THE INDIAN TRIBES OF WISCONSIN.
Source: History of La Crosse County, Wisconsin
By Consul Willshire Butterfield, Western Historical Company 1881
Transcribed by Barbara Z.
When, as early, it is believed, as 1634, civilized man first set foot upon the territory
now included within the boundaries of Wisconsin, he discovered, to his surprise, that upon this wide area met and
mingled clans of two distinct and wide-spread families the Algonquins and Sioux. The tribes of the former, moving
westward, checked the advance of the latter in their excursions eastward. As yet there had been no representatives
of the Huron-Iroquois seen west of Lake Michigan the members of this great family, at that date dwelling in safety
in the extensive regions northward and southward of the Erie and Ontario lakes. Already had the French secured
a foot-hold in the extensive valley of the St. Lawrence; and, naturally enough, the chain of the Great Lakes led
their explorers to the mouth of Green bay, and up that watercourse and its principal tributary, Fox river, to the
Wisconsin, an affluent of the Mississippi. On the right, in ascending this bay, was seen, for the first time, a
nation of Indians, lighter in complexion than neighboring tribes, and remarkably well formed, now well known as
This nation is of Algonquin stock, but their dialect differed so much from the surrounding tribes
of the same family, it having strange guttural sounds and accents, as well as peculiar inflections of verbs and
other parts of speech, that, for a long time, they were supposed to have a distinct language. Their traditions
point to an emigration from the East at some remote period. When first visited by the French missionaries, these
Indians subsisted largely upon wild rice, from which they took their name. The harvest time of this grain was in
the month of September. It grew spontaneously in little streams with slimy bottoms, and in marshy places. The harvesters
went in their canoes across these watery fields, shaking the ears right and left as they advanced, the grain falling
easily, if ripe, into the bark receptacle beneath. To clear it from chaff and strip it of a pellicle inclosing
it, they put it to dry on a wooden lattice above a small fire, which was kept up for several days. When the rice
was well dried, it was placed in a skin of the form of a bag, which was then forced into a hole, made on purpose,
in the ground. They then tread it out so long and so well, that the grain being freed from the chaff, was easily
winnowed. After this, it was pounded to meal, or left unpounded, and boiled in water seasoned with grease. It thus
became a very palatable diet. It must not be inferred that this was the only food of the Menomorlees; they were
adepts in fishing, and hunted with skill the game which abounded in the forests.
For many years after their discovery, the Menomonees had their homes and hunting grounds upon,
or adjacent to, the Menomonee river. Finally, after the lapse of a century and a quarter, down to 1760, when the
French yielded to the English all claims to the country, the territory of the Menomonees had shifted somewhat to
the westward and southward, and their principal village was found at the head of Green bay, while a smaller one
was still in existence at the mouth of their favorite stream. So slight, however, had been this change, that the
country of no other of the surrounding tribes had been encroached upon by the movement.
In 1634, the Menomonees probably took part in a treaty with a representative of the French,
who had thus early ventured so far into the wilds of the lake regions. More than a score of years elapsed before
the tribe was again visited by white men, that is to say, there are no authentic accounts of earlier visitations.
In 1660, Father Rev. Menard had penetrated the Lake Superior country as far, at least, as Kewenaw, in what is now
the northern part of Michigan, whence some of his French companions probably passed down the Menomonee river to
the waters of Green bay the following year; but no record of the Indians, through whose territory they passed,
was made by these voyagers. Ten years more 1670 brought to the Menomonees (who doubtless had already been visited
by French fur-traders) Father Claudius Allouez, to win them to Christianity. He had previously founded a mission
upon the bay of Chegoimegon, now Chaquamegon, or Ashland bay, an arm of Lake Superior, within the present State
of Wisconsin, in charge of which, at that date, was Father James Marquette. Proceeding from the "Sault"
on the third of November, Allouez, early in December, 1669, reached the mouth of Green bay, where, on the third,
in an Indian village of Sacs, Pottawattamies, Foxes and Winnebagoes, containing about six hundred souls, he celebrated
the holy mass for the first time upon this new field of his labors, eight Frenchmen, traders with the Indians,
whom the missionary found there upon his arrival, taking part in the devotions. His first Christian work with the
Menomonees was performed in May of the next year. Allouez found this tribe a feeble one, almost exterminated by
war. He spent but little time with them, embarking, on the twentieth of that month, after a visit to some Pottawattamies
and Winnebagoes, "with a Frenchman and a savage to go to Sainte Mary of the Sault." His place was filled
by Father Louis Andre1, who, not long after, erected a cabin upon the Menomonee river, which, with one at a village
where his predecessor had already raised the standard of the cross, was soon burned by the savages; but the missionary,
living almost constantly in his canoe, continued for some time to labor with the Menomonees and surrounding tribes
The efforts of Andrd were rewarded with some conversions among the former; for Marquette, who visited them in 1673,
found many good Christians among them.
The record of ninety years of French domination in Wisconsin beginning in June, 1671, and ending
in October, 1761 brings to light but little of interest so far as the Menomonees are concerned. Gradually they
extended their intercourse with the white fur traders. Gradually and with few interruptions (one in 1728, and one
in 1747 of a serious character) they were drawn under the banner of France, joining with that government in its
wars with the Iroquois; in its contests,in 1712, 1729, 1730, and 1751, with the Foxes; and, subsequently, in its
conflicts with the English.
The French post, at what is now Green Bay, Brown county, Wisconsin, was, along with the residue
of the western forts, surrendered to the British in 1760, although actual possession of the former was not taken
until the Fall of the next year. The land on which the fort stood was claimed by the Menomonees. Here, at that
date, was their upper and principal village, the lower one being at the mouth of the Menomonee river. These Indians
soon became reconciled to the English occupation of their territory, notwithstanding the machinations of French
traders who endeavored to prejudice them against the new comers. The Menomonees, at this time, were very much reduced,
having, but a short time previous, lost three hundred of their warriors by the small pox, and most of their chiefs
in the late war in which they had been engaged by the then French commander there, against the English. They were
glad to substitute English for French traders; as they could purchase supplies of them at one half the price they
had previously paid. It was not long before the sincerity of the Menomonees was put to the test. Pontiac's War
of 1763 broke out, and the post of Mackinaw was captured. The garrison, however, at Green bay was not only not
attacked by the savages, but, escorted by the Menomonees and other tribes, crossed Lake Michigan in safety to the
village of L'Arbre Croche; thence making their way to Montreal. The Menomonees continued their friendship to the
English, joining with them against the Colonies during the Revolution, and fighting on the same side during the
war of 1812-15.
When, in July, 1816, an American force arrived at Green' bay to take possession of the country,
the Menomonees were found in their village near by, very peaceably inclined. The commander of the troops asked
permission of their chief to build a fort. "My Brother!" was the response, "how can we oppose your
locating a council-fire among us ? You are too strong for us. Even if we wanted to oppose you we have scarcely
got powder and ball to make the attempt. One favor we ask is, that our French brothers shall not be disturbed.
You can choose any place you please for your fort, and we shall not object." No trouble had been anticipated
from the Menomonees, and the expectations of the government of the United States in that regard were fully realized.
What added much to the friendship now springing up between the Menomonees and the Americans was the fact that the
next year 1817 the annual contribution, which for many years had been made by the British, consisting of a shirt,
leggins, breech-clout, and blanket for each member or the tribe, and for each family a copper kettle, knives, axes,
guns and ammunition, was withheld by them.
It was found by the Americans, upon their occupation of the Menomonee territory, that some of
the women of that tribe were married to traders and boatmen who had settled at t.\e head of the bay, there being
no white women in that region. Many of these were Canadians of French extraction; hence the anxiety that they should
be well treated, which was expressed by the Menomonees upon the arrival of the American force. At this period there
was a considerable trade carried on with these Indians at Prairie du Chien, as many of them frequently wintered
on the Mississippi. The first regular treaty with this tribe was "made and concluded" on the thirtieth
day of March, 1817, "by and between William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Chouteau, commissioners on
the part and behalf of the United States of America, of the one part," and the chiefs and warriors, deputed
by the Menomonees, of the other part. By the terms of this compact all injuries were to be forgiven and forgotten;
perpetual peace established; lands, heretofore ceded to other governments, confirmed to the United States; all
prisoners to be delivered up; and the tribe placed under the protection of the United States, "and of no other
nation, power, or sovereign, whatsoever." The Menomonees were now fully and fairly, and for the first time,
entitled to be known as "American Indians," in contradistinction to the term which had been so long used
as descriptive of their former allegiance "British Indians."
The territory of the Menomonees, when the tribe was taken fully under the win£ of the
General Government, had become greatly extended. It was bounded on the north by the dividing ridge between the
waters flowing into Lake Superior and those flowing south into Green bay and the Mississippi; on the east, by Lake
Michigan; on the south, by the Milwaukee river, and on the west by the Mississippi and Black rivers. This was their
territory; though they were practically restricted to the occupation of the western shore of Lake Michigan, lying
between the mouth of Green bay on the north and the Milwaukee river on the south, and to a somewhat indefinite
area west. Their general claim as late as 1825, was north to the Chippewa country: east to Green bay and Lake Michigan;
south to the Milwaukee river, and west to Black river. And what is most surprising is that the feeble tribe of
1761 had now, in less than three quarters of a century, become a powerful nation, numbering between three and four
The Menomonee territory, as late as 1831, still preserved its large proportions. Its eastern
division was bounded by the Milwaukee river, the shore of Lake Michigan, Green bay, Fox river, and Winnebago lake;
its western division, by the Wisconsin and Chippewa rivers on the west; Fox river on the south; Green bay on the
east, and the high lands whence flow the streams into Lake Superior, on the north. This year, however, it was shorn
of a valuable and large part by the tribe ceding to the United States all the eastern division, estimated at two
and one half million acres. The following year, the Menomonees aided the General Government in the Black Hawk war.
That the Menomonees might, as much as possible, be weaned from their wandering habits, their
permanent home was designated to be a large tract lying north of Fox river and east of Wolf river. Their territory
farther west, was reserved for their hunting grounds until such time as the General Government should desire to
purchase it. In 1836, another portion, amounting to four million acres, lying between Green bay on the east and
Wolf river on the west, was disposed of to the United States, besides a strip three miles in width from near the
portage north, on each side of the Wisconsin river and forty-eight miles long still leaving them in peace- s.ble
possession of a country about one hundred and twenty miles long, and about eighty broad.
Finally, in 1848, the Menomonees sold all their lands in Wisconsin to the General Government,
preparatory to their movement to a reservation beyond the Mississippi of six hundred thousand acres; but the latter
tract was afterward re-ceded to the United States; for, notwithstanding there were treaty stipulations for the
removal of the tribe to that tract, there were obstacles in the way of their speedy migration, resulting, finally,
in their being permitted to remain in Wisconsin. Lands, to the amount of twelve townships, were granted them for
their permanent homes, on the upper Wolf river, in what is now Shawano and Oconto counties a portion, but a very
small one, of what wr.s once their extensive possessions. To this reservation they removed in October, 1852. Thus
are the Menomonees, the only one of the original tribes of Wisconsin who, as a whole, have a local habitation within
its limits. This tribe refused to join the Sioux in their outbreak in 1861, and several of their warriors served
as volunteers in the United States army during the late civil war.
It is now over two centuries since the civilized world began to gain knowledge of the existence,
in the far West, of a tribe of Indians known as the Winnebagoes that is, men of the sea; pointing, possibly, to
their early migration from the shores of the Mexican gulf, or the Pacific. The territory now included within the
limits of Wisconsin, and so much of the State of Michigan as lies north of Green bay, Lake Michigan, the Straits
of Mackinaw and Lake Huron were, in early times, inhabited by several tribes of the Algonquin race, forming a barrier
to the Dakotas, or Sioux, who had advanced eastward to the Mississippi. But the Winnebagoes, although one of the
tribes belonging to the family of the latter, had passed the great river, at some unknown period, and settled upon
the head waters of Green bay. Here, this "sea-tribe," as early, it is believed, as 1634, was visited
by an agent of France and a treaty concluded with them. The tribe afterward called themselves Hochungara, or Ochunkoraw,
but were styled by the Sioux, Hotanke, or Sturgeon. Nothing more is heard of the Ouenibigoutz, or Winnebegouk (as
the Winnebagoes were early called by the Jesuit missionaries, and the Algonquin tribes, meaning men from the fetid
or salt water, translated by the French, Puants) for the next thirty-five years, although there is no doubt that
the tribe had been visited meanwhile by adventurous Frenchmen, when on the second of December, 1669, some of that
nation were noted at a Sac (Sauk or Saukis) village on Green bay, by Father Allouez.
As early at least as 1670, the French were actively engaged among the Winnebagoes trading. "We
found affairs," says one of the Jesuit missionaries, who arrived among them in September of that year. "we
found affairs there in a pretty bad posture, and the minds of the savages much soured against the French, who were
there trading; ill-treating them in deeds and words, pillaging and carrying away their merchandise in spite of
them, and conducting themselves toward them with insupportable insolences and indignities. The cause of this disorder,
"adds the missionary, "is that they had received some bad treatment from the French, to whom they had
this year come to trade, and particularly from the soldiers, from whom they pretended to have received many wrongs
and injuries." It is thus made certain that the arms of France were carried into the territory of the Winnebagoes
over two hundred years ago.
The Fox river of Green bay was found at that date a difficult stream to navigate. Two Jesuits
who ascended the river in 1670, had "three or four leagues of rapids to contend with, "when they had
advanced" one day's journey "from the head of the bay," more difficult than those which are common
in other rivers, in this, that the flints, over which" they had to walk with naked feet to drag their canoes,
were so "sharp and so cutting, that one has all the trouble in the world to hold one's self steady against
the great rushing of the waters." At the falls they found an idol that the savages honored; "never failing,
in passing, to make him some sacrifice of tobacco, or arrows, or paintings, or other things, to thank him that,
by his assistance, they had, in ascending, avoided the dangers of the waterfalls which are in this stream; or else,
if they had to ascend, to pray him to aid them in this perilous navigation." The devout missionaries caused
the idol "to be lifted up by the strength of arm, and cast into the depths of the river, to appear no more"
to the idolatrous savages.
The mission of St. Francis Xavier, founded in December, 1669, by Allouez, was a roving one among
the tribes inhabiting the shores of Green bay and the interior country watered by the Fox river and its tributaries,
for about two years, when its first mission-house was erected at what is now Depere, Brown county. This chapel
was soon after destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in 1676.
The Winnebagoes, by this time, had not only received considerable spiritual instruction from
the Jesuit fathers, but had obtained quite an insight into the mysteries of tiading and trafficking with white
men; for, following the footsteps of the missionaries, and sometimes preceding them, were the ubiquitous French
fur traders. It is impossible to determine precisely what territory was occupied by the Winnebagoes at this early
date, farther than that they lived near the head of Green bay.
A direct trade with the French upon the St. Lawrence was not carried on by the Winnebagoes to
any great extent until the beginning of the eighteenth century. As early as 1679, an advance party of La Salle
had collected a large store of furs at the mouth of Green bay, doubtless in a traffic with this tribe and others
contiguous to them; generally, however, the surrounding nations sold their peltries to the Ottawas, who disposed
of them, in turn, to the French. The commencement of the eighteenth century found the Winnebagoes firmly in alliance
with France, and in peace with the dreaded Iroquios. In 1718, the nation numbered six hundred. They were afterward
found to have moved up Fox river, locating upon Winne- bago lake, which stream and lake were their ancient seat,
and from which they had been driven either by fear or the prowess of more powerful tribes of the West or Southwest.
Their intercourse with the French was gradually extended and generally peaceful, though not always so, joining
with them, as did the Menomonees, in their wars with the Iroquois, and subsequently in their conflicts with the
English, which finally ended in 1760.
When the British, in October, 1761, took possession of the French post, at the head of Green
bay, the Winnebagoes were found to number one hundred and fifty warriors only; their nearest village being at the
lower end of Winnebago lake. They had in all not less than three towns. Their country, at this period, included
not only that lake, but all the streams flowing into it, especially Fox river; afterward extended to the Wisconsin
and Rock rivers. They readily changed their course of trade asking now of the commandant at the fort for English
traders to be sent among them. In the Indian outbreak under Pontiac in 1763, they joined with the Menomonees and
other tribes to befriend the British garrison at the head of the bay, assisting in conducting them to a place of
safety. They continued their friendship to the English during the Revolution, by joining with them against the
colonies, and were active in the Indian war of 1790-4, taking part in the attack on Fort Recovery, upon the Maumee,
in the present State of Ohio, in 1793. They fought also on the side of the British in the war of 1812-15, aiding,
in 1814, to reduce Prairie du Chien. They were then estimated at 4,500. When, in 1816, the government of the United
States sent troops to take possession of the Green bay country, by establishing a garrison there, some trouble
was anticipated from these Indians, who, at that date, had the reputation of being a bold and warlike tribe. A
deputation from the nation came down Fox river and remonstrated with the American commandant at what was thought
to be an intrusion. They were desirous of knowing why a fort was to be established so near them. The reply was
that, although the troops were armed for war if necessary, their purpose was peace. Their response was an old one
: "If your object is peace, you have too many men; if war, you have too few." However, the display of
a number of cannon which had not yet been mounted, satisfied the Winnebagoes that the Americans were masters of
the situation, and the deputation gave the garrison no farther trouble. On the ? of June, 1816, at St. Louis, the
tribe made a treaty of peace and friendship with the General Government; but they continued to levy tribute on
all white people who passed up Fox river. English annuities also kept up a bad feeling. At this time, a portion
of the tribe was living upon the Wisconsin river, away from the rest of the nation, which was still seated upon
the waters flowing into Green bay. In 1820 they had five villages on Winnebago lake and fourteen on Rock river.
In 1825, the claim of the Winnebagoes was an extensive one, so far as territory was concerned. Its southeast boundary
stretched away from the source of Rock river to within forty miles of its mouth, in Illinois, where they had a
village. On the west it extended to the heads of the small streams flowing into the Mississippi. To the northward,
it reached Black river and the upper Wisconsin, in other words, to the Chippewa territory, but did not extend across
Fox river, although they contended for the whole of Winnebago lake. In 1829, a large part of their territory in
southwest Wisconsin, lying between Sugar river and the Mississippi, and extending to the Wisconsin river, was sold
to the General Government; and, three years later all the residue lying south and east of the Wisconsin and the
Fox river of Green bay; the Winnebago prophet having before that date supported the Sacs in their hostility. Finally,
in the brief language of the treaty between this tribe (which had become unsettled and wasteful) and the United
States, of the first of November, 1837, "The Winnebago Nation of Indians" ceded to the General Government
"all their lands east of the Mississippi." Not an acre was reserved. And the Indians agreed that, within
eight months from that date, they would move west of "the great river." This arrangement, however, was
not carried out fully. In 1842, there were only 756 at Turkey river, Iowa, their new home, with as many in Wisconsin,
and smaller bands e' e\vhere. All had become lawless, and roving. Some removed in 1848; while a party to the number
of over eight hundred left the State as late as 1873. The present home of the tribe is in Nebraska, where they
have a reservation north of and adjacent to the Omahas, containing over one hundred thousand acres. However, since
their first removal beyond the Mississippi, they have several times changed their place of abode. Their number,
all told, is less than twenty-five hundred.
When the territory, now constituting the northern portion of Wisconsin, bee.... j very generally
known to the civilized inhabitants of the eastern part of the United States, it was found to be occupied by Indians
called the Chippewas. Their hunting-grounds extended south from Lake Superior to the heads of the Menomonee, the
Wisconsin and Chippe\va rivers; also farther eastward and westward. At an early day they were engaged in a war
with the Sioux a war indeed, which was long continued. The Chippewas, however, persistently maintained their position
still occupying the same region when the General Government extended its jurisdiction over the whole country south
of the Great Lakes and west to the Mississippi.
By treaties with the Chippewas at different periods, down to the year 1827, the General Government
had recognized them as the owners of about one quarter of what is now the entire State. The same policy was pursued
toward this tribe as with neighboring ones, in the purchase of their lands by the United States. Gradually they
parted with their extensive possessions, until, in 1842, the last acre within what is now Wisconsin was disposed
of. It was the intention of the General Government to remove the several ban<ls of the Chippewas who had thus
ceded their lands to a tract reserved for them beyond the Mississippi; but this determination was afterward changed
so as to allow them to remain upon certain reservations within the limits of their old- time hunting grounds. These
reservations they continue to occupy. They are located in Bay- field, Ashland, Chippewa and Lincoln counties. The
clans are known, respectively, as the Red Cliff band, the Bad River band, the Lac Courte Oreille band, and the
Lac de Flambeau band.
Of all the tribes inhabiting what is now Wisconsin when its territory was first visited by white
men, the Sacs (Sauks or Saukies) and Foxes (Outagamies) are, in history, the most noted. They are of the Algonquin
family, and are first mentioned in 1665, by Father Allouez, but as separate tribes. Afterward, however, because
of the identity of their language, and their associations, they were and still are considered as one nation. In
December, 1669, Allouez found upon the shores of Green bay a village of Sacs, occupied also by members of other
tribes; and early in 1670 he visited a village of the same Indians located upon the Fox river of Green bay, at
a distance of four leagues from its mouth. Here a device of these Indians for catching fish arrested the attention
of the missionary. "From one side of the river to the other," he writes, "they made a barricade,
planting great stakes, two fathoms from the water, in such a manner that there is, as it were, a bridge above for
the fishes, who by the aid of a little bow-net, easily take sturgeons and all other kinds of fish which this pier
stops, although the water does not cease to flow between the stakes." When the Jesuit father first obtained,
five years previous, a knowledge of this tribe, they were represented as savage above all others, great in numbers,
and without any permanent dwelling place. The Foxes were of two stocks: one calling themselves Outagamies or Foxes,
whence our English name; the other, Musquakink, or men of red clay, the name now used by the tribe. They lived
in early times with their kindred the Sacs east of Detroit, and as some say near the St. Lawrence. They were driven
west, and settled at Saginaw, a name derived from the Sacs. Thence they were forced by the Iroquois to Green bay;
but were compelled to leave that place and settle on Fox river.
Allouez, on the twenty-fourth of April, 1670, arrived at a village of the Foxes, situated on
Wolf river, a northern tributary of the Fox. "The nation," he declares, "is renowned for being numerous;
they have more than four hundred men bearing arms; the number of women and children is greater, on account of polygamy
which exists among them each man having commonly four wives, some of them six, and others as high as ten."
The missionary found that the Faxes had retreated to those parts to escape the persecutions of the Iroquois. Allouez
established among these Indians his mission of St. Mark, rejoicing in the fact that in less than two years he had
baptized "sixty children and some adults." The Foxes, at the summons of De la Barre, in 1684, sent warriors
against the Five Nations. They also took part in Denonville's more serious campaign; but soon after became hostile
to the French. As early as 1693, they had plundered several on their way to trade with the Sioux, alleging that
they were carrying arms and ammunition to their ancient enemies frequently causing them to make portages to the
southward in crossing from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi. Afterward they became reconciled to the French; but
the reconciliation was of short duration. In 1712, Fort Detroit, then defended by only a handful of men, was attacked
by them in conjunction with the Mascou- tens and Kickapoos. However, in the end, by calling in friendly Indians,
the garrison not only protected themselves but were enabled to act on the offensive, destroying the greater part
of the besieging force.
The nation continued their ill will to the French. The consequence was that their territory
yi 1716 had been invaded and they were reduced to sue for peace. But their friendship was not of long continuance.
In 1718, the Foxes numbered five hundred men and "abounded in women and children." They are spoken of
at that date as being very industrious, raising large quantities of Indian corn. In 1728, another expedition was
sent against them by the French. Meanwhile the Menomonees had also become hostile; so, too, the Sacs, who were
now the allies of the Foxes. The result of the enterprise was, an attack upon and the defeat of a number of Menomonees;
the burning of the wigwams of the Winnebagos (after passing the deserted village of the Sacs upon the Fox river,
that tribe, also, at this date being hostile; and the destruction of the fields of the Foxes. They were again attacked
in their own country by the French, in 1730, and defeated. In 1734, both the Sacs and Foxes came in conflict with
the same foe; but this time the French were not as successful as on previous expeditions. In 1736, the Sacs and
Foxes were "connected with the government of Canada;" but it is certain they were far from being friendly
to the French.
The conflict between France and Great Britain commencing in 1754, found the Sacs and Foxes allied
with the former power, against the English, although not long previous to this time they were the bitter enemies
of the French. At the close of that contest so disastrous to the interests of France in North America, these tribes
readily gave in their adhesion to the conquerors, asking that English traders might be sent them. The two nations,
then about equally divided, numbered, in 1761, about seven hundred warriors. Neither of the tribes took part in
Pontiac's war, .but they befriended the English. The Sacs had migrated farther to the westward; but the Foxes at
least a portion of them still remained upon the waters of the river of Green bay, which perpetuates their name.
A few years later, however, and the former were occupants of the upper Wisconsin; also, to a considerable distance
below the portage, where their chief town was located. Further down the same stream was the upper village of the
Foxes, while their lower one was situated near its mouth at the site of the present city of Prairie du Chien. At
this date, 1766, the northern portion of what is now Wisconsin, including all that part watered by the streams
flowing north into Lake Superior, was the home of the Chippewas. The country around nearly the whole of Green bay
was the hunting ground of the Menomonees. The territory of Winnebago lake and Fox river was the seat of the Winnebagoes.
The region of the Wisconsin river was the dwelling place of the Sacs and Foxes.
During the war of the Revolution, the Sacs and Foxes continued the firm friends of the English.
At the commencement of the nineteenth century, only a small part of their territory was included in what is now
Wisconsin, and that was in the extreme southwest. In 1804, they ceded this to the United States; so that they no
longer were owners of any lands within this State. From that date, therefore, these allied tribes can not be considered
as belonging to the Indian nations of Wisconsin. A striking episode in their subsequent history the Black Hawk
War comes in, notwithstanding, as a part, incidentally, of the annals of the State.
Deserving a place in a notice of the Indian tribes of Wisconsin is the nation known as the Pottawattamies.
As early as 1639, they were the neighbors of the Winnebagoes upon Green bay. They were still upon its southern
shore, in two villages, in 1670; and ten years subsequent to that date they occupied, at least in one village the
same region. At the expiration of the first quarter of the eighteenth century, a part only of the nation were in
that vicinity upon the islands at the mouth of the bay. These islands were then known as the Pottawattamie islands,
and considered as the ancient abode of these Indians. Already had a large portion of this tribe emigrated southward,
one band resting on the St. Joseph of Lake Michigan, the other near Detroit. One peculiarity of this tribe at least
of such as resided in what is now Wisconsin was their intimate association with neighboring bands. When, in 1669,
a village of the Pottawattamies, located upon the southeast shore of Green bay, was visited by Allouez, he found
with them Sacs and Foxes and Winnebagoes. So, also, when, many years subsequent to that date, a band of these Indians
were located at Milwaukee, with them were Ottawas and Chippewas. These "united tribes" claimed all the
lands of their respective tribes and of other nations, giving the United States, when possession was taken of the
western country by the General Government, no little trouble. Finally, by a treaty, held at Chicago in 1833, their
claims, such as they were, to lands along the western shore of Lake Michigan, within the present State of Wisconsin,
extending westward to Rock river, were purchased by the United States, with permission to retain possession three
years longer of their ceded lands, after which time this "united nation of Chippewas, Ottawas and Pottawattamies"
began to disappear, and soon were no longer seen in southeastern Wisconsin or in other portions of the State.
Besides the five tribes Menomonees, Winnebagoes, Chippewas, Sacs and Foxes, and Pottawattamies
many others, whole or in part, have, since the territory now constituting the State was first visited by white
men, been occupants of its territory. Of these, some are only known as having once lived in what is now Wisconsin;
others such as the Hurons, Illinois, Kickapoos, Mascoutens, Miamis, Noquets, Ottawas and Sioux, are recognized
as Indians once dwelling in this region; yet so transitory has been their occupation, or so little is known of
their history, that they scarcely can be claimed as belonging to the State.
Commencing in 1822, and continuing at intervals through some of the following years, was the
migration to Wisconsin from the State of New York of the remains or portions of four tribes: the Oneidas, Stockbridges,
Munsees and 'Brothertowns. The Oneidas finally located west of Green Bay, where they still reside. Their reservation
contains over 60,000 acres, and lies wholly within the present counties of Brown and Outagamie. The Stockbridges
and Munsees, who first located above Green Bay, on the east side of Fox river, afterward moved to the east side
of Winnebago lake. They now occupy a reservation joining the southwest township of the Menomenee reservation, in
Shawano county, and are fast becoming citizens. The Brothertowns first located on the east side of Fox river, but
subsequently moved to the east side of Winnebago late, where, in 1839, they broke up their tribal relations and
became citizens of Wisconsin territory.