running east and west with 
the names of the Indian tribes in the vicinity, "Kickapou," Dahcoatah, loway, 
"Saukee," and were sixty feet in width. Running from north to south, skirting 
the river, was the public highway, forty feet in width, on which faced most of 
the residences. High up on the hill stood the Episcopal mission house and the 
plat of 1825 records a donation of 198x220 feet of land not far from the river 
for Christ Church and yard. 

The location was in many respects far more desirable for residences than 
the low land at the mouth of Fox river, and it was this reason that induced Colonel 
Joseph Lee Smith to transfer as he hoped permanently the Fort Howard garri- 
son to this conmianding site. By 1822, however, the United States government 
decided that the mouth of Fox River, the gateway to the Fox-Wisconsin 
waterway, was the evident point where a fort for defense should stand. There- 
fore the building of fortifications at Menomineeville was discontinued and the 
troops returned to the old cantonment which was to remain on the same ground 
for forty years to come, when the Chicago & North Western railroad acquired 
the property for its right of way. 

(References for Chapter IX: Minute Book of Brown County Court; Amer. 
State Papers, Vol. 4, Public Lands and Military; Grignon Manuscripts; Report 
of A. C. Neville, Wis. Hist. Proc, 1909; FI. S. Baird, Wis. Hist. Colls,, Vol. 2; 
Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. 19.) 


No fixed boundary lines defined the country west of the great lakes until 
the county of Brown was organized by an act of congress on October 26, 1818. 

Heretofore under its successive owners the territory known as La Baye was 
included under the general name of the "upper country" and specialized as 
"Baye des Puans," the military post lieing usually designated as La Baye, rather 
than by the name of Fort St. Francis. The mission of St. Francois Xavier also 
recognized no clearly defined boundaries, and the priests wandered in their work 
of evangelization from Lake Huron to the Sioux country. The new county 
received its name in honor of Major General Jacob Brown, at that time com- 
mander-in-chief of the United States army. 

Lewis Cass, the governor of Michigan, was a man thoroughly qualified for 
the many and diverse positions he was called upon to fill, from arbitrator and 
lawgiver in a section of country controlled liy a mixed population of Indians, 
French fur traders, United States troops and a small contingent of American 
colonists whose avowed object was to develop the resources of the country, to 
that of English ambassador. It was a diflicult matter to place upon a sound 
system of government this section of western territory, which from its very 
length of settlement and its importance commercially, had become a law unto 
itself and independent of the whole outside world. The Indians too, in this 
vicinity were looked upon as unruly and dangerous, liable to rise and tomahawk 
the unwary settler at any moment when it might suit the English colonial govern- 
ment to give the decisive word; to Cass belonged the prerogative of issuing fur 
trading licenses to the Indian country adjoining Green Bay and much finesse 
was required to keep peace between the American newcomers and the established 
peltry merchants. 

The first civil appointments bear date of October 27, 1818, the day following 
Brown county's organization and included : 

Matthew Irwin, chief justice, commissioner and judge of probate. 

Charles Reaume, associate justice and justice of the peace. 

John Bowyer, commissioner. 

Robert Irwin, junior, clerk. 

George Johnson, sheriiif. 

The form of oath as taken by the first sheriiif of Brown county was as fol- 
lows : "I do solemnly swear and declare that I will favor from this time forward 
and support the Constitution of the United States of America, and that I do 



absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all fidelity to every foreign power, 

state or sovereignty, particularly to the king of the United Kingdom of Great 


"25 July, year of our Lord, 1821." "George Johnson. 

This first organized court in Brown county was run in haphazard fashion. 
No records seem to have been kept, and the chief justice, Matthew Irwin, with 
no knowledge whatever of law was no more of a success in judicial administration 
than in dispensing articles of apparel to the Indians as government storekeeper. 
He had, moreover, made himself very unpopular with the powerful class of fur 
traders, and Charles Reaume. the associate justice, lived only a short time after 
his appointment in the autumn of 1818. The latter's methods of procedure were 
much ridiculed by the first American settlers, who had endless stories to tell of 
Judge Reaume's quaint ways, his irascible questioning of culprits and clients, 
his seemingly absurd though often sound decisions, above all the use of his old, 
clumsy jackknife, as a warrant of arrest. 

It is possible that on the occasion of Governor Cass' visit to the fort and 
hamlet on Fox river in August, 1820, complaint was made to him by the Ameri- 
can inhabitants of the irregularity and lack of dignity displayed in their county 
court, although Schoolcraft notes at the time, "this settlement is now the seat of 
justice for Brown county in the territory of Michigan, and the ordinary courts 
of law are established." This was simply a justice court, for there is no record 
of an estate coming to probate prior to July 22, 1821. That no business came 
before the court previous to the above date may account for the lack of evidence 
that a Brov.-n county court of jirobate existed in 1818, the date of ]\Iatthew 
Irwin's commission. The French settlers were not given to making wills, that 
of Domitelle Langlade (AJadame Langevin). admitted to probate on July 9, 
1824, being the earliest recorded. 

The first entry in the record liook of the Brown county court is the appoint- 
ment of Robert Irwin. Isaac L. Welch and Thomas C. Sheldon, to take inventory 
"according to your skill and judgment," of the estate of Colonel John Bowyer, 
deceased. The appointment is made by order of John Biddle, judge of probate, 
on the 22d of July, 1822. Judge Biddle, who held office up to 1822, was a lead- 
ing citizen not only of Brown county, where he was as far as known first acting 
judge of probate, but also as a member of congress from Alichigan in 1830 and 
for manv years prominent in the life of Detroit. On the death of Colonel Bow- 
yer, Biddle succeeded him as agent of Indian affairs. 

The estate of John Bowyer. the fi'rst and po]nilar Indian agent for this section 
of territory, which came to probate in the summer of 1821, entailed many years 
of litigation before it was squared, for as late as the summer of 1829. the attempt 
at a settlement was still going on. The old man left no family, his youthful 
nephew, Henrv Bowyer, who lived with him, having been drowned in Fox river 
previous to that time. The inventory and appraisement of household effects left 
bv the government official seem hardly to justif)' so long a period of settlement, 
but the adjustment of creditors' claims was a lengthy operation. 

The commissioners to receive such claims were Robert Irwin, Sr., Albert 
G. Ellis and Ezekiel Solomon. The estate was represented to be insolvent and 
the property sold must be applied to the satisfying of all claims. The reports 



of appraisement and demands of creditors show pretty clearly the funushings 
of Colonel Bowyer's bachelor establishment, the servants he employed, the service 
of the table, his daily life in short. We learn from these lists what his clothes 
and those of Henry cost him, "$2.00 apiece for pantaloons,'' etc., that he had "a 
roane horse called Gordon," a fowling piece manufactured by the Northwest 
company, a pair of spectacles valued at $6.50. It appears that he ploughed his 
land on Dutchman's creek with oxen and raised on it oats, peas and barley, but 
not in sufficient quantities to supply the agency, with its thousands of dependent 
Indians, for he purchased all sorts of supplies from the French inhabitants and 
the government factory. We learn that his library consisted of two volumes of 
Morse's geography, probably purchased after the visit of Jedediah Morse to 
Green Bay in 1820, that he used wrought iron in his fireplace, and that 
Peter Ulrick "the Dutchman," looked after his hogs, while fowls were charged 
up to him by the French habitants at 50 cents a bird. Louis Grignon and the 
other high-bloods of the settlement came often by canoe to visit the colonel and 
a significant memorandum of the time records, "lost at play at Colonel Bowyer's." 

According to an act adopted by the "Governor and Judges of Michigan Terri- 
tory" on the 27th of October, 1818, it was provided that the county court for 
the county of Brown should be held on the second Monday of July, in each 
year, but this was later amended or overruled, the judge in office apparently 
holding court whenever he so ordained. The Coutume de Paris or old laws of 
France, was the code in use throughout the entire "Province of Upper Canada," 
luit had been forniariy annulled in that portion now comprised within Wisconsin 
on .September 16, 1810. Under Judge Reaume's administration, however, this 
enactment was absolutely ignored and the old French law was still the one in 
force when the American court was organized in 1818. 

In October of that year the following resolution was adopted by the governor 
and those in authority : "Whereas the good people of the Territory of Michigan 
may be ensnared by ignorance of acts of Parliament of England, and of the acts 
of the Parliament of Great Britain, which are not published among the laws of 
the territory, it has been thought advisable by the Governor and Judges of the 
Territorv of Michigan hereafter specially to enact such of the said acts as shall 
appear worthy of adoption ; Be it therefore enacted by the Governor and Judges 
of the Territorv of Michigan; That no act of Parliament of England, and no 
act of the Parliament of Great I'.ritain shall have any force in the Territory of 
^Michigan. . . . Be it enacted by the Governor and Judges of the Territory 
of Michigan : that the Coutume de Paris, or ancient French Common Law exist- 
ing in this country, the laws, acts, ordinances, arrests and decrees of the governors 
or other authorities of the Province of Canada, and the Province of Louisiana 
under the ancient French crown, and of the governors, parliaments or other 
authorities of the Province of Canada generally, and of the Province of Upper 
Canada particularly under the British crown are hereby formally annulled, and 
the same shall be of no force wjthin the Territory of Michigan; Provided, that 
all rights accruing under them or any of them shall remain valid." 

The inhabitants of La Baye settlement knew no other government or code 
of laws except that in force in Canada, but in 1821 a compilation of the laws in 
force in the territory of Michigan was published, which was called the code of 


1820, and comprehended all such statutes as were essential to the successful 
administration of civil government within the territory. 

Jacques Porlier, the well known fur trader, when appointed to succeed Judge 
Biddle as chief justice and judge of probate in December, 1822, carefully trans- 
lated into French for his own use and at his death left in manuscript the new 
and unfamiliar code. Porlier, well educated, and a most courteous gentleman, 
also held office as justice of the peace, not only under commission of the United 
States, but also prior to this under English government and was, according to 
contemporary testimony, "the most useful man in the settlement."' 

Brown county seems to have had at this time (1822) no less than three 
justices and a county judge to adjust legal differences in its newly organized 
government. None of them were lawyers, and their jurisdiction both civil and 
criminal was limited ; they were obliged to enter upon the duties of their several 
offices without formulas to refer to, or precedents of proceedings, and it is not 
surprising that the legal documents of that day are without nnich form, and the 
court records entirely missing. 

Important cases which were beyond the jurisdiction of a justice court were 
adjudicated by the supreme court of Michigan, consisting of three judges, which 
held its sessions semi-annually at Detroit. Thither criminals were conveyed for 
trial, a mode of procedure causing much delay and confusion, for the journey to 
Detroit must be made Iw bateau or bark canoe, as transportation by schooner 
was still rare and the long trip by land exceedingly wearisome. 

It was therefore cause for sincere congratulation among the inhabitants of 
Brown county and those of Michilimackinac, when, in the early part of the year 
1823, congress passed an act establishing what was known as the additional 
judicial district, "comprising the counties of Brown, Michilimackinac and 

On February i, 1823, James Duane Doty was appointed judge of the newly 
organized circuit, but does not appear to have taken the oath of office until June 
of the succeeding year. Meantime in preparation for Judge Doty's arrival on 
the scene of action the deputy clerk of the court, Alexander J. Irwin, a young 
fellow of twenty-three and something of a wag conformed with the written 
statute by convening court daily for two weeks at the appointed place in Men- 
omineeville. The first records of the circuit court of Brown county begin thus, 
written in a beautiful clear hand : "At a session of the Circuit Court of the United 
States for the County of Brown in the Territory of Michigan on the 13th day 
of June, 1823, the Deputy Clerk attended at the Court House at the time des- 
ignated by the statute, but no judge appearing the court adjourned to meet again 
at ten o'clock a. m., June 14th, 1823. 

Alexander J. Irwin, Deputy Clerk." 

Up to June twenty-fourth, when the court adjourned sine die, the deputy 
clerk daily, Sundays excepted, was on hand and noted down each day that "the 
judge not appearing the court adjourned," but not until October of the follow- 
ing year did Judge Doty formally convene the circuit court "in conformity with 
the statute." On June 30, 1824, Governor Lewis Cass certified that he had 
administered the oath of office to James D. Doty, as additional judge for the 
counties of Brown, Michilimackinac and Crawford. In August, James H. Lock- 
wood applied for admission to practice in the court and was admitted, and on 


October 4, 1824, tlie first regular term of the United States circuit court for 
Brown county was held at Alenomineeville. 

Judge Doty's circuit included all of Michigan's upper peninsula the entire 
tract afterward comprised in the state of Wisconsin, and the country north of 
the St. Croix river and east of the Mississippi to latitude forty degrees, now 
under the government of Minnesota. The terms of court for this extended ter- 
ritory were to be held at Mackinac, Green Bay and Prairie du Chien, the judge 
making the journey on horseback or by means of a birch bark canoe paddled 
by chanting voyageurs. Doty was at this time just twenty-three years of age 
but was already regarded as a man of experience and authority, well suited to 
the important position he was called upon to fill. The first session of the newly 
created court was held at Mackinac in July, 1824, the judge presiding with 
much tact and dignity. 

The legal mode of procedure heretofore in use throughout Judge Doty's 
district made his position a diflicult one. The French and English languages 
were used indiscriminately, and the traders had long been independent of any 
law, regulated by a settled code. Under Doty's administration the Brown county 
federal court promptly rose to the first dignity and assumed an orderly and well- 
grounded character ; decisions were based on the rules and practice of other 
states, and were made according to the common law. 

This first term of court in the county of Brown was held in a small log 
cabin on the east shore of Fox river in the town of Allouez, the grand jury 
holding its deliberations in the court room. The prosecuting attorney was 
Henry S. Baird, a young Irishman, later a prominent figure in Wisconsin his- 
tory, who was admitted to the bar at this term of court and was the first lawyer 
to practice west of Lake Michigan. 

The first case on the docket was the trial of Aruba J. Joice, a soldier belong- 
ing to the third regiment of United States infantry, stationed at Fort Howard, 
who "not having the fear of God before his eyes but being moved and seduced 
by the instigation of the devil, on the ist day of January, 1824, etc., did kill 
No-No-So-bi-]\Ia an Ottawa Indian, with a certain large stick of no value," 
of which deed Joice was found guilty and sentenced to hard labor in the "county 
gaol" for two years. 

At this initial session of the United States court. Judge Doty caused much 
stir and decided ill feeling by charging the grand jury to make special inquiry 
in relation to persons living with Indian wives to whom they had not been 
married according to church or civil law. Thirty-six bills of indictment were 
brought in, and the offenders notified that they must be married in proper form 
and produce a certificate of the fact, or stand a trial. This drastic decision, 
although in the end salutary, caused much confusion among the inhabitants, many 
of whom had been married according to the Indian custom, there having been 
in the settlement no magistrate prior to the appointment of Judge Reaume. and 
no resident priest. The people of the Green Bay country came at Judge Doty's 
summons, bringing him their marriage certificates, or were married before the 
court according to civil code. 

Endless litigation grew out of this decree in later years, and many of the 
common-law marriages were pronounced legal by decisions of the courts. There 
remains a curious court record in manuscript of 1839, which bears upon this 


period of Brown county's legal history. It is a suit brought l.)y the children 
of an early French resident to prove their title to property in the town of Astor, 
and shows the confusion which ensued because of these common-law marriages 
and the difficulty of obtaining proof sufficient to make good the claim of the 
children as rightful heirs to their parents' property. The witnesses in this legal 
proceeding are from families who occupied the land in 1804, as many of the 
original owners were at that time ( 1S39) still surviving. 

Question: "\Mien did the laws of the whites come in force here?" 

Answer': " When Judge Doty came here, which was in the spring of 1(824. 
There were some white people here (De Pere), in 1802. When a white man 
took a white woman to wife they were married before witnesses — when a white 
person took a squaw for a wife they were married according to the Indian 
custom, which was by asking the consent of the Indian parents — the son-in-law 
would make p'resents to the girl's parents, who would send the girl to the son- 
in-law's house and he would afterward assist in supporting the parents. 

"The Indians and whites were living mixed. There was a settlement here 
it was among the Indians on each side of the river. I mean from the place on 
the river from Captain (Judge) Arndt's up here to Depere. The Indians lived 
in that place, they had their villages here and planted corn — they left in the 
fall to hunt and returned in the spring. The white settlement extended from 
here (DePere) to Judge Arndt's and the Indian residents intermingled with 
those of the whites." 

In the county court Judge Porlier held the office of chief justice and judge 
of probate until succeeded by John Lawe, whose signature first appears in 
a record of June 24, 1824. Both Porlier and Lawe were fur traders, devot- 
ing their time and interests to the furtherance of this traffic, still the most 
important industry of the county. Beaver pelts were becoming rather scarce 
but other fur-bearing animals were to be taken in abundance, and agents of the 
American Fur Company were the top of the heap socially in the Fox river settle- 
ment. Lawe's home was situated on Lawe's Point, a sandy spit of land that 
jutted out in the river at the western extremity of Porlier street, in the present 
city of Green Bay, while Porlier lived in a little low house built by a voyageur, 
Joseph Roy, on the west side of the river and so nearly opposite to Lawe's trad- 
ing house that each could watch the other when the season for gathering in the 
[leltries was on, and the river was dotted with loaded canoes. While in league 
against outside interference Lawe, Porlier and Grignon were intensely jealous 
of any possible advantage one might gain over the other, and the ethics of the 
fur trade were sternly enforced in their intercourse. 

There is a letter of John Lawe's preserved in the Historical Lii)rary at Mad- 
ison, written in 1824, which absolutely, without intention, gives a vivid picture of 
the trader's trials at this time. It is a dark and gloomy day in November, the 
river running rough outside, his trading house, which stood close to the vi'ater's 
edge, filled with drunken Indians haggling over the price to be charged them 
for guns and trinkets. Lawe, thoroughly sick of the whole outfit, writes that 
no more Indians be allowed to come down to the settlement. "Tell them 
that the smallpox is raging. Amable Grignon has it, and the fort has gone into 
quarantine. No boats can cross the river." 

In the corner of the large room stood the scales on wdiich peltry packs were 


weighed, and there was little other furniture in the room except the high desk 
where the clerks stood to make out the accounts and the inventories. There is, 
liowever quite another side to the picture, for Lawe's house was a rendezvous 
for officers and civilians, and many were the gay gatherings that took place 

In "Life in Territorial Wisconsin." Mrs. Henry S. Baird describes Judge 
Lawe's log house in 1824; this house was later replaced by a commodious and 
handsomely built frame dwelling erected about 1836: 

"Judge Lawe's home, a large one-story building with many additions stood 
near the river, and a path led from it through the grass to the beach. The ceil- 
ings were very low and the windows small, so small that when the Indians came 
peering in. the room was almost darkened. An indescribable air of mystery hung 
over the place, there was a dreamy appearance about the whole. Then all 
around the house and store stood Indians waiting to trade off their peltries. 
One might sit in that house and imagine all sorts of things not likely to 

The minute book of the Brown county court during Judge Lawe's incum- 
bencv does not show a crowded docket. One entry after another reads "The 
court met this day. Present, Hon. John Lawe. Judge of Probate. Therefore the 
court adjourned." The "indisposition of the Judge." or "the inclemency of the 
weather." this entry being on the second of May. or "the Judge not appearing" 
were all sufficient causes for adjournment. The French inhabitants seemed to 
have died intestate, and their estates were not settled in probate court, that of 
Domitelle Langevin's being the most complicated which appeared before Judge 

Robert Irwin, junior, who first began his political career as register of probate, 
in 1824, was sent to the first legislative council of Michigan territory, serving 
for three years. He also held the office of first postmaster of Brown county. 
.\11 offices were situated in Shantytown, "Munomonee, Green Bay township," 
as Judge Doty heads his letters at this date. As a matter of fact, however, the 
fjreen Ba}- township was not founded until on the 12th of April, 1827. an 
act was passed "to divide the several counties in this territory into townships." 
In that portion of the territory which is now Wisconsin but two townshi]is 
were formed, of which one was in Crawford county and called "St. Anthoi>y." 
The other was in Brown county, and was called "Green Bay." The sotith- 
western boundary of the latter was a line running southeast and northwest 
through the head of the rapids of the grand Kaukaulin and extending ten miles 
on such line each way therefrom. The northeastern boundary was a line drawn 
northwest and southeast through Point au Sable of Green Bay and extending 
ten miles on such a line each way therefrom. The southeast and northwest 
boundaries were parallel lines, twenty miles apart, connecting the other bound- 
aries. Fox river consecjuently ran nearly through the center of the township. 

When the question of a county seat for Brown was brought into prominence 
Lewis Cass, spokesman and lawgiver for all the territory west of Lake Mich- 
igan, authorized the justices of the county court to locate the seat within six 
miles of the mouth of the Fox river. They neglected to act, and in 1824 the 
Territorial Council of Michigan passed the responsibility over to the countv 
commissioners. Neither would they decide, and the next year, 1825, the commit- 


tee on decisions was formed to consist of the justices of the peace, the coimty 
commissioners and the United States judge; whereupon the seat of justice was 
fixed at Menomineeville, in a log house, erected for the reception of the county 
oi^cials, until the year 1828. On the seventeenth of Marcli of that year Doty 
wrote in regard to the trial of Red Bird, the celebrated \Vinnebago chief, then 
imprisoned at Fort Winnebago. 

"It is expected the Winnebaygo prisoners will be tried at G. . Bay or St. 
Louis. Col. McKenny prefers the latter place — and to this I certainly shall not 
object. I expect the territorial committee will report a bill making several 
amendments to the act creating the circuit court. * * * j j^gg you to urge 
the supervisors to take measures to erect a building of some sort to hold the 
court in — if it is only a Winnebaygo wigwaam." 

The town of Menomineeville grew apace and the slope and plain Ijelow was 
dotted with the log cabins of settlers. Judge Doty, always an ambitious spirit 
in pioneer house building, had erected for his use, a large frame house which 
stood on the river shore just across from Ashwaubenon creek on private claim 

21. It was a two-story structure and was afterwards purchased by the govern- 
ment (1827) for an Indian agency house. By the following year the judge had 
put up another homestead. This was a one-story brick dwelling, the material for 
wdiich was brought by sailing vessel from the east and was stuccoed and white- 
washed. The house was still in process of building in March, 1828, and of it 
Doty writes: "I wish you or Mr. Whitne}- would make a bargain for me with 
any mechanic at the bay to paint and pencil the outside of my brick house. 
* * * Please say to my friend. Major Brevoort, that I have sold my frame 
house to the Govt., but as I have not yet received the money I can not transfer 
it to him until my return. There has been a great and unnecessary delay about 
this which I can explain when I see you."' 

In 1830 when a treaty was in progress between the New York Indians and 
the western tribes, the Menominees indicated their choice of the person they 
wished as coimsel as "one who lived in a brick house and was judge of the 
high court," and this identification of the well-known jurist (Doty) is significant 
of the wide impression made on the Indians as well as white men by the construc- 
tion of a brick house in these western wilds. Meantime in the probate court Judge 
Lawe had resigned in favor of N. G. Bean and on June 14, 1832, wrote : 'T recom- 
mended N. G. Bean for the appointment of judge of probate at the same time 
I sent in my resignation. I see you write to Bernard Grignon to enquire of me 
who I wish to recommend but if they will not consent to appoint him, though I 
wish very much he would be appointed, I wish to be exonerated immediately, 
and you will please recommend any person that you know will do honor & 
justice & not let it fall into the hands you know of some persons that will 
or may make bad use or take advantage of the power." 

The appointment of Nicolas G. Bean, Lawe's protegee, to the county judge- 
ship was received within the following year, Bean assuming his duties on June 

22, 1833. He was in many ways a man of ability, a former lieutenant in the 
regular army but who had retired from the service in 1815, Without relatives 
or friends; Bean was taken under the patronage of John Lawe, then one of the 
wealthiest and most powerful of the residents on the shores of Fox river. Lawe 
proved a good friend of the morose, disappointed man, and in his hospitable home 



Bean was given comfortable quarters anfl the freedom of the house. Barring 
out his one great fault of intemperance, Judge Bean was acknowledged to be 
remarkably correct in his decisions and unswerving in lijs integrity. "It is 
often said that Bean, drunk or sober, would do justice though the heavens 
should fall. Some fault was found with the locale of his docket, which it was 
feared would be lost, and the riglits of parties go with it — it was kept in his hat 
crown. After all no one ever sought in vain for a paper ; it was always speedily 
produced from the safe receptacle — his hat." 

At the second session of the third legislative council of the territory of 
Michigan, 1829, it was provided that the county courts of the territory including 
those of Michilimackinac, Brown and Crawford should not from that time on 
have jurisdiction in any civil matter in law or equity. This was during Judge 
Lawe's incumbency and the act remained in force until 1875, when the law creat- 
ing a new county court in Brown was passed, and civil jurisdiction restored. 
This act, however, was later repealed and jurisdiction in probate matters only 
was given to the county court. 

Nicolas Bean held the office of judge of probate for four years, up to the 
time of his death. He was succeeded by Joel S. Fisk, a practical, astute business 
man who had studied law but was not practicing. Judge Fisk held the office 
from March, 1827, until the following December when he resigned and moved to 
De Pere. George Meredith, of whom no particulars can be gleaned, kept the 
minute book and apparently presided over the court until February 26, 1838, 
when Charles C. P. Arndt was appointed to the position. 

Green Bay was in this year regularly incorporated as a borough and the 
office of judge of probate was an important one. Young Arndt gave very good 
satisfaction and was still holding the office when he was elected as one of the 
members of the state legislative council from Brow.n county. The last entry 
made by him as judge is on July 29, 1841. In February, 1842, he was shot in 
the legislative hall at Madison by James R. Vineyard, the most tragic event that 
ever occurred in the political life of Wisconsin. 

Arndt's father, John P. Arndt, succeeded him in the office of probate judge, 
and began his duties on April 30, 1842, only retaining the position, however, 
until August 7, 1843. 

The next incumbent, Charles Chapman, was a well known and well-liked 
resident of Green Bay, who although not a lawyer, discharged the duties of his 
office satisfactorily. The county seat was now established at De Pere and there 
was constant grumbling among the residents of the older borough over the 
inconvenience caused in the transaction of business. The term of office by suc- 
ceeding judges of probate up to 1849 '* uniformly very short, not exceeding a 
year and a half at the longest. 

David Agry seems to have occupied the bench from February 3, 1845, to 
October 4th of the same year when John Last came into office, holding the posi- 
tion until June 5, 1847. Judge Last was a highly educated Englishman and 
well read in the law, who came to America in 1832 and held during ensuing years 
many offices of trust and importance in Green Bay. From September. 1848, for 
one year John P. Arndt again occupied the Brown county bench, but in Septem- 
ber of 1849 David Agry, the stalwart and highly-respected incumbent for the 
ensuing twenty-eight years, entered into the duties of his office. 

In 1875, the organization of a new county court in Brown county necessitated 


the election of an additional judge and Morgan L. Martin was elected to the 
office. On the death of Judge Agry in February, 1877, Judge Martin assumed 
the duties of the probate court, civil jurisdiction having been largely curtailed 
in the county court. 

On the death of Judge Martin on December 10, 1887, Howard J. Huntington 
was appointed by the governor to fill the unexpired term. Judge Huntington 
proved a very popular jurist during the fifteen years in which he occupied the 
Brown county bench, his death occurring in the spring of 1902. 

The present incumbent, Carlton Merrill, after serving by appointment Judge 
Huntington's unexpired term of office, was elected without opposition and has 
filled the Brown county judgeship most acceptably and honorably. Judge Merrill 
is a son of Curtis R. Merrill, who during the war of the rebellion was provost 
marshal and in charge of the recruiting station at Green Bay. 

In the early circuit court, which included the counties of Brown, Crawford 
and Michilimackinac, James Duane Doty was succeeded, in 1832, by David Irvin 
of Virginia, who when not holding court made his home in that state or in 
Ohio. This indifference to his political supporters naturally nettled the people 
of Brown county, and it was questioned whether a non-resident could legally 
retain so responsible a position in the territory. 

A petition was sent to President Jackson, urging him to make another 
appointment, but "Old Hickory" seems to have regarded "the voice of an 
injured territory," as unworthy of serious attention, the appeal was ignored, 
and the stately dignified Irvin retained his judicial circuit until the formation of 
Wisconsin territory in 1836, when he was transferred to another district and 
became an associate justice of the territorial supreme court. 

Justice Finney's estimate of Judge Ir\in was as follows: "He was not con- 
sidered a profound lawyer, but with a strong vein of practical common sense and 
a natural love of justice; after hearing the arguments and examining the authori- 
ties he was generally enabled to give correct and satisfactory decisions." 

The Virginian is thus described by a contemporary: "Judge Irvin was spare 
of form, thin and pallid of face, and had a sparse covering on his head of dull 
vellow hair, brushed straight back from his forehead, which set off his peculiar 
facial development in somewhat cadaverous fashion. He came to Wisconsin 
fully imbued with the dignity of his office and with absorbing devotion to his 
native state. Aristocratic in lineage, full of almost childish whims and crochets, 
yet with a keen sense of humor which gave him a happy vein in story telling. 
The judge's passion for horses and dogs was excessive, and it became a kind of 
local proverb that in order to win a case in his court one must praise his horse, 
'Pedro,' and his dog, 'York.' " 

Wisconsin during Judge Irwins' term of office still formed a part of Alich- 
igan territory and the circuit was practically the same as when Judge Doty first 
came into office in 1824. With the organization of Wisconsin territory the 
judiciary followed the precedent established in other states and power was 
vested in a supreme court, district courts, probate courts and justices of the 
peace. Wisconsin was divided into three judicial districts, in each of which at 
a stated time and place regular sessions of court were to be held, presided over 
by a judge, who served by presidential appointment and held his office "during 


good behaviour." The supreme court was made up of these district judges who 
were empowered to elect one of their number as chief justice. 

( )n the twenty-second of May, 1837, Judge Wilham C. Frazer held his 
first term of court in De Pere, succeeding Judge Irvin. Xo civil cases were 
tried in consequence of the disarrangement of records and papers, the county 
seat having been moved to that place from Menomineeville only the year previous. 
The criminal calendar was, however, disposed of during the week's term. Maw- 
zaw-mon-nee-hah, a Winnebago Indian, was indicted for the murder of Pierre 
Pauquette, a well known Creole fur trader at Fort W'innebago, and was sentenced 
to be liung on the first of September following. For burglary a prisoner was 
sentenced to seven years' solitary confinement in the county jail at hard labor and 
in addition a fine of $100 was imposed. 

Judging by newspaper comments of that day Judge Frazer's first appearance 
on the Brown county bench was liighly creditable. His decisions were prompt 
and drastic and his dignified mode of conducting proceedings was in marked 
contrast to his later and less approved judicial methods. 

"He had fallen into intemperate habits and his health, both physical and 
mental, had become seriously impaired. He was sixty years old and nervous, 
impatient, arbitrary and often harsh, overbearing and offensive in his judicial 
conduct and in his treatment of the members of the bar." ( Bench & Bar of 

Judge Frazer's death occurred in ()ctol)er. 1838. and in November of the same 
year Andrew Galbraith Miller was appointed as his successor. The first term of 
court held in the new court house at De Pere was presided over by Judge 
Miller, who proved himself to be a jurist of exceptional acumen and ability. 
It was fifteen years and more after his first appearance on the Brown county 
bench that Judge Miller, as federal judge, handed in his famous decision uphold- 
ing the fugitive slave law. 

The proceedings in the Wisconsin federal court during the fifties assumed 
national importance and contributed not a little toward preparing the way for the 
conflict of arms between the free and slave states in 1861. Feeling throughout 
Wisconsin against the law was very strong, and most of those wdno thronged the 
courtroom in Milwaukee daily, when the trial of Sherman Booth, who aided the 
escape of the slave, Joshua Glover, was in progress, were in warm sympathy 
with the accused. Judge Miller presided with calm dignity and unflinching firm- 
ness and courage. He believed the law to be valid and his duty to enforce it 
plain under the official oath, wdiatever he might think of its wisdom or abstract 
justice. For a time Judge Miller was decidedly unpopular throughout Wiscon- 
sin and feeling ran high against him, until later when it was proved that although 
upholding the federal law in regard to the return of the escaped slave to his 
master, he in other ways aided the slave and approved the action of his res- 

Judge Miller was the last of the territorial judges to preside in the little De 
Pere courthouse. Wisconsin was admitted into the union as a state in June, 
1848, and the judicial organization of Brown county changed in common with 
the rest of the newly created commonwealth. It became a portion of the fourth 
judicial circuit which comprised the counties of Brown, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, 
Winnebago, Calumet and Fond du Lac. 


Alexander W. Stowe, a native of Lowville, New York, was elected judge of 
the fourth circuit and later chosen by his associates in the Wisconsin judiciary, 
chief justice of the state supreme court. Of Judge Stowe's ability Judge Mor- 
gan L. Martin, his lifelong friend, wrote: "As presiding officer of the supreme 
court his highest eulogium may be found in the opinions he pronounced during 
his short official term. They exhibit great comprehensiveness of thought; are 
terse, excisive and pungent in diction and furnish models of judicial compo- 

At the fall elections of 1850, Timothy Otis Howe was elected judge of the 
fourth circuit and in January, 185 1, took his seat as an associate justice of the 
supreme court. Judge Howe was a native of Maine, who had been a resident of 
Green Bay since 1845 ^^nd h'^d become prominent as a practicing lawyer and in 
the social life of the town. During the winter of 1852, a separate supreme 
court was created in Wisconsin, the judges of the circuit court thus losing their 
functions as associate judges. 

Judge Howe resigned from the circuit beiicli in 1855, and resumed the prac- 
tice of law in Green Bay. He had at this time gained reputation as an able law- 
yer, and had come to the front politically as a speaker for the newly organized 
republican party. It is said that Howe would have received the Wisconsin 
senatorship in 1857, had he not strenuously opposed the states rights issue, for 
the country was already in a disturbed and expectant condition and the feeling 
between the parties was bitter. In 1861 Judge Howe took his seat in the United 
States senate, an office which he held for eighteen years. In 1880, by appointment 
of President Garfield, he became postmaster general, serving in the cabinet of 
President Arthur. His death occurred in March 25, 1883. 

Judge Howe's other public services included a commissionership for the pur- 
chase of the Black Hills territory from the Indians and membership in the 
international monetary conference held in Paris in 1881. 

After July i, 1855, the eastern district including the counties of Brown, 
Kewaunee, Door, Outagamie, Oconto and Shawano were formed into a new 
circuit to be called the tenth judicial circuit, Stephen Rossiter Cotton of Green 
Bay being elected as presiding judge to succeed Judge Howe. A native of Ply- 
mouth, Massachusetts, Judge Cotton was a direct descendant of John Cotton, 
the famous New England divine. In the spring of 1842, he removed to Green 
Bay and entered upon the practice of his profession. Of Judge Cotton's record 
on the bench ]\Ioses M. Strong, the well-known Mineral Point lawyer, says : "The 
discharge of his duties as judge was marked by superior learning and ability; 
great patience and endurance, a wonderful suavity of manner and the greatest 
consideration for the rights and feelings of all concerned." 

Judge Cotton declined reelection after serving a term of six years. His 
successors, Edwin Wheeler and Garum W. Washlnirn, were neither of them 
Brown county men or identified with its interests. They were followed by 
Ezra Thompson Sprague who took his seat at the May term of 1870. Judge 
Sprague was a resident of De Pere, and a respected jurist. Pie was considered 
by the Brown county bar an able lawyer, and sound although slow in his deci- 
sions. In 1 87 1, Eleazer Holmes Ellis of Green Bay was elected to the bench 
in the tenth judicial circuit. Judge Ellis, a son of Albert G. Ellis, one of the 
earliest and best known, of the first American settlers, was a native of Brown 


county and thoroughly famihar with conditions and people throughout his cir- 
cuit. He served satisfactorily for eight years when he resigned his oftice to 
resume the practice of law. 

Judge Ellis' retirement from the bench was much regretted. His satisfactory 
public service and high private character had won for him esteem throughout 
the state and county. His long and honorable career closed in December, 1906. 

George Henry Meyers of Outagamie county was the successor of Judge Ellis 
in the tenth judicial circuit, holding office until 1883, when the legislature created 
the fourteenth judicial circuit out of the counties of Brown, Door, Marinette 
and Oconto. The election for judge was held on the first Tuesday in May, 1883. 
and resulted in the choice of Samuel Dexter Hastings, who Ijy repeated 
reelections continues to be judge. The boundaries of Judge Hastings' circuit 
were changed in Kjii. owing to the great increase in the amount of business 
coming before the court. Oconto was placed m anotlier circuit, the fourteenth, 
now comprising the counties of Brown, Kewaunee and Door. 

His long service on the bench, the soundness of his decisions and the fact 
that his services on the supreme bench in Wisconsin have been desired, are suf- 
ficient comment on his ability, both as a lawyer and jurist. 

On Mav i, 1904. a municipal court was established in the county of Brown, of 
which Nicholas J. Monahan, a member of the Brown county bar and a resident 
of Green Bay, was elected judge. The business of the court has increased 
rapidly, a juvenile court having been added to the duties assumed by Judge 
Monahan, and in which he has done efficient service. 

Judges of Brown county court : Matthew Irwin, John Biddle, Jacques Por- 
lier, John Lawe, Nicholas G. Bean, Joel S. Fisk, George Meredith, Charles C. P. 
Arndt, John P. Arndt, Charles Chapman, Da\id Agry, John Last, John P. 
Arndt, David Agry, Morgan L. Martin, Howard J. Huntington, Carlton Mer- 

Judges of circuit court : James Duane Doty, David Irvin, William C. Frazer, 
Andrew G. .Miller, Alexander W. Stowe, Timothy O. Howe, Stephen R. Cot- 
ton, Edwin Wheeler, Ciarum W. Washburn. Ezra T. Sprague, E. Holmes Ellis, 
George H. Myers, Samuel D. Hastings. 

(References for Chapter X: Thompson, Political History of Wisconsin; 
Berryman, Bench and Bar of Wisconsin; Minute Book of Brown County Court; 
Circuit Court Record Book; Alartin ])apers, MSS.) 


The coming of the American troops in 1816, not only gave impetus to the 
growth of the newly acquired territory at the head of Green Bay, but also 
drew the attention of practical eastern men to the extensive tracts of land still 
owned by Indian tribes, in the west. The New York Land Company, whose 
chief incorporator was Thomas W. Ogden, in order to open for sale the fer- 
tile stretches of country in the Mohawk valley owned by the Oneida, Tuscarora, 
and other nations, conceived the plan of purchasing these lands and removing the 
several tribes of the six nations to lands about La Baye. 

Negotiations for the transference of at least a part of these Indians to the 
west were begun in 1820 when on the 7th of July the L'nited States cutter 
"Dallas" brought to Green Bay, Reverend Jedidiah Morse, D. D., of New 
Haven, who had been commissioned by President Monroe to make a report on 
the condition of the western tribes, in view of the proposed removal. He gave 
a favorable report of the tract lying along Fox river, and in 1 821, Eleazer Wil- 
liams, belonging to the St. Regis tribe, and who had become deeply interested 
in the scheme, traveled westward to Green 15ay with a delegation of Oneidas, 
Onondagas, Tuscaroras, and Stockbridges, their object being to treat with the 
Menominees and Winnebagoes for a cession of their territory. 

Previous to 1821 and in that year especially, the government of the United 
States took active and efficient measures to facilitate the purchase of a tract 
of land in the Northwestern territory for the accommodation and future set- 
tlement of the eastern Indians. It was desired by the government that these 
f riendlv Indians, who had made considerable advances in civilization and improve- 
ment, might be placed in a distant outpost where they might serve to check or 
harmonize the disaffected or hostile savages of that region. The attachment 
shown by the New York tribes during the War of 1812 was also given as an 
additional reason for the extension to them of the fostering care of the govern- 

Dr. Icdidiah Morse was an eminent Congregational divine, the best Ameri- 
can geographer of his time, and the father of the inventor of the telegraph. 
He remained as the guest of Colonel Joseph Lee Smith, the commandant at 
Ford Howard, from July seventh to twenty-third, 1820, and received many pleas- 
ant courtesies from the government officials and residents of the place. In 
an interview with three chiefs of the Menominee nation, he laid before them 
the plan proposed by the government. With one of the chiefs, Sa-que-tack 
(Very Good-natured), he held a conference on the parade ground at Fort How- 
ard, stating to him the design of the government to teach the Indians "agri- 
culture and the arts and how to live and dress like the white people." The 



chief smiled. "It will look droll," said he. "to see Indians in such a situation. 
We are willing," he added, "to receive these blessings if others will." (Rpt. to 
Sec. of War, by Rev. J. Morse.) 

Dr. Morse says that Sa-que-tack's village of only thirty-six souls was on 
Green Bay three miles below Fort Floward, their food being fish, wild fowl, 
wild rice and corn. 

The questions were put to them whether they would be willing to collect 
together in one place large enough to accommodate each family with a farm; 
to cultivate the earth ; have schools for their children, and live as white people 
live. They were informed that Mr. Williams and a number of the chiefs of 
the six nations were on their way to Green Bay, to look out for a place of set- 
tlement. "Should these delegates be pleased with the country,"' they were 
asked, "will you sell, or give them lands on which they may settle?" The 
Menominees hesitated. They were at the time very anxious over an unau- 
thorized treaty strongly opposed by the acknowledged chiefs of the nation, 
which had been concluded by Colonel Bowyer, the Green Bay Indian agent, 
for the purchase by government of a large tract of their most valued land on 
both sides of Fox river. This treaty was afterwards annulled ; for Dr. Morse 
in his government report characterized it "an attempt of wicked speculators 
to defraud them of their valued lands" and represented the matter so forcibly 
to President Monroe that he assumed the responsibility of rejecting the treaty 
without even submitting it to the senate. 

In the winter of 1819-20 Eleazer Williams, a missionary to the Oneidas in 
New York, obtained from the war department permission to visit during the 
following summer "the barbarous tribes living in the vicinity of Green Bay," 
but not until 1821 did the ambitious and zealous leader succeed in accomfilish- 
ing the design of bringing west a delegation of eastern Indians. 

r)n August 8, 1821, a rather vague treaty was made with the Wisconsin 
Indians for a strip of land five miles or less wide having the Little Kakalin 
as its center, and extending northwest and southeast as far as the ?iIenominees 
and ^^'innebagoes held the land. These tribes at the time owned nearly all 
the region that is now Wisconsin. 

By no means satisfied with this treaty, that part of the Oneidas opposed to 
the transference of their nation to the west openly repudiated this purchase. 
They sent an address to Bishop Hobart of New York denouncing Williams as 
one who was scheming to deprive them of their homes and who would in the 
end make them wanderers and vagabonds. Despite all opposition, however, 
the promoters of immigration rallied to the support of their pet project, and 
on September i, 1822, the Reverend El'eazer Williams and his assistant, Albert 
G. Ellis, with a representation of Indians much larger than that of the preced- 
ing year, entered the mouth of Fox river in the staunch new schooner "Superior." 

"The sun," wrote General Ellis many years after, "coming up in majestic 
splendor gilded the shores of the river and the hainlet of Green Bay with light 
and lieauty. Both banks for five or six miles were dotted with the settlers' 
cabins which were uniformly whitewashed with lime and in the bright morn- 
ing sun at a mile's distance shone like balls of fire. The scene was a perfect 

Williams took possession of the agency house, formerly the residence of 



Colonel Bowyer on the north l^ank of Dutciiman's Creek, where it empties into 
Fox river. News of the arrival of the delegation having been sent to the dif- 
ferent tribes, the Winnebagoes and Menominees at once began to assemble, 
in order to receive from the New York Indians the fifteen hundred dollars' 
worth of goods promised them in the treaty of the preceding year. They gath- 
ered to the number of three or four thousand; the braves in their gay tog- 
gery of beaded buckskin with gaudy blankets hanging loosely from the waist; 
the papooses and meager camp equipage packed on small ponies ; the squaws 
patiently trudging in the rear. A village of mat-covered lodges sprang up 
almost in a single night on the level plain north of the agency house where in 
the presence of Colonel Pinckney, and other officers from the garrison and 
French residents from the town, the council convened. 

The Winnebagoes almost immediately repudiated the treaty, declaring that 
their land was already overrun with white men, and they had no mind to share 
with others the little that remained of their once wide territory. Before leav- 
ing the council, however, they consented to give a war dance for the diver- 
sion of the visitors, and a circle was formed, the hollow space in the center 
filled with dancers, drummers and singers. The drum made from an old keg 
or hollow log was beaten with ceaseless monotony, and in addition the players 
used a reed pipe of their own invention not unlike a flageolet, from which they 
drew a plaintive harmony touching beyond description. The little band of white 
men occupied the inner ring, while on the outside of the circle were massed 
hundreds of savages lying, leaning, standing, daubed with paint of every tint, 
and with one, two or as many as twenty eagle's quills stuck upright in the 

A score of stalwart young Winnebagoes without a thread of clothing save a 
breech cloth, painted in gorgeous colors with circles of red, green and blue around 
the eyes, and armed with spears and tomahawks, began at a given signal the 
pantomimic description of war. First, the crafty seizing of the tomahawk, 
then the discovery of the enemy, the shooting and scalping — all so well enacted 
that the spectators could easily understand the import of their wild and 
savage movements. The excitement gradually increased until all the par- 
ticipants were in motion, dancing, singing, shouting, yelling, dangling metal- 
lic rods : at one time humming a sort of chant in a low bass monotone, then 
suddenly passing after a wild disjointed interval into a sharp scream made 
tremulous by placing the fingers on the lips and repeated every two or three 
minutes. With their bodies naked except for the covering of paint and their 
feathered crowns they seemed as they darted back and forth brandishing their 
death weapons more like demons than men. 

None coukl endure the sight unappalled, for the Winnebagoes were at that 
time the most warlike of Wisconsin tribes, quick to revenge fancied injury 
and requiring in recompense five lives for one. This was however a peaceful 
exhibition of their powers: with the last war whoop silently and swiftly they 
moved away, and while horror of the weird spectacle still thrilled the onlook- 
ers, the camp was struck and the Indians were off for the winter hunt. 

The Menominees remained and after nnich parley wefe induced to give 
"the Stockbridge, Oneida, Tuscarora. St. Regis and Munsee nations. * * * 
all right title, interest and claim" which they themselves had previously pos- 


sessed to an immense tract whose southern and eastern limits were the mouth 
of the Milwaukee river and the Bay de Noque. The northern boundary was 
the height of land between Lakes ^Michigan and Superior, the western indefi- 
nite. The consideration was "a thousand dollars in goods to be paid the next 
year," and a similar amount the year following. The Menominees reserved 
the right, "the free permission and privilege of occupying and residing upon 
the lands herein ceded." 

In giving his approval, March 13, 1823, to this treaty President Monroe 
limited the rights of the eastern Indians to "that portion of the country therein 
described which lies between Sturgeon Bay, Green Bay, Fox river and that 
part of the former purchase made by the said tribes * * * which lies south 
of Fox river." All this land was at the time included in Brown county. 

The Oneida delegates made their headciuarters at the little Kakalin or Lit- 
tle Rapids, a beautiful and romantic situation on Fox river. Here in the fol- 
lowing summer or autumn a small party of their people under the leader- 
ship of Neddy Atsiquet formed a settlement. This increased until in 1825 
it numbered as many as one hundred and fift_\' persons, who uniting with the 
largest company of the nation that had vet come on from Xew York, estab- 
lished the triljal home within the present (Oneida reservation. 

The Stockbridge and P)rothertown Indians settled on the shores of Lake 
Winnebago, at that day a part of Brown county, but as Outagamie was set off 
in 185 1, the later history of these Indians belongs to that county. 

Eleazer Williams, whose claim to Ijeing a son of Louis X\T and Marie 
Antoinette, developed under the fostering influence of Reverend John Han- 
son into a decided cult, was one of the most interesting and remarkable men 
who came here at an early day. A descendant of the New England captive, 
Eunice Williams, who was carried off by savages after the fatal massacre at 
I^eerfield in 1704, there is enough mystery enshrouding Eleazer's early years 
(o render him a fit subject for romance, and his story has been rehearsed in 
narrative, drama and historical writings. At the time of his advent into the 
little settlement on Fox river, he was something over thirty years old, and 
although characterized by the brisk New Englanders of Menomineeville as 
an idle, untrustworthy fellow, had during preceding years accomplished more 
and seen more of real life than had the majority of his critics. His father, 
Thomas Williams, was a jirotege of the English Tories in New York and 
later became the trusted friend of the Americans during the Revolution. 

The mother of Thomas Williams, Eunice, who as a child of three with her 
brother, John, had been carried to the wilds of Canada by the Indians of that 
region, never returned to her New England family. Her brother was redeemed, 
and one after another the captives who had been driven like sheep from the 
little town of Deerfield on that terrible night in 1704, found their way back to their 
natixe country, but Eunice Williams through one delay after another remained 
with her adoj^ted parents among the Indian tribes. They were kind to her and 
made much of her. She grew up in Indian fashion, in the free life of a Cana- 
dian forest, was baptized into the Roman Catholic church, and married finally 
a young chief of rhe St. Regis trilie. Her New England relatives never gave 
her up : they followed her fortunes with interest ; she was visited from time 
to time by dift'erent members of the family who urged her to return with them 



Ha h-H 




to Massachusetts, hut she could now choose for herself and she steadily refused 
to give up her churcli and her people. She did finally consent to make a visit 
in New England, and there the large Williams connection surrounded her and 
begged her not to return, init she had grown to love the Indian life; in fact, 
knew no other, and the narrow round of a small Puritan town was little to 
her liking. She was bound by marriage ties and by her children and was happy 
in her Caughnawaga home. 

On the wide St. Lawrence lies the Indian town of St. Regis. It is on the 
extreme northern edge of the New York boundary. The river is very broad 
at this part and is dotted by beautiful wooded islands. 

A scattered hamlet of Indian cabins clings to the stony, sparsely cultivated 
hillside which slopes to the blue majestic river. On the one straggling, rocky 
street stands the parish church and home of the resident priest, picturesque, 
irregular structures, and around the priest's house extends a fine well culti- 
vated garden. The parish register still holds many of the Williams name, for 
in this encampment of Mohawk Indians Thomas Williams lived in later life. 
The place was familiar to Eleazer during the years following the War of 
1812, and at Hogansburg, six miles distant, he spent his last days. 

All this portion of country was occupied by the St. Regis tribe when Thomas 
Williams lived among them. The little parish church at Caughnawaga, some 
miles farther down the St. Lawrence, holds the names of Thomas' children, 
who one after the other were brought to the priest to be bajjtized. C)nly one 
among these is missing; that of Eleazer or "Lazar," as he was called among his 
French and Indian associates. He was a handsome lad, and when at the age 
of fourteen his New England kinsmen wrote asking that Lazar and his brother 
John be sent them to be educated, the Indian mother gladly gave consent. The 
two boys were placed with Nathaniel Ely of Longmeadow and for a year lived 
together there, but at the end of that time John was eager to return home, and 
Eleazer was left alone under the tuition of Mr. Ely. 

The boy was looked upon by his teacher and the Massachusetts relatives as 
promising in every way. His journal kept at this time shows no evidence 
of insincerity or double dealing: just the daily record of a yoimg fellow eager 
to see all he could of what there was of interest in the life about him. Because 
of his adaptability and keen observation he was selected by General Macomb 
during the War of 181 2 to carry official messages for the army stationed 
around Plattsburg — an exciting and somewhat dangerous position, which he 
filled to the entire satisfaction of the general. Williams was at this time nuich 
with his father, who also was employed by the American troops. 

Eleazer drifted at the close of the war into mission work among the 
Oneida Indians in New York. The "People of the Stone" were exceptionally 
intelligent and were well organized and orderly, although a warlike tribe. They 
were delighted with Williams who came among them as schoolmaster, cate- 
chist and lay reader in 1816. 

The son of a chief of the Iroquois nation, he appealed to their national 
pride and gained moreover great influence through his familiarity with their 
language and customs. They were proud of this handsome, agreeable, talented 
young man of their own people, and even after long years of misunderstand- 
ings and misappropriation of funds it was said in Wisconsin that he could 


"make tlie Indians believe that black was white" if so he chose. To him was 
entrusted the superintendence of republishing the translation of the scriptures 
in the Mohawk language made nearly a century before, and the task was per- 
formed so well that he received high commendation from Bishop Hobart of 
the New York diocese. 

When the scheme was proposed of removing westward the Oneidas and 
other tribes of the Iroquois nation Williams undoubtedly hoped to form in this 
new and extended territory a confederation similar to that effected bv the 
five nations in early New York, and of this powerful league he dreamed that 
he might become the head chief — the sachem. In this he was encouraged by 
the Ogden Land Company, eager to get possession of the rich tract belonging 
to the New York tribes. There was however a part of the Oneidas who were 
resolutely opposed to the plan of removal and these refused to accept the 
treaty of 1822. 

While the Oneidas were still encamped at Little Rapids during the winter 
of 1822-23, Williams and his coadjutor, A. G. Ellis, lived in exceeding com- 
fort in the agency house in Ashwaubenon. Through the courtesy of Colonel 
Ninian Pinckney in command at Fort Howard. Williams was permitted to 
occupy this government building free of charge. The buildings were some- 
what extensive and very comfortable, with a large room suitable for school 
purposes, where for a brief time a school was conducted by Ellis, consisting 
for the most part of the children from the fort and a few of the French 
youngsters, none of the Indians, although the school was especially designed 
for them, being under the supervision of the Protestant Episcopal Missionary 
Society. Williams at this time also conducted regular religious services at 
Fort Howard, for there was no resident chaplain there, and not a place of 
worship or priest in the whole settlement. 

The school came abruptly to an end by the decision of Williams to marry 
one of his pupils, a young girl belonging to an early French family, Madeline 

The home of the Jourdains was still standing in 1880, a low log structure pic- 
turesque in its odd proportions, and occupying lots 4, 5 and 6 on block 6. The 
Joseph Jourdain tract confirmed by Commissioner Lee in 1821, contained about 
two acres and fronted on Fox river. When the plat of Astor was made in 
1835, the Astors had no title to this tract and it was not platted. It is now a 
part of Astor but in all land transfers is described by metes and bounds. Diag- 
onally across the river lived Judge Jacques Porlier, and from this house the 
magistrate was summoned on an evening in March, 1823, to perform the mar- 
riage ceremony for Eleazer Williams and Madeline Jourdain. The little bride 
was only fourteen, and it was said in the gossip of the time, not a willing party 
to the contract. Judge Porlier had known the Williams family long before 
in Canada, when Williams was a child and living at St. Regis with his father 
and mother. 

Not long after the marriage of Madeline Jourdain the Menominee nation 
to which she belonged deeded to the handsome girl as a wedding dower a 
large tract of land on Fox river, including the first camping place of the 
Oneidas at Little Rapids. Here Williams built a comfortable log house and 
lived for many years. His connection with the Oneidas continued until about 









SEPTEMBER 6. 4899. . 




1843, when it was definitely severed, the chiefs repudiating him hnally as their 
representative in any negotiation. Yet the feeling toward him among his own 
people was quite ditYerent from the decidedly prejudiced view of his character 
taken by many of the white settlers at Green Bay. The old chief Skenandoah, 
the last great chief of the Oneidas, said that "Williams was a fine man, a very 
fine man, but his pocket had no bottom." He was simply a child in business 
dealings, with much of the Indian love of display and rather large talk, but 
, he was absolutely temperate in an age when dissipation ran riot. 

In appearance Williams was distinguished and dignified. Mrs. John Kin- 
zie, of Fort Dearborn, who met him in 1830, says he looked more like a .Span- 
iard than an Indian, with the courtly manners of a born Frenchman. Rev- 
erend Franklin R. Hafif, of Oshkosh, a prominent clergyman of the Protestant 
Episcopal church, though not liking Williams' shifty methods, remembered him 
as a most agreeable companion, and it is probable that had Prince de Join- 
villo never visited Green Bay and brought Williams into prominence through 
his attentions, the fine looking, easy going Creole would have passed his life 
peacefully and uneventfully in his home at Little Kakalin. 

Of that princely tour through the northwest, following it was said that of 
De Joinville's father, Louis Phillippe, over fifty years previous, much has been 
written. Williams met the Prince at Mackinac and came with him to Green 
Bay in the summer of 1841. The cjuondam leader of the Oneida nation had 
been east on one of his many business trips, which consisted for the most part 
in a strenuous efl:'ort to get an appropriation for his work among the Indians. 
Casting aside all testimony as to the shock occasioned to Prince De Joinville 
by the marked resemblance of Williams to the family of Bourbon, it is certain 
that during the two days' trip from ]\Iackinac the men were constantly together. 
On the arrival of the steamer "Columbia" at Green Bay, the prince immedi- 
ately made his way with his party to the Astor House, which stood directly 
across the street from the steamer landing. 

The arrival of a real prince in the little village of Green Bay was an exciting 
event. The dark, bearded, foreign looking men composing De Joinville's suite 
were eager to procure horses and pursue their journey southward, but remained 
over night at the comfortable hostelry and according to the statement made 
later by Williams it was during the evening that the important interview took 

De Joinville and his secretary sent from France from time to time presents 
to Williams and his v-'ife. and not long after the famous visit the story was made 
place, in which De Joinville informed the missionary to the Oneidas that he was 
the son of Louis XVT and Marie Antoinette of France. 

A rather stormy colloquy followed, the prince urging Williams to relinquish 
all claim to the French throne, which he refused to do. They seem, however, 
to have parted friends, and on the following day, mounted on a motley collection 
of ponies procured from the country around, the party took its departure, 
the subject of a widely read article, "Have we a Bourbon among us?'' A book 
was later published entitled "The Lost Prince," setting forth Williams' claim 
and there was considerable controversy for and against. Williams himself, does 
not seem to have taken an active part in pushing his pretensions to the throne of 
France. To judge from his journal, kept from 1840 on, his days were passed 
in cultivating his farm on Fox river and in frequent visits to Green Bay and 


Oneida, where he still had a following among the Indians. There is no record 
that he collected money under false pretences, but his methods were not approved 
by the Episcopal church ; Bishop Kemper inhibited him from teaching or holding 
service, and he ceased to receive support as a priest by the Society of Missions. 

The tract of land belonging to the Menominees and given by that nation to 
Airs. Williams, was confirmed to Williams by letters patent from the president 
of the United States, bearing date of July 20, 1840. On April 25, 1844, Williams 
deeded this property, described in the legal paper as "13 chains above the old 
mill dam at the Rapids of Little Kakalin, containing about 4.800 acres," to Wil- 
liam Eustis of Boston, "in the county of .Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts," for the sum of one dollar and other considerations. On the twentieth 
of September of the same year another deed is recorded signed by Eleazer Wil- 
liams and Mary H. Williams, his wife, conveying this same property to Amos 
A. Lawrence of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the sum of $1,697.80, 
and still another deed of land to Lawrence under the date of December 14, 1844, 
for which the Williamses received $1,800. There is no record of any part of this 
being reserved for the use and the residence of Williams and his family ; this 
was, however, probably arranged, for the house built by him and the fine bit of 
property surrounding it were occu]:)ied by Mrs. Williams up to the time of her 
death in 1886, and passed by will to her adopted daughter, Josephine Penny. 

Lawrence University, the gift of Amos Lawrence to the people of Wisconsin, 
remains as a reminder of these old deeds of transfer, and the only written word 
by Williams on the subject of his descent from Louis X\'l is a letter preserved 
for many years by Pierre Bernard tjrignon, and copied by the authors of 
''Historic Green Bay" from the original document. "The intelligence I am now 
to give you is in accordance with the little hints I gave in our last interview 
which now prove too true. Am I the child of the most unfortunate parents? A 
descendant from one of the most unhappy potentates of Europe? The secret 
commissioners from Fr — ha\e in a great measure confirmed it. (Jh the unhappy 
and cruel fate of parents. Can you wonder, my friend, I am in distress — yea 
agony? The news has seized me w'ith such poignant grief and sorrow as it 
would require with the tongue of an angel and the pen of a ready writer to 
describe my feelings. Where all this affair will end God only knows. Tre- 
mendous scenes may be before me, or it will end in peaceful and calm weather." 

This letter was written on September 21, 1848, seven years after De Join- 
ville's visit to Green Bay and Little Rapids, and five years previous to the pulj- 
lication in Putnam's magazine, of the bombshell, "Have we a Bourbon among us?" 
As one of the pretenders to the throne of France Williams' career was watched 
by the French government, and long after his death, when a son's child died, an 
otiicial letter was received from France at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, demanding 
legal affidavit of the fact. ( Rev. F. R. Ilaff. ) The story that the unfortunate 
little dauphin of France did not die in the Temple prison in the year 1795, but 
was stolen by the royalists, carried to America and placed with the St. Regis 
Indians, is c|uite as plausible a fabrication as that brought forward by the other 
pretenders. Williams enjoyed for a number of years tlie notoriety brought him 
by the claim advanced of his royal descent, although he does not himself seem 
to have made much of the story. When visiting in New York, Boston and 
Washington, he received many flattering attentions, his polish of manner and 


agreeable conversation giving plausibility to the theory of his distinguished 

In Williams' later life the church again took her whilom catechist and teacher 
under her wing, and provided for his support by giving him a house at Hogans- 
burgh, New York, built, it is said, in imitation of a French chateau; he was 
also privileged to hold service in a large, barnlike structure that the Mission- 
ary society had erected there. The hamlet of Hogansburgh, isolated and ofif 
the line of any railway, is six' miles from the St. Regis reservation, and there 
is constant intercourse between the two places, so that when Williams took 
up his work and residence in the little town, it was really a return to his 
native land. Here he died in 1858, and is buried in the graveyard at Hogans- 
burgh. A masonic emblem is engraved upon the stone, which records him as a 
missionary to the Oneidas, but not as of blood royal. 

The Williams log house at Little Rapids was dismantled and torn down, only 
the ruined remains standing in 1899 and a new frame house built on the site. 
The place after Mrs. Williams' death became a resort for collectors, who year 
after year gathered in the interesting household furnishings, which were excep- 
tionally good. The table appointments were far removed from the contrivances 
often in use in frontier towns of that period. The dinner service was of old 
Staffordshire ware decorated in deep blue Chinese design. There were teacups 
of pink lustre, and others of opaque white were sprinkled with tiny knots of 
flowers in pale blue relief, and the tea was poured from a delightful teapot of 
most graceful shape in Britannia ware. A visit to the cobwebbed garret brought 
to light books and manuscripts reviving an interesting past, not of I'rance, but 
of New England and the historic Williams family. There were old journals 
dating back to t666, and sermons preached by distinguished Calvihistic divines 
a centurv and more ago. Among these papers were many relating to Williams' 
earlv life in New England; his journal during the war of 1812, and an enormous 
sheepskin bound volume of the "Book of Common Prayer," one of the most im- 
pressive reminders of the missionary's dignitied position at an early day. Lettered 
on the fly leaf in beautiful text was the legend, "Presented to the Reverend Mr. 
Williams, Missionary to the Oneidas, by the Rector, Wardens and \'estry of 
King's Chapel in Boston." 

The water power at Little Rapids has brought to it manufacturing plants and 
modern industry, but the romance of the place added to its beautiful situation is 
due to Eleazer Williams, not as a claimant and possible descendant of royalty, but 
as the grandson of a "New England captive," and whose life and characteristics 
made him one of the most interesting of early Wisconsin residents. Setting 
aside the natural prejudice of his associate, Albert G. Ellis, whose aim in coming 
to Green Bay was thwarted to a great extent by Williams' dilatory, slipshod 
methods, and his lack of business ability, there is no warrant for the rancorous 
estimate given of the man in later years. His pretensions, which, however, he 
never hinisell put forward, were of course ridiculed by his associates in every 
day life, l)ut he received ample support for any boastful or arrogant assumption 
from his admirers in the east. It is recorded that while there he often signed 
his letters with the initials "L. C," Louis Capet, the name of the unhappy 
dauphin. Eleazer forms a link between our Atlantic coast and western history, 
between old Deerfield with its formal traditions and the free life of Brown countv 


at an earl}- day. \'isionary. unreliable, he .in many ways reflected the character 
of the Bourbons far more decidedly tlian that of his New England kinsfolk, 
whose descendants it is said are fond of relating the varied incidents in the life 
of their Indian cousin. 

The tall, imposing figure of Williams, his olive skin (not copper colored), 
his grave, almost melancholy countenance, his deferential, gracious manner, with 
a touch of French gayety illumining it, made hiiu marked in any society. His 
plan of forming an Indian empire in the west was not so absurd in reality as 
it seems at first glance, for he was upheld in it by the Ogden Land Company, and 
Dr. Morse, in 1820, reports on it favorably, while hardly fifty years before 
Pontiac had accomplished the very league that Williams hoped to bring into 
existence for peaceful purposes rather than war, for civilization and quiet living 
rather than to send a firebrand throughout the Indian country. E.xecutive force 
was missing, and there was lack of faith in himself and his airy schemes, no 
strong conviction in fact ; a marked characteristic by the way, as shown in the 
journal of one of Williams' New England ancestors in 1665. Yet the people in 
the Fox river towns found him interesting while he lived among them, and the 
plain, unvarnished story of hi.s life, leaving out possible royal pretensions, forms 
a vivid touch of color in the warp and woof of Wisconsin history. 

"In regard to the removal of the New York Indians to the west, it was not 
a new subject to the Oneidas or the other branches of the confederates but 
this had been repeatedly discussed in their general councils since 1812." 

"This subject was actually in agitation among the Oneidas when the Rev. 
Dr. Morse made his appearance at their Canton." 

Williams says that he was not prepared to favor the design. "It appeared 
to me that the idea of the philanthropist was vast and sublime and very difli- 
cult in its execution. I had critically surveyed the situation of the Oneidas, I 
must confess I was led to believe with some of them that in order to save them 
from entire ruin there must be a change either in the place of residence or their 
morals." Williams went to Washington with the Reverend Jedidiah Morse with 
many letters of introduction from Bishop Hobert and others. "I was kindly 
entertained by President Monroe and the Secretary of war and by several mem- 
bers of congress by whose polite invitation I was often a guest to their rich tables. 
Among others I was noticed by the celebrated John Randolph, of Virginia in 
whose company I enjoyed nuich. It was arranged that we were to take an 
exploring tour to the west the ensuing spring and summer, a certain number 
of the six nations, St. Regis and Stockbridge Indians were to accompany me." 

He writes of private parties who had a claim to the Seneca lands and of 
course were very anxious to take possession of what they supposed belonged 
to them. "The most powerful and who have appeared the most conspicuous 
among these was that which was known as Ogden Land Company ; that you 
may understand I will here state in short how that land company came to have 
those Indian lands which was afterward the subject so long in negotiation 
between them. The charters granted liy the crown of Great Britain to the 
colonies of ^Massachusetts and New York conflicted as to boundaries and both 
colonies claimed the territorj' west of a meridian line passing through or near 
the Seneca lake and within the present limits of the state of New York. By 
an amicable adjustment between the two states in the year 17S6, IMassachusetts 



released to New York the sovereignty and governmental control over the terri- 
tory and New York surrendered to Massachusetts the right of sale subject to 
the Indian title and the right to extinguish the Indian title in her own way. Not 
many years after this period Massachusetts sold to private individuals her pre- 
emption right to the whole country reserving that power of guardianship over 
the Indians which the old states have ever exercised within their limits. In this 
way and for this reason it is that Massachusetts has been represented in all the 
transactions with the Seneca and Tuscarora Indians. The Company as pur- 
chasers from that state holds the exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title 
whenever the Indians shall be induced to surrender the possession and occupancy 
of the land. 

"Reports had reached Detroit that Colonel Bowyer, United States agent for 
Green Bay had actually purchased for the government the very tract of land 
which the New York Indians intended to negotiate with their brethern in that 
quarter. The agent they supposed would not have purchased without special 
instruction from government and suspected the government of double dealing. 
The whole party was extremely anxious to be in Green Bay, but as there was 
no direct communication immediately to effect this, it was therefore finally with 
great reluctance given up of going thither this season. Had Lieut. Gov. Wood- 
bridge been disposed to aid us as was in his power with the use of the revenue 
cutter to transport us to Green Bay, we should have visited this season that 
place as we intended. Some days previous to our departure from Detroit Rev. 
Dr. Morse returned from Green Bay who confirmed the report we had heard 
viz. : that the United States agent. Colonel Bowyer had purchased a tract of 
land bordering on the mouth of the Fox River. The real chiefs, says Rev. 
Dr. Morse of the nation were so decidedly opposed to the sale of this land (a 
tract of forty miles square) intersected by Fox River from its mouth upward 
that they refused to attend the treaty at the invitation of the agent, who in 
consequence was constrained of his own authority to create chiefs to sign his 
treaty. The president on hearing of these facts laid the treaty aside and it wa^ 
not ratified." 

The deputies were not able to leave Butifalo for the upper lakes till the 9th 
of July, 1821. When on board r>f the steamboat of Walk-in-Water it was found 
we were 16 persons, representing the whole of the New York tribe. Here 
most unexpectedly I met my old friend Colonel Pinckney with several of his 
officers and two companies of his regiment on his way to Green Bay to assume 
the command of the military post at that place. "At Detroit they were obliged 
to wait and were disappointed not to see Gov. Cass who had left for Chicago 
to attend an Indian treaty. We here met Reverend Doctor Richard who may be 
truly said a learned ecclesiastic. After having our patience almost exhausted 
waiting for the boat we were finally enabled on Tuesday, July 31, to leave 
Detroit and found ourselves on board, of Walk-in-Water on way to Green 
Bay. A great harmony prevailed among the passengers, all seemed to enjoy 
the voyage. We had heard much of the island of Michilimackinac, of its beauty 
and majestic appearance, and our interest was gratified on the 3d of August. 
At nine o'clock we landed amidst the roar of cannon from the fort and the boat. 
On the beach we saw the encampment of the Chippewas, Ottawas and Foxes or 
Outagamies the most warlike brave and ferocious of all the Indian tribes in 


the west. About eleven o'clock we were once more on our way. . . . We saw 
the fires of red men upon the islands and heard their morning songs. ... In 
the midst of our gratification and delight which the scenery on the borders of 
Green Bay alTorded us, on the 3d of August, we finally entered into the Fox 
River and at one o'clock landed opposite Fort Howard. 'Here we are,' said one 
of the New York chiefs, 'all things appear to be new and strange yet I hope, on 
reflection that we are in the Indian country, we shall soon reconcile ourselves to 
all that may come our way.' This may be considered the most western point or 
the ultima thule of the steamboat navigation of the great American lakes. We 
were introduced to Mr. Pierre Grignon, a French gentleman and one of the 
Indian traders, by whom we were accommodated with a comfortable house for 
the whole of our party. Mr. Trowbridge and myself were invited in most 
friendly manner to Mr. Grignon's table while we were in the place. Mr. Lawe, 
another gentleman of the same profession, invited us to make our quarters at 
his house, which we politely declined as we had already hired a house for our 
accommodation. What a sight when I first landed on the shores of the north- 
western territory did I behold, hundreds of wretched heathen presented them- 
selves to our view, the greater part of whom were entirely naked except a piece 
of cloth around their middle, and an old blanket around their shoulders. 
Wretched as their condition is they appeared to be contented to live from year 
to year on what they can take from the rivers, lakes and forests. 

"To The Honorable Congress of the United States in the Senate and House 
of Representatives convened. W'e, the people of that portion of the New York 
Indians lately removed from New York and settled upon lands purchased by 
us from our Brethern the Menominie here, and confirmed by the president of 
the United States, — beg leave humbly to represent to your Honorable Body, that 
one George Johnson has laid claim to a portion of the lands . . . pretends 
to have acquired his claim in validity of a purchase made of one Pierre 
Carboneau." Diary of Eleazer Williams, MSS. owned liv F. W. Taylor, Green 

(References for Chapter XI: ]\Iorse, Report on Indian Tribes; A. G. Ellis, 
Wis. Hist. Colls., \ ol. 8 ; Hansen, Lost Prince ; Bloomfield, Oneidas ; Records 
County Register's Office; \\"illiams MSS., F. \\'. Taylor; Laws on Prince or 
Creole; Merrill, People of the Stone.) 


In the year 1830 the town of Navarino was laid out by Daniel Whitney. It 
extended north from the center of the block between Doty and Walnut streets 
and included the land on the north side of Devil river. For three or four years 
it made but little progress and was merely a town on paper owing to its low, 
swampy location, but Whitney having unshaken confidence in its possibility as 
a commercial point for this whole section of country, finally saw his dream 
realized and a city planted here. The land was originally a dense and dark 
forest of pine, tamarack and undergrowth well tenanted by btill-frogs and 
mosquitoes, and on the river shore there was during the summer a group of 
wigwams inhabited by Menominees, who camped there to fish and hunt. 

In 1824 Judge Arndt's house was the northern limit of settlement on the 
east side of Fox river; but one lone log house stood on that section of land after- 
ward known as Navarino and which forms a large part of the present Green 
Bay. This small log building stood about on the corner of Washington and 
Cherry streets, the site of the Citizens' bank building and was occupied as a 
grocery. Henry S. Baird, in describing conditions when he took up his residence 
in Navarino in 1833, says : "I well remember how indignant the proprietor of 
the town ( Mr. Whitney ) felt toward me on one occasion for having repeated 
a statement made to me by another person relative to the nature of the ground 
on which the town stood. This statement was neither more nor less than that 
my informant, being the owner of two horses, had turned them loose to graze 
at night and when he went in search of them the next morning he found them 
mired, stuck in the mud and unable to extricate themselves on the ground between 
Cherry and Walnut streets on the east side of Adams. I was not then a 
property holder in the city. In 1835 I removed to Navarino from Shantytown, 
and in 1836 built the house on Main street where I now reside. At that time 
there were a few scattered buildings east of Adams street, — Alain street was in 
the swamp, and it was with great exertion on the part of both men and beast 
that the material for my building could be conveyed to the spot, through stumps 
and roots, interspersed with many soft spots. All east, north and south of this 
point was in a state of nature, and it was not until a later period that Main and 
Jefferson streets were thoroughly opened and made passable. 

The town of Astor, now known as the south ward of the citv of Green Bay, 
was opened and laid out in the year 1835. The proprietors were John Jacob 
Astor, Ramsay Crooks and Robert Stuart, principals of that well-known and 
once powerful corporation. "The American Fur Company." The land was 
originally owned by John Lawe and the Grignon family. Together with other 
real estate, it was taken in payment of balance due from the old Green Bay com- 



pany to the former company, the debt having accrued by loss in the Indian trade 
■ — for in this business it generally happened that the small traders who purchased 
their goods at high prices, after years of toil and privation in the trade, came 
out with nothing, — leaving to the great monopoly the lion's share of the profits. 
The consideration received by the former owners was trifling compared with 
the present value of the property. The venerable old log house and garden, for- 
merly occupied by the hospitable and highly respected veteran pioneer, the late 
Judge Lawe, stood a little north of the house now occupied by P. B. Grignon, 
at the termination of Adams street. 

Of the settlers in Navarino, Henry S. Baird and his wife were among the 
first in the new town. They had only lived in their log house four months when 
it was sold for a large price, and the Baird family then lived according to Mrs. 
Baird in a "small log house with a red door which stood where the American 
house (Alinahan building) now stands. There was nothing but the broad street 
between us and the beautiful river." 

Daniel Whitney was the leading man in a commercial way of the Fox river 
valley for many years, his saw mills and extensive landed property involving 
much inspection and money investment. He also built the shot tower at Helena, 
Wisconsin. The two Irwins, Robert and Alexander, were also exceedingly pro- 
gressive and practical business men, leaders in town and state government, and 
in social life as well. William Dickenson of De Pere and its first American 
settler, was another pioneer who identified himself with the business life and 
growth of that town. A man foremost in all improvement was John P. Arndt, 
and his important position on the town and I)orough boards gave him weight and 
influence. By the year 1830 a beginning had Ijeen made in Brown county along 
ma.ny lines and this period may be called the second inaugural of civilization which 
was begun l)y the Jesuit Fathers one hundred and fifty years earlier. 

When Father Andre gathered the little childVen of the savages and taught 
them lively hrench songs in which the new faith and ethics were simply told 
the people of Wisconsin, aboriginal though they were, gained the first influence 
for good that comes with even the most rudimentary education. The teaching 
of these early fathers of the Jesuit order, while intermittent and discouraging 
to a degree, must in the aggregate have accomplished something, not perhaps 
along technical lines of learning, but in the influence which results from associa- 
tion by the untaught and undisciplined with cultivated and studious minds. The 
early French settlers depended solely upon this catechetical instruction for their 
children and no mention is made of any school master or tutor until 1791, when 
Jacques Porlier, an educated youth employed as clerk by Pierre Grignon, well 
known as a fur trader and the son-in-law of Charles Langlade, acted also as tutor 
for Grignon's children. 

In 1817, a French gentleman. Monsieur Carron and his wife were detained 
in the hamlet for a few months on their way to St. Louis and were induced to 
open in the interim a boarding and day school in a house belonging to Judge 
Lawe. This was the first regular school organized in Brown county. Later in 
the year a petition written in French and English and signed by Major Whistler, 
Louis Grignon, John Lawe and others was circulated, wherein it was stated that 
Thomas S. Johnson of New York city, proposed to open a school or seminary 
near the fort for teaching reading, writing, arithmetic and the English language. 


Thirty-three children from the fort and village attended the Green Bay "semi- 
nary," but as barely one year had elapsed since the first coming of the Americans, 
feeling between the children as well as among the older people was antagonistic. 
The oddly dressed little natives were brought across the river each morning for 
the day's schooling, but the difference in dress and breeding were constant cause 
for dissension ; the French youngsters jeered the "Bostonians" or Yankees, who, 
no doubt, returned insults in kind and fierce squabbles resulted. The cost of 
tuition in this pioneer school was five dollars per quarter. 

This eftort at education proving unsuccessful, nothing further was done until 
1820, when one Jean Baptiste St. Jacobs essayed to instruct the youth of this 
vicinity. An agreement drawn up between him and his patrons stipulates that 
the latter are to pay "twenty dollars for one child, and quantity of vegitables," a 
schoolroom to be provided free of expense. The year following Mr. St. Jacobs 
bewails his sad lot in a letter written to John Lawe, saying: "I have twenty 
four Scholars, but I suppose half will pay and the others will not pay very well," 
and that he, himself, is "a poor reatch." After a vain attempt to 
make l)Oth ends meet St. Jacobs abandoned the school, writing to Lawe from his 
retreat on the Alenominee river that had he "been incourage to keep a school at 
the Bay I should be there yet, but one Gallon Pease, 15 lbs. Pork per Month was 
not anueft' to supp me. * * * j could not make a Livelywood on i (iallon 
Pease 15 lbs. Pork per Alonth." It must be said that St. Jacobs taught a French 
school, and he was doubtless more proficient in the common branches of learning 
in that language than in English. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Green Bay in 182 [ it was resolved: 

I St. That a subscription should be set on foot and measures taken for the 
erection of a suitable building for a sclioolhouse : 

2d. That when a tutor shall be oljfained and instruction commenced the 
subject of religion as it regards the dift'erence of sects shall 1)e excluded from 
the school, as it is presumed the subscribers will be of various denominations of 
Christians ; 

3d. That the erection of the building and superintendence of the school rules 
established be assigned to four persons chosen by a majoritv of the subscribers. 

4th. That every person having subscribed and paid five dollars shall be en- 
titled to a vote touching any matter relative to the school or sclioolhouse to be 

Sth. That Messrs. John Lawe, Jacques Porlier, George Johnson and Louis 
Grignon be requested to take the necessary steps to carry these resolutions into 
effect and that Mr. John Lawe be requested to receive such pecuniary subscrip- 
tions as may be made in materials or labor. Signed, John Biddle. 

By 1827 it was manifest that comparatively few Indians of the New York 
tribes had immigrated westward and that fewer still had any purpose of coming. 
The reservation, twelve miles from Green Bay, had been set off for their use in 
1825, and here a settlement had been formed but there were constant warring 
factions not only rousing discontent between the first and second Christian parties 
and the pagan party among the Oneidas, but also fostering dissension among the 
Menoniinees and resistance to the ratification of the treaty made by them. Wil- 
liams was not a man strong enough to constitute himself a leader among these 
diverse factions and to bring harmony out of the muddle, and accordingly in 


1827, an attempt was made in this direction b}- government. A treaty known as 
that of Little Butte des Alorts was made with the Menominees by Governor 
Lewis Cass and Thomas L. McKinney, long an agent for the Indian tribes in 
Michilimackinac and the Green Bay region. In this treaty even the manifestly 
just claims of the New York Indians were almost entirely ignored. In the con- 
tention which arose against the ratification of this treaty Eleazer Williams ap- 
peared before President Adams as the representative of the St. Regis tribe. 

Strong influence was brought to bear in maintaining the rights of the Oneidas 
and the other tribes by senators from New York, for these Indians were still 
regarded as wards of that state; therefore, in 1830, the United States govern- 
ment essayed yet again to adjust the critical situation by sending to Green 
Bay three commissioners, General Erastus Root, James McCall and J. T. Mason, 
to confer with the disgruntled tribes. 

For the attitude of the New York Indians McCall seemed to hold Williams 
in part at least responsible, "he has the advantage of a lijjeral education and is 
said to be a cunning man, and claims in right of his wife a large tract of land." 

McCall's journal kept with careful notes of the negotiations and also of the 
country and inhabitants is a diverting bit of historical data. "August loth, 1830, 
Arrived in Fox river — Green Bay fort — about ten o'clock. Landded first at 
Shanty Town, * * * left some passengers and goods, then dropped down 
to Judge John P. Arndt's. * * * Xavirino is the name of the village opposite 
the fort. * * * The steamboat got under way at 7 o'clock p. m. to return to 
Detroit." A bateau with a voyageur crew was furnished for the commissioners 
by Judge Arndt and they proceeded up the river, McCall commenting on the way 
on all that occurred. "Mr. Eleazer Williams is a half blood St. Regis, with a 
half Blood Menominie wife. He is paid by government $250 annually as chap- 
lain for the Oneida Indians. I expect he will make us difficulty in satisfying the 
New York Indians, in making them believe their claim is more extensive than it 
is. Note : it is common in this region for the business men to marry those half 
Blood Ladies." 

The commissioners stopped at the mission house near where Kaukauna 
stands today, and where the settlement of the Stockbridges began on the east 
side of the river. The Presbyterian organization at this place was the first to 
hold service in Brown county or Wisconsin, and was under the supervision of 
Rev. Cutting JMarsh. McCall reports it as in most prosperous condition, and 
here the party halted for a day before proceeding to the village of the Winny- 
bagoes at Doty Island. 

Four Legs, head chief of the Winnebagoes for many years, received the com- 
missioners on the shores of Lake Winnebago, "seated on his Mat cross-legged, in 
all the majesty of an Asiatic prince. After a profound silence he arose from his 
seat and shook hands with each of us.'' Four Legs' speech was given in the 
Winnebago tongue and interpreted by a chief named "The Duck" in the Chip- 
pewa to Connor, who as interpreter for the commissioners in turn translated it to 
them. The difference in dialect among Indians of this region made it especially 
difficult to communicate with them, the Menominees not understanding that of 
the Winnebagoes or the Oneidas and vice versa. Four Legs said : "When the 
Wappenackys (Oneidas) came to this country I was the first to take them by 
hand. They asked us for a small piece of land to raise bread for their children. 



At first few came, but since, they have been coming ever)' year in great numbers, 
as though they would claim the whole country in spite of us." 

Arrangements having been made with the Stockbridges and Winnebagoes for 
a council to be held on Tuesday, August 24th, in a council house which Judge 
Arndt had covenanted to build for this purpose near his house and close to the 
river, the commissioners made the return trip to Green Bay. On the day ap- 
pointed the council convened in a "Bowery covered with Boards," as McCall 
describes it, and with capacity for five hundred people. On Sunday the first 
installment arrived ; fourteen canoe loads came down the river and four or five 
up the bay. On Monday, the twenty-third, a fleet of sixty canoes loaded with 
Indians came to port, augmenting the numljer to about 1,200. At night revelling 
and drunkenness began, and the commissioners found it impossible to enforce the 
law prohibiting the sale of liquor to the Indians. S. C. Stambaugh, the Indian 
agent at Green Bay, acted as secretary for the council, Connor as interpreter, 
and there were delegates from the Oneida, Stockbridge, Tuscarora and Brother- 
town Indians, "private gentlemen, French and a motley crew of mixed and full 
blood Indians * * * Invited Four Legs, a Winnebago chief, to dine with 
sundry gentlemen. This man about forty years of age is the most interesting 
man in his appearance and deiiortment. Speaks in his own tongue fluently and 
forcible. In short, he is a great man." 

The names of the great chiefs attending this famous and final council ])etween 
the western tribes and the New York Indians were : For the St! Regis — Rev. 
Eleazer Williams ; Brothertown — William Dick, N. Towles and John Johnson. 
Oneidas — John Anthony, Daniel Bread, Henry Powless, Comly Stevans, Ned 
Atsequitt. Stockbridge — John Metoxen, John W. Ouinney, B. Kunkipot, Jacob 
Cheaks and Andrew Miller. 

The Winnebago chiefs were : Hoot-Schoo[:) or Four Legs ; Shounk-tshunk or 
Black Wolf: Wheank-Kaw or Big Duck: Monk-kaw-kaw. 

The Menominee chiefs were: Oshkosh — The Brave; Carron — Josette ; Pono- 
we-gon-na — Big Soldier; Kaush-kaw-no-nawe — Bear's Grease; Pe-wit-ta-nit — 
The Rain; Wa-ba-se — The Hare; Mha-nanon-pork — The Wave; Tau-kau-mha- 
ki-chin — Little Chief ; Tche-nawn-pau-ma — All looks upon. 

The Menominees clamored that they should be allowed an interpreter and 
chose that one of the Grignons be given the position. A French woman acted 
as interpreter for the Winnebagoes, and Connor translated the various dialects 
into English. By Friday, McCall records that 1,740 Indians in all had arrived. 
The Winnebagoes and Menominees through their chiefs. Four Legs and Osh- 
kosh, absolutely repudiated any treaty prior to that of 1827, declaring that not 
one inch more of land would they cede to their brethren from the east and in 
this decision they were upheld by their tribes. 

Meantime private dissensions arose between the commissioners. Root and 
Mason. "Agreed to invite some of the officers from the fort and some, private 
gentlemen to dinner and about fourteen chiefs. * * * About the time of 
dining some words passed between General Root and Mr. Mason in relation to 
the invitations to dinner, some of the company present refused to sit at the table, 
and some very hard words passed to the mortification and dissatisfaction of all 
present, and the whole was confusion." In this exhibit of choleric temper and 
dissipation, among undisciplined white and red men, the conduct of the Oneidas 


seems to have been admiraljlc. Calm, sober, unruffled under the guidance of their 
great chiefs, Bread and Anthony, they, and indeed all the eastern tribes seemed 
part of another race from the wild Winnebagoes and crafty Menominees. "At 
night a band of the Winnebagoes appeared painted all colors — not only their 
faces but their bodies — before the door of the house where we boarded, encour- 
aged by some, and treated by others with whiskey. They held the war dance and 
kept it up until ten o'clock at night, with all their disfigyred and distorted coun- 
tenances — naked except breech clouts. Ail with some kind of warlike weapon 
and horrid yell made them resemble so many infernals." 

At the end of a week there seemed some prospect of agreement among the 
contestants. Each day the commissioners and their retinue met in council. 
After the quarrel between the j^rincipals "public table" was discontinued, but 
the cliiefs were still inxited and those among the white men who were con- 
nected with the council, and it remains a marvel how this great company could 
have been furnished with excellent meals day after day even with the efficient 
management of Judge .^rndt. The large concourse of Indians with the excep- 
tion of the chiefs, camped all along the river shore to the number of seventeen 
hundred, in wigwams or conical houses which they constructed quickly and 
effectively by driving stakes in the ground, young, easily lient saplings, — then 
tying these strongly at the to]i, .-ind covering the whole with woven mats of 
inickaway grass. 

In this encampment of nearly two thousand savages, with white men i)assing 
among them and instigating them to evil doing, there were constant brawls 
and outbreaks. The whole afifair recalls the days when Nicholas Perrot led his 
great bands of Indians to Montreal for the annual turning in of peltries. One 
of the soldiers from Fort Howard placed as guard over a field of potatoes near 
the Indian encampment got drunk and immediately proceeded to stab Big 
Soldier, a harmless old chief of the Menominees; this circumstance added to 
the clamor and caused much ill feeling, although the wounded brave's anger 
was appeased by the gift of a blanket, a shirt, and some tobacco, ii pounds of 
pork, I barrel of flour and 3 bushels of corn. 

The ultimatum of the assembled chiefs among the Winnebagoes and Meno- 
minees was that they would allow the New York Indians land extending from 
the Little Ilutte des Morts on the northwest side of Fox river. Brown county, 
to the head of the rapids : then north about thirty miles and ten miles and a half 
wide, making a strip in all of about 201,600 acres of land. This was something 
less than one-third of the amount asked by the New York Indians. "At evening 
the Winnebagoes held another war dance in which the head chief. Four Legs, 
displayed great activity." 

The New York Indians finally agreed to accept this proposition as they said 
they desired to live in peace with their brethren the Winnebagoes and Meno- 
minees, both tribes declaring emphatically that they would give no more, "they 
would not, and as Four Legs, who was speaking made his last expression he 
seized his sword as though he would go to war first." Then came the settling up 
of expenses incurred and the signing of necessary papers. The whole cost of 
this great concourse was $2,664.98, this amount being paid largely for pork, 
flour and corn to feed the 1,740 Indians in the encampment and the followers 
among the white residents. A surveyor, A. G. Ellis, was sent out immediately 


to make the necessary surveys of the land deeded, and McCall made an attempt 
to visit the Oneida settlement at Duck Creek but got mired in an ash swamp, 
with difficulty rescued his horse and returned without reaching his destination. 
He saw enough of the coimtry, however, to convince him that the Oneidas had 
fared well in the treaty just concluded. 

Samuel C. Stambaugh was appointed Indian agent at Green Bay by Presi- 
dent Jackson in 1831, succeeding |Maj or Brevoort, and in the fall of that year 
took a delegation of Indians on his own responsibility to treat with government 
for a cession of a portion of their lands. Later the treaty made at that time, 
February 9, 183 1, called the "Stambaugh treaty," was repudiated by the Menomi- 
nees although from their request that he l^e the person selected to lead them to 
the Black Hawk war it might be thought that personally he was a favorite with 
them. Stambaugh's report on "The quality and condition of Wisconsin Terri- 
tory, 1831," made in compliance with instructions from the war department is an 
interesting and valuable document, a minute description of the country, its 
population and characteristics. 

"Green Bay settlement ( Menomineeville) in the township of Green Bay 
is the seat of justice for Brown county ; and is situated immediately at the head 
of the bay in 44- 40m of N. Latitude, and 79° of W. Longitude. It embraces 
a tract of country commencing at a point about half a mile above the entrance 
of Fox river and extends up and along the river on both sides, .six miles run- 
ning back on each side, three miles so as to form a square containing a town- 
ship or twenty-three thousand and forty acres of land." This included the set- 
tlements at De Pere, Menomineeville and Navarino, but later in this report there 
is mention of "Bay Settlement" made up at that time of French and Creoles, 
who had cleared and cultivated several hundred acres of land, and which was 
the only white settlement on the Green liay peninsula outside of the confirmed 
claims. "Between this settlement and the (ireen Bay settlement there is a very 
extensive prairie, which is very valuable as a meadow on account of its conven- 
ience to those settlements. The Mountain or ledge of rocks which extends 
from the east side of Lake \\'innebago the whole length of the Peninsula to (.ireen 
Bay approaches this settlement at the nearest point ■* * * within a distance 
of six miles. * * * \ very conspicuous promontory called the Red Banks 
* * * at the highest point is about a hundred feet above the level of the bay. 
The ground oil these banks presents the apjiearance of having once been under 
cultivation, probably by the early French settlers." (Vol. 15.) The corn fields 
commented on by Stambaugh dated back much farther than the coming of the first 
French settlers, and were those planted by the Indians in prehistoric times. The 
Indian fort which crowned Red Banks was the one constructed by the Winne- 
bagoes (Puants) when entrenched upon this conspicuous promontory they defied 
for perhaps centuries, — the length of time can only be computed from legendary 
sources, the other and less powerful tribes about Green Bay. Around the heights 
of Red Banks cling many Indian legends relating to the first coming of the 
Winnebagoes to their "Garden of Eden," and to the great and decisive battle 
which many years after depleted the tribe so that they were never again as 
strong in numbers and influence as before. 

Legend of the Red Banks, by Charles D. Robinson, as related by Onoka, a 
Menominee squaw of great age and intelligence : 


'"Upon a higli bank, on the eastern shore of Green Bay, about twelve miles 
north of the town, is an interesting earthwork, bearing a singular resemblance 
to military defences of modern times. Its walls, at one time, must have been 
some seven feet in height, or thereabouts, having a ditch or moat on the outside, 
and provided on its three exposed sides with regular bastions. Its fourth side 
fronts on a precipice of perhaps one hundred feet in height, whose base is washed 
by the waters of the bay : and leading down this steep bank impassable at any 
other immediate point, is what seems to have been once a protected passage cut 
into the clay, and perhaps covered with boughs of trees. This was the communi- 
cation from the fort to the water : and standing here now, it needs but little fancy 
to see those grim warriors of the olden time filing down their covered way, with 
less of the pomp, and more of the nerve of the mailed knights of feudal days, 
issuing from their rock-bound castles. 

■"In. or near the center, are two parallel walls, about twenty-five feet long, 
which were probably united at the ends, as there is some appearance of it now. 
It is Aery difficult to imagine the use of this part of the structure, unless it 
was to protect the valuables, or such inmates of the fort as were incapable of 
aiding its defense. Had the place been constructed in these days, it would 
have made a magazine of the most approved kind. A few rods to the north, 
outside the walls, and on the very brink of the precipice, is what was once 
apparently, a look-out — a mound of earth, a few feet high, now half carried 
ofif by the wearing away of the cliff. To the southward and eastward of the fort 
occujiying some hundreds of acres, were the planting grounds of the people 
who inhabited the place. Large trees now overgrow the ground, yet the fur- 
rows are as distinctly marked as if made but last year, and are surprisingly- 
regular. The whole work is admirably placed, and would do credit to the fore- 
thought and judgment so necessary in correct military positions of modern 

This is the only ancient earthwork, it is believed, which possesses an un- 
doubted history or tradition, and that is but the history of its fall. When, and 
bv whom it was built, there is no story — nothing but the persistent declarations 
of the Indians of the vicinity that it was the work of red men long, long ago. 
The tradition which follows, is related by O Kee-Wah, or The Sea, an Indian 
woman living now near the Red river, on the eastern shore of Green Bay, and 
who, lieyond doubt, is upwards of one hundred years of age. She sat over a wig- 
wam lire, onlv a few nights ago and related this story, while the light of other 
davs faintlv illumined her face as she marked out in the ashes the plan of 
the campaign; and as she told of the long days of desperate fighting, in wdiich 
her ancestors engaged, her withered arms seemed nerved with the strength of 
youth, like the old soldier, who 

— "Shouldered his crutch, 

.A.nd fought his battles o'er again." 

"It was long ago." said O Kee-Wah — "I was so high" — placing her hand 
al)OUt three feet from the ground, "when my grandfather told me the story. 
The Sauks and the Outagamies lived in the old fort at Red Banks. They had 
lived there a long time, and had their planting grounds there, and ruled the whole 
country. The forests eastward were full of deer, the waters of the bay were full 


of fish, and they possessed the whole. We (the Menominees) hved over the 
bay (at the Alenominee river), and we sent down the lakes, inviting the other 
tribes to come up and help us drive out the Sauks and the Outagamies. They 
came in canoes — the Chippewas, and Pottawatomies, and Ottawas, and many 
more. You see how wide this bay is; their canoes stretched half way across; 
the bay was half full of canoes, and each canoe was full of fighting men ; they 
sent their greatest braves. They landed here at the Red river, after coming 
across from Menominee, and for two miles along the beach their canoes were 
so thick that no more could be crowded in. From here they all went, in the 
night to the Red Banks. The\' had bows and arrows, and the heads of the 
arrows were of flint. Silently they paddled along until they came to the fort, 
and then the canoes were stationed all along in front, out of reach of arrows 
from the shore. A part of the warriors stayed in the canoes, and a part went on 
shore and formed a line around the fort, so that, with those on shore and those 
on the water, it was completely surrounded, and there was no escape for the 
people inside. So cautiously was all this done, that of all within that fated fort, 
but one discovered it. A young woman, whose parents lived within the walls, 
had that day been given, against her will, to be the wife of one of the Sauks 
living in the immediate vicinity. In the night she ran away from his wigwam 
and went home passing on her way the lines of the liesiegers. Rushing into the 
fort, she awakened her family, with the cry, 'we are all dead.' The father 
laughed at her story, and laid down to sleep again. 

"Just before daylight the battle Ijegan, and it lasted many days. The 
besieged fought bravely, standing in the trenches within the walls, and the blood 
was up to their ankles. They had no water, for the supply was cut off by the 
party on the beach. They tried in every way to obtain it. Vessels attached 
to cords were let down to the water l)y night, hut the cords were cut before 
they could be drawn up. 'Come down and drink," cried out the Menominees; 
"here is plenty of water, if you dare to come down and get it.' x^nd they did go 
down many times. These taunts, and their great necessity, made that narrow 
way the scene of many desperate sallies, but all to no purpose. The besiegers 
were too strong. 

"The heat of the burning sun, and the dreadful suffering for the want of 
water became intolerable. Some rain fell once, but it was only a partial relief 
for those who were perishing in the sight of that sparkling water which was 
almost within reach. At length one of the youngest chiefs, after fasting strictly 
for ten days, thus addressed his companions : 'Listen — last night there stood by 
me the form of a young man clothed in white, who said: "I was alive once — 
was dead, and now live forever; only trust in me, now and always, and I will 
deliver you. Fear not. At midnight I will cast a deep sleep upon your enemies. 
Then go forth boldly and silently, and you shall escape.' " 

"Thus encouraged, and knowing this to be a direct revelation, the besieged 
warriors decided to leave the fort. That night an unusual silence pervaded 
the whole host of their enemies, who had been before so wakeful. So in silent, 
stealthy lines, the wearied people passed out and fled. Only a few who dis- 
believed the vision, preferred to remain, and they were massacred with fiercer 


barbarity than ever, when next morning the besieging tribes awoke from their 
strange slumbers to find that their prey was gone."' 

(References for Chapter XII: Stambaugh, Report on Wisconsin Territory, 
Wis. Hist. Colls., \'o\. 15: AlcCall's Journal, Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. 11; C. D. 
Robinson, Wis. Hist. Colls., Vol. 2.) 


The dramatic episode in Wisconsin history known as the Illack Hawk war 
gave a scare to the dwellers in the Fox river valley and not without reason. 
Black Hawk, a chief of the Sauk nation living on Rock river. Illinois, in retalia- 
tion for the insults sutifered by his people from the white squatters on his terri- 
tory, indiscreetly threatened them with force if they did not at once depart. 
Tiiis was in the spring of 183 1. The Sauk chief's words were construed as being 
"a bloody menace" and the Illinois militia were promptly called out and the dis- 
turbance quelled. The Hawk was encouraged in his revolt against immigration 
by emissaries from the Pottawatomies, Winnebagoes, Ottawas and Chippewas, 
all of whom urged him to fight for his rights and drive out if possible the 

With no hostile intent, however. Black Hawk and his band of five hundred 
warriors, accompanied by their women and children, passed up the Rock river 
in April, 1832, with the intention of planting their fields at Prophetstown. The 
onward tramp of the Indians was looked upon as an invasion and roused general 
alarm in Illinois and what is now Wisconsin. Settlers fled the country or gathered 
into log forts. General Henry Atkinson, with an army of volunteers and regu- 
lars marched from Fort Armstrong against Black Hawk and his peaceable 
following. The startled Hawk sent back a defiant message and retreated up 
Rock river, making a brief stand at -Stillman creek. Here finding that the 
promised assistance from other tribes was not forthcoming he attempted to sur- 
render, on stipulation that he be allowed peacefully to withdraw to the west of 
the Mississippi. But his messengers on approaching with their white flag the 
camp of a party of twenty-five hundred half-drunken Illinois cavalry militia 
were brutally slain. Accompanied by a mere handful of braves the enraged 
Sauk leader now ambushed and easily routed this large and boisterous party, 
whose members displayed rank cowardice ; in their mad retreat they spread 
broadcast through the settlements a report that Black Hawk was backed by two 
thousand bloodthirsty warriors bent on a campaign of universal slaughter. 
(Thwaites, Wisconsin.) 

The terrified dwellers on Fox river through that summer of 1832 lived in 
almost hourly dread of an invasion by Sacs and Foxes. The allies of the war- 
ring bands of Indians, the Winnebagoes. were in a constant state of unrest and 
there was great apprehension that they would join the invaders in case of an 
assault on Fort Howard. From the Green Bay garrison on the first alarm a 
company had been sent to Fort Winnebago, leaving at the former post but 
seventeen men, and the cantonment in almost a defenseless condition, as 
repairs were going on in the buildings. .\ cannon was planted near the river 



opposite the Episcopal mission house at Shant\to\vii and patrols were constantly 
iiept about the settlement. The whites in the neighborhood of Lake Winne- 
bago moved down to the bay hamlet and the cannon on the river was to be 
the signal when fired for all the inhabitants to go to the fort. "It was sup- 
posed that the mission house would be the first object of attack on account 
of the number of scalps to be obtained. The alarm continued for three weeks, 
some nights the large boys did not go to bed, a girl with long hair requested 
that it be cut oiY so that she could not be scalped." (Kemper, W. H. C, Vol. 15.) 

The mission house and school was in 1832 in charge of Reverend Richard 
F. Cadle. Under liis care were twenty-two full-blooded Indian children from 
the Menominee, Chippewa and New York tribes and one Sauk, the entire school 
numbering 109 members. Of the remainder eighty were half and quarter breed 
Menominee and Chippewa and seven were white. The large preponderance of 
Menominees rendered the children's dread of Black Hawk's band not unfounded, 
for the Sauk's antagonism to the Menominees dated back a century and more, 
to the days when their allies, the Foxes, were routed by the combined forces ' 
of French and Menominee. The little girl with long hair might well fear that 
it would be carried off and herself, perhaps, with it by the invading Sauks and 
Winnebagoes, for exaggerated rumors as to their numbers and vindictive cruelty 
were rife, and the insecurity of Fort Howard, three miles to the northward, 
must have added to the feeling of isolation and dread of impending danger. 

The small detachment of seventeen men retained at Fort Howard was under 
the command of Captain Nathan Clark, and this fragment of military force 
formed a nucleus of retreat for the fugitives from threatened points and also for 
the townspeople. The great rendezvous was. however, the agency house, at 
that time the large frame house on the east bank of Fox river, which had Ijcen 
purchased from Judge Doty four years previous. 

Henry B. Brevoort had been succeeded as agent by Samuel C. Stamliangh, 
and he, in turn, by Colonel George Boyd, who had been transferred from Macki- 
nac, his former post on June 2, 1832. Colonel Stambaugh had not yet (juitted 
his Green Bay agency, and a delegation of Menominees headed by Grizzly Bear 
waited upon Colonel Boyd and asked that "our father, Colonel Stambaugh, 
be allowed to remain with us until our troubles are over,' and that he be 
ghen the command of the two hundred and fifty recruits from the Menominee 
nation, who were encamped in the woods at the rear of the agency house. 

Colonel Boyd's reply was most courteous and conciliatory. He gladly con- 
sented to allow Stambaugh full command of the Indian allies, promising that if 
it became necessary to march against the enemy, he alone should lead the Indian 
militia. Ebenezer Childs, writing on June 13, 1832. says that the discipline 
among this large camp of Menominees was remarkable. Regular sentinels were 
posted on the outskirts, from thirty to fifty scouting parties patrolled the woods 
from "Dickenson's Ferry to the lower part of Devil river," and they were ordered 
to and did report every morning at headquarters. Captain Augustin Grignon 
"who has as much control over the Indians as any in this country," shared the 
command with Colonel Stambaugh. Much time was spent in musket practice 
by the recruits, and also "in firing in bands and platoons." The number of 
Menominees was finally augmented to about five hundred, and to these presents 
to the amount of $159.85 were allowed by government in addition to their daily 


rations. The presents consisted of wearing apparel, vermillion for the decora- 
tion of their faces, looking glasses, 124 flints, 468 pounds of tobacco and twenty- 
four dozen pipes to the chiefs and head men. 

Colonel George Boyd, whose papers in regard to the Black Hawk war are 
an interesting addition to the history of that period, belonged to an old and dis- 
tinguished \'irginia family and had held many offices of trust under govern- 
ment. In October, 1816, he was appointed special agent of the war depart- 
ment, and ordered to Europe to purchase arms for the use of the United States ; 
he also received orders for the purchase of material to be used in the construction 
of the capitol building and the president's house at Washington, amounting to 
something over $19,000. The government later failed to fulfil its contract with 
him, by declining to accept a part of the arms which he had ordered. Tiiis 
involved him in financial ruin, and forced him to dispose of all his property for 
the benefit of his creditors. He was a high-minded generous gentleman, much 
respected by the residents in this vicinity and was thoroughly liked by the 
Indians, toward whom he showed sympathy and fair dealing. He was, more- 
over, efficient in the management of his office. 

The agency house stood in 1832 about one mile south of the Episcopal mis- 
sion : ruins of the old chimney still remain to mark the spot in the town of 
Allouez, and an asylmn was offered in the large hospitable building to all who 
could get in, when the cannon should give signal that the Indians were in 
sight. To quote from Mrs. llcnr\ S. I'.aird's "Territorial Wisconsin:" "The 
militia had organized and had encamped near the river below the woods on the 
west side of what is now R. B. Kellogg's stock farm. Mr. Baird was the 
(lu.artermaster. We had given up our house in Shantytown and were living on 
our farm, but my husband was obliged to go every day to Shantytown to his 
business. I never saw him mount his horse that summer without saying to my- 
self 'shall we ever meet again?" Cholera threatening on one hand, the Indians 
on the other." 

This was the first of the three fatal cholera epidemics which visited, in dif- 
ferent years, Brown countv. In 1832, there seems not to have been a practic- 
ing physician throughout the county ; the post surgeon from Fort Howard 
attended the sick when possible, but often it was the priest alone who was 
called in to minister to those stricken as well as to shri\e the dying and bury 
the dead. General Scott's troops on their way to the front were attacked by the 
disease at Detroit, and many died. Hardly a household in Menominecville was 
exempt from the scourge. Father Alazzuchelli, at that time in charge of the 
church built by the Roman Catholic congregation in the town, assisted by two 
sisters of the order of St. Clare, gave devoted care to those stricken and buried 
the dead. 

Two years later in 1834, the cholera was again abroad in the land. Father 
\'an den Broek. then in charge of the mission at ^^lenomineeville. records in his 
note book: "It often happened that while I was attending the sick, sometimes 
even while confessing them, that they died at my side, so that we could not get 
enough people to dig the graves. We had to bury from four or five in one 
grave. We could not even find people enough to prepare the bodies for burial 
and I had to bury them myself, assisted by two sisters of the order of St. 
Clare (Theresa and Clara Bourdillon) who were teaching. They took off the 


cords, which were their girdles, and with these we lowered the bodies into the 

In the midst of the anxiety and dread which prevailed generally during the 
summer of 1832, the people one morning heard the dreaded signal; the boom of 
cannon repeated twice, an ominous warning that the hostile Indians were in sight. 
There was a general stampede for the agency house, just as the dawn began to 
lighten Fox river. From far and near came hurrying feet ; women and men lead- 
ing little children by the hand, or riding horses. Soon the house was crowded 
and still the frightened people continued to come. 

Suddenly it was bruited around that there was a mistake and then through 
the nervous strain and anxiety rang out a hearty laugh, for it was discovered 
that there was not a hostile warrior within a himdred miles, and that in firing 
the caiuion an attempt was made by the local militia to imitate the martial dis- 
cipline of Fort Howard, where a luorning gun was always fired at sunrise. 

^Irs. Kinzie at Fort Winnebago thus describes the Green Bay military as they 
appeared on their way to the scene of hostilities : "A company of about twenty- 
five horsemen, with banners flying, veils fluttering from their hats and arms 
glittering in the sun, rode into our midst amid greetings and roars of laughter. 
They were Colonel Stambaugh and .Alexander Irwin of Green Bay, with a com- 
pany of young volunteers and followed by a whooping band of ]\Ienominee Indi- 
ans, all bound for the seat of war." 

The journal of Cutting Marsh, the austere and somewhat stern missionary 
to the Stockbridge Indians, tells another story. He was left alone in charge, his 
co-workers having all sought asylum at Shantytown. "Rainy and cold. Mind 
completely distracted in consequence of reports of Indian hostilities. Heard 
that the Sacs, Foxes, some Pottawatomies and Winnebagoes were about 70 
miles from Fort Winnebago. Found it difficult and almost impossible to keep 
my mind off from the subject. Still found some relief in prayer to God." 

The journal continues: "Friday, July 27th. Saw perhaps 50 of the Menom- 
inees who were on their way up the Fox river on a war expedition to join the 
U. S. army against the hostile Sacs. They appeared indeed thoughtless as sheep 
bound to the slaughter. Their painted faces, ornaments, drums, whistles, war 
clubs, spears, etc., made them appear indeed savage and warlike. Their songs 
uttered from the throat consisting in deep guttural sounds and very loud with- 
out distinction in sounds seemed most like the singing of frogs, and the occasional 
whoop was calculated to make one feel that darkness and moral death still broods 
over this region." 

The Indian bands continually passing along the Fox river trail added con- 
stantly to the terror of the inhabitants. The warlike and always spectacular Win- 
nebagoes appeared at Shantytown, "one carrying a large spear, the blade perhaps 
a foot and half long, and the handle covered with red baize, another carried the 
colors, among other things with which it was ornamented was a piece of a Sac 
Indian's scalp. Some were painted red, and had horses' tails so adjusted upon 
their heads that the hair all hung down upon their shoulders, and upon the crown 
of the head was a plume." 

Stambaugh's Indian allies succeeded in intercepting a fleeing remnant of 
Sauks, who had escaped in the weeds bordering the Mississippi. These they 


niassacretl: thus did Brown county bear its part in the causeless and cruel Black 
Hawk war. 

This Indian outbreak advertised to a large extent the western country and stim- 
ulated settlement. In the autumn of 1832. treaties were negotiated with the 
Menominees, Sauks and Winnebagoes, voiding their title to all the lands south 
and east of the Fox and ^^'isconsin rivers. In 1834, a new era in Brown county's 
progress was inaugurated, for during that year and the next these lands were 
surveyed and opened up for settlement. The eastern half of this territory called 
the Green Bay district bordered on Lake Alichigan and included what are now 
the most populous counties of the state. 

A land office was opened at Navarino with Samuel W. Beall as receiver, 
and William B. Slaughter, register. Morgan L. [Martin had united with Solomon 
Juneau in 1833 in platting the town site of Milwaukee, and at this historic land 
sale were to be found the plats of that village and Navarino. The latter was 
considered by far the most desirable place in which to locate, and town lots rapidly 
rose in value from fifty to twelve hundred dollars. During the summer of 1835- 
36 excitement rose to fever heat, every steamer and schooner brought settlers ; 
speculators also crowded in who purchased land at government prices which 
they sold to later comers for treble the amount. Moneyed men from Detroit and 
other cities invested heavily, the sales in four days alone reaching the sum of 
seventy-five thousand dollars. 

Many of these land buyers came with no fi.xed intention of remaining per- 
manently, but after investing and viewing the fine country their intentions 
changed ; they took up homes and became permanent residents. Another class 
characterized by the settlers as "speculators" visited the country in great num- 
bers and purchased very large quantities of the choicest of the public lands, with 
no purpose of occupancy but solely with the expectation of selling the lands at 
a future period at a greatly increased price. The efifect of these speculations was 
greatly to retard or prevent the occupancy of the country by permanent settlers. 

Some idea may be formed of the magnitude of this land speculation from 
the fact which the records of the General Land Office show, that the total sales 
of government lands in Wisconsin previous to December 31, 1836, amounted 
to 878,014 acres, of which as much as 600,000 acres were probably sold to spec- 
ulators. The currency of the country, which consisted mainly of the notes of 
state banks was abnormally expanded. The receivers of the land offices were 
authorized to accept the notes of many of the state banks in payment for public 
lands, and appearances seemed to indicate that the entire body of the public 
domain would soon be exchanged for bank credits and paper money, and would 
be absorbed by speculators to the serious injury of actual settlers and emigrants. 

On the eleventh of July, 1836, President Andrew Jackson issued a "specie 
circular" as it was called, instructing the "Receivers of Public Money" in view 
of the frauds, speculations and monopolies in the purchase of the public land to 
receive in payment after the 15th day of August, "nothing except what is directed 
by the existing laws, viz : Gold and Silver and in the proper cases Virginia land 
script." This vigorous measure had the desired result ; after the date mentioned 
there was no more wild buying and selling of government lands, but the evil had 
been done and before the fifteenth of August, 1836, a large proportion of the 
most valuable lands had passed for a mere song into the hands of worthless in- 


vestors. It caused, too, a feeling of distrust among the real home seekers and 
retarded the growth of Brown county for many years. It was during the pro- 
gress of this land sale that the first church fair was held in Green Bay under the 
auspices of Christ Church parish. All the ladies of the village irrespective of 
denominational preference united in the work and a great variety of articles was 
collected; among other Indian curiosities a miniature wigwam of tiny puckaway 
mats which readily sold for forty dollars. A bountiful supper was provided, and 
in addition the ladies sold for a large price saucers of "floating island," which 
they designated as "floats," a term much in use during the land sale. The even- 
ing was also enlivened by an auction — William B. Ogden, who with many other 
capitalists had been brought to the town by the speculative fever acting as auc- 
tioneer. In the words of Mrs. Baird, who in her "Contes du Temps Passe," gives 
a charming account of this fair : Mr. Ogden "was brilliant, witty, perfectly superb 
—no professional auctioneer could have thought of competing with him." 

In 1835 the town of Astor was platted, the proprietors being John Jacob Astor, 
Ramsay Crooks and Robert Stuart. The area covered included some of the most 
beautiful and desirable property in Green Bay township, and had been acquired 
by the American Fur Company through association of the original owners of 
the land, the Grignons, Lawes and Porliers, with this important monopoly. When 
.^Lstor retired from the company, about the year 1834, he owned in Green Bay 
hundreds of acres of unproductive lands, property of the American Fur Company. 
The frequent calls made by Green Bay traders for loans, sometimes for hun- 
dreds of dollars, sometimes for larger amounts had met with quick response 
from the accommodating corporation until gradually not only lands in Green Bay 
but the wide domain deeded to Charles de Langlade by the English government as 
a reward for his valuable war service and bequeathed by him to his descendants 
was swallowed up by the Astor Company. The fur trade with its easy profit 
exercised the same malign influence in the nineteenth as in the seventeenth 
century. It paralyzed other industries. The profits grew less yearly, the busi- 
ness more diffused ; the trading house interfered with the country store to such an 
extent that the merchants complained of unequal competition and more or less 
every store in Green Bay and De Pere traded in peltries and made what profit 
they could in the sale of furs. Meanwhile the Astor property was held at pro- 
hibitive prices and greatly retarded the growth of the city, the numerous heirs 
after the death of the original owners lieing difficult to reach and unwilling to 
agree on terms of sale. The public parks in Green Bay were all originally the 
property of Astor, Crooks and Stuart. When Astor was first platted, however, 
in 1835, it was Ijelieved that quick returns would be realized through the sale 
of lots and that 'tlie new village would speedily overtop in importance its rival, 
Navarino. A fine hotel, the Astor House, was built on the corner of Adams and 
Mason streets, an historic structure the building of which is characterized as "an 
event of importance not only to the little village but to the entire northwest." 
In a paper prepared by Miss Frances Last for the Green Bay Historical Society 
this first important hotel west of the great lakes is touched ofi^ thus: — "John Jacob 
Astor, the shrewd old fur trader, desiring to increase the value of the land he 
owned in the new town and to draw there a part of the settlers who were coming 
in great numbers to this part of the country during the land sales, wisely de- 
termined to build a comfortable hotel, 'the largest west of New York,' where the 



transient guest who came merely to look over the ground might be changed 
through the comfort of his surroundings into a permanent resident. The little 
village of Astor which was honored with this edifice, so far superior in size and 
in other respects to anything to be found in all the broad expanse of the north- 
west, contained not more than half a dozen houses built mostly of logs, small in 
size and destitute of paint." 

A stone's throw from the Astor house and close to the river's brink stood the 
low log house belonging to Joseph Jourdain (a blacksmith of repute), the father 
of .Mrs. Eleazer Williams, and where she stayed much of the time during the 
visits of her somewhat erratic husband to the east. A long low log building 
occupied the spot where the water works plant stands today, and just south of 
this the first church in the future city of Green Bay was built a few years earlier, 
by the Roman Catholic congregation of St. John's. "To the northward a little 
farther down the river Judge Arndt kept a small inn, its latch string invitingly 
out and just beside it a store, where the varied wants of the rural population 
were supplied." 

At this same time the Astors built what was later known as the bank building 
where the first bank in Wisconsin opened its doors in 1835, and also the large 
warehouse and dock, which for many succeeding years stood at the foot of 
Mason street, and was used after the fur trade ceased to require its ample dimen- 
sions, for the first sash door and window factory in Brown county and probably 
in the state. 

Daniel Whitney had before the erection of the Astor House built a less pre- 
tentious structure directly across from l-"ort Howard, and on the site of the pres- 
ent Beaumont Hotel, calling it the Washington House. • Fierce rivalry existed 
between the little towns and the prospect of a new and elegant hostelry for the 
accommodation of the many guests attending the land sales must have caused 
as great excitement as did the transference of property. 

"When the work was actually completed and in all the imposing majesty of 
its three stories and crowning cupola, the Astor House, glistening with fresh 
white paint stood in the morning sunshine, a lieautiful object to the partial eyes of 
the dweller in Astor. A stranger might hardly have considered it an architectural 
gem. It was very large, very scjuare, and (|uite guiltless of any adornment or 
frivolous device. Its many windows were provided with bright green blinds to 
temper sun and wind to the lambs gathered within its walls. Mrs. Mary Mitchell, 
whose recollection goes back to those early days writes of this first real hotel. 
"It was a fine structure for the time in which it was built and perhaps considered 
a work of art. I well remember, the airs our little burgh put on when it was 
said 'the hotel is finished.' " When the last touch had been given to the house, 
furniture splendid beyond anything seen before in the west was sent to fill it. Old 
settlers vs'ere wont to wa.x eloquent in describing the soft carpets, the mahogany 
tables and chairs and sofas, the abundant shining silver, knives and forks and 
spoons ; two teasets not plated, but real and sterling silver, and the finest damask. 
A few pieces of this furniture, a handsome table, a sofa and a very beautiful cut 
glass globe still exist to bear testimony to the truth of these statements. As a last 
and crowning addition to the edifice its owner sent from New York a man to fill 
the responsible and difficult position of landlord ; described as one of exceptionally 
fine presence with cultivated, genial manners. * * * Charles Rogers, by 


name. As nearly as can be learned the house passed next into the hands of 
Thomas Green, a well known pioneer resident and hotel keeper, who was held in 
warmest regard. This must have been about 1838, as Rogers held the position 
for some three years, and it was during Green's occupancy that the Astor House 
was honored with a royal guest, the son of the French king, Louis Philippe, the 
Prince de Joinville, with his suite, a gay party. They spent a few hours here 
dining sumptuously and conferring lasting distinction upon the house thereby. 

"Thomas Green was succeeded in the management of the hotel by a I\Ir. Blood, 
Mr. Parsons and one Axtell. Some time in 1854 it was leased by Ira Stone, the 
last but by no means the least popular or successful of its landlords. The fol- 
lowing advertisement appeared in the Advocate during the summer of that year. 
"The Astor House." "Pleasantly situated on Adams street in the City of Green 
Bay is now open for the entertainment and accommodation of Boarders, Travel- 
lers, Strangers and all others in pursuit either of business or pleasure. This 
large and commodious hotel has just been thoroughly overhauled, repaired and 
elegantly fitted up and furnished for the accommodation of the Public, and no 
pains will be spared by the present proprietor to give the amplest satisfaction to 
all who favor him with their patronage. The table will be supplied with all the 
delicacies and luxuries of the season which can be found in this market. It is 
beautifully located on the banks of Fox river, opposite to the Astor dock, where 
the River steamers stop regularly to and from Kaukauna. Passengers will be 
conveyed to and from the steamboat landing free of charge. 

Ira Stone." 

"May I remark parenthetically that the landing from which passengers were 
to be conveyed was just over the way. 

"The old house lost none of its popularity during these later years and was 
very prosperous and successful financially — perhaps too prosperous for its ovvn 
good, certainly it made for itself an enemy. Sexeral attem])ts to destroy it were 
followed by one that proved successful and in August. 1S57, the house was 
burned to the ground. As after setting forth the jniblic life and services of a 
great man and his claims to the grateful rememJM'ance of his fellow men the 
biogra[)her before closing gives us a more intimate and familiar account of his 
hero his private life, his virtues and his faults, his home and his surroundings 
and thus places his subject more clearly before us, may one speak of the interior 
life of the Astor House in urging its claims to a niche in memory's gallery. 

"No churlish landlord ever presided over the old hostelry, no niggard hand 
ever spread its board. * * * Was it the pleasure of the community to honor 
a fellow citizen for his public services a Ijanquet or a ball was given at the Astor 
House. Twice was the Hon. Morgan L. Martin, thus assured of the appreciative 
regard of the people of Green Bay — once, when as our delegate in Congress, he 
secured the passage of the Fox River improvement bill — and once when as presi- 
dent of the second territorial convention he was largely instrumental in framing 
our constitution and securing Wisconsin's admission to statehood. Here were 
held the important political meetings — the formation of the \\ big and Demo- 
cratic parties were first accomplished within the walls of the old hotel. Here, 
too, were given the Masonic balls and parties for many years. The Mexican war 
put a stop to the merrymakings and carried to the front the men, who through 
months of familiar intercourse, had endeared themselves to the citizens of Green 


Bay. The Advocates during 1848 and 1849 are full of news from the seat of 
war ; there was a shadow over the whole community for a time but with a declara- 
tion of peace the clouds lifted again, bonfires blazed and bells rang out and 
there was music and dancing again in the Astor ball room. The following 
notice appeared in 1856. 'Fashionable Dancing Academy. Mr. De Bennee 
respectfully begs leave to inform the ladies and gentlemen of Green Bay that he 
shall recommence giving tuition in that polite art on Friday, April i8th. at the 
Bank hall until the Astor ball room is finished, which is now undergoing import- 
ant improvements.' As we read the gay throng seems to once again fill with 
music and laughter and jest the walls of the old hotel, then fade away and only 
ashes remain. Other inns took its place but the Astor House, the first real hotel 
west of Lake Michigan, and the most historic, stands out for all time and its 
epitaph remains in the hearts of the people." 

(References Chapter XHI: Ms. Letters: Thwaites, Wisconsin; Frances Last 
Astor House: Life of Father Yanden Broek : \Visconsin Hist. Colls. Yol. 11.) 


iM-oni i8i() to 1824, a period of eight years, the rule that bore sway through- 
out Ih-own county was essentially military. The civil code was limited and but 
sparingly administered, but military law and its uncompromising enforce- 
ment more than supplied any deficiencies in civil government. Instances are 
recorded of high handed oppression and injustice committed not only by the 
commanders at the French fort, but also in later years and under I'nited States 
protection by the commandants at Fort Howard. 

The military law held that no citizen should dare to land on the fort side 
of Fox river without permission from the commanding officer and it was a stand- 
ing order of the post that no boat or vessel should be permitted to pass the mili- 
tary cantonment without reporting. The sentinel was during the day often placed 
on guard on the wharf rather than on the elevated platform of the sallyport and 
ordered to fire on any craft that dared to disobey this arbitrary command. 

I'p to 1825 there had been no public means provided for crossing Fox river. 
In June of that year John P. Arndt took out a license to maintain a ferry some 
distance south of the fort. Military law had, however, for so long governed the 
community that a license given by civil authority was not recognized by Major 
Whistler, who issued an order forbidding any passenger to land on the west 
shore without first obtaining a permit from the commanding officer. A guard 
was stationed to enforce compliance, and several persons attempting to cross 
were arrested and put to much inconvenience. At last Arndt himself to end the 
difficulty, crossed, was seized as he had anticipated and carried to the fort. When 
released he brought suit against Major Whistler for false imprisonment and 
obtained judgment of fifty dollars and costs ; the court ruling that Fox river was 
a public highway, on wdiich a ferry could be run at any point without military 

Fort Howard, although curtailed in its governmental power by decision of 
the courts continued a potent factor in the life of Brown county for the suc- 
ceeding forty years, giving color and picturesqueness to life in the valley of the 
Fox. Green Bay acquired the title of a "garrison town," a marked distinction 
at that time, although hardly appreciated today ; it gave dignity to the little set- 
tlement, and brought to this vicinity men and women of exceptional worth and 
reputation. The garrison, with its crowd of young officers, set the pace in social 
afl'airs, and through government orders inaugurated various important improve- 
ments. The people were proud of their trim white fort, and the flag which 
floated over it during the daylight hours stood for this whole section of country 
as the guarantee of civilization and protection. 

Tlie first commander. Colonel Talbot Chambers had his hands full with 



building the fort, and bringing it into a habitable state. Lewis Morgan, United 
States agent of fortifications resided for a number of years at Fort Howard and 
the erection of the buildings was under his supervision. 

Not much could be expected from the earl_v commanders in a social way. and 
indeed, the inhabitants scattered along the shores of the river were just recover- 
ing from the cruel devastation of the War of 1812; so although there was some 
informal entertaining at the houses of the well-to-do traders, the garrison held 
aloof, and exercised merely a decided inlluencc on the law and customs of the 
people. "This country is known simply as the seat of Indian wars," wrote judge 
Doty, a few years later, and the reputation of the Fox river valley was that of 
a place given over to fierce warfare — a battlegroimd dangerous to the new comers 
and surrounded by savage tribes. "Everything at present bears a ]jeaceful 
aspect, but how long this state of things will continue is very tuicertain. With- 
out a great deal of circumspection on the part of the Indian department, and a 
chain of posts always properly garrisoned I have little hesitation in saying that 
our frontier again will witness the horrors of savage warfare — The Winnebagoes 
it is manifest, are decidedly op])osed to our making any establishment in this 
country, as are also a part of the Folle-Avoinos. Nothing, I believe, but the 
strong force they have to combat with keeps them quiet — the storm is murmur- 
ing at a distance, which I am fearful will, sooner or later, burst on us \\ith all 
the accumulated horrors of savage vengeance," thus wrote Dr. William Mcnr\- 
Henning from the "Camp on Fox river. Green Bay, August 29, 1816." 

A strong hand was re(|uired at Fort Howard to hold in subjection Indians 
and British sympathizers among the Green Bay settlers, and Colonel Chambers 
proved equal to the occasion. He was as described "violent and exacting," a 
lover of strong drink and severe in discipline, but he was also "just and sociable" 
and the majority of the traders reported that they received only good treatment 
from the government. The commanding officer must have possessed a fair 
average of tact, for upon him devolved the delicate task of issuing licenses 
to fur traders throughout this entire section of country. The "tribunal of a 
mercantile inquisition" was the description given by one of these applicants for 
permission to carry on commercial operations, and even the dignified Jac(|ues 
Porlier indulges in a burst of raillery over the absurdity of the situation, "Mr. 
Bouteiller, that Sheep of the Good God, after so many hardships, having been 
taxed with being at the head of the Savages during the war, on a Great white 
horse, with a great white plume, and a long Saber, and on the point of having his 
scalp lifted and his neck cut, has succeeded in dissipating the prejudices against 
him with the aid of his purse. He has obtained at great expense a license." This 
in the spring of 181 7. 

The officers do not appear to have brought their wives into this frontier post 
until quarters sufficient for a comfortable establishment were erected. The 
furnishing was a serious question, the buildings were unfinished and crude, but 
Zachary Taylor and his wife brought with them, in 1817, to this unsettled life 
refinements in household goods hitherto unknown : beautiful mahogany furni- 
ture, and fine old china, a large part of which, however, they were obliged to 
dispose of to Green Bay residents before embarking for Major Taylor's next 
command at Prairie du Chien. The only mode of travel being by bateau or 
canoe, it was manifestly impossible to carry a mammoth sideboard and heavy 







tables through the rapids of Fox river and tlie sliallows of the Wisconsin, so 
this fine personal property was left to furnish and delight a Green Bay home. 

With Colonel Joseph Lee Smith and his wife in 1819, came their cousin, after- 
wards Mrs. Alexander J. Irwin, and their pleasant home is mentioned by Dr. 
Jedidiah Morse wfio was their guest during his stay at the bay in 1820. Dr. 
Morse warmly approved of the plan instigated by Colonel Smith of removing the 
troops to the height above Menomineeville. The doctor invariably speaks of 
Fort Howard as Fort Brown, and. there was undoubtedly talk of changing the 
name to follow that of the county, for Schoolcraft also dubs it Brown. 

In the summer of 1820, Governor Cass, in order to acciuaint himself with 
conditions throughout his governmental territory passed down the rivers of Wis- 
consin to Green Bay. Henry R. Schoolcraft, who accompanied the expedition as 
geologist and ethnologist describes in his journal minutely the appearance of the 
Brown county settlement at this time, "August 20, 1820. A heavy fog in the 
morning prevented us from ciuitting our encampment until seven o'clock. Six 
miles below we passed the rapids of Little Kakalin, which however oppose no 
serious obstacle to the navigation of the river on the descent. Here we found a 
small party of L'nited States soldiers, who were engaged in preparing the foun- 
dation for a saw mill, which is to be erected at that spot for the accommoda- 
tion of the garrison and settlement at Green Bay. The settlement of Green 
Bay commences at the Little Kakalin (Little Rapids), twelve miles above the 
fort, and is very compact from the Rock rapid. Here we are first presented 
with a view of the fort; and nothing can exceed the beauty of the intermediate 
country — checkered as it is, with farm houses, fences, cultivated fields, the broad 
expanse of the river — the bannered masts of the vessels in the distant bay, and 
the warlike array of military barracks, camps and parades. This scene burst 
suddenly into view * * * the circumstances of our return would have pro- 
duced a high degree of exhilaration without the additional excitement of mil- 
itary music, which now saluted our ears, and the peals of artillery which 1)id us 
welcome to the fort." 

Fort Howard is described as consisting of a range of barracks facing three 
sides of a square parade, and surrounded by a stockade of timber thirty feet high 
with block houses at the angles. Glistening with whitewash it presented a smart 
military appearance and situated in the midst of a grassy plain and backed by a 
dense forest of pine with stars and stripes ever floating by day from its flag- 
stafl: it was a gay and conspicuous point of color in the landscape. From the block 
houses frowned ordnance sufficient to intimidate the Indians in the vicinity — one 
twelve pound cannon, said to have been an excellent gun, one six-pounder, and 
one nine pound Iirass howitzer pronounced unserviceable. Major Zachary Tay- 
lor succeeded Colonel Chambers as commandant, and the officers under him num- 
bered six captains, three first lieutenants, and three second lieutenants, in all 
506 men, with a regimental band of sixteen musicians. Life was pleasant at old 
I<"ort Howard ; there w'as much intercourse between the garrison and the resi- 
dents of the little town, which boasted now a population of five hundred souls. 
Alore and more as time went on the social side predominated, for peace was 
abroad in the land ; the Indians were docile and after 1825 it was decided that 
the civil law should be in force without military interference. 

Colonel William Whistler, who is mentioned as being in command during the 


absence of Colonel Smith on the occasion of Governor Cass' visit in 1820, 
was stationed at Fort Howard for a number of years; a dictator in law and pro- 
cedure, testy m temper but warm hearted and of genial bent. He was insistant 
that the dignity of his position should be recognized and due honor paid him. 
The Whistlers as a family were a talented, fine looking set, and William Whistler 
came from a line of military ancestors. His father, John Whistler, was stationed 
at Detroit in 1803 and later at Fort Dearborn which he helped to build. James 
Abbott McNeil Whistler, the eminent but most eccentric artist once said to a 
visitor from Chicago; "Chicago, dear me, what a wonderful place; I really ought 
to visit it some day — for you know my grandfather founded the city and my 
uncle was the last commander." 

This uncle, William Whistler was for many years identified with Fort How- 
ard, first with the rank of major in 1820, and again as colonel from 1S24 to 1827. 
He had a family of handsome daughters, and this period was one of the gayest 
in the Fort's social history. There was a host of young lieutenants at Fort 
Howard Tn those early days. Smith, Wheeler, Bainbridge, Wright, Hunter, Cross- 
man, Clark, Loring, ['loodgood and many others who from 1820 to 1828 made 
life gay in the isolated garrison. Constant intercourse was kept up be'tween Fort 
Howard and the townspeople. In Colonel Whistler's time Navarino and Astor 
were unknown, but Shantytown with its pleasant homes was the goal of daily 
trips by the government barge. There was just the white fort guarding the 
river's entrance and across the water a sandy tongue of land where the year 
around brown smooth faced Menominee Indians camped in their mat-covered 

Dn the lowlands where is located the city of tjreen Hay grew a dark tangle 
of tamarack and cedar, the tints changing as the groimd grew higher to the paler 
green of oak and maple, and there was still another note of color in the land- 
scape where undulating billows of wild rice met the river's channel. Through 
this close mesh of water growth only a birch canoe could slip easily, while the 
squaw propelling it could beat out the nutty grain with her paddle. The name 
of "Baye Verte," Green Bay, was bestowed on the place naturally, with this thick 
vivid verdure fringing the shores of river and bay. 

Then came the home of Judge Arndt on the site of the Langlade house, the 
first residence on the east side of the river, and conspicuous in the landscape oil 
Lawe's Point stood the trading house, group of buildings and beautiful garden 
constituting the establishment of John Lawe, Judge of Probate and one of the 
most prominent among the fur traders. Caroline Whistler, spoken of by Mrs. 
Baird in her reminiscences as a beautiful girl and one of her intimate friends, in 
these early days was a frequent visitor at the Lawe homestead, staying for days 
at a time with the interesting eldest daughter of the house, Rachel Lawe, after- 
ward Mrs. Peter Bernard Grignon. 

In everv gay'doing at the Fort from 1820 to 1826 we find the name of Henry 
Loring. He it was who when the play "She Stoops to Conquer," was given by 
the youngsters of the garrison played the part of Miss Hardcastle, the remain- 
der of the cast including the names of Lieutenants Smith, Bainbridge, W^right, 
Russell and others. In 1821, Colonel Joseph L. Smith was succeeded in com- 
mand by Colonel Ninian Pinckney, and he in turn was relieved in 1823 by 
Colonel John McNeil, of whom a pleasant sketch is given by Surveyor General 


Albert G. Ellis. The fort had jjeconie well established by this time, 1822, 
Shantytovvn was at the zenith of its popularity as a place of residence and 
Colonel McNeil did all in his power to add to the joy of life in this far off 
town. In the long mess room, which he Ijuilt with this purpose in view, he in- 
stituted during the winter months weekly assembly parties, the guests coming 
from Shantytown on the ice by cariole or French train — a gay crowd. Dinner 
would be served as early as four o'clock and then began the dancing which lasted 
not later than midnight. One long remembered merrymaking took place on 
a March evening and before the dancing ceased the ice in the river had begun to 
move down stream, and the party were prisoners in the garrison for days to come. 
A ball at Fort Howard was a joy long to be remembered and its happy moments 
are still charmed back to life in gossipy letter and reminiscence. In the long mess 
room spermaceti candles shed a soft glow ; wreaths of ground pine festooned the 
whitewashed walls, and formed an effective background for the merry dancers. 
A government band sixteen strong discoursed dance compelling strains, and those 
who joined in the round say that there was a dash, a verve to Fort Howard cotil- 
lions not found in social attempts at other western points : the Creole girls had a 
beauty and distinction foreign to less favored localities, unless it might be Mack- 
inac, "isle of the blessed." 

In summer the government barge manned by soldiers and the "pill box." the 
Fort surgeon's special property, with just room for two in addition to the row- 
ers, called at the settlement or at landing places all down the river to gather the 
ladies for the evening rout, the hour for assembling being as late during the 
warm weather as seven o'clock. What quaint airs were wafted from the open 
windows beyond the cantonment pickets far out on the softly whispering river ; 
"Two Shillings in my pocket," "Cheat the Lady," and the plaintive strains of 
"Old Rosin the bow." The bizarre, somewhat barbaric dress of the ladies, bright 
with ribbons from the trading house formed a wavering mass of color in the 
candlelight, and shifted in slanting lines with the changing movement of the 

Evervone danced. Youth's tripping foot, and the clumsy tread of age alike 
beat time to the rhythm when a deep swept courtesy and low return bow marked 
the commencement of the revel. To and fro, in and out, wove the fascinating 
measure, with light laughter, whispered speech and sweet glances from bright 

The French Creole who addetl immensely to the interest and gayety of these 
assemblies, ardent in love, gallant in war, with manners that would not have 
shamed a courtier of Versailles was a picturesque product of the place and time. 
The dignified handsome creole women showed, too, a refinement and charm that 
captivated to the point of marriage more than one American officer in the various 
army posts : 

"Where are the Marys, and Anns and Elizas, 
Lovely and loving of yore? 
Look in the columns of old advertisers. 
Dead and gone by the score." 
General Hugh Brady who was stationed at Fort Howard in 1823-25 was a 
Pennsylvanian who had distinguished himself as an Indian fighter on the upper 
Ohio. In the War of 1812 he did gallant service at the battles of Chippewa and 


Niagara, and was wounded in the latter fight. He, with General Brooke were 
tlie only officers who commanded at Fort Howard with the rank of General, 
and his name and service are commemorated in Fort Brady at Saiilt Ste. Marie. 

A post school was inaugurated at this period at Fort Howard under the tute- 
lage of A. G. Ellis, in a commodious building furnished with books, stationary 
and furniture and a "council of administration," with the commanding officer to 
keep discipline. Some thirty of the citizens" children were admitted. The 
officer of the day visited the school regularly at three o'clock, and on Friday 
afternoon General Brady and his staff inspected and heard recitations. 

Following General Brady came Major William Whistler, and a bit of romance 
connecting young Lieutenant Loring with Caroline Whistler has only within the 
past few years come to light. It is in the form of a letter yellowed by time, 
cracked in the folds, the superscription, "Miss Caroline Whistler," "The River," 
and in the corner, "John Lawe," faded and stained as though by tears. 

Personality springs into life as we read the written lines: 

Fort Howard, 

Sunday Morning. 

"My dear Caroline: — A short time before' I left Green Bay I mentioned to 
you that Mr. Bloodgood had told me that he was desirous of speaking to me on 
a particular subject, and that I thought that it was concerning you and myself. 
This turned out to be the fact, for on the day previous to our regiment's start- 
ing he, in conversation with me stated his feelings toward you, and wished to 
hear from me positively our situation in regard to each other ; at the same time 
disavowing any wish to supplant me in your esteem or affection, — He was so 
frank in his avowal and remarks that I was led to declare to him what I did 
then, and must still believe to be a fact, — that I considered myself bound and 
engaged to you by every tie that could bind a man of honor to the woman he 
loved, and that nothing but your father's consent was in the way of our being 
united before I left the bay. 

I must see you if possible and immediately, therefore I wish you to make 
some arrangements to pass the evening from home, and inform me where I can 
meet you, — say at the Doctor's, or you might walk in the garden with Lydia 
and your cousin Abbott. 

Nothing that may ever happen will ever change my feelings toward you, and 
believe me, my dear girl, yours as truly as ever. 

Henry H. Loring. 

If possible write this afternoon, and let me know if I can see you, — I should 
not be so an.xious if I were not obliged to leave here in the next vessel." 

Did Caroline in the soft dusk of the summer evening walk in the Doctor's 
garden with Harry Loring. or did he, wild with impatience to meet her, cross the 
river and receive her decision in the hush of the palisaded garden at the Lawes? 
Was there treachery somewhere, and was the letter never delivered? None can 
tell. Ninety years have drifted over the scrap of paper containing Loring's tender 
appeal and none are left to tell its history. Loring resigned a few years later 
from the army, did not live to be old, and long before the great civil war shook 
our country was at rest. 

The organization of Menominee Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, in 
1824, formed a welcome diversion in the monotony of garrison life. All but four 


of the charter members were officers from Fort Howard, and the transitory stay 
of troops in any post was responsible for the disbanding of the lodge in 1830, 
almost all of the original nine having been ordered elsewhere, and new brothers 
failing to take their place. The meetings of the lodge were not at any time held 
in the fort but in a building in Shantytown whither the enthusiastic Masons 
were carried by government barge. 

During Major Whistler's command at Fort Howard occurred the massacre 
of the Gaguier family by Red Bird, a well known Winnebago warrior and a 
companion Indian. [Major Whistler led the expedition of volunteers, regulars, 
Stockbridge and Oneida Indians against Red Bird and his band, who surren- 
dered without battle near the Fox-Wisconsin portage. A fine looking Indian and 
rather dramatic in action, his surrender to the Fort Howard commandant is a 
striking incident in Wisconsin history. "I have thrown away my life; I would 
not call it back again ; let it go ;" thus did Red Bird chant, as he supposed, his 
death song, at the same time taking up a pinch of dust and throwing it away. 

Major (later General) David Twiggs succeeded Whistler in command, a maiv 
who exercised his authority over the enlisted men to the point of extreme cruelty, 
and who was thoroughly disliked by his subordinates, both officers and privates 
while at Fort Howard. One of the soldiers, Prescott, stole into the commandant's 
quarters one afternoon, while he was asleep, intending to brain him with the 
butt end of his musket, but Twiggs heard the soft tread, sprang up and wrench- 
ing the gun from Prescott's hand felled him to the ground. 

Every species of torture was inflicted upon the hapless would-be murderer 
by the tyrannical officer, until the people of Menomineeville rose in a body and 
demanded that the man should, at least, be given a fair trial and not be left 
longer to the inhuman treatment of the commandant. Twiggs was afterward 
prominent as an officer in the confederate service. 

Old settlers have stated that Jefferson Davis was at one time stationed at 
Fort Howard, but this is not true, although he visited there while on duty at 
Fort Winnebago and on one occasion went deer hunting up Devil river with 
Moses Hardwick, a sturdy pioneer and mail carrier of early days. The boat was 
capsized and Davis rescued by Hardwick from the treacherous stream, but later 
the Brown county man was wont to tell the story with the addition, tliat could 
he have looked into the future, the waters of Devil river would have closed the 
career of the future president of the Southern confederacy. Davis's first wife, 
Knox Taylor, whom he married when they were both very young, was the 
daughter of General Zachary Taylor, and according to contemporary testimony 
"a perfect little sprite." Her father, the doughty United States officer of Mexi- 
can war fame, and also the successful candidate for the presidency, named his 
little daughter after his old army friend. General Knox. 

There is a manuscript record of a court martial which was held at Fort How- 
ard in the summer of 182S, making inquiry into the conduct of Captain Board- 
man, an officer who had injudiciously seen fit to censure his superior in rank 
for not only indulging too freely in intoxicants, but also while in that condition 
stealing from Judge Arndt's warehouse a keg of pickled oysters, A large 
number of witnesses were summoned and from the adjutant general's office at 
Washington on September 4, 1828, was issued the following report: "Before 
the General Court Martial which convened at Fort Howard, * * * of vvhich 


Brevet Colonel Lindsay is president, was tried Captain Elijah Boardman, of the 
2d Regiment, United States Infantry on two charges: Charge i. — Conduct unbe- 
coming an officer and a gentleman. 

"Charge 2. — "Un-Officerlike conduct and disrespect to his Commanding 

The court found the offender guilty of both charges, and the sentence pro- 
nounced was that the accused Captain Elijah Boardman, 2d Infantry, lie dis- 
missed from the service. The proceedings of the general court martial in the case 
of Captain Boardman having been laid Ijefore the president of the I'nited 
States, the president was pleased to pronounce the following decision thereon : 
"The proceedings and sentence of the court are not approved," and then followed 
a most able summing up of the case in c|uestion, with the following ending: 
"The decision cannot travel out of the record, upon the face of which it appears 
to me, to be nothing to recuiire upon Captain lioardman, x^'ven the censure of a 

"(Signed) John Q. xA.d.ams. 

"Captain Boardman, of the 2d Infantry, will accordingly resume his sword, 
and re])ort for duty to Lieut. Colonel Morgan, superintending the recruiting 
service, at New York lly order of Major General Macomb. 

"(Signed) R. Jone.s, Adj. Gen." 

This is the only record of a court martial being held at Fort Howard during 
the many years it was garrisoned. Criticism there doubtless was of other com- 
manding officers. Init nothing flagrant enough to warrant the convening of a court 
of inquiry. Outside of the daily drill there was little to keep the crowd of 
gay young West Pointers busy. There was a great stretch of garden north of 
the fort, which the soldiers kept under tine cultivation and where they raised 
vegetables in profusion. .\ detachment from b'ort Howard luider an officer's 
command was usually employed in making roads through the forest in order to 
facilitate communication with other forts, and a crew of ten was detailed to man 
the government barge and fovir for the surgeon's gig, the "pill box." Still with 
a force of three or four hundred men, each company ha\ing its ciuota (.)f officers 
am]5le time must have remained for pleasure or mischief. 

A resident of Menomhieeville in 1828, Satterlee Clark, well known through- 
out the western country, relates his lirst im])ressions of the Fox river settlement 
and savs that in the spring of 1827, I'ort Howard contained three companies of 
the first infantry under command of Major Twiggs and that his subalterns were 
Captain and Major Bucll, Captain Spence and Captain William Harney, later a 
famous Indian fighter, over six feet in heiglit, well pro])ortioned, active and 
strong. That same summer Twiggs and his command were ordered to the portage 
of the I'ox and Wisconsin, to build a fort to be called Fort Winnebago. This 
action b\' government was really in response to the earnest solicitation of John 
Jacob Astor, the Indians having been in the habit of levying tolls on the goods 
of the American Fur Company, when tlie boats were unloaded for the passage 
across the portage. 

Twiggs was succeeded at Fort Howard by Colonel W'illiam Lawrence, who 
with four companies of the Fifth LTnited States Infantry, came by boat from 
St. Louis, and so high was the water that year that the loaded barges floated easily the dividing strip between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, thereby giving 





definite inception to the idea of a Fox River improvement Company. A 
great impetus was given to social gayeties by the influx of lively young ofiicers 
and their genial commander. At Fort Howard, a grand ball was tendered the 
towns people as a return for courtesies received, a humorous description of which 
was given fifty years subsequent by one of the prettiest girls who danced 
away that summer night, Marie Brevoort, afterward Mrs. Bristol, a daughter 
of Major Henry B. Brevoort, the agent of Indian afifairs. 

It was the twelfth of July, and not later than four o'clock in the afternoon, 
the weather threatening, with thunder rumbles and lightning in the distance, 
when Lieutenant E. Kirby Smith, in spotless white trousers and trim military 
jacket appeared at the agency house to claim his partner for the evening's festivi- 
ties. The young people w^ere eager to be away betimes, for Major Brevoort 
was rather a testy individual and disposed to hold a tight rein over his attractive 
daughter, so lest objection should be made to the jaunt the lieutenant and Miss 
Marie left hastily for the boat landing, where the doctor's gig, with its four 
military boatmen awaited them. Mrs. Bristol thus described her dress for the 
grand occasion ; brocaded lavender satin, trimmed with white silk lace, long 
white kid gloves, red slippers and white silk hose. As a protection from the 
night air a white lace shawl and large green "calash" standing out far from her 

At Fort Howard a fine supper was served early in the evening and later the 
mess room was filled with a gay throng of dancers. "The music was enchant- 
ing," according to Miss Brevoort, and up to twelve o'clock all went well. Then 
a terrific thunder storm arose, lasting about an hour, when again the sky cleared, 
and the stars shone out. Lieutenant Smith and his fair companion embarked 
once again in the "pill box" for the homeward trip, but presently another 
fearful storm overtook them, "we were on a sea of space, angry clouds burst 
asunder, revealing vivid streaks of fire." Rain fell in torrents ; the soldiers, 
bewildered, lost the rudder and the boat began to fill with water To prevent 
its sinking the four soldiers took oiT their caps and boots using them to bail, and 
thus keeping the craft afloat until they drifted upon' a sandbar about two miles 
from the agency house — probably Grignon's Point. 

just as the sun was rising over the wooded heights to the eastward the two 
merrymakers entered the gate of the Brevoort home. The water had loosened 
the trimming on the young lady's gown and it trailed five yards behind her black 
as the earth, while her red slippers were soaked and mud laden. Her escort 
bade her 'good morning' at the door, after having been pressed by Mrs. Brevoort 
with the ever ready hospitality of the time to remain for breakfast. Lieutenant 
Smith was shortly after ordered to Mackinac or the episode might have had a 
more romantic ending. 

The recruits at an extreme frontier post, such as was Fort Howard in those 
days, were often desperate characters ready for any deviltry and dreaded by 
the inhabitants of Menomineeville because of their lawlessness. Thus it was 
a band of soldiers from Fort Howard who stole from the village church the 
silver ostensorium presented to the mission of St. Frangois Xavier at the Des 
Peres rapids in 1686. This receptacle for the sacred wafer in the celebration 
of the mass, was afterward carried to Detroit and drifted into the possession of 
St. Anne's church in that city, where it was found by Reverend Father Bonduel 

Vol, I— 10 


of St. John's churcli in Green Bay. redeemed for $13.00 and restored to its 
original home. As time passed the class of enlisted soldiers improved much. 
Many of them were strict in their church duties both as Roman Catholics and 
Protestants. Services were sometimes conducted at the fort by different denom- 
inations as when "Air. Williams in flowing white robes officiated," (McCall's 
journal) and also when, the wife of the commanding officer belonging to that 
sect, the Methodists held regular services in the mess room. During the com- 
mand of Captain Moses E. Merrill, a detachment was marched each Sunday 
morning to old Christ church. 

Occasionally a flurry of military excitement was wafted over the garrison 
as in the incident of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, when only seventeen soldiers 
were left in the fort under the command of Captain Nathan Clark for the pro- 
tection of the country between the Mississippi and Green Bay. The descrip- 
tion of Fort Howard at this date does not represent it as a very practical place 
of- defense, the picketing having become rotten, much of it was removed, and 
■'preparations were made for receiving the citizens and their property witliin the 
stockade, it having been patched out, by horizontal timbers across the curtains." 
This point being a rendezvous for the Menominees it was feared that the 
hostile Indians would make it a point of attack, the primary cause for the 
uprising and calling out of United States troops being the murder of a band of 
Menominees by Sauks and Foxes in their village near Fort Snelling the spring 

It was during Captain Clark's command that the murder of a young officer 
occurred at the fort. The perpetrator of the deed, Doyle, a private soldier 
had for some offence been placed by Lieutenant Foster's orders in confinement. 
Doyle persuaded the sergeant of the guard to allow him an interview with the 
lieutenant, and when brought into his presence wrenched the gun from the 
sergeant's hand and sent a bullet through the heart of the officer, who gave one 
sigh and fell dead. Doyle was hung outside the stockaded wall of the fort. 

The two important highways, known for many years as the military roads, 
one following Fox river to Fond du Lac and striking across country to the Fox- 
Wisconsin portage, the other running southeast to Manitowoc and from thence 
along the lake shore to Chicago, were commenced about 1S33. The Fort Winne- 
bago road, for twelve miles, was laid out and superintended by Capain Martin 
Scott and was considered a marvel of engineering at the time, straight as an 
arrow and absolutely free from stumps and underbrush, its principal guide post 
a tall pine tree which towered above the rest of the forest and was crowned 
by an eagle's nest. These highways through the forest were made by detach- 
ments of soldiers who worked a week in turn under the command of an officer. 

Even as late as 1834. Fort Howard was more completely separated from 
civilized life than is any United States fort of the present day. It was garri- 
soned continuously from 1828 up to the latter part of the Seminole war in 1841, 
when the regiment was ordered to Florida. Following Captain Nathan Clark 
as commandant, was Major A. G. W. Fanning, who was relieved in 1833 by 
General George M. Brooke. In the summer of that year Black Hawk, under 
military guard passed down Fox river, and was held at the fort for a few days 
on his journey to the east and final imprisonment, and in 1834, General Brooke 
appears as entertaining the Right Reverend Jackson Kemper, at dinner. Dur- 


ing this same pastoral visitation of the famous missionary bishop, the follow- 
ing entry occurs under date of July 24, in Kemper's journal : "Dined at Mr. Whit- 
ney's at Navarino, nearly a dozen officers from the garrison in full uniform — • 
pitcher full of lemonade and port, madeira and champagne wines — roast pig, 
veal, ham, venison and veal pie — sallid — cranberry (abound here) tarts and float- 
ing islands — cheese, raisins, almonds, English walnuts filberts. The two doctors 
of the fort drank no wine — have established a soc. there which now includes 80 
odd, on principle of total abstinence. Lieutenant Clary belongs to it likewise." 

Mrs. Brooke, the wife of the commanding officer at this time, was as a strict 
Methodist, strongly opposed to the use of intoxicating liquors, so although the 
General appears to have mingled in all the gayeties and dinings of the town, 
his wife's influence undoubtedly changed the tone of garrison life, for Lieuten- 
ant William Chapman, writing home to \'irginia in 1835, speaks of the austere 
society element that was gradually replacing the free and easy life of former 
days. The young officers under Brooke were men of exceptional worth and 
many gained distinction and high rank in later years. Lieutenant Randolph B. 
Marcy, who was second lieutenant in the Fifth infantry from T833 to 1838, at 
Fort Howard, was later inspector general of the United States army. His daugh- 
ter Ellen, born at Fort Howard, became the wife of General George B. Mc- 
Clellan. Moses E. Merrill, Martin Scott, the two Kirby Smiths, Caleb Sibley, 
W. B. Rosselle, William H. Chapman, John C. Robinson, were all men of high 
character and brave officers. 

Captain Martin Scott is one of the most picturesque characters of the Ameri- 
can occupation ; a man of many eccentricities and famous in his youth among 
the sharpshooters of the ( ireen mountains. His wonderful success in the use 
of a gun gave rise to his boast that no bullet ever moulded could strike Martin 
Scott — a prediction unfulfilled in the end. He was a man who thoroughly en- 
joyed life — a great hunter, a horseman and a famous shot. Many stories are 
related of his marvellous skill ; of his throwing two potatoes in the air, and 
piercing them both with a single shot ; of the coon that offered to come down 
from the tree when it saw Scott below ; and of the duel where the generous 
Martin so skilfully shot away the diseased portion of his adversary's liver as 
to restore him to better health than he had before known. He never took aim, 
simply looked at an object and fired, the butt of the gun at his hip. Rows of 
dog kennels lined tlie path to his front door, and out to the southwest of Fort 
Floward was Scott's half-mile race track. In the gentler arts of floriculture 
and horticulture he was also noted; and flowers, shrubs and trees transformed 
the grounds around his quarters into a veritable little park. 

General Brook was succeeded in connnand at Fort Howard in 1837, by Cap- 
tain Moses E. Merrill, a man of honoralile and sterling character, much esteemed 
by the towns people. Intercourse lietween the fort and civilians was constant 
and most friendly. During the famous land sales held at Green Bay in 1834, 
many of the officers then at the garrison bought land and in this way made quite 
snug little fortunes. 

The surgeons stationed at Fort Howard from 1824 on, were an important 
factor in the life of the time, for there were no other physicians within two 
hundred miles, so that in sickness or accident messengers would hurry to the 
fort to obtain medical aid. Dr. William S. Madison, post surgeon at Fort Howard 


in 1821, was undoubtedly the first physician to come to Brown county, or indeed 

Madison married according to the custom of the time and place an Indian girl, 
and may have intended to desert her, for he was on his way to visit his family 
in Kentucky, when shot by Ke-tau-ka, brother of the girl, who was acting as 

While the garrison party was resting not far from the lake, where Manitowoc 
is located today, Ke-tau-ka wandered away to an Indian village, where he found 
a band of his people commemorating their exploits in war by throwing a 
hatchet at a post as many times as they had killed men. They taunted the 
strange lad on never having slain anyone, when he immediately returned to the 
camp and stealing up behind Dr. Madison, who was leaning against a tree, shot 
him in the back. Returning, he informed his band of the deed accomplished, 
but far from upholding him in the crime, they seized him, and handed him over 
to the Fort Howard detachment, but Dr. Madison had already died. The In- 
dian was taken to Detroit for trial and later executed, the manuscript record 
of the case forming interesting data in Brown comity history. 

In 1824, Dr. Walter \'. Wheaton held the position of post surgeon, a favorite 
alike with the garrison and civilians. He was an able physician, was fond 
of society, — a great recommendation in those days, — had a pretty wife and a 
scapegrace young brother, who on one occasion in the absence of Dr. Wheaton, 
successfully amputated the leg of a soldier who had lost his way on the bay and 
been badly frozen. 

The most celebrated of the army surgeons stationed at Fort Howard was 
Dr. William Beaumont, who succeeded Dr. Wheaton in 1826. Near the surgeon's 
(|uarters in the old fort at Mackinac Island, stands a rough boulder with tablet 
attached, erected Ijy the Michigan Aledical Society to commemorate the experi- 
ments of this eminent physician, who after leaving Fort Howard, was stationed 
at Michilimackinac in the early thirties. 

A French voyageur, Alexis St. Martin, a typical resident of the fur trading 
\illages of that day, living in one of the quaint houses covered with bark that in 
old times were strung along Mackinac's water's edge, was accidentally shot in 
the stomach while lounging in the Astor company's trading house. 

The surgeon from the fort on the hill, Dr. Beaumont, was hastily summoned 
who, after making an examination and dressing the wound, left, saying that the 
young man would probably die before morning. The next day the doctor found 
St. Martin not only still living, but showing increased vitality, and the case be- 
came interesting. In time a curtain of skin grew over the aperture, and by lift- 
ing this the physician could follow the process of digestion perfectly. Beau- 
mont's experiments and memoranda, which he carefully kept for years, have 
proved of great and permanent value, and as the memorial tablet records, added 
glory to his name and to the profession which he adorned. 

Doctor Beaumont was followed at Fort Howard by Doctor Lyman Foote, 
distinguished as a physician in army circles, and also having a large outside 
practice. He in turn was succeeded by Doctor Satterlee, who with his wife 
came to the Fo.n; river fort in the early thirties. They were a young and hand- 
some couple, much liked by the civilians, and were among those instrumental 
in establishing the Presbyterian church in Green Bay. Doctor Worrell seems 




to have been stationed at the fort at the same period ; in the meantime, however, 
Doctor David Ward had taken up his residence in Menomineeville, and later in 
Wrightstown and in addition to his regular practice among the townsfolk and 
those in the vicinity, served as fort surgeon when any vacancy occurred. He 
also attended the detachment of troops engaged in putting through the military 
road and became thoroughly acquainted with the country. 

In 1841, in order to quell the disturbances ensuing on the Seminole war, the 
old Fifth, so long identified with Brown county garrison life was ordered to 
Florida, the last officers to leave being Captain Moses E. Merrill, First Lieu- 
tenant. William Root, Second Lieutenant, John C. Robinson of Company K. It 
was a dismal day for the entire region when the fort was definitely abandoned. 
The cantonment glistening with whitewash, trim and picturesque in its setting 
of green fields, forest and stream, and which had so long dominated the land- 
scape still remained, but the kindly, pleasant, cultivated people who had called 
it home left in their departure a great gap in the social interests of the place. 
With the withdrawal of the troops passed too the military atmosphere of garri- 
son occupation : bugle calls echoing sweetly over water and hillside, the roll of 
drums, the crack of rifle practice. 

In the war with Mexico, Fort Howard furnished no quota of troops, but the 
sympathy of the Brown county people was deeply enlisted because of the promi- 
nent part taken throughout, by their especial regiment, the Fifth, for so many 
years associated with their life. Relatives and friends of this and other regi- 
ments still resided in the town, and among those who had resigned from the 
army and liked Pjrown county so well that they remained here were Colonel Lee. 
Captain John Cotton, Samuel Ryan, senior, Thomas Camm, William Root and 
others. When war was declared the Fifth concentrated in Texas, joining the 
army of occupation under a former Fort Howard commandant. General Zachary 
Taylor, "old rough and ready" as he was dubljed. 

Letters are still preserved written from the front by Lieutenants William 
Chapman and John C. Robinson, telling of the siege of Monterey, its capture, 
and the fortifying of the Bishop's Palace by LTnited States troops. The Fifth 
participated in all the engagements of the war excepting that of Buena Vista. 
It formed the rear guard of the army in the march from the city of Mexico when 
peace was declared ; the last company to evacuate the city being commanded 
by Lieutenant Robinson. At the battle of Molino del Rey, Captain Moses E. 
Merrill, Martin Scott and Kirby Smith were killed, and Lieutenant (later Colonel) 
William Chapman was wounded. 

The one newspaper published in Brown county at this time, the Green Bay 
Advocate, is filled with "latest dispatches from the front," but it was often 
months before news from far off Mexico was received. Beginning with 1841, 
Major Ephraim Shaylor, a veteran of 1812, was placed in charge of the military 
reserve with a sergeant and orderly under him ; otherwise the fort remained 
ungarrisoned. In 1849, Fort Howard was repaired and renovated, for the recep- 
tion of Col. Francis Lee, and later of Lieut. -Col. Benjamin L. E. Bonneville, 
with a detachment of the Fourth regiment of infantry. The government had, 
however, definitely determined to abandon the old fort as a point of defense, 
although its situation rendered it of especial value in the event of a war with 
England. The troops were ordered to California in 1852 when Major Shaylor 


was again placed in charge. The old stockade about twelve feet high, con- 
sisting of timbers from ten to twelve inches square, closely set together, with 
numerous loop-holes, splayed within for observation and for firing, stood stoutly 
for several years, then gradually began to decay and sag down. The houses 
along its line also fell into dilapidation, only the commanding officer's quarters, 
a handsome well-built house with pillared balconies above and below, which 
faced eastward overlooking the parade ground, remained in fairly good con- 
dition. The solitary elm which stands today in the railway yards and has been 
protected by a surrounding fence through the care of the Chicago and North 
Western Railway Company, was just south of this house and about forty feet 
west of the stockade. 

To the southwest of the fort on a sandy knoll lay the cemetery. In digging, 
water was reached a short distance below the surface, for the surrounding coun- 
try was very low, and the soldiers used to say that they would hate to die at Fort 
Howard, as it was bad enough to die without being drowned afterward. The 
stone foundation of the old government (or commissary's) warehouse can still be 
traced north of the Chicago and Northwestern railway station. This building 
stood outside the fort stockade some sixty feet nearer to the river, and just 
north from the sallyport. It had three stories above the basement. In 1862 and 
1863 it was used as a warehouse by Dousman and Elmore, and was later removed 
by Hiram Cornell to \'alentine, Nebraska, where for a time it served as the 
county court house. ( )n the river shore a few feet to the south of this old foun- 
dation and in front of where the sally-port used to be, there can be seen at low 
water the piles of stones that were in the cribs supporting the government pier. 

Outside the stockade, and some fifty feet to the south stood the square stone 
magazine, with metal doors and roof, nothing of which remains but the heavy iron 
key and bolt, which have been placed in the Kellogg Public Library for safe 
keeping. South of the magazine was the hospital, a broad roomy building with 
deep porch running the entire length, supported by eight stout pillars. There was 
a long sweep of roof to the top of the first story, broken in the front by three 
deep dormer windows, and in the rear by dormer windows and chimney. This 
building has been removed to the northeast corner of Chestnut avenue and Kel- 
logg street and is occupied as a residence. The ward room which ran back of the 
main building has also been moved on an adjoining lot. 

The hospital building was it is said much used for festivities during the old 
days of the fort's occupancy. Here the officers held dancing parties for the 
entertainment of the townspeople, who would return these civilities in like manner 
and at the same place. South of the hos[)ital stood the surgeon's quarters, one ot 
the prettiest of the fort buildings, Init which has been entirely remodeled and is 
now located at 410 Maple avenue. At the southeast corner of Chestnut avenue 
and .Mather street, is the old kitchen of the commanding officer's quarters, the 
only building now in existence which stood inside the fort stockade. 

In the yards of the Chicago and Northwestern road close to Main street bridge 
is a huge rough boulder and attached to it a beautiful tablet of bronze bearing at 
the top a picture in relief of old Fort Howard as it was in 1851. It also bears 
this inscription: 1718 — 1909. Erected by the Green Bay Historical Society — 
1909. 853 north, 45 degrees 7 minutes west from this tablet stands a flag pole 
marking the southeast corner of the stockade of Fort Howard occupied by the 


United States troops August, 1816, and almost continuously until 1852. On 
this site also stood the French fort St. Francis, built prior to 1718, and rebuilt 
by the British in 1761 as Fort Edward Augustus. 

The later history of the fort belongs to the Civil war period, and is in many 
ways quite as interesting and historic as was that of other days ; but conditions 
had changed throughout the whole northwest, and the sixties were a time of storm 
and stress; hard, poverty-stricken years, with none of the glamour gilding an 
earlier age. There is no gay music and light-footed dance, only the sombre tread 
of armed men, and the creak of the draft wheel which named the soldiers who 
were to fill out Wisconsin's great quota of troops ordered to the front, while the 
girls of that period i)icked lint and rolled bandages to be sent to the wounded, 
instead of spending long days on the river, or embarking with gallant officers in 
the government barge for a frolic at Old Fort Howard. 

(References for Chap. XIV ; American State Papers, Wis. Hist. Colls. Vols. 7, 
8. 13, 19; Ms. Letters: Schoolcraft's Journal; W. L. Evans, Mil. Hist, of G. 
B. ; W. H. Froc, 1899 ; Curtis R. Merrill, Ms. Papers.) 



Through all this gay, free and easy life of 1824, and for the ten years ensuing, 
ran the strong and earnest efforts of able men intent on bringing to the front 
commercially and politically the county of Brown. To the men of Brown county, 
the center of settlement at that time, more than to those of any other part of Wis- 
consin, is due the early organization of the state. Thoroughly imbued with a 
belief in its commercial importance and resources, pioneers such as Doty, Baird, 
Martin. Ellis, Robert and Alexander J. Irwin, Ebenezer Childs and others, as 
they became identified with its life began to urge that this area west of Lake 
Michigan be set apart as an independent commonwealth. In this strife for state- 
hood James Duane Doty was prime mover and supporter. As early as 1824, 
he drew up a bill for organizing "Chippewau Territory," which was to include all 
that country lying between the northern boundary of the United States on the 
north, and the state line of Illinois and Missouri on the south. Its eastern limit 
was detined by a line running from Sault Ste. Marie due south ; the western 
l>y the Missouri river. Congress failed to act upon this proposition, but three 
years later Doty was again at work in behalf of his project. This time he sug- 
gested instead of "Chippewau" the name "Wiskonsin," a form of spelling the 
word always persisted in by him. In January, 1830, Doty succeeded in inducing 
(lie Committee on Territories to introduce a "Bill establishing the Territory of 
Huron," and it is possible that this scheme might have been adopted had there 
not now developed a somewhat bitter and wordy rivalry between the two centres 
of population in the would-be territory : the rapidly developing industrial region 
of the lead mines, and the commercially important centre of political life, the 
valley of the Fox. In this same year Daniel Whitney built the shot tower at 
Helena, on the Wisconsin river, an ambitious but practical attempt to utilize the 
large quantities of ore taken from the mines only a few miles away. 

In connection with the establishment of the shot tower Whitney also built 
a large general store which soon rivaled similar supply stations at the Portage, 
goods being purchased there for Galena and other towns in the vicinity. A 
lumber yard was added later, for Daniel Whitney owned a number of the first 
mills throughout Wisconsin. A letter of that period states that "this establish- 
ment would do honor to any old settlement in the east ; the public spirit of the 
proprietors deserves remuneration in the profits of their business. Five thou- 
sand weight of shot is the usual quantity made per diem by one set, that is six 
hands — twice the quantity can be made by doubling the hands." In Judge Doty's 
estimate of the commerce upon the upper lakes and the exports from this por- 
tion of Michigan Territory as early as 1829 he places the amount of lead shipped 



at pounds, which shows the importance of this industry for the 
lower Fox as well as the lead-mining district. 

The "Inhabitants of the County of Brown in the Territory of Michigan" con- 
tinued to respectfully solicit the attention of Congress to their remote situation. 
For all purposes of government they say they might as well be anne.xed to New 
York or Pennsylvania as to Michigan Territory. That their claims for recog- 
nition are constantly ignored, and with the growing needs of this section of 
the country serious evils are the result of the great distance at which they are 
placed from the go\erning power. .\11 cixil officers for counties and towns must 
receive their appointment from the governor of Michigan Territory before they 
are empowered to act, and the most important offices remain vacant for months 
before the appointing and removing power at Detroit can give the matter atten- 
tion, * * * (j^^j {[-,£ petitioners inhabit a district of country which has at 
all times been considered of the greatest importance politically to the govern- 
ment * * '■' and therefore the petitioners humbly pray that ^lichigan Ter- 
ritory may be divided into two separate governments, and that such form of 
government may be provided for that section of the Territory in which they 
reside as Congress in its wisdom may deem suitable and necessary : and that the 
seat of government may be established upon the Fox river in the said county of 
Brown, the settlement upon the said river being the only central settlement 
w-ithin the contemplated Territory." ( W. H. C. \'ol. 14.) 

Judge Doty's estimate at this period of the advantages of Brown county as 
a place of residence, in urging its claim for recognition as a separate territory, 
is interesting. The climate and soil he reports are all that could possibly be 
desired; at the r)ay, vessels arrive and depart almost weekly during the spring, 
summer and autumn, rendering it accessible from the outside world. The com- 
merce upon the upper lakes is increasing rapidly, anfl the exports from this 
portion of Michigan Territor)-, are estimated to consist annually of furs and 
peltries valued at $300,000, white fish <Soo to 1,000 barrels, maple sugar 200,000 
pounds and lead, as before stated, 10,000,000 pounds. 

Another bill to create a new territory out of western ^Michigan passed the 
House in 1831, but largely because of the local quarrel over the place for the 
capital failed in the Senate. The following }ear the matter was again before 
Congress, and yet again in 1834; Ijoth of these attem])ts, however, proving futile. 
In June, 1834, the boundaries of Michigan Territory were enlarged to include 
the Mississippi country, and the agitation for division was now encouraged by 
the dwellers at Detroit and eastern Michigan, it being admitted that for practical 
purposes the bounds of the proposed commonwealth would be far too extensive 

During the year 1835, and the early ])art of 1836, owing to a dispute as to 
l)Oundaries l)etween Michigan and Ohio there was delay in the formation of 
Michigan state, and consequent interruption in the proceedings toward the organ- 
ization into a separate territory of the counties west of the great lakes. Pending 
the action of Congress the Legislative Council of Michigan Territory met in 
Detroit. August 2"/. 1833, with .Stevens T. Alason as secretary and acting governor. 
A proclamation was issued liy (Governor Mason, appointing January first, 1836, 
for the assembling of the members of the territory's legislative council at Green 
Bay. There is considerable confusion both in dates and data regarding this last 
session of ^lichigan's territorial council, and the first of the embryo territory of 


Wisconsin, owing to the state of affairs at that time. Michigan was confidently 
expecting the prompt action of Congress awarding her statehood, and outside of 
her prospective limits as a state lay that area stretching many miles westward 
which for seventeen years had been recognized as a part of Michigan Territory, 
and still held that name, although not to be incorporated in the new state. It was 
primarily for the benefit of these western counties that Governor Mason arranged 
that a territorial legislative council should be held at Green Bay in the early part 
of January, 1836. 

Michigan, on the presumption that statehood would readily be granted as 
soon as Congress convened, had adopted a state constitution during 1835, and 
in October of that year an election of state officers was held. Governor Mason, 
although as yet unauthorized by the federal power, had set in motion the machin- 
ery of state govermnent and it was now in full operation, save for the judicial 
branch, which was not organized until the fourth of July, 1836. The country 
west of Lake Michigan was "no man's land" as far as the new state was con- 
cerned, but its inhabitants naturally still counted themselves and persisted in 
their rights as citizens of ^lichigan Territory, and Governor Mason's proclama- 
tion for the calling together of a legislative council at Green Bay strengthened 
tliem in their position. 

John Scott Horner had in September, 1835, a month before the state election, 
been appointed by President Jackson as secretary and acting governor of Michi- 
gan Territory. The coming to Detroit of this young and apparently tactless Vir- 
ginian, who was quite unfamiliar with western men and affairs was regarded as 
an intrusion and aroused a spirit of opposition ; so that the unfortunate official 
was subjected to neglect and more than once to actual insult. 

In the month of Xovember. 1835, Horner in his capacity of acting governor 
ignored the previous proclamation issued by Governor Mason and "for divers 
good causes and considerations" changed the date of meeting of the territorial 
legislative council from the first day of January, 1836, to the first da}- of Decem- 
ber, 1835, just one month earlier. Confusion reigned in consequence of this 
unforeseen state of affairs. The season of the year, the uncertain roads through- 
nut the territory, the unavoidable delay of the mail service with a carrier who 
was obliged to traverse the several sparsely inhabited counties through thick 
woods and on foot, absolutely prohibited the attendance of members-elect at the 
specified time and place. 

The seventh legislative council of Michigan Territory met in Xavarino on 
the first of January 1836, the date set by Governor Mason, in a small house on 
Main street just east of the present Beaumont Hotel. Governor Horner did not 
appear, so the council organized temporarily by electing Joseph B. Teas, presi- 
dent pro tern., Albert G. Ellis, secretary pro tern., and Levi Sterling, sergeant- 
at-arms, pro tem. The oath of office was administered by Secretary Ellis, acting 
in his capacity as justice of the peace of Brown county. Xine members were 
present, four absent, but a quorum was secured, permanent officers elected, and 
business was transacted in due form. A committee of two was appointed to wait 
upon Governor Horner and inform him that the council was organized and 
ready to receive any communication he might have to make, but at the following 
session on January fourth, the comnu'ttee reported that they had not been able 


to perform the duty assigned them in consequence of the absence of the acting 
governor from Green Bay. 

Thoroughly exasperated by what they considered gross disrespect in the 
executive towards this dignified and legal assemblage, the council ended by 
censuring Governor Horner in these words, "That John S. Horner, Secretary and 
Acting Governor of Michigan Territory has forfeited all just claims to the 
confidence of the people, and from his incapacity and disregard of his official 
obligations and duties to the country, he is in the opinion of this council unworthy 
of the high office which he fills. 

"That the President of the United States be and is hereby requested in behalf 
of the people of the Territory to revoke the commission of the said John S. Hor- 
ner, and to appoint some other person better qualified to fulfill the duties of the 

Notwithstanding this discourteous and ill-advised action of Governor Hor- 
ner toward the Green Bay assembly he proved himself at other times an able 
and astute executive, prompt and decisive, although given to oddities of dress 
and manner. He later became a resident of Green Bay and for many years he 
and his charming wife and family lived in the pillared house which formerly 
occupied the site where S. H. Cady's home stands today. 

President Jackson refused to accede to the request made by the irate coun- 
cil that Horner be removed from office, and beyond their caustic arraignment 
of the al)sentee, renewed bickerings over the location of the proposed territorial 
capital of Wisconsin, and the adoption of a report declaring that the people of 
Michigan had been ruled "rather as a distant colony than as an integral portion 
of the same government," little was accomplished in Michigan's seventh leg- 
islative council at Green Bay. On the ninth of January the meeting adjourned 
sine die, and through lonely, often trackless forests the disgruntled members of 
the first Legislative council of Wisconsin Territory made their way homeward. 
The military road from Fort Howard to Fort Winnebago had been partially 
completed the preceding summer but beyond this piece of passable road the stumps 
concealed by the heavy snow were a constant menace, upsetting the sleighs and 
being responsible for more than one broken limb. For this reason travel in 
winter was usually on horseback unless one could take the river track on the ice, 
vvhich w;is a favorite method of reaching one's destination. 

Tiierc still remained the difficulty of establishing a boundary between the 
\vould-be Territory of Wisconsin and the projected state of Michigan. This 
being finally arranged Wisconsin Territory was erected by Congress under a bill 
approved April 20, 1836. to take effect "from and after the third day of July 
next" and Michigan was admitted to statehood on June 15, 1836. The territory 
was given practically the same boundaries as has the present state of Wisconsin, 
?o far as the state lines of Michigan and Illinois were concerned ; but to the south 
and west its limits ran far beyond the state's present bounds, including all that 
land west of the Mississippi which had been annexed in 1834, to the territory of 
Michigan. The act establishing the territory provided that the governor 
should l)e appointed by the President of the United States ; he was also to be 
made superintendent of Indian affairs and commander in chief of the territorial 
militia, and his annual salary was fixed at $2,500. 

The first appointments made by the President and Senate of the several offi- 


cers provided for by that act were : governor, Henry Dodge of Dodgeville, Wis- 
consin ; secretary, John S. Horner of Virginia, and later of Green Bay ; Charles 
Dunn of Illinois as chief justice, and as associate judges, David Irvin of Virginia 
and William C. Frazer of Pennsylvania, both of whom respectively presided 
over the circuit court of Brown county. 

On the ninth of September, 1836, Governor Dodge issued a proclamation to 
the effect that he had apportioned the members of the council and house of rep- 
resentatives amongst the several counties of the territory, the number allotted 
to Brown county being two members of the Council and three of the House of 
Representatives. It was further proclaimed that the first election should be held 
on the second Monday of October, and that the members elected from the several 
counties should convene at Belmont, Iowa county, on the twenty-fifth of October 
for the purpose of organizing the first session of the Legislative Assembly. It 
was also directed and appointed that at the same time and place specified for this 
first election a delegate to Congress for the term of two years should be elected. 
This was done, and George W. Jones of Iowa county, elected as the Con- 
gressional delegate over the rival candidates, James D. Doty and Morgan L. 
Martin, of Brown. The names and native towns of the members elected by 
Brown county for this first Legislative Assembly were : in the Council, Henry 
S. Baird of Dublin, Ireland, who was made president of the Council and John P. 
Arndt, of Northampton, Pennsylvania. In the House of Representatives, Ebene- 
zer Childs, Worcester county, Massachusetts, Albert G. Ellis, Oneida county, 
New York and Alexander J. Irwin. Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, were 
ihe memljers from Brown. 

Nine thousand, four hundred dollars v\as allowed liy Congress for the ex- 
penses of this first and important session of the new territory's governmental 
body. This amount was supposed to include printing and other incidentals ; but 
the cost actually incurred aggregated eighteen thousand and eighty dollars, 
thought at the time to be an exorbitant expenditure. .\ number of memorials to 
Congress were adopted. Brown county, petitioning among other things, for aid in 
the construction of a pier and beacon light at Long Tail Point at the head of Green 
Bay. For this harbor improvement an appropriation of twenty thousand dollars 
was asked, and an additional six hundred for buo\ s, to mark the ship channel from 
the proposed lighthouse to the mouth of Fox river-. Navigation was very difficult 
at this period in reaching "the city" as the old French voyageurs called the settle- 
ment on Fox river. The bill asking that a lighthouse be erected recites that 
the entrance to Fox ri\er re(|uires many lights and buoys, and the bay is 
described by the first government engineers as "difficult of navigation, full of 
shoals and rocky reefs." This was thirty-two years prior to the cutting of a 
channel through Grassy Island, and the sandy shoal of Point au Sable which 
extended in a westerly direction three and one-half miles from the end of the 
point was a menace to boats of all descriptions. Point au Sable was an old 
Indian camping ground, its shallow water offering no bar to the bark canoe, and 
Bass Channel, west of Grassy Island Light Station was a favorite cut-oft' for 
canoes and small craft at an early day. It was, moreover, a famous place for 
fishing and hunting. 

The members of the first territorial legislature had enlarged views of the 
wants and future possibilities of Wisconsin internal navigation. Memorials 


were presented to Congress on the improvement of all the rivers and harbors 
throughout the territory, and petition was also made for a grant of land for a 
railroad across the state from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi river. 

At this first Legislative Council of the Territory of Wisconsin an act was 
also passed whicli provided that the county seat of Brown county should be 
established either at Xavarino, Astor or De Pere as might be decided by vote 
of the people, Menomineeville for some unexplained reason being out of the 
running, although from the year 1824 it had held the distinction of being the 
county seat. Navarino and Astor at this time was each jealously putting forth 
a rival claim to being the most important village in the new territory, but the 
year previous and contemporary with the platting of Astor, the De Pere Hydraulic 
Company had been incorporated by act of legislature and the town of De Pere 

As early as 1804 settlement had begun at the Rapides des Peres near the 
site of the old Jesuit church. Arpents of land were marked oft by French 
settlers and habitants were building their cabins at this desirable location 
early in the nineteenth century. When William Dickenson, the first American 
settler took up his residence there in 1820, there was continuous, although sparse 
settlement all along the shore from the Little Kakalin to Rock or Des Peres 
rapids. Extending from there to Fort Howard was a succession of snug 
log cabins, w ith here and there a two-story structure. Across Fox river at the 
head of the rapids a dam was authorized to be built by act of legislature approved 
January 26. 1835, by William Dickenson, Charles TuUar and John P. Arndt. 
The dam was subsequently l)uilt, the utility of the great water power recognized 
and the two De Peres with their large manufacturing interests grew up at that 

At this same session of the Alichigan Legislature of 1835 the act incorporat- 
ing a l)ank west of Lake Michigan was passed, the title of which was "an act 
to incorporate the stockholders of the Bank of Wisconsin." The bill provided 
that a bank should be established in the county of Brown or Iowa, at such place 
as a majority of the stockholders should determine ; the capital stock was to be 
$100,000 in shares of fifty dollars each. The bank opened at Green Bay in the 
town of .\stor in 1833 and was known as the Bank of Wisconsin. The build- 
ing which it occupied was erected by the Astor Fur Company, a rambling two- 
storv structure which extended the width of the block on the north side of 
Chicago street between Adams and Washington. The stone vault which was 
built for this first bank in Wisconsin was still standing in 1899, its heavy door 
efying the corrosion of time. 

The vear 1837 spelled financial panic and ruin throughout the United States. 
in the new territory of Wisconsin, following as it did close upon the wild 
speculations in land deals the efi^ect was disastrous in the extreme. The 
Hydraulic Company of De Pere was thrown upon its beam's end by the hard 
times, and in May and June of the year 1837, banks throughout the country 
suspended specie payment. 

The bank of Wisconsin at Green Bay was in active operation, but in Novem- 
ber, 1837. a committee was appointed to examine into the afifairs and condition 
of the bank and later united in reporting that the institution was in a sound 
and solvent condition. / 


Rumors of the bank's insolvency were reported during the year 1838, and in 
conse(|uence the Legislative Assembly of that year passed an act that the Attor- 
ney General of the territory commence suit by injunction to close up all pro- 
ceedings of said bank and annul its charter, authorizing the court moreover to 
appoint a receiver to take charge of the property, collect its debts, and pay its 
creditors the proportions due them. I'pon the passage of this act Henry S. 
Baird. the Attorney General resigned his office, and the Governor appointed 
llenrv X. Wells his successor. Baird. as president of the first Wisconsin Legis- 
lative Council had resigned that position to accept the office of Attorney General, 
and this definite refusal to assume the responsibility of closing up the affairs of 
the I'.ank at Green Bay was doubtless due to the fact that James Duane Doty, 
Morgan L. Martin and other friends were incorporators of the bank and heavily 
involved in its downfall. 

The "wild cat banks," as all those in this western country were designated at 
that time, did not cover in their failure what is included in the suspension of a 
bank at the present time. The incorporators, officers and stockholders were the 
losers, and the eflect was disastrous to the large interests of the territory, but 
the mass of the people did not as now deposit in banks to any extent and were 
but little affected personally by the catastrophe. The amount of actual cash 
was scarce west of Lake Michigan until the shipment of lumber, fish and other 
exports to outside ports brought in money to the different towns. 

An early settler and much respected resident of Duck Creek in former years 
says that barter was this time and up to the year i860 the accepted mode of trade, 
hampering to a large degree the merchant doing business in the various towns, 
who was forced to pay cash for his stock of goods. A farmer, would, for 
instance, go to the village of Fort Howard for a pair of shoes, and would pay 
for them in garden produce, which must in turn be exchanged by the shoemaker 
for still another article of trade. an<l so on, indefinitely, with perhaps no real 
monetary return in the result. 

Outside capital came to the relief of the Hydraulic Company and in 1847 '^ 
passed into the hands of Joshua F. Cox of New York, who had obtained control 
of the water power and property. That same year the old dam at De Pere gave 
way and in 1848, Cox through his agent. David M. Loy, built the present dam. 
The death of Co.x occurred not long after, the property passed into the hands 
of certain New York parties, and later was acc[uired by Joseph G. Lawton and 
others at De Pere. who incorporated as the "De Pere Company" in 1854. Twenty- 
se\en years later, July ig. 1881, the property was sold under foreclosure of mort- 
gage to the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, the real estate, buildings 
and so forth, being bid in by the company for $u),y45, the water power for 

The second session of the third Legislative Assembly convened at Madison, 
December 6, 1841. It was in many respects an unusual gathering of men; about 
one-third were natives of slave states, and fifteen gave farming as their occupa- 
tion, showing that agriculture had at last taken firm hold on the pioneers of 
the state. The members of the Legislative Council from Brown were Charles 
P. Arndt. at that time Judge of Probate for the county of Brown, and Morgan 
Lewis Martin; in the House, Albert G. Ellis, Moses C. Darling and David Gid- 


ding?. The delegates from Brown county also represented the counties of Fond 
du Lac, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. 

Ill September, 1841, Governor Dodge was removed from the governorship 
by President Tyler, and in his place was appointed James D. Doty, a man of 
marked ability, and already thoroughly identified with Brown county's history. 
Both he and his cousin, Morgan L. Martin were leaders in territorial organiza- 
tion and in the political life of Wisconsin, but were never in accord politically, 
and the friction between these two acknowledged leaders which sometimes came 
to open rupture, caused also dissention in territorial sessions. 

Governor Doty assumed control in November, 1841, and a month later the 
legislature convened. It was from the first a stormy session; the Governor 
refusing to cooperate with the legislature ; there were disputes on the floor, and 
a tragedy the most terrible of any that ever occurred in Wisconsin legislative 
halls took place in February, 1842. 

In the seventh legislative council of Michigan, which as we have seen con- 
vened at Green Bay in January, 1836, James R. Vineyard of Grant county was 
a member. He made his home while in the town with the family of John P. 
.'Vrndt, a prominent pioneer resident, and who with his wife were among the 
highly regarded of Green Bay's early citizens. The Arndt's were liberal, warm- 
hearted people, and Vineyard grew well acquainted with the son, Charles Arndt, 
at that time judge of the Brown county court, and editor of the Green Bay Re- 

When Charles Arndt was elected a member of the council from Brown county, 
the accjuaintance begun in Green Bay between \'ineyard and Arndt was renewed 
and the two young men were much together. On the evening of February 10, 
1842, there was a large ball given in territorial circles in Madison, N'ineyard and 
Arndt acting as managers. Both worked hard, for it was no small task to arrange 
for a social event of importance with the crude resources of that period, but 
although tired out with their eft'orts to make the aft'air a success the two men 
seemed on the best of terms when they met in the council chamber on the follow- 
ing day. 

The difficulty grew out of a debate on a motion to lay on the table the nomina- 
tion by Governor Doty of Enos S. Baker to the office of sheriff of Grant county. 
Arndt opposed this, and supported Baker's nomination, saying that Vineyard had 
given the highest testimonials as to the nominee's character. Upon his making 
this remark Vineyard turned partly around and said it was a falsehood. Some 
words passed, the president, Moses E. Strong, called "order" and quiet was 

After the council had adjourned Arndt stepped up to Vineyard's desk and 
asked him for an explanation, demanding that he retract his words. This, Vine- 
yard refused to do, at the same time repeating that Arndt's words were false. 
Arndt then aimed a blow at Vineyard : members crowded around ; one or two blows 
passed, there was a shot ; Arndt reeled, and moved towards the fireplace, his 
hands on his breast ; some one rushed forward and caught him as he fell ; he 
never spoke and died within five minutes. His father, John P. Arndt, who had 
reached Madison only the day previous on a visit to his son was present and 
saw the deed. Vineyard immediately surrendered himself to the sheriff, waived 
an examination and was committed to jail. Arndt's colleague, Morgan L. Mar- 


tin, on the following day. addressed the council on the death of Arndt and 
offered resolutions of sympathy with the widow and in regard to preparations 
for the funeral, which were adopted. He also drew up the resolutions which 
were offered bv Ebenezer Brigham of Dane county, formally expelling Vine- 
yard from the council. Vineyard's resignation was sent to the council but was 
returned unopened. Charles Dickens, the distinguished novelist was visiting in 
the United States at this time and the newspaper accounts of the legislative 
tragedy furnished a dramatic theme for the great writer in his arraignment of 
the undisciplined state of society throughout the country. In his American Notes 
he published word for word the story as given by Charles Sholes, who pre- 
ceded Charles Arndt in the editorship of the Green Bay Republican, and who, 
with 'lis brother, I.alham. had moved to Southport or as it is now called Racine, 
where lhe\' had gone into newspaper work, and were editing the Southport 

Andrew E. Elmore, a prominent figure in legislative halls for many years (as 
member from Milwaukee county) gives the following reminescence of James 
R. \'ineyard seven years after the fatal encounter with Arndt. Although feeling 
against the homicide had been very deep and widespread, and Judge Dunn had 
been strongly censured for his decision that the act had been committed in self 
defense, yet in 184Q X'ineyard was again in the state legislature as member from 
Grant count\. ■•\\'hcn the committee appointed to report on the cjuestion as to 
whether the judiciary should be by appointment or election * * * there was 
a great commotion, one calling out this, another that. James Magone of Mil- 
waukee, a bright man with a fine mind, called Aloses M. Strong a liar, whereupon 
Strong lifted his heavy cane and hurled it at Magone. It struck the desk and 
made a deep dent in the wood. Some one called for an adjournment, and the 
members rushed out. 1 sat still, every moment expecting to hear shots fired ; inU 
lames R. \'incyard who liad been sitting at my side, threw his arms around 
Strong and with the tears streaming down his face cried, "Don't shoot. Look at 
me. look at me.' He told me later he had ne\er had a happy moment since he 
shot Charles Arndt." 

Governor Doty's administration was something of a disappointment to his 
ardent supporters ; his refusal to cooperate with the state legislature causing 
constant delay in the execution of official business. The governor was, however, 
insistently pressing the subject of statehood, which did not meet with popular 
favor and was publicly denounced as "Doty's pet hobby," until 1846. when a 
wave of popular demand for immediate statehood swept over the territory. 
By order of the legislature a vote on this question was taken on the first 
Tuesday of April, 1S46, — the franchise being restricted to "every white male 
inhabitant above the age of twenty-one years, who shall have resided in the 
territory for six months." The result was about six to one in the aiifirmative. 
Meanwhile a bill enabling Wisconsin to become a state was introduced in Con- 
gress, January 9, 1846, by Morgan L. Martin, the territorial delegate. Passing 
Congress it was approved by the president on August 10. 

Governor Dodge, who was again in Ihe gubernatorial chair, issued on the 
first of August a proclamation calling a constitutional convention, which held 
its session at Madison between October 3 and December 16. with Don J. Upham 
of Milwaukee as presiding officer. In this body some pugnacious members 

Vol. I— 1 1 


desired to place in the constitution a proviso that Wisconsin would accept state- 
hood only on the condition that she be "restored to her ancient boundaries." 
But this bit of bluster failed of passage, as did another proposition to establish 
a new state along the south shore of Lake Superior, to be named after that body 
of water ; . . . The constitution, for the most part an exceptionably able 
document, was rejected by the peoi>le ( Ai)ril 5, 1847) upon a vote of ayes 14,118, 
nays 20,321. The democrats opposed those articles on the rights of married 
women and exemptions from forced sales ; while the whigs disliked the restric- 
tions that, with a caution born of intense popular distrust, had been placed upon 
banking and bank circulation. 

The second constitutional convention assembled in Madison on December 
15, 1847, with ]\Iorgan L. INIartin of Brown county as president. The terri- 
tory now boasted of a population of 210.456, and the desire for statehood had 
become all but universal. The new constitution, carefully avoiding the rocks 
upon which its predecessor had been wrecked, was adopted by the people on 
March 13, 1848. ayes 16,799, nays 6.384. On May 29, President Polk approved 
a new act of congress, based upon the accepted constitution, whereby Wisconsin 
was at last admitted to the sisterhood of states. (Thwaites, Wisconsin.) 

(References for Chap. XV: W. H. C. i<P5 : Strong, Territorial Wis.; 
Thwaites, Wisconsin; Wis. Territory, ist Leg. Assembly; Andrew E. Elmore, 
Wis. Hist. Proc. 1910.) 


When Governor Lewis Cass organized by proclamation the county of Brown 
in the territory of Michigan, the terms of said proclamation authorized a 
majority of the judges of the county court of Brown to establish the seat of 
justice at any point within six miles of the mouth of Fox river. In 1824, it 
was declared in the preamble to an act passed at the first session of the first 
legislative council of the territory of Michigan, that the judges of the Brown 
county court had neglected to comply with this authorization and that their failure 
to do this had caused "great and manifest inconvenience to the people of said 
county." The county is further advised that "the county commissioners of the 
county of Brown, or a majority of them, shall have power, and they are hereby 
required, on or before the first day of October next ensuing, to establish the 
seat of justice of said county of Brown at any point they may deem expedient 
within six miles of the mouth of Fox river." 

This act was later amended to read that this matter should be decided by the 
county commissioners together with the justices of the county court and the 
territorial circuit judge. James D. Doty. Who the county commissioners were 
is not recorded, but Judge Doty and his colleagues proved equal to the occasion 
and promptly named Menomineeville as the county seat. The court sessions were 
held in "a house near Camp Smith, in the township of Green Bay, county of 
Brown," which was according to the statement of Mrs. Henry S. Baird, the old 
garrison schoolhouse. 

The circuit judge and the justices continued to administer county ailfairs 
up to 1827, when for Michigan Territory at large the county commission system 
was abolished and townships were organized. This system of county government 
called for the election of a supervisor from each township, the whole to form 
a county board. In that same year, 1827, the first township organization west 
of Lake Michigan was adjusted. All that part of Brown county not held under 
Indian possession was organized into Green Bay township, the first meeting of the 
organization to be held at the house of John P. Arndt. In the county of Crawford 
by the same act of legislature, the township of St. Anthony was formed. These 
two townships included the village of Menomineeville in Brown county, and that 
of Prairie du Chien in Crawford county, still the only settled portions of western 
Michigan, and the only counties yet organized. The two townships were excepted 
from the existing law, as their population did not warrant the town system 
of government, and for them the county commission system continued in force. 

Three supervisors were elected in each of these counties, who were expected 
to perform the duties of both town and county supervisors. Their official over- 
sight in Brown covered a large territory, but the populated area was very 



limited and extended only from Grand Kakalin, where at this time a saw mill 
and trading house had been erected, down Fox river to its month. The remainder 
was given up to densely wooded tracts, broken on the shares of streams b) 
groups of Indian wigwams, and interspersed by stretches of cedar and tamarack 

This system was virtually the original one of county commissioners, except 
that the office went by election instead of by appointment. No towns were 
organized in this part of the territory under this law and no record can be found 
of the election of the three supervisors. Judge Doty writes in a private letter 
that he trusts the supervisors are considering the building of a suitable court 
house, but does not mention names of the officials. His letters continue to be 
headed, Menomineeville, township of Green Bay ; there seems however to have 
been no regularly incorporated town m the whole county of Brown. No impor- 
tant changes were made until 1835. 

In that year by authority of the Michigan Legislative Council, William Dick- 
enson, Charles TuUar and John P. .Arndt organized the De Pere Hydraulic Com- 
pany, and the following year, 1836, at the first session of the Wisconsin Territorial 
Council, John P. Arndt, the member from Brown, brought in a bill for its 
incorporation. The Hydraulic Company platted a 114 acre tract on the east side 
of the river, recording it as the "Plat of the Town of Depere." This was followed 
in 1836 by the plat of "Dickenson's Addition" and, in 1837, by "Irwin's First 

On March 17, 1835, three townships were organized in Brown county. That 
of Green Bay comprised all the district of country north of private claim No. 2. 
and east of Fox river and Green Bay ; or all that land lying north of Main street. 
The first township meeting was to be held at the schoolhouse in Navarino. The 
township of Mason (named after Stevens T. Mason, governor of Michigan at 
that date) included the area of land on the east side of Fox river, south of 
private claim No. 2, and the first township assembly was to meet in the court 
house at Menomineeville. The township of Howard extended from the Grand 
Kakalin, the other limits indefinite, on the west side of Fox river, and the initial 
meeting was to convene at the house of Jacques Porlicr. (The Porlier-Tank 
cottage. ) 

Mason township existed for only one year when the township of Green Bay 
again absorbed Navarino, Astor and Shanty Town on the east side of the river 
and Howard the villages on the west side. In 1836 the territory of Wisconsin 
was organized and a general law of village incorporation was passed. Two 
years later towns were organized for judicial and police purposes and gi\en 
some power in regard to roads. 

In 1838, the territorial council established the "Town of Wilcox" (named 
after Randall Wilcox ) which included what is now De Pere, on both sides of the 
river, but in March, 1839, the east side became part of the town of Depere, 
and the west side was again included in the town of Howard. 

At the first session of the Wisconsin legislative council a determined effort 
was made to secure the seat of justice for Brown county for the new town of 
De Pere. John P. Arndt championed the bill and Henry S. Baird, the other mem- 
ber of the council from Brown county, opposed it. 

The dispute o\er the county seat of Brown came up again at the second session 


STREET SCENE IN DE PEEE ABOUT ^'°2™'^^^' ^- "• ^^'^' ^^^ ^^ ^^^^ 




of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature. By an act "to change the seat of 
justice in Brown county,'' approved in December, 1836, it was provided, that an 
election should be held on the third Monday of January, 1837, to decide whether 
Navarino, Astor or De Pere should be awarded that honor. Governor Dodge was 
to certify the returns and issue a proclamation declaring the result. 

The election was held-, and on the first day of February, proclamation was 
made by the governor, that, "the town of Depere has received a large majority of 
the votes, and the seat of justice of the said county of Brown is established at 
Depere, from and after the first day of April, 1837." The miniature cities of 
Navarino and Astor were deeply chagrined at the result of the election and 
at the following session of the legislature petition was made that the two be 
incorporated as separate and distinct towns. The manifest absurdity of this 
proposition in view of the meagre number of inhabitants prevented its success, 
and killed the bill. Later the petition was changed to read "the town of 
Green Bay" and this in turn was amended to "the borough of Green Bay," and 
was approved by the governor on January 17, 1838, Morgan L. Alartin being 
elected president of the new borough. This act of incorporation did not include 
the west side of Fox river, which was known at the time and for more than 
fiftv years to come as Fort Howard. 

No suitable building had been erected in which to hold court at De Pere. so 
opportunity was taken while Fox river was frozen o\er to move thither on the 
ice from Menomineeville, two and a half miles away, the log court house whicli 
for eleven years had served Brown county as a judicial centre. The growing 
im]iortance of Wisconsin Territory demanded, however, within a year's time 
that Brown county have a larger and more appropriate building for its courts 
of justice and the IDe Pere court house was erected in 1838 at a cost of $3,740, 
Matthew Washburn, contractor. The building' was of frame, the upper story 
being used for a court room and the lower for the jail and living rooms for the 
keeper's family. 

In 1840 a concession was made in favor of Green Bay b}' the passage of an 
act making it permissible for the May term of the county court to be held at 
Green Bay and the October term of the same court at De Pere provided that not 
more than $100 should be spent in fitting up a suitable building at Green Bay, 
Ihat all writs should be returnable to De Pere, the sherifl-' and clerk, however, 
being permitted to have offices at Green Bay. This curious see-saw action was 
terminated upon the incorporation of the city of Green Bay in 1854. 

Wisconsin Territory when first established adopted the system of county 
commissioners, but those counties in the eastern portion, among them Bicvv'n, 
demanded a more democratic form of local government and in 1841. an act was 
passed to provide for the government of the several towns in the territory ; also 
for a revision of county government. 

The new law provided that the people of each county should tlecide by jjopular 
vote as to whether the county commission system should be continued and llie 
cjuestion accordingly came up for ballot at the general election of November, 1841. 
The result showed that the town system was adopted and that each town 
was to elect a town board to administer its affairs. At the same time a super- 
visor was to be elected to represent the town on a county board. 

As Brown county, in 1840, embraced only the three towns of Depere, Green 


Bay and Howard and the meetings of the county board were to be held once a 
year, the three town boards up to 1848, did more toward managing general 
county business than the county board. The town board was an important body, 
exercising authority over a wide territory, but in Brown county only one town, 
that of Howard, has preserved its records complete from the first organization 
of the board seventy years ago. 

There is no record kept of the Brown county board of supervisors up to the 
organization of Wisconsin as a state in 1848. At that date and up to 1852, the 
proceedings of that body are published annually and for several consecutive 
weeks in the one county newspaper, the Green Bay Advocate. The first meeting 
was held in January, 1848, the board consisting at that time of five members: 
Randall Wilcox, chairman ; Samuel Ryan, senior, Robert D. Stewart, Thomas 
Green and Alexander Grignon. The county ofiicers were : J. F. Lessey, sheriff ; 
Harry F. Brown, treasurer ; J. \'. Suydam. clerk ; Burley Follett, register ; 
Edward Outhwaite, clerk of the court: William H. G. Boyd, coroner; David 
Agry, district attorney ; Albert G. Ellis, district surveyor. 

Upon the admission of Wisconsin to the Union in 1848, a new town was set 
off from Howard and named Lawrence in honor of Amos A. Lawrence, founder 
of the university at Appleton. and in 1852 the town of Pittsfield was organized. 
Randall Wilcox of De Pere, who was for several terms chairman of the Board 
of Supervisors, was a man highly respected and of sound judgment. He was 
moreover thoroughly interested in the growth and progress of his own town 
as well as the county in general, and was connected with most of the large 
moneyed enterprises of that day. He continued as the head of the county 
board until 1852, when Jonathan Wheelock of Lawrence, a sterling pioneer, 
was elected chairman. At the annual meeting in January. 1851, the members 
all being present except the chairman, Mr. Wilcox, D. W. Hubbard of Howard 
was given the chair pro tem. The clerk for that year was Earl S. Goodrich. 

The first entry to be found in the "Journal of Proceedings of the Board of 
Supervisors of Brown County," is under date of April, 1852. Jonathan Wheelock 
of Lawrence, chairman. The other members present were Baron S. Doty, 
Green Bay : D. Jordan, Depere, and Hoel S. \\'right, Wrightstown ; the members 
from Howard and Lawrence not being present. This was the period when 
the Fo-x- Wisconsin Improvement, of which Green Bay and De Pere men 
were the incorporators, was the great interest of the whole Fox River valley. 
Therefore the Board of 1852. "Resolved: — that the faith of the county of Brown 
is hereby pledged to the punctual payment of 7 per cent of interest on any 
certificate of indebtedness hereafter to be issued to Morgan L. ^Martin and 
White. Riley and Arndt, contractors on Fox River, provided that the principal 
sum of said certificate of indebtedness to said Martin does not exceed the 
sum of $45,000. and to the said White. Riley and Arndt the sum of $6,000." 
On April 2. 1853. an act to authorize the counties of Brown and Outagamie to 
loan their credit was passed liy the Wisconsin legislature, but no such pledge 
or guarsntee could be given the county unless approved by the legal votes 
polled ujion the subject in the several towns thereof. 

L'nder date of February 15. 1853, a resolution of the county board is entered 
authorizing the county treasurer to bring suit against the former county clerk 
for the return of the books, papers and records, also the county moneys, all 


of which he seems to have refused to deposit in De Pere, considering it safer 
to carry them back and forth when necessary between his home in Green Bay 
and the coimty seat. The feehng had become rather tense at this time between 
the two towns owing to rival claims as to a county centre of government. On 
November 23, 1853, William Field, junior, is allowed four dollars by the county 
board for moving the county clerk's records from Green Bay to De Pere, which 
proves that they were finally deposited in their rightful place. 

In 1853, John P. Arndt was elected chairman w-ith William Field clerk, the 
other members of the board being Hoel S. Wright, W. J. Gillman, Thomas 
Bennett and J. Baldwin of Pittsfield, that town having been set off during the 
year. .\t this session of the board, Otto Tank and Nathan Goodell filed a 
petition for a permit to establish a ferry between Fort Howard and Green Bay. 
This ferrv proved a great institution and was continued under diiTerent manage- 
ments until the building of the Walnut street bridge in 1862. 

The amount of personal and real property in the several towns at this time 
was : 

Real estate Green Bay $184,075 Personal $34,650 

Real estate . De Pere 117,857 Personal I.950 

Real estate Howard 33-9o8 Personal 5.900 

Real estate Wrightstown 29,354 Personal 250 

Real estate Lawrence 24,269 

Real estate Pittsfield 13,277 

B3' legislative enactment of February 27, 1854, Green Bay was incorporated 
as a citv, and on April 4, of the same year, a popular vote transferred the 
county scat from De Pere to the former place. The contest caused much more 
excitement than was usually manifested at town elections, but everything, so 
it is r-eported. passed off very (|uietly, without any exhibition of ill feeling or angry 
rivalry. Jonathan Wheelock, of Lawrence, was again the chairman of the county 
board in 1854, but became disqualified through his removal from that town 
during the year and Andrew Reid was elected in his place, John P. Arndt 
being elected chairman. 

With the removal of the county seat from De Pere, the question of a suitable 
court house and jail became a pressing subject of debate with the board of 
supervisors. The only building in Green Bay at all of reasonable size or atlapted 
for the |)urpose was the Town Hall, even then an old building, which stood on 
the southeast corner of Adams and Doty streets. The building comprised one 
large room on the ground floor and four in tlie upper story. It was never 
considered by the Board of Supervisors as suitable or proper, but lacking any- 
thing better, was rented for the purpose. 

On July 6, 1854, five hundred dollars was appropriated for the purchase 
of stone for a fireproof court house. A building committee was appointed to 
consist of John P. Arndt, Francis Desnoyers and Oscar Gray. In the interim 
of waiting the Board decided to rent for county offices and a place to store 
the records, two upper rooms in the newly completed building of Howe and 
Haynes, which stood on the southeast corner of Washington and Doty streets ; 
m later years used for a small hotel, the Whittington House. This square two- 
storied house, Iniilt by James H. Howe and his partner in law, Silas Haynes, 


was unusual in that day Ijecause of the material used, which was brick made 
directly on the ground, described at the time as "a very beautiful wall, little 
if any inferior to granite, and far handsomer than any brick with which we 
are acquainted. The machine and material can be taken directly on the ground 
where the building is to be erected." ( G. B. Advocate.) The concrete blocks 
were about twelve by si.x inches in size and look as though they may have been 
made from the sandy loam on which the house was built. The front and sides 
of the building have been covered with modern brick, but at the rear can still 
be seen (in 1912) the original gray blocks. 

The court house committee reported to Chairman Daniel VV. King and the 
members of the board on January 25, 1855, that they had contracted with Nathan 
Goodell, .\stor's real estate agent, for the purchase of lot 11, block 13, Astor, 
for $500. This was the lot on Adams street adjoining lot 12, on the corner 
where stood the town hall. The resolution was then passed that the county 
board should erect a fireproof building, forty-four by twenty-four feet in depth, 
two stories in height, to accommodate four offices and on March 8, 1855, three 
months later, a committee of three, composed of John P. .\rndt, Oscar Gray and 
F. E White, were instructed to accept bids and close contracts for a building 
forty-eight by twenty-four feet. 

The fort buildings were at this time regarded with fa\or l)y the Comity 
Board of Supervisors as a place for county meetings and also as a possible jail, 
but !\Iajor Shaler, the retired officer in charge, stated that he had no power 
to lease them for any purpose, and Judge Stephen R. Cotton gave his judicial 
opinion that the buildings were totally unfit for jail purposes because of their 
insecurity and also because of being on government land. The board acquiesced 
in Judge Cotton's opinion. 

The court house building proposition hung fire for lack of funds, and no 
report was handed in by the building committee of work having been begun. 
On the fifteenth of November, 1855, the sheriff was authorized to remove the 
judge's bench, desk and the benches from the De Pere court house to the court 
house in Green Bay. Meantime the county building in De Pere was still used 
for jail purposes; the upper floor was also rented for the simi of one dollar 
for public gatherings of various sorts, religious services or business meetings 
relating to public aflfairs. The building was kept clean and neat by the keeper 
in charge, but was five miles from the seat of justice, and for this reason as 
the board reported, was an added expense. 

John P. Arndt, one of the most useful of men in the practical management 
of county and city affairs, was again elected chairman in 1856, with Myron P. 
Lindsley as clerk and John Last, district attorney. Repairs were put on the old 
court house, a low picket fence was built around the building and a bridge 
across the slough. On March 2"], 1S56, Joel S. Fisk petitioned the county 
board to rent the upper rooms in the court house building for a select school 
for young ladies, the teacher, Mrs. Jeremiah Porter. This school was continued 
until January I, 1857, when the rooms were rented to the city for a public school. 

Judge David Agry of the county court appears to have held his judicial 
sessiotis in his own office, for which the county paid rent annually $150. When 
Henry S. Baird completed in 1858 his stone building with iron shutters on 
the north side of Pine street between Washington and Adams, now used as 


a storage warehouse, the county board decided at a meeting held on August 
3, of that year, to rent Baird's new fireproof building for county offices, 
where the records might be kept in comparative safety. The rent to be paid $540. 

The attention of the county board during these years was largely devoted 
to providing a place for the county poor. Up to 1856, the several towns cared 
for their own poor and found it a heavy responsibility and expense, but on 
March 12, 1856, the Board of Supervisors decided to abolish this distinction 
and to make the poor a county charge. The United States government was 
petitioned to sell private claim 18, on the east side of Fox river, for a poor 
farm. This property was a part of Camp Smith, and was originally owned 
by Judge Jacques Porlier. On it stood the old Protestant Episcopal mission 
house, which the county board hoped to utilize temporarily, but at the November 
meeting of 1856 the commissioners for the poor reported that they had used 
their best endeavors to secure the property without success. 

At the March meeting of 1857, the committee in charge of the county house 
brought before the board the following oiTers of land for this purpose : A site 
on Fox river, six miles above De Pere, offered by Daniel Whitney for $10.00 
per acre; James Boyd, a farm of 120 acres for $6,000; Paul Fox, one of 129 
acres, $2,500; Dr. Israel Green's farm in Ashwaubenon, 140 acres, $5,000, and 
H. S. Baird's farm of 120 acres for $1,500. 

Two months later on May 14, 1857, the county board decided on and 
ordered the purchase of the present poor farm site, 112 acres from David P. 
Saunders for $1,600. The property was on the regularly travelled road to 
Bay Settlement, — the lower road which followed the line of the bay shore; 
the upper road was not opened until several years later. This county purchase 
proved an excellent investment. The land was good and well adapted to farming 
purposes and in the course of ten years was reported as being nearly self 
supporting from the fine crops raised there. A comfortable house was built, 
and the management from the beginning seems to have been almost uniformly 

In i860, Dorothea Dix of New York state, the famous philanthropist and 
the one above all others who improved the condition of prisons, poor houses and 
insane asylums throughout the United States, visited Green Bay and De Pere 
in her tour of inspection through Wisconsin. Fler report on the Brown county 
institutions is most encouraging and commendatory of the poor commissioners. 
The neatly kept, although small buildings, the beautiful situation and well culti- 
vated bit of farm land 'backed by its acres of still untouched forest impressed 
Miss Dix most favorably. In a letter to "Honorable John P. Arndt and Mayor 
Goodeir' Miss Dix writes that her visits to the county jail in De Pere and to 
the poor house lately established beyond Green Bay were necessarily short. 
She found the jail clean and well ordered, unusually so for an old building, 
and humanity and kindness were shown by the warden, Mr. Cooley. Her 
impressions were also favorable in regard to the poor farm and the care bestowed 
by Mr. and Mrs. Wright on the inmates. 

In July, 1857, Lorenzo Brown was elected chairman of the county board. 
The committee having the matter of the poor farm property in charge were, 
David Agry, John P. Arndt and William Field, junior. The members reported 
at this meeting that the property had been purchased from Saunders. 


-\t the July meeting of 1857 the court house committee presented their plans 
for a new building, complaint being constantly made of the old town hall and 
jail and their inadequacy for the purpose being obviously manifest. It was 
to be a structure 45x90 feet on the ground floor, two stories high with four 
fireproof offices on the lower floor, and a court room 45x70 feet on the upper 
floor. The building was to be of brick or stone, with a belfry in the centre 
of the roof. At the November meeting of that year a resolution was adopted 
to issue $30,000 bonds to ijuild the court house and to begin its erection and 
that of a jail early in the spring. 

The heirs in the Astor estate had released for the county court house the 
pttblic square, known as Calhoun Square, in the plat of Astor and today known 
as St. John's .Square. 

At the November meetnig of 1857, John P. Arndt, chairman of the court 
house committee, reported that it would not be expedient to erect both court 
house and jail at that time. The total valuation of the county in 1857 was 
$1,228,830 but money was terribly scarce because of "hardtimes," and Judge 
Arndt, who had a generous sympathy toward the overburdened taxpayer, urged 
that the court house project be allowed to rest until there was more cash avail- 
able, and recommended that "as prison the county has none," a jail be erected 
early in the following spring. Times were indeed bitter hard in the year 1857. 
and the financial depression in \^'isconsin, in common with the whole country 
was only equalled by that of 1837. Banks all over the United States went to 
the wall, and the lumber interest which had become the great moneyed industry 
of Brown county received a heavy blow. It was very difficult to collect taxes ; 
farmers for the most i)art were emigrants from the old country, who were 
hewing out their way from a dense wilderness. The taxes were exorbitant for 
the real value of the property and Green Bay the largest town in the county 
only extended in the fifties as far back as Madison street, and that wa.^ in 
the woods. 

The government census for 1850, gives the entire population of Brown county 
as fi.215, and that of i860 as 11.795. Roads and liridges were an urgent necessity 
with the increase of population, but the board with limited means found it 
impossible to make much practical headway in this direction. In 1858, the 
application of Harry E. Eastman, mayor of Green Bay, that the board give 
the city of Green Bay autiiority to bridge "East or Devil river" was approved 
by the supervisors. A petition to open Doty striiet to Devil river was received 
in August of that year, and at this same meeting in 1858, $75 was allowed 
to Lawrence and Holland for bridges, $30 for a bridge across Plum creek, 
$100 to Borough of Fort Howard for completing bridge on Wolf river road; 
also on .September 14, $200 to the town of Bellevue to complete a bridge then 
in process of erection across Devil river. 

The history of Brown county is difficult to follow at this time each year 
brought changes and the rapid increase in the population from foreign countries 
changed economic conditions. The county board increased in size each year 
members from newly organized towns taking their seats. 

The road to Shawano was ordered opened in January 1S58, and recommended 
as of great public benefit to the county and as opening up a fine section of country 
for settlement. In the meantime a large number of plank road companies had 


been organized, that of Green Bay and New Franken in 1856 being aniorg 
the first, with George S. Armstrong as incorporator. 

It was agreed that the meetings of the supervisors should be conducted with 
more formahty and in May, 1859, John P. x^rndt, James H. Howe and 
James S. King were appointed a committee to draft rules of order and it was 
voted that the rules of procedure and order of business should be strictly 
adhered to. 

The following year the board signed a petition to the state legislature 
asking that the onerous tax imposed on the county for state purposes be lightened, 
and that the owners of land in the county of Brown be relieved from an 
unequal and burdensome tax. 

The war period meant busy times for the county board. The first railroad 
the Chicago and Northwestern went through, bridges were built and the court 
house project was definitely settled. Schools throughout the county were begin- 
ning to be established and it was voted that the county school superintendent be 
paid $700 a year ; also that supervisors, many of whom came from a distance, 
be given one dollar a day extra. The first district school house in De Pere was 
ordered built in August 1857, at a cost of not more than $1,000. 

There was some opposition to the railroad and complaint that it was 
pushed through in the interests of the mill men, but on May ig, 1862, the 
county board to aid in the enterprise, resolved, that, "in conformity with the 
provisions of the act of the legislature of i6th of March, i860, and act of April 
loth, 1861, and in accordance with the vote of the legal voters of the County of 
Brown under the said law, there be issued bonds of said county to the amount 
of $49,500. * * * fhe sale of stock to be negotiated through the Bank of 
Green Bay." 

On February 24, 1864, the rjuestion of the unfitness of the town hall for 
court house purposes was again discussed, and two months later it was resolved, 
John Last, chairman, that the lots 87, 88 and 89, ofliered by W. D. Colburn be 
purchased for $2,800. Later in the same year a contract was entered into by 
members of the board with J. B. Van De Mosselaer and H. J. Busch, acting 
as a committee from the Holland Catholic congregation for the sale of the court 
house building to that congregation for $475 and the lot for $1,200. On 
November 16, 1864 the property was handed over to the Holland congregation. 

Cin April 15, 1865, the County Board of Supervisors met pursuant to agree- 
ment, John Last, chairman presiding and members all present. Mr. .\ldrich 
oflfered the following resolution which was adopted. Resolved, That tlic members 
of this board have heard with the most unfeigned regret and sorrow the startling 
news of the sudden death of His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President of 
the L'nited States, and of the Llonorable William H. Seward, Secretary of 
State, who have fallen under the ruthless weapon of the assassin, Resolved, That 
out of respect to the nic-.-norv of the illustrious deceased, the board do now 
adjourn — to meet two weeks from this day, Saturday the 29th inst. Signed, 
M. P. Lindsley, clerk. 

In the fall of 1865, the soldiers were crowding home from the war just ended, 
and in November the county board in discussing the much vexed subject of 
taxation decided "that all those persons possessed of property * * still are 
and will in all probability for many years to come be liable to have their means 


curtailed by the large amount of taxes direct and indirect which they have to 
pay to government in consequence of the expenditure incurred by the latter in 
carrying on the terrible conflict in which we have lately been engaged. Yet that 
expenditure has been of vast benefit to the lower classes through the immense 
bonus and high rate of wages paid to the soldiers and others employed about 
the army during the war." 

Prosperity shone over Brown county. Money was made rapidly and easily, 
the lumber industry was booming and Green Bay said to be manufacturing more 
shingles than any other part of the world. The fish business too was a lucrative 
pursuit and the new railroad was carrying to Chicago carloads of the finest fish 
to be found in market, sturgeon, muskellunge and white fish. There were no 
refrigerator cars in those days but the fish were thrown into open cars, and 
covered with ice and reached the Chicago market in prime condition. 

The new court house was finished in 1866. Kemnitz Brothers the contractors. 
It was a square substantial building the lower part stone, the tipper stories of 
brick crowned by a cupola, the court room was on the upper floor, the county 
offices on the second story, the jail and keeper's house in the basement. It was 
considered well built and altogether a credit to the county, and was used until 
the handsome and modern coiu't house completed in 191 1, was ready for 

(References for Chapter X\ I : Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors; 
Hist, of Northern Wisconsin ; Strong, Territorial Wisconsin : Journal of Legis- 
lative Council; Maes. Souvenir Blue Book of De Pere; ]\Is. Notes on De Pere 
from Wis. Hist. Soc. ; Green Bay .\dvocate. ) 


By far the most important subject occupying the attention of L'.rovvn county 
and its several towns during the two decades ' following the year 1840, was 
transportation and the opening up of roads throughout Wisconsin. 

The waterways that form an important feature in the settlement and growth 
of any country are of special interest in the history of Brown and neighboring 
counties, for through them ran the historic Fox-Wisconsin highway that from 
1634 onward was traversed by a procession of picturesque and awesome figures. 
The Indians with blackened faces and spears hung with the scalps of their 
victims stealing up the river's vine-hung course in their birch canoes, intent 
on surprising some other tribesman's camp ; the keen, decisive faces of Perrot 
and Dulhut, who knew that they stood daily in danger of treachery and sudden 
death ; the black robed fathers of the Jesuit mission making pastoral visits, their 
canoes propelled by an Indian or a Canadian donne, — all, as we study the history 
of this area of country now called Browrt county seem connected primarily 
with its water highways of bay and river. 

Following the period when Indians or singing voyageurs carried various forms 
of water craft across the rapids of Fox River came the strenuous attempt of 
earlv pioneers to make this stream the accepted route of communication between 
the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, and the "Fox-Wisconsin River Improve- 
ment" the contident hope of this entire section of country was inaugurated. The 
story of this ambitious venture, its vicissitudes and triumphs occupy many pages of 
our local newspapers up to the year i860, and the reports of congressional com- 
mittees and the legislative bodies of Michigan and Wisconsin in regard to it 
would alone till a volume. 

The first movement made by the inhabitants of Brown county toward the 
furtherance of this project was in the year 1829 when "An act to incorporate 
the President, Directors and Company of the Summit Portage Canal and Road 
Company" was introduced before the legislative council of Michigan Territory, 
and was approved by that body on October twenty-third of the same year. The 
bill recites that the company is formed "for the purpose of cutting a canal to 
connect the Fox and Ouisconsin rivers at what is usually termed the Portage of 
the Ouisconsin * * * and for the erection of piers, wdiarves, warehouses and 
other necessary improvements in and about said canal and road. 

"That the stock of said company shall consist of one thousand shares of ten 
dollars each and that John P. Arndt, Moigan L. Martin, John Lawe, Lewis 
Rouse. Henry S. Baird and Joseph Watson shall be and they are hereby appointed 
commissioners to receive subscriptions for said stock." Provision was further 
made for a turnpike road to be built running parallel with the canal. 



Following the approval of Ihc Michigan legislature a conxention was called 
in Menomineeville to discuss the best method of carrying on the projected 
improvement. Railroads at that time were a scarce luxury even in the eastern 
states, the only line in use being that between New York and Washington which 
included in its meanderings the city of Philadelphia. It was not to be imagined 
that this mode of travel would reach the Green ISay region for many years to 
come, but a cut through the portage which was little over a mile in extent 
and formed the only barrier separating Fox river from the Wisconsin would give 
free communication from all lake ports through to the JNIississippi and New 

Morgan L. Martin as the delegate from Brown county to the Michigan council 
in 1 83 1 actively pushed the enterprise, and so vigorous was the effort to obtain 
an appropriation wherewith to inaugurate the work that Governor Dodge in 
his first message to the Wisconsin territorial legislature in 1836, recommended 
that a memorial be sent to Congress asking for means to carry on the survev 
and impro\ement of the Fox river from its mouth to Fort Winnebago. In 1838 
the governor also recommended that the legislature memorialize Congress for 
a grant of land to aid in the improvement of both the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. 

In 1839 the first movement by the general government toward the improvement 
of the Fox-Wisconsin river highway was made. Captain Thomas J. Cram of 
the topographical engineers under direction of the war department made a prelimi- 
nary survey of the rivers and an estimate of the cost of their improvement. 

The project continued to be steadily pushed Ijy ])ractical promoters and 
in 1845 the measure petitioning Congress for a grant of land for its accomplish- 
ment was again introduced. In September of the same year Morgan L. Martin 
was elected as member of Congress from the Brown county district and 
immediately threw all his influence and enthusiastic championship of the pro- 
posed measure toward the successful furtherance of the work. He secured the 
passage of an act, approved August 8, 1846, making a grant of land to the state 
upon its admission into the union for the improvement of the Fox river alone, 
and the building of a canal across the jsortage between the two rivers. The 
grant covered every odd-numbered section within three miles of the canal, 
the river and the lakes, en route from the portage to the mouth. 

The second issue of the Green Bay Advocate, August 20, 1846, hails this 
auspicious event in mighty headlines of black type, "Passage of the Appropriation 
Bill for the Iinprovement of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers" and predicts a new 
era for Green Bay and the country thereabouts. "All praise is due to our delegate, 
the Hon. M. L. Martin, for his unremitted exertions in effecting this measure." 

Green Bay, ever given over to many merrymakings, immediately called a 
meeting of its citizens at the town hall to decide on an appropriate reception 
for their congressional member which was enthusiastically attended; and a 
ban(|net, ball, and supper were promptly arranged, all which events took place 
in due order. "The dinner at the Navarino House was well attended, and the 
way the good things were piled on to the board, and vanished before the guests 
did honor to the excellent catering of the host, Mr. DeOuindre. * * * Many 
excellent toasts were given. * * * j,^ (-j^g evening the ball at the Astor House 
drew the dancers together, and the way matters went off there was evidence 


enough of the excellence of ]\Ir. Green's way of doing things. The music was 
excellent; the managers acquitted themselves well, and the whole party wore 
glad faces as they wound through the mazy dance, and 

Played meteor like on beauty's cheek. 
As if contagiously ; and sparkling lamps 
Poured forth a deluge of lustre o'er the crowd, 
While music, like a siren, weaned the heart 
From every grovelling and contentious thought, 
From every care." 

The supper won a thousand complimems for the worthy host, and he ne\er 
was more "at home" than on the present occasion. * ^^ The small hours 

came and found the music and assembly still there and not idle — and we are not 
sure but that many had the morning sun to lighten the way home." 

When the second constitutional convention was held, this proposition on 
the part of Congress was endorsed, and at the first session of the state legislature 
the latter body passed an act, approved August 8, 1848, appointing a board of 
public works, consisting of five persons, and providing for the improvement of 
the river. The members of the board were elected in joint session of the 
legislature the same day as follows: Hercules L. Dousman, Curtis Reed, John 
A. Bingham, Albert S. Story and James B. Estes. (W. H. S. Colls. V. II.) ' 

For a couple of years the prospect for a speedy completion of the contem- 
plated work seemed bright. A steam dredge was constructed and put to work 
on the upper Fox. Contracts were let for the canal and locks at Portage, and for 
the improvement at Rapid Croche. At De Pere it was found that Joshua F. 
Cox was so anxious that the work should be done on the east side of the river 
that he was willing to undertake it for one dollar ; while Curtis Reed was to 
pay five thousand dollars for the privilege of building the northern channel 
at Winnebago Rapids. Sales of land had in 1849 amounted to $49,500 and in 
1850 to $S3,i6i. 

But the next year told a dift'erent story. The land sales seemed to have 
reached their limit and as this was the only source of revenue from which the 
l)oard could meet its expenses the work at Grand Chute and Cedar Rapids had 
to stop for lack of funds. With liabilities of $75,000 and only $8,000 in the 
treasury afl^airs may well be termed in bad shape. 

While matters were in this condition Morgan L. Martin made a proi)osition 
to the Wisconsin legislature through its Governor Nelson Dewey to do the work 
from Green Bay to Lake Winnebago excepting that which the board of public 
works had finished or was already under contract for. The board had dug the 
canal at Portage before there was any steam navigation possible on the 
lower Fox. 

Martin's proposition was in eft'ect that the state should not be held liable 
for expenses attending the completion of the improvement, but that the tolls and 
the sale of lands should supply the means to reimburse him. The governor in 
his message to the senate said: "It is believed that the proposition of Mr. Martin 
is a very favorable one for the state, and if accepted will ensure the final com- 


pletion of this important work at a much carher day than the state can possibly 
accomplish it, in any other constitutional manner. * * * jj-jg early com- 
pletion of this improvement will be promoted by its acceptance and would be 

The legislature of 1851 accepted Martin's propo.sition and he went to work 
with about five hundred men commencing at Kaukauna. Operations were 
carried on throughout that season, along the entire distance from Green Bay to 
Lake Winnebago. 

The contract read : I propose to complete the w hole w ork on or before the 
first day of May, 1853. the same to be accepted as fast as completed. The work 
to be paid for from the sales of land granted (and to be granted) in aid of 
the improvement, so far as the funds can be raised from that source. The 
amount due for the whole contract when completed, and remaining unpaid, to 
constitute a debt against the improvement, the interest of which -at twelve per 
cent, shall be paid from tolls to be collected on the work, and whenever the 
state shall realize funds, either from sale of lands or any other source, and pay 
the balance due on the contract, debt to be discharged. 

Governor Farwell came into office on the 5th of January. 1852. On the 
1 6th in his message to the legislature, the governor reported that $26,000 
had been paid for the season's work, in state scrip, and intimated that Martm's 
contract was unconstitutional. Me afterwards refused to give Martin any of the 
scrip that had been lawfully earned, and the incorporator was obliged to secure 
the passage by the legislature of an act authorizing the secretary of state to give 
certificates of indebtedness, instead of the governor. This was vetoed April 9, 
1852, Governor Farwell laying great stress on the claim that the bill was in 
violation of the spirit of both the act of Congress making the land grant and 
the constitution of the United States. 

Public indignation ran high over the governor's action which ])ractically meant 
ruin to the work and its incorporators. Attorney General Experience Estabrook 
however gave it as his opinion that the scrip issued to Martin was constitutional, 
and a joint committee of the legislature reported unanimouslv that the work 
had been conducted well and honorably. The legislature, therefore, passed the 
bill over the governor's veto, and Martin resumed work. The trouble with the 
governor, however, had greatly shortened the season, and it was not imtil (ul\- 
14th that Farwell consented to have certificates issued inider the act. and 
work could be recommenced. 

At the legislative session of 1853, the governor proposed, in a message dated 
February 9th, to "submit the works to private enterprise'' and have the skirts 
of the state cleared from all financial responsibility. It was urged by Farwell 
that tiie moneys realized from the sale of lands were insufificient to meet the 
state's obligations ; a company was therefore formed styled the Fox and Wisconsin 
Improvement Company, of which Morgan L. ^Martin, ]\Iason C. Darling, Otto 
Tank, Edgar Conklin. I'lenjamin F. Mooers, Joseph G. Lawton, Uriah H. Peak, 
Theodore Conkey and others were members. The articles of association were 
dated the ist of June, 1853. This company was incorporated by the state under 
act approved July dth, and to it was transferred the entire work, under 
condition that it fulfil the obligations of the state to all classes of contractors on 
the improvement. 




■ P 




> 1 




ira« s» ipiB w"^ ifliiMP" 










In April of the same year it was resolved by the board of supervisors of the 
county of Brown, "that the faith of the county of Brown is hereby pledged to 
the punctual payment of seven per cent of interest on any certificates of indebted- 
ness hereafter to l^e issued to Morgan L. Martin and White, Riley and Arndt, 
contractors in the Fox River Improvement Company, provided that the principal 
sum of said certificate of indebtedness to said Martin does not exceed the sum 
of $40,000 and to ihe said White, Riley and Arndt the sum of $6,000. No such 
pledge or guarantee shall be placed upon said county unless approved by the 
legal votes to be polled upon the subject at an election for this purpose to be held 
pursuant to the provisions of an act passed the 14th of May, 1853, in the 
several towns thereof." 

Meanwhile the great advantage accruini; to the lower Fox river had become 
apparent in the utilization through the "improvement" of the river's tremendous 
water power. By the year 1856 the southern line of the bridge at De Pere had 
a succession of saw mills in busy operation. The prediction made by Brown 
county citizens in their satisfaction over the land grant made by Congress, had 
been more than fulfilled. "The emigrant has said of the Fox river valley that 
there are no mills or at least very few. * * * When the work of improving the 
navigation commences dams will be thrown across at the different rapids, for 
the purpose of making slack water, and thus half the expense of erecting mills 
is done away with" wrote a prospective millwright in September, 1846. 

The heart and soul of the people were bound up in tlie successful completion 
of this work which meant mucli in a commercial way to this whole section of 
country, but sectional and official jealousies were ever hatching new troubles 
and the delay and litigation incident on the continual wrangle at Madison 
hampered the work. Charles D. Robinson, secretary of state, in 1852 wrote 
editoriallv in the pages of the Advocate. "From a paragraph in a Aladison 
journal we infer that an attempt is on foot at the capital to see what can be done 
in the way of frustrating the whole plan of the enterprise (The Fox-Wisconsin 
Improvement) — to kill it. 

"We say to all, construct your railroads, build your plank highways, dig out 
your water courses when you can profitably do so, create your harbors, and 
you shall hear from us nothing but words of encouragement and congratulation 
on your good fortune and fair prospects — only show a little of the same spirit 
of liberality and neighborly good will toward us when we are striving to do 
a little something for ourselves."' 

Xotwithstanding these drawbacks the improvement company went bravely 
on with the work, and the following notice was published : 

"September 26, 1855. — In compliance with a resolution passed by the Board 
of Directors of the Fox and \\'isconsin Improvement Company, I hereby give 
public notice that the water will be let into their canals between Lake Winnel^ago 
and Green Bay and after the ist of October next, and that passage for boats 
may be expected within a fortnight thereafter. 

"Until the lock and dam at Little Kaukauna are completed, or until the present 
low stage of water is raised it is not advisable to pass boats with more than 
three feet draught of water. The old locks at De Pere and the Croche also will 


not readily admit Ijoats of greater dimensions than 130 feet in length by 30 
in width. 

C. D. Westbrook, Jr. 

Chief Engineer." 

In June. 185(3. the first boat, the Aquila, jiassed through the works — ■ 
Cviming from Pittsburgh down the Ohio to its mouth, then up the Mississippi to the 
Wisconsin river and thence to Green Bay. The Green Bay Advocate of June 19, 
1856. devotes three columns to the glorification of this great enterprise : 


The First Steamer From the Mississippi River 

When news was received that the Aquila was really on her way a meeting 
was called. Mayor Harry E. Eastman in the chair and Hon. Frank Desnoyers 
acting as secretary. "A committee of five consisting of James H. Howe, Judge 
Arndt, Hon. John Day, Colonel Charles Tullar and Edward Hicks was then 
appointed by the chair to superintend the arrangements for the reception of 
the .\quila. A special committee consisting of Edgar Conklin, J. C. lirown and 
Mayor Eastman was also appointed to meet the band at De Pere." 

At De Pere 

* * * Its denizens were up and dressed and many of them had gone 
forth to meet the bridegroom. Their house tops and hill tops and mill tops were 
decorated in the most enthusiastic manner. In the absence of any big guns the 
boys had loaded np the furniture of two blacksmith shops and when at four 
and a half o'clock the boat hove around the point half a mile above the dam 
there was such a thundering of blacksmiths' tools as if \'ulcan had employed 
Jupiter to do a special job. * * * There was but one throat in De Pere and 
it was hoarse with loud and long repeated exultation. The music of many waters 
roared with new vigor. The shrill steam pipes shrieked with increased delight. 
The dozen saw mills seemed to see plainly as saw mills ever saw that the long 
expected contingency had arrived, that the good time had come, in short tliat 
"the logs had come down" and all that saw mills cared a pinch of saw dust 
about on this earth was aboard. The spoke factories spoke sixty times a minute. 
"Now let the lazy world wag on, 
\\ ell have an easy ride." 

After discharging cords of freight the Eagle darted through the lock like a 
shuttle, and "the child was born'' and was cradled on the bosom of our" own 
beautiful "La Baie Verte." 

The boat was in command of Captain Steve Hotaling, son of the late Captain 
Peter Hotaling, who in 1841 brought the first river steamboat (the Black Hawk) 
from Lake Erie to Fox river and made an unsuccessful attempt to take her over 
the rapids to Lake Winnebago. 

A mile this side of De Pere, off Point Chapman, the Aquila was met by 
the steam tug Ajax. The splendid brass band of Menasha, a magnificent troupe 
(God bless their souls) from the hurricane of the Aquila struck up "See the 
Conquering Ajax Comes." Every where along shore were the wildest demon- 


strations of delight. The grounds of Hon. M. L. Martin, the father and architect 
of this great work, were hung with banners, flags and appropriate symbols, giving 
them the appearance of a hard day's washing. 

That glorious old veteran, Major Shaler, keeper of Fort Howard, had gone 
home to an early dinner, which he forgot to eat — to feed other wide open mouths 
of metal and brass, who too would rather speak than eat on such an occasion, 
and as the Aquila rounded to, opposite Fort Howard, they did utter a language 
intelligible to all the nations under the sun. The shores and docks and ware- 
houses and lumber piles and stranger steamboats and sail craft and all the 
aisles and avenues leading to the water side were filled and covered and 
crowded with a living mass of crazy humanity. 

The company and ofitjcers of the Aquila landed at the dock of Messrs. 
Hayward, Goodell and Whitney, where they were received by the Germania Fire 
Company, the Turner Society and citizens forming a procession, at the iiead of 
wdiich was that prince of marshals, Nathan Goodell, Esq., the mayors. 
H. E. Eastman of Green Bay and General Turner of Menasha, the foreman of 
the fire company, H. Reber, Chief Engineer F. Lathrop and the leaders of the 
Turner Society, B. Bosenfeld and FI. Althof. 

A stage had been erected outside of the United States hotel, and here the 
speaker of the day, James H. Howe, gave his welcoming and congratulatory 
address, which ended with these words, "Above all and beyond all this, the Fox 
river valley shall be the nursery and the home of free men, and side l:>y side 
dotting all its rich landscape shall be those two agencies of civilization, the school- 
house and the church of God." Following addresses by Judge Cotton and others 
the company adjourned to the steamer Sultana, Captain Appleby in command, 
where was held a dance and a banquet. 

By act of Congress, approved August 3, 1854 ( construed b}- resolution of 
March 3, 1855), the Improvement Company had obtained an increase in the grant 
of land made by government to aid in the completion of the work, for the work 
was broadening out as years went on and the depth of water sought was 
greater than at first. The state had not received the entire amount of land 
contemplated in the original act, as many of the alternate sections covered by 
the grant had been previously disposed of by the government. The act of 1S54 
authorized the selection from any public lands in the state then subject to 
entry at $1.25 an acre, enough to make good this deficiency. 

Under the act of incorporation this increase in the land grant was of course 
claimed by the F"ox and Wisconsin Improvement Company, but the state also 
set up a claim on the ground that only the lands originally granted should be 
conferred on the company. In a controversy of this sort the state naturally 
had the upper hand and in 1856 the company was required to reconstruct a 
portion of the improvement, and the improvement itself, as well as the lands, 
then unsold, was placed in the hands of trustees, who were to pay the indebted- 
ness which the state had already incurred, and after that the bonds of the 

The legislature under chapter 64, general laws of 1855, authorized the Improve- 
ment Company to increase its capital stock to $250,000, and that same year its 
incorporators were compelled to seek outside capital to swing the enterprise. 
Assistance from New York was solicited, and prominent capitalists, including 


Horatio Seymour, Erastus Corning, and Hiram Barney, gave their support 
to the work. This aid however proved too much for the Fox river valley finan- 
ciers. The New York men deranged the company's plans, and affairs were 
soon in such a condition that the trustees were forced to sell the improvement 
and the remaining lands which passed into the hands of the New York 

The sum received from the sale was suflicient to pay the expense which had 
been incurred in the execution of the trust, the indebtedness which was then 
outstanding against the state, and to leave an amount equal to the estimated 
cost of the remainder of the improvement. The state thus retired from the 
field without financial loss, but with a stain on its honorable record that is made 
more apparent each year as the completed story of. the Fox-Wisconsin River 
Improvement is rehearsed. Not only did the principal incorporators of the enter- 
prise from Brown county suffer financial ruin from the state's repudiation of its 
just debt, but the whole Fox river valley was involved and crippled by the refusal 
of aid by the state and its attempt rather to hinder and handicap in every way 
possible the success of this important work. 

The New York company which had purchased at the sale organized as the 
Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company but the work did not long remain 
in their hands. The interposition of Congress was secured and an appraisal 
ordered of the improvement, water power and lands of the company. The 
board appointed for this purpose found that there had been expended on 
the work in the twenty-five years since the land grant had been made, over two 
million dollars. The value of the property of the company was fixed at $1,048,070, 
and the law directed that there be deducted from that the amount raised from 
the sale of lands, or $723,000, leaving $325,000 to be paid the company. But it 
was further provided that the secretary of war might elect to purchase the whole 
property, or either the water power, the improvement or the personal property. 
The secretary decided that only the improvement should be bought and for this 
$145,000, the sum fixed by the appraisers was appropriated by Congress. 

The Fox-Wisconsm Improvement thus passed into the hands of the federal 
government, and since that time has been treated as any other piece of river 
improvement. Under government superintendence the old wooden locks were 
replaced by substantial ones of stone and concrete. Very considerable sums 
have been appropriated for the work, the greater part of which seem to have 
gone for damages to the property holders along the river. Work on the Fox 
river, particularly the part below Lake Winnebago, still continues and the 
great water power has been developed. 

Six hundred and eighty-four thousand, two hundred and eighty-nine acres 
of land, nearly two million dollars of private capital and much more in public 
money has been expended on the two rivers, but for navigable purposes only that 
portion from Green Bay to Oshkosh has proved of any great value. A regular 
line of boats has for years plied between these two cities, connecting at Oshkosh 
with iioats to Berlin and up the Wolf river. The inmiense results anticipated 
by its first incorporators were never realized iSut in interest the story of the 
Fox-Wisconsin River Improvement and its heroic fight against odds, holds 
prominent place in Wisconsin history. 

(References for Chapter XVII : Sanborn, Story of the Fox- Wisconsin Rivers' 
Improvement, Proc. 1899; Green Bay Advocate, 1846-56; Ms. Papers of M. T.. 
Martin ; Legislative Council of Mich. Ter. 1829 ; Wis. Hist. Colls. \'oI. 1 1.) 


It is a saying tiiat America presented a timbered front to every settler who 
approached her shores; her glorious forests stretching for thousands of miles 
with little break in their even expanse were at once the despair and the salva- 
tion of the early emigrant of Brown county. The country was heavily tim- 
bered to the water's edge with beech, maple, oak, pine, ash, elm, birch and bass- 
wood, and through this forest land the settler must hew his way in order to 
carve out a home. The French colonists never attempted to penetrate the in- 
terior, building their comfortable cabins close to the edge of river or bay, clear- 
ing only so much land as would give them a fair expanse of garden soil. 

Among the most interesting records of early days in the register's office at 
Green Bay are the Indian deeds ceding lands for milling sites along Fox river 
and the bay. We find one executed by the Menominee nation in favor of 
Jacob Franks in 1794, and which probably included his mill site at DePere. In 
the census of 1820, Michigan which included Brown county had 491 sawmills. 
By 1850 Wisconsin was in the field with 278 mills. Capital of $1,006,892. In 
1870 Michigan had come to the front in value of products with a valuation of 
$32,000,000. In order came Pennsylvania, New York, and fourth Wisconsin. 
In 1880 she took third place. New York having dropped fourth in rank, and in 
1890, Wisconsin had jumped forward to second place in valuation of products, 
Michigan still in lead with $83,133,000, while Wisconsin stood at $60,960,444. 
In 1900 Wisconsin led with 1,066 sawmills. 

By 1825 sawmill "sites" were in great demand along Brown county's wind- 
ing streams. John P. Arndt in August, 1826, leased a mill site on the west side 
of Green bay, and the deed which transfers the property from the Indian own- 
ers is an especially fine example of dignified language. "Whereas our Great 
Father, the President of the United States has for the benefit of his red chil- 
dren of the Menominie Nation directed that a grist and sawmill be erected in 
our neighborhood and has given permission to John P. Arndt to do the same. . . 
Know all men by these presents that we Oaskash alias 'the Claw' Oh-ke-me-ne- 
shaw alias 'Great Wave' Sthai-ki-tok alias 'Scare all' chiefs of the Menominie 
Nation of Indians residing in the vicinity of Green Bay," etc. The conditions 
were, "that the said John P. Arndt his heirs and assigns shall yield immediate 
and quiet possession of said mills with all their privileges to the United States 
government when it may be required ; and that he will also saw any timber 
which may be required for the public service upon reasonable terms. 2d, 
That the said John P. Arndt, his heirs and assigns shall commit no unnecessary 
waste of timber. 3d, That the said John P. Arndt shall furnish the Menominie 



Nation with all the lumber they may want for their own proper use, and grind 
any grain they may want at the said mills gratis. 4th, That the said John P. 
Arndt * * * shall pay annually to the Menominie Nation on the first day 
of June the sum of fifteen dollars." 

In 1 83 1 Samuel Stambaugh in a report on the quality and condition of Wis- 
consin territory speaks of the many fine mill sites. Already the lumber in- 
dustry marked a second epoch in the commercial life of our county. The fur 
trade was rapidly dying out, settlers were too few to make agriculture a gen- 
eral and profitable business, but the great forests of pine that stretched in ap- 
parently boundless extent towards all points of the compass opened up a field 
of unlimited opportunity and sure results. 

Judge Arndt seems to have been one of the most enterprising of these mill 
men of tlie thirties. In 1836 he built a sawmill on Duck creek, in addition to 
the one erected by him in 1827 on the bay shore. 

One of the most interesting industries of this day was the pioneer furniture 
factory of Wisconsin, started at Green Bay, in 1836, by Emmons \V. Follett. 
The building in which this factory operated is still standing on the corner of 
Walnut and Washington streets and is known as the Bay City House. Follett 
went out into the forests, felled the trees, sawed the timber, hauled and sea- 
soned it, and then made the entire machinery used in the making of the furni- 
ture. No iron was used in the construction of the machinery. The motive 
power was supjjlied by a horse, yet Follett's furniture was well made and his 
business increased to such an extent that he was obliged to fit up larger quar- 
ters for his work. 

In 1850 we read that, "C)ur magnificent and boundless forests of pine are 
alive with hardy industrious men engaged in getting out \ast quantities of 
timber, and yet there is an urgent call for more laborers at higher wages than 
was ever before offered. New sawmills and shingle factories are springing up 
all around us, yet there is difficulty in filling orders as fast as received. One 
of our extensive shingle manufacturers, I. Ingalls informs us, that he got the 
highest price for the very heavy lot he shipped from here to Chicago by the last 
trip of the 'Michigan' than has been found any previous season." 

The Ellis mills and farm in the town of Preble, the property of A. G. Ellis, 
first surveyor general of Wisconsin, were on Hell creek, which became Hill 
creek when the newspapers wished to be respectful and polite. There were 
on this pretty stream a saw and grist mill, a machine shop, two dwelling houses, 
a barn and a blacksmith's shop, all built by General Ellis and his home was 
there for many years. It was so far out in the woods that bears roamed in 
the vicinity of the house, and the pine cut grew directly around the mill. This 
was the case with all these early mills. One old lumberman says : "v^'e built our 
mill anywhere in the woods where there was a good stream, and cut the tim- 
ber all about us. It usually kept us busy for a good many years then we began 
to buy up lands a little farther oft'."' Gerhart Bong, when he came to Green Bay 
from Germany in 1859, then a boy of eighteen, went to work in one of these 
forest mills and helped to build it out in the woods. It was the only industry at 
that time that employed any large number of men. 

In 1850 the government census shows that the amount of capital invested 
in Wisconsin mills was $1,006,892, value of products $58,611,978. In 1854, 


the Green Bay Advocate reports that "the all absorbing business of lumbering 
has begun for the season." 

There were at that time in Brown county thirty-five out of the 27S saw- 
mills throughout the length and breadth of Wisconsin, or an eighth of the 
entire number in the state. Of these four were in Green Bay, the remainder 
located on rivers entering the bay on the west side. Duck creek, Big and Little 
Suamico, Pensaukee, Peshtigo, the Oconto, all had one or two mills at this time, 
and as Oconto county was not set off from Brown until 1857, all this industry 
belonged to Brown county. Cowles mill at Wequiock, Anton Klaus at New 
Franken, were all doing prosperous trade during the fifties. 

Rough but solidly built structures were the mills that sprang up in the clear- 
ings and along the streams of Brown county. Millions of shingles, staves and 
lath were manufactured by the hands of the early settlers, their wives and chil- 
dren throughout this section of heavily timbered country. A county school 
superintendent during the seventies tells of how as he drove through the county 
he found the good sized living room in every house furnished with a bench 
along either wall, and here all day long sat the owner's wife and children, mak- 
ing and packing the everlasting shingle ; their tools, a reever and draw knife. One 
of the very earliest settlers in the town of Howard was a shingle maker, John 
Marston by name, who emigrated to the place in 1830, supporting himself by 
fishing and making shingles. His name was later preserved in the creek on 
whose shores he lived and worked. 

Dining the decade from 1850 to i860, we generally regard Brown county 
as commercially at stagnation, but in reality it was engaged in one of the larg- 
est and most lucrative industries that has flourished in this section along any 
line before or since. The press alone gives one an insight into the large busi- 
ness transacted and that occupied a majority of the population. Every one 
knew that there was money in lumber, and that the lumbermen, especially at 
certain seasons of the year had plenty of ready cash. "When the logs come 
down." was a regular saying in those days for lavish expenditure in the towns. 

During the month of May, the newspapers always devoted certain columns to 
"the drives," for then the "logs were coming down," and everything was hum- 
ming. Litigation among the rival firms at this season of year was frequent, and 
suits involving thousands of dollars brought money and practice into law of- 
fices and courts. There was a picturesque side to the work too. The gay voy- 
ageur in his gaudy toggery who canoed the streams of Wisconsin in fur trad- 
ing days and captured the imagination of the chronicler for all time by his 
Canadian boat songs and free, devil may care ways had now disappeared, and in 
his place strode in almost as captivating a figure that of the lad of the 
woods, of the axe and pineries, dressed in buckskin or corduroy with shoe 
packs and gay worsted socks, toque of striped flannel and Ijright sash of wool 
about the waist. In the fall the streets of Green Bay were alive with a busy 
throng and from all over the county came men and youths eager to be enlisted 
in the ranks of hardy woodsmen. 

This is how Green Bay appeared in 1854: "The many mills in this vicinity 
make it a rendezvous for owners of mills and the large number of men en- 
gaged by them for the pineries. Men, oxen, horses and provisions are here 
supplied. You may talk to me about the carnival at Rome, and wild horses 


dashing along the Corso ; a mere nothing to this babel of sights and sounds. 
There will be sawed by these mills, water and stream, the present year 80,000,000 
feet of pine luml^er. At this time there are 1,500 men, 300 yoke of cattle and 
100 span of horses getting out logs for these different establishments. 

"The United States Hotel of this place is the great headquarters of this an- 
nual army of lumbermen, going and coming during the close of navigation. 
Colonel George Farnsworth is the accomplished and gentlemanly landlord. Can 
speak English, French and Indian fluently and is withal a first rate gentlemanly 

A large proportion of the mill hands at this time were French Canadians, 
who adored the life in the pineries, its excitement, good pay and good fare of 
pork, beans and cotifee. As time passed and other nationalities crowded into 
the west, these Johnny Crapeaus were replaced by Germans, Irish and others, 
but there was always one of the French guild on hand with a fiddle to make 
the winter evenings gay in camp. Music and song were a part of the life of 
these gay fellows, who made the forest resound with their lusty voices. 

B. F. Smith of DePere thus tells of the trade of those days: "The writer 
located at DePere in the autumn of 1851, and found employment at once in the 
lumber business. Previous to that date there had been only a few small mills 
to supply the local demand, viz. : Mr. Ingalls' shingle mill at Green Bay, the 
mill at Hill creek, one at Duck creek, one at Apple creek, and one on Plum 
creek at Wrightstown ; all of these supplied only local trade. There were the 
remains of two old mills at the DePere dam and one owned by Randall Wil- 
cox. This last was running and doing some shipping to outside markets at 
that time and later materially increased its business in that line. 

"Up to 1 85 1, all these mills used the old style sash saw, and undershot (or 
flutter) water wheel, later, however, the Wilcox mill put in a nuiley saw rig, 
and later still, circular saws. During the years 1850 and '51, a firm styled 
Ritchie, Reid & Ritchie, built a steam mill at the west end of the bridge at 
DePere and made lumber upon a much larger scale, shipping to outside 
markets. Finding their supply of timber chiefly along, or not far from the banks 
of the East river, they continued to run until they had exhausted the supply 
of timber tributary to that stream, then the Ritchies moved to Ashland, Wiscon- 
sin, and Mr. Reid converted the sawmill into a sash, door and blind factory. 

"After the timber along the stream was gone, smaller circular sawmills were 
built back from the stream among the timber, from five to ten miles out from 
the cities. These continued to make lumber, shingles and staves until the coun- 
try was cleared of all lumber suitable for either, which occurred about the year 
1875. \Miile the removal of all this valuable timber was going on it created 
great activity in business, at the same time the average profit upon the manu- 
factured stock was so small after all expenses were deducted, that the com- 
munity seemed but little better off than before. What was left of the timl.ier 
was refuse and would cost to remove at least $20 per acre. 

"M. E. Tremble and Chase and Dickey had mills in the town of Suamico at 
Flintville or near Big Suamico river, that ran after the timber was gone at 
DePere and the city of Green Bay, but in all sections of the country the residue 
was a heavy incumbrance instead of an asset, viewed from an ,agricultural 
Standpoint until the iron furnaces were put in operation at DePere and Green 


Bay. These called for so much charcoal to smelt the iron ore that all the wood 
in the county was soon marketed at profitable prices and the county rapidly 
became an agricultural county and is now one of the best in the state. To give 
an approximate idea of the rate at which this refuse timber was removed during 
the furnace period, the writer as president of the National Furnace Company, 
during its first four years after it was started, purchased for a season's supply 
over thirty thousand cords of cord wood, and my purchase only represented 
what was consumed by the National, while the Fox river furnace and the Green 
Bay would each require about the same. The furnace at Green Bay and the 
Fox river on the west side at De Pere closed finally about the year 1876, and 
the National in 1893, after a run of twenty-four years. All these furnaces were 
built about the same time. 

•'Before the National closed in 1893, they brought coal by rail from \A'ilson 
and Barkville, near Escanaba, Michigan, there being scarcely enough wood 
left in Brown county for fire wood for the farmers. 

"When the writer first came to the county we were nearing the end of the 
fishing and hunting era, and entering the lumbering, then followed the iron 
and now the agricultural era, the best for substantial growth. We suffered 
loss of business during the changes, yet after each change was fully established, 
business became better than formerly. 

"In view of the fact that the soil of our county is rich and productive, we 
may all be thankful that we had an iron era, to subject it to the use of the 
man with the hoe, and for the reason that the profit upon a single good crop 
now amounts to more than all the profit from the forest. The fact that the 
southern counties were prairie and quickly brought into production may account 
for their greater wealth. They were making wealth while we were in the 

The following paper by Howard C. Gardiner, a veteran niillnian and lum- 
berman, written for the (ireen Bay Historical Society, gives a fine idea of 
conditions during the lumber era in Brown county : 

"For a century and a half after the advent of the white man, the virgin 
forests of Wisconsin remained intact, and her rivers, with their tributary 
streams, flowed freely from source to mouth, unimpeded by dams and unvexed 
by water wheels. 

"As a preliminary to what follows, it may be well to try to convey to those 
who in this fin de siccle age have never seen one, some idea of what a primitive 
sawmill was. First, however, it is necessary to show the conditions which 
existed in Brown county at the time when these mills were built. At that period 
the whole country was one vast forest, permeated by small water courses which 
drained the soil, and eventually found their way to the adjacent rivers. .Since 
the timber was cut oft', those creeks have to a great extent disappeared antl the 
few that still survive are so wasted in force that they would hardly furnish 
sufficient water to run a dog churn. Such is the present condition of Dutch- 
man's, Baird's and Hell creeks, streams that years ago furnished power to 
turn the wheels of the mills located thereon, as will be shown in the course of 
this article. Since time immemorial, water has been used as a motive power 
on overshot, undershot and tide wheels, but the turbine wheel is comparatively 
a late invention. This was the description of wheel used by our jnoneer lum- 


bermen, and for the enlighteniiK'nt of those ignorant of the process, we will 
now proceed figuratively to erect an old time sawmill. 

"Having chosen an eligible site, the first thing was to secure the services of 
a competent millwright (many of whom were to be found among the pioneer 
settlers) to prepare the materials and construct the mill, which after all was 
no difficult job as the mechanism was exceedingly simple. As solidity was a 
sine qua non, the timber for the sills was hewn from selected trees, and 
squared i6 or i8 inches. These were placed upon a substantial structure about 
eight feet above the water level. All the beams were of abnormal dimensions 
and the building itself was a one-story affair, some 60 or 70 x 25 or 30 feet. The 
site was graded, the tail race was excavated, a flume beneath the mill was 
constructed, the water wheel was placed in position and a chute was built to 
convey the water thereto. By a simple device the water, when needed was 
shut off from the wheel and suffered to run tln'ough the tiume and tail race to 
the stream below the mill. 

"The whole capacity of the null was represented by a single nudey saw 
which traveled in a slide afhxeil to the timbers al.iove, and was connected by 
a wooden pitman, six or eight feet long, attached to a crank below the mill 
which received its impetus from the water wheel and revolved with great veloc- 
ity. A jack ladder ran from the mill to the pond, up which the logs were drawn 
by a crude windlass. When a log was delivered beside the carriage, which ran 
to and fro, operated by a rack and pinion, it was rolled thereon l)y cant hooks 
and securely fastened I)\- iron dogs. The slabs were taken from the four sides, 
and the cant was then manufactured into lumber, the saw running through till 
within three or four inches of the end, which was left intact till the cant left 
the carriage, when the boards were attached, and the 'stul) shorts' as they were 
called, smoothed oft' with an adz. The head and tail sawyers usually consti- 
tuted the mill crew, and the daily cut was from 3,000 to 5,000 feet. The dam, 
which was erected after the mill was completed, raised the water several feet 
and turned it into the chute and flume beneath the mill. The pond thus created 
was used for the storage of logs. .Such is a brief description of a typical saw- 
mill of the olden time." 

The earliest sawmill in this district of w'hich we have any record was, accord- 
ing to (irignon's published recollections, erected by Jacob Franks about the 
year 1809. Mr. Grignon says that Franks first built a sawmill, and then a 
grist mill, both of which were located on Devil river, two or three miles east of 
DePere, and were constructed by an American named Bradley. He says noth- 
ing about the "cajjacity" of the sawmill, which was probably a primitive struc- 
ture which manufactured lumber for local consumption. We learn from the 
same source that Pierre (irignon in 18 13 Ijuilt a sawmill on Reaume's creek 
( now Dutchman's creek ) on the west side of Fox River about four miles above 
Green Bay : and that in the spring and fall when "water was plenty" it did a 
good business. We have the same authority for stating that in 1816, the United 
States government had a sawmill at "Little Kau Kau lin." which provided lum- 
ber for the buildings at Fort Howard. 

The next sawmill of which we ha\e any record, was i)uilt by permission of 
the war department on Indian land at Duck creek. This mill was erected in 
1827. by John P. Arndt, who claims that it was the first sawmill in this dis- 


trict, but Grignon's statement disproves that claim. Judge Arndt, wlio was 
an enterprising man, claims that in 1834 he shipped the first cargo of lumber 
ever exported from Green Bay. The vessel he says, was loaded on Devil river 
near the mouth of Hell creek, and the cargo in question was consigned to 
Chicago. It would seem from above statement that there was a sawmill at or 
near the point of shipment, but we find no record of one. In 1846, Trowbridge, 
Gray & Root built a shingle mill at Duck creek, which was subsequently sold to 
Linus Marshall. 

There were several sawmills on the Big Saumico river previous to 1852. 
fudge Arndt built one on the Big Suamico river, near where the North Western 
railroad bridge is now. Farther up stream, Richard Flint operated a sawmill in 
the early fifties at the point now called Flintville. This mill was afterwards 
owned or leased by Willard Lamb. A. E. Weed & Company had a mill located 
between Flint's and Arndt's in the early sixties. About that time or perhaps a 
few years earlier, a steam mill known as the Cooke mill was erected near the 
mouth of the river. This mill was subsequently owned by M. E. Tremble who 
operated it for some years. 

At what is known as Mill Center in the town of Pittsfield, there were in 1855 
and some years later, ten sawmills. It was from this group that the place 
derived its name. At this point the late David McCartney operated a mill ; 
George R. Cooke, N. C. Foster, Sylvanus Wright and O. Gray were the jirin- 
cipal lumbermen at Alill Center. 

There was much lumber manufactured in the vicinity of DePere anterior 
to 1850, and though the mills were generally small, their output went to make 
up the grand total of Brown county's contribution to the lumber trade. 

There was one mill, however, of which the proprietors were exceedingly 
proud, which is worthy of more than a passing notice, as it was considered to be 
a very large establishment for those days. This mill was built in 185 1 by James 
Ritchie, with whom his brother Robert and Andrew Reid were associated. It 
was a steam mill and was located on the east side of Fox river at DePere, and 
manufactured lumljer, lath and shingles. 

In 1855 Squire and Sabin erected a sawmill at the west end of the dam, 
which in i860 was purchased by Ritchie, who enlarged and impro\-ed it so that 
its capacity was materially increased. Ritchie stated that with this mill run- 
ning day and night he could turn out three million feet of lumber and twenty 
million shingles in a season, which was equivalent to about one month's cut of 
an ordinary mill at the present time, running twelve hours a day. 

In 1856, W. O. Kingsley built a sawmill at DePere which was subsequently 
operated by Tohn S. Monroe. This was an extensive establishment for that 
period with a manufacturing capacity of three millions of feet per season. 

As Little Suamico is near the line of division between Brown county and 
Oconto countv, and as the lands appertaining to the lumbering establishments 
there were largely embraced within the limits of Brown county, it is perhaps 
proper to notice that point which before the advent of the railroad was trib- 
utary to Green Bay. 

The first mill at Little Suamico was erected by Green Bay parties al)out 
1844. A few years later they sold their interests to George Langton of the 
same city; he in 1854, transferred the property to George A. Sayre and John 


D. Gardiner of Milwaukee, who built a large steam mill near the site of the 
original water mill, the capacity of which was insufficient to supply the demand 
for lumber. The new mill when completed was one of the largest in the dis- 
trict. In addition to the muley saw transferred from the water mill, there were 
two gangs a siding saw, lath mill and edging saws. The capacity of the mill 
when running day times was six million feet per season. 

The next mill built on that river was owned by Herman Peters, and was 
erected about i860, at what is now called Petersville, where Air. Peters in 
connection with his son John, and his sons-in-law Winans and Olson, con- 
ducted a successful business in the manufacture of shingles. 

A few years later Gustavus A. Groose, Sr., purchased a mill at Chambers 
Island which was removed and set up near the mouth of the Little Suamico 
river. The old gentleman was sorely afraid of that mill, and when it was run- 
ning he could not be persuaded to venture within a thousand feet of it. Never- 
theless the old boilers withstood the strain, and no accident occurred till the 
mill was burned twenty-five years later. 

During the writer's researches in pursuit of information he was sadly handi- 
capped by the absence of details. The authorities which he has quoted men- 
tion sawmills, but the naked fact that a mill was built at such a time and at 
such a place is very unsatisfactory. Nothing is said about the capacity of the 
mills or their annual output, and every attempt to cure this discrepancy has 
failed. That there was a wealth of pine timber in close proximity to Green 
Bay and DePere is unquestionable, but the men who cut it, and hauled the logs 
to the mills, where they were manufactured into lumber and shingles fifty 
years ago, are all dead arid gone, and the old residents whose memory extends 
back that far are not practical men. The ever revolving cycle of time has 
worked great changes, and a new generation has sprung up whose knowledge of 
past events is limited. 

In our conversation with the old residents, w-e have elicited some facts 
reg'arding Green Bay's connection with the lumber industry, which we will 
proceed to record. 

When the writer noted the fact of the first shipment of lumber in 1834. 
he also surmised that there w-as a "sawmill" in the immediate vicinity of where 
the vessel was loaded, though he was unable to find any record to substantiate 
his conjecture. In a recent conversation with Judge Ellis, however, he was 
assured that his surmise was correct. The judge said that there was a mill on 
Hell creek at that period, which he remembered distinctly, btit though he recalled 
the mill, he could give no details regarding its ownership or output. He also 
stated that his father, A. G. Ellis, owned a sawmill from about 1837 to 1853; 
This mill, which was previously operated by a Mr. Sherman, was located on 
Raird's creek near where the Hagemeister brewery now stands. It was run by 
water power. The dam, which confined the pond where the logs were stored, 
was placed at a point where the bridge then crossed the creek. 

I. G. Ingalls had a sawmill during the '50s, which stood at the foot of 
Jackson street, on East river. He owned a patent for preserving shingles and 
sold large quantities. O. A. Tooker about the same period, operated a large 
mill for those days. It was located east of where Hurlbut's coal yard now is. 
West of Tooker, near the foot of Washington street, Weed of Oshkosh had a 
big mill. Howe and Robinson operated a sawmill about 1855 on the west side 




of Fox river not far from where Mason street bridge crosses. The}' manu- 
factured himber, shingles and staves. Gow, Marsh, Wilcox and Low, all had 
sawmills on the dam at De Pere at an early period. 

We will not attempt further specific mention of mills, for during the '50s 
and '60s in this vicinity their name was legion. 

After the admission of the state in 1848, an enormous tide of emigration set 
in, and the region of Wisconsin was sought by multitudes of pilgrims from the 
old world, and from the eastern states. The emigrants from foreign parts were 
mostly Germans and Belgians, who came hither to engage in agriculture, and 
the sturdy strokes of the a.xman resounded from every quarter, letting in the 
sunlight upon the clearing which was destined to be his future home. The 
lumberman came, and during the "503 the ring of the ax was heard throughout 
the length and breadth of Brown county, and as tlie tall pines fell crashing to 
the earth, they were cut into logs of the proper length, and hauled away to be 
converted into lumber. The woods were full of sawmills, and the shingle 
reevers were as thick as strawberries in Bohemian forests. The immense quan- 
tity, the desirable quality, the eligible location of the pine timber in Brown 
county, and its contiguity to navigable waters had a peculiar attraction for 
capitalists, and the United States land office at Menasha was flooded with land 
warrants, which were located on the most desirable tracts. At the government 
price of $1.25 per acre, the cost of timber was merely nominal. An 80-acre 
tract which cost $100 sometimes yielded as much as 4.000,000 feet, an average 
cost of two and one-half cents per M on the stump. The value of that stump- 
age at the present time would be from eight to ten dollars per M. It goes 
without saying that, when jiroperly conducted, there was nnich money in the 
lumber business at that period, as the cost of materia! was a mere nothing, and 
the e.xpense of logging, manufacturing and fransportation was all that it was 
necessary to consider. 

As all roads led to ancient Rome so all roads in Brown county led to Green 
Bay. In winter the highways were lined with ox teams from all quarters, as 
far north as Little .Suamico, and as far south as Little Chute. With very few- 
exceptions all these teams brought lumber or shingles. The Suamicos, Pitts- 
field, Howard, Holland, Wrightstown, Bay Settlement and all other towns in 
the county each contributed its quota, the aggregate of which, taken in con- 
nection with the product of the local mills, was simply enormous. Unfortu- 
nately we have no statistics showing the exports at that period, but we do know 
that there were at one time one hundred and fifty saw and shingle mills in 
Brown county tributary to Green Bay. Anton Klaus alone owned, or con- 
trolled, the product of twenty-one mills. 

Shingle buyers thronged the street, ready to pounce on every load as it came 
in. Lewis and John Day, Marshall and Holmes, A. C. Robinson and others 
Ijought on commission for eastern parties, and for Milwaukee and Chicago 
firms. The 18-inch, made on special orders, were shipped east. The 16-inch 
found a market in Milwaukee and Chicago. In one year, Marshall alone dis- 
posed of one hundred million shingles. That was before the railroad came ; 
and up to the time of its completion (about 1862) all the products of the for- 
ests in the vicinity were shipped from Green Bay. In early times shaved 
shingles were considered superior to those which were sawn, and commanded 


a better price, but, with the introduction of improved shingle machines, sawed 
ones came to the front and eventually, to a great extent, superseded the shaved 
product. Up to 1857, the demand for lumber was good, and it brought fair 
prices, which yielded a reasonable compensation to the manufacturer. Green 
Bay lumber stood well in the market, and was considered to be superior in 
quality to that from other points. The prospect for an increased demand was 
auspicious, and as a result, the lumbermen were enthusiastic, and many new 
enterprises were inaugurated ; but. as we shall soon see, their enthusiasm was 
crushed out, and their hopes were blasted by the reaction which took place in 


The suspension of the Ohio Life & Trust Company, in August of that year, 
for the enormous sum of $7,000,000, was soon followed by the suspension of 
every bank in the country, with the single exception of the Chemical Bank of 
New York City. The panic was universal, business was paralized, and thou- 
sands of manufactories closed their doors. The lumbermen of Wisconsin, many 
of whom had incurred vast obligations in the prosecution of their enterprises, 
were ill prepared to encounter the financial cyclone which swept over the north- 
west. Money seemed to have taken wings and flown away. It.xchange on New 
York sold in Milwaukee at 12 per cent. The banks held notes, which the 
makers were unable to meet, and their collatefals were unavailable. As a result 
of such a condition of affairs, every millman was embarrassed, and a major- 
ity of our most energetic lumbermen went to the wall. They had invested all 
their capital in mills and lands and had incurred debts with the expectation of 
cancelling them with the proceeds of sales of lumber; when unexpectedly the 
bottom dropped out of the market, and the demand for lumber ceased. The 
large stocks in the yards at Milwaukee and Chicago remained intact for want 
of purchasers, and the dealers unable to dispose of what they had, were of 
course unwilling to buy more ; in short the market was fairly glutted, and 
under such circumstances the millmen were reluctantly compelled to shut down. 
The city dealers, in order to force sales, cut prices to such an extent that the 
shrinkage was simply awful. Lumber, which was held in August at $16, was 
retailed in October at $8, and cargoes warranted to run at 20 per cent better 
than common, were disposed of at the ridiculous price of $6 per M. Shingle 
cargoes sold as low as $1.25 for star A's. Such manner of doing business was 
of course ruinous to the manufacturer, whose logs (making no account of the 
stumpage ) cost $2.50 delivered at the mill. The expense of sawing was at least $2 
and the transportation to market at least $1.25 per M; hence we have, without 
counting the \alue of the raw material, $5.75 per M as the actual cost of labor 
and freight ; so that a sale at $6 per M left a margin of 25 cents per M to cover 
stumpage, taxes, insurance, feed of the teams and a thousand other contingent 

The dealer pulled in the same boat with the manufacturer. He whose stock 
in August inventoried, with liabilities amounting to $50,000, consid- 
ered himself well oil; but in October, the shrinkage had reduced the value of 
his stock one-half, while at the same time his liabilities had unavoidably increased. 
The unparalleled fall in prices had completely wiped out his equity, and bank- 
ruptcy was inevitable. 


The lumbermen as a class were overwhelmed by the tidal wave of mis- 
fortune which accompanied the memorable panic of '57, and many a ship- 
wrecked bark was left higli and dry upon the rocks when in after years the water 

In discussing the deplorable state of affairs in the fall of '57, and the years 
following, the writer speaks whereof he knows. There are but few of the 
active lumbermen of that period now left, but those who are still li\ing, and 
whose minds revert with sadness to the experience of those days, will cor- 
roborate this statement. Overloaded with debts, and spurred by their credit- 
ors, the manufacturers vainly attempted to force sales, but even at reduced 
prices, they met with no encouragement. There was no money in circulation, 
nobody was building and the absence of a circulating medium stopped improve- 
ments of every description. When buyers failed to make their appearance at 
the yards, the dealers sought customers in the country. During the winter of 
1857 and '58, the writer, having secured a pass from S. S. ^Merrill, the superin- 
tendent, traveled for weeks along the line of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail- 
road, and at every station where he could find a man willing to pay the freight, 
he established a small yard. From these yards he received from time to time 
consignments of country produce, which he sold on the platform at Milwaukee. 

It was during this season of depression in the lumber trade that the war 
came, when many of the lumbermen, weary of the long struggle against adverse 
fate, abandoned their unprofitable Intsiness and joined the army. Their lands 
were sold for taxes, and the treasury of Brown county was full of tax certifi- 
cates, some of which were subsecjuently redeemed, but a vast majority remained 
in the treasury and were bought by speculators apd sold to capitalists who had 
confidence in the revival of the lumber trade. X 

/it was not till the fall of 1862, however, that this revival came. The retire- 
ment of the "wild cat" currency and the immense issue of greenbacks by the 
government, made money more i)lentiful and confidence was gradually restored. 
The price of lumber advanced to $10 by the cargo and continued to advance 
til! at one time it reached the maximum of $25 per M for cargoes of mill run 
lumber, and those who had been so fortunate as to retain control of their 
mills, reaped an abundant harvest. Those were indeed the palmy days of the 
lumbermen, who redeemed their forfeited lands and had reason to congratu- 
late themselves on tlie improved conditions. The pioneers, however, who unable 
to stand the strain, liad lost their all, thought bitterly of the past, and sadly 
moralized orK "the mutability of human fortunes, and the instaliility of human 
hopes." / 

In 1870, Brown county is recorded as leading the shingle markets of the 
world, the marketed product at Green Bay being 500,000,000. 

The rapid growth in this industry led some anxious individuals in 1875, to 
ask whether at this rate within a few years would there be any forests to invade. 

In i860 the capital invested in lumbering in Wisconsin was $5,595,380, the 
cost of material was $1,965,031 ; the value of the product $4,377,880. In 1868 a 
conservative estimate placed the product at 800,000,000 feet of lumber and 
$10,000,000 as the value of the lumber and shingles manufactured that year. 
In 1870 the census statistics showed capital invested $11,206,495, cost of mate- 
rial $7,243,949, value of products $14,486,673. In Brown county the capital 


in\-ested was $692,000 in lumljer, in logging $21,500, value of material $[,305,- 
019, logging 30,346, product lumber total 71,110,000, with a value of $1,510,277. 
In cooperage the value was $58,293. 

One of the most successful lumbermen in Brown county was N. C. Foster, 
who began his milling operations as sawyer at Rice's mill on Duck creek, not 
far from Sullivan's flats. Rice in common with other mill owners became 
involved in the general depression of 1857, and not having the cash to pay his 
sawyer the required two dollars a day in wages, offered him a half interest in 
the mill, a small one, in payment of his indebtedness. Foster took u[) the offer, 
in time got control of the mill, then moved to Mills Centre, where he made a 
great deal of money, moving to more lucrative fields as time and pineries passed. 
A resident of Duck creek in the days of Foster's mill says that almost 
all the young people, girls and boys in that vicinity jjacked shingles in Foster's 
mill during the sixties and early seventies. The logging camp was quite an insti- 
tution. From fifteen to twenty-five men with four to six teams and a good 
cook composed the crew. The logger, usually the owner of the pine land or 
lumber, or a contractor to i)Ut in logs from lands belonging to others, was the 
head man or superintendent of the gang. The shanties were comfortal:)le, built 
of logs covered with shakes (long rived shingles) or boards, making tight warm 
roofs. After the building of the shanty followed the making of wide smooth 
roads from the timber to the bank of the river where the logs were to be rafted. 

At Stiles, Eldred and Balcom liad a large water mill, and during the '60s 
this with all the mills which sur\ived the panic of 1857 did a [irosperous busi- 
ness. There were mills at Pensaukee, Peshtigo and Oconto, all doing a thriving 
business, but in 1858 Oconto county had seceded from Brown, so although closely 
connected with the county's interests and buying their supplies largely from 
Creen Bay and other Brown county towns these bay mills with the exception of 
those at Big Suamico were outside the history of Brown. 

About 1867, Anson Eldred built a mill at Little Suamico and twelve years 
later moved his interests to Green Bay, purchasing a large tract of land from 
Mrs. C. L. A. Tank on the west shore of Fox river and south of the Milwaukee 
ili St. Paul railroad bridge. 

The Anson Eldred and Son Company erected modern mills on their Fox river 
property and did a large and prosperous business, adding a planing mill to 
their plant a few years later. Howard S. Eldred acted as manager of the con- 

In 1S83 the sawmill burned and was replaced by a larger structure with new 
and improved machinery. 

The property was sold to the Diamond Match Company in 1896, was enlarged 
and run bv that company until 1909, when it burned. The Diamond Lumber 
Company then came into possession, and the large mill built by them is still 
in operation and cut over 25,000,000 feet of lumber the past year. 

In the meantime the Murphy Lumber Company had erected a large plant 
in Green Bay in 1882, at the mouth of Fox river, where a good sized village for 
the mill employes sprang up on the flat. The logs for these later mills were 
largely brought by rail, the towing of rafts being slower and more expensive 
than transportation by flat car. McDonald's mill in Fort Howard was also 
operated for many years. 


The lumber epoch in Brown county has passed as did the fur trade. The 
streams no longer furnish power for the sawmill, and in many parts of the 
county as in the town of Pittsfield, with the disappearance of the forests the 
branches have dried up or remain only a swampy, stump-covered tract. In 
looking o\er the list of industries in Brown county one finds not a single "logger" 
throughout its well tilled length and breadth. There are extensive lumber manu- 
factories, lumber dealers, box factories, cooperage establishments, planing mills 
and sash and door factories to be found in Green Bay, DePere, Wrightstown, 
Denmark and New Franken, but the timljer is gone, the lake craft loaded with 
lumber no longer makes port in the harbors of bay and river, and the great lum- 
ber industry of Brown county is a thing of the past. 

(References for Chapter XVIII: Green Bay Advocate 1850-60; Wis. Hist. 
Colls. \'ol. 15: Indian Conveyances; V>. V. Smith; Howard C. Gardiner; Govern- 
ment Census, 1850, '60, '70.) 

' ^' ^ «■■ / 


The year i860 and the one following — the first year of the great war — were 
spoken of at the time and afterwards as "the golden years.'' Industries along 
all lines were booming; large crops of wheat (both spring and winter) oats, 
barley, corn and peas were harvested in abundance and excellent profits real- 
ized. Brown county shared largely in the fat of the land and throughout her 
borders was peace and plenty. The grain elevator built by I. G. Beaumont and 
A. Pelton was finished at Green Bay, Hathaway and Penn, lessees, with an 
aggregate storage capacity of forty thousand bushels, and was found absolutely 
inadequate from the first to meet the required demand. 

The grain trade in i860 promised to be larger than ever before. In prepara- 
tion for the heavy shipments from the Green Bay port the New York Central 
placed two new screw steamers, Rocket and Comet on the Buffalo line, and 
these with the steamer Michigan made the tri-weekly trip with regularity. On 
the river the most important addition in transportation facilities was the El- 
wood belonging to D. M. Loy, De Pere, which carried ten thousand bushels of 
wheat at a speed of six miles an hour. The greatest crops of wheat ever raised 
in Wisconsin were during the years of 1861 and 1863, when the yield was re- 
spectively twenty to twenty-five million, and twenty-five to thirty million bushels. 
The price per bushel ranged from $1.75 to $2.00. 

On July 28, i860. Portage City called a meeting to consider running a 
steamboat from Portage to Green Bay. "The purpose for which this meeting 
is called is one of vital interest to every farmer in Columbia county. We believe 
that with united effort at least one good boat can be put in immediate operation 
and if so we are informed that responsible parties agree to take it and carry wheat 
to Green Bay for five cents a bushel. If this can be done the advantage to our 
city will be incalculable." The Fox River Improvement Company was proving 
a success and the sanguine hopes of its incorporators were being realized. 

A steady influx of population from the old world had increased the strength 
of the county to a great extent. Industrious thrifty people from many nation- 
alities had already made each township a centre for trade and export for the 
growing agricultural wealth. Roads throughout the county were, however, in 
most deplorable condition," and to haul a good sized load of farm products to a 
shipping point was often an impossible task because of unsafe bridges and ill 
kept highways. Shawano county demanded that the Brown county board of 
supervisors put these avenues of trade in better condition and the inhabitants 
of Brown owned to the mortifying fact that in crossing their county line they 
entered on roads so neglected as to be practically impassable. Although the soil 



was yielding as never before and the lumber and shingle interests were recuper- 
ating after the drastic panic of 1857, yet money was tight all over the country 
and the county funds must be carefully expended to cover the demands for 
even moderate improvements. In Humboldt and New Denmark $60.00 apiece 
was allowed for the betterment of the roads and in Pittsfield and Scott $40.00, 
while fording was the only means possible for crossing the majority of the 
streams, bridges being as yet an unhoped-for luxury. 

East river boasted a float bridge and across Duck creek a substantial bridge 
had been constructed, John P. Arndt contractor, the specifications calling for 
heavy timber string pieces and sound planking. 

As one scans the county newspapers of that year i860, the Green Bay Ad- 
vocate and Bay City Press, through the gossip on daily doings there becomes 
apparent a deeper trend of public thought at the time, the very gradual awaken- 
ing of the whole country to the fact that a great Civil war was impending. There 
was little talk of the possibility of open rupture between the north and south 
and the sympathizers with John Brown and his radical attempt to free the 
slave seem to have been decidedly in the minority throughout this corner of 
the world. The people in general appear hardly conscious of the electric ten- 
sion and restlessness of that critical period in United States history. Douglas 
was the idol of the hour, and even by many among those who had voted for 
Abraham Lincoln as president that exceptional man was regarded as an experi- 
ment, and lacking in the essentials of statesmanship. 

The jjeople of Brown county seem unaware from the record of their 
dail}' doings that a momentous cloud was gathering over the hitherto united 
nation. As an instance the winter of 1860.-61 was of unusual cold and the Bay 
City Press, always a somewhat irreverent sheet with Colonel Harry Eugene 
Eastman at the helm, and John Lawe as publisher jocularly suggests that Georgia 
and South Carolina have carried off the temperate weather in seceding. "Come 
back, dear girls, come back, and give us a little balmy weather once again." is 
its plaint. 

The Green Bay Lyceum, a literary fortnightly gathering of townsfolk with 
John C. Neville, a brilliant and successful lawyer, who had recently with his 
family settled in Green Bay as principal incorporator, met as regularly in Klatis 
hall as wind and weather would permit, but the subjects discussed by Judge 
Stephen R. Cotton, John Last, Timothy O. Howe and other prominent lights 
of the law were such as "The feudal system," "The Tower of London;" qties- 
tions not of vital import in the great issues of the day. Deep in all hearts, 
however, there rested undoubtedly an unrecognized dread of threatened disaster 
to the country at large, although it was hardly credited that this rebellion of the 
southern states would ever approach closely their own homes. 

In the autumn of i860, Timothy Otis Howe was elected to the United States 
senate. As judge of the fourth judicial circuit and associate justice, he was 
already well known and prominent throughout Wisconsin ; a man of sterling 
qualities and fine judicial mind and a forceful although not a brilliant speaker. 

On the morning of the fourth of March, 1861, a clear sun greeted the crowds 
in Washington who had gathered to witness the inauguration of the sixteenth 
president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It was feared that there 
might be a disturbance from southern malcontents, but the day passed off 


quietly. The president's inaugural address, calmly unpartisan though it was, and 
as were all the official utterances of this great man, yet unmistakably asserted 
the power of the administration to defend at all costs the inviolate Union. "In 
your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine is the momentous 
issue of Civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no 
conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath reg- 
istered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn 
one 'to preserve, protect and defend it.' " 

In the senate the great question under discussion was, should the government 
proceed to coerce the Confederate states. Senator Douglas claimed that there 
were constitutional difficulties preventing the president from using the war 
power effectively. The impossibility of the United States having resources suffi- 
cient to declare war upon the seceding states was another point hotly contested. 
Senator Howe, who had taken his seat in the senate, on March 22, 1861, 
made an able speech on this question. Deprecating the disparaging views 
of the strength of the government expressed by Douglas and others, Howe said: 
"Our notion has been heretofore that the authority of the United States extended 
to its utmost limits, and that the ]jower of the United States was sufficient to 
defend its authority anywhere within these limits, and was quite equal to sustain- 
ing it against any nationality or any ])ower in the world." And alluding to the 
question of slaveholding, "I fear we do not remember that the people of the 
United States have gathered within them the blood which freedom has shed 
upon all her battlefields, from Marathon to Yorktown. Do not try to subdue 
them. Slow to a controversy they are difficult to give it up. They have not 
forgotten how to die, they never knew how to surrender." 

Later Senator Howe had a stirring encounter with Mr. Cleghorn of North 
Carolina on the subject of slavery ending thus: "Because they are, or are not 
permitted to do this thing, is that a reason why they should not contribute to 
the revenues of the United States, which revenues are to be expended for their 
protection? Because a citizen of North Carolina is not allowed to take slaves 
into Kansas is that a reason why our forts mast be surrendered, why our troops 
must be driven back — why our treasury should be plundered, why our flag 
should be trailed in the dust?" 

The fall of Sumter sent a tremendous thrill through the nation. There was 
at first a struggling disbelief of the unbelievable news, followed by sullen and 
rising resentment mingled with almost universal and enthusiastic loyalty to the 

Then came President Lincoln's call to arms : "Whereas the laws of the 
United States have been for some time past, and now are opposed and the exe- 
cution thereof obstructed in the states of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, 
Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be 
suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers 
vested in the marshalls by law; now therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President 
of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the constitution 
and the laws have thought fit to call forth the militia of the several states of the 
Union to the aggregate number of seventy-five thousand, in order to suppress 
said combinations, and to cause the laws to be dulv executed." 


This ominous message, the most momentous ever issued from the executive 
mansion swept the country like a firebrand, for it meant the parting of famiUes, 
of long time friends and brothers, and the breaking of ties forged by political 
and patriotic association. Many had doubted whether the president would 
interpret his war power to the extent of calling the Union to arms, and his 
stirring words roused the people like a trumpet call. 

As early as the day succeeding the president's proclamation another was 
issued nearer home for the people of Brown. "For the first time in the history 
of the Federal government organized treason has manifested itself within sev- 
eral states of the Union, and armed rebels are making war against the government. 
A demand made upon Wisconsin by the president of the United States for aid to 
sustain the Federal arms, must meet with a prompt response. One regiment of 
the militia of this state will be required for immediate service, and further serv- 
ice will be required as the exigencies of the government will demand * * * 
Opportunities will be immediately offered to all existing military companies 
under the direction of the proper authorities of the state for enlistment to fill 
the demand of the Federal government, and I hereby invite the patriotic citizens 
of the state to enroll themselves into companies of seventy-eight men each, and 
to advise the executive of their readiness to be mustered into service imme- 
diately. Detailed instructions will be furnished on the acceptance of companies, 
and the commissioned officers of each regiment will nominate their own field 

"In times of public danger bad men grow bold and reckless. The property of 
the citizen becomes unsafe, and both public and private rights are liable to be 
jeopardized. I enjoin upon all administrative and peace officers within the 
state renewed vigilance in the maintenance and execution of the laws, and in 
guarding against excesses leading to disorder among the people. 

"Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin, this i6th 
day of April, A. D. 1861 by the governor. 

"Alexander W. Randall." 

War meetings were immediately called in Green Bay and De Pere, the two 
cities vying with each other in patriotic promptness. We learn from the papers 
of May, 1861, that the spring days were beautiful as never before, and that 
gardens and hedgerows were "beginning to blossom as a rose." the "flour and 
the wheat and the general fatness of the land is coming down in boat loads 
and barge loads, and batteau loads and broad bottom scow loads." Samples of 
Bay Settlement wheat were brought in by Jerome Forsythe "five feei tall, heavily 
headed, the grain encased in rich velvety pockets, averaging thirty-five to forty 
bushels the acre, and all the settlements are laden with this extraordinary 
stubble." No wonder the farmer dreaded to lea\e his land and living for war 
with all its horrors. 

The Bay City guards held their annual election with the result that Fred- 
erick S. Ellis was made captain, T. Teneyck. first lieutenant, Joseph Harris, 
second lieutenant, and vigorous drilling was begun under Captain John Cotton 
who was well fitted for this duty from former military service. In De Pere, 
Captain Loy dropped steamboating and went to the Oconto pineries, the drive 
being over for the season, where he recruited one hundred and one volunteers 
for a three years service ; hardy, acti\e lumbermen ready and earnest to enlist. 


. On July (>. 1861, the company landed in Green Bay on their way to join tiie 
Fourth Wisconsin Regiment, and the manly muscular fellows in their rough 
woods dress, and carrying handspikes instead of guns excited the greatest inter- 
est and admiration. At the time the Oconto company was organized there were 
no guns to be had and as a substitute easily to be obtained in the pinery district 
handspikes were used when drilling and marching. One of these driver's poles 
carried in 1861 by Porter Jones, who enlisted under Captain Loy is preserved 
among the war relics in the Clreen Bay public library. When the company 
reached Racine the mayor of that town refused to allow the men to march 
through the streets with such formidable weapons, and not until the colonel 
had become personally responsible for the good behavior of the recruits would 
the local authorities allow them to proceed to headquarters. 

The Sunday following President Lincoln's war message there was not a pul- 
pit in Green Bay, Fort Howard or De Pere that did not send forth a rousing 
sermon and this patriotic policy was continued almost without intermission until 
the close of the war. "Secession is rebellion, it is founded on no legal right. 
The Union is not a partnership of states bound together by a compact, but a 
nation," said Rev. William E. Merriman in preaching on June sixteenth, to 
a very large audience in the Presbyterian church in Green Bay. 

On May 18, 1861, there was a flag raising at Fort Howard which is thus 
touched off in the columns of the Bay City Press. "About three o'clock a chapter 
on Cherry street became as a limb of orioles, or as the turning over of a leaf 
in a brilliant quickstep. It was lively — it was gay. There was an unusual flag 
on the ferrvl)oat. There was an unusual alacrity in the ferrymen, boss and 

"The short of it is that JMiss Mattie Underwood and her music scholars were 
going over to capture Fort Floward and raise above its mouldy battlements a 
superb flag manufactured for the purpose. By a brilliant maneuver, Major 
Shaler, the venerable custodian of this ancient stronghold was made prisoner, 
and with him they made their way to the parade ground within the walls of the 
fort — the hah'ards were run up and the red, white and blue was sent to the 
head of the flagstaff' one hundred feet high by the united efforts of the battle 
scarred veteran and the beautiful and gallant thirteen. 

"And the major said that although he came there a captive and was a pris- 
oner withotit the hope of rescue or redemption, yet it was one of the happiest 
days of his life. To see the stars and stripes once more floating from the old 
flagstaff was enough to fill him with pleasure and gratitude. 

"He then directed the firing of the national salute — thirty-four guns — from 
the outside plaza, which were answered back by other thirty-four guns from 
Desnoyer's dock on the city side under the direction of ex-Mayor Goodell." 

Not as lively a flag raising but one quite as impressive took place under the 
direction of Father Bonduel of St. John's church. Green Bay. "The beauti- 
ful flag was a part of the furniture of the altar, the Belgian choir was there 
for the singing of the Mass ; Guardian No. 2's band to furnish national airs and 
anthems, and a few select voices to execute national hymns. It was raised on 
the flagstaff' with deafening cheers, repeated and prolonged." 

Henry J. Furber, at that time principal of the "brick schoolhouse" known 
now as the Sale school, with his scholars raised a flag over the "old brick" on 


the Saturday following. Sheriti' Daniel M. Whitney set a flag flying over tlie 
courthouse on Monday, and on Wednesday the Wide Awake boys raised a 
beautiful new edition of the stars and stripes in the village of Fort Howard. 

Everywhere flags were floating, drums were beating, fifes were squealing, 
and over the white fences enclosing the lovely gardens hung snowballs and 
lilacs and all sorts of old fashioned flowers. The girls tilted along the streets 
in enormous hoop skirts, that held out flounced barege and muslin dresses. 
Their hair was primly parted and smoothed down on either side of the face, 
and their hats, low crowned Ijroad brimmed aft'airs had wide ribbons to tie 
under the chin. A local paper tells as illustrative of the inflated skirts of that 
date that a Menominee brave, standing as immovable as a cigar store Indian on 
the streets of Green Bay and noting one of the belles of that town gliding down 
the newly laid plank walk on Washington street, grunted, "Ugh, much wigwam."' 

In April, 1861, the Bay City Press publishes the item that Leonard Martin, 
son of Morgan L. Martin, who was serving his last year as a cadet at West 
Point had with the entire class of that year been graduated three months ahead 
of time and ordered to the front. Letters of the time show that the youngsters 
were wild with delight, the trip to Washington was an exciting lark full of 
pleasurable incident. Young Martin was during the first years of the war in 
command of Battery F, Fifth Artillery. In the army of the Potomac under 
General McClellan, he served with great gallantry in all the hard fought and 
bloody battles of the \'irginia campaign. In the last years of the war. Colonel 
Martin was in command of the Fifty-first Wisconsin Regiment. 

William Emory Merrill, son of Captain M. E. Merrill, the former com- 
mandant of Fort Howard, was still another Brown cotmty boy and graduate 
of West Point who served with great distinction during tlie war. Colonel Mer- 
rill graduated at the head of his class and was in the engineering corps, was 
captured and confined in Libby prison, a terrible experience to which he never 
cared to allude in later years. 

The 4th of July, 1861, was observed with pomp and circumstance in Green 
Bay, the fair grounds, which lay not far from the crossing of Porlier street and 
Webster avenue were used for the first lime, and formed the setting for quite 
a notable gathering. Governor Horatio Seymour of New York was the orator 
and guest of honor. The officers of the day were M. L. Martin, president, 
Charles D. Robinson and Charles Tullar, vice presidents. Dr. C. E. Crane, 
marshal, with Fred S. Ellis and J. F. Lessey, as assistants. The toast master 
was Harry E. Eastman, who filled the office most acceptably. The Bay City 
guards, afterward called the L'nion guards presented a fine soldierly appear- 
ance, and an impressive event was the presentation of a beautiful flag, made 
by the ladies of the city, the address to the soldiers being given by Mrs. Morgan 
L. Martin. There was much singing of patriotic airs, "The Star Spangled Ban- 
ner," "Columbia the Gem of the Ocean" and "We'll Rally Round the Flag, Boys." 

On September 7, 1861, the first organized company of recruits made up of 
Brown county men, left Green Bay for the scene of action under command of 
Lieutenant Arthur Jacobi. They were called the German recruits, and responded 
to a call sent out by government for a German regiment. To quote from a 
Brown county newspaper : "Lieutenant Arthur Jacobi, and twenty-one valiant 
Germans left in wagons for Appleton, there to take rail for Camp Seigel, Mil- 



waiikee." Copperheads were, however, in evidence in Clreen Bay, as witness, 
"the river transportation Hne, E. A. Buck, agent, said that no one was to travel 
on the company's steamers at less than regular fare," whereas the United States 
government allowed for the transportation of troops to the front two cents a 

"After this unprecedented refusal Colonel James Howe appeared and claimed 
the privilege of wheeling them into line — railroad line on Bogart's wagons. 
John Jacobs" little steamer, the Queen City was at the dock, so Jacobs claimed 
the privilege of carrying the recruits with their wives and sweethearts as far as 
De Pere. Off they started in good style, on the gallant little steamer. Guardian 
Fire Company No. 2 on the roof, Germania Fire Company No. i on the fore 
deck. Wagons took up the soldiers at De Pere." 

Thus was marked the departure of the first troops from Green Bay. Three 
sets of officers had been commissioned during the summer to recruit companies, 
th^ recruiting station being located first at the corner of Pine and Washington 
streets, then at the corner of Washington and Doty and later in the Goodell 
building across from the old courthouse, corner of .\dams and Doty streets ; but 
up to the departure of the German recruits not half a dozen had gone from 
Green Bay, and not over a dozen from the whole county. The spirit of rivalry 
existing between the active patriots of De Pere and Green Bay had a wholesome 
effect in arousing enthusiasm. Recruiting went valiantly on, under command of 
Milo E. Palmer in (ireen Bay, and of Joseph (j. Lawton in De Pere. In Sep- 
tember, "Palmer's company is getting along gingerly. There are already 78 
names enrolled, and the spirit is moving deep and wide. On Monday General 
James H. Howe and others went to the Suamico fishing grounds, and hooked 
half a dozen fine fellows, and didn't have to half try either." 

The Union guards of Green Bay were ordered to report at Camp Randall in 
October, 1861, and jjecame Company H of the Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry with 
Milo E. Palmer, captain, and Nathan Smith and C. C. Lovett as lieutenants. 

Since a large proportion of the soldiers from Brown county shared the for- 
tunes of the "marching twelfth," reviewed in the diary of Robert Campbell 
and the reminiscences of Henry Smith and William R. Mitchell, a brief sketch 
of its history may interest the reader. The regiment marched from the time 
of leaving Madison, January 11, 1862, one thousand six hundred miles, was 
transported by steamer, one thousand five hundred, and by railroad, six hundred 

Reporting at Camp Randall in the fall in 1861, the wanderers found them- 
selves at Leavenworth, Kansas, in February, 1862. Si.x days later they had 
marched one hundred and sixty miles to Fort Scott; twenty days thereafter they 
were at Lawrence, one hundred and fifteen miles from Fort Scott. \\'ithin two 
weeks an order arrived to move to Fort Riley, one hundred and twenty miles. 
Then they marched back to Leavenworth, thence down the river to St. Louis, 
and to Columbus, Kentucky. By this time it was June, 1862. 

After enjoying a season of comparative rest in repairing railroads, in scout- 
ing and guerrilla warfare, the Twelfth struck Bolivar, where they were attached 
to the Seventeenth army corps. After the battle of Corinth they pursued the 
Confederates and participated in the movement which followed the surrender 
of Holly Springs. In February, 1863, they were on guard duty on the Memphis 


and Charleston road ; in March were in Memphis in time to lake part in the 
Coldwater expedition under Colonel Bryant. Indulging in a slight skirmish at 
Hernando in which the enemy was defeated, the Twelfth joined Grant's army, 
were placed on garrison duty, and in June served in the trenches before Vicks- 
burg. On August 17, 1863, the regiment joined the Seventeenth army corps 
under General McPherson and undertook some reconnoitering — then back to 
Vicksburg and to Natchez, more guerrilla warfare, more marching; finally with 
General Sherman's regular expedition and famous march to the sea. 

Captain Carleton W'heelock who entered the service as a sergeant w^as pro- 
moted to first lieutenant of Company H, of the Twelfth Regiment, then to the 
captaincy of the company and later to, the rank of major of the regiment. Con- 
temjiorary with the Union guards was its rival the Brown County Rifles, recruited 
at De Pere under command of Captain Joseph G. Lawton, with George \V. 
Bowers and Samuel Harrison as lieutenants. This company formed Company 
F of the Fourteenth Wisconsin and went into service at Fond du Lac sixty- 
four strong. Almost immediately on leaving the state the regiment went into 
active service and participated in the fierce battle of Pittsburg Landing. 

Captain Lawton resigned previous to the siege of Corinth, and Second 
Lieutenant Samuel Harrison was promoted to the captaincy. He fell mortally 
wounded at the battle of Corinth, where an exposed position on a hill under 
murderous fire was held from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon by 
the Fourteenth Wisconsin and Fifteenth Michigan. Private Samuel Morrison 
was also killed and the color sergeant of the regiment, Dennis J. F. Murphy from 
the town of Glenmore was badly wounded. ^lurphy was a brave soldier and his 
office of color bearer was a dangerous one. The Fourteenth Regiment received 
high commendation from the commanding officer for the cool daring displayed 
in the battle of Corinth and was rechristened the Wisconsin Regulars, taking 
part in many important engagements. 

To Company F belonged "little Cady" whose story was often told in the 
years succeeding the Civil war. Among the private soldiers enlisted at De Pere 
were two boys, James K. Newton and Henry Cady, sons of two of the most 
worthy farmers in the county. At the battle of Shiloh "little Cady" as he was 
called in the regiment got his death wound. Newton continued in the service, 
was promoted to a lieutenancy and at the close of the war entered Oberlin 
College. He subsequently became a professor in that institution and years after 
wrote the story of his comrade "little Cady." The pathetic incident was widely 
published in the newspapers of the day. but is no longer to he found. 

Captain Curtis R. Merrill sent Newton's commemorative sketch to General 
Grant who in a note of thanks for the remembrance expressed sympathetic 
interest in the story of the two lads who followed the fortunes of the Brown 
County Rifles in the famous \'icksburg campaign where one lost his life. 

In ;\Iay, 1864, the Brown County Guards were enlisted for one hundred days. 
The officers of this company which was composed of Brown county men were 
James Camm, captain, and lieutenant Leonard La Plant. 

Both Captain Camm and Lieutenant La Plant had served their term and reen- 
listed. A. Guesnier of Green Bay was one of the corporals. 

Colonel W'illiam Chapman, a West Point graduate of 1833, who was sta- 
tioned at Fort Howard for several vears, and had served with distinction in the 


Mexican war had attained the rank of Heutenant colonel at the commencement 
of the Civil war and was brevetted colonel. He was in the army of the Potomac 
and commanded a brigade under General Hancock at Malvern Hill, was at the 
second battle of Bull Run and participated in McClellan's wonderful retreat 
across the Chickamauga. 

Colonel Chapman was of southern birth and for that reason it was believed 
was later retired from active service. He held, however, important positions at 
the various mustering points, was stationed at Camp Randall for a long period and 
did most excellent work in organizing and superintending the troops at other 
military posts. 

Among those who left for the front in the summer of 1861, were Charles 
E. Crane who was made surgeon of the Fifth Wisconsin, James T. Reeve who 
became surgeon of the Twenty-first Wisconsin, and M. L. Martin who in August, 
1861, was appointed paymaster in the regular army, with the rank of major. - 

At the November elections of 1861, James H. Howe was elected attorney 
general of Wisconsin, but resigned his oftice in 1862, to assume command of the 
Thirty-second Regiment, which was organized under his superintendence. Colonel 
Howe's regiment was mustered into service on the 25th of September, 1862. 
Company F of the Thirty-second was recruited at Green Bay, with Matthew 
J. Meade, captain, and Michael F. Kalmbach and Paul IXakin, lieutenants. Paul 
Dakin of whom Robert Campbell speaks in his journal of the Vicksburg cam- 
paign, formerly served as a sergeant in Company H of the Twelfth. He died 
July 12, 1863, at Memphis, Tennessee. 

The German recruits who left Green Bay in the summer of 1861, formed 
Company H of the Ninth Wisconsin. The company took part in some of the 
hottest engagements of the war. The battle of Saline river so thiimed the 
ranks of the regiment that after the muster out of the non-veterans it was con- 
solidated into four companies under the command of Colonel Arthur Jacobi. 
Company H was oflicered at the start by Captain Gumal Hesse and Lieutenants 
Fred Holzer and Philip Kruer. Arthur Jacobi was promoted during the war 
from adjutant to colonel of the regiment. 

Company B of the Thirty-fourth regiment was largely made up of Brown 
county men. It was organized at Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, under Colonel 
Fred Anneke. This regiment, the only organization from Wisconsin whose 
term of service was less than "three years or during the war," had as captain of 
Company B, James N. Ruby, and Henry B. Fox and Dennis J. F. Murphy, 
lieutenants. Their term of service expired and they were mustered out on 
the 8th of September, 1863, but at the expiration of their term many reenlisted. 
Company F, of the Fiftieth Regiment was recruited in Green Bay with Charles 
C. Lovett, captain and Charles Photenhauer and Frank T. Brayton, lieuten- 
ants. Lovett had served as lieutenant of Company H of the "Marching 
Twelfth." Company F entered the service in the spring of 1865 and remained 
on duty in the west for over a year. 

Many residents of Brown county served in regiments outside of the com- 
panies raised within its limits. Maurice Maloney, colonel of the Thirteenth 
regiment ; Edgar Conklin, captain of Company F, Twenty-first Regiment ; H. E. 
Eastman, major of Second Battalion, Second Cavalry Regiment ; Joseph F. Loy, 
captain Company H, Fourth Regiment; William R. Torrev, lieutenant colonel 


First Cavalry ; Charles D. Robinson, editor of the Green Bay Advocate who was 
commissioned assistant quartermaster; Charles R. Tyler; Charles H. White and 
many others. Tiie record of the men who went from Brown county is one to 
be proud of. 

An unhappy incident of the Civil war in Brown county was the case of 
Israel Green, son of Thomas Green, an old and respected citizen of Green 
Bay. The young man was a lieutenant in the marine corps of the United States 
Army, and took part in the raid on and capture of John Brown at Harper's 
Ferry. He was an impetuous fellow entering with zest into any undertaking, 
and was at the time, October, 1859, under command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, 
then an officer in the United States army. Lieutenant Green led the attacking 
force of United States marines who battered down the door of the old engine 
house where John Brown and his adherents had entrenched themselves. Green 
w-as the first man to rush into the building under dangerous fire. It is said that 
as the abolitionist, although wounded, resisted arrest, Lieutenant Green struck 
him with the flat of his sword. 

After the execution of John Brown the go\eninient made in(|uiry as to the 
men who had shown especial valor in his capture, for the famous reformer 
was generally looked upon as a dangerous fanatic and a menace to public peace. 
Young Green was called to Washington and detailed as one of the military 
escort that accompanied on their return to Jajjan the Japanese embassy sent out 
by the Japanese government to report on the United States republic, the first 
international advance made by this hitherto self centered nation. 

In August, i860, the American fleet sailed for Japan bearing the distinguished 
visitors and after being royally entertained at the Japanese court returned to 
New York by way of Cape Horn, reaching port on May 2, 1861. 

During the nine months that the fleet was absent no word had reached them 
of the close prospect of civil war and before Israel Green left the "Niagara" he 
was notified that he must take the oath of allegiance to the United States, for 
war was abroad in the land. The young man took the oath and immediately 
resigned his commission. His uniform was taken from him and he left without 
delay for his home near Winchester, \'irginia ; for his wife was a handsome 
Virginian, belonging to a family of wealth and influence and inheriting a large 
slave property. The blow came with killing force on the venerable father and 
mother in Green Bay and no word of explanation or regret came to the friends 
at home until long after. 

On the 5th of August, 1862, Governor .Salomon of \Msconsin, received from 
the war department a despatch stating that orders had been issued for a draft of 
300,000 men to be immediately called into the service of the United States, to 
serve for nine montlis unless sooner discharged. That if the state quota under 
the call of July 2d for 300.000 volunteers was not filled by the 15th of August 
the deficiency would be made up by draft. The secretary of war would assign 
the quotas to the states and establish regulations for the draft. The quota for 
Wisconsin was 11,904, and Governor Salomon undertook to make the first and 
only draft that was conducted under the authority of the state. Subsequent drafts 
were enforced by district provost marshals under orders from the provost mar- 
shal eeneral at Washington. The sheriffs of the different counties were directed 


to make the enrollment, to appoint deputies, and to make lists of all able Ijodied 
men between eighteen and forty-five years of age. 

Great impetus was given to recruiting by fear of the draft and many towns 
were able to fill their quota by oiTering extra bounties. The sheriff of Brown 
county was Daniel M. Whitney, captain of the mail steamer Swan and firm in 
carrying out his duty in the trouble which threatened on the enforcement of the 
draft. (Jrders were issued by the adjutant general directing that the draft should 
commence on Monday, the loth of November, 1862, and continue from day to 
day until completed. Drafting was to be made by towns, and drafted men were 
to rendezvous at designated points. Green Bay, De Pere and Fort Howard 
were exempt, as they had filled their quota, but in the county at large, where the 
population was made up of foreign born citizens, many of whom had emigrated 
from the old country only a year previous, and who were working hard to gain a 
living from their little farms of uncleared land, there was stubborn resistance 
to what ai)peared unjust demand. From men who had come to the United 
States to escape the military conscription laws enforced in Germany, France 
and other countries and were not yet long enough in America to understand or 
sympathize with the Union cause came loud mutterings of discontent and in 
many cases armed resistance. 

The Belgian colonists in the towns of Green Bay and Scott were in especial 
bitterly opposed to the draft and refused to comply with the governor's order. 
Several hundred strong and armed with farm implements, guns or any weapon 
that came to hand they marched to Green Bay city, prepared to mob Senator T. 
O. Howe, who was on a \isit home, and whom they held responsible in great 
measure for the hated conscription order. It is recalled that Senator Howe, 
pale as death, stood upon the upper piazza of his residence and addressed the 
malcontents, but the majority understood not a word of English and as the nuir- 
murs and execrations grew louder the senator withdrew by a side entrance and 
was driven rapidly away in a carriage. The mob hurried liack to Baird's stone 
building on Pine street where the county offices were. Here they were met by 
the chairman of the county board, Hon. John Last, a graduate from a Brussels 
university and thoroughly conversant with the French language. He, assisted 
by O. }. B. Brice, dispersed the rioters and in the end persuaded many of them 
to submit to the draft. When they did go to the front the Belgians were con- 
sidered among the bravest and best fighters to be found anywhere. 

The mayor of Green Bay, Henry S. Baird, on the morning of the riot having 
heard that an armed mob was on the way to attack the city and realizing the 
serious trouble that had occurred in other Wisconsin towns in consequence of 
the draft law, ordered that the draw on Devil river bridge should be swung and 
the belligerents stopped "'by the old gentlemen's river." The old bridge of that 
day had a float draw, a crazy aft'air, Init l)y intimidati(jn or boats the rioters suc- 
ceeded in crossing the stream. 

By commission of April 24, 1863, Curtis R. Merrill of De Pere was appointed 
provost marshal for the fifth congressional district of the state of Wisconsin 
with the rank of captain of cavalry. "You will immediately report by letter to 
the provost marshal general, and will proceed without delay to establish your 
headquarters at Green Bay, Wisconsin, and enter upon your duties in accord- 


ance witli such special instructions as you may receive from the provost marshal 

"Signed, Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of IVar." 

Captain Merrill proved himself eminently fitted for the work assigned him; 
a difficult position it certainly was, entailing promptness and courage. Imme- 
diately the fort buildings which had been dismantled were put in some degree of 
repair and garrisoned by the veteran reserve corps of the United States army, 
with Captain Curtis in command. The old town hall and courthouse combined 
was occupied as the provost marshal's office. Major Shaler, who had been in 
charge of Fort Howard from the removal of the troops in 1852, was replaced 
in the command of the old cantonment in the spring of 1863, by Captain Merrill, 
but retained his house, the surgeon's quarters of earlier days, and continued to 
reside there for several years. The examining surgeon of the newly organized 
office was Dr. Horace (). Crane. Dr. Crane had in the first years of the war 
been assigned duty as i)hysician in charge of St. John's College Hospital at 
Annapolis, Maryland, and was regarded as an unusually able physician and skill- 
ful surgeon. As examining surgeon for the provost marshal's office at Green 
Bay he proved most efficient. He was moreover a great favorite with the sol- 
diers, for whom he ever showed warm sympathy, giving ready aid when possible. 

A suggestion was made "unofficially" by the chief medical officer of the pro- 
vost marshal general's bureau that the examining surgeon in all districts should 
mark by branding each man who took the examination. It was a barbarous re- 
quirement and Doctor Crane, a most humane and broad-minded man, refused to 
have it enforced, saying that never should human beings, with his connivance, 
be treated as cattle. The following are the letters received by Doctor Crane, 
who sent in his protest against the practice. The suggestion probably raised a 
storm of denial throughout the country, for the last communication contains a 
peremptory order to discontinue the branding if in use. 


"W'ar Department 

"Provost Marshal General's Office 

"Washington, D. C, August 15, 1864. 
"Dr. H. O. Cr.\ne, 

"Surgeon Board of Enrolment, 

"Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
"Doctor; For the mutual protection of Boards of Enrolment against fraud 
practiced by substitutes and substitute brokers, I would suggest, that you here- 
after mark all substitutes or recruits who you may reject, in the small of the back, 
thus : -|- : 

"This should be done without exciting the suspicions of the substitute or re- 
cruit so marked ; and can be easily and harmlessly accomplished with a stick of 
nitrate of silver moistened. 

"Any substitute or recruit thus marked appearing before you for examination 
carries upon his person the evidence of having been already rejected by some 
board of enrolment. 

"This suggestion is made unofficially and confidentially and should you adopt 
it, I think it will save much trouble, which now exists." 


"August 19, 1864 

"War Department 

"Provost Marshal General's Office 

Washington, D. C, August 19, 1864. 
"Dr. H. O. Crane, 

"Surgeon Board of Enrolment, 

"Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
"Doctor: In addition to my suggestion to mark all rejected recruits and 
substitutes I would suggest that all accepted recruits and substitutes be marked 

thus: I, on the small of the back. 

"This will I think prevent to a great extent the practice of bounty jumping. 

"Your friend. 

"Chief Med. Off. Pro. Mar. Genl. Bur." 

"August 26, 1864 
"To the Surgeon Board of Enrolment, 

Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
"Doctor: The provost marshal general directs that in case you have marked 
substittites or recruits in any way, you will discontinue the practice at once. 

"I am Doctor 

"\'ery respectfully 

"Your obedient servant 

Perhaps there was no period in the history of old Fort Howard from its first 
occupation by the French and subsequently by the English and Americans of 
greater interest and activity than the last two and a half years of the great Civil 
war. In addition to the veteran reserve corps, volunteers, drafted men and de- 
serters were quartered in the fort, and were there subsisted, uniformed, equipped 
and sent to service. At times the quarters were filled to their full capacity. 

On May 24, 1864, the provost marshal received notice that an Oconto com- 
pany sixty strong would arrive at three o'clock P. M. An impromptu 
reception was immediately arranged for by Captain Merrill, who circulated 
a notice in the forenoon that the troops would arrive during the day. "On 
reaching Green Bay the company was escorted to the garrison of Fort Howard, 
where the 'Ladies Soldiers Aid Society,' under the direction of Mrs. Henry S. 
Baird. had hastily prepared a bountiful dinner. After dinner the company were 
drawn up in line in front of the hall where the ladies sang, 'We'll Rally Round the 
Flag, Boys,' after which W. J. Abrams was introduced and made a welcoming 
speech and then read an eloquent address to the company written by Mrs. Morgan 
L. Martin." 

The first draft under the national act was made in November, 1863, in the 
old courthouse at the corner of Adams and Doty streets in Green Bay. The 
excitement and anxiety were intense and the city was full of people from the 
different counties constituting the district. The court room was filled with a 
more anxious audience than it had ever contained before, and no judicial tri- 
bunal, whether represented by Irving or Stowe or Howe or Cotton, was ever 
regarded with a more profound and breathless attention than was the blind man 


whu stood silently and passively beside the draft wheel. At the appointed hour 
the marshal announced the commencement of the draft. The commissioner 
broke the seals of the envelopes containing the tickets of each sub-district and 
deposited them in the draft wheel from which the blind man drew, at every 
turn of the wheel, a name until the quota of the subdistrict was filled. A week 
was recjuired to complete the draft. The number drawn under the call was 2,840. 
Under the president's call of jul\- iS, 1864, another draft was ordered and 4,816 
enrolled in the Fifth district, which included the counties of Brown, Oconto, 
Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waushara, 
Waupaca, Green Lake and Shawano, 
The official notice read : 

Jrlead-Quarters Pro\ost .Marshal, 5th Dist.. Wis. 

Green Bay, Sept. i/tli, 1864. 
The draft will commence in this district, at these headquarters, on Tuesday, 
the -'/th day of September, 1864. at 10 o'clock, A. M. of that day, commencing 
with the county of Manitowoc. 

in accordance with a letter of instruction from the provost marshal general 
of the state, dated August 30, 1864, volunteers will be credited on the quotas of 
the present call up to the last practicable moment liefore the drafted men are 
acce])ted and forwarded to the rendezvous. A statement of the quotas and 
credits of each sub-district has been forwarded to each county. 

C. R. Merrill, 

Capt. and Pro\-. Marshal, 5th r)ist.. Wis. 

On November 7, 1864, Captain Merrill received the following note from the 
mayor's ofifice in Green Bay: "Sir: — In consequence of the belligerent state of 
our country I feel it my duty as guardian of the city of Green Bay to call upon 
you for the veteran corps under your command, in putting down any riotous 
conduct on the day of election, Tuesday 8th. inst., should there be occasion to 
resort to arms. 

I am unwilling to think that tiiere will lie any cause or sufficient cause to call 
upon the military department for assistance. Init caution is considered generally 
the better part of valor. 

\'ery respectfully. 

Your obedient servant, 

N. GooDELL, Mayor. 

Once again in February, 1865, the following order was issued by Captain C. 
R. Merrill : 

Green Bay, Wisconsin, Feb. 25, 1865. 
Headquarters Provost Marshal's Office, 

5th District Wisconsin. 
The following order was this day received from A. A. Prov. Mar. Gen. Lovell, 
and is published for the information of all concerned. 

Curtis R. Merrill, Provost Marshal, 


Madison, Wisconsin, February 25, 1865. 
Captain C. R. Merrill, 

Provost Marshal, 5th District, Green Bay, Wisconsin. 
Captain; The provost marshal general directs that the draft be commenced 
on Monday, the 27th inst., in such sub-districts as are making no effort to fill 
their quotas. 

I am Captain, 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 
Charles S. Lovell, 

Lt. Col. iSth Infy A. A. Prov. Mar. Gen. Wis. 

In pursuance of the above order the draft in this district under the call of 
the president, dated December 19, 1864, for 300,000 men, will commence at these 
headquarters on Wednesday, March ist, at two o'clock P. M. 

C. R. Merrill, 

Capt. and Prov. Mar. 5th Dist. Wis. 

The announcement of a draft no longer caused disturbance or wild excite- 
ment. The foreign colonists were by 1864 as deeply interested in the preserva- 
tion of the Union as were the native born Americans. The German, Irish and 
Scandinavian population of Brown county had from the first been ready in of- 
fering aid and the Oneida Indians, always a warlike people, organized a company 
of sharpshooters under command of Cornelius Doxtater. 

The news of the assassination of President Lincoln was first received at the 
])rovost marshal's office by the following telegram : 

War Department 
Provost Marshal General's Bureau 

Washington, D. C, April 15, 1865. 
Captain C. R. Merrill, 

Provost Marshal, (Ireen Bay, Wisconsin. 

It is believed that the assassins of the president and Secretary Seward are 
attempting to escape to Canada. You will make a careful and thorough examina- 
tion of all persons attempting to escape from the United States into Canada and 
will arrest all suspicious persons. The most vigilant scrutiny on your part and 
the force at your disposal is demanded. A description of the parties supposed to 
be implicated in the murder will be telegraphed you today, but in the meantime be 
active in preventing the crossing of any sus])icious jiersons. 

By order of the Secretary of War 

(Signed) N. L. Jefferies, 
Brevet Brigadier General and Acting Provost Marshal General. 

That same day, April 15, 1865, a description of Wilkes Booth was received 
from Washington. 

"The following is a description of the assassin of President Lincoln, Hon. 
W. H. Seward, secretary of state, and Hon. Frederick W. Seward, assistant 
secretary. You will use every exertion in your power and call to your aid the 
entire force under your control to secure the arrest of the assassin. Height, 6 1-12 
feet, hair black, thick, full and straight, no beard nor appearance of a beard, 
cheeks red on the jaws, face moderately full. 22 or 23 years of age. Eyes, color 


not known ; large eyes not prominent. Brows not heavy but dark. Face not 
large but rather round. Complexion healthy. Nose straight and well formed, 
medium sized. Mouth small, lips thin, upper lip protruding when he talks. Chin, 
pointed and prominent. Head of medium size and neck thick and of medium 
length. Hands, soft, small and fingers tapering; show no signs of hard labor. 
Broad shoulders, taper waist, straight figure, strong-looking man. Manner not 
gentlemanly but vulgar. Overcoat double breasted, color mixed of pink and 
gray, spots small. Was a sack overcoat, pockets in side and one in the breast, 
with lapels or flaps. Pants, black cotton stuff. New heavy boots. \'oice small 
and thin inclined to tenor. 

N. L. Jefferies, 

Bvt. Brig. Gen. and Acting Prov. Mar. 
Four days later at Green Bay, appeared the following notice : 

( )rder of the day 

for the 


Wednesday, April 19, 1865 

The procession to form at 2 o'clock p. m. in front of the Beaumont House, 
^lain Street in the following order : 
1st Assistant Marshal, C. E. Crane 
2d Assistant Marshal, Anton Klaus 
3d Assistant Marshal, M. J- Meade 
4th Assistant Marshal, C. J. Bender 
Veteran Soldiers 
Hon. T. O. Howe H Dr. H. O. Crane 

Capt. C. R. Merrill E A. Guesnier 

Joseph Taylor A D. M. Whitney 

Hon. F. S. Ellis R Hon. W. J. Abrams 

J. P. Dousman S C. D. Robinson 



Committee of Arrangements 

National Flag. Draped in Mourning 

Mayor and City Council 

Masonic Lodge 

Independent Order of Odd-Fellows 

Good Templars 



German Benevolent Society 

Citizens on Foot 

' Carriages 


The line of march was then given, and all public places of business, it was re- 
quested, should remain closed from lo o'clock a. m. to 4 o'clock p. m. on that day 
and draped with mourning and that the flags in the city and on the shipping be at 
half mast and similarly draped. Bells were to be tolled during the time of the 
procession and citizens generally were requested to wear a badge of mourning 
"on left lappell of coat, a rosette of black crape, with red, white and blue ribbon 
for the space of thirty days." 

Shortly after war was declared soldiers aid societies were formed in the 
towns of De Pere, Green Bay and Fort Howard. The work done at these meet- 
ings was of all sorts ; but first and foremost lint was scraped and for this purpose 
old table cloths, rags, and even linen brought from former homes in the old 
country were used. One method of preparing the lint was to lay a plate bottom 
upward on a table or on the lap of the operator and to place a piece of linen on it ; 
this was vigorously scraped with a case-knife until it was transformed into a 
flufify mass of fibre. Thousands of bandages were likewise sewed and rolled up 
ready for use, for absorbent cotton was unknown, and after each battle bales of 
lint and bandages must be ready for the surgeon's hand. 

Among the articles made at the aid societies were quilts and blankets, many 
of which had some cheering message or the name of the maker sewed in them. 
One of these patriotic quilts from the Ladies Aid Society of Green Bay, which 
was organized at the outset of the war with Mrs. Henry S. Baird as president, 
was discovered in 1884, in the cabin of a negro family near the battle- 
field of Bentonville, North Carolina. Only a few blocks were left. In the 
center of each square of colored calico was a white cross running diagonally and 
on this was written the name of the maker of the block and an inscription. Mrs. 
George G. Ginty's (at that time Miss Flora Beall) bore the following verse: 
"If rebels attack you, do run with this quilt. 
And safe to some fortress convey it ; 
For o'er the gaunt body of some old scccsh 
We did not intend to display it ; 

'Twas made for brave boys who went from the west. 
And swiftly the fair fingers flew, 
While each stitch as it went to its place in the quilt. 
Was a smothered 'God bless you, boys,' too." 
Another patch proclaimed the following lively sentiment but with nothing 
to identify the contributor: 

"For the gay and happy soldier. 
We're contented as a dove ; 
But the man who will not enlist 
Never can obtain our love." 
The only names of the donors decipherable beside that of Mrs. Ginty, were 
Mrs. J. V. Suydan, Mrs. Mary C. Mitchell, Miss Mollie Chapman, Mrs. Joshua 
Whitney and Mrs. Clara F. Shepard. 

Mrs. Eliza C. Porter, wife of Rev. Jeremiah Porter was induced to assume 
the office of manager at the headquarters in Chicago of the Northwestern Sani- 
tary Commission. 

"Lovely, gentle and refined yet courageous, heroic and devoted, she here 
commenced a series of self-denying labors for the army that finally took her to 


'the front,' where she faced privation, sickness and death ; and neither paused 
nor rested from her work, so long as the War lasted." 

The Reverend Mr. Porter had for many years been pastor over the Presby- 
terian church in Green Bay, where both he and his wife had endeared themselves 
to the people "of Brown county. Mrs. Cotton, wife of Captain John Cotton, also 
went to the front as a nurse in 1862 and did excellent service. 

The women of De Pere were even more active than their Green Bay sisters 
in packing and forwarding boxes of useful clothing and appetizing comforts for 
the sick and wounded. The names of officers of the Aid Society in De Pere 
were: Mrs. G. F. Marston, president; Mrs. Reuben Wheeler, vice president; 
Miss Lucy Wheeler (now Mrs. M. Burnett), secretary. Between the years of 
1861 and 1865 the Milwaukee branch of the United States sanitary commission 
received about fifty boxes each from Green Bay and other Wisconsin towns. 
It received during 1864, 2,142 boxes, containing such articles as shirts, sheets, 
pillows, blankets, wearing apparel of all kinds, canned and dried fruits, wine, 
eggs, butter, cheese and groceries. The quantity of onions sent from Brown 
county was phenomenal and pickled onions were packed and sent in glass jars 
by the thousand. Brown county has always been a great onion growing dis- 
trict and the vegetable was used freely during the war as a preventive of scurvy 
among the soldiers. The grand total of pickled onions sent from ^^'isconsin 
during the war amounted to over $19,000. 

All this generous giving to the soldiers meant added economy at home for 
most of the work on the farms throughout Brown county was during war times 
done by the women who stayed at home. The newspapers congratulate the public 
on the large yield of maple sugar during 1862, which will enable the people to 
do without the southern grown sugar cane. .All kinds of grain was used in place 
of coffee, and stringent closeness in the purchase of clothing was the order of 
the day. The Bay City Press notes that the young ladies are learning to make 
their own shoes, and the necessity for foot wear really forced this trade upon 
the needy women. 

From the adjutant general's report of 1866 we find that the number of 
inhabitants of Brown county at that period was altogether 15,282 and that the 
"amount of money actually paid by the several towns for war purposes during 
the rebellion was $68,965.99," a fine and patriotic showing for a district of coun- 
try not wealthy nor well cultivated and which had' been impoAerished by finan- 
cial reverses. 

In the grounds surrounding the city hall stands a small brass cannon which 
was brought from the south after the Civil war. Cast in 1861, it illustrates the 
artillery used in the great rebellion, and is a reminder of those davs of stress and 
patriotic activity in Brown county. 


By ail Old Soldier 

"Any well constructed and truthful story of Brown county during a period of 
say the ten years, dating from 1857 to 1867, will seem so strange to the present 
residents of the county, that they might well be excused for calling it a pipe 
dream, and refusing: to sfive it anv credence whatever. 



'»; -s 


"To begin with the county was ahnost a primeval forest. Three small towns 
Green Bay, — the largest — Fort Howard and De Fere were each sitting on the 
Fox river and each was only a little gap in the forest. Until i860 the railroad 
ended at Fond du Lac and mails were carried in stages in winter and boats in 
summer. We had a steamer running between here and Buffalo, making a round 
trip every two weeks. 

"Nearly the whole business of the county was making lumber and shingles, 
the latter being split and shaved by hand. There was no bridge across Fox 
river, and only one poor floating concern across East river. Loose bands of 
Indians were encamped all around. The waters swarmed with the finest fish, the 
woods were alive with the finest of game, the marshes raised annually thou- 
sands of bushels of wild rice. In short it was an Indian paradise. 

"In the latter half of the fifties the county began to settle up rapidly. Irish 
came in large numbers into the south part of the county. Belgians came in big 
bunches into the north part. Scandinavians into the southwest. Germans, Hol- 
landers and Flemish settled in and near to the towns. In 1857 there came a 
most distressing panic, which hit the county very hard; nearly all the business 
men were ruined and the condition of the farmers and laborers was something 
hard to be believed at the present time. Fifty cents a day was considered first 
class pay for several years. Men in the sawmills from the engineer down to 
the slab carrier all got fifty cents a day. The carpenters and brick layers that 
built the Beaumont hotel got fifty cents a day. A Mr. Davis who was the 
architect and superintendent got seventy-five cents, and they all had to take 
their pay in store trade too. I heard Mr. Pelton who ran the store and paid the 
men say that he paid out less than a hundred dollars in money for labor on 
the building. 

"Business had improved a little but not much when the war broke out. In the 
beginning the optimistic said it would be over in three months and that there 
would be little or no real fighting. Each county was called on for its quota 
of men and Brown county sent hers almost over night. I have always thought 
that the depression in business and the condition of labor helped to send the 
men out on those first calls. While the soldier's pay looks small to us now, at 
that time it was really better than many of the men could do at home. 

"At the end of the three months it became plain that the country was in for 
a desperate struggle and people began to feel and look very serious. Now 
right here it must be understood that Brown county was nearly solid democratic, 
but it soon developed that there were two kinds of democrats and that one 
kind was very different from the other. On one side they stood for the govern- 
ment and did everything they could to uphold it ; I should say the bulk of these 
were found voting the republican ticket at the close of the war. The others 
we called copperheads, and they threw their whole influence against the gov- 
ernment, discouraged enlistments and at times made a good deal of trouble. 

"Well, Brown county sent her men as fast as they were called for for the 
first year, and then the volunteering grew slack and a draft was ordered. The 
parts of the county that had done the least, and where the draft struck the 
hardest, were the Belgians in the north part of the county, and the Irish in 
the south and southeast. In fact, the matter grew so serious among the Bel- 
gians that the authorities sent* two companies of troops here and put them in 


quarters at Fort Howard and kept them there until the trouble was over. They 
never had to do any fighting, however. I have never considered the people 
in those outlying towns much to blame for their actions. The fact was they 
were nearly all fresh immigrants, and had not been in this country long enough 
to know really what the war was about; they were really not Americanized at 
all. Added to this the Belgians could not even talk English, at least but very 
few of them and such men could not be expected to volunteet to fight, nor to 
accept the results of a draft either if they could help it. 

"After results prove this to be true, for the first draft was for nine months 
service, and of those men who went out and served their time the bulk of them 
reenlisted and spread the patriotic ideas home in letters and communications 
to their friends and families, so that we got full quotas of men from these 
towns all the latter part of the war, with very little drafting. They were all 
Catholic too, and their priests being foreign like themselves, did not always 
help to enthuse them. Should a similar call to fight for the flag come to the 
county now, the volunteers would come from the descendants of those same 
men by the train load, who were so lukewarm at that time. 

"I can not say that Brown county made any special record in the war; her 
men were so scattered. I think the county had men in every big fight during 
the war. The bulk of Company H of the Twelfth Infantry were Brown county 
men. The Fourteenth, Eighteenth and Thirty-second Infantry had nearlv a 
company each from the county. Company H of the Thirty-fourth were all from 
Brown county. The Ninth had nearly a full company. So it will Ije seen that 
they were scattered all over the country from the Potomac to the Mississippi 
and from the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico. 

"Sitting in our post hall at a social meeting a couple of months ago, I 
noticed one man who was at Antietam and Gettysburg, another who was at the 
siege of Petersburg, several who were through the Vicksburg campaign, one 
who was at Chickamauga, one who went through the Fort Donelson campaign, 
several who were through the long bitter Atlanta campaign, and afterward on 
the march to the sea and up through the Carolinas. One who was at Shiloh, 
one with Banks in the unfortunate Red River mess and so on, there were not 
more than forty of the old scamps present in all — and this after fifty years. 

"It is sure that Brown county men saw a lot of the war. We did not send 
out many high officers, I can only remember two colonels, J. H. Howe of the 
Thirty-second and Colonel Jacobi of the Ninth. 

"Carlton B. Wheelock. who for years ran the ferry across Fo.x river went 
out as orderly sergeant of Company H, of the Twelfth, and worked his way up, 
ending as major of the regiment. His brother-in-law, Colonel William Chap- 
man, was a retired regular army officer, who did much good work in organiz- 
ing, etc. Palmer, Lovett and Meade went out as captains, and of course there 
were many more that were line officers, whose names I do not remember. 

"Mention should be made of many men who were most useful, who did not 
goto the war at all. It will be remembered as I said before, that the pecuniary 
condition of the county was something desperate at the breaking out of the 
war. Of course this made it necessary that good and efficient aid should be 
given to those families left without a protector. This work was nobly done. 
Often done quietly, sometimes even secretly, to save the pride of the recipients 


— but it was done. I will give one instance typical of many. John Bruce of 
Big Suaniico was a prominent lumberman and was at that time pretty well king 
of that river. When one of his men would show a desire to go to the army, 
but did not know how to provide for his family, John would say, 'You go, I will 
see that your family does not suffer.' Bruce was a widower and had a crippled 
arm and always kept a man to wait on him personally. This man told me some 
years after the war, that at one time the old man had seventeen soldiers' fam- 
ilies in charge; that his instructions were to visit those families as often as 
might be necessary and see that they lacked nothing to make them comfortable. 
He used to go to the store and take what was needed for them and no charge 
was ever made. Bruce's store was the postoffice and general headquarters 
for the neighborhood. Such men as Bruce were very useful, in fact the rebel- 
lion could not have been put down without them and they deserve fully as much 
honor as those who carried the muskets. And what shall I say of the women 
through that terrible time. ( )ne thing I can say, I don't believe there were 
any copperheads among the women; I certainly ne\er knew one. They simply 
backed us straight through. If there was a young woman who did not have 
from one or two to a dozen soldier boys that she was writing to and encourge- 
ing in every way to be manlv and soldierlike it was because she could not write 
at all, and if there was an old woman who did not have a husband or son of 
her own in the army to write to, — my mother had both husband and son, and 
there were many like her — why she wrote to some other woman's husband or 
son and helped cheer him. 

"Finally the desperate struggle was over, the government was saved intact, 
slavery was abolished and the Brown county boys came home with ranks sadly 
thinned in some cases but thankful that so many were left. Everything had 
changed very much in our absence — a fine bridge across the Fox, and a rail- 
road running into the town. Lots of work for all of us and good pay. How 
we did slash the timber during the next few years, how the farms grew and 
multiplied and how everything has flourished ever since. 

"Now as we Brown county soldiers, or the few that are left of us see 
these things we are satisfied and feel that our work of fifty years ago was good 
work, that it was the right work, that it was well done and that Brown county 
may well be proud of its record of fifty years ago. 

Henry Smith, Green Bay." 

The following extracts are from a little pocket diary which has written on 
the fly leaf "R. R. Campbell. Bought at Memphis, Tennessee, Tuesday, Feb- 
ruary 3, 1863. 

By Capt. M. Li. Palmer 
Company H, Twelfth Regiment." 

It begins, "Thursday, January i, 1863. Was on guard near Lumpkin Mills, 
Mississippi. Weather fine and clear. Twelfth Regiment camped on Hominy 

■' January 6. Nothing of importance happens. Rumors too numerous to 
mention in regard to peace, etc. 

"January 7. Fine and clear. Laid in camp all day doing nothing but cook 
my own victuals, coffee and slapjacks. These slapjacks are kind of heavy and 
we have to march tomorrow, it is best to eat light. 


"January 9. The Twelfth leave camp about 10 a. m. March through Holly 
Springs, Mississippi, and camp on the north side of the city. Company H is 
put on camp guard at night. Soldiers attempt to burn the city. Twelfth have 
roll call several times during the night. 

"January 10. Company H still on guard. Orders to be ready to march at 
a moment's warning. Do not get the necessary warning until 7 p. m. March to 
Coldwater. Weather line for OWLS. 

"Monday 12. Company H on picket guard near Moscow. 6,000 rebel cav- 
alry expected in the night. 

"Wednesday 14. Regiment are called out in the morning everything all wet. 
March in mud all day arrive at camp all wet. Camp one mile from Moscow. 
Rain all day. Roads indescribable. Get one spoonfull of whiskey. Snow in 
the night. The commissary is so liberal with this whisky that I am afraid some 
of us will get sober. They are more liberal to the officers, several of them get; 
sober and the boys cry, 'Oh think of your head in the morning.' 

"January 19. Regiment leave camp. March all day. Camp near Coliers- 
ville, Tennessee. Rain all day. Streams \'ery much swollen. Teams have to 
swim. The roads in this country are something like those the boy had to travel 
on when he was going to school, so slippery. 

"January 21. A person peeping into tent No. 6, would think that we were 
all cabinet makers but would be mistaken as we are only makers of our nests 
or only building bunks, its who's got the hammer, who's got the saw. The 
leviathan is built in tent No. 6 by Cook W. Whitcomb, N. B, The le\iathan 
is a pile of bricks intended to make a fire on. 

"January 28. All hands go to work on fortifications at Colierville depot. 
Weather fine. 

"February 6. Cold and windy, not very comfortable in the cotton houses. 
Captain Palmer and private Curtis start for Memphis. Sent $18.00 home by 

"February 7. Company H go out as guard for forage train. Have a good 
time getting honey, get purty well stung. 

"February 21. Quite a scare was raised this morning, the cavalry at Coliers- 
ville were ordered out to go out scouting, three revolvers had been loaded for 
a busy time and they were bound to discharge them. 

"February 27. Company H, you will begin to think is on picket every day 
for they are on today one day oiif and two days on. 

"March 2. Jas. Mitchell falls. Died while playing wicket. Kimball of Green 
Bay and Lieut. P. Dakin make us a visit. (Paul Dakin died that year.) 

"March 4. The Twelfth are honored today by a visit from Mrs. Harvey and 
Colonel Howe and lady. 

"March 10. The First Brigade of Fourth Division is passing here today. 

"March 11. Fourth Division still passing here. 

"March 14. The Twelfth Regiment start from Camp Butler for Memphis, 
Tennessee. March all day. Camp at night two miles from the City. 

"March 15. Sunday I was through the City of Memphis. Was down on the 
Levee. Saw some of the great Mississippi passenger boats. One the 'Ruth,' 
a fine looking boat. 


"March i8. Sent $30.00 home by express. Went to the city in afternoon 
saw quite a number of the Bay Settlement Mountaineers. 

"March 23. Went to circus in afternoon. On camp guard all night. Another 
sudden death in Company G. 

"April 2. Grand review by General Hurlbut about two miles east of the 
City of Alemphis near the County Fair Grounds. 

"April 4. Fight is expected today, skirmish with the pickets. Dress parade 

"April 12. Sunday dress parade in afternoon. Sermon by the Chaplain in 
the evening. Fine. 

"April 16. Went to circus. Some of the Thirty-second Wisconsin were here 
to see us. General inspection. Orders to draw four days rations and be ready 
to march. Pretty sure there will be a fight this time. Rumors too numerous to 
mention as to where we are going and the force we will have to contend with. 

"April 18. The Twelfth and Thirty-second Wisconsin, Forty-first Illinois 
Infantry, Fifteenth Ohio Battery 2 battalions of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry start on 
a reconnaissance in the direction of Coldwater under command of Col. G. E. 
Bryant. March as far as Hernando. Mississippi. The companies are skirmish- 
ing with the rebels. Camp for the night. 

"April 19. Rained like ned. Marched to Coldwater. Skirmish on the 
banks of the creek. One of Company G shot. Pretty badly wounded. Retreat 
in good order. The rebels close after yet within one mile of Hernando camp 
for the night. Companies C, E and H were in the skirmish only one of the 
Twelfth wounded. The boys all sleep on cotton. 

"Monday 20. March again for Hernando. Lay there in line of Ijattle mostly 
all day, the cavalry having gone back to Coldwater creek. Forward again for 
Memphis. The boys have set fire to Hernando. Great destruction of prop- 
erty. Little children turned out of doors. Men threw brick at the windows. 

"April 21. Forward to Memphis, march very slow. Get within nine miles 
of Memphis. Get orders and reinforcements. Have to go and try them again. 
The boys are tired and look down in the mouth at this. March for Coldwater, 
march five miles, camp for the night. 

"April 23. Cavalry start for Coldwater creek. Find it evacuated. Destroy 
three tons of hay and plenty other property in the commissary line. Take quite 
a fine lot of horses and mules. 

"Friday 24th. Forward for Memphis again. Rain and mud, pleasant travel- 
ling. The band come out to meet us on the outskirts of the city. Camp again 
all glad to get there once more, being almost seven days gone. We will have a 
good sleep tonight, so good night. Thus ended the reconnaissance. 

"May 7. Papers state that General Hooker is at work on Rappahanock in 

"May 8. Extras today state that General Hooker has to retreat with heavy 
loss. Fears that part of his corps are bagged. 

"On the loth orders were received to strike tents and start for Vicksburg 
and the following day Adjutant Proudfit reads to the company at dress parade 
that Richmond is taken. 'Loud cheers by the Twelfth. Afterward they get 
slightly inebriated or tight. Loud cheers from all quarters until a late hour in 


the night." On the nth of May, 1863, the boys belonging to the Twelfth board 
a Mississippi steamer, the Continental, for X'icksburg. The heat was great. 
"Great droves of Negroes pass on their way north they are a gay looking set, 
some of them on foot and some on mules." 

"The rebels begin to shell Young's t'oint, the gun boats go up and down the 
river, cannonading as they go. < )n May i8th the Forest Queen is able to carry 
the whole regiment at once. Landed at Grand (julf on the lyth. I have now- 
seen considerable of Grand (julf and its fortifications, I have seen the great 
gullies that were left by the rebels, have seen the magazines that were blown 
up by the rebels when they left. Negro regiments, the first I have ever seen, 
some of the companies are quite well drilled. Cannonading in the vicinity of 
Vicksburg, my position for the night is in the corner of a rail fence with the 
heavens above for my covering and the stars for my candles. 

"May 24. The Twelfth capture a cannon near Port Gibson. Took a long 
stroll in the country with L. Coddington. Got what mulberries I wanted to 
eat, and three quarts of plums. 

"May 31. Was detailed to load commissaries. Company H gets orders to 
be ready at 6 o'clock with one day rations. Where the deuce are we going now. 
Likely to Vicksburg to support some battery. Who knows, we don't. 

''There are any amount of Negroes here ])ut they are allowed as usual to play 
gentlemen while a soldier hauls rails to make fire to transport their luggage 
north. Foraging report to Lieutenant Langworthy. Company G, one mile 
beyond Port (jibson. Darkies desert their master, terrible was the hot bob. 1 
got what molasses, chickens and preserves we wanted. \Veather hot as the mis- 
chief picking blackberries is rather hot W'Ork down as far south as this. 

"June 8 was detailed to chop wood for the transports pressed a negro in 
service and seated myself, l)elie\c I could make a good slave drixer. Droves 
of colored folks come in from the country. (Ordered to march. Reach War- 
rentown at sunrise. Boys crawl under old shed out of the rain this being the 
only building the city afl'ords after the siege in which every house was burned. 

"June II. March from W arrentown to the rear of \ icksburg. ( )rdered 
into the rifle pits, some sharp shooting done. Some shelling done in the even- 
ing, one came near hitting us, how we do dodge. Weather hot enough to make 
the sweat run especially when carrying knapsack. Sharp shooting all day the 
rebels make some close shots but hurt no one. We are relieved by Company A. 
Splendid sight last night shells thrown from mortar boats on the Mississippi 
river, they shout up into the air leaving sparks of fire in the air, then when they 
burst louder than the report of a cannon. Francis Couvillon, Company F, 
Seventeenth Wisconsin came over to see me. 

"lulv 3. Peter and I start. Exei-y minute a person can hear the thug 
thug of rebel bullets as they strike the trees that shade the camp. Peter and 
I started to take a sort of reconnoitre. When we get to the forts we find all the 
men standing on their forts and talking to the rebels. A flag of truce has been 
raised by the latter — an officer conies mad enough to strike his father and orders 
us down, and the officer in command to report at his headquarters immediately. 
Detailed at night for picket fine time no shooting. 

"July 4. Still on duty in the rifle pits. Oh! here it comes — the white flag — 
while cheer after cheer rises from our forts and rifle pits. This is the sur- 


render of X'icksburg on the 4th day of July. What a glorious old fourth for 
the Union Troop under" command of U. S. Grant. The rebels are all for trade. 
Relics is what they are after. I try a piece of their roast mule. "The 12th 
now marches to Raymond, fifteen miles, where there were two jails and a court- 
house and a battle was fought here in June. 

"fuly 22. \\'e are roused this morning at i a. m. as we are to be on the lead 
of our division. We start pretty early and get pretty well along by sunrise but we 
have a long road to travel today. We march all day have a small jigger of 
whiskey issued at noon. Camp twehe miles from Vicksburg. We are allowed 
to snooze this morning until daylight have a comfortable march into camp today 
but I would rather have not marched so far yesterday and marched a little 
farther today. \\'e are glad to get into camp and more glad to find 3 large 
pails full of beans. How they did disappear. 

"July 29. Orders this morning to be ready to move camp at i p. m., we 
move inside of the (used to be Rebel) Fortifications and camp in a sort of Basin 
surrounded on all sides but one with large hills. 

"August 6. Went down to the city to see Joseph Tonnard of Company A 
who is sick in the Hospital Boat, Nashville. The Boat looks clean and airy and 
although it is very warm outside it is cool and nice inside the boat. The sick 
all look very clean some look very sick. 

"August 17. I understand that our division now belongs to the Seventeenth 
army corps under command of General McFerson. Capt. M. E. Palmer gets 
his resignation papers today and starts for home without as much as letting the 
company know that he is going. 

"August 15. Get orders at 10 a. m. to get ready to move at 12 o'clock, we are 
ready at the appointed hour and off we go for the boat. We marched aboard the 
Steamer Rocket. Stack Arms and go to work pretty hard to find room enough 
to sleep. 

"Sunday, August 16. Arrive at the city of Natchez in the morning. Melons 
are plenty here and the boys are hungry for them. March through the city which 
is the prettiest I have seen in the south. September 16. Always on the march, 
with rebels just in sight. Walk with W. Alitchell, regimental walk after grapes. 
"September 17. Went on picket on the Wasliington road, something excit- 
ing going on all day. Lieutenant Linell in command. There is plenty of girls 
on the road, some pretty good looking but a ])erson wants a commish to have 
any show — commish is the chap, Lieut. C. B. \A'heelock commanding Company 
H, Twelfth Wisconsin. Visits from General Crocker and Brig. General Gre- 
sham. General Crocker compliments Twelfth very highly. Col. Bryant back 
at Natchez in hourly anticipation of a fight Rebs 8,000 strong it is said. Cold 
as Greenland, Arnold and I start out to Jayhock some boards to fi.x our tent. 
"December 25, 1863. Today is Christmas, had cabbage for dinner, cab- 
bage and oysters, little Lager Beer and cigars. Went down into the city in after- 
noon with McFarnum to Nig dance, in the e\ening saw some of our officers 
dance with the cuUod population. Sent out on Woodville road to Mr. Nutt's 
residence, two and half miles from camp, have a fine time rolling on the lo-pin 
alley. 1863 goes out howling; got permission to stay in small cottage at night; 
so cold that we could not sleep. 


"Number of miles marched in 1863: January, 24; February, 7; March, 231; 
April, 122; May, 135; June 46; July, ■/■/ ; August, — ; September, — ; October, 
54; November, 89; December, 74. Total, 852 miles. 


^Mitchell was attached to the drum corps and became a very expert and 
spirited performer. 

"I received my education at the public schools of Green Bay, and at Ripon 
College. When I had reached the age of sixteen, the Civil war broke out, and 
the entire poptilation of Green Bay — men and women — were aroused bv the 
news that our southern states had seceded, our flag had been dishonored, and 
the prediction was made by many in both north and south that the country was 
about to be broken up and divided into smaller principalities. Public meetings 
were held and finally the military spirit became so strong that a company of sol- 
diers was organized, called the Green Bay Union guards. Milo E. Palmer was 
elected captain, N. A. C. Smith, first lieutenant, C. C. Lovett, second lieutenant, 
Carlton B. Wheelock, orderly sergeant, and a full line of eight corporals and five 
sergeants in the non-commissioned list. We were very energetic in drumming 
up recruits and when we reached the 100 standard we were accepted by the 
state and assigned to the Twelfth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, to serve for 
three years or during the war. When I asked my dear, sainted mother for her 
permission to go to the war, her eyes filled with tears and, embracing me fondly, 
she told me that I was too young to undertake such a life of hardship and pri- 
vation, and she could not consent. But finally, after many days of argument, and 
when she saw how intent I w-as upon going, she yielded reluctantly upon receiv- 
ing the captain's promise that he would allow me a discharge at any time that 
I found myself unable to endure the life of a soldier, as I was so far below the 
age limit. 

"My brother Blish, only fourteen years of age, thought that if I was old 
enough to go to the war, he was also. Aly parents, however, could not see it in 
that light and so the young lad ran away and hid himself on the steamboat and 
when we arri\ed at Madison he called upon the colonel of the regiment and told 
him that he would like to go to the front. The colonel, seeing that he was a solid, 
robust, well-built young fellow, took a fancy to him and made him the guidon 
of the regiment whose duty it was to carry a small flag and place it at the posi- 
tion designated by the commanding officer for the regiment to wheel or turn 
from their former direction when out on drill or parade. I seemed to catch 
everything going — measles, mumps, malarial fever, swamp fever, chills, ague, 
and finally the smallpox which nearly finished my earthly career. But thanks 
to my brother Blish, and to my dear old friend Henry Smith, now living at 
Green Bay, who nursed me back to life on the banks of the old Mississippi at 
Vicksburg, I am still able for duty and doing a man's work every day. But no 
matter how long I live I shall never cease to give them the credit for saving my 
valuable life at that time. 

"W'hen my brother Blish first joined the regiment he wore a shaggy black 
overcoat that looked like a bearskin. We had a young bear cub with the regi- 
ment, good natured and as playful as a kitten. The bear took a fancy to my 



brother on account of that black coat, I suppose, and they would amuse the 
soldiers by wrestling and rolling over each other. The soldiers built a plat- 
form for the bear on top of a post about ten feet above the ground and with 
fifty feet of rope attached to his collar he went through all sorts of acrobatic 
tricks. The Negroes used to come in from miles around to see the bear. When 
they would get up too near his platform he would let himself down and run 
at the crowd who, with piercing screams would scatter in all directions, much 
to the amusement of the soldiers, for they knew that the bear would not harm 
any one but enjoyed this part of the performance as much as the audience. 
\Vhen my brother Blish would run in and wrestle with the Ijear, the colored 
people considered him a great hero. 

"The Green Bay Union guards were unique in that they belonged to the 
Twelfth Wisconsin Regiment called the marching regiment, w.ith a record of 
3,900 miles on foot and 9,300 on railroad and steamboat, whose campaigns took 
them through every southern state except Texas and Florida — 13,500 miles. 
They were also unique in having the record of losing more men killed and 
wounded in battle than any other regiment in Sherman's entire army, during the 
famous Georgia campaign where his army was 100 days and nights continu- 
ously under fire, where men were shot in their sleep in the middle of the night, 
and where his casualties amounted to 51,000 killed, wounded and missing. The 
southern troops lost 31,000 in the same campaign, they having the advantage 
of fighting behind breastworks and fortifications most of the time did not lose 
as many men as we did. 

"The Twelfth was unique also in having the only black bear from the Lake 
Superior country, that followed our regiment when we left the state, and when 
the people of Chicago heard that this black bear would march with the regiment 
through Lake street, men, women and children turned out to see it and to hear 
our splendid brass band play, 'The Girl I left. Behind Me,' the 'Battle Hymn of 
the Repul)lic' and 'The Old Folks at Home,' The regiment also had a unique 
experience in trying to sleep on the frozen ground without tents on the banks 
of the Mississippi, when the thermometer was 20 degrees below zero, the ferry- 
boats were frozen in and we could not get across to. our destination at Han- 
nibal, Missouri. Our only consolation was that we had plenty of good fence 
rails and big trees to build fires with. 

"After marching 22 miles over the frozen ground, many of the men ha\'ing 
had their ears frozen, we halted on the banks of the Mississippi river where we 
received rations of hard crackers and raw salt pork. I did not wait to have my 
pork cooked Init ate it right away, and I do not think I ever had a meal that 
I relished so much. The pork was very fat and was just what we needed on that 
cold night. During the night some of the .soldiers brought in turkeys, chickens, 
honey and other good things to cat v;ith which we made a royal midnight su])- 
per. The night was so cold we could not sleep but had to walk around trying 
to keep from freezing. The next day a large force of men succeeded in cutting 
a passageway for the ferry l>oats and we were ferried across the river to Han- 
nibal, Missouri, where we spent the balance of the day and the next night in 
thawing out and preparing for a 200-mile railroad trip in Pullman cars that 
had no doors except the big door at the side and no seats l.)Ut the floor. The 
boys found some haystacks, however, and they soon prepared beds with the 


hay that were as thoroughly appreciated as if made by Geo. Pullman himself, 
even if he was the prince of railroad bed makers. 

"At one of the stations I slid the door open to take a look at the beautiful 
scenery in that part of Missouri. Our big Captain Palmer came along and not 
seeing me tried to slide the door shut from the outside (fearing that we might 
fall out). My head was caught in the jam and for a few minutes I had a 
headache, but I soon recovered after they had brought me some warm tonics. 
The men sometimes complained about this primitive form of transportation 
but when we had to march from 25 to 30 and 40 miles per day, day after day 
for a week at a stretch, they often said that if they could only have the primitive 
Pullman's on the H. & St. Jo. Railroad back again they would be very happy 
to make the exchange. 

"At Vicksburg our regiment took part in the campaign which for actual 
results accomplished more toward bringing the war to an end and which is 
claimed by military men to have been the most brilliant campaign of the Civil 
war. General Sherman claims that it was this campaign at \'icksburg where 
General Grant showed him from his original strategy how to subsist an army 
without any regular base of supplies that gave him his idea about making his 
great march from Atlanta to the sea. At Vicksburg our regiment was assigned 
to General Lauman's division and in their fatal charge at Jackson this division 
lost 500 men out of the 1,500 who went into the fight in K. W. & M. The 
Forty-first Illinois lost 202 of their number out of 338 men, or 59 per cent; 
the Twenty-eighth Illinois lost 48 per cent. The position they attempted to take 
was strongly fortified and manned by double their own number and the dread- 
ful slaughter of the Union troops without am' beneficial results has placed this 
charge on a parallel to the charge of the light brigade at Balaklava. 

"When we left \''icksburg for Natchez, nearly every man in the regiment 
was on the sick roll, suffering from the effects of the bad air and water from 
the swamps around that famous stronghold of the south where the river would 
rise fifty feet above low water mark, inundate the lowlands, leaving a thick 
coat of vegetable deposit which, when exposed to the rays of the southern sun, 
would decompose and fill the air with malaria. My uncle, Lewis Irwin, was the 
cjuartermaster for a Texas regiment and was taken prisoner. During the 
truce which led up to the surrender of \'icksburg, many of the soldiers from 
both the northern and the southern army laid down their arms and advanced 
to a blackberry patch loaded with fruit down in the ravine half way between 
the lines of battle. Eager to get some of the fruit, I joined the advancing party, 
meeting the enemy on as friendly terms as if we had all been brothers, and we all 
chatted and picked blackberries together as if we had been out on a picnic excur- 
sion. I learned from them where the Texas regiment could be found and the 
next day after the surrender, July 4, I took my haversack well filled with army 
rations and hunted up my Uncle Lewis. He told me that he was never in his 
life so glad to see a relative as he was to see me with my full haversack, as 
they had eaten up everything in \'icksburg and were now nearly starved. I gave 
him $15 in gold pieces, as he was going north as a prisoner and had none of 
our northern money, although plenty of the southern currency, in which he 
said he had paid as high as $1,000 for a sack of flour, $900 for a side of bacon, 
$750 for a cow, $500 for a razor back Louisiana pig, $1,300 for a mule, $300 


for a calf. $ioo for a pound of coffee or tea, $5 each for eggs and other things 
in proportion. 

"Our money at that time had also reached its lowest value and was quoted at 
$2.92 for $1 in gold. Rations were short with our army on the commencement 
of their trip after they had cut loose from their river communications, and 
Brigadier General Walter O. Gresham being hungry, offered a soldier $5 in gold 
for one of his crackers. 'Oh no,' said the soldier, "you have a horse to ride while 
I have to walk. I'd rather have my cracker than your $5 in gold !' 

"In our regiment we had scAeral American Indians and young men whose 
ancestors had the pure blood of the royal American Indian in their veins. Six 
thousand loyal American Indians were driven out of their homes in the Indian 
territory by the Confederates and located around Neosha Falls, Kansas, where 
most of their voung men enlisted in the northern army. They were splendid 
marksmen and being brave and courageous they made the best of soldiers. 
General Grant was so impressed by the genial manner, the imperial dignity and 
the all-round efficiency of an educated young American Indian by the name 
of Parker that he finally made him his private secretary with the rank of 
brigadier general, and it was this General Parker who drew up the final capitula- 
tion papers at Appomatox which General Lee signed when he surrendered his 
army to General Grant. General Parker's statue in wax is shown at the Eden 
Musee in New York City every day with the group representing General (irant 
and General Lee with all their general officers at the .\ppomatox surrender, and 
although General Parker's complexion was very dark he always prided himself 
upon the fact that he belonged to one of the first families of America whose 
ancestors had come over before the Mayflower. Christopher Columbus, or the 
Viking ships. Parker was a fine musician and made many frienfls by his accom- 
plishments in this particular line. 

"In one of our flanking movements, just before tlie battle of Jonesborough, 
Georgia, we advanced through the open country and supplied ourselves with a 
goodly amount of vegetables, fruit, etc., which looked very good to a lot of 
soldiers who had been cooped up behind military fortifications all summer, liv- 
ing on salt pork and hard bread — bread so hard sometimes that we had to use 
a rock to break it, our teeth scarcely making an impression on the crackers that 
some of the contractors furnished. In our mess each one of us had to take his 
turn in cooking, and on this particular night it was my turn to cook. So I built 
a large fire and put on my big mess kettle for coffee and another for stew com- 
posed of all the varieties of food captured during the day, by the members of 
our mess. We were down in a wooded valley, the enemy were on the elevated 
ground on the other side of a small river. As soon as they saw the smoke of 
our fires coming up through the forest, they trained their cannon upon us and 
for an hour and a half they shelled the forest where we had camped for the 
night. I jumped behind one of the big trees and every now and then reached 
out to stir my soup. It gradually became very thick and soggy with the stones, 
sticks, leaves and earth plowed up by the shot and shell from the enemy. One 
of the first solid shot fired by them tore up the ground very near us, and look- 
ing in that direction I saw my young friend Morris Seeley, now living at Reeds- 
burg, Wisconsin, who had been lying on the ground reading a letter from home, 
nearly buried alive with the earth that had been overturned by the shot. Find- 


ing that he was not seriously hurt. I laughed at his predicament, but he said, 
'Never mind, my l)oy, you'll get your share before the fun is over,' and sure 
enough I did, fur after the cannonading stopped and I called the mess for sup- 
per, my coiTee kettle was missing, having been smashed to pieces by a shell, 
that put my fire out, and my soup was so thick with foreign substances that we 
could slice it with knives, but it was nevertheless palatable to hungry soldiers, 
and they ate it all up. 

".Another day, when we were down at Lumpkins Mills, Mississippi, I was 
sent out to get something to eat as we had been on very short rations and were 
half starved. I found some cornmeal and a barrel of sorghum syrup, I also found 
a jug full of linseed oil whicli I emptied and then filled with the syrup. Just 
as I had finished doing this the picket came rushing up and told us the enemy's 
cavalry were coming down the road and that we must scoot if we didn't want 
to be taken prisoners. So we scooted — through the cane fields and over to a 
friendly forest and then liy a roundabout route returned to camp where we soon 
had a banquet prepared of corn meal mush, sorghum molasses and coft'ee made 
out of pease. The soldiers ate up all the food with apparent relish, but they 
never forgave me for the linseed oil incident. 

"At another time, when the regiment was making a forced march, travelling 
sometimes 35 and 40 miles in a day, for a week at a stretch, we would get very 
footsore, weary and lame, and naturally \ery cross. One of the drummer boys 
on duty with the officer of the guard was ordered to get the regiment up at 4 
a.m. the ne.xt morning, but he mistook the hands of the watch at 1.20 midnight 
and read the time as five minutes after four. .So he jumped up and beat the 
Revielle, rousing the whole regiment up to get their coffee and hard tack and 
start out on the road. After marching for hours in the dark, the mistake was 
discovered and the poor sleepy drummer boy was the centre of a running fire of 
curses for the balance of the day. 

"When our three years service was expiring, nearly all of the regiment 
reenlisted for another three years or during the war. Our first furlough was 
then given to us, 30 days inside of our own state. On our trip up the river from 
Vicksburg we had a pleasant ride on the large steamboat Grand Republic but 
at Cairo the weather became very cold and as we had all been packed into freight 
cars for a 300-mile trip, we had an unhappy time of it before we got to Chi- 
cago. There, the ladies had heard of our coming and had prepared a sjilendid 
hot supper for us. As we marched into the hall and saw the steam rising from 
the delicious food and the beautiful young ladies all in pink and white, ready to 
wa,it upon us, it looked too good to be true and we felt as if life were worth 
living after all, despite our rough experiences without anything but frozen food 
for the past 48 hours. 

"When we got up to Green Bay we marched up to another banquet hall and 
were met by the mayor of the city who made a short speech of welcome home. 
Hardly had he finished his speech, when I heard my dear sister Jessie's musical 
voice from a window above, calling out : 'Willie, break ranks and come up 
here.' I lost no time in getting up those stairs and soon found my dear old 
mother and mv sisters and brothers and other friends, and such a banquet ! 
Green Bay was noted for her banquets but this was the clima.x of all her for- 
mer successes in that line. And despite all they had heard of our privations, 


1 am sure that they were all astonished at the ravenous way in which we really 
did dispose of the good things that they had prepared for us. 

"After the great l^attle of Atlanta, under a flag of truce, a large force was 
sent out from each army to bury the dead. The loss of the enemy were reported 
at 8,500 and our loss as 3,500. Our regiment lost 209, mostly killed and wounded, 
and all of the regiments of our brigade suffered severely as they were defend- 
ing the key to the position in that great battle of Atlanta. Our splendid Gen- 
eral McPherson was killed. Generals Dodge, Force and Gresham were wounded 
;uid many other distinguished officers and men were killed and wounded on 
both sides, causing grief and mourning from one end of the country to the other. 

"At one time during the battle of the Twenty-first, when I was looking for 
the body of my old classmate at school, Henry Keeler, who had been killed in 
the charge. Captain Wheelock of our Green Bay Company reprimanded me for 
exposing myself to the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters. But soon after, when 
he saw me coming back, assisting my young friend Clem Boughton, who had 
been mortally wounded, our big captain, who weighed over two hundred pounds, 
came up to me and said, 'Billy, forget what I said a short time ago— I take it 
all back.' 

"The Union guards of Green Bay co\ered themselves with glory in that 
terrific fight and Brown county, Wisconsin, can be proud of the work done by 
her representatives on that well-fought field. General Ifardie reported that 
General Cleburn, the hardest fighter that we met in the south, had told him that 
this battle of the Twenty-first, ( in which the ( ireen Bay boys held the position 
of honor in the front line next to the colors), was the severest and bitterest 
fight of his life. 

■'Our regimental flag, while carrying which seven color bearers were shot 
in this engagement, is now kept in the flag room of General Grant's tomb on 
Riverside drive, in New York City, among the dozen or more battle flags that 
belonged to the General's original corps with which he fought and gained so 
many victories. 

"On the battle monument at \''icksburg the names of all the Green Bay 
boys of the Twelfth Wisconsin are placed in bronze, with all other soldiers from 
Wisconsin who served in that brilliant campaign, and none of them have been 
forgotten by the good old state from which they hailed." 

Letter from Col. George E. Bryant, commander of the Twelfth Wisconsin 
X'eteran Volunteers. 

"Madison, Wis., Sept. 30, 1892. 
"Secretary and Members of the Tzvelftli llisconsin Veteran Volunteers: 

"My Dear Boys: — The Twelfth Wisconsin was composed of the flower of the 
flock from the best families of the state of Wisconsin. It was a grand regi- 
ment, second to none, and I loved them dearly. In all their hard service they 
never disgraced themselves or their commander. 

"Their confidence in their officers and in themselves was something sublime, 
touching elbows when the shock of battle was fierce and when the march 
was long. Their soldierly bearing was observed and favorably com- 
mented upon by all in the fray as well as upon parade. Their marches were 
long from the wild prairie of the west where the wild buffalo furnished us with 
food. The regiment never turned back until they reached the dashing waves of 


tlie Atlantic where .General Sherman entrusted a detail of otir regiment to carry 
the news of the capture of Savannah to the United States fleet outside, after a 
siege by the navy of over three years. 

"Many of our brave company went down in battle, many succumbed to the 
fatal fevers of the south. As soldiers, the Twelfth had no superiors, and in 
competition with other regiments for prizes they nearly always won. As citi- 
zens, since the war they have stood with the best people in the land in making 
the prosperity we now enjoy. Slowly but surely the gray hair, wrinkled brow 
and faltering footsteps come on apace, but their hearts are still young when they 
review the history they helped to make when they fought with Grant and Sher- 
man and McPherson and Logan for the preservation of our country and the 
honor of the flag. I remain. Your comrade and friend, 

"George E. Bryant, 

"Commander Regiment." 

Letter from Gen. M. F. Force, when judge of the superior court, Cincinnati, 
Ohio, September 6, 1884. 
"Mr. N. D. Brozvn, Tivelfth Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers: 

"Dear Sir : — Yotir letter about the charge of the First Brigade in the battle 
of Atlanta was mislaid and I am late in answering, for which please pardon. 

"Our brigade, of which your regiment was such an important factor, carried 
Bald Hill on the morning of July 21, 1S64 by assault, no other troops assaulting. 
The Iowa brigade next in line on our right made a demonstration by charging 
part way up the hill and then returning to their position in line at the foot of 
the hill. The Twelfth and Sixteenth Wisconsin made our front line in the 
assault and I went up with it. The Twentieth, Thirtieth and Thirty-first Illi- 
nois formed the second line and Captain Walker, the adjutant general of the 
brigade went up with it. Colonel Bryant, being the senior colonel with the 
Twelfth, held the right of the line next the battery. 

"Just before the charge I rode slowly before your regiment and told them 
I wanted them to do their best in this affair today. The men looked at me with 
such a bright, determined glance that I felt no doubt of their success in that 
splendid charge in which they captured the key to the position in the great 
battle of Atlanta that followed next day in which so many lives were lost. 

"The solid traverses thrown up by the Twelfth on the night of the 
2ist, aided most materially in holding the hill the next day when we were at- 
tacked on three sides. Having served all through the war I saw much hard 
fighting and many brilliant campaigns, but I have never seen nor read the record 
in any military book that would surpass the splendid work your regiment did 
in those two days, and particularly the charge on the morning of the 21st when 
you moved up the steep sides of the hill under the murderous fire of Cleburn's 
men, leaving the ground strewn with your dead and wounded as yoti advanced, 
then steadily closing on your colors and sweeping everything before you, every 
part of your line keeping up as if in parade. I am, very truly yours, 

"Gen. M. F. Force, 
"Late commander of the First Brigade." 

To E. \Y. Arndt, one of our Green Bay boys. Letter from Gen. M. D. Leg- 
gett, after whom the name of Bald Hill was changed to Leggett's Hill and who 
was commander of otir division. 


"Cleveland, Ohio, June 14, 1892. 
"E. IV. Arndt. Secretary of the Tzvelfth Jl'iseoiisi)i Regiment. 

"My Dear Sir: — I have neglected to write to you until the last minute, 
hoping that I might be with you at the reunion on the 15th and i6th. l^ut as we 
leave on the 21st for a trip to Europe, I find that my business aiTairs will occupy 
every minute of my time up to the hour we leave. I regret this exceedingly 
for nothing would give me more pleasure than to meet the officers and men of 
the gallant old Twelfth Wisconsin on this occasion. 

"I never can forget their magnificent service on the 21st and 22d of July, 
1864, when under the leadership of their gallant Colonel Bryant they so magni- 
ficently charged the Bald Hill near Atlanta in the very face of a destructive fire, 
and captured that stronghold from Gen. Patrick Cleburn, the hardest fighter in 
the southern Confederacy. In his report to his superior officer, Cleburn says of 
this affair: 'It was the most intense fighting and bitterest fight of my life.' 
The next day Cleburn, with the Texans and Arkansans, made the first assault 
upon us from the rear. Smarting under his defeat of the previous day, he 
was determined to wipe out the stigma of his defeat by recapturing the hill from 
the men who took it from him, but he was repulsed with dreadful loss to his 
division. But in his assault he killed our glorious McPherson, captured Gen- 
eral Scott, the commander of my second brigade, and severely wounded by 
a bullet through the head, Gen. M. F. Force, commander of my First Brigade. 

"Your Colonel Bryant was the ranking colonel of the brigade so I notified 
him to assume command of the First Brigade. I remained with your brigade 
during the next two charges and became satisfied that the First Brigade would 
still retain its wonderful successful prestige under its new commander. Colonel 
Bryant commanded the brigade as steadily and wisely as if he had been a 
brigade commander for years. 

"In all the great battles of the world there is no record of more splendid work 
done than by your regiment and the balance of the First Brigade in those two 
days of intense fighting, surrounded as you were by the enemy on three sides of 
you and fighting like demons. The other regiments in the brigade learned to re- 
pose the same confidence in Col. Bryant that they had in their idolized General 
Force, their previous commander. No division of the Union army saw more 
hard service and more hard fighting than your grand old Third Division of the 
Seventeenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee. It was never driven from a posi- 
tion it was ordered to hold, it never attempted to take a position from the enemy 
and failed, and was never defeated in its many hard battles, even in one cam- 
paign where they fought over ten battles and were under fire night and day for 
two months. 

"These are facts of history which the survivors of your regiment and all the 
other regiments in your division may well remember with pride. 

"My most earnest greeting to all the survivors of the old Twelfth Wisconsin 
Veteran Volunteers Infantry Regiment. Sincerely yours, 

"M. D. Leggett, 
"Major General in Command of your Third Division." 

(References for Chapter XIX: Bay City Press, 1860-62; Love, Wisconsin 
in Civil War ; Adjutant General's Report, 1865 ; Curtis R. Merrill, MS. 
Papers ; Henry Smith ; Robert R. Campbell ; William R. Mitchell ; Wisconsin 
Women in the War; Henshaw Sanitary Commission.) 


The summer of 1871 will ever be a memorable one in northeastern Wisconsin. 
The winter preceding was comparatively without snow and this was the first 
calamity to the northern lumbermen, as they were unable to secure their usual 
stock of logs. An unusually wet spring was prophesied but the prophecy was not 
fultilled, and June and July failed to bring a compensating amount of rain. The 
swamps, usually covered with from one to two feet of water, became so dry that 
no water was visible and one could readily walk over the surface. 

The want of water began to be keenly felt. The northern extension of the 
Chicago & Northwestern Railway from Fort Howard to Menominee was being 
built, and in the location of railroad camps the most difficult thing to find was 
a site where water was plenty. The railroad embankments were like hot ash- 
heaps into which the feet would sink at every step, and the swamps that had been 
considered the greatest obstacles to the cheap construction of the road proved the 
best working ground. 

The Green Bay Advocate of October 5, 1871, gives these items: 

"George R. Cook came in from his mill in the town of Howard, on Monday, 
pretty well used up from fighting fire all day Sunday and Sunday night. His 
mill and boarding house caught fire several times, but by great exertions the 
fire had been extinguished. 

"Oscar Gray's mill in the town of Pittsfield had a narrow escape. He came 
in on Saturday night for extra hose to take out to the mill, and he and his 
men worke«i day and night to save the property. Some of the men had their 
eyebrows singed and their hair burned, so close was the conflict. 

"On the Big Suamico, a large lot of logs in the bed of the river, amounting 
to over 130,000 feet, have been burned. They belonged to Lamb, Watson & 
Company, and Mr. Tremble. 

"East of here, the mills over which there has been the hardest struggle, are 
Woodrufif's and Sanford's. Woodrufl^'s mill was reported on fire twice, Sunday. 
At the charcoal kilns of the Green Bay furnace, three miles from here, 1,200 
cords of wood have been burned. 

"A large force of men have been engaged for some days in fighting the fire 
just west of Mr. Elmore's residence in Fort Howard. 

"In this city, (Green Bay), this morning the smoke is more dense than at any 
time before; the air is sufifocating and is filled with flakes of ashes. On the bay, 
the steamers have to navigate by compass, and blow their fog horns, the shores 
])eing invisible." 

Navigation was impeded by the heavy pall of smoke that hung over the water 
all that season. In the city of Green Bay and borough of Fort Howard, there was 
a continued fearful apprehension of danger. All were sufl^ering more or less from 



the effect of the dense smoke upon their lungs and eyes. By day, flakes of 
white ashes were seen continually falling in the streets like snow. Now and 
then, if the wind blew high, partially burned leaves would fall. More than 
once the flames entered the limits of the city of Green Bay and of Fort Howard, 
snatching here and there a fence, a hay stack or a pile of cord-wootl. 

The whole burned district in Wisconsin takes in Brown county, at the head 
of the bay, and most of the country, say fifty miles west and seventy miles north 
on the west, and nearly the whole peninsula on the east to Lake Michigan. It 
also took in a strip, ten to twenty miles wide, on the Fox river, between Lake 
Winnebago and Green Bay. The fire raged in this section, more or less, for two 
months. It is estimated that, about a third of the standing timber was killed 
by fire. Up to the time of the great tornado on the 8th, settlers generally had 
been able to save their buildings and crops, but lost heavily in fences, bridges, 
culverts, corduroy roads, and all wood property. It is uncertain when or where 
the tornado first formed which was to put the finish upon this already desolated 
region. It is uncertain whether one tornado formed near the lower waters of the 
bay and there split, one-half rushing up its eastern shore and the other up its 
western bank. As it passed over the peaty swamps and marshes, gases were 
generated which it threw before it in great balls of fire. The forward move- 
ment of the wind was not rapid, but its rotary motion was so fearful that great 
trees were u]jrooted and twisted like twigs; houses and barns were swept away 
like toys. 

No two give a like descriiition of the great tornado as it smote and devoured 
the villages. It seemed as if "the fiery fiends of hell had been loosened," says 
one "It came in great sheeted flames from heaven," says another. "There was 
a pitiless rain of fire and sand." "The atmosphere was all afire." Some speak 
of "great balls of fire unrolling and shooting forth in streams." The fire leaped 
over roofs and trees and ignited whole streets at once. No one could stand 
before the blast. It was a race with death, above, behind and before them. 

George W. Watson, who with Willard Lamb, owned mills at New Franken 
and Humboldt, thus describes in "Sketches of the Great Fires," compiled by 
Frank Tilton. of the Advocate, the tornado of the night of Octol)er 8, 1S71. "We 
went to the house and were about to sit down to supper when one of the watch- 
men came running in and told us that the whole country south of the mill was 
on fire, about one mile distant, and that it was coming at a rapid rate directly 
toward the place. I told him that there would not be any danger of fire from 
that direction as the whole country had recently been burned over and that the 
fire could not run a second time over the same ground. The fire v,-as ajjsolutely 
coming at a frightful rate over the same ground that had previously Inirned 
over. It seemed as though every tree in the woods was on fire. The wind com- 
menced to rise, and the fire spread from tree to tree in some instances twenty 
and thirty rods in advance of the fire on the ground. It seemed as though the 
heavens were on fire. 

"Although the loss of life was greater on the west shore of the bay, the 
actual suft'ering was not as great as on the east shore. On the west shore 
were large settlements spared, to which the survivors could flee, and daily means 
of communication with the city of Green Bay. On the east shore there were no 
large places, the burned region being more a farming country, and the means 


of conmumication with the outside world very limited. Houses, barns, cattle, 
horses, crops, wagons and household goods were swept away and the survivors 
of the population were turned out upon a desolate blackened waste, without food 
or shelter and no means of escape. 

"The line of fire on the east side of Green Bay and the Fox river commenced 
in the town of IMorrison, and extended northeasterly, following nearly the line 
of the peninsula of Door county for a distance of sixty miles in length by from 
six to twelve miles in width. It touched the town of Wrightstown and swept 
through Glenmore, Rockland, Depere, Bellevue, Preble, Eaton, Humboldt and 
the town of Green Bay. The largest settlements destroyed in this track of fire 
were New Franken, Walhein, Robinsonville, Harris' Pier,-Thyry Daems and 
Dyckesville. Scarce a farm over the whole extent named escaped the loss 
of fences ; and hay, cord-wood, railroad ties, tanbark, telegraph poles and cedar 
posts were swept away. Thirty-nine buildings were burned in the town of 
Humboldt, and sixty-eight in Green Bay township, and in the towns of Green 
Bay, Casco and Red River. 1.128 persons were rendered destitute. The losses in 
property on this line of fire could not have been less than $2,000,000. The deso- 
lation was almost complete. If a building escaped it was an exception to the 
general rule. Green Bay city was really savetl by the exertions of the people of 
r.ellevue town, who worked all that wild night and checked the progress of the 
rtames northward. 

"Sufferers flocked into Green Hay and Fort Howard and every house became 
a hospital and asylum for women and children. The news of the burning of 
Peshtigo and the destruction of hundreds of lives was brought by Captain Thomas 
Hawlev of the steamer 'Union,' from Menominee. The air seemed on fire 
east, west and south ; waves and torrents of smoke still rolled around Green Bay. 
When the extent of the Peshtigo calamity was realized $4,000 was at once 
raised and large quantities of provisions and clothing gathered. Mayor Alonzo 
Kimball, of Green Bay, called a meeting and committees of relief were appointed 
from each ward. Turner Hall was transformed into a relief hospital, under the 
management of Dr. Horace O. Crane, and the old hopeful, generous spirit of 
war times was revived in the hearts of the people. Green Bay was the center, 
too, of the mournful news that poured in from all over the country. Although 
money, clothing and provisions poured in on every train from all parts of the 
United States it seemed almost impossible to alleviate the widespread suffering, 
and the grief caused by the loss of the thousand lives could never be healed. 
Relief depots were established in Milwaukee and Green Bay and for months 
the work went on. In Green Bay alone, the receipts from October 8th to January 
15th, amounted to $91,085.98. nearly six thousand persons being on the list for 
this district." 

Notwithstanding the desolation caused by the great fire, the following year 
saw^ farm houses rebuilt and the plucky owner of the land once more taking 
up with renewed energy the business of agriculture. Along commercial 
lines business was booming, for the years of the iron furnace industry had 
begun and given spur to many activities. 

In 1866 a company, the New York & De Pere Iron Company, made a com- 
mencement toward establishing a blast furnace in West De Pere, but after spend- 


ing considerable money and time, they suspended work and tiieir eti'orts were 
looked upon as a failure. 

^ These were prosperous times ; tiie farmers were selling for good prices what 
to them heretofore had been of little value, and at the same time clearing their 
land so that they could raise farm produce for which there was a ready market 
— their land increasing in value also. Each furnace employed directly and in- 
directly about one hundred and fifty men and lifty teams most of the year, 
using about twelve thousand cords of wood, for which was paid from $1.50 
to $2.00 per cord. This, by each of the four De Pere furnaces, was a great 
factor in producing good times in Brown county. From a hamlet of 1,500 in- 
habitants De Pere 'increased in population to 3,000, and land values doubled 
and trebled. 

Then came the panic of 1873, which resulted in great kiss to the furnace 
companies and indirectly to all connected with them. However, after a period 
of depression and inactivity, business revived so that the furnaces resumed oper- 
ations, the farmers were enabled to clear more land, to make improvements and 
raise the standard of living. This continued until the next financial depression, 
which, with growing scarcity of timber and increasing prices, resulted in the 
permanent suspension of furnace operations in Brown county; not, however, 
until the farmers had reached a degree of independence, which was hastened 
many years by the market opened for their timber by the furnaces. / 

De Pere furnace was built in 1S69 by the First National Iron Company, which 
was composed of B. F. Smith, G. S. Marsh, Robert Jackson, J. Richards and D. 
i\I. Whitney. The following year, A. B. Meeker & Company, of Chicago, 
obtained a controlling interest, and in 1871 the "First" was dropped from the 
name of the cor])oration, which contimied Inisiness until 1876. Upon the organ- 
ization of the National Furnace Company in 1870. by A. B. Meeker, of Chicago, 
H. D. Smith, of Appleton, W. L. Brown, of Chicago, and M. R. Hunt, of De 
Pere, the property passed into the hands of that corporation. Their property 
at the furnace consisted of five acres of ground lying on the east side of Fox river, 
a short distance below the dam, having a river front of 2,000 feet, and provided 
with 300 feet of dock, at which there was a mininutm depth of thirteen feet. 
Upon these premises stood two stacks, number one being of stone, number two 
of iron. The former was built in 1869, the latter in 1872. each having a capac- 
ity of 11,000 tons annually. There was an engine and inimp room, two casting 
houses, a stock house, in which were the crushing machines and hoisting works. 
Iioiler sheds, two offices, wood and iron repair shops, a weighing house, stables 
and sheds. Charcoal was furnished from kilns located along the line of the 
W^isconsin Central Railroad and Fox river, and was brought by rail and in 
barges, in addition to which an average force of fifteen teams daily discharged 
their loads at the company's yards, the product of kilns in the immediate 
neighborhood of De Pere, and at Greenleaf. The furnaces were supplied with 
two blowing engines for hoisting and crushing, ten horse-power each ; two 
horizontal engines for hoisting and crushing, ten horse-power each, and hoist- 
ing engine on dock, fifteen horse-power. 

The Fox River Iron Company was organized in 1868 by D. W. Blanchard and 
S. D. Arnold, became a joint stock company in 1872 under the following manage- 
ment: D. W. Blanchard, president; S. D. Arnold, vice president and business 


manager; D. D. Kellogg, secretary and treasurer; C. H. Lovelace, superintendent 
and founder. The land upon which these furnaces were built consisted of a 
tract of about five acres on the west side of Fox river, just below the dam; fully 
one-third of the land was reclaimed from the river by filling in with furnace 
refuse. The first stack was built in 1868, and fires kindled, February i, 1869. 
Tlie first charcoal kilns, eleven in number, were built on the furnace premises 
in 1868, and had a daily capacity of 1,000 bushels. In 1869 and again in 1870, 
additional kilns were constructed in the timber country adjacent to De Fere, 
having a capacity of 1,400 bushels daily. A careful estimate shows that the 
wood from not less than one and one-half acres of timber land was consumed by 
each stack daily, leaving the land available for agricultural purposes. At Green 
l!ay the Green Bay Iron Furnace Company, inaugurated by John C. Neville, 
was completed at a cost of $50,000, and went into operation on September 22, 

The county and its manufactories suffered from the panic in 1873, but on the 
whole, weathered that stormy period successfully. New firms went into oper- 
ation, De Pere and Fort Howard doing more in this line than Green Bay. Money 
was plentiful; the social life of the several towns was never gayer or more full 
of hospitality and good cheer. The winter brought sleighing parties and dances 
without limit; the summer saw tlie liay and river given over to water sports and 
excursions to points along the shore. 

New Year's day was an event of much jollity and New Year calls began to be 
an established custom in the river towns as early as 1856. When first instituted 
everybody kept open house, the ladies of each family vying with the other in 
the generous provisioning of the table. There was turkey and chicken salad, 
wine jelly, whip-sillibub, cake of many kinds, thin slices cf pink ham, coffee and 
sometimes wine. All dressed in their best, the ladies awaited the jolly sleigh 
loads of men, bundled up to the eyes in furs, sometimes as many as ten in a 
load. Among the older men, the old New Year's custom prevailed of saluting 
the ladies on entering the house and there were "jokes and quips and wreathed 
smiles." The house was still decked in its Christmas greens, with ground pine 
and evergreen over doors and windows, and open fires blazed in the fireplaces. 
Later the custom grew of several families joining and receiving at one of the 
houses, and although this added to the liveliness of the occasion, yet it was 
on the whole not so well enjoyed as was the old time method. Now the 
custom has entirely disappeared and will probably never be revived with the 
different manners and more conventional life of the present age. 


The dairy interests of Brown county were at an early day scattering and 
meagre, as was the case with all the western country. Attention was given more 
by the early settlers to clearing the land, building their dwelling houses, which 
must be done usually by their own hands, and going into agriculture to the 
extent of raising crops sufficient for their own use. As the lumber industry 
grew and a regular market was required in Green Bay and De Pere, the farmers 
turned their attention more to general agriculture. The Hollanders were many 
of them expert buttermakers, as were the wives of settlers from New England 
and New York, Dutchess county of the latter state being especially rich in dairy 
products. There was no systematic plan, however. 


".V roll of fresh, untainted butter was an article impossible to secure in early 
Green Bay. Firkins came to the little ccmimune from unscrupulous dealers in 
the eastern market, the odor of which impregnated the atmosphere even before 
the kegs were fairly unsealed. When this sort of cargo arrived late in the 
autumn, no redress was possible." 

The tide of emigration from the old country began about 1848; the thrifty 
denizens of Germany, Holland and Scandinavia, the hardy and industrious 
Belgians and Irish, cleared for themselves farms in the midst of the forest, under- 
going all sorts of privations, but in the end winning out in the race. One of these 
[Honeer farmers, John Flatten, who came from Holland with his parents in 1842, 
says, "Our nearest neighbors at this time were seven miles north, ten miles south 
and none at all west. The next winter a squad of Indians terrified us by making 
their camping grounds near us, rendering us as helpless as caged birds. Happily 
they became very friendly, bringing us venison in exchange for potatoes." 

The Wisconsin Agricultural Society was organized in 1851, and at once 
began a systematic inquiry into the progress made along that line throughout 
the state. Dairying came in for a share of discussion, an expert from the east 
giving his views at this time, said : "T have never considered Wisconsin preemi- 
nently a dairying state, yet there are many portions well adapted to the business." 
In cheese making little was done throughout the state, almost none in I'.rown 
county, although farmers here and there owned a press and turned out a cheese 
or so during the }ear. 

In 1850, census returns show just one cheese was made in Brown county, 
but the meagre record does not state the name of the bold spirit who undertook 
this experiment in pioneer cheese making. 

That Green Bay was well supplied with cows in the year 1850 is proven by 
the following skit in the Green Bay Advocate of September 19, 1850: 

"We find written from this place a letter by some iiinnyhead of which the 
following is a specimen : "The present towns, for there are two or three rival 
interests, are standing upon the beach sand, beyond which they can scarcely be 
said to have extended, and in the principal business street from one end to 
another the sand is fetlock deep to the horses traveling it. 

" 'The lands for a long distance about this place are thrown open to commons. 
In a morning walk upon the terrace which overlooks the town we counted upon 
these commons grazing, one hundred and twelve cows, in company with about 
fifteen horses, collected together like a herd of buffalo, in close compass feeding 
and drifting peaceably from the town, yet with the unceasing confusion of 
sounds caused by the tones of over fifty bells'." 

"The beach don't happen to be beach sand, it is the light sandy soil which 
extends back a mile or so from the river, and the town may be said to extend 
with it. True it is 'fetlock deep' in the streets but that is far better than 
mud — with which we are never troubled. The second paragraph which we 
have copied is a pretty good indication of the writer's character. We should 
think he was just about such a man as would go around in the morning count- 
ing cows. Had another been counting about that time he would have made the 
result thus : One hundred and twelve cows, fifteen horses, and one jackass." 

In 1880 the following item is written : "Brown county is the quiet, philosophic 
home of the cow. The milk goes to the cheese factory at the crossroads or to 


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the creamery which is to be seen near the railway station, a milk depot indeed. 
The disposal of the milk at the creamery is a most systematic operation. The 
farmer drives to the side of the building and his cans are hoisted to a loft, 
where the milk is weighed and tested with a sort of hydrometer, which tells 
exactly the proportion of butter fat in tlie product. Along with his empty 
cans he receives a brass check. Then he drives around to the other side of the 
building where is a hose about the size of one used in metropolitan fire depart- 
ments. He inserts the check in a slot in the side of the building whereupon 
the hose squirts out his due amount of skim milk." 

Brown county farmers were careless in putting fences around their pasture 
land; the cows strayed in the woods or were lost eternally in the tamarack 
swamps. The Wisconsin Agricultural Society laments these thriftless methods 
and gives lengthy directions as to the making of fences, the Virginia or worm, 
rail, zigzag or snake fence being the most popular. In 1852 Mrs. Edgerton, 
of Summit, having received a diploma for the best fifty pounds of butter by 
the State Agricultural Society reports, "This butter was made in September 
from a dairy of eight cows, being a cross of Durham with the native. The 
milk is set in eight quart tins, and left to stand twenty-four hours before 
skimming, except in hot weather, when the milk would sour sooner. The 
churning is done three times a week, in a common stone churn. Two ounces 
of common salt are added for each pound of butter and subsequently it is 
worked twice with a wooden ladle — once at the time of salting, and the second 
time twenty-four hours later." The butter is worked as little as possible to 
get out the buttermilk. We use no saltpetre, or any other substance. We 
make very little winter butter, usually scald the new milk, and set it in a room 
where it will not freeze for twelve hours. The further process is the same as 

Notwithstanding the laborious process of churning and working most deli- 
cious butter was made during the '50s and '60s at Duck Creek, Holland, Den- 
mark, Ashwaubenon and elsewhere in Brown county, and was brought in with 
other farm products to the market at Green Bay, De Pere or Wrightstown. 
The butter was made up into pound and half pound rolls or pats, and was 
marked nut by the name of the maker, but with i)rints more or less elaljorate 
in design of roses and other floral emblems, or geometric figures. 

The old time dairy was a room built separate from the dwelling house, 
and if possible over running water. The spring house was a common adjunct 
of the farm, for living springs were not uncommon, many of them with mineral 
properties, and brooks and little streams filled with brook trout were a feature 
of early Brown county. As, with the milling industry, these streams on which 
early mills were situated dried up and dwindled with the destruction of the 
forests, and the farm dairy house, a most attractive place on a warm summer 
day. cool and airy, with its rows of shining tin milk pans filled with yellow 
cream was replaced by a less picturesque system of butter making. 

There seems to have been little talk of sanitary conditions in the annual 
meetings of the State Agricultural Society, or in the Brown County Agricultural 
Society at an early day, but there were many warnings as to keeping the dairy 
clean, the tin pans shining, and great care was urged in not using milk that 
had stood too long, simply because the butter might have a disagreeable taste. 


The year preceding the Civil war, Henry S. Baird of Green Bay, wrote: 
"Brown county being well watered by numerous living springs and small streams 
and possessing a large amount of natural meadows of rich grass, is well adapted 
to raising stock and for dairy purposes. There are several large settlements 
consisting of well cultivated farms and substantial improvements ; the prin- 
cipal are in the towns of Green Bay, Glenmore, Holland, the Belgian settlement, 
Morrison, New Denmark, Howard, Suamico. Duck Creek, Belleview, Wrights- 
town, De Pere, Lawrence, Preble and the Oneida settlement. The farms are 
for the most part well cleared and well cultivated, with good and substantial 
rail and board fences, comfortable dwellings of log or frame construction, many 
of the latter being neat and commodious with good and ample barns, stables 
and other outbuildings. 

"The farming community is of a mixed character, being Americans, Ger- 
mans, Belgians, Hollanders, some Irish, Danes and h'rench ; but the latter who 
formerly formed a large majority of the population are fast disappearing before 
the people of other classes, who greatly outnumber the old Canadian French. 
As a general thing the foreigners who cultivate the soil are good farmers; 
they do not cultivate very large farms but do it w^ell." 

This report of Brown county's rural industries was the last word on that 
subject for eight years, except for occasional allusions throttgh the local press. 
The great Civil war shook the country and in Brown county as elsewhere the 
men were away from their farms and fighting for their country. 

The Wisconsin Agricultural Society went out of commission for eight years, 
no meetings were held, its annual appropriation from the state of $3,000 was 
necessarily discontinued with the understanding that this amount should be 
renewed at the close of the war. In 1868 the first volume of transactions in 
eight years was published, but the society found it impossible to gather statis- 
tics as to what had been accomplished along economic lines that were at 
all full or accurate, during the war interval. The state fair held in September, 
1864, was the first since the beginning of war times, which was pronounced 
creditable to the state considering that Wisconsin had sent 50.000 of her sons 
to the field to defend the government. 

During the war when husbandry was necessarily retarded by the withdrawal 
from the farms of so large a proportion of working men the women did an 
immense anioimt of manual labor. In the country districts especially, the girls 
of the family ploughed and sowed, churned and picked berries, made their own 
shoes when they had any, and rode the old horse bareback to the nearest mill 
with the grain harvested by their own hands to be made into flour. 

The first efifective organization for the promotion of dairying in the state 
was in February, 1872, when on the isth of that month seven good men and 
true, headed by W. D. Hoard organized the Wisconsin Dairymen's Association. 
The necessity as stated by ]\[r. Hoard for such an organization was the low 
condition of the market, the unmarketable character of the principal portion 
of our cheese and the lack of action on the part of buyers to handle Wiscon- 
sin goods. The only market was Chicago, and three car loads would glut that 
for a week. Western cheese bore about the same relation to that of New York 
that marsh hay did to early blue grass or timothy. 

There were at that time in Brown county no cheese factories, no creameries, 


no skimming stations ; there are now tliroughont the county, according to Report 
of 1910, forty-eight cheese factories, eighteen creameries, and one skimming sta- 
tion : Giese, Big Suamico ; Denmark. Denmark ; Denmark Combine, Denmark ; 
Maple Park, Denmark, R. D. i ; Iluckman, Denmark, R. D. i ; Fontenoy, Den- 
mark, R. D. 2 ; Hevel, Denmark, R. D. 2; Langes Corner, Denmark, R. D. 2; 
Rockland Cream & Butter Company, De Fere ; Smith, No. 2, De Fere, R. D. i ; 
Flanert, De Fere, R. D. i ; Cronk, De Fere, R. D. i ; Meyers, De Fere, R. D. 
2 ; Ledgeville Cooperation Creamery Company, De Fere, R. D. 2 ; Shirley, 
De Fere. R. D. 3 ; FI. W. Busse, Flintville; Foland, Green Bay, R. D. 3; Ellis 
Creek, Green Bay, R. D. 3 ; Fine Grove, Green Bay, R. D. 3 ; Maternowski, 
Green Bay, R. D. 5 ; Fittsfield Cooperative, Green Bay, R. D. 8; Thymm. Green 
Bay. R. D. 8; Greenleaf, Greenleaf; Holzschuh, Greenleaf, R. D. i; East 
Holland. Greenleaf, R. D. 2 ; Krieser, Greenleaf, R. D. 2 : East Wrights- 
lown, Greenleaf, R. D. 3 ; Schroeder, Greenleaf, R. D. 3 ; Butter & Cream 
Factory. Kaukauna ; Red Clover, Kaukauna ; Saenger. Lark ; Smith, Fark, R. D. 
i; Morrison, ]\Iorrison ; Kratz. New P'ranken, R. D. 2; Roznowski, New 
Franken, R. D. 2 ; Elm Dale, Fulaski; Fittsfield, Fulaski. R. D. 2; Sonnabend, 
Reedsville, R. D. i ; Brown Cream & Butter Company, Seymour. R. D. ^y ; 
Natske. Wayside, R. D. i ; Wayside, Wayside ; S. Lawrence Cream iS: Butter 
Company, West De Fere, R. D. i. 

Quite a number of these establishment plants combine creameries with the 
ciieese factory : Wequiock, Green Bay, R. D. i ; Wrightstown, Wrightstown ; 
E. R. v. Creamery Company, De Fere R. D. i ; West De Fere, West De Fere; 
Fox River \' . Creamery Company, West De Fere, R. D. i ; Howard Cooperative 
Company, Green Bay, R. D. 9; Oneida, Oneida; Bellevue, Green Bay, R. D. 4; 
Anderson & Wendrick, Green Bay ; G. B. Fure Milk Company, Green Bay ; 
Summit Creamery Companw Green Bay. R. D. 2; New Century Cooperative. 
New Franken ; Fulaski Combination Cheese & Butter Company, Fulaski ; Rock- 
land Combination Cheese & Butter Company, West De Fere; Wisconsin Butter 
& Cheese Company, Wrightstown ; South Lawrence Butter & Cheese Company, 
Wrightstown ; Greenleaf Combination Cheese & Butter Company. Greenleaf. 

Skimming stations — New Century Cooperative, New Franken. 

In the beginning of the dairy industry in Wisconsin dairymen merely fol- 
lowed the practices of their fathers and grandfathers without concerning them- 
selves about reasons. They had little, if any, scientific knowledge and small 
incentive to im])rove their methods. The establishment of an experiment station 
and a great state dairy school has more than anything else tended to raise the 
standard of production. The school is planned upon the theory thkt it should be 
an object lesson for students, and a model for the cheese factories and cream- 
eries of the state. The scrupulous cleanliness of the apparatus, the floors, the 
windows, the ceilings, the walls, the receiving room, the brightness and cleanli- 
ness of the cans used by patrons, the fresh clean and wholesome milk product 
received for manufacture into butter, the exact weighing and testing of the 
milk or cream, the strictly high class fresh quality of product always supplied 
to the market are models for the creameries and cheese factories of the state. 

The annual inspection made by the state is also a constant spur to greater 
excellence. A careful examination is made of the sanitary conditions of the 
various plants and a fine imposed for disregard of rules. 


That Brown county dairy products have a good standing is shown by the 
fact that the last report of the state dairy inspector brought to Hglit the fact 
that there was but one conviction in the whole of Brown county for transporting 
cream in rusty unclean cans, four for selling adulterated cream, and four cheese 
factories considered in an unsanitary condition. 

Not only do the agricultural college and dairy school teach new knowledge 
and the application of the same, but the various associations which call together 
])ractical farmers from all parts of the state are tremendous enlighteners and 
the discussions brought about by contact with other minds intent on the same 
questions of how to improve methods and bring about best results are an inspira- 
tion to those who attend. The Farmers" Institutes have for the past twenty-five 
years been a power in agricultural education. 

Growing out of the Wisconsin's Dairymen's Association are the Wisconsin 
Buttermakers' Association, the Wisconsin Cheesemakers' Association, and the 
Southern Wisconsin Cheesemakers' Association, whose efifects have been spe- 
cialized along the line of improving the skill of the cheesemakers and butter- 
makers of the state, and of improving the quality of cheese factory and creamery 

In Brown count}', 1910, the cheese factory statistics show the number of 
pounds of milk received for the year, 44,246,379; number of pounds of cheese 
produced. 4.205,040; amount received for cheese sold, $605,445.84; number of 
patrons, 1,549; number of cows, 14,266. 

In creameries the number of pounds of butter made in 1910 was 1,427,730, 
amount paid in for butter, $396,525.91 ; other creamery products, $58,91 8. 54, 
making a total of $445,444.45; number of patrons, 1,115; number of cows, 9,490. 

Comparing these statistics with those of 1895 we find that the total amount 
of cheese produced in that year in Brown county was 959.314 pounds, showing 
an increase in the intervening fifteen years of 3,305,726 pounds. 

When a certain kind of cheese has been found successful in one locality it 
is deemed best not to change, for experience has proved that climatic condi- 
tions, soil and grass are all favorable to its manufacture. The ".\nierican'' or 
Cheddar type of cheese is manufactured to a greater or less extent in all parts 
of the state, but the eastern or lake tier of counties of which Brown forms a 
part leads in the production of fancy Cheddar cheese, so far as quantity is con- 
cerned. Every factory in Brown county manufactures American Cheddar 
cheese, and that a ready market is found and a high price paid for all turned 
out is sufficient proof of its excellence. The recognized and varied tastes of 
cheese consumers call for many different characters of cheese ; but the cheese 
that commands the highest price in the markets of today is one of a clean nutty 
flavor, flinty and close in texture, with a firm, meaty, solid, rich and buttery body. 
Cheese of such a character will keep a long time in prime condition, and if cured 
under the most favorable temperatures will improve in quality up to twelve or 
more months. 

Great as has been the growth of manufacture, trade and transportation in 
Brown county, during recent years, none has prospered or afforded more sub- 
stantial returns than the cheese and creamery business. There is none more 
important for on its sanitary management depends the health of the public at 
large. Impure milk, ill-made butter, low grade cheese, all are a menace to the 


health of the community, and Brown county may be congratulated on her fine 
record in this important and rapidly increasing industry. 

(References for Chapter XX: Sheahan, "The Great Conflagration:" Tilton, 
Great Fires of 1871 in Wisconsin: Green Bay Advocate, 1871 : D. D. Kellogg, 
Pasadena, Cal. ; B. F. Smith, De Pere : Dairy Interests : Report of Dairy and Food 
Commission, 1909-10: Wis. Agricultural Reports: Wis. Hist. Proc. 191 1.) 



Andrew J. \'ieau, Sr., in his narrative of early times, says that he attended 
the school taught by St. Jacobs, in 1820. A year or two later "J- B. Dupre, orig- 
inally of Detroit, and a soldier discharged from the first troops that came here 
inider Colonel John Miller in i8i6, became his successor. Dupre's French school 
was on claim number ten on the west side. My next teacher was Captain Din- 
widdle, who taught on the east side of the river at the foot of Judge Morgan 
L. Martin's present garden." (lot 7, block 68.) A number of other teachers 
are associated with this little log school, among them Amos Holton who seems 
to have been a man of some education, and who received from his pupils $4.00 
per capita for a term of twelve weeks. 

Soon after a larger schoolhouse was built farther up the river and Daniel 
Curtis, formerly a captain in the regular army was schoolmaster, he with his fam- 
ily occupying the barracks at Camp Smith. One summer afternoon during a 
terrific thunderstorm a messenger came hurrying through wind and rain to tell 
Curtis that his wife had been killed by, lightning. General Ellis writes of this 
Captain Curtis: "It may be remarked that he was more a man of science or 
what may be called genius than of a military turn. He had been dismissed 
from the army * * before his dismissal he had been charged with the 

oversight of a large fatigue party for the purpose of procuring or making lum- 
ber to rebuild Fort Howard. 

"Considering himself authorized thereto, he attempted the construction of a 
government sawmill at the Little Kakalin (Little Rapids), ten miles up the Fox 
river. Here he attempted to dam the river, and in fact got a work across, but 
was ordered to other duty before the dam was finished or made secure. It is 
fair presumption that had he been permitted to finish the work according to his 
plan, it would have stood the flood — been a success, and the government had a 
fine sawmill at the Little Kakalin. But because he was withdrawn, the work 
suspended, unfinished, went out, was a failure, and Captain Curtis censured, 
courtmartialed and dismissed the service. CajJtain Curtis married the sister of 
Major William Whistler." 

In 1823 the Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society established a school in 
Ihe Agency house on Dutchman's Creek (Town of Ashwaubenon), the Rev. 
b'leazer Williams having charge and Albert G. Ellis conducting the school. Both 
white and Indian children seem to have attended this school. 

Later Ellis taught the garrison school at Fort Howard, and then at the solici- 
lation of the Green Bay citizens opened a school in the Rouse schoolhouse with 
over eighty scholars. This building was erected by Louis Rouse and stood on 
the Louis Grignon claim near the present southern limit of Green Bay. About 


\'nl. I— 1 6 


one-half the pupils paid for tuition, to the remainder the benefit of the school 
was given gratuitously. 

Miss Caroline Russell in 1828 was engaged as teacher by five American fam- 
ilies in Shantytown, where a log schoolhouse was built for her accommodation, 
and four years later Miss Frances Sears presided over the same school; the 
scholars being little children of both sexes. These two ladies were hio-hly 
esteemed, and were said to be most excellent teachers; they gave instruction in 
reading, writing, arithmetic. English grammar and geography. Ability to teach 
the last two studies was considered a high attainment, for up to that time the 
only requisite in a pedagogue was sufiicient learning to "read, write and cipher 
to the rule of three." 

Both the Protestant Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches engaged in the 
work of education. During the summer of -1826, Friar h\auvel was sent by the 
\'icar General Gabriel Richard to succeed I'\itlier Radin ; the citizens put up 
a schoolhouse for him and for awhile he continued in great favor Init charges 
were made against him, he was deposed and removed from charge. At first 
the people of his communion stood by him, but l:)ecoming disgusted with him, 
finally revolted and the school was closed. As he still refused to give up the prop- 
erty, a suit was brought to obtain possession, ATorgan L. Martin conducting the 
prosecution; the case was tried before N. G. Bean, and a verdict given for the 

The attempt made by the Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society to gather in 
the little al)(irigines had from various causes proved a failure, but in 1828 the 
society sent the Rev. Richard F. Cadle to take charge of the Green Bay mission, 
who obtained possession of a building in Shantytown known as the officers' 
quarters of the Camp Smith stockade. Notice was given in November of that 
year, that the school would open. A. G. Ellis aided in its organization. For some 
weeks it numbered just one scholar, but the pupils gradually increased in num- 
ber, and soon the entire confidence of the people was secured. 

Possession was obtained from government of a vacant strip of land, about 
two and a quarter arpents wide, and running back one and a quarter miles to 
Devil river. This strip had been claimed by Judge Porlier, but was not con- 
firmed to him by the United States commissioners. It was a beautiful site, on 
high ground overlooking Fox river at its broadest stretch, and is included today 
m the town of Allouez ; on it buildings were erected, at a cost of $9,000, and in 
a year and a half, there were nearly two hundred children enrolled and in attend- 
ance. Those of pure Indian blood were boarded and clothed as well as instructed 
free of expense; the half castes paid a small or large proportion of the regular 
price for board and tuition, according to their means. The charge was $30 
annually for boarders, and $2 quarterly for tuition alone. To quote from A. G. 
Elhs, "the expense account was enormously large, and funds did not come to 
meet it as they were needed, nor did the results meet expectations, for only a 
small proportion of the children were natives who could not be induced to attend." 
Solomon Juneau of Milwaukee when petitioned to use his influence in obtaining 
scholars wrote : "As to the little savages whom you ask about for Mr. Cadle, I 
have spoken to several and they tell me with great satisfaction that they are much 
happier in their present situation than in learning geography." 


A charge of cruelty was brought against an under teacher of the institution 
for punishing severely two boys who had been guilty of a serious misdemeanor, 
and Mr. Cadle sensitively appreciative of the criticism that might include him 
as head of the institution, resigned after four years of almost insupportable 
labor and anxiety. In 1842 it was decided by the board of missions to discon- 
tinue it as a mission school. 

A petition was presented at the special session of the legislative council of 
Michigan in whicii it was set forth that : 

"Whereas the Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society of the Protestant 
Episcopal church in the United States of America heretofore established a 
Mission School at Green Bay in the County of Brown and Territory of Wiscon- 
sin, for the education of Indian children, and in the establishment and prosecu- 
tion of said Mission School the said Society has erected extensive buildings, and 
two school houses at great expense, which said mission and schools are now in 
active and successful operation * * * ,^^^^^ whereas the wise policy of the 
United States in colonizing the Indians will in time remove them from this vicin- 
ity, and suspend the operations of this society, it is proposed to give to the citi- 
zens of Wisconsin, and others, the benefits and privileges of the said institution 
for the purpose of establishing a Seminary of Learning. 

"Therefore be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives that 
there be erected and established * * * a college for the purpose of educat- 
ing youth, the style, name and title of which shall be. the Wisconsin University 
of Green Bay." 

The university did not attract patronage suliRcient to meet expenses, and about 
the year 1842 was closed. 

On May i, 1831, the zealous missionary Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli came to 
Menomineeville, which was his headquarters during the six months following. 
A month later subscriptions were solicited for an Indian school, to be in con- 
nection with the church then being built. The subscription reads: "Consider- 
ing the advantages of a Roman Catholic Indian free school at Green Bay, in 
favour of that portion of our fellow Beings in the settlement. 

"And considering Mrs. Dousman well qualified to conduct such a school and to 
instruct our Indian youth in the necessary branches of civilized and domestic 
life we the subscribers in order to enable and encourage said Mrs. Dousman to 
devote her time and labors to the above said laudable purpose, hereby bind our- 
selves (and) our heirs to pay said Mrs. Dousman during one year from this 
date every three months quarterly the Sums in cash or produce annexed to our 
respective names. 

"Witness our Signatures in presence of the Bearer : 
"Green Bay, June 19, 1831." 
A list of names follows. Soon afterward the school was opened with Mrs. 
Rosalie Dousman as superior and chief teacher, and Miss Elizabeth Grignon as 
assistant. All poor Indians were to be admitted gratuitously for all instructions; 
others on moderate terms. Of the receipts after deducting the expenses of the 
school Mrs. Dousman was to receive two-thirds. Miss Grignon the remainder. 

This school was later closed "for weighty reasons that is Too little Compen- 
sation" as one of the parishioners writes in 1836. In the meantime a flourishing 


convent school w as conducted for two years by two sisters of the order of Santa 
Clara, under the superintendence of the Rev. Mazzuchelli. 

In 1832, a school was started in De Pere, of which no particulars are recorded. 
In Navarino in 1833, a frame building was erected by Daniel Whitney on the 
south side of Cherry street between Washington and Adams. The first teacher 
was William White, one of several brothers, who came to Green Bay at an 
early day. Many names of citizens who afterward became prominent in the 
town, are found in the list of teachers in this school as time went on. The 
"Yellow Schoolhouse" as it was designated served for a public hall as well ; many 
town meetings were held there. In an issue of the Advocate, 1847, a meeting 
of citizens irrespective of party was called at the Yellow Schoolhouse, to con- 
sider the first constitution of the new state, which was about to be submitted 
to a vote of the people. The following notice taken from the Wisconsin Demo- 
crat, an early newspaper will show how the school curriculum in Brown county 
had widened from the simple teaching of fundamentals of a few years previous. 


The subscriber having taken the building heretofore occupied for an office 
by James D. Doty Esquire, opened a school on Wednesday, the 23d ult, in which 
he proposes to teach the following branches, viz : Reading, Orthography, Writing, 
Geography, Astronomy, Arithmetic (on the inductive plan), English grammar, 
Latin and some of the higher branches of Mathematics. 

The subscriber having had a number of years' experience in teaching the above 
mentioned branches, flatters himself that he possesses the happy faculty of com- 
municating instruction to youth in such a manner as to give general satisfaction 
to all who may place their children under his charge for instruction. 

A quarter will continue during 12 weeks abating half the Saturdays. No de- 
duction will be made for irregularity in attending school, or for scholars leav- 
ing school before the close of the quarter unless on account of ill health. 

The terms of tuition will be as follows, viz : For Reading, Orthography and 
Writing, a quarter, per scholar, $6 ; Geography, Astronomy and English gram- 
mar, $7 ; the higher branches, $8. 


Green Bay, December 8, 1836. 

Sometime during the thirties a school was held in the town hall which then 
stood facing St. John's park and between Jefferson and Madison streets. Later 
this hall was removed to the corner of Adams and Doty streets and was used as 
the courthouse, the upper story being repeatedly rented for a school. 

L^p to this time the various schools had been supported by private subscrip- 
tion. The foreign born colonists who had emigrated to Wisconsin and made 
settlements within the limits of Brown county depended for schooling as did 
Green Bay at an early day on the instruction received from the resident priest 
or an assistant. 

As soon, however, as towns were organized, a schoolhouse was built and 
efi^ort made to maintain schools where ordinary instruction sliould be given in 


the English language, and which should be supported by taxation. Town 
meetings were usually held in these schoolhouses. 

School libraries authorized by state law were at first selected by the town 
clerk of each township. Now the county superintendent has this branch in 


The ample provision made by congress in 1785, for a school fund, 
in setting apart for that purpose the sixteenth section in each township and 
a further large grant of lands to the territory at large in later years did not 
materially assist Brown county with its sparse population and acres of un- 
occupied land, that could be had for a nominal price. During territorial days 
in Wisconsin this sixteenth section could only be leased and the income applied 
for school purposes, which as may readily be seen would insure a very small 
revenue for the support of common schools, and conditions throughout the state 
were much the same. One of the first resolutions introduced in the convention 
at Belmont in 1836, referred to the report of a bill to prohibit persons from 
trespassing on the school lands of this territory by cutting and destroying tim- 
Ijer. A memorial to Congress was adopted at the same session requesting that 
the sale of school sections in each township be authorized and the money aris- 
ing be appropriated toward creating a fund for the support of public schools. 
On November 7, 1837, a bill was passed regulating the sale of public lands, and 
for organizing, regulating and perfecting common schools. 

Not only, however was there difficulty in disposing of the lands at their 
appraised value but the sales were badly mismanaged, speculating in lands was 
very common and personal profit became sometimes the first consideration with 
officials conducting the transaction. An instance is recorded in Brown county 
of a whole section being sold on partial payments and afterward a patent for 
the same tract issued to the chief clerk of the office without the payment of a 
dollar at one shilling an acre, although it was appraised at from ten to twelve 

The district system adopted from the laws of Michigan with some modifica- 
tions was in force in Wisconsin until it became a state. Funds were raised by 
taxation and by private subscription, and were usually inadecjuate with the 
result of poor schools, poor teachers, short terms and lack of books. Sanitary 
conditions were such as would not be tolerated by the hygienic regimen of the 
present day. Complaints were frequent and loud in early years of the wretched 
houses without proper seats, blackboards, ventilation or outhouses. 

On September 24, 1846, the Green Bay Advocate printed the following com- 
munication from Samuel Ryan, junior. "At a meeting of the board of school 
commissioners of and for the town of Green Bay a resolution was passed 
appointing the undersigned to make an abstract in relation to school districts 
and the duties of trustees and other officers." The abstract set forth that at the 
meeting to be held annually on the first Monday in October a moderator should 
be chosen to preside, a district clerk, three trustees and a collector were to be 
elected. The duties of the trustees were to make a list of the persons tax- 
able in the district, and of taxable property, annexing to such list a warrant to 
the collector of the district for the collection of such taxes and five per cent 
for his fees within sixty days. The annual meeting could vote to build a school- 
house or to rent, purchase or repair, provided the tax so voted did not exceed the 


sum of $200. Whenever there was a deficiency of money to pay the teacher after 
a return of the warrant on the rates bill the district might on vote of two thirds 
of the qualified electors assess and collect a tax on actual residents. All persons 
sending children must furnish their just proportion of fuel unless considered 
by the trustees as indigent. 

Among the township officers elected for the town of Depere April 6, 1847, 
are three school commissioners, William Dickenson, George Boyd, John W. 
Cotton. Of the schools over which they had control there is no record, but on 
June I, 1849, ^ public school was held in the courthouse taught by a young girl 
of sixteen years. Miss Marietta Johnson. Either on account of the youth and 
inexperience of the preceptress or from lack of funds two terms were the extent 
in duration of this school. In 1850 however, the work was assumed by William 
Field a young man from the east of great intelligence, good looking, agreeable 
and finely educated as well. Under him the school prospered and since that 
time a public school has been continuously maintained. In 1852 the village 
built a schoolhouse on the site now occupied by the Holland Catholic church. 
Field still being school master. In that year also New Franken advertises in 
the Advocate for a teacher. 

In 1853-4 h'?h hopes were entertained that De Pere would soon become a 
metropolis and the Massachusetts Educational Society (Presbyterian) at the 
suggestion of the Rev. L. C. Spafiford pastor of the Presbyterian church sent 
Miss Fannie Plumstead and her sister to open a private school which was to 
be the nucleus of a young ladies" seminary. In connection with the school was a 
fine library for the use of the pupils. Miss Plumstead was a cultivated woman 
and fine instructor, but after teaching for three years she married leaving her 
sister to continue the academy alone. Subsequently the enterprise was given up. 

The present system of schools was instituted in 1857, and in 1872 the schools 
were graded by I. A. Sabin. 

In Green Bay the first school tax was levied in 1840, and a pul)lic school 
opened, John F. Lessey, David Ward and Henry Sholes commissioners. The 
school was held in the town hall on the southeast corner of Adams and Doty 
streets and was taught by W. H. Warren, the scholars being boys of all ages. 
Across Doty street on the corner now occupied liy the county jail was a school 
for girls of which a Miss Waters was principal. Only the common branches 
were taught and the furnishings and apparatus were of the rudest character. 
Funds from taxation were evidently very irregularlv received for in 1847 we find 
Mr. Warren as principal of the Green Bay Academy advertising for pupils and 
giving terms of tuition. It was not until 1850 that a public school became firmly 
established. In that year Mr. Gildersleeve, a fine teacher was engaged, with two 
assistants. "'A paragraph has been going the rounds of the press," says the 
Advocate of November 16, 1854, "in substance that Green Bay has upwards of 
twenty grog shops and not one public school. It seemed so absurd at the time 
of its appearance that we did not dignify it by a contradiction. * * * The sud- 
den and illegal withdrawal by the state authorities of the school fund belonging 
to this cotmty caused a momentary embarrassment in our free school arrange- 
ments, and it is very possible that this class of schools was temporarily sus- 
pended, until steps could be taken to go on with them independent of the aid of 
the public fund. 






"There has been before that time and is now no lack of free public schools 
in Green Bay of the best class. We can recollect of no time since our residence 
here when there have been less than two schools and oftener more. At this 
moment there are either all in operation or about to go into operation imme- 
diately five schools, four of them we believe free. In the store building opposite 
the Astor House Miss Morrow has one ; in the large school building next to the 
courthouse, Miss U. Grignon, Miss Grace Howe and Miss Torry have or are 
about opening three others. Besides these, is the excellent one, private we 
believe, kept by Miss Crosby at her residence. Over the river there is one free 
school well kept and we are not certain but there are more." The same issue 
of the newspaper advertised a sale of forfeited school lands. 

The action of the state referred Uj in the preceding quotation was the refusal 
to Brown county of her portion of public money intended for the support of 
schools because of arrears in taxes to the state. The apportionment in 1853 
was $1,113.12, but upon application to the state treasurer for the payment of 
this sum, information was received that the county was in arrears for state 
taxes to a larger amount than the allotment, and by a law enacted at a previous 
session of the legislature the county's school fund had been applied to this 

The report of a committee appointed to look into the right or wrong of this 
refusal closes with the forceful declaration that the legislators "must not have 
had the fear of God before their eyes, but were moved and instigated by the devil, 
and have sunk themselves so deep in infamy that the hand of resurrection can 
not reach them," if contrary to the laws and constitution of the state thev had 
retained any school money or applied it to any purpose other than the one for 
which it was intended. The legislature was condemned by public opinion for 
witliholding this money on account of arrearage in state tax to the detriment of 
towns where the tax had been promptly paid. 

Even after this date short terms were often necessary for lack of nionev. 
In September, 1856, a schoolhouse, the first owned by the city, was built of cream 
brick, forty by sixty feet, with four separate apartments. This was in the 
south ward and across the park from the Moravian church which had just been 
finished and was for years known as the "old brick." It has been reniofleled and 
enlarged several times, was used as the high school before the present east high 
school was erected and is now the Sale school. The site was donated by the 
Astor estate. 

The principal who first presided over it was Theron K. Bixl)y, who made an 
attempt to grade the school. Only the common English branches were taught ; 
special attention was given to the waiting of compositions and weekly rhetorical 
exercises. The art of memorizing was practiced to a great extreme, geography, 
history, rules of arithmetic and grammar all taught through rhyming versions 
or other forms committed to memory. The multiplication table was set to music 
and sung with a chorus to the tune of Yankee Doodle, and a list of the state 
capitals was given in the same manner. The building was capable of accom- 
modating two hundred jnipils, but before the year was over the enrollment far 
exceeded that number. 

The legislature of i860 passed a bill establishing the office of county super- 
intendent of schools who should examine and license teachers and inspect schools. 


The first election in Brown county came off in November, 1861, and on Septem- 
ber 7th of that year, the Bay City Press makes trenchant comment thus : "There 
is to be elected at the November elections an officer under an act of last winter 
to the most important and most thankless office in the gift of the people — super- 
intendent of our county schools. He must be a man of superior attainments and 
no humbug about it. He must know his duties and be equal to them. His 
acquirements must not only be solid and genuine, but he must have energy and 
firmness and ingenuity to render them practical. A county treasurer may be 
an ass or an idiot, and a judicious selection of a deputy may keep his accounts 
justly and render his e.xhibits intelligibly. But here imposture cannot be prac- 
ticed or even attempted with impunity. The pay is ridiculously inadequate 
but the public will not be content with anything less than the very best talent, 
and none other need offer. Let us look round for a proper candidate." 

In i860, Henry J. Furber, a youthful pedagogue from Maine, became 
principal of the Green Bay schools. He raised the grade of the schools, added 
to the course of study Latin and advanced mathematics and proved a most 
efficient teacher. 

In 1866 the charter of (ireen Bay was changed and the schools passed under 
the control of a board of education, consisting of a member from each city 
ward elected by the common council and a city superintendent chosen by the 
board of education. L. W. Briggs of Racine became principal of the schools in 
1871. and they were thoroughly reorganized by him. He established nine grades 
and a high school and the present organization of schools is largely due to him. 

With the opening of the year 1881 under J. C. Crawford, principal, the 
school entered upon a new existence. The standing of the school was materially 
raised to new methods. The course of study was raised and e.xtended, newer 
methods were introduced. In 1882 official notice was received that the state 
university had placed the school upon its accredited list for the general science 
and modern classical courses. In 1885, J. C. Crawford became superintendent 
as well as principal. He resigned both offices in 1888, and Airs. Cornelia B. 
Field was chosen superintendent, the first woman to hold that office in Green Bay. 

At the present time we have in the county four high schools, two in Green 
Bay and two in De Fere, on the east and west sides of the river. 

The present county superintendent, Joseph Novitski is a live energetic man, 
having the advancement of the schools at heart and judicious in the use of 
methods to that end. Within the past year or two many changes and improve- 
ments have been made throughout the county in health condition requirements 
of rural schools. New schoolhouses are going up all over the county and one of 
the requirements in construction is consideration for the health, eyesight and com- 
fort of the scholars. A school bulletin is issued bi-monthly by Mr. Novitski in 
place of the circulars and notices sent out at irregular intervals and these bul- 
letins contain all suggestions and information to which the attention of the 
teachers should be called. 

The report of superintendent Novitski for the past year states that there are 
now in this county fifteen state graded schools, fourteen are two department or 
what is known as second class state graded schools, receiving annual aid from 
the state of $200. One is a three department or first class and receives annually 
$300. Sixty one room schools have complied with the requirements of first 


class rural schools and each receives state aid of $50, making a total of $3,000 
each year. To make the work more practical and interesting for pupils, a corn 
growing contest was instituted, also work with the Babcock milk tester. One 
thousand entries were made by pupils in the county fair and $100 in prizes 

As it has been placed on the list of accredited-list Wisconsin schools, the 
Academy of St. Joseph should be mentioned among schools of the same stand- 
ing. In 1897, at the request of Rt. Rev. Bishop Messmer the Sisters of St. 
Joseph from Carondelet, Missouri, opened an academy for girls, in this city. It 
was in the frame building which stood on the corner of ^lihvaukee and Aladison 
streets where the new St. John's church has been placed. Alany stories are 
told of this old house, which was in use in the pioneer days of early Wis- 
consin. From this small beginning has grown the flourishing and finely 
equipped school whicii in 1909-10 numbered one hundred and fifteen pupils, and 
has now a larger enrollment. 

In 1892, having outgrown its small quarters, the property known as .the 
Kellogg place on Monroe avenue, was purchased and an addition to the resi- 
dence begun. In 1909, Sister Irene, who had been with the school from its be- 
ginning, was placed in charge as Mother Superior. Under her efficient man- 
agement several branches of study have been added and in 1910, a large brick 
building was erected and fully equipped with modern appliances. 

Previous to 1S62 the schools of Brown county were under a sort of town- 
ship form of supervision, a superintendent being chosen from among the best 
educated of the settlers ; sometimes the person elected had the advantage of a 
college education, while others had but a limited knowledge of the "three R's." 
and a slight acquaintance with the English language, seeing no reason for its 
inflections or grammatical construction. 

The teacher applying for a school might be fourteen or forty ; he secured it, 
provided he passed the not too rigid examination, (and had a friend on the 
board) ; arithmetic, a problem in long division and probably a catch question in 
the "Rule of Three;" spelling Europe, biscuit, phthisic, etc.; reading from any- 
thing at hand, Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, or Pilgrim's Progress, as the 
case may be ; grammar, name parts of speech in a simple sentence. These with 
the applicant's signature, and a recommendation for the moral character may be 
considered a very thorough test in the days of town superintendents in Brown 
county. Knowing his limitations, the superintendent sometimes apologized to the 
college bred applicant (who sought to replenish his purse by teaching a term 
or two in the district school, before entering his chosen profession) for pre- 
suming to test his scholarship. 

With the election of autumn, 1861, dawned a new era in the educational life 
of Wisconsin, as the county superintendents of schools were then elected. Brown 
county was most fortunate in choosing for its leader in educational affairs a gen- 
tleman and a scholar; courteous, affable, sympathetic, thoroughly versed in the 
classics, he was also a great mathematician, his favorite occupation being that 
of a civil engineer. J. Kip Anderson was the first and greatest of Brown county's 
school superintendents. 

Edward Hicks succeeded Mr. Anderson, occupying the position until 1866, 
when Oscar Gray, of Fort Howard (now a part of Green Bay), was elected. 


Mr. Hicks and Mr. Gray had other business interests, the superintendent's salary 
being below the "living wage." They did what they could under the circum- 
stances for the uplift of the schools. They were able, manly men, who knew 
the great disadvantage under which teachers labored and were always ready with 
words of sound advice and rare kindliness to the young and unexperienced teacher 
who sought their support and judgment. 

P. H. Lynch occupied the position of county superintendent from 1872 to 1872. 
He was succeeded by Theron Sedwick, a rising young lawyer of West De Pere, 
who did not seek reelection. 

In the fall of 1877 Brown county honored itself by electing a woman to 
the office of county superintendent, Minnie H. Kelleher. Miss Kelleher, coming 
from the teachers' ranks, knew where to find weakness in the line and put forth 
sturdy efforts to strengthen it ; she was ably aided by the teachers of the county, 
including those of De Pere and Green Bay. The county was divided into associ- 
ation districts in which were held teacliers' meetings, to discuss how and what to 
teach. Aliss Kelleher held the office two terms, then returned to, the more con- 
genial life of teaching. Her work was fearlessl}' and faithfully discharged, and 
was highly appreciated liy the men and women of sound principles throughout 
the state. 

George F. Steele succeeded Miss Kelleher; he was followed by John Kittell, 
who in turn was succeeded by Daniel Rice, three of Brown comity's native 
sons, who might be said to have used the office as a stepping stone to greater 
preferment, while each discharged his duty to the best of his ability. 

Later John B. Fournier became superintendent, followed by J. F. Novitski. 

(References for Chapter XXI: Wis. Hist. Coll. Vol. i; Ibid Vol. 14; 
Ibid Vol. 7; French, History of Brown County: MS. Records of Christ 
Church Parish; MS. Letters; Columbian History of Education; Mrs. Curtis 
R. ]\Ierrill ; Green Bay x-\dvocate and Bay City Press.) 



The history of the churches of Brown county is indicative of the varied ele- 
ments that compose its population. French missionaries in early times made the 
beginning for Roman Catholicism, and although there was an interim when no 
service was held hereabout, yet the French settlers remained stanch adherents 
of that faith. Services of prayer and hymn singing were held in the homes, 
notably that of Aladame Langevin and her mother, Madame Langlade. With 
the coming of the American troops and consequent influx of settlers from the 
east and south, various forms of Protestant worship were inaugurated, all how- 
ever, Catholics and Protestants, working together for the higher life of the 

The w^ave of immigration from foreign countries beginning with 1840, 
brought in a large proportion of Roman Catholics so that in many of the country 
towns, that is the prevailing form of worship. The certificate of baptism per- 
formed by Rev. Samuel Peters of the Church of England, is the only record 
thai religious rites were performed in the early part of the nineteenth century 
in the Green Bay region. 

In 1823, Green Bay was first visited by Father Gabriel Richard of Detroit, 
vicar-general of the northwest diocese, an untiring worker in the missionary 
field. He made arrangements for the erection of a church in Shantytown, and 
it is said that ground was broken at that time for a log structure, but it was not 
autil two years later, in 1825, when the venerable Father Badin was placed in 
charge that definite arrangements for building in Green Bay were made. A 
petition was circulated which reads: 


"To the subscribers : Dear citizens, we implore your assistance and leave 
it to your generosity to furnish the funds for Mr. Badin, your pastor, who is 
now about to depart for Detroit, June 27, 1825." 

The quaint document goes on to say that the subscription list '"will be pre- 
sented and collected by a respectable citizen of the place, 10 the honorable officers, 
private soldiers, and other persons whatever at Green Bay, towards imploring 
their charitable assistance for both the building of the Catholic church and the 
clergyman thereof." The church was completed to the extent of occupancy that 
same year, the funds being placed in the hands of Joseph Jourdain on the nth 
day of July, 1825. It stood near the corner of Adams and Mason streets. The 
officers who gave to the good cause were Major William Whistler, Lieutenant 
Henry H. Loring and Adjutant Dean, and of the private soldiers, three. 

Father Badin made semi-annual visits of two weeks each, and at that time 



would assemble his congregation and instruct them in the formulas of their 
religion. Young and old met together and seated on the floor in ranks from ten 
to fifteen deep, would repeat after the good priest creed, catechism, or scripture 
lesson ; he meanwhile walking up and down between the rows and keeping a sharp 
lookout for delinquents in respect to attention. This building was never entirely 
completed, but burned to the ground five years later through the carelessness of 
Father Fauvel, the priest who succeeded Father Badin in 1826. Fauvel roomed 
in a part of the church building, and after its destruction the people built him 
a schoolhouse, "four or five rods east of the former church site." Fathers Badin 
and Mazzuchelli would not recognize Fauvel as a priest and warned the people 
"not to employ him at burials and if he dared to preach to go out and leave 
him alone." 

Soon after Father Mazzuchelli assumed charge the delinquent was obliged 
to leave. In the fall of 1828, the Rev. P. S. Dejean visited the mission. Some 
time during the year 1830, Bishop Fenwick, of Cincinnati, came to Green Bay, 
remaining, however, but a few days. In the following year he repeated the visit, 
staying for three weeks, and at this time he, assisted by the Rev. Samuel 
Mazzuchelli, who had accompanied him, held a kind of mission, preached several 
times a day, heard confessions and conferred the holy sacrament of confirmation 
on about one hundred people. During this visit also the Bishop selected as the 
site for a church a tract of land in Menomineeville, between the Catholic Ceme- 
tery and the lower De Pere road, which still belongs to the Diocese of Green 
Bay. Contributions for the purpose of carrying out this plan, amounting to 
$300 were immediately received and the work was at once begun. This church 
was the first erected in this region since the mission chapel of St. Francis Xavier 
had been demolished in 1687. A complete history of its erection is given through 
the letters and memoranda belonging to Father Mazzuchelli and preserved in the 
Grignon, Lawe and Porlier papers in the State Historical Society. There is given 
the subscription list both of money and materials, the largest donations being 
from the Bishop, $150, and from Father Mazzuchelli, $60. Edwin Hart was 
the builder, a most excellent workman, and responsible for the substantial Epis- 
copal Mission House as well as many other of the well built dwellings of early 

Father Mazzuchelli was very impatient to see the church completed, and when 
absent on other duties connected with his Mackinac parish, wrote continually to 
Louis Grignon or to Judge Porlier in regard to it. On August 12, 1831, he writes 
that "Mr. Heart" must begin work immediately or forfeit the contract and his 
interest in the material to be obtained was unflagging. In July of the following 
year the church neared completion, and there was still the whitewashing of the 
walls to be done, on which Father Mazzuchelli writes he can save $20.00, and 
that he will agree to give Mr. Hart $12 to cut the window panes with his 
diamond and set them ; otherwise he will buy cotton enough to stretch over the 
seven windows. 

In 1832, two Redemptorists, Fathers Hatcher and Sanderl, took charge of St. 
John's congregation and remained with the exception of a few short interruptions 
until 1837, their last entry of baptisms apparently being made in March of that 

Father Mazzuchelli came again in 1833, bringing with him two sisters of the 


order of St. Clara, Sisters Clara and Theresa Bourdaloue, who bought land near 
to the church where they established a school. Their services were also of the 
greatest value during the terrible cholera epidemic of 1834. 

In that same year came Father Theodore J. Van den Broek who labored 
zealously in the field until 1838, his mission including not only the settlements at 
the Bay and Little Chute, but several among the Indians. 

In the fall of 1838, probably in October, Father Florimond Bonduel, a 
Belgian by birth and educated in Belgium, came to Green Bay and assumed the 
charge of St. John's. He bought from B. F. Salomon and Paul and Joseph 
Ducharme most of the land in Shantytown, all of which by the way is still in pos- 
session of the church. He also seems to have taken very good care of the 
cemetery, which under his fostering care was greatly beautified and improved. 
He died after a short illness on December 13, 1861, his remains finding a last 
resting place in the spot which in life he had nurtured so carefully and well. 

In September, 1843, P. Carabin, a German of Loraine, was appointed to suc- 
ceed Father Bonduel and maintained his post until August, 1847. 

During this pastorate the Rev. P. Cahazettis arrived at Green Bay. where 
after a few days he succumbed to a virulent attack of typhoid fever. 

In 1847, the church at Shantytown was burnt through the carelessness of a 
Mass server. In its place in 1848, a Methodist church was bought, which stood 
on the site of the present parsonage. This was during the pastorate of the Rev. 
A. S. Godfert, who succeeded Father Carabin and who stayed until September, 
1849. During this period the Rev. Caspaer Rehri, a missionary well known 
throughout the greater part of Wisconsin, paid regular quarterly visits to this 
mission, aiding the pastor in various ways. In October, 1849, came the Jesuit 
l'"athers, .\nton Anderledy, a Swiss, and afterward general of the order (he died 
on January 18, 1892), and Joseph Brunner, who stayed until July, 1851, when 
Father Brunner went to India, where he died. 

There exists in the parish of St. John's a little book containing in writing an 
inventory of all the furniture and utensils in the church from the year 1849, 
also the gifts made to the church between 1849 and 1862. There also is an inven- 
tory made by Father Hoffmen, 1865-70, which includes the old silver ostensorium. 
and Duguenory's crucifix. 

In 1872 the church purchased from the Methodists burned and was replaced 
two years later by one much more commodious, the Rev. A. Crud being pastor. 
In the winter of 191 1 fire destroyed this church also and in its stead on the corner 
of Aladison and Milwaukee streets a costly and substantial structure was erected. 
The Rev. T. A. Ricklin has been the pastor of St. John's for many years. 

Green Bay is the Episcopal see of the large Green Bay diocese, which was 
established March 3, 1868, and the handsome Cathedral church of St. Francis 
Xavier stands on the corner of Monroe avenue and Doty street. 

When the Rev. P. F. S. Winenger, S. J., held the mission of .St. John's 
church, 185 1, the separation of the German element from that parish was seri- 
ously considered. The first record of receipts and disbursements and other 
business matters pertaining to St. Mary's congregation are dated September 20. 
1851. This date therefore is accepted as the one upon which the new con- 
gregation was organized. Funds were collected and a church completed early 
in 1854, which was blessed and dedicated by Bishop Henni, of Milwaukee. 


On March 3, 1868, Green Bay was elevated to an Episcopal see, of which 
Rev. Joseph Melcher, of St. Louis, was appointed first bishop. On arriving in 
Green Bay, Bishop Melcher selected St. Mary's for his pro-cathedral. At his 
death the Rev. F. X. Krautbauer became bishop, and during his episcopacy the 
cathedral was finished, and consecrated by him in the presence of the most rev- 
erend Archbishop Heiss and four bishops, and a crowded congregation. Sep- 
tember 7, 8 and 9, 1893, were made memorable by the visit to Green Bay of the 
papal delegate, afterward Cardinal Satolli. The reception of his eminence was 
a grand ovation, and is still remembered as a most notable event. 

The present bishop is the Rt. Rev. Joseph J. Fox, who is the son of Paul Fox, 
one of the most active incorporators of St. Mary's church. Bishop Fox was 
born and grew up in Green Bay and is much esteemed throughout the county. 

St. Patrick's church was built in 1865 by the Irish residents on both sides of 
the river. It was dedicated on August 15, 1866 by the Very Reverend Father 
Daems, Father McGinnity being pastor at the time. The present church was built 
in 1893-94, the Rev. M. J. O'Brien, jiastor. Father O'lirien still has charge of 
the parish. 

Sts. Peter and Paul was I)uilt by (German and Belgian families living in the 
northeastern portion of the city. A large new church was erected in 191 1 under 
Rev. Martin T. Anderegg, who was a])pointed to the church in 1893. 

In the beginning of the sixties the Hollanders and Flemish who had left St. 
John's with the German congregation were obliged to leave St. Mary's on account 
of overcrowding the church, and on February 21, 1864 held a meeting at which 
a new congregation of forty-seven families was formed. The trustees pur- 
chased the old courthouse building, paying for the same $1,200. P'ather VerBoort 
became the pastor. The church was dedicated on August 25, 1867, in honor of 
.St. \\'illebrord, the first bishop of Utrect, Holland and apostle of the Nether- 
lands. The congregation increased so rapidly that a much larger church was 
necessary, and in the summer of 1889 the foundation of the new church was laid. 
The Rev. P. A. \"an Susteren is the present pastor. 

The large Polish church, Blessed Virgin of the Angels, with monastery and 
school in connection, was built in 1904. Rev. A. Wisniewski, O. F. M., is rector. 

In 1824 a meeting was held in Menomineeville for the purpose of organ- 
izing a Protestant Episcopal church to be known as Christ church, not, however, 
until September 16, 1829, was the organization of the parish completed, and a 
copy of the constitution sent to Robert Irwin, Jr., then in Detroit attending as 
delegate the legislative coinicil, with a petition for a charter. The act incor- 
porating the parish is as follows : 


Be it enacted by the legislative council of the Territory of Michigan that 
Richard F. Cadle, as rector, and Daniel Whitney and Albert G. Ellis as wardens, 
and James D. Doty, William Dickenson, John Lawe, Alexander J. Irwin, John 
P. Arndt, Samuel W. Beale, Robert Irwin. Jr., and Henry S. Baird, as vestrymen, 
with their associates and successors be, and they -are hereby incorporated and 
declared a body politic and corporate in deed and in law by the name and style 
of the "Rector Wardens and \'estrymen of Christ's Church in the township of 
Green Bay." 


Christ church parish and that of Manitowoc were the only church organi- 
zations in Wisconsin thus incorporated independent of diocesan jurisdiction. 

Richard F. Cadle, who had been appointed in 1827 by the Protestant Episcopal 
missionary board as superintendent of Green Bay missions, with his sister, Sarah 
B. Cadle, as assistant, had opened a school in the unoccupied barracks at Camp 
Smith. John \'. Suydam, who came to Green Bay in 1831, was engaged as as- 
sistant teacher in the same school; later as district and county surveyor and as 
occupying many offices of trust in church and county life, Suydam was one of 
the well known men of Green Bay, where he continued to reside until his death 
in 1888. 

Ill health and many discouragements caused the resignation of Mr. Cadle, 
and the newly formed vestry who loved and admired him, immediately invited 
him to become their first pastor, a call which he accepted. It was immediately 
planned to erect a church on land platted for that purpose in Menomineeville, and 
in the meantime services were held in the mission house. Thither a detach- 
ment of troops marched from Fort Howard each Sunday under the command 
of a lieutenant, to attend divine service, there being no resident chaplain at the 
garrison. McCall in his description of the treaty of 1830 says that on one 
Sunday, Rev. Eleazer Williams, "in flowing white robes" read service at the 
fort, but this was only an occasional affair, the soldiers being expected to attend 
regularly after the Christ church parish was erected at Green Bay. While here 
on the second of July in one of the rooms of the Baird home he baptized two 
of the Baird children, one, afterward Mrs. James S. Baker, a little over two 
years old, the other two weeks.. 

In 1834, Rev. Jackson Kemper, afterward distinguished as first missionary 
bishop, came to Green Bay, sent by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society 
to report on the Indian school established in .Menomineeville I)y Rev. Richard 
Cadle. His journal gives a lively and interesting account of the journey west; 
his short stay in the village and visit to Oneida. "At three we started for Oneida, 
say nine miles. Dr. M., in a wagon driven by Xeddy and for a companion, Cobus 
Hill. I mounted on a Green Bay pony, belonging to Adjutant Chapman, an easy 
racking horse. Two miles of the road had just l^een opened by the Oneidas the 
week before. After riding through the woods six miles we came to the settle^ 
ment — log houses scattered on each side of the road, with perhaps four hundred 
acres cleared — the crops look promising ; at parsonage about sunset. The build- 
ing had been much improved during the day ; a shed had been erected for a 
kitchen, where several Oneida women prepared the meal ; a porch had been 
placed in front, etc. ; the house had two rooms beside a large pantry. * * * I 
had a good bed on the floor under a window and surrounded with a net, and 
slept pretty well. 

"The church, a log building, is near the parsonage. It has a recess, a chancel, 
etc., with a vestry room behind, an unfinished gallery in front ; we walked there 
in the evening, and heard several of the congregation practicing music for the 
next day, with a good and well played bass viol. 

"We assembled in church at ten o'clock, the people pressed to it until all 
seats were occupied, the men on one side and the women on the other. I said 
a few words from Cobus Hill's reading desk on Lord's supper. What we said 


was interpreted sentence by sentence by Jolm Smith. John interpreted boldly 
but we fear not correctly." 

Nothing was ilone toward building the church in Menoniineeville and dur- 
ing the years 1830-35 there was a great exodus of the American residents to 
Daniel Whitney's newly platted town, Navarino. Services were held in the 
"Yellow Schoolhouse" on Cherry street, but there was a great desire for a 
church building, the ever generous Daniel Whitney offered a building site 
which was acceptctl and funds solicited for the erection of a church. 

In 1838 the corner stone of the new building was laid by Bishop Kemper 
who had' been consecrated in 1835. Bishop Kemper at this time confirmed a 
class of six persons and also visited Oneida where he laid the corner stone of 
Hobert church. The late Charles L. Wheelock who came here as a boy in 
1832, was present at the ceremony at Green Bay and recalled the boggy con- 
dition of the ground about the church foundation. The ground was low and 
wet, so much so that many stood on planks. Cedar trees and alders grew up to 
Adams street. Despite these conditions building went on and in 1840 the 
church was finished and consecrated by Bishop Kemper. It was a small neat 
structure painted white with green blinds and surrounded by a white picket 
fence. The pews were square, with a door that closed with a tidy button, 
accommodating eight persons at one sitting and often more as the children were 
allowed in case the pew was overcrowded to sit on kneeling benches and has- 
socks. There was a high pulpit from which the rector in charge delivered his 
sermon, the small gothic windows were filled with plain window glass, and 
candles were the only light used for the evening service. One of the younger 
girls who worshipped in Christ church during the early '40s related not many 
years ago how the soldiers marched regularly to the morning service under 
command of the officer of the day, and would take their places in the extreme 
rear portion of the church. The young lieutenant in command, however, kept 
up constant communication with the more favored portion of the congregation 
by means of notes passed to and fro between him and the frivolous girls who 
sat directly under the ]:>reacher's eye. Many love aft'airs were carried to a 
happy conclusion through this churchly postal service, and the excitement of 
writing, reading and safely dispatching these epistles without detection by par- 
ents or officiating clergyman, was a joy to last through a lifetime. This historic 
building burned to the ground on the night of July 3. 1898. The corner stone 
of the present structure was laid by Bishop Grafton during the pastorate of the 
Rev. Chas. L. Pullen. who resigned from the parish before the church was 
completed. In 1900, Rev. Henry S. Foster, rector, it was ready for occupancy; 
in 1910 mainly through the untiring effort of the Rev. James F. Kieb who 
succeeded Father Foster, the church debt was liquidated and consecration serv- 
ices held by Rt. Rev. Reginald P. Weller, bishop coadjutor of the diocese. The 
congregation at the same time celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the inau- 
guration of the parish. 

A Presbyterian mission under the direction of Rev. Cutting Marsh was organ- 
ized in 1832. This mission standing aS it did half way on a day's journey up the 
river was invariably visited by the casual traveller and its hospitality claimed. 
Marsh was a stern rather uncompromising Calvinist, with small patience in his 
intercourse with the ungodly, yet made welcome any chance visitor. Denomi- 


national lines were more closely adhered to in the '30s than at a later day, and 
Cutting Marsh held aloof alike from Protestant clergymen of alien faith and 
Roman Catholic priests. The First Presbyterian church at Green Bay was organ- 
ized with twelve members in January, 1836. Rev. Cutting Marsh gave assist- 
ance in the organization which was effected on a Saturday evening in a small 
frame house on Adams street near Doty. The public recognition took place in 
the military hospital at Fort Howard on the afternoon of the following day. 
Mr. Marsh preached occasionally during the summer; from the first of Novem- 
ber Rev. ;\Ioses Ordway acted as pastor for six months, and a building on 
Walnut street near Washington was fitted up for service. Of this building, 
C. L. Wheelock says that, those first Presbyterian services were held in a car- 
penter's shop owned by W. W. Matthews on the north side of Walnut street 
between Washington and Adams. 

Rev. Stephen Peet became pastor in October, 1837, and remained for two 
vears. In 1838, the F'irst Presbyterian church was dedicated, the second Prot- 
estant church edifice completed in the territory. The Rev. Jeremiah Porter 
followed Mr. Peet and for eighteen years he and his lovely wife led the people 
in the way of righteousness. 

Green Bay during the '30s was on the line of the "underground railroad " 
which ran as directly as might be from the southern states to Canada and free- 
dom. The negroes who escaped northward were easily carried by schooner to 
the English refuge, and the story of a somewhat mysterious and romantic 
affair which occurred about the year 1855, ^^'e '^''^ happily able to give in Mrs. 
Porter's words. She writes : "I am not surprised that you could not learn 
much in regard to the concealment of the fugitives, for it was secret service 
before the Lord, which, had we taken counsel of wise men in church and state, 
could not have been performed. The facts were on this wise : A letter came 
from Mr. L. Goodell of Stockbridge, that a father and his children had for 
some time enjoyed refuge in that Indian nation ; but pursuers had discovered 
their resting place, and would find means to reenslave them. F"riends had 
planned to send them by night to Green Bay. Would we receive them, and help 
them to the steamboat due on the coming Tuesday ? Surely we could do that 
small ser\ice without disturliing any conscience, however weak, especially as 
the captain of the boat was said to be an abolitionist. They would arrive by 
night, and could be put on board without observation. 

■"They did arrive at the hour appointed ; but at midnight we were awakened 
by a knock at the window and there stood the poor, trembling father, and three 
cold, hungry children. Our house was already full, and the boat was not in 
sight, and they feared that the pursuers were on their track. In a few hours 
many inquisitive eyes and ears would be open. Mr. Porter said, 'Where can 
w'e hide them? In the icehouse? In the side closets of the parsonage?' I 
asked the God of all wisdom and love and truth to direct, and during the act 
of prayer a text of the scripture came to mind which suggested the church. 
'Yes, that is the place,' Mr. Porter replied, 'The belfry.' They were warmed 
and fed, and comforted with the assurance that they were among friends, and 
then Mr. Porter took them to the sanctuary — to the highest place in it. The 
boat we looked for at early dawn did not come ; four long days and anxious 
nights passed, and the dear man fed and cheered them, and did not faint nor 


grow weary. On Saturday the (|iiestion came up, what effect the Sabbath serv- 
ices might have upon their retirement ; indeed, many c]uestions were arising, 
which were solved by the dehghtful announcement that the l)oat was in sight, 
and already in the harbor. Air. Porter, Mr. Kimball and others, made arrange- 
ment for their departure ; and when I opened the church door, the glad father 
and happy children rushed out, and took their places in a little sailboat which 
was waiting for them at the shore, and were carried to the steamer Michigan, 
where Captain Stewart took them into his care, and conveyed them to her 
Majesty's land of freedom. On landing, the first act of the grateful father 
was to prostrate himself, kissing the free soil, and giving thanks to the Lord 
who had brought them out of the house of bondage." 

Mrs. Porter says in parenthesis: "There were so many ludicrous incidents 
coimected with the whole affair, that, as I write, I must needs pause and laugh 

"A few other items may be of interest. The food was furnished from the 
families of Mr. Porter, Mr. Roswell Morris, and Mr. Alonzo Kimball. The 
passage was engaged by Mr. Kimball, and several persons furnished the money. 
The sailboat was brought by Mr. F. A. Lathrop at about five o'clock on a bright 
afternoon. Many people were on the dock when the family reached the 
steamer. Those who saw the man's back at the church, remember distinctly 
that it was ridged with scars. Two young ladies who chanced to go in at this 
time, took a notion to climb into the belfry, but were frightened at the sounds, 
and ran to Mrs. Pelton near by and were told that the fugitives were there, 
but it must be kept secret. We may smile at these matters now, but when the 
barbarous fugitive slave law was in force, and the more cruel law of political 
opinion, it required no little courage to harbor a slave. Possibly some of us 
would not have dared to do it ; but we are all proud today, that our belfry 
once proved a true sanctuary to the oppressed." 

Mrs. Porter adds that one other fugitive was brought to their house on a 
cold winter's night, but as they could not conceal her, she was committed to 
I\lr. Tank's care. 

The foregoing paragraph in which items of interest in regard to the fugitives 
are given is from a pamphlet written by the Rev. William Crawford ("God's 
providence for forty years") who was pastor of the church from 1870 to 1880. 
He was a broadminded man and an influence for culture and right living in the 
community. When in 1876, the church celebrated its fortieth anniversary Mr. 
Crawford preached three sermons reviewing the forty years' work which were 
of great value. In the epoch-making fire of 1881 in Green Bay the old Presby- 
terian church went up in flame; the bell presented by John Jacob Astor to the 
congregation fell from the belfry and melted in the ruins. The church was 
modelled on the lines of a plain New England meeting house with a high gal- 
lery opposite the pulpit where the choir sat. 

In 1882 the church which stands today on the site of the old parsonage was 
built. It continued to be called the Presbyterian church until later when during 
the incumbency of the Rev. J. M. A. Spence the name was changed to the 
Union Congregational church. 




<_1|J> I. \\\ ilL\ i'l. \l_l. 

Now Residence of James W. Lyons, 
De Pere 



The slips of the Presbyterian church will be rented to the highest bidder for 
each slip for one year on Wednesday, May 7, 1856. 
Sale to commence at three o'clock P. M. 

F. A. Lathrop, 
Clerk Board Trustees. 

The Presbyterian church in Brown county is represented by seven congrega- 
tions : First Presbyterian church and Grace Presbyterian church, Green Bay, 
the First Presbyterian church of De Pere and church organizations at Preble, 
Humboldt, Wec^uiock, and Robinsonville. The total membership is about 800. 
Grace church. Green Bay, and the Robinsonville church are both French Belgian 
congregations. Rev. H. W. Kunz, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, Green 
Bay, had done much to advance the general welfare of the community as well 
as the work of his own denomination. 

The Presbyterian church in De Pere was organized in 1849 by Rev. John 
Stewart, of Warrentown county, New Jersey. A church was erected in 1854, 
and was esteemed a most godly congregation by the less peaceful members of 
that faith in Green Bay. A Congregational church was organized on April 18, 
1866. Previously its congregation had worshipped in the Presbyterian edifice. 
A chapel was built in 1868, and rebuilt in 1875. They now have a comfortable 
church in West De Pere. 

The tirst Methodist service was conducted at the garrison by Colonel Samuel 
Ryan. In 1832 the New York conference sent as missionary to the district about 
Green Bay the Rev. J. C. Clark, who on his arrival preached at the fort to both 
soldiers and citizens and also formed the first class consisting of Samuel Ryan, 
class leader, and three other members, one of whom was Mrs. George M. Brooke, 
wife of the commandant. In 1834, Rev. George White was appointed to the 
mission and the following description is given of the church during his pastorate: 
'Tn 1836 the writer passed through Green Bay enroute for St. Louis, and 
remained two weeks in the small hamlet. Simday services were no longer held 
in the Fort Ploward block house as in former years but were continued in a 
little yellow wooden schoolhouse just in rear of what is now the Citizen Bank 
building, where a fraternal arrangement existed between two rival sects. 

"The Protestant Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal ministers took turn about 
in the services, the one officiating in morning, the other in evening, and vice versa ; 
the two clergymen. Rev. Richard Cadle, a close student, very shy in general 
society and a thorough churchman, and Rev. George White, the Methodist, also 
retiring and reserved in manner, yet both so permeated with a love for humanity 
and a single eye to their high calling in Christ that no antagonism seemed to mar 
the sacred services. The coalition was temporary only waiting the completion 
of their denominational churches. 

"The stronghold of Methodism still lay on the Fort Howard side of the 
river, the garrison held a number of faithful communicants while outside its 
pickets the delegation was solid for Wesley and his adherents. A few rods 
from the river shore on a slightly rising plateau were the government quarters 
of families outside the fort, who yet were attached to the United States army. 
First in order came the two fine buildings of hospital and surgeon's quarters, 


from thence ran along the river shore in straight hne a row of modest picturesque 
cottages, vine covered and flower enameled, wherein resided Col. Samuel Ryan 
and his excellent wife, both of them head, front, and very foundation of Metho- 
dism, the Stoddards, the Hubbards and Col. David Jones, all members save the 
last named. And thus when the little company of worshippers were transplanted 
in 1835 to the small wooden schoolhouse on east side of river, it took in quite a 
notable set in military rank and social prestige. 

"The new church was completed in 1836, and when the writer returned from 
a tw^o weeks" sojourn in St. Louis, in 1837, it had been for some months in use and 
fully equipped. It was fifty by thirty-tive feet in dimensions with no gallery 
for singers, only raised seats at entrance opposite the pulpit. There were fine 
voices in the choir here and from Sunday to Sunday for several years, a more 
than average of intelligent and appreciative audience gathered. 

"Of the fault in executive management and church afifairs that resulted in 
bankruptcy of finance and final sale to the Roman Catholic congregation of the 
beloved church building on the square I have slight knowledge. It proved a 
most unfortunate episode and brought much depression and discouragement for 
several years." 

The first church built on the property facing Jackson square was completed 
in 1858. This became unsafe and was torn down when the present modern 
and convenient edifice was erected. 

In 1S67 the h'irst Alethodist church was divided and residents of Fort How- 
ard formed a separate congregation taking the name of St. Paul's Methodist 
church. A new church has been built within recent years, a neat, comfortable 
and suitable structure. The congregation is in a flourishing condition. 

In addition to those already named. Green Bay has the (jerman Methodist 
Episcopal church of which Rev. A. H. Copplin is pastor, and a south side Metho- 
dist church. Rev. Eugene Nelson in charge. 

The first Methodist organization in De Pere was begun in 1850, and a 
church built si.x years thereafter. 

Wrightstown also has a Methodist church organized a number of years ago. 

During the '50s a number of church organizations were effected. The 
Moravian cluu'ch on Jackson square between Madison street and Monroe avenue, 
was organized in 185 1, with a full membership of 200, and was dedicated in 
1852. Rev. J. F. Fett was the first pastor and remained with the congregation 
twelve years. This clergyman taught a parochial school to which a number of 
the English-speaking residents sent their children in order that they might have 
the advantage of imbibing the German language in the classes of this e.xcellent 
instructor. The pretty quaint building has been enlarged but the good propor- 
tions are retained. 

Tl* West Side Moravian church. Rev. Albert Haupert in charge, is a pro- 
gressive congregation, yet thoroughly orthodox. It was organized in 1875. 

"June 12, 1851. 
"Notice: — The Baptists of this place and vicinity will (by permission) hold 
their meetings in the schoolroom in Mr. Goodell's building opposite the town 
hall. The Rev. Thomas M. Symonds, Baptist clergyman, recently of Massa- 
chusetts, will preach regularly every Sabbath. Services commencing in the 


morning at 10:30 o'clock, and in the afternoon at 2 o'clock. Prayer-meeting at 
7 in the evening. Sabbath school for the present will meet immediately after 
morning service." 

This was the beginning of the First P.aptist church which was removed to 
Fort Howard in 1854. The first church building was of wood, twenty by forty- 
four feet, fronting Chestnut street, between Main and Hubbard, and was built 
in 1873. In 1874 it was moved to form part of a new edifice of veneered brick 
of which the cost was $8,000. In recent times it has been much enlarged and 
a fine assembly room and gymnasium added. The present pastor is Rev. S. G. 

Wrightstown has a Baptist congregation as well as Methodist, German 
Lutheran and two Roman Catholic churches. 

For several years there was a small congregation of Baptists on the east side 
but the church has within the past year been sold to the Grace Lutheran con- 

The following excellent article on the Lutheran churches in Brown county 
has been written for this work by \V. A. Speerschneider : 


The history of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Brown county, Wisconsin, 
is quite extensive, since there are nineteen churches of the Lutheran faith and 
five parochial schools in Brown county. This does not include the Lutheran 
church organizations that have no church, of which there are three. The churches 
are not very pretentious, with the exception of the Lutheran church at Wrights- 
town, which was just completed last year at a cost of $20,000. 

The language used for the most part in the services is the German language, 
there being only two Norwegian Lutheran churches, and one Danish Lutheran 
church. The use of the English language in the services and instructions instead 
of the language of the fathers, has shown itself to be of great value to the 
younger generation where used, they being instructed in the doctrine of the 
church in the language they understand, and consequently remain within the 
church. Although only some of the churches have begun to use the English 
language, it has brought about wonderful results where used. 

The Lutheran church had its beginning in Brown county in Green Bay, 
when fifty years ago Rev. Reim came directly to Green Bay from Germany ; 
because a Milwaukee Lutheran minister heard of the need of a Lutheran min- 
ister at Green Bay. The first organization was efifected shortly after Rev. Reim's 
arrival, at the old courthouse ; services were held there for a time, but later 
they rented a Methodist church in the near neighborhood and shortly after- 
wards built the First German Lutheran church, which is standing today. It 
barely escaped being burned in the great fire in 1881. 

Rev. Goldamer followed Rev. Reim, and Rev. Upham succeeded Rev. 
Goldamer. During Rev. Upham's pastorate a Lutheran orphans' home was 
established at Green Bay, which was moved to a different city later. These 
first ministers at Green Bay, Rev. L. R. P. Pieper, who started a church at 
De Pere in 1869, Rev. Burman, Rev. H. Rieke, Rev. P. H. Hollerman, and 
Rev. F. Proehl, who were at Pittsfield and neighboring places, did a great deal 


of missionary work in the early years, out in the surrounding country of Green 
Bay, Depere, and Pittsfield, holding services at the homes of the farmers, or 
in the district schoolhouse — usually a little log cabin — where there was one. 
Where a minister's whole time was badly needed a minister would be called and 
in that way the many different Lutheran churches were established. The above- 
named ministers of Green Bay made regular trips every Sttnday afternoon to 
Bay Settlement, where services were held at the Speerschneider home. No 
matter what kind of weather and with nothing of a road, the minister would go. 
I know the above-mentioned Rev. F. Froehl to have had seven preaching places 
at one time. This will give an idea of the extent of the work of some of the 
missionaries. I will mention some of the fruits of their labors. There are 
chtirches at the following places : West De Pere, Wrightstown, Greenlcaf, Mor- 
ristown, Wayside, Denmark, Eaton, Ashwatibenon, Luxemburg, Pine Grove, 
Shirley, Pittsfield, two at Kaukauna; three congregations hold services at one 
church at Fontenoy, a German, a Danish and a German and English congrega- 
tion. There are four Lutheran churches at Green Bay, two German congregations, 
the First German Lutheran church. Rev. J. Siegrist ; St. Paul's Lutheran church. 
Rev. Zich ; a Norwegian Lutheran church, Rev. Bongsto, and a German and 
English Lutheran congregation or Grace Lutheran church. Grace Lutheran 
church is the yotmgest congregation in Green Bay, but in spite of its youth it 
has already attained the strength of a man. Organized on the i8th day of 
December, 1908, with eighteen communicant members, it has grown so that it 
numbers about three hundred today. For years a number of Lutherans in Green 
Bay felt the need of English services and when upon the recjuest of a local 
Lutheran pastor the Mission Board of the Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio sent 
an English-speaking minister to Green Bay they were ready to encourage and 
support him in his work. Rev. Kuhlman, of Oshkosh, was the man who ministered 
to the spiritual needs of these people both in public services and in private 
pastoral work. When the work in Green Bay, which he carried on in conjunc- 
tion with his work in Oshkosh, had advanced far enough to recjuire one man's 
entire time and attention. Rev. C. Birkhold was called to the field. After 
laboring for several months he was succeeded by Rev. Pagels. During the 
latter's pastorate the organization of the mission into a congregation was effected. 
Rev. Paul Hein, the executive officer of the Home Mission Board was present 
at the meeting and drew up the articles of organization and helped the congrega- 
tion to lease the old Central Baptist church for its services for a year. After 
several months of faithful work Rev. Pagels left for Columbus, Ohio, to con- 
tinue his theological studies. Rev. Pagels is carrying on similar work at De Pere 
and Fontenoy at the present time. Rev. O. Gerbich succeeded Rev. Pagels at 
Green Bay for a number of months. On May 2, 1909, the present pastor. Rev. 
L. Gast was installed in his office as the first regular pastor of the congrega- 
tion. On March 21, 1910, the congregation bought the Central Baptist church 
property located at the corner of IVLidison and Moravian streets. The Grace 
Lutheran church lays claim to being the first Lutheran church in Firown county 
to introduce regular English services. It also claims to have the only Sunday 
school in Brown county where the English language is used exclusively. The 
object of the church is to preach and teach the faith of the fathers in the lan- 
guage of the children, and it is mainly to this that it attributes its rapid growtli. 


The church is in a flourishing condition financially and bids fair to become one 
of the largest Protestant congregations in Green Bay, and one of the largest 
Lutheran churches of Brown county. All societies, of which there are a Ladies' 
Aid Society, the Luther League and the church choir, are active and prosperous. 
The congregation has just completed a fine, new and modern parsonage and 
hope soon to follow this up with a new church, for "God's word and I^utJier's 
doctrine pure ever shall endure." 

(References for Chapter XXII: Wis. Hist. Colls.; Rev. L. A. Ricklin, "Rec- 
ords of St. John's Parish ;" Rev. William Crawford, "God's Providence for Forty 
Years;'' Mrs. Elizabeth S. Alartin, "Methodism in Wisconsin;" Rev. J. F. Kieb, 
"Souvenir Reference Manual of Christ Church.") 

^ I, 

\ v.^- 


There were a iiunilier of good private libraries in Green Bay and De Pere 
at an early day. Among the French inhabitants were to be found finely bound 
volumes of the French poets, and the first permanent American settlers brought 
with them their libraries of books, largely of a religious nature with a few works 
of fiction scattered between. Saturday, August i8, 1838, in the Wisconsin Demo- 
crat, edited by Charles C. Sholes, appears the first advertisement of a circulating 
library in the whole Wisconsin territory. J. Wilkins announces that "Believing 
that the convenience of an establishment of this kind is much desired he respect- 
fully announces that he has at his shop in Astor a numerous and well selected 
assortment of books. His novels — the popular literature of the day — comprise the 
productions of Scott, Cooper, Buhver, Marryatt, Boz, etc. Books let under usual 
circulating library regulations." 

After this pioneer attempt at a circulating library no efi^ort was made in this 
direction until the firm of Whitney & Reynolds, in the latter part of the sixties, 
started a circulating library in connection with their news depot. Here could 
be obtained all the latest fiction but not much of the more solid reading. The 
latter want was, however, supplied by the Irving Library, a well selected collec- 
tion of volumes organized by the Rev. William Crawford with rooms in the 
Presbyterian parsonage. This library was burned in the great fire of 1880. The 
Boys' Reading Room, with a small collection of books, ran for a number of years 
under the management of Mrs. George Xorth and other philanthropic women. 

The cjuestion of a public library in Green Bay was first mooted in the winter 
of 1883-84. A subscription paper was circulated at that time presenting the 
urgent need of an institution of this description. Rufus B. Kellogg, president of 
the Kellogg National Bank, from the first took keen interest in this project and 
volunteered if the people would raise $2,000 to double the amount. 

The matter remained in abeyance until the fall of 1887, when Mr. and Mrs. 
Arthur C. Neville proposed to start a series of "Evenings in Italy," the proceeds 
to be devoted to a library fund. 

These evenings ran for two winters with gratifying results and Mr. Kellogg, 
when success was assured, again renewed his ofl^er to double any amount made 
in this way in furtherance of his pet scheme. 

In the spring of 1888 a decided step was taken toward the permanent estab- 
lishment of a library. At that time it became necessary for the city to raise 
$15,000 and bonds were issued for that amount. Rufus B. Kellogg purchased 
these bonds, which bore interest at 6 per cent. He then proposed to the city coun- 
cil that if they and their successors would legally bind the city to pay $900 yearly 
for fifty years toward the support of a public library he would return to the city, 



as a free gift, the $15,000 worth of bonds. This generous offer was submitted to 
popular vote and accepted and thus a free pubhc library was founded. In 1900 
Andrew Carnegie gave $30,000 for a library building, application having been 
made to him by Mrs. E. H. Ellis and ?vlrs. George Field. 

The Kellogg Public Library now numbers 22,000 volumes and has an animal 
circulation of 65,000. Three branches are supported in connection with the 
library and under its supervision, the North Branch library on Main street, the 
Union Park Library and the Chestnut Avenue Branch Library. Each year the 
institution extends its influence through the medium of the children's story hour, 
through clubs for boys and girls, and in talks on the use of the library to the 
schools. The officers of the board are; Samuel D. Hastings, president; Mrs. 
Arthur C. Neville, vice president; Elmer S. Hall, secretary; Deborah B. Martin, 
librarian; Frances Last, first assistant; Edith Joannes and Fannie H. Brett. The 
library has received many rare and expensive gifts, including old engravings, 
four original paintings in color by Howard Pyle and eighteen in black and white 
by the same artist. Twenty-six choice antique oriental rugs have also been given 
and add much to the beauty of the main room. 

The De Pere Public Library was first opened on April 11, 1896. The first 
movement toward a free library was made by Rev. Mr. Saloman of the Con- 
gregational church, De Pere, who held a book social as a means of starting a 
library. The plan proved successful and a nucleus of good books was formed. 
Volunteer service was obtained for the opening of the library on certain days, 
Miss Elizabeth Smith doing excellent work in this way. 

This library was, on the organization of a city library, turned over to that 
institution. It has grown steadily and the reading rooms are well patronized. 
Comfortable quarters were obtained in West De Pere for the accommodation of 
the library and have been suitably fitted up for the purpose. 

The De Pere Library has in addition been able to accom])lisli good work 
through the circulation of books in the Holland language. The library now con- 
tains about 6,000 volumes. AI. J. Maes, president; Miss Elizabeth Smith, sec- 
retary ; Helen S. ]\Iatthews, librarian ; Edith R. Matthews, assistant. 

In 1808, the Women's Clul) of Green Bay sent out a number of traveling 
libraries through the county, the books being donated by interested persons. The 
headquarters were at the Kellogg Library, Init at the end of two years, no 
new books having been donated, the plan was discontinued. 

On May 15, 191 2, at the opening session of the Brown County Board of Super- 
visors, a petition was read from a committee of women consisting of Mrs. Frank 
T. Pdesch, Mrs. John F. Martin and Miss Deborah B. Martin, asking permission 
to use the vacated county office building on the corner of Walnut and JeiTerson 
streets as a rest room and meeting place for the women of Brown county. The 
petition was received and referred to the committee on public buildings. It was 
favorably reported and in the afternoon of the same day, the measure was adopted. 

The establishment of a rest room for the women of the county, which they 
could make headquarters while in the city and where they could leave their chil- 
dren to be cared for by a responsible person, was the principal feature of the 
proposition. It was also planned to use one of the rooms for a county museum, 
where the many valuable and interesting historical relics to be found through- 
out the county might be stored with safety. 



t*"^ *^'* »> 





The Brown County Woman's building now stands complete. The front 
entrance opens into a vestibule and this through double doors into the corridor 
which runs through the center of the building. To the right, as one enters, is 
the room that is hoped will be used for a museum. It is now well and suitably 
furnished, through the kindness of interested friends, and for the present will be 
rented for small gatherings. It may also be used for committee meetings, and is 
primarily for the use of the townspeople. The county rest room across the hall 
is for the convenience of families from outside the city only. It will also be 
open for the use of business women of the town and county, and a light lunch, at 
small cost, will be served to those who wish it. The entire north half of the 
building has been made into an assembly hall 49^ feet by 44 feet, from the rent of 
which the trustees hope to meet the running expenses, such as heat, light, water 
tax. telephone service, rent of piano, and salary of matron in charge. On Sunday 
afternoons the building is open to the working girls and women of the city. Light 
refreshments are served, music and other entertainment supplied. Through the 
generosity of the Board of Supervisors, this good work has been made possible. 



Brown county has been represented in important offices of the state and 
to some extent in national government. 

During territorial days Brown county men were prominent in government 
councils and the democratic party in Wisconsin was organized in tlie large as- 
sembly room of the old Astor house in 1841. 

Governor of Wisconsin territory from October 5, 1841, to September 16, 
1844 — James Duane Doty of Brown county. 

Delegates to Congress from Brown county, from the territory of Wisconsin : 
James D. Doty, 1838-1840; Morgan L. Martin, 1845-47. 
Attorney general — Henry S. Baird, December 7, 1836. 
Delegates to the territorial council from Brown county : 

First legislative assembly, 183(3 — Henry S. Baird. President of the council, 
John P. Arndt. Representatives: Ebenezer Childs, Albert G. Ellis, Alexander 
J. Irwin. 

Second session, 1837-38 — members of the council: John P. Arndt, Joseph 
Dickinson. Replaced by Alexander J. Irwin. Representatives: Ebenezer Childs, 
George McWilliams, Charles C. Sholes. 

Special session, 1838 — Council: John P. Arndt, Alexander J. Irwin. Repre- 
sentatives: George McWilliams, Charles C. Sholes, Ebenezer Childs. 

Second legislative assembly, 1838 — Council: Alexander J. Irwin, Morgan 
L. Martin. Representatives: Ebenezer Childs, Charles C. Sholes. 

Second session, 1839 — Council: Morgan L. Martin, Alexander J. Irwin. 
Representatives: Ebenezer Childs, Charles C. Sholes. 

Third session, 1839-40— Council : Morgan L. Martin, Charles C. C. P. Arndt, 
who was shot l)y James R. Vineyard, February, 1842. Representatives: Eben- 
ezer Childs, Charles C. Sholes. 

Fourth extra session. The same delegates. 

Third legislative session council. Same delegates. Representative: Albert 
G. Ellis. 

Second session. Same delegates from Brown. 

Fourth legislative assembly, 1842-43 — Council : Morgan L. Martin. Repre- 
sentatives: Albert G. Ellis, David Agry. 

Second session. Delegates the same from Brown. 
- Third session, 1845 — Council: Rand.-iU Wilcox. Xo representative from 

Fourth session, 184(5 — Council: Randall Wilc(_ix. Representative: Elisha 

Fifth legislative assembly, 1847. No delegate from Brown county in council. 
Representative : Elisha Morrow. 



Special session, 1S47 — Council, no delegate from Brown. Representative: 
G. W. Featherstonhaugh of Brown. 

Second session, 1848 — Representative: G. W. Featherstonhaugh of Brown. 

First constitutional convention of state of Wisconsin, November, 1847 — 
Delegate from Brown county, Henry S. Baird. 

Second constitutional convention, Decemlaer, 1847 — Delegate from Brown 
county and president of the convention, .Morgan L. Alartin. 

Secretary of state, 1852-54, Charles D. Robinson. 

Attorney general, 1860-62, James H. Howe. 

Bank comptroller, 1852-54, James S. Baker. 

The supreme court was not separately organized until 1853, previous to 
which time the judges of the circuit court were ex olflcio justices of the supreme 

Under this ruling Alexander W. Stow of the fourth district was a justice 
from August, 1848, to January i, 1851, and Timothy O. Howe, from January 
I, 1851, to June I, 1853. 

Senators from Brown county — W. J. Abrams, 1868-69; Timothy Burke, 
1909-11; Charles W. Day, De Fere, 1887: Frederick S. Ellis, i864-()5; H- F- 
Hagemeister, 1901, 03, 05. 07; Edward Hicks, 1862-63; Thomas Fludd, 1862- 
63; 1876, ■^■j, 78, 79, 82, 83, 85; David M. Kelly, 1880-81; Myron P. Lindsley, 
1872-73; Joseph F. I.oy, 1854-55; Andrew C. Mailer, 1897, 99; Morgan L. 
Martin, 1858-59; Robert J. McGeehan, De Fere, 1893-95; Matthew J. Meade, 
Green Bay, 1866-67; Eizon W. i'ersons, 1889-91. 

Members of assembly — William J. Abrams, Green Bay, 1864, 65, 66, 67; 
David Agry, Green Bay, 1S48; D. Cooper Ayers, Fort Floward, 1868, 71, 72; 
Peter Bartzen, Flintville, 1873-74; Maurice B. Brennan, Wayside, 1881, 1905; 
Willard F. Burdeau. Flintville, 1901, 1905 ; Timothy Burke, Wayside, 1895; 
Timothy Burke, Green Bay, 1907; David M. Burns, Fort Howard, 1878; Edgar 
Conklin, Green Bay, 1857-58; Joseph S. Curtis, Green Bay, 1869, 71, jz; John 
Day, Green Bay, 1856; Francis Desnoyers, Green Bay, 1854: Dennis Dewane, 
Cooperstown, 1873-76; .Michael Dockry, Morrison, 1S70; Gregoire Dupont, 
Robinson, 1887; Frederick S. Ellis, Green Bay, 1861, 62, 63; John B. Eugene, 
Green Bay, 1868; William T'leld, Jr., De Pere, 1859; Patrick Finnerty, Wrights- 
town, 1887; William Fiimegan, Green Bay, 1903; William }. Fisk, Fort How- 
ard, 1875-76; Michael J. Flaherty, Stark, 1899, iQOi ; Benjamin Fontaine, Green 
Bay, 1880-81 ; Henry Hagemeister, Green Bay, 1893, 95 ; Albert L. Gray, Fort 
Howard, 1879, 82; W. S. f lager. West De Pere, 1907; Edward Hicks, Green 
Bay, 1870: Patrick 1 lobbins. Alorrison, 1874, 78; John M. Hogan, Green Bay, 
1882, 1897; Thomas R. Hudd, Green Bay, 1875; Flenry J. Jansen, De Pere, 
191 1 ; David M. Kelly, Green Bay, 1877, 78, 79; Daniel Lee, De Pere, 1872; 
John F. Lessey, De Pere, 1851 ; Mark Martin, Green Bay, 1864; M. L. Martin, 
1855, 74; R. J. McGeehan, De Pere, 1889, 91; Thomas J. .McGrath, Green 
Bay, 1897, 99; John F. Meade, Green Bay, 1849; Patrick H. Moran, Morrison, 
1882; John C. Neville, i860; John O'Flaherty, Morrison, 1879; Uriel H. Peak, 
Green Bay, 1852; E. W. I^ersons, De Pere, 1887; Lewis W. Peterson, Green Bay, 
1909; James J. Rasmussen, Fort Howard, 1881, 83; E. A. Raymond, Green 
Bay, 1911; JMichael Resch, Green Bay, 1876; William Rice, Morrison, 1878; 
Charles D. Robinson, Green Bay, 1850; David E. Sedgwick, Wrightstown, 


i8S'o; Michael Touhey. Morrison, 1S77; Anton \'ander Heiden, Wrightstown. 
1893; Chester G. Wilcox, De Pere, 1880; Randall Wilcox, De Pere, 1853, 67, 69; 
Ferdinand Wittig, Green Bay, 1909; Christian Woelz, Green Bay, 1872; David 
M. Kelly, speaker of the assembly. 

United States senator — Timothy O. Howe, 1861-79. Representatives: James 
Duane Doty, 1838-40, 1849-51 ; A'lorgan L. Martin, 1847-49. 

In 1885 Thomas R. Hudd was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the 
death of Joseph Rankin, member of Congress from the fifth district and was re- 
elected in 1886, serving until 1889. 

Gustav Kuestermann was elected from the ninth district in 1907. Reelected 
in 1909. 

Timothy O. Plowe, after his retirement from the senate, received the appoint- 
ment of postmaster general in the cabinet of President Chester A. Arthur, serv- 
ing until his death in 1883. 

r.rown county was, up to twenty-five years ago, almost solidly democratic. 
It then became about equally divided and is now republican. The defeat of 
Thomas R. Hudd for Congress in 1889 marked the change in county 
])o1itics. although there are still certain districts strongly democratic. 

In the election of county officials party lines are not closely drawn. The 
city of Green Bay is rather unusual from the fact of never, or at least not within 
the past forty years, allowing politics to sway the elections for city officials. 


A much discussed question in 184S, when Wisconsin adopted a state con- 
stitution was that of "banks or no banks." The great panic of 1837 had left 
a vivid impression upon the minds of the people and the short life of the two 
Wisconsin banks, those at Green Bay and Mineral Point which had gone 
into operation just in time to play their part in the wide-spread ruin in busi- 
ness circles, and add their mite to the great flood of worthless wild-cat bank 
notes that spread over the whole western country at that time, made the people 
of Wisconsin territory wary in its legislation on banking. So jealous were 
the legislatures of the territory of banks and all their works that in every act 
of incorporation for any purpose passed at the difi^erent sessions a clause was 
inserted to the effect that nothing in the act contained should be taken to author- 
ize the corporation to assume or exercise any banking powers. This proviso 
was even added to acts incorporating church societies. For some years there 
can hardly l)e said to have been any banking business done in Wisconsin terri- 
tory ; merchants and business men were left to their own devices in order to 
make their exchanges and every man was his own banker. 

The state constitution prohibited the legislature from incorporating banks 
and from conferring banking powers on any corporation ; but provided that 
the que.stion of banks or no banks might be submitted to a vote of the electors. If 
the decision should be in favor of banks then the legislature might charter 
banks or might enact a general banking law. No such special charter or general 
banking law should, however, have any force until submitted to the electors 
at a general election, and approved by a majority of votes cast on that subject. 

In 1851, the legislature submitted the question to the people and a majority 


of the votes were cast in favor tif l:)anks. Accordingly, the legislature in 1852 
made a general banking law which was submitted to the electors in November 
of that year and approved by them, Provision was made for a bank comptroller, 
whose main duty it was to see that countersigned circulating notes were issued 
to banks only in jiroper amounts for the securities deposited and upon com- 
pliance with the law, and that the banks kept these securities good. 

As first bank comptroller of the state, James S. Baker proved a most trust- 
worthy official, lie organized the office admirably and carried out his impor- 
tant trust with the strictest fidelity. A contemporary review of Comptroller 
Baker's work says : ''To his administration may be attributed at least a part of 
the good standing and credit which our banks, and incidentally our state, enjoy." 
Air. Baker's term of office expired on October 22. 1S53, and he absolutely 
declined to be a candidate for reelection. 

In 1853, the Brown county newspapers began to talk "ijank" |)ersistently, 
and on June 22, 1854, the Fox River Bank was organized in (3reen Bay, with 
a capital of $25,000, and with authority to increase this to $500,000. Sixteen 
years had passed since the disastrous collapse of the two banks of Green Bay 
and De Pere and the prospects seemed bright for the new banking institution. 
Joseph G. Lawton was elected president and Francis Desnoyers, cashier. On 
-March 20, 1856, a letter from De Pere mentions the Brown Countv Bank of 
that city. 

In 1859, the I'.ank of Green Bay was established by Henry Strong, with M. 
D. Peak as cashier. Later the name was changed to the First National Bank, 
Banking matters ran along pretty smoothly until the election in i860 of the 
republican presidential ticket and the consequent agitation in the southern 
states threatening civil war. The effects were speedily felt ; first in the great 
depreciation of the bonds of the southern states and then in a less decline in 
those of the northern states. During the winter following, there was uneasiness 
in regard to our state currency and continuous demand upon the banks for the 
redemption of their circulating notes in coin. Many banks of the wild-cat sort 
failed to redeem their notes which became depreciated and uncurrent, and when 
the rebellion came to a head, by the firing on Fort Sumter, the banking interests of 
tlie state were threatened with destruction by compulsory winding up and en- 
forced sale at the panic prices then prevailing of the securities deposited to secure 

In i8()i, the following named banks of Brown county are said to be sound 
and well secured, either by state stock or individual res])onsibilitiy or both. 


In the early part of the '60s, Otto Tank organized the hort Howard Bank 
and as early as 1864 the City National Bank was incorporated in Green Bay, 
with G. A. Lawton as president and C. Kruger, cashier; and during the '70s 
was officered by \\'. J. Fisk as president ; J. H. Flmore, vice president, and 
H. G. Freeman, cashier. 

In 1874, the Kellogg National Bank was established by Rufus B. Kellogg 
of Oshkosh, and afterward of Green Bay. 

l'lKr^T HA,\K i ;( 1 1.1 '1 .\u I.N ilK I'Kl.'K, l>.'.ii 

.\lUi;A\'IAN CHURCH, 1850 




The McCartney Bank in Fort Howard was incorporated in 1882 as a state 
bank, and in 1892 was made a national bank. David McCartney, president. 

The Citizens National Bank was organized in 1888, with John Paley, president. 

De Pere, in 1881, had two banks: The First National, Rufus B. Kellogg, 
president, organized in 1878 as the Kellogg Banking Company, and succeeded by 
the State Bank of De Pere in 1900, and the banking institution of H. R. Jones, 
organized in 1872. 

The banks in Brown county at the present time are, in Green Bay, in order 
of organization — Kellogg National Bank: President, H. F. Hagemeister ; cash- 
ier, John Rose. ;\IcCartney National Bank: President, J. H. Tayler; cashier, 
G. A. Richardson. Citizens National Bank: President, H. S. Eldred ; cashier, 
H. P. Klaus. Bank of Green Bay: President, P. F. Dorschel ; cashier, H. R. 
Erichsen. Farmers" Exchange Bank: President, J. H. Osterloh ; cashier, A. 
L. Cannard. 


State Bank: President, J. S. Gittins ; cashier, C. G. Scott. National Bank 
of De Pere: President, A. G. Wells; cashier, J. B. Brockman. 


Farmers' and Traders' Bank: President, J. PI. Tayler; cashier, C. W. 


Wayside State Bank: President, T. liurke ; cashier, O. M. Boock. 


Denmark State Bank: President, Mitchell Joannes; cashier, G. G. DeBroux. 


New Franken State Bank: President. A. L. Greiling; cashier, C. Duc|uainc. 


Pulaski State Bank: President, J. Peplinski ; cashier, F. K. Raniszewski. 


Colonel Samuel Ryan, of the Appleton Crescent, thus recalls early days of 
journalism in Wisconsin : John V. Suydam brought the first press into Wis- 
consin and issued the first few numbers of the Green Bay Intelligencer in 1833; 
General Ellis coming in afterward. In 1836, that paper and the Wisconsin 
Free Press, edited by Joseph Dickenson and M. L. Martin, were superseded by 
the Wisconsin Democrat, H. O. and C. C. Sholes, publishers, and Charles C. 
Sholes, editor. 

In 1840 the Democrat was removed to Kenosha. In 1841, John V. Suydam 
and J. G. Knapp got hold of the old Intelligencer press in Madison, wagoned it 
to Gre-en Bay and started the Phoenix. A fire ate that up in 1842, all save one 
form and a half printed issue, and we helped to get out its last number on the 
press of the Green Bay Republican, a paper started in September, 1841, by 


H. O. Sholes and in which estahhshment we soon after officiated as the devil, 
carrier and editor all at the same time. 

Still another description of early printing in lirown county is from the pen 
of Frank Tilton and was written hi 1904: 

"Tlie first printing done in the great territory lying west of Lake Michigan 
was done in Green Bay by A. G. Ellis, a young man who came here from the 

A Green Bay merchant had lost his store and other property by fire, and a 
lottery scheme was devised to give him a fresh start. Just how the type happened 
to lie here does not appear, but the type for the lottery tickets was set up, and 
for want of a press the impression was taken liy means of a muffled planer and 
mallet. For the benefit of the uninitiated the planer is a smooth block of wood. 
The type was inked, the paper laid on it. the planer was covered with soft woolen 
cloth, and struck down from the mallet, giving an im])ression fnim the type on 
the paper. 

The first paper printed here was. I believe, the first in the great northwest. 
It was started on December 4. 1830. Ijy John P. Suydam and bore the name of the 
Green Bay Intelligencer. A. (j. Ellis early became connected with it, and Mr. 
Suydam soon retired. leaving him sole proprietor. In 1834, Ellis associated with 
him in the imblication of the paper C. C. P. Arndt, who was killed in the terri- 
torial ca])itol by \"ineyard in 1842. Messrs. Ellis and Arndt conducted the paper 
with various periods of suspension until 1836, when it was sold to C. C. Sholes, 
afterwards democratic member of the legislature. He took his brother in part- 
nershi]) but soon after the paper was discontinued. 

The next venture of Cireen I'.ay in the newspaper line was the Wisconsin 
Free Press, R. Stephenson, proprietor, and Joseph Dickenson, editor, established 
in 1835. In 1836. the offices of the Intelligencer and the Free Press were 
united and the Wisconsin Democrat made its appearance with 11. O. and O. C. 
Sholes as proprietors. It was the first paper to advocate the formation of a 
democratic party in Wisconsin. The office, with most of the business portion 
of Green Bay, was destroyed by fire in 1840 and the Sholeses moved to South- 
port, now Kenosha. 

In September, 1S41, the Green Bay Republican, a whig paper, was started by 
an association with H. C. Sholes as publisher, and C. C. P. Arndt. editor. After 
the tragic death of the latter, H. S. Baird was editor for a time. Sam Ryan, Jr., 
who entered the office as devil when it was started in November. 1844, assumed 
control of the paper and changed its name to Republican. Ryan afterwards re- 
moved to .\ppleton and made himself a name as the venerable ])roprietor of the 
Appleton Crescent. 

Also in 1841 there was established in Green Bay a paper known as the 
Phoenix, with J. V. Suydam as publisher, and Judge J. D. Knapp as editor, but 
it was burned on December 22d of the same year. 

Up to this time the papers had all been short lived, but on the 13th day of 
August, 1846. the first number of the Green Bay Advocate was issued by the 
brothers Charles D. and Albert C. Robinson from Buffalo, New York, the former 
as editor. It was published uninterruptedly from that date and is now (in 1904) 
in its fifty-eighth year. The presses and most of the type were second-hand, 
procured from the office of the Buffalo Pilot. The paper .has always been demo- 


cratic. and in 1851, '52 and '53, Charles D. Robinson was secretary of state and 
was once a candidate for governor. In the early days, when he was absent 
from home, his wife now and then handled the editorial quill, and once came a 
good joke on him, by bringing out an issue of the paper advocating the opposite 
political faith. 

This paper had a continuous existence under the same management until 
Dorr Clark on March 8, 1875, was added to the firm. After the death of Colonel 
Robinson in 1886 the paper was continued under the management of Colonel 
Robinson's widow, Airs. Abbie Ballon Robinson, and of Albert C. Robinson. 
Later the Advocate was sold to David Decker of Casco, and published by him 
under different editorships until it was dissolved in 1906, after a continuous 
existence of sixty years. 

Soon after the advent of the Advocate into Green Bay the Ryan brothers 
discontinued the Republican and the Advocate remained up to 1850 the only 
newspaper published in Brown county. In that year Baldwin and Thayer com- 
menced the publication of the Depere Advertiser and continued it one year. In 
1852 White began the publication of a sheet called the Regulator and published 
it intermittently for several years. In i860 the Bay City Press began its career 
in Green Bay. It was published by John Lawe, and edited successively by Wil- 
liam Green and Harry E. Eastman. It was a spicy sheet and during the war 
received news from the front and issued separate bulletins to keep the people 
informed of special items of interest. The Bay Press was discontinued in De- 
cember, 1862. 

In 1858, a German paper, the (ireen Bay Post, was published and edited 
Ijy Jacob Fuss of Green Bay. Later a daily sheet was published for about a 
year, called the Banner. This paper was succeeded by another German j^aper 
called the Volks Zeitung and the Concordia. 

On February i, 1866, the Green Bay Gazette was incorporated by George C. 
Ginty, who continued as publisher and editor until the early part of the year 
1868, when James Tapley and Dwight I. Follett purchased the paper. Tapley 
was only connected with the firm for a short time and on January i, 1870, George 
E. Hoskinson assumed the editorship of the State Gazette, as it was then called. 
The size of the paper was increased to 30x24 inches. In November, 1871, the 
Gazette began a daily paper. 

The appointment of G. E. Hoskinson in 1873 to the consulship in Jamaica 
threw the management of the (^iazette on D. I. Follett, although Hoskinson con- 
tinued his connection with the paper, and it was published both as a daily and 
weekly in 1888. 

On the death of D. I. Follett, his widow, Mrs. Rosamund Follett, edited and 
published the Gazette acceptably until her failing health necessitated the securing 
of another proprietor. Negotiations were begun with Walter E. Gardner, an 
up-to-date newspaper man, who had for years been connected with the editorial 
department of the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin, and also with the Sentinel. 
The Gazette, under Gardner's management, became a regular city paper, was 
much enlarged and was well printed and edited. The Associated Press dis- 
patches were first regularly received at this time, no former Green Bay paper 
having attempted anything of the kind. 


The Gazette is now published by the Gazette PubHshing Company, N. C. Pick- 
ard president, and a daily and semi-weekly paper is issued. 

The De Pere News issued its first number in August, 1871. P. R. Proctor, edi- 
tor, continuing under that management for several years. J. H. Halline is the 
present editor. 

The De Pere Facts was first issued in 1881 by J. A. Comerford, and after a 
few numbers had been printed D. E. Hickey became editor and proprietor. The 
De Pere Standard was also published in 1881 by Edward \'an De Casterle and 
John B. Heyrman. During the seventies the Green Bay Globe, a small but 
interesting sheet, was published and edited by Mather D. Kimball. The Fort 
Howard Review and the Fort Howard Herald both came into existence at this 
time, and Der Landsmann, a weekly German paper. The Green Bay Review, 
the former Fort Howard Review, changed its name when the two cities con- 
solidated. In De Pere are published the Brown County Democrat, an excellent 
county newspaper; the De Pere News, and De Pere \'olksstemm, the only Hol- 
land newspaper published in Wisconsin, both edited by J. F. Kuyper, and a 
monthly publication, St. Joseph's Annals. There are also two bright little school 
sheets published by the east and west high schools, Green Ba}- — the Aeroplane 
and Snapshots, respectively. The Denmark Enterprise is published at Denmark, 
its first issue was in January, 191 1. The Green Bay Herald is edited by Louis 



In the address made by James H. Howe of Green Bay on the completion of 
the Fox River improvement, he thus gave a prediction of the coming railroads 
in Brown county. "How better can we inaugurate these auspicious events the 
'good time coming' than by extending to you here the hand of friendship and 
good will, pledging ourselves to rest not with what has been accomplished but 
join hands with you again and again in behalf of all enterprises calculated to 
hasten our material or moral prosperity — nor stop until the iron horse upon the 
land shall answer back to his sister upon the water — until your homes and ours 
shall be bound together with bands of iron — and the interchange of thought 
between us though far softer than the thunder shall yet be rapid as the lightning." 

James H. Howe and his uncle Timothy O. Howe were both deeply inter- 
ested in railway projects that would connect Green Bay with outside cities. 
The Fox River Improvement was more on the line of a great canal and was of 
value in freight transportation, but for speedy connection with eastern cities it 
was not a success. 

In September, 1856, the Milwaukee and Lake Superior Railroad Company 
was brought to the attention of the Green Bay city fathers, and an appropriation 
of $1,000, toward the immediate survey of said road ordered by the city council, 
"as the towns on the line of said road have made the same appropriation be- 
lieving it would result greatly to the interest of this city and to the county of 
Brown to have said road surveyed and located as contemplated this fall." 

There was much discussion in the Green Bay council of January, 1857, ^^ 
to the advisability of subscriptions by municipal corporations for stock of any 
kind, a recent decision in the New York courts having pronounced it uncon- 
stitutional. The continual petitions sent in, by would-be incorporators of plank 
road companies impelled the council to decide that a road of this kind was not 
as practical as a railroad. On January 3, 1857 a committee was appointed to 
consider the means necessary to be taken to aid a projected railroad leading from 
this city to Lake Michigan. The committee reported, and recommended that 
the council communicate with William B. Ogden, of Chicago to procure his 
concurrence and aid; John P. Arndt, David Agry, Thomas Green, Francis 
Desnoyers and Albert C. Robinson, committee. 

William B. Ogden, a capitalist and owner of extensive saw mills on the 
Peshtigo river was as president of the newly incorporated Chicago & North- 
western Railway, the prime mover in bringing the line through Brown county. 
The line as first planned was to run farther to the westward through Shawano 

The Northwestern was a land grant road and it was deemed difficult for 



that reason to change the projected route and retain its grant. To do this, an 
act of Congress was required. Andrew E. Ehnore, then of Muckwanago, Wis- 
consin, an important man in public affairs, was consulted by William B. Ogden 
in regard to the matter, and Mr. Elmore immediately exerted his powerful in- 
fluence and procured the passage of an act of Congress, authorizing the company 
to change its route yet still retain its charter land grant. Upon the passage of 
this act the line was changed to run to Fort Howard and Green Bay. 

Some opposition was manifested apparently for the Bay City Press strikes 
a warning note and reminds the people that it is an easy matter to "change 
the hand of friendship into the fist of resentment." On the whole, however, 
there was enthusiastic support of the impending improvement. 

In July, 1861, William B. Ogden, president of the new road, P'erry H. Smith, 
vice-president, and George L. Dunlap, general manager, with Andrew E. Elmore, 
his son James H. Elmore, then a young fellow of nineteen, Talbot C. Dousman 
and son Hercules came through to Green Bay. 

A meeting was called to consider the railroad project and proved an en- 
thusiastic occasion. Two chairmen were elected to preside, Henry S. Baird, 
then mayor of Green Bay and Dr. Uriel H. Peak of Fort Howard, prominent 
in civic affairs. Rousing speeches were made by the two chairmen, by Dominick 
Hunt, John C. Neville, Otto Tank and other adherents of the enterprise as well 
as by the visiting railway officials. Robert Chappell, president of the Borough 
of Fort Howard was, on the road's completion in 1862, made the first station 
agent at the Fort Howard terminus. A general vote on the railroad proposition 
was called by the County Board for January 2^, 1862. Commenting on it the 
Press says, "The vote for the railroad proposition proved as generally anticipated 
a very light one but as far as heard from favorable to the imposition of the tax. 
We have but little doubt that the proposition has carried in the county by about 
four hundred majority. 

Majorities for proposition: City of Green Bay — 

Borough of Fort Howard; Town of Howard; Bellevue, Lawrence, IVeble; 
Village of De Pere ; Town of Pittsfield; Humboldt. 
Against the proposition : Town of Scott — 
Morrison, Glenmore, Rockland, Wrightstown. 
The towns of Suamico and Depere were not given. 

On the favorable report of the popular vote the county board convened and 
resolved that the sum of $150,000 in bonds to bear interest at eight per cent be 
issued toward the support of the railway proposition. 

In February, 1862, the newspaper item is given that William J. Fisk is begin- 
ning to get out railroad ties "despite opposition." Green Bay city voted $15,000 
toward the enterprise and on May 15, 1862 at a special meeting of the Borough 
Council of Fort Howard, Otto Tank, president, on motion it was resolved : 
"That Otto Tank, D. W. Hubbard and Roswell Morris are hereby appointed a 
committee on behalf of the president and council of the Borough of Fort Howard 
to negotiate with the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company for the pur- 
chase of $15,000 of the stock of said company, and that said committee is author- 
ized to pay and exchange for said stock the sum of $15,000 in the bonds of the 
Borough of Fort Howard." 

It was further resolved that: "Whereas the city of Green Bay proposes to 


aid in the construction of tlie Chicago & Northwestern Raih'oad from Apple- 
ton to Fort Howard by subscription to the stock thereof, the sum of $15,000, 
and whereas, the Borough of Fort Howard proposes to subscribe the same 
amount . . . and whereas it is beheved that a free bridge across the Fox 
River to connect the two said corporations is necessary for the convenience of 
both; Resolved, that we are in favor of uniting with Green Bay in the cost 
of building said bridge as soon as said road shall be in actual progress of con- 
struction, the cost to be apportioned upon the basis of the taxable property in 
each corporation." 

Colonel James H. Howe had resigned from the army in 1863 to accept the 
position of attorney for the Chicago & Northwestern road. The road from 
Appleton to Fort Howard was built during the summer of 1862. The majority 
of the men who went to the war from Brown county in 1861 were carried by 
the Fannie Fisk to Appleton, where they took the Northwestern road. On the 
first of May, 1861, the Green Bay Advocate started a daily bulletin of news 
from the front and the following account of how this ambitious enterprise was 
accomplished is thus told by Erastus Root, one of "the boys" from the Advocate 
office who carried out the project. 

"The Bulletin," the tirst daily paper printed in Green Bay, was issued from 
the Advocate by Charles D. and Albert C. Robinson. It was started in the 
early spring of 18O1, and was continued until the Chicago & Northwestern 
reached here in November, 1862. 

We had neither railroads nor telegraphs at tliat lime, and the cjuickest way 
of communicating with the outside world was by steamboats on the Fox river 
and Lake Winnebago, they running daily between Green Bay and Oshkosh, to 
which latter place the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad had been built on its 
way north. 

It required a day's time for each Ijoat to make the trip — one starting from 
Green Bay and the other from Oshkosh early in the morning, about five o'clock. 
Considerable time was required going and coming in passing through the eighteen 
or twenty locks on the route, as the elevation of Lake Winnebago is one hundred 
and seventy feet higher than at Green Bay. 

The plan of getting the news was a good one. The Advocate had a minia- 
ture printing office on each boat. There were racks and cases. The transfer- 
ence of type, etc., from the boat going south to the one coming north was not 
always at the same lock — but was Appleton or a little north. The distriijuting 
and setting of the type was generally done in the clerk's room. 

Upon starting on the return trip the compositors had to select the most im- 
portant telegraphic news from the latest city dailies, which papers were always 
on hand for them. The work of setting the type had to be accurately done 
and ready Ijy the end of the trip to be carried to the Advocate office then located 
on Washington street, on the second floor of the present Weise-Hollman building. 

The following local from the Bulletin of September 2. and the Advocate of 
September 5, 1861, is worth copying here. 

"Good Time — How it is made — A Lake Superior paper acknowledges the 
receipt of the Advocate Bulletin on the same day it is printed — or rather pub- 
lished. Well our paper is a little ahead of everything lately, and the way it 
is done is this: Through the kindness of the officers of Mr. Buck's river boats, 


the Fountain City and the Bay City, who furnish a room for the purpose on each, 
we have the telegraph news put in type every day on board the boat. 

''Two of the boys each with a pair of cases go up the river every morning 
nearly to Appleton, where they meet the returning boat, transfer the cases to 
it, and by the time the boat reaches our docks they have the telegraphic news 
set up. Ten minutes thereafter, our forms are made up and the paper to press 
and before the mail is distributed the Bulletin is circulated about the city. 

"On the evenings when the Swan (Capt. D. Al. Whitney), the Lake Superior 
mail boat leaves this city, the bulletin dated for the ne.xt morning, is thrown 
on board. In the morning it is at Masonville, Bay de Xoquet, and before another 
evening at Marcjuette. So the Lake Superior folks may read the news on the 
evening of the day it is published here, and as soon as many who live not more 
than forty miles from here." 

"The boys" referred to above were of the regular force. Generally two 
went up together, but sometimes there was but one. They were Erastus Root, 
in charge of the first trip, George C. Sager, J. Leslie Cady and later Dwight I. 
and David FoUett. 

The young compositors of the Advocate, as they went up the river m the fall 
of 1862, could see the construction train of the Chicago & Northwestern Rail- 
road as it neared Fort Howard, and on November 10, of that year, 1862, the 
first train entered the borough. There was great rejoicing over the event in 
the twin cities of Green Bay and Fort Howard, all uniting in having a great 
and glorious time. Prominent railroad officials were present, there was a fine 
banquet, champagne flowed like water, everybody made speeches and good ones, 
and satisfaction over the successful termination of the great enterprise was 

The extension of the Chicago (Jt Northwestern road from Green Bay to the 
Lake Superior country, was built in the summer of 1871. It was the year when 
the great fires were burning up the forests of this section and the engineers in 
charge were greatly hampered for this reason in the work of survey. With the 
extension northward and the completion of the Manitowoc division, the Chicago 
& Northwestern now passes through the townships of Wrightstown, Ashwau- 
benon, Lawrence, Howard, Suamico, Bellevue and New Denmark. 

On May 22, 1871, the proposition of the Milwaukee & Northern Railroad, 
that the county take $100,000 worth of stock in that road, was brought before 
the county board and later submitted to popular vote and accepted. 

On November 17, 1871, the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railway made a similar 
proposition which also met with popular approval. William J. Abrams, who, 
from his coming to Green Bay in 1861, had been interested in aiding trans- 
portation facilities in this section, obtained the charter of the Lake Pepin road 
in 1866 while serving as a member of the assembly, and later devoted his time 
and energy toward the completion of the road to the Mississippi. 

David M. Kelly of New York who had come to Brown county in 1870, be- 
came interested in the Green Bay & Lake Pepin project, was its first vice presi- 
dent on the road's incorporation, Charles D. Robinson was elected president and 
James H. Elmore treasurer, of the new railway. Through eastern capital, ob- 
tained by D. M. Kelly, who took the first contracts for the construction of the 







road, and through capital obtained by him from eastern men, the 214 miles of road 
from Green Bay to the Mississippi were constructed. 

The Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railroad was later known as the Green Bay 
& Minnesota, then as the Green Bay, Winona & St. Paul, and now as the Green 
Bay & Western, with railroad offices in Green Bay. The Kewaunee Railroad 
known as the Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western, and under the same manage- 
ment, branches as the Ahnapee & Western to Sturgeon Bay, and as the lola i!s; 
Northern to lola. 

The vice president D. A. Jordan, and the general manager, F. B. Seymour of 
the Green Bay S^ Western both reside in Green Bay. The Green Bay & Western 
passes through the towns of Hobart on the west and Preble on the Kewaunee 

The Milwaukee & Northern Railway Company was incorporated in 1870 
by Milwaukee capitalists, and completed its line to Green Bay on June 19, 1873, 
and regular trains commenced running on the 25th. The road enters the ex- 
treme southwest corner of the county through the town of Holland, passing 
through the townships of Wrightstown, Rockland, Allouez, Depere, Floward and 
Suamico, and the cities of De Pere and Green Bay. Soon after its completion, 
the Milwaukee & Northern was leased to the Wisconsin Central Railroad Com- 
pany, which operated it for many years, when it passed into the hands of the 
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company. An extension of the Mil- 
waukee & Northern was built to the Lake Superior region in 1881, upon the 
road's securing from the state of Michigan a land grant of $4,000,000. This ex- 
tension was at first called the Wisconsin & Michigan Railroad, but was consoli- 
dated with the Milwaukee & Northern, and later the eaitire line passed under the 
control of the St. Paul road. 

The completion of so many railroads in the early seventies brought added 
prosperity to Brown county. A celebration of the. auspicious event was held 
in January, 1872, at Turner's hall, Green Bay, whicli iax gayety and hilarity 
was long remembered. The three roads, Chicago & Northwestern, Milwaukee 
& Northern and Green Bay & Lake Pepin, were all appropriately represented. 
A sumptuous banquet was followed by a ball of exceptional splendor, the mottoes 
of the several roads were entwined with evergreens and the distinguished out of 
town guests went away, it is recorded, highly pleased and congratulatory of 
the successful completion of the several roads, to so hospitable a town. 


In 1824 the United States mails were conveyed during the season of naviga- 
tion by the irregular and tardy conveyance of sail vessels, and the inhabitants 
were for weeks and months at a time without intelligence of what was passing 
in other parts of the world, from which they were as completely isolated as 
though on a desert island. During the winter the mail was carried on a man's 
back through the trackless wilderness between Green Bay and Chicago once a 
month. The privilege was purchased partly by voluntary contributions of the 
citizens and partly from an allowance from the United States quartermaster's 
department, and the military post at Fort Howard. The government at Wash- 
ington found it would not pay to establish a mail route or defray the expenses 


of carrying the mail and decreed that no expenditure could be made by the post- 
office department for that purpose. If the mail was delayed beyond its usual 
time the carrier was supposed to have fallen a victim to starvation or been 
detained by Indians. 

In 1832 Alexis Cleremont, at that time a man of twenty-four, began to make 
regular trips between Green Bay and Chicago, the contractor being Pierre Ber- 
nard Grignon. He would start from the postoffice in Shantytown, taking the 
Indian trail to Manitowoc. Only twice would he see the lake between Green 
Bay and Milwaukee — at Sauk river, twenty-five miles north of Milwaukee and 
at Two Rivers. From Milwaukee he went to Skunk Grove, theji to Gros Point, 
where he struck the lake again, and would see no more of the lake after that 
until he reached Chicago. 

Cleremont never made these trips alone, an Oneida Indian always accom- 
panied him. The load was limited to sixty pounds each, and they usually car- 
ried that weight. As a rule it took a full month to make the round from Green 
Bay to Chicago and return. In addition to the mail bag, each man carried two 
shot-bags filled with parched corn ; one of them hulled, the other ground. For 
the greater part of their diet they relied upon the Indians, or on the game they 
could kill ; the bags of corn were merely to fall back upon in case the Indians 
had moved away, as they were apt to, on hunting and fishing expeditions. At 
night they camped in the woods, wherever darkness overtook them, and slept in 
the blankets which they carried -ifi 'addition to the mail pouch on their backs. 

The pay for these early carriers w^s from $60 to $65 for a round trip, although 
in the fall when travel was especially hard, nt sometimes reached $70. It was 
a hard life and the four Veal^'- tramp meant .in winter, in addition to hunger 
and cold, the danger of snow- blindness which often crippled the carrier. His 
important mission did not always ensure., friendly treatment from the few houses 
lying along his route, ancl if money, as well as provisions gave out, he was in 
bad case. 

Cleremont made the route between (jreen Bay and Chicago until 1836, when 
he was transferred to that of Portage and Fort Winnebago, following the mili- 
tary road from Green Bay. P. B. Grignon was a mail contractor for many years, 
carrying mail between Green Bay and Alihvaukee, during the forties ; the carrier 
usually going by pony transportation. Tlie i)istol holsters to hang in the saddle 
bow for protection on this lonely route are preserved in the Kellogg public 
library. Later a regular stage line was estaljlished along the bay and river route 
and to inland towns and this mode of mail distribution was continued until rail- 
roads threaded the entire country, and the rural mail service was instituted for 
villages off the line. 

In 1834 boats would come to anchor opposite Fort Howard, and the go\-ern- 
ment boat would immediately come out with anyone who happened to be on 
hand to inquire for mail from the garrison. The passenger on a small schooner, 
commanded by Captain Lawrence, says that he had not realized the necessities 
of the people in this far off post and the absolute lack of news, until he saw how 
bitterly disappointed two men from the fort Captain Cruger and Doctor Worrell 
seemed to be, when told there was nothing in the way of mail lirought on the 

The net proceeds of the Green Bay postoffice according to the government 




census of 1840, averaged $682.69, as the entire population of Brown county at 
that time was 2,107. On the seventh of June, 1838, proposals were invited by 
the postmaster general for carrying the mail from January i, 1838 to June 30, 
1842 on the different post routes throughout the territory. The majority had 
weekly service, but on five of the routes it was to be carried tri-weekly. These 
were from Milwaukee to Green Bay and Green Bay to Fort Winnebago. From 
Chicago to Milwaukee, four-horse post coaches were to be used, but on the 
majority of routes the carrier on foot was the accepted mode of mail transporta- 
tion. There was not a daily mail throughout Wisconsin territory. 
On August 20, 1846, the "Mail Arrangements" were as follows: 


The mail leaves for ^Milwaukee via Sheboygan, ^londays at 4 o'clock, A. M. 
Via Fond du Lac on Thursdays at 4 o'clock, A. M. Arrives via Sheboygan on 
Wednesdays at 6 o'clock A. M. \'ia Fond du Lac on Saturdays at 7 P. M. 

Mails close on Sunday and Wednesday evenings at 8 o'clock P. ^I. Letters 
should be deposited in the office by 7 o'clock P. J\L 

The office will be open on Sundays from 8 to 9 A. M. and from 6 to 7 P. M. 
for the reception of letters to be prepaid. 

J. S. FiSK, P. M. 

In large black type under date of March 16, 1848, the Advocate advertises 


"We hear that the U. S. Mail was lost on Tuesday, the i4tli inst, on the 
Milwaukee and Green Bay route, some ten or fifteen miles beyond Fond du 
Lac. We do not hear particulars." 

The mail was at that date carried in a wagon and it was supposed and the 
explanation given that the mail had been stolen. Paul Juneau and fifteen others, 
started from Milwaukee in search of the robbers but with fruitless result. 

In the morning two Indians, Kittatanee aiM Weseyre, came in and informed 
Narcisse Juneau that they had found a mail bag in the road. Narcisse immedi- 
ately went after it and found its contents all safe, and just as it had dropped from 
the wagon of the careless mail carrier. Among new post routes established by 
a bill passed August 26, 1850, are noted the following for Brown county. From 
Green Bay, via: Bridgeport ( Wrightstown), Konomac. Menasha, Wanekuna, 
Omro, Waukau, Berlin, Bluffton, Namahhkun, ^Marquette, Kingston and Belle- 
f ontaine to Fort Winnebago. From Green Bay, via : Okanto, Mouth of Menom- 
inee River, Cedar Fork, Eskanawba, Wooster, Iron Mountain, Mouth of Carp 
River, and L'Anse to Copper Harbor. From Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay. From 
Green Bay to Kewaunee. From Green Bay, via : Neenah and Wisconsin Rivers 
to Prairie du Chien. From Two Rivers to Green Bay. 

The long lists of uncalled for letters in the Green Bay postoffice during the 
'50s were for the benefit of the towns throughout the county, the residents only 
coming occasionally to town for the mail. At the end of each list is advertised 
Foreign Letters, indicative of the large crowd of immigrants coming to Wis- 
consin without as yet any settled place of abode. 


In 1854 the schedule of routes is pulihslied and shows that the mail from 
Fond du Lac was delivered three times a week, leaving Green Bay on Monday, 
Wednesday and Friday at 4 A. M. and reaching Fond du Lac the same day 
at 10 P. M. During the season of navigation, mail was received from Two 
Rivers three times a week, but the regular mail from Sheboygan only came twice 
a week; once a week from Stockbridge. liids for carrying the mail were called 
for in Washington, and the contract ran for four years. The population of the 
county had increased in 1850, to 6,15,1, but that also included, beside the bay 
towns, territory south to Grand Chute. 

On August 17, 1861, it is recorded that, "By mail coaches we have had the 
mail every day at 4 o'clock." 

The mail service for Lake Superior under the management of Captain Daniel 
M. Whitney, "who directs the motions of the Swan," was an unusually well 
managed route. The mail steamer Sw^an took in the bay circuit with its ter- 
minus. Bay de Noquet, from there by pony express the mails were carried to 
the Lake Superior country. In speaking of Captain Whitney's appointment as 
special mail agent the Press remarks: "If there are any emoluments we con- 
gratulate the Captain for dear knows his Sheriff's office is mighty poor pay just 

When daily boats ran between the railway terminus in the Fox river valley 
and Green Bay, the mails were usually sent that way during the summer, but 
in winter the mail coach brought letters and papers from the eastern and southern 
outside world. With the coming of the railroad the mail coach and boat dis- 
appeared in the river towns as a bearer of mail, but continued for the county at 
large and the bay towns until the continuation of the Chicago & Northwestern 
line to the Lake Superior country in 1871. The rural delivery established by 
government, now delivers a daily mail throughout Brown county and every 
farmer's house has at its gate a mail box for the daily newspaper and letter. 

As towns were set of¥ throughout the county, postoffices were established 
at the points distant from mail centers, for the distribution of mail. A post- 
office was established at Cooperstown as early as 1848, with Allen A. Cooper 
as postmaster. In June 19, 1856, the Wequiock postoffice was in operation with 
John B. A. Masse, postmaster in charge, and doubtless there were others in 
towns throughout the county at an early day. At the city of Green Bay today, 
although all trains do not carry mails, there are 24 mails despatched each day, 
except Sundays, by railway trains and 22 mails received. The postal sales for 
the calendar year 1912 were $86,428.66. 


During the past two hundred years a great variety of boats have been used 
in navigating the river and bay, the first and most widely constructed being 
the birch bark canoe. This graceful, gondola-shaped craft, its building and use 
is minutely described by Baron LaHontan in 1684. He tells of how the large 
clean pieces of bark are stripped from the tree, the workman being very careful 
to select the smoothest and most satiny sections and to peel it from the trunk 
with extreme care in order to preserve it in a large unmarred square, the bark 
being soaked with hot water in the winter season to make it peel easily. 


"The bottom of the Boat is all of one piece to which the sides are so artfully 
sewed by the savages that the whole Boat appears as one continued Bark. They 
are trimm'd and strengthen'd with wicker Wreaths and ribs of Cedar-wood, which 
are almost as light as Cork ; the Wreaths are as thick as a Crownpiece ; but the 
bark has the thickness of two Crowns, and the Ribs are as thick as three. 

"They are very convenient upon the account of their extreme lightness and 
the drawing of very little water; but at the same time their brittle and tender 
Fabrick is, an argument of an equivalent inconveniency ; for if they do but touch 
or grate upon Stone or Sand the cracks of the Bark fly open upon which the 
Water gets in and spoils the Provisions and Merchandise. Every day there is 
some new chink or seam to be gummed over." (LaHontan.) 

The batteau came with the necessity of the fur trade which required stouter 
boats in which to transport merchandise and peltries. These batteaux were dark 
heavily built structures about thirty feet in length. The Canadian boatman who 
paddled or rowed this clumsy craft always sang at his task, keeping time in 
exact rhythm to the beat of the oar. The "Bourgeoise" or captain of the crew 
usually led the song, the crew coming in with a chorus, as for instance : 

"Bourgeoise ; Par derriere chez ma tante, 
Par derriere chez ma tante 
Chorus; Par derriere chez ma tante, 
Par derriere chez ma tante." 

and so on through an endless number of verses. 

"The batteau or canoe was manned, according to size and capacity, by a 
crew consisting of from four to ten Canadian voyageurs. The Canadian voyageurs 
came originally from Canada, principally from Quebec and Montreal. They were 
employed by the principal traders, under written contracts, executed in Canada, 
for a term from three to five years, their wages from two hundred and fifty 
livres to seven hundred and fifty livres per year, to which was added what was 
termed an "outfit," consisting of a Mackinaw blanket, two cotton shirts, a capote 
or loose sack coat, two pairs of coarse pants, shoes, and socks, and some other 
small articles, including soap. Their food, when in the "wintering ground," con- 
sisted for the greater portion of the time, of corn and tallow, occasionally enriched 
by a piece of pork or venison and bear meat when they happened to be plenty. 
With this spare and simple diet, they were always healthy and always cheerful 
and happy. Their power of endurance was astonishing and they would row or 
paddle all day, and when necessary would carry on their backs, suspended by a 
strap or l)and crossing their breast or forehead, large packs of furs or mer- 
chandise, weighing from one hundred to one hundred and thirty pounds, for whole 
days. In the spring of the year, they returned to their settlements or principal 
trading posts, to spend the summer months in comparative ease, and in the 
enjoyments of the pastimes and frolics they so highly prized. Always improvi- 
dent, openhearted and convivial, they saved nothing, nor thought of the wants 
of the future, but spent freely the whole of their hard-earned and scanty wages 
in a few weeks of their stay among their friends. 

It is supposed that the first vessel to float on Green Bay's waters was La 
Salle's "Griffen." The first steamboat was "Walk in the Water." 

John P. Arndt who with Daniel Whitney was ever foremost in commercial 


improvements built a Durham boat in 1823, tlie first to navigate the waters of 
the Fox. The boat was equipped and loaded with a stock of goods for Fever 
river (now Galena) in the lead mine region, the idea being to reload with lead 
and bring it by way of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to Green Bay. After one 
year's trial the scheme was abandoned as impracticable as the boat must be 
carried across the portage usually by ox team. The Durham boat of which much 
use was made on Fox river at an early day was built primarily to navigate 
streams with rapids and shallow water. It was of simple build, from forty- 
five to sixty feet in length, ten to twelve feet beam. 

In building the first Durham Arndt had ditificult}- in jjrocuring the right 
kind of lumber. "Plank was required from twenty to thirty feet long, both pine 
and oak. The mills of Brown county had not heretofore sawed lumber of that 
length, and a whip saw was the only resource. The timber was cut the proper 
lengths, hewn on two sides and by the use of two men and a whip saw made into 
lumber. In some of the old houses in this vicinity, whip sawed lumber can still 
be found, marking the days when sawmills w-ere scarce and small. The prin- 
cipal propelling power of the Durham l)oat was the socket pole with a good 
strong man at the other end of it. The jjole was made of the best and tough- 
est white ash, fifteen feet long, one and a quarter inches in its largest part, and 
tapering to one and one-half inches at the top on which was placed a button to 
ease the pressure on the shoulder. The pocket was of iron, armed with a 
square steel point, well tempered and kept sharp. The ordinary oar was 
seldom used, although one for each man was provided in case of need. A mast, 
sail and oilcloths were a part of the outfit, beside a heavy block and tackle and a 
long tow line. 

"The French voyageur with his batteau carrying a crew of ten or twelve men 
and not quite half the amount of freight transported in the Durham boat, looked 
askance at this marked innovation in river travel, and prophesied that the craft 
was 'too big" and they could not get her 'over the rapids' and so forth, but in 
the end the Durham won out and kept in the front until the steamboat on an 
improved river took its place." (Arndt, Fox River.) 

Six men was the ordinary crew besides the captain or steersman. Three poles 
were set on each side of the boat, and the men quickly and deftly in regular order, 
by a twist of the wrist and the help of the right knee threw the pole into posi- 
tion, walked to the stern end of the boat, returned the pole, set again and became 
so proficient in its use that they easily covered the distance of three miles or a 
little more in one hour in a heavily loaded boat. The Durham boat became the 
accepted vehicle for transportation on the Fox until the "Aquila," the first steam- 
boat of the Fox and Wisconsin improvement made its way through the chain of 
locks and amid general rejoicing landed at Green Bay. 

The following is a record of the season's navigation in 1835, copied from 
day book of that date. List of boats entering and leaving Fox river in 1835: 

May 22 — Little sloop called Frances ; Jesse Smith from Chicago, Captain 

June 8 — The schooner Supply. 

June II — Steamboat Jefferson. 

June 20 — Sloop Frances; Schooner Ohio. 

Tune 21 — Steamboat Michigan. 


July 7_Steamer Uncle Sam ; Schooner Jesse Smith ; Schooner Detroit. 
July 8 — Schooner Minerva; Schooner Marshall Ney. 
July 13 — Steamboat U. S. 
July 2^ — Mariner & Brig Kinzie. 
July 24 — Steamboat Michigan. 

July 26 — Nancy Dousman and the New York; The Gen Warren. 
Aug. II — Schooner Swan. 
Aug. 18 — Marshall Ney. 

Aug. 20 — The Bridget from Chicago ; The Jesse Smith, Chicago ; The Jeffer- 
son from Detroit; The Mariner; The Chancy, a small craft from Staten Island. 
Sept. I — Steamboat Pennsylvania. 
Sept. 2 — The New York. 
Oct. 10 — The White Pigeon. 

Oct. 12 — The Brig Kinzie: Steamer United States. 
Oct. 14 — Sloop Frances. 
Oct. 15 — Steamboat Monroe. 
Oct. 20 — The Mariner. 
Oct. 21 — The Detroit. 
Nov. 2 — The Commerce. 
Nov. 7 — The ( ien. Harrison : Detroit from Mackinaw. 

This list gives the class of boats navigating the bay and river as far as De 
Pere, up to the completion of the improvement, when steamboats as well as Dur- 
ham boats were able to make the trip between Green I'.ay and Lake Winnebago. 

The schooner was the mode of transportation for lumber on the bay. 
It is reported in a letter written in 1850, that the docks look busy, but that there is 
a strange lethargy brooding over the streets of Green Bay and De Pere. Fort 
Howard is reported as more lively, but the reason assigned for this lack of busi- 
ness energy and push is first, the great tracts of land including much of the 
town owned by the American Fur Company magnates and the heirs to their 
estates; second, the military lands owned by the government or by officers who 
have in former times been stationed at the garrison, by the prevailing inefficiency 
and sloth of the French Canadians who depended on fishing and hunting for a 
livelihood, and also to the very ease with which people could get food and fuel 
almost without money or price. A certain amount had been appropriated by 
the Fox River Improvement Company toward the building of docks, warehouses, 
barges and boats. Two freight barges of two hundred tons each were con- 
structed, one freight propeller, of one hundred and forty tons and one steamer, 
the Aquila, of the largest size capable of navigating the river. In addition they 
report one barge as still on the stocks making an aggregate of nine hundred and 
forty tons ready for the season of 1855. 

The exports from Green Bay in 1854, for the year were: 

7,835,000 feet of lumber $70,680 

2,236 barrels of fish 16,282 

21,110,000 shingles 43.9/3 

200 cords of bolts i ,000 

100.000 feet of timljer 6,000 

4,383 bushels of wheat 5483 


162 casks of ashes ( pearl ) 3,000 

1,385 dozen pails 3,oio 

6,150 pounds of butter 1,230 

950,000 lath I ,goo 

Produce ( \egetables ) 3,000 

From the bay shore was brought and shipped from the Green Bay port twenty- 
one million feet of luml^er, and four thousand barrels of fish, making a total in 
valuation of $180,000. 

In 1856, five sail vessels of a morning might be seen on I'"qx river waiting 
for a favorable wind to take them to Chicago and Milwaukee. The Congress, 
India Undine, etc., all heavily laden with lumber. During the winter not a 
transportation line advertised, but early in the spring the boats bloomed out 
with new paint and attractive advertisements. 

Between Bufifalo and Creen Bay "the splendid low pressure steamer Mich- 
igan, Captain A. Stewart in command," cleared alternately every two weeks 
from the port of Green Bay and Buffalo. John and Lewis Day were freight 
agents for this steamer, which probably ran for more years and was more fami- 
liar to the people of this part of the country than any boat that preceded or 
followed her. The Day Brothers did a lucrative transportation business, beside 
being dealers in fish and lumber. Docks were built by them, by the firm of Whit- 
ney & Goodell, and by other river and bay transportation companies. 

Daniel J\I. Whitney's lines of boats w-ere manifold during the '50s and early 
'60s and the Fox & Wisconsin Transportation Company under the management 
of Charles W. and William H. Green in 1856, seem to have been kept busy with 
a prosperous trade. Between Green Bay and Chicago ran the steamer Columbia, 
operated by the Days. With Captain Glazier in command, it plied regularly be- 
tween those ports leaving the dock at Green Bay at seven in the evening every 
ten days, and on the Green line ran the Lorrimer and Cleveland for Chicago. 
On t'ne river the Fannie Fisk made trips three times a week, and the Pioneer 
Aquila and Morgan L. Martin, all on the completion of the locks filled the tri- 
weekly schedule to Menasha. "Those with time can do no better than to put 
it in with Captain Whitney" was the slogan of the press notices of that day in 
recommending passenger traffic on the river. In war times the river boats Bay 
City, Fountain City and Berlin City, under the management of E. A. Buck, did 
a thriving business. 

In February, 1862, the Appleton Belle a "little witch of a steamer" which used 
to run on the old Fox between Fond du Lac and Green Bay turned rebel and was 
burned on the Tennessee river on the approach of a Federal expedition. 

Captain Loy of De Pere was a successful steamboat captain and manager for 
a number of years, and built not a few of the old time river steamboats. He was 
a popular captain in the steamboat line as well as in the army, and his boat, 
the Elwood Loy. was regarded as one of the smartest on the river. A much 
liked clerk on the river boats was Reuben Doud, with "his pseudo-comic coun- 
tenance'' who in after years became a wealthy lumberman. 

The lodging house at one of the sparsely populated river ports is thus de- 
scribed: "The Captain would have been somewhat disappointed I reckon if he 
had seen that night how we warmed ourselves thankfully by the big fireplace 


^^^^'^'^ \ 





which flanked one side of the house, casting a fitful light over the bed of the 
host and hostess, over the trundle bed of the little folks, over the dining table, 
cooking stove, the rifle on the mantel, the ladder that led to the upper floor, the 
watch dog that dozed on the hearth." 

In 1867 the fine side wheelers Saginaw and George L. Dunlap, made daily 
trips to Escanaba, where connection was made with the Lake Superior branch 
of the Northwestern Railroad, which had been built from Marquette to that port. 
The Rocket and Comet commanded respectively by Captain George Gaylord 
and Captain Martin Lake were the favorite route to Buffalo during the warm 

Immediately after the close of the war, the steamer Swan, ]3roving insuffi- 
cient for the mail service, the Sarah Van Epps was pressed into the service. 
This steamer was built at Sorenson's shipyard on the west side of the river, 
and was familiarly spoken of by her crew and those acquainted with her pecu- 
liarities as "the Sally." Robert Campbell worked on her two seasons after his 
return home with the marching 12th. Traffic, both passenger and freight grew, 
the Sarah Van Epps was an uncertain jade, apt to balk when she had gone no 
farther than the Long Tail Point lighthouse. The Arrow was added to the list 
of transportation boats, not the pleasure boat under command of Captain John 
Dennison, that later took out the youth of the whole surrounding country on jolly 
excursions, but a narrow unserviceable craft. 

The Goodrich Transportation Line in 1873, ran the Depere, Truesdell arul 
Oconto, between Green Bay and Chicago, L. J. Day & Company, agents. El- 
more and Kelly's Green Bay elevator at Fort Lloward was doing a rushing busi- 
ness as agent of the Lake & River Transportation Company's line of propellers, 
for the Onondaga Salt Company and for the Green Bay Transit Company and 
various canal lines from Buffalo. Freight of all kinds was handled at the ele- 
vator in addition to grain, salt, lime and coal. 

Thirty-two years after the list of exports for 1854 the record showed in i886, 
653 boats as arriving with a tonnage of 130,221 and 673 departing, having a 
tonnage of 133,403. 

The port of Green Bay is a busy one. During the past year of 1912, the larg- 
est imports are hard and soft coal, barley and lumber. Exports barley, oats and 

In 1912 the arrivals are 632, tonnage 483,608, departures 636, with a tonnage 
of 454,376. A large number of these are great coal barges that unload their 
sooty freight all along the river from Green Bay to De Pere. Fourteen coal 
laden boats discharged their cargoes at De Pere. During the past season the 
boats carried 11,172 tons of soft coal and 11,256 tons of hard coal. The total 
amount was 22,428 tons. 


The upriver business done consisted in handling 2,515,470 bushels of barley 

as imports, and 35,940 tons of soft coal, 8,6)94 tons of hard coal and 528 tons 

of cement as exports. 
Vol. 1—1 9 



By Cyrus F. Hart of Oconto 

"The first regular means of transportation between Oconto and Green Bay 
was established by Captain C. B. Hart, then a boy sixteen years of age. In 1841 
his father Edwin Hart purchased a sailing vessel in Green Bay and loaded in it 
his family of eight children and his wife, their household effects, horses, a cow, 
a yoke of cattle and then they waited for a week for a fair wind to take them 
to their new home in the northern wilderness, where the head of the family was 
to open up a trading post. So one June day, when the wind blew fair they started 
for Oconto, made the voyage safely and landed there in June, 1841. 

"When they reached Oconto the mouth of the river was almost choked with 
sawdust which had been driven in by a northeast wind and it was with difficult)- 
that the family made a landing from the schooner's skiff' which drew but a few 
inches of water. The mills at Oconto had then just recently been erected and 
at that time were allowed to dump their sawdust into the river which was car- 
ried out to the mouth of the stream and whenever there was a wind from the 
northeast, the refuse was blown back into the river choking its mouth and 
impeding navigation. There were three mills here at that time, a steam mill 
• owned by Colonel Jones and two water mills up the river one owned by Colonel 
Jones also, and another by Mr. Hubbell. The only homes were rude shacks sur- 
rounding these places of industry and they were occupied by the mill hands. 

"In those days the mills cut only the best of white pine from the most access- 
ible places and the capacity of each mill was not more than from 10,000 to 12,000 
per day. They were of course operated in the most primitive fashion and it 
was no trouble for a yoke of oxen to keep each mill clear of lumber. The lumber 
was piled on rafts and transferred with kedge anchors to the Chicago vessels 
that were anchored out in the bay to receive it. As many as forty-six sailing 
vessels would be anchored in the bay at one time in the early days. Later the 
lumber was towed out on the rafts by tugs. The site of the present city of 
Oconto was then a tamarack swamp whose intricacies were known only to its 
wild denizens and to the red man who hunted and trapped in its shady realm. 
In those days the howl of a wolf was a familiar sound while the screech of a 
locomotive was as yet tmheard. The qtiavering cry of the loon echoed far across 
the waters of the bay and the whistling wings of the wild fowl traveling to and 
from their feeding grounds tlien assailed the ear rather than the varied and 
unharmonious noises of modern civilization. On the south side of the Oconto 
river there was a populous village of Menominees, scores of their cylindrical- 
shaped v^'igwams lining the bank of the stream. These wigwams were made of 
wild rushes woven together into matting Ijy the scjuaws and they afforded ample 
protection from the inclement weather. Hundreds of birch bark canoes were 
moored to the south bank of the river swinging idly with the stream, scores of 
wigwams lined the river bank above, in irregular rows were the babies strapped 
to their carved and painted boards which served the Indian youngster for a 
cradle. In 1852, Captain Hart bought a two-masted open sail boat, and made 
trips between Oconto and Green Bay as often and as regularly as wind and 
weather permitted. He ran this boat for one year. 


"In 1854 the [Morgan L. Martin, a sidewheeler was put on between Oconto 
and Green Bay, and in 1855 the Pioneer came on in opposition. 

"In 1855 the Queen City owned by John Jacobs of jMarinette was put on be- 
tween Marinette and Green Bay, going down one day and back the next. In 
1856 or 1857 the Fannie Fisk, another sidewheeler was put on in opposition to 
the Queen City. This boat was afterward bought by the government and later 
was sunk in the Red river. In 1865 the steamer Union came to the Marinette- 
Green Bay route, the owners bought up the Queen City and the line was in 
operation up to the time that the Chicago & Northwestern filled in the gap be- 
tween Green Bay and Escanaba in 1871. 

"In 1866 the Hart line was established. The first boat of this line was the 
Oconto, and the next year the Northwest was put on and the line was main- 
tained until the building of the railroad extension. This line was the basis of 
the present Hart system which operates between Green Bay and the Soo. 

"Captain Henry W. Hart engaged in the boat business which was conducted 
by his father and two brothers. Captain C. B. Hart being one of the members 
of the firm and which was purchased by Henry and Cliff in 1864. The head- 
quarters were at Oconto. 

"In 1866 the business was sold, each brother running a side wheel tug 
and towing in and out of Oconto harbor. They built the steamer Northwest in 
1808 which ran between Green Bay and Oconto, and later to Sturgeon Bay. 
She was burned at the Hurlbut docks in 1875. Captain H. Hart moved to Green 
Bay in 1871. The steamer Welcome was built in the winter of 1876 and in 
the fall of 1883 the C. W. Moore was purchased. In 1884 the steamboat ofiices 
were moved from Oconto to Green Bay, Captain C. B. Hart locating here. In 
1888 the Fannie C. Hart was built, and in 1890 the Eugene. The Petoskey was 
also purchased and sold after two seasons. The City of Louisville was pur- 
chased in 1901 and rebuilt and rechristened the Harriet A. Hart, which was 

"The last three boats ran for many years on Green Bay and Lake ^lichigan 
routes between Green Bay city, bay points and as far north as Cheboygan, Mich- 
igan, and the Soo doing an extensive business. Captain Hart, when a boy of four- 
teen, shipped on board a lake vessel in the capacity of cook, from which humble 
position by energy and perseverance he rose step by step in the various experi- 
ences of a sailor's life, at the age of 18 (1864), becoming captain of his own ship, 
the steamer "Eagle." This vessel was built in Oshkosh and was rechristened in 
Oconto, running between Green Bay and Oconto for two seasons after which 
it carried both freight and passengers for a time and was then turned into a 
tug boat for raft towing. 

"Hart's Steamboat Line was founded in 1873 with a capital of $140,000 by 
H. and C. Hart, both able and experienced steamboat men. They built the May 
Queen in Green Bay and ran her on the old line for two seasons, afterward build- 
ing the Northwest and rebuilding the May Queen, which was burned at the dock 
in this city in 1877. The Welcome and the C. W. Moore Henry Hart ran between 
Green Bay and Manistique until 1888, when the Fannie C. was built which has 
since run between Green Bay and Cheboygan, Michigan, This boat was re- 
modeled in 1890. The Eugene was built in 1890 and ran on the same route as the 
Fannie C." 


The transportation lines with offices in Green Bay are the Arnold Transit 
Company, Denessen Line, Hart Transportation Company, and Xau's Tug Line. 


The entrance to Fox river was originally obstructed by three long shallow 
sand bars. The first as boats entered from the north was known as Long Tail 
Point, projecting from the west shore south easterly about four miles. At the 
end of this bar as it existed in 1848, the old stone tower was erected and still 
stands. The second bar about one mile south known as Point au Sable projected 
from the east shore southwesterly about live miles overlapping the Tail Point 

Next south was Grass Island extending from the west shore nearly six miles 
easterly. When the straight cut was made, it was a large island nearly 
covered with cottonwood and willow trees, some over two feet in diameter, and 
was a favorite camping and picnic ground for the residents of Green Bay and 

After the "straight cut" was made the island was gradually washed away by 
the diverted action of tides and waves. 

In entering the harbor in old times navigators were obliged to steer southwest 
to pass the north side of Point au Sable bar, turn sharply around its west end and 
and steer southeast for about two miles along the north shore of Grass Island. 
Then turn sharply around the east end of island and follow its south shore about 
two miles, then a westerly direction south for the mouth of the river. The chan- 
nel forming a letter S around the sand bars. 

The earliest plan for the improvement of the harbor was presented in 1853, 
by Major J. D. Graham and proposed the excavation of a channel from the 
mouth of Fo.x river through Grassy Island. 

In the winter of 1864-65 the first diagram of distances and soundings at the 
mouth of Fox river and head of Green Bay across Grass Island was made at 
the request of Andrew E. Elmore who was then in Washington working to 
obtain an appropriation from Congress for the improvement of the harbor. 

Tames H. Elmore with Captain A. Taylor in January, 1865, made a careful 
survey of distances and took soundings preparatory for making an estimate for 
dredging a channel between the channels at that time existing on both sides of 
the island. The following letter with diagram was sent on January 9, 1865. to 
Andrew E. Elmore, of Fort Howard, at Washington, and formed the basis for 
the amount of appropriation later asked for and received from government. 

"Enclosed I send you draft of distances and soundings at the mouth of the 
river as you desire. 

"The water was low the day we took the measurement and consequently could 
only get eleven feet of water on the south side of the island, as you will see by 
the chart. 

"The bottom of the channel however is mud and propellers drawing 
eleven and one-half and twelve feet of water could get along. 

"The long line on the diagram is the straight cut we have talked of and is more 
direct than that to the east which is about two thousand four hundred and 
seventv-five feet shorter and I think more feasible. 


"We took our measurements each way from the center of the island and the 
figures each side denote the distance in feet from that point — and the small 
figures the depth of water." 

The route suggested by this letter of J. H. Elmore's was later adopted by the 
government engineers and was the basis on which the original estimates were 

In April, 1866. the petition was brought before congress for an appropria- 
tion of $30,500 for the improvement of the harbor at the mouth of Fox river and 
Major J. B. Wheeler of the United States Engineer corps presented estimates 
for dredging a channel two hundred feet wide and twelve feet deep from the 
mouth of the river to deep water north of Grass Island, together with the revet- 
ment of the cut through the island. 

In May, 1867, work was commenced and was pushed so successfully that in 
September the "Queen City" passed through. 

Since then large amounts have been expended in dredging, repairs to piers, 
docking and so forth, until Green Bay has one of the best harbors on the lakes. 

Grass Island light station has a light at each end of the cut ; the lower 
visible thirteen the upper twelve and one-half miles. Both lights are a fixed 
white light of the sixth order. The keeper's frame dwelling is situated on the 
island between the outer and inner lights and is a snug dwelling painted white 
with green blinds and a red roof. The cut is two hundred feet wide and is 
protected by close-piling. Tail Point Lighthouse northeast two and three- 
fourths miles, Point au Sable four and one-tenth miles. 

Numerous buoys mark the channel from Grass Island and u]3 Vox river. A 
black spar buoy marks the end of the spit which extends in a westerly direction 
three and one-half miles from Sable point, the old Indian camping ground, and 
shows the route taken by all sailing vessels before the cut was made through 
Grass Island. 

Long Tail Point is situated five and one-half miles north-northeast from the 
mouth of Fox river, and about four miles northeast from the mouth of Duck 
Creek. Bids were received in 1847 fo'' ^'^^ construction of the old stone tower 
which has been a landmark for many years. It was built in 1848. The tower 
was surmounted l)y an iron lantern and the house of the keeper of the light was 
only a few feet to the north, and also built of stone. This lighthouse was aban- 
doned in 1859 and a new one of frame erected, twenty-seven feet square, three 
stories high, the ground sills from which the lower timbers rise resting upon iron 
piles eight feet apart. The light surmounting the tower was a fixed white light 
of the fourth order, the local plane sixty feet above the water with a visibility 
of about fifteen miles. The present Tail Point light station stands about nine- 
tenths mile from old Long Tail Point Lighthouse, east. It is a fixed light 
fourth order visible fourteen miles. The lantern is on the top of a timber dwell- 
ing fifty-six feet high, standing on the westerly side of the channel. The fog 
signal is a bell struck by machinery at intervals of ten seconds. Distance from 
the Grassy Island lower lighthouse is one and fifteen-sixteenths miles. 

Big Suamico river is three miles from Long Tail Point Light. Vessels load 
here at anchor, and there is good holding ground. A pulp wood dock has been 
built here. The east side of the bay is rocky, with poor anchorage. At Red 


Banks, Point Comfort and Bay Beach piers have been built where excursion boats 
land in bringing guests to these popular resorts. 

The following paper on the old Stone tower was read before the Green Bay 
Historical Society by T. P. Silverwood. 

"Extending from the town of Suamico in a southeasterly direction out into 
the waters of Green Bay, is a long, low narrow point of sand— a sand bar ni 
fact— below the water in places, extending out of the water a few feet in other 
places. This bar is called Long Tail Point, and upon it stands the old stone 
tower light house. Concerning it there is not very much information to be un- 
earthed, and in gathering what little is available we have become impressed 
with the fact that the person who intends to write history should also prepare to 
write fiction and gather the materials for both works at the same time. 

"The old tower was erected in the summer and fall of 1847. This date will 
not be accepted without question. Bella French in her history of Brown county 
says it was erected in 1848, but gives no authority for the statement. Wil- 
liam Whitcomb of this city, who helped to build it when a boy of fifteen, says it 
was erected in 1847, and Captain C. B. Hart agrees with him as to that date. 
It was first used in 1848, and we think Bella French and the older people of 
Green Bay generally date its erection from the first year it was used. It was 
the first light at this end of the Bay, and was used as a light house until 1859, 
when the frame light house was erected and the use of the stone tower dis- 

"At the time of its erection it stood near the southeast point of the bar, or 
that part which was above water. The bar extended almost out to the new 
light house as it does at present, but very little of it was above water. At its 
base the tower is nearly twenty-five feet in diameter, and its walls between 
five and six feet thick. Its diameter and the thickness of its walls gradually 
decrease until at the top they are respectively eight or ten feet and about two 
feet. It is built upon nothing but sand, with the foundation about six feet below 
the surface, and its height was eighty-four feet to the stone cap beneath the 
lantern. The tower and small frame building near it, erected at the same time, 
for a house for the light keeper, were built by Edwin and Asahel Hart (the father 
and uncle respectively of Captains C. B. and H. W. Hart), who were subcontrac- 
tors, having contracted with the original contractors, who were Detroit parties, to 
build the tower and light keeper's house. Edwin Hart did much of the work 
himself. Daniel W. Hubbard had charge of the mason work. 

"The stone was brought across the bay from the east shore at Bay Settlement 
on a scow. Its crew was composed principally of French Canadians and half- 
breeds who propelled it by means of walking poles. They would leave the point 
early in the morning, pole their scow across the bay and get her loaded with 
ten or twelve cords of stone before 9 o'clock the following morning, and reach the 
point again late that night. Their course skirted the east shore and along Point 
Sable, then across the bay, keeping in about six feet of water. The stone in 
the tower is of all shapes and sizes. It was picked up along the shore, some of 
it pulled out of two or three feet of water and some gathered from the surface of 
the soil near by, but none of it was quarried except the cap stones just below 
the lantern, which were probably brought from Death's Door on a schooner. The 
lime was procured at Bay Settlement, and there was plenty of sand on the point. 


Captain C. B. Hart was a boy eight years of age at the time and helped to erect 
the tower. Not being in love with school, he played truant and his father, after 
a j'udicious application of the rod, set him to work driving the horse around the 
capstan by means of which the stone and mortar were hauled to the top of the 
wall with a rope. 

"Tlie first keeper of the light in the old tower was John P. Dousman, who was 
afterwards revenue collector at Green Bay. He was the light keeper until 
1853, when he was succeeded by Thomas Atkinson, who had recently arrived 
from Ireland, and who kept the light until 1859, being the last light keeper in the 
stone tower. The frame light house was erected in 1859 and the stone tower 
abandoned. Captain C. B. Hart says the reason for this was that the water 
of the bay had risen so much that it surrounded the tower completely, and the 
authorities were afraid that the water would undermine it and cause it to fall. 

'"The frame lighthouse was kept for one season l)y David Fleury, who was 
succeeded by Sergeant John Hamm, a soldier who had been in the service at Fort 
Howard. His term of enlistment had expired and he was discharged and given 
the position of light keeper. After him came ]\Iarcus Shaler, and then in 1863 
William :\Iitchell, the father of Mrs. Theodore Harris of Green Bay, accepted 
the position which he held for many years, and he was succeeded by Captain 

"In the early '70s the L'nited States government authorities apparently think- 
ing the tower was an eyesore to Green Bay, gave it to Mr. Mitchell to be torn 
down. He accepted it for the stone that was in it and commenced the work 
of destruction, but although it was builded on the sands, it was there to stay, 
and ;Mr. ^Mitchell found it impervious to bar and pick. It is hoped that no act 
of man will disturli it. The old tower was the first light house at this end of the 
bay. It stands like a grim old sentinel, its appearance and surroundings eloquent 
with memories of the past. It serves to remind us of the last half century, and 
the hardv seamen who have striven for the welfare of this city and to build up 
a commerce that should make it an important lake port. ^lay it stand for cen- 
turies to come as a monument to these men who first sailed the waters of Green 

(References for Chapter XX\' : Railroads: Green Bay Advocate. 1858; Jour- 
nal of Board of Supervisors; Bay City Press, 1861-2 : Records of Borough of Fort 
Howard ; James H. Elmore, Hist, of Northern Wisconsin. Harbor ; Arthur C. 
.\eville. James H. Elmore. Scott, Coast Pilot. IMails: Wis. Hist. Colls. \'ol. 2, 
15 ; Green Bay Advocate, 1846-56 ; Report of Green Bay Postoffice. Water trans- 
portation : LaHontan Travels : Arndt, "The Valley of the Fox :" Green Bay Advo- 
cate, Bay City Press. Cyrus F. Hart.) 


The difficulty of finding records renders it impossible to give anything like a 
complete sketch of Brown county cities and towns from their first organization, 
the only town whose records are preserved complete from the date of its incor- 
poration being the town of Howard. 

Eleven years previous to the first recorded meeting of the county board of 
supervisors and in pursuance of the act entitled "an act to provide for the gov- 
ernment of the several towns in this Territory of Wisconsin," the town of 
Howard, which at that time included all that part of Brown county lying Ijetween 
the Menominee river on the north and the present town of De I'ere on the 
south, organized a town board. 

The borough form of governnient which began in ( ireen I!a\- in 1R38, two years 
after Wisconsin Territory was formed, provided for a president and six trustees, 
who administered the affairs of the village up to the time of its incorporation as 
a city in 1854. All the records of the Green Bay borough prior to November 19, 
1853, were burned in a destructive fire which occurred in Green Bay, November 
6, 1853. There are no records to be found of town government in De Pere 
previous to its incorporation as a village in 1857, so the only records remaining 
of the years of territorial and early state government in Brown county are com- 
prised in the "Records of the Town of Howard," which date back to April 5, 
1842, when "a meeting was called to order between the hours of nine and eleven 
a. m., at the house of Daniel W. Hubbard in the town of Howard." Hubbard's 
house stood on the slough which extends from Pox river to Duck creek, and 
enters the river just south of the Duncan coal docks. (Notes by Charles 

The minutes of this first meeting according to the new law show that Josiah 
Baldwin was chosen moderator, and D. W. Hubbard, clerk. "The moderator and 
clerk being duly sworn the meeting was adjourned until 3:00 o'clock P. AI. At 
3 :oo o'clock P. M. the meeting met according to the adjournment, proclamation 
being made at the door according to the law." (Book of town records for the 
township of Howard, 1842.) 

The verbal proclamation giving notice that the county or town board was 
about to convene was in use in Brown county for many years, and can still be 
found in practice in small places where no regular newspaper is published. 
Throughout the length and breadth of Brown county there was at that time but 
one newspaper, the Green Bay Republican, edited by Samuel Ryan, Jr., and other 
parts of Wisconsin were quite as destitute of printed news. For this reason a 
law had been passed on February i, 1833, ordering that all legal notices should be 
"posted on the door of the house where the circuit court was last held." This 



law was carried out at De Pere, the county seat, but in case of a meeting such 
as that of the town board of Howard, proclamation of official business was made 
b)' the town crier, usuall}- the constable, whO stood before the place of meeting 
and called, "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, the honorable board of supervisors of the town 
of Howard in the county of Brown is now in session." 

The members of the Howard town board in the month of April, 1842, were: 
Chairman, Samuel Ryan, Sr. ; Joseph Paquette, Josiah Baldwin ; town clerk, 
E. B. Sherwood; commissioners on highways, Dominick Brunette, E. B. Abbott, 
D. W. Hubbard ; assessor, E. B. Abbott ; treasurer, Solomon Davis ; path 
masters, Dominick Brunette, Jr., Henry Fry ; constables, Preston Beebe, 
Josiah Baldwin; fence viewers, Joseph Paquette, Dominick Brunette, Jr., Peter 
T. Fredman. 

The office of fence viewer, now obsolete, was of importance in the year 
1 841. Through the streets of the three villages in Brown county cows and horses 
more or less wild roamed at will and pigs wallowed in the muddy puddles. Not 
until 1842 did a pound and the office of pound master come into use. The enforce- 
ment of this ordinance did much to better conditions, for five dollars was the 
fine for allowing dangerous animals to wander abroad. The. "commons," how- 
ever, were still exempt, and over these wide tracts of open treeless prairie and 
through the adjoining forest still roamed great droves of unherded cattle. 

The overseers of highways in these several towns also acted as fence viewers. 
.Ml fences were to be, acording to law, four and one-half feet in height, whether 
consisting of rails, timber, boards or stone walls, or any combination thereof, 
and all brooks, rivers, ponds, creeks, ditches, or other things which shall l)e e(juiva- 
lent thereto. The vexed question of boundary lines might also be decided by 
the fence viewer; each person employing him was to j)ay Si.oo per day for his 
services, and his judgment in these matters was usually accepted as legal and 

.\t this first meeting of the town board of Howard it was resolved that all 
fences in that town should go a half foot higher than the law required and must 
be five feet in height to be a lawful fence; the fence viewer was to notify the 
board of any deviation from this rule, and was also to report when fences were 
not kept in good repair. The office of the fence viewer seems to have been 
abolished after 1850. 

The opening up of new roads through the county, the building and repair of 
bridges, the improvement for navigation of Fox river, the provision for the housing 
and care of the poor were all matters that came under the jurisdiction of the 
town board rather than that of the county until after 1848. Taxation through- 
out the territory had not yet been adjusted, and in Brown county, which was 
always an independent quantity, no regular tax was levied until 1833. The school 
taxes of 1838-40 created much dissatisfaction, and for a time were made optional 
with each community. In 1842 Howard voted a tax of three-fourths of one per 
cent on the amount of the inhabitant's assessed property. All taxes seemed 
to have been considered exorbitant, and were loudly complained of and criti- 
cized by the pioneers ; the expenses of the annual legislative session aroused 
special antagonism, one per cent of the entire valuation of the territory in 1844 
being expended in this way. The machinery of county government in Brown 
was tardily established, and each town felt competent to manage its own affairs. 







*»10K, LtSnX 


1;;.De.N f ov,Nii*< 



The first systematic attempt toward the repair and upkeep of roads was made 
in April, 1844, and shows the extent of the town of Howard at that date. It 
was agreed at a meeting of the Howard board that the town be divided for the 
more convenient making and repairing of the pubHc roads into five road districts; 
to include all of the inhabitants "between the first east and west section line 
north of the Oconto river, and the .Menominee river in the town of Howard, 
county of Brown." 

Marston's creek and the creek known as Tippy's creek, which empties into 
Green Bay north of Little Suamico, were also boundary lines for road districts. 

The path master's office had disappeared when the laws of 1849 were pub- 
lished, so that it is difficult to say just what his duties were. The paths through 
Brown county were more numerous than the roads, for Indian trails threaded the 
forests in every direction. The only two roads opened up at that time through 
the county were the military roads; one running to Fort Winnebago at the 
portage of the Fox and Wisconsin, the other by way of Manitowoc and the lake 
shore to Milwaukee and Chicago. These roads were repaired by the soldiers from 
the lake forts, and it was at least ten years, 1859 or 1S60, befofe the county 
assumed the upkeep of these government roads. (Town records.) 

In September, 1844, an appropriation of one hundred dollars was made 
toward the repair of roads and bridges by the Howard board. A bridge was 
ordered to be built immediately across Ashwaubenon creek, a makeshift aflrair, 
which a few years later collapsed with a Hollander and his team, sprightly men- 
tion of which is made in the Bay City Press of that date. The roads to Duck 
Creek and Bay Settlement were largely a heavy sand, through which horses and 
oxen toiled laboriously in hauling produce to river ports, but in other parts of 
Brown county and towards the Oneida Reservation a corduroy was the only help 
in preventing teams from sinking to unimagined depths. 

The record of the doings of the lioward board reflects the methods of admin- 
istration for all three of the villages then in existence in Brown county. Meetings 
were held once a month and for many years either at the house of Daniel Hub- 
bard or at that of John Hogarty who lived not far away. After the death of the 
latter some time in the forties the board rented a room from the Widow Hogarty 
for the sum of five dollars a year, which paid for the fuel. 

The system of a limited number of county commissioners still appealed strongly 
to other parts of Wisconsin Territory where settlement had not increased as in 
Brown county, but the law providing that the chairman of the town board act also 
as a county supervisor, thus securing equal representation, received strenuous 
support from Brown. In January, 1845, the bill again coming before the legis- 
lature, the Howard board of supervisors resolved: "That the petition circulated 
especially in Green Bay praying the legislature of Wisconsin for a repeal of 
the law establishing the township system of government, would if repealed be 
detrimental to the small towns in the county of Brown, giving them no proper 
representation on the county board — besides we are opposed to the vacillation 
of constantly making and repealing laws. And also we would state that the inhab- 
itants of Howard are altogether in favor of the present system and opposed to 
being thrown back on the county commission system — and retiucst our repre- 
sentatives to oppose the prayer of said petition." 

The list of voters in Howard as given in 184J included the names of David 


Jones, the Doiiiinick Brunettes, father and son. Prentice Beebe, Samuel Ryan, 
Joseph Paquette, D. W. Hubbard, Josiali Baldwin and E. B. Sherwood. 

Samuel Ryan, chairman of the Howard board of supervisors from 1842 to 
1857, was one of the town's earliest residents, having come to Fort Howard with 
the first troops in 1816. He resigned from the army and became an active and 
sterling worker in the new^ town. His son, Samuel Ryan, Jr., was also 
closely identified with the life of Fort Howard and Green Bay. He was prom- 
inent throughout the state as an able newspaper man, edited when very young one 
of Green Bay's first newspapers, the Republican, and later became the founder and 
incorporator af the Appleton Crescent (1846). 

During the forties, continuously, Lemuel Tyler acted as clerk until April 6, 
1847, followed in order by Samuel Ryan, Jr., A. G. Pullman, Thomas M. Camm 
and James Ryan. Edson B. Sherwood's last entry is April 3, 1843. 

From time to time the place of meeting was changed and rent to the amount of 
five dollars a year was occasionally paid for the use of a memljer's house, fire, etc. 
The office of constable required an oath of office as being a responsible position. 

In May, I'Sso, the Howard board made an agreement with John P. Arndt for 
the erection of a bridge over the first creek south of Fort Howard, and further on 
in the year, Colonel Samuel Ryan with Dr. Urial li. Peak, as road commissioners, 
spent a day pleasantly and profitably in surveying a road from the ferry which 
ran across the river from Cherry street to the termination of the bridge. The 
labors of tlie worthy commissioners on that -May day is perpetuated in the 
meanderings of Pearl street. 

On July I, 1850. it was resolved l)y the board that the school monies belong- 
ing to the town of Howard be divided e(|ually between the several districts 
in the same town, there being sup])osed to be about $128, more or less, in the hands 
of the town treasurer applicable to school purposes, viz : $42.66 2-3 to each dis- 
trict. Thomas AI. Camm, clerk. 

In 1856 the county l)oard passed a resolution to the effect that "Fort"' should 
be inserted and precede "Howard" when the settlement was named. An act to 
incorporate the borough of Fort Howard was passed in February, 1856, and 
approved by Governor Bashford October 13th of that year. 

The notice of the first borough election is thus given : "Whereas by an act 
of the legislators of the state of \\'isconsin, approved October 13, 1856, the borough 
of Fort Howard was made a corporate borough. Therefore, take notice that an 
election of the officers of said borough consisting of a president, six trustees, a 
treasurer, superintendent of common schools, two constables, one assessor and 
two justices of the peace, will be held at the village schoolhouse in said town on 
Saturday, the first day of November next. Signed — Oscar Gray, Dexter Gray, 
Willard Lamb, John Gray, D. W. Hul)bard, Thomas M. Camm." 

John Tiernan declared on oath that he had posted a notice of which the 
annexed was a copy on three public places in the borough of Fort Howard. 

The election for borough officers was held at the village schoolhouse on the 
day designated and the poll list of fifty-six years ago is an interesting one, fifty- 
four in all, and includes some of the most sterling of the men of Brown county: 
D. W. Huijbard, P. W. Gregg, O. Gray, S. M. Durand, T. J. Bailey, D. I. Hub- 
bard, E. A. Cooley, Hiram Hubbard, Dennis McCarty, Patrick Burns, G. Leittel, 
U. Despins, M. Vanifleck, J. A. Beattie, J. C. Fox, D. Hunt, M. S. Shaler, F. 


Blesch, W. Pamperin, P. Supey, W. B. Smith, Garret Doyle, John Tiernan, F. 
Yeates, John Gray, Otto VanStreland, Jn. Chadwick, H. I. Hoffman, John 
Jeffreys, Charles Rossiter, C. W. Tremain, J. S. Fisk, E. Crocker, Chas. Brahne, 
Geo. Aull, Hendrick Emits, H. C. Taylor, John Finnegan, Myron Graves, Theo- 
dore Kemnitz, Anton Zens, Jas. Faulkner, Wm. Knowles, S. Hudson, T. M. 
Camm, W. Baker, T. AlcDonough, B. Gillett, Wm. Miller, T. O'Keefe, D. W 
Bromley, R. Chappell, W. E. Peak, John Doran, J. Callighan, J. Noeeder, D. S 
Davies, Jas. Potter, P. Hendricksen, B. Redman, John Slat, M. Earny, E. Hunt. 
J. Nepert, N. 'M. Stone, J. Wolfarth, Charles Dodge, W. Persons, W. Taylor, 
M. Smith, E, Brahme, Dexter Grey, H. W. Peak, T. VanLaanen, F. Hoeilmich, 
T. Hanrahan, E. Shaler, H. \'anLaanen, M. Barlement. ]\I. Hanrahan. C. E. 
Dubois, J. Anderson. 

The first officers elected were ; Roliert Chajipell, president, and trustees, Daniel 
W. Hubbard, William J. Fisk, Charles Rossiter, Thomas J. Bailey, Francis Blesch 
and Oscar Gray; superintendent of schools, U. H. Peak; treasurer, James A. 
Beattie; assessor, James Callighan ; E. A. Cooley and 11. C. Taylor, justices of the 
peace; William Knowles and D. J. Hubbard, constables; E. .\. Cooley, clerk of 
the borough. 

The boundaries of Fort Howard in the town of Howard, county of Brown, are 
included within the following limits and boundaries, to-wit : Commencing at a 
point on tiie channel bank of Fox river one mile below or down said river, of 
the north line of Private Claim Lot Xo. 2 of the west side of Fo.x river, thence 
one mile westwardly parallel with the saul north line of Private Claim No. 2; 
thence one mile at right angles with said last line to the north line of said 
Private Claim No. 2 ; thence by and along the channel l)ank of h'ox river, thence 
along said channel l:)ank to the place of beginning, is hereby created into a bor- 
ough corporate and shall be known and designated as the borough of Fort 

The original size of the borough covered by the charter was just one mile 
square and exact rules for its go\ernment are given. In many ways the Fort 
Howard borough had shown itself, even at an early day, a progressive business 
place. Its proximity to a military reservation in a measure handicapped its 
growth and independence, but as the influence of the garrison was withdrawn 
the inhabitants showed themselves well e(iuipped to take up the reins of govern- 
ment. \\'itliin a few years it became a manufacturing center. One of the earliest 
and most solid industries was the Fort Howard foundry, being established in 1856, 
with Otto Tank as president. 

The first large brewery was erected by Francis Blesch in 1S58, where the 
best of beer was manufactured ; the earliest one being, that built by Philip Hannon 
on the east shore of the bay, just south of the old stone dock. 

The story of Otto Tank, and his first coming to Fort Howard in 1850, has 
been often told and the glamour of romance now surrounds this incident in the 
life of the town. The distinguished families in Norway and Holland to which 
botli Tank and his wife belonged, the choice household furnishings that trans- 
formed the little log cabin on the banks of the river where they made their home 
into a veritable bit of enchanted ground, even the foreign oddities of dress and 
manner rendered them conspicuous in the little community to which they immi- 
grated sixty-three years ago. The colony of Scandinavians who came to this 


western town under Tank's auspices formed an industrious and thrifty addition 
to the population of the newly created borough. 

Velp, in the town of Howard, is Duck Creek's business center. The early set- 
tlers were the Cormiers, Lewins, Burdens, Pamperins, Brunettes, Landwehr, 
Pringles and others. 

When the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad came to the town and a large 
elevator, docks, fish warehouses, and mills were built the wealth of the place 
increased rapidly. 


Nov. 19, 1853 — An adjourned regular meeting of the board of trustees 
for the borough of Green Bay was helil this day at 7 :oo o'clock 1'. AI. Baron 
S. Doty, president, and George O. Haywood, R. P. Harriman, Louis Hoeft'el and 
Dr. D. C. Ayers, trustees, and S. S. Johnston, marshal, were present. The clerk 
reported that at the fire on the ist inst., his office was consumed and in it the 
records, papers and seal belonging to the borough of Green Bay were lost. The 
reading of the minutes of last meeting were consequently dispensed with. 

John V. Suydam, Clerk. 

Jan. 3, 1854 — H. S. Baird elected president to succeed Baron Steuben Doty. 
South ward was represented by Orlo B. Graves, Louis Ploeffel, D. C. Ayers ; the 
North ward by Washington Parish, Daniel H. Whitney, Paul Fox. 

S. S. Johnston, Marshal. 

Jan. 7 — John P. Arndt, chairman of the committee of the old board on draft- 
ing a city cliarter, reported in part, and asked for further time, which was granted. 
On motion it was resolved that H. S. Baird, Esq., president, be appointed a 
committee to whom shall be referred the city charter for revision. The clerk 
stated that he had procured a new seal for the borough, a fac simile of the one 
burned, of which the impression hereto annexed is a true copy, at a cost of 
$5.00, whereupon it was ordered that the sum of $5.00 be allowed for the seal. 

Jan. 14 — Resolved that each and every member of this board who shall be 
absent ten minutes after the time appointed for the holding of any meeting shall 
pay a fine of fifty cents and if the clerk shall be absent as aforesaid he shall be 
fined $1.00. 

The meetings of the board shall be held on the first Monday evening in each 
month at 6 :oo o'clock. 

Daniel Butler, Esq., treasurer of the Green Bay, De Pere & Kaukauna Plank 
Road Co., reported that $i,poo in bonds issued to the Green Bay & De Pere Co., 
and $1,600 issued to the Green Bay & Kaukauna, together with $1,400 issued to 
secure payment of first year's interest on said bonds were destroyed by fire in 
the store of said Butler on the ist of November last, making the amount destroyed 
by the fire $18,400. 

Green Bay & Kaukauna Plank Road Company. 

Green Bay & Tacheedah Plank Road Company. 

Green Bay & De Pere Plank Road Company. 

Mar. 18, 1854 — Committee reported not to put repairs on East river bridge and 
recommended the construction of a float bridge. ^Marshal be required to immedi- 


ately bar each end of said bridge and to put up notice thereon, forljidding all 
persons from crossing the same. 

Affidavit of D. Butler that bonds were actually consumed and destroyed and 
order to replace same. 

First meeting of the Green Bay city council, May 6, 1854, at 2:00 P. M., the 
aldermen met at the town hall pursuant to the provisions of the city charter. 
Present — Francis Desnoyers, John Day, Paul Fox, Amos Saunders, Northward; 
and John P. Arndt, Frederick A. Lathrop, Louis Carabin and Charles Leclaire 
from the South ward. 

On motion the meeting was organized by the appointment of John P. iVrndt, 
chairman, and then was adjourned to the engine house. 

On motion the aldermen then proceeded to elect a president by ballot. John P. 
Arndt was elected. 

On motion it was resolved that the board proceed to canvass the Votes given 
in the North and South wards for mayor, treasurer and superintendent of schools. 
W. C. E. Thomas having received 126 votes was elected mayor against D. Agry, 
40 votes, and Baron S. Doty. 30 votes ; treasurer, Burley Follett ; superin- 
tendent of schools, Daniel Butler. 

On motion the president appointed Messrs. Desnoyers, Saunders and Day, a 
committee to conduct the mayor-elect to the chair, which being done the mayor 
addressed the council with appropriate remarks and recommendations relative 
to the organization of the city and the future government of its officers. 

John P. Arndt offered a code of rules and regulations. The vote on passage 
of ordinances was taken by yeas and nays. Ordinances passed. 

John P. Arndt, street commissioner for South ward for 1853, made a report 
showing that for the repairs and improvement of streets and bridges, $225.84 had 
been expended. Amount collected in taxes, etc., $227.25, leaving a balance of 
$1.41. Saturday evening, June 17, 1854, a float bridge was ordered built across 
East river. That same evening, $10.00 was appropriated to defray the expense 
of sending to Taycheedah to obtain information relative to the Green Bay & 
Taycheedah Plank Road Co. Nathan Goodell was elected or appointed street 

Thus was accomplished the successful organization and incorporation of 
the city of Green Bay, which is now, in the year 1913, regarded as one of the fore- 
most commercial towns in Wisconsin. The records of the common council from 
the first assembling in the old engine house, which was later, it is said, moved 
from its position on Washington street to the triangular space formed by Wash- 
ington, Adams and Chicago streets, is a history that contains much interesting 
reading and the different methods of procedure and the gradual evolution of the 
little country town, its consolidation with Fort Howard in 1895, and its rapid 
growth in wealth and importance is a gratifying tribute to the men who at various 
times have been at the head of city government. 

The first policeman was appointed under date of December 7, 1854. Petition 
from citizens of Green Bay (unanimously signed) asking for the appointment of 
a watch, as a more efficient protection against the danger of fire. On motion 
of Alderman Arndt, the marshal was authorized to deliver the fire engine to any 
fire company that may be organized before the next regular meeting of the 
council. Previous to that time a volunteer fire company had been organized with 



Charles D. Robinson as chief; W. i'. Knapp, ist assistant, and Israel Green, 2d 

Following this action of the city council, Germania Mre Compan_v No. I was 
organized, followed almost immediately by Guardian No. 2. It is presumed that 
the Germania was given the custody of the i)rimitive fire engine, for in Febru- 
ary, 1855, there is a petition presented signed by firemen and the secretary of 
Germania No. i. asking for an appropriation of $1.00 per day to pay for keeping 
up a fire in the engine house. 

The ferry at the foot of Cherry street had been leased by Carlton B. Wheelock, 
who for years paid the sum of $25.00 per year for the privilege, his assistant being 
August Spierschneider, and the old gray horse who turned the windlass of the 
chain, was so faithful in his duty that when turned out to graze he would only 
allow himself a few moments of resjjite, then, no matter how tempting the feed, 
would begin to walk the weary round. Captain Wheelock reports that he ran the 
ferry at a loss during the year 1855, as he had not been able to effect a landing on 
the opposite shore as there was no street corresponding to Cherry on the west 
side of the river and he was obliged to purchase land for a landing place. 

An ordinance of April 3, 1855, ordains that every white male inhabitant within 
the city of Green Bay above the age of twenty-one years or under the age of fifty, 
for the year 1855, shall be taxed to labor on the streets within the limits of 
the city for one day, or pay the sum of seventy-five cents for a substitute. 

The first recommendation for a plank road on Washington street was filed on 
July 30, 1856, and the work was later intrusted to J. Wallace .\rndt and 
Charles R. Tyler at the price of $50.00 per rod. Tliis was the first street im- 
provement commenced in any Brown county town. 


The mayors of Green Bay from its incorporation in 1854, are: 

1854 — W. C. E. Thomas. 
1855 — Francis Desnoyers. 
1856 — Harry E. Eastman. 
1857 — Harry E. Eastman. 
1858— Burley Follett. 
1859 — Nathan Goodell. 
i860 — E. Holmes Ellis. 
1861 — Henry S. Baird. 
1862 — Henry S. Baird. 
1863— Burley Follett. 
1864 — Nathan Goodell. 
1865 — Myron P. Lindsley. 
1866 — Charles D. Robinson. 
1867 — James S. Marshall. 
1868 — Anton Klaus. 
1869 — Anton Klaus. 
1870 — Anton Klaus. 
1871 — Alonzo Kimball. 

1 87 

-Charles D. Robinson. 

1873 — Alonzo Kimball. 
1874 — Charles E. Crane. 
1875 — Charles E. Crane. 
1876— Fred S. Ellis. 
1877 — Charles E. Crane. 
1878 — Charles E. Crane. 
1879 — Charles E. Crane. 
1880 — John C. Neville. 
1881 — William J. Abrams. 
1882— J. H. m" Wigman. 
1883 — William J. Abrams. 
1884 — William J. Abrams. 
1885 — Charles Hartung. 
1886 — Charles Hartung. 
1887 — Charles Hartung. 
1888— Arthur C. Neville. 
1889— Arthur C. Neville. 

J)K PERE IN 1856 
From an oil painting 

From an oil painting 



1890 — James H. Elmore. 
1891 — James H. Elmore. 
1892 — James H. Elmore. 
1893 — James H. Elmore. 
1894 — James EI. Elmore. 
1895 — James H. Elmore. 
1896 — Eraiik B. Desnoyers. 
189'/ — Frank B. Desnoyers. 
1898 — Frank B. Desnoyers. 
1899 — Simon J. Murphy. 
1900 — .Simon J. I\Iur])hy. 
1901 — Simon, J. ]\Iurphy. 

igo2. — Joseph H. Taylor. 
1903 — Joseph H. Taylor. 
1904 — Robert E. Minchan. 
1905 — Robert E. Minchan. 
1906 — Robert E. ]\Iinchan. 
1907 — Robert E. Minchan. 
1908 — Winford Abrams. 
1909 — Winford Abrams. 
1910 — Winford Abrams. 
191 1 — Winford Abrams. 
1912 — Winford Abrams. 

De Pere was incorporated as a village, March 6, 1857, although the first 
])lat of the town was made under authority of the De Pere Hydraulic Company 
in 1835. In 1837, by a vote of the people of Brown county, De Pere became the 
county seat and a courthouse was built on the northeast corner of Wisconsin and 
George streets. 

From its first organization it became important from the usefulness or utility 
of its waterpower, the legislative council of Michigan authorizing William 
Dickenson, Charles Tullar, and John P. Arndt to build a dam across the Fox 
ri^-er at the head of the rapids in said river, called Rapide Des Peres, in the county 
of Brown, to erect a mill, or in any other manner to make use of the waterpower 
created thereby, and to build wharves, warehouses and other buildings, either 
below or above the dam. r)n the 8th day of September following, the same 
parties, with six others, entered into articles of association for the purpose of 
building said dam, and on the 3rd day of December, 1836, the council and house 
of representatives of the territory of Wisconsin, incorporated them under the 
name of the Fox River Hydraulic Company. The following summer, they com- 
menced building their dam and making other improvements. 

On the loth day of .March, 1838, the company issued a report and prospectus 
in which they say: "Eighteen months ago, where stood a solitary dwelling, is 
now the seat of justice of Brown county, with a splendid court house, jail, a 
three-story public house, a schoolhouse, postoffice, warehouse and dock, one 
store, one grocery, one blacksmith shop, one cabinet shop and twenty-eight dwell- 
ing houses, some of which are the most splendid and best buildings in the 

The allusion to the splendor of the De Pere residences at this date probably 
refers jirimarily to the beautiful house Iniilt by the founder of the city, William 
Dickenson. It was a spacious and noble dwelling, according to the testimony of 
contemporaneous writers. The following description of the old house was 
given in a paper : De Pere flashed upon our vision like a dream 
of fairyland ; though in early spring the earth had already spread its 
carpet of green, dotted here and there by beautiful wild flowers, and the birds 
were already singing of summer, 'Dickenson's Folly' stood like a grand old 
castle — in ruins and deserted. We got out of the wagon and walked around the 
castle, in front of which stood a locust tree apparently many years old." The 


great pillars of this colonial mansion were placed on the porch of the large 
house built afterward by Captain John Cotton on the heights of Beaupre. 

The village officers elected on the incorporation of the village were: 

President — Randall Wilcox. 

Village Clerk — James T. Reeve. 

Board of Trustees — William Field, Jr., John O. Roorback. Thomas C. Alorgan, 
Jolm I''. Lessey, Gustave S. Marsh, Edwin C. Merrill. 

\'illage Treasurer — Joseph Keiper. 

\'illage Marshal— William P. Call. 

Constable — William Armstrong. 

Superintendent — John F. Lessey. 

Xo record can be found of the government prior to 1857, although a town 
board, as in the town of Howard, proba1)ly existed. 

De Pere, while still the county seat, is thus described as destined to become 
the great commercial emporium of the western lakes. "Here commences the 
grand improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers — here must be made the 
trans-shipment from lake vessels and steamers to a smaller class of steamboats, 
plying from this point to St. Louis, on the Mississippi, making De Pere a grand 
depot for the exports and imports of one of the most fertile countries of the 

De Pere's manufacturing importance increased yearly. The dam across Fox 
river at De Pere is fifteen hundred feet long and creates a waterpower unsur- 
passed by any other in the United States. Charles A. l.awton writes of the growth 
of manufactures at De Pere: 

"In 1843, Josl ^- Fisk, erected the first flour mill with a capacity of fifty 
barrels of flour per day. This mill is known to all as the Dunham mill. 

"In 1855, Elias Sorenson established the first shipyard at De Pere. In the 
same year. Square & Sabine built a sawmill on the West side, which was sold to 
James Ritchie in i860. 

"In 1856, Wni. A. Kinsley built a mill on the East side. In 1858, Randall 
Wilcox and Eugene Wager l)uilt the stone mill on the site of the present Dousman 
Milling Company's mill. A stave factory was built on the West side on the new 
canal, by Seldon iS: Bliss, in 1864. In the same year, the De Pere Company 
erected a large building on the West side, which was occupied by C. A. Lawton 
& Company as a planing mill for a number of years, .\bout this timfe the 
manufacturing of De Pere was at its height. In addition to these already men- 
tioned, the E. E. Dolles W. W. Co., Marsh shingle mill, the old Wilcox sawmill, 
Rynan's flour mill, Kingsley's sawmill, Ritchie mill, and Andrew Reed's sawmill, 
all running full force. But in the spring of 1865 tlie war closed and business 
was paralyzed, and for several years De Pere made no progress. 

"In the spring of 1870, business revived, and the wheels moved once more, 
and there was added to our manufacturing plants, Collette's stave and sawmill, the 
Fox River furnace and the National furnace, two factors that had more than any 
other one thing to do with the clearing up and developing of the farming country. 
The De Pere Steam Forge and the De Pere Iron Works, in the spring and sum- 
mer of 1873, were turning out one freight car per day and giving employment to 
over 100 men. The panic of 1873 changed all this prosperity and sent many of 
the firms to the wall." 


West De Pere was platted by Dr. Louis Carabin, of Green Bay, who inaug- 
urated there the first brick kihi in Brown county. It was incorporated as a village 
in March, 1870. West De Pere outstripped immediately all its sister towns in com- 
mercial growth. East De Pere and Green Bay competing with it only within com- 
paratively recent years. 

In 1883, the state legislature passed an act incorporating the city of De Pere, 
comprising what is now the First and Second wards, as also an act to incorporate 
the City of Nicolet, now the Third and Fourth wards. In 1887, the legislature 
upon petition changed the name of Nicolet to West De Pere. In 1889, the 
electors of the two cities voted to consolidate and in 1890, the act was approved 
by the legislature. 

Other manufactures in 1881 were the De Pere Mills, Dunham & Davis, Fox 
River Mills, Mathias Reynan, Arndt Brothers & Co.'s Mill, "Novelty" Manu- 
facturing Company, Charles Lawton, president, which has grown into the 
large plant operated today for the maiuifacture of motor machinery, under the 
name of Lawton & Son. 

Boat building which was begun at an early day by John P. Arndt and others 
has its largest plant at the present time in De Pere, the property of D. Kidney, 
and under the name of the Kidney Boat P)uilding Works. An enormous number 
oi motor boats, canoes and rowboats are turned out each year and shipped to all 
parts of the United States. 

The old stone mill built by Randall Wilcox in 1857 stood until recently on the 
site of the present milling plant of the John P. Dousman Company. 

Mrs. Frances L. Dunham, in an entertaining paper on "Old Houses of De 
Pere," written for the Green Bay Historical Society, thus describes some of 
the historic buildings : 

"The building known as the old bank, was built in 1836, probably i)y the same 
architect who built the Wilcox house and the Jordon and Dunham houses, for 
they resemble each other. This was Ijuilt by the Fox River Hydraulic Co., and 
used by them as a bank ; it stood just south of the California House, and was 
later used as a dwelling. It was moved to its present location on Broadway 
near Cass street, nearly if not quite fifty years ago and was used as a school 
for many years, then as an Episcopal church, ]\Ir. Haff preaching there and 
others, and later the Rev. George Whitney, being the resident pastor here for 
several years. After services here were discontinued, Mr. Sharpe bought the 
place, and used it for years as a storeroom for his furniture and finally about 
two years ago Mr. Fleck bought it and transformed it into a modern dwelling, 
though it still retains its classic pillars. 

"The old stone schoolhouse built in 1857, was another of the very old build- 
ings ; the interior was destroyed by fire in April, 1896; later the still standing walls 
were pulled down. 

"The first schools appear to have had only one teacher with an unlimited num- 
ber of pupils. E. F. Parker was one of the early teachers, coming here to 
teach somewhere near 1864 or 1865, while he completed his law studies. He has 
told me that he had so many pupils and of such varied ages and grades, that he 
was obliged to form them into so many classes, that he had to limit the recitation 
of each class to five minutes in order to get through all in the two sessions each 
day. He had a novel and peculiar way of enforcing discipline — a wooden ball, 


about three inches in diameter, whicli he would suddenly throw at the offending 
scholar when he was caught talking, and to add to the pain and disgrace he 
would oblige the scholar to pick up the ball and bring it back to him before all 
of the scholars so as to be ready to hurl it l:o the next bad boy. 

"One very old house, a tavern called 'The \'illagc House,' was built by W. P. 
Call; he kept it himself as a tavern, for many years. He was a man of a good 
deal of temper when things went wrong, and they often did for him. In those 
days small kerosene lamps were used in all the bedrooms and in the morning 
they would take them from the rooms and place them on the floor at the head 
of the steep narrow stairs, when they were all taken down together to be 
refilled. On one occasion. Air. Call got mad, to put it mildly, and coming out to 
the upper landing, kjcked all the lamps down stairs together. This tavern stood 
on the spot now occupied by the opera house ; the roof of the piazza extended over 
the sidewalk and the floor of the piazza was the sidewalk." 

De Pere is surrounded by a wonderfully fertile and productive contributary 
country, and in area, in population, in wealth, in commerce, in industry, and in 
municipal betterments is pressing forward with steady, substantial success. 

In June, 1830, Henry S. Baird, as district enumerator for the county of 
Brown, made an official schedule intended for the national census of that year, and 
which is considered mucii more accurate that the later one of 1836, which was 
made merely for purposes of territorial apportionment. The area comprising 
later the entire tract of land known as Wisconsin territory was in 1830, divided 
into two counties only, the meridian running north and south, "'through the 
middle of the portage between Fox river and the Ouisconsin river," the portion 
lying east of that meridian being Brown county, with its seat of justice "within 
six miles of the mouth of Fox river," and that lying to the west, Crawford county 
with Prairie Du Chien as its seat of justice. 

The total population of Brown county at thai time was 1,154, of whom 474 
were members of the garrisons of Forts Howard and Winnebago, thus leaving 680 
as the number of regular inhabitants. These consisted of 402 males and 274 
females, or 676 inhabitants ; a discrepancy of four from the schedule of details. 

When the first territorial census was taken in 1836, by Ebenezer Childs, the 
first sheriff of Brown county after Wisconsin became a territorv, the population 
of Brown county was given at 2,706. No towns are given, the inhabitants of the 
several settlements and the garrison of Fort Howard being included simply fts 
belonging to Brown county. The "heads of families with number in each famih " 
is given; the size of some of the "families" being phenomenal. Thus the com- 
mandant at Fort Howard, Captain Low, was credited with a family of 1 14, doubt- 
less his entire military household, with possibly the exception of the other offi- 
cers stationed there at the time, who were numbered separately. A man like 
John P. Arndt, who had extensive trading connections, included in his "family" 
of seventy-four, all his crews of clerks, as well as the inmates of his house and 
the strangers sojourning there. Daniel Whitney is credited with a "famih" of 
forty-nine, these no douljt including his far-scattered workmen in frontier saw- 
mills, lumber camps, and at the Helena shot-tower. A steady stream of immi- 
gration was pouring into Wisconsin by the time the year 1840 had been reached, 
and many of our cities were founded at that time. 

At the Wisconsin legislative session of 1840, Hoel S. Wright was authorized 


to erect a toll bridge across Fox river at the mouth of Plum creek. Heel S. 
Wright, the founder of Wrightstown, and instigator of many improvements 
in the Fox river valley at an early day, was an energetic, progressive Vermonter 
who came west in 1833. He chose as a place of settlement the picturesque 
locality on the banks of Fox river, twelve miles above Green Bay, where the 
village of Wrightstown, known as East and West Wrightstown, is situated. 
It was a lonely spot eighty years ago, when Wright, with his wife and family 
took up his residence there; the nearest white neighbor was five miles away, 
but the river at this point was a favorite Indian camping ground, — the Indian 
name " Waupekun," and Plum creek, a stream worthy of mention in Stam- 
baugh's report of 1830 as of consequence, rising "at the foot of the mountain." 
The mountain to which Stambaugh alludes many times in his official statement is 
the lime stone ledge, which extends the length of Brown county, and the source 
of many of the county streams. 

Wright's indomitable courage and perseverance won the day, and a com- 
fortable home. A little village grew within a few years around the spot called 
by its founder Bridgeport, and persisted in by him until after the town of 
Wrightstown was set off and named by the county board in honor of that burg's 
first and most prominent early settler. Later the name was given to the village, 
now one of the most thriving of the river towns. 

It was lioel S. Wright, who in 1836, established a ferry at this point for 
the convenience of travelers on the military road which had lieen cut through 
from Fort Howard to Fort Winnebago, and "Wright's Ferry" was a well-known 
crossing for many years. The enterprising New Englander also built in 1844, 
a water mill on Plum creek, which ranks among the earliest milling ventures 
of the county, and in 1847 added a hotel to his other business ventures at this 
point, the "American House," a hostelry, familiar to the early time traveler by 
stage or boat, as a most comfortable resting place. Rumor has it that at that 
epoch cats were at a premium among the early settlers, and that Hoel S. Wright 
purchased his first forty acres of land from the sale of felines. The govern- 
ment price of land at that time was $1.25 per acre, so that cats at $2.00 apiece 
proved a profitable investment. 

The business followed by the majority of settlers along the river during the 
decade following 1830, was hunting, trapping and trading with the Indians, 
with a very little gardening thrown in, and Wright, with the rest, established 
a trading post. He was also for years the member frorn Wrightstown on the 
county board of supervisors, served in the state legislature, and was actively 
interested in the inauguration and prosecution of internal improvements. 

On January 14, 1851, the following resolution was adopted by the board 
of supervisors : "Resolved, That a new town be set off from the town of Kau- 
kaulin, embracing town 21, range 19, and town 21, range 20, and that part of 
town 22, range 19, lying on the east side of Fox river. Said town so set off to 
be called Wrightstown ; and that the first election of town officers be held 
at the house of Hoel S. Wright, in Bridgeport, on the first Tuesday in April 

The minutes of the adjourned regular meeting of the board of trustees of the 
borough of Green Bay and which was held after the great fire of November, 
1853, '"•''s on record this item : 


"It has been stated to the board by Hoel S. Wright, that the commissioners of 
the Green Bay & Taycheedah Plank Road Co. have appointed a commission to 
call upon this board for a subscription to the capital stock of said company, which 
committee will probably call within a few days, and would have been present 
tonight, but for the storm and rain." The minutes further state that the board 
of trustees of the borough of Green Bay voted the sum of $20,000 to the capital 
stock of the Green Bay & Taycheedah Plank Road Co., payable in the bonds 
of the borough at seven per cent per annum under the act authorizing said 
borough of Green Bay to subscribe to the stock of plank and railroads. 

The projected Green Bay and Taycheedah plank road was to run from 
Fond du Lac to Green Bay, and was the first, as far as can be found, of that 
style of road-making in Brown county. It was, when constructed, a much 
commended route of travel, a detriment to its success, however, being the fact that 
the incorporators belonging to Fond du Lac, Green Bay, De Pere, and Wrights- 
town, insisted that the work should begin simultaneously at each end and work 
towards the middle. Years passed before this central morass was bridged. A 
settler of 1858, in Wrightstown, says : 'T remember my first impression was 
that the village was a large black mud hole, like the one we had been traveling 
through all day. The roads were crooked, and narrow, and of an infinite depth." 

This was only one of many similar corporations to which the different towns 
in Brown county subscribed at this time in order to facilitate road transpor- 
tation. In addition there was the Green Bay, De Pere and Kaukauna plank 
road and others were projected toward Suamico and New Franken. Short pieces 
of plank road, and more often corduroy, were put in between the many mills 
that were by the )'ear 1855, springing up all through the county. The rapid 
growth of the lumber industry called for passable highways whereby shingles 
and lumber could be carted to the river ports, and the mills were called upon 
to furnish the heavy rough plank used in this popular style of pioneer road- 

Toll gates were established at intervals along the Green Bay and Taycheedah 
plank road, and after the opening of these toll gates, the financial condition of 
the company seemed less stringent, a report of 1854 showing that twelve per cent 
dividend had been paid that year to stockholders on their invested capital. 

The last of these old toll houses, the one which originally stood on lot 8, 
block 68, and flush with the road in Green Bay city, was burned in 1905, on 
block 69, where it then stood. 

Although the waterpower at Wrightstown is not as heavy as at other points 
along Fox river, yet it has always, since the first steam mill was built by F. N. 
Wright & Company in 1855, been a manufacturing town. Flouring mills, saw 
mills and stave factories followed in rapid succession, and the town of Wrights- 
town is today one of the most prosperous and wealthy in Brown county. 

The first settlers are given as H. S. Wright, F. N. Wright, Dr. David Ward, 
and others. Garner kept the toll gate about half a mile below what was then called 
in 1858 the village. In 1857 C. G. Mueller, later a prominent man in the town, 
took up his residence there, and many of the Wrightstown manufacturing and 
mercantile industries are due to his capital and enterprise. Others of an earlier 
day were the Kellogg Brothers, who built in 1871 the first flouring mill in the 
town, and ground for the farmers about 32,000 bushels of grain per year; Arthur 


Kellogg, an enterprising business man, and among the farmers, Nicolas Smith, 
N. Leavitt, Jacob Hein, N. G. Grant and Charles Finnegan. 

The villages of Greenleaf, Ledgeville, and East Wrightstown are all in the 
town of Wrightstown. the center of a magnificent farming district and cheese 
factories and creameries abound. Here, as throughout the whole of Brown 
county, are to be found enormous barns with silos attached, antl the level 
stretches of country are given to the generous cultivation of the land and the 
raising of herds of cattle for dairying purposes. The ride from the village 
of Wrightstown across to Greenleaf is full of beauty, the latter hamlet nestling 
almost under the shadow of the great stone ledge which rises here to lofty heights. 
The Greenleaf Stone Company is located here. From Greenleaf to Green Bay 
runs a straight and even road, nuich used by motorists and pleasure seekers, 
who enjoy its level stretches and the diversified landscape. 

The town of Pittsfield was organized in 1S52, and included until the year 
1858 all of Suamico also. On February 15, 1853, the following townships were 
represented on the county board: John P. Arndt, Green Bay, chairman; Hoel S. 
Wright, Wright.stown ; J. Gilman, De Fere; Thomas Bennett, Fort Howard; J. 
Baldwin, Pittsfield; William Field, De Pere, clerk. (Journal of proceedings 
of the board of supervisors.) 

When set ofl:' in 1852, Pittsfield was one of the most heavily wooded portions 
of Brown county. Dense forests of pine and hemlock stretched unbroken through- 
out its entire area, watered by the Suamico river and numerous smaller streams. 
Sawmills were built all along these creeks, and the district became a center for 
tlie lumlier industr\-. George R. Cooke, X. C. Foster, Sylvanus Wright and Oscar 
Gray all operated mills in Pittsfield, and at one time as many as ten mills were 
sawing for all they were worth in the settlement which gained the name of 
Mill Center, and screeched their challenge to the world at dawn and noonday. 
The list of early settlers is incomplete, but among the prosperous farmers men- 
tioned as belonging to Pittsfield in 1876. were Luther Wilson, James Potter, 
A. T. Buckman, F. Streckenback, T. Delaney, T. Doran, F. Gothe, and S. 
Wight, who was a lumberman as well. Those having interests in Pittsfield 
some years later were E. Boyden, Nicolas Caspar, John \\'. Delaney, F. 
Frelise, H. E. Mowers, and William Streckenbach. 

The great fires of 1871 destroyed much of the timiier in the town of Pitts- 
field, and from that time on the number of mills began sensibly to diminish, 
although those of A. L. Sanborn, L. W. Dunham and Oscar Gray remained. In 
still later years, Mathas i\Iiller operated a mill at the Center. The inhabitants, 
as in other parts of Brown county, turned their attention to farming, to truck 
gardening and dairying, and I'ittsfield today shows small evidence of the great 
milling period in its history. Only an occasional deserted mill of primitive make 
recalls that busy, prosperous time in the lumber epoch. 

This whole district is now given over to agriculture and as a practical lumber- 
man of those bygone days now says, "One good crop is more profitable today than 
all the wealth taken from the forest." The farmer of today considers beauty 
as well as utility in building his home, and the wide veranda, well kept front 
yard, filled with flowers and blooming shrubs, is as much considered and as 
carefully cultivated as the more lucrative part of the farm. In riding through 
the town of Pittsfield in the springtime the thick hedges of lilac bushes that 


form dividing lines between flower and vegetable garden or orchard on almost 
every farm add immensely to the beauty of the country. 

On the extreme northwest corner of the town of I'ittshelil, so that it lies 
within the three counties of Brown, Shawano and Oconto, is Pulaski, which was 
settled by Polish colonists twenty-five years ago, and is a flourishing village of 
486 population. 

The congregation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was organ- 
ized on April 27, 1887. On the same date was founded by Polish fathers of the 
Franciscan order a monastery for Polish members of the order. Later, Father 
Anthony Wisniewski, O. S. F., was transferred to Green Bay, and was made the 
first Superior of the large Franciscan monastery at that place. Pittsfield shows 
an increase in population of 3.69 in the census of i(;io, and a total of 1,410. 

On the loth of July, 1856, notice was published in the Green Bay Advocate 
that a new town had been set ofif from the towns of Green Bay and De Pere to 
be called the town of Belleview. On November 20th of that same year it was 
voted in the county board that the portion of Brown county extending on the 
east bank of Fox river "from the point where the south line of the city of Green 
Bay strikes said river shall be constituted into a town to be called Manitou ; the 
election of officers to be held on the first Tuesday of April, 1857." It was at first 
the pleasure of the county board that this choice bit of level farming land should 
be named after the beautiful winding stream that divided the town in two, called 
successively the Manitou, Devil, and within the last fifty years East river. 
Belleview was finally the name agreed upon by Harry E. Eastman and Judge 
David Agry, who had the matter in charge, and suited well the charming stretch 
of country lying between the two rivers and beyond. The settlement of the 
town was commenced about the year 1850, by an industrious and thrifty class 
of Germans. 

The whole town of Bellevue is under excellent cultivation, the soil is fertile, 
especially in the valley portion : the eastern part is hilly, but all is adapted to farm- 
ing purposes. When first set ofl^, Bellevue included also what is now the town 
of Allouez, from which it was separated in 1873. The territory now composing 
it comprises that portion of the original town lying east of East river, in all 
but little more than eight thousand acres of land. A part of this land was known 
as the "lost section," as for some cause unknown it was never brought into market 
like other government lands. It was, however, settled upon by Germans and 
Hollanders from 185 1 until 1855, '^'^''lo remained upon it under the preemption 
law until May, 1865, when it was conveyed to them by an act of congress, at 
$1.25 per acre. 

In 1873 that portion of Bellevue, the spelling now in use, lying between Devil 
river and Fox river, was set ofl: as the town of Allouez, the name being given 
in recognition of the famous Jesuit missionary, Claude Allouez, who first brought 
civilization to these shores. The country embraced in the town of Allouez was 
the point of settlement for the first Americans who sought homes west of Lake 
Michigan, and was, when in 1856 set ofT as part of Bellevue, well settled and 
marked by comfortable farms. Many residents of Green Bay, former dwellers 
in Shantytown, continued to hold land outside the city limits and raised their own 
supplies for family use. 

Allouez remained the last stronghold of the French Canadian families descend- 


ants of the first settlers, until comparatively recent years. The Ducharmes, 
Solomons, Porliers, the Briquelets and Dousmans all owned homes in this 
delightful sfjot. At Shantytown, "Chandidan," as they pronounced it, was the 
home of Col. Joseph Ducharme. 

Col. Joseph Ducharme and family li\ed in a genuine French home on the 
site of the north building of the Hochgreve brewery. The dwelling was large 
with a spacious porch in front, the roof coming low down, making deep eaves. 
The house contained a large chimney, and the French windows which opened 
like doors were filled in with very small glass. At the rear of the house a large 
pine tree spread its long branches and the roots were as large as a small tree. 
Colonel Ducharme had been in the French army and had still in his possession 
some of his military clothes in which he would dress on special occasions. "So 
proud, so proud was Colonel Ducharme" that when he stepped forth dressed in 
his uniform the habitants would whisper to one another with sly winks and 
nudges, "He thinks no doubt to open St. Peter's gate with that grande aire and 
the words, T am Colonel Ducharme.' " 

His four sons were all musicians and for many years the dancers of Green 
Bay and vicinity footed it lightly and frequently to the strains of Ducharme's 

In 1875, Rufus B. Kellogg, a man of wealth and interested in the growth of 
the county, purchased a large portion of Allouez for a stock farm, in order to 
improve the breed of horses used in Brown county, Percheron stock being 
brought over from Normandy at great expense. This well kept model farm com- 
prising many hundred acres was, following the death of the owner, divided up 
into lots and is rapidly being bought up for resident sites and small farms. 

The Cadle farm and site of the first Episcopal mission building and school 
is also situated in the town of Allouez. The Roman Catholic cemetery and 
site of the first village church built under the supervision of Fathers Badin and 
Mazzuchelli in 1830, and the village site of old Menomineeville, the first county 
seat established by law west of Lake ^Michigan, are in Allouez. 

The brewery of Hochgreve Brothers on the river shore succeeds the brewery 
of Hochgreve & Rahr, built in Shantytown in 1858, and at that time the third 
to be erected in this vicinity. The first as far as known was built on the bay 
shore by Philip Hannon, not long after the inilux of Belgian colonists to Bay 
Settlement. The building stood just south of the old stone dock in the town of 
Scott, and of the beer made there Xavier Martin writes: "Philip Hannon, one 
of the first settlers, built a brewery at which he made a peculiar kind of beer ; 
when a Belgian had drunk sixty or seventy glasses of that beverage, he would 
begin to feel good, and then he would sing a certain song, beginning, 'Nous avons 
plante des Canadas avec Marie Doudouye.' The music of this is not very stir- 
ring nor the words very patriotic, somewhat resembling the dying song of a 
Chippewa Indian ; but when sung, it always indicated that the kegs were empty 
and the feast nearly over." 

Holland was set off from the town of Wrightstown in 1853, the first election 
for town officers being held at the house of John Evres, in April of the folowing 
year. Its settlement, however, antedated this event some five years. 

In 1848 three ships, the "Mary Magdalena," the "Liberia," and the "Amer- 
ica," left Rotterdam with a colony of Holland immigrants destined for Wisconsin. 


Father \'an den Broeck, who had labored in Green Bay and Little Chute from his 
coming to the west in 1834, returned to Holland in 1847, for the purpose of 
inducing his countrymen to settle in Wisconsin. Among these first Dutch colon- 
ists was John FI. M. W'igman, who became within a few years a prominent 
professional man in Brown county and the leader in many movements for 
reform among his own countrymen. A portion of the colonists remained in 
Cleveland, but the bulk arrived in Green Bay early in June, 1848. Of these 
a few took up their residence in that town ; all who came in the "Mary Mag- 
dalena" settled with Father \'an den Broeck on the site of lometa's Indian village 
at the Little Chute, while the remainder of the colonists, those who sailed in 
the "Liberia" and "America." settled for the most part in "Franciscus Bosch," 
now Flolland. They were a sturdy lot. hard workers, devout, practical Catholics, 
who by dint of hard labor and temperate habits were soon able to better their 
condition in life. 

Among these first settlers in Franciscus Bosch were Henry Gerritts, Albert 
\''an den Berg, John Verboort, John Tielemans, lienry Van de Hey, Martin 
Verkuilen, H. Verkampen and Henry Hoevener. Father Gotherd, a priest of the 
order of St. Francis, who had accompanied Father \'an den Broek as a colaborer 
with him in this mission field, took this Holland colony under his special charge 
and bestowed upon it the quaint name of "Franciscus Bosch," which it bore for 
many years among the older residents. 

The priest could not attend to Hollandtown on each Sunday, but the sturdy 
pioneers nevertlicless came through the thickness of the woods, rain or shine, 
and gathered in their log church for Sunday devotions. At first mass was 
celebrated in the open air, and also under a tree which supported a kind of 
semblance of a residence. Soon, however, a small log hut was erected, which 
served part for church and part for ])astoral residence. The colonists were 
later able to purchase from their scant means forty acres of land, which they 
at once deeded to the Rt. Reverend Bishop Ilenni, of Milwaukee, for church pur- 
poses. A part of this land was parceled off into lots and sold as the popu- 
lation of the ])arish increased and homes were wanted near the church. The pro- 
ceeds of this sale of land helped the parishioners to secure funds sufficient to 
build a frame church, to which was given the name of St. Francis Seraph, in 
honor of St. Francis of .\ssisi, the jiatron saint of the Order of St. Francis, to 
which Father Gotherd belonged. 

Thus was the town of Holland begun. As time passed other families came 
over from the old country, and the place became a flourishing settlement. Some 
twelve families of Irish immigrants came to this vicinity as early as 1849, 
and made their home among the Holland settlers, .\mong these were Patrick 
Finnegan, Patrick (iolden and Maurice Sommers, Patrick Dockery. Michael 
Dockery, John Clark, John Spain, Daniel Clune, Michael Brick. Joseph l'"ranskee, 
Henry Freeman, Michael Sullivan, James Sommers, James Golden, Thomas 
Finnegan and Thomas Finnerty. Later came the Clearys, Meehans, Sheehans, 
Byers and many others. Hollandtown and Askeaton are the central points in 
Holland for the farms around the town. Forest Junction is also in the town. 

The wild forest through which Father Gotherd led his devoted parishioners 
in 1848 has become one of the finest farming regions in Brown county, the 
soil being a sandy, clayey loam, well adapted to agricultural purposes. In the 


latter part of the fifties a number of German families joined the settlement at 
Holland, and at the present time the population is pretty eve