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The early history of the Dells is quite obscure. The Winnebago term for the Dells was Neesh-ah-ke-soonah-er-rah-Where the Rocks Strike Together. We have been trying without success to determine who was the first white man to see the Dells. The Green Bay traders had trading posts on the upper river by the twenties of the last century. We find letters dated from the upper Wisconsin (Au haut du Ouisconsin) in 1827 and from that onward. Among the earlier traders were Jacques Porlier, Jr., who at one time had his family with him; Charles Grignon and his younger brothers, Paul and Amable. The latter seems to have made the upper Wisconsin his permanent home from 1829 onward. He was the youngest of Langlade's grandsons and was for some years a clerk for the Hudson's Bay Company in the Athabasca region. He returned home in 1823, just too late to see his mother, she dying in October of that year. At that time he brought a bride from Mackinac, Judith Bourassa, a kinswoman of his grandmother Langlade. It is said he took his wife and family goods in a boat up the Fox River to Portage, thence up the Wisconsin to Grignon's bend in northern Juneau County. Before this there had been considerable passing up and down the river for trading purposes. Amable opened a small farm on the upper river and sold his surplus produce at Fort Winnebago. Morgan L. Martin offered to go into partnership with Amable Grignon, to build a sawmill. Grignon secured permission from the Menominee, and Morgan from the War Department Indian Bureau. But they were anticipated by the shrewd Yankee Daniel Whitney, who got his permit and built his mill in 1831. In all this enterprise on the upper river we find no mention of the Dells. Trading on the Lemonweir River was older, apparently, than that on the upper Wisconsin. In 1810-11 Louis Beaupré wintered on the Lemonweir (Wis. Hist. Colls., III, 268); and in 1820 the Grignons were among the Winnebago there (Id., XX, 156-57).

All indications point to an early knowledge of the difficulties of navigation in the Dells, and to the name having been applied by the French traders of Green Bay and the Portage, but apparently without being recorded in any document.

The earliest document in which we find the locality mentioned is a letter of J. M. Street, Indian agent at Prairie du Chien, who August 28, 1832, wrote to the Secretary of War announcing the capture of Black Hawk. He says (we have a photostat copy of his letter): "The Black Hawk was taken about 40 miles above the Portage on the Wiskinsin River near a place called the Dalle." At the same time Chaetar boasted "Near the Dalles on the Wisconsin I took Black Hawk" (Wis. Hist. Colls., VIII, 316).

The maps are even later than the documents in indicating the Dells. The earliest map we have found giving any sign is that constructed by George W. Featherstonhaugh in 1835 for the Topographical Bureau. He has placed upon the upper river the following caption: "A narrow passage with lofty mural sandstone banks." Featherstonhaugh did not in person visit the Wisconsin above the Portage. His report was thus from hearsay. Lapham, in his Topography of Wisconsin (1844), under Portage County, says: "At the 'Dells' the river runs for three miles between Perpendicular cliffs of rock about three hundred feet high and only forty feet across. It is said that the gorge is so narrow at the top in some places, that one may easily jump across it." Lapham's map of Wisconsin, 1845, has "The Dellsperpendicular Rock Bluffs 300 ft. high River 40 ft. wide.” The earliest permanent settlers at the lower end of the Dells were Amasa Wilson, C. B. Smith, and R. V. Allen from Galena. Allen was living there as late as 1878; he was a famous river pilot. For some years Allen's was the only house between the Grignons' on the upper river, and Portage. When Kingston went to the Lemonweir in the first part of 1838, he speaks of the Point Bas trail as being then plain and much used, whereas the trail crossing the river at the Dells was untrodden.


Please give me the name of an authentic history of Wisconsin. I wish all possible information concerning Viroqua, the Indian maiden for whom the county site of Vernon County (formerly Bad Axe County) was named. Was she instrumental in the winning of the battle of the Bad Axe? When and where did she die?

Royal Oak, Mich.

We have found an explanation of the name Viroqua in the Draper Manuscripts 12F114. Viroqua was the name of a Mohawk princess, sister of the distinguished Dr. Oronhyetetha. She lived in Canada, near Brantford. In 1886 she was giving entertainments in the opera house at that place. An early settler of Viroqua, Wisconsin, came from Canada, and no doubt had heard the name among the Mohawk on Grand River.

THE HOME OF THE INVENTOR OF THE SELF-KNOTTER In or near what Wisconsin city is the farm house of John F. Appleby, inventor of the first twine-knotter for a self-binder reaper? Are there any of the original buildings on the farm which were in use during his days?

Kansas City, Mo.

John F. Appleby was brought up on the farm of his stepfather, Marshall Newell. In 1857 Mr. Newell owned two hundred and fifty acres on section twenty-three of the town of Lagrange, Walworth County. The nearest large town is Whitewater, where Mr. Newell died. Before 1873 his farm had passed into the hands of John Taylor, whose descendants still own the place. If you will write to John Taylor, farmer, Lagrange, Walworth County, Wisconsin, you will probably get an answer concerning the buildings on the farm.

Young Appleby early left home, and was living near Mazomanie, Dane County, when on August 5, 1862, he enlisted in Company E, Twenty-third Wisconsin Volunteers. We do not find that he owned a farm near Mazomanie. He is not listed as a farm owner in the census of 1860, nor in that of 1870. It seems probable that his boyhood home was the only farm on which he lived.


Can you give me any information as to the origin and history of the name Neenah? Am I right in assuming the word Neenah to be the name of an Indian girl, and if so is there any possibility of obtaining a likeness or picture of what represents her, for reproducing same? HARRY F. WILLIAMS,

Neenah The word Neenah is the Winnebago word for water. The story is told that Governor Doty was once traveling with a

Winnebago guide, and pointing to Fox River asked its native name. The Indian, thinking the governor meant the word for water, replied "Neenah." Doty supposed it was the native word for that river, and always spoke of the Fox as Neenah River. Afterward, liking the name, he used it for the town. Other authorities apply the story to an engineer who was surveying for the government in early days, and who in his report gave the name Neenah to the Fox River. So far as we are aware, no tradition associates the name with an Indian girl.


The First National Bank of Lincoln has just been printing a semicentennial souvenir. Amasa Cobb, who, as you know, represented our old Wisconsin district in Congress for four successive terms, was the principal founder and the first president of this bank. He was a member of the Wisconsin Senate of 1855-56. I remember the story that he exposed on the floor of the Senate an attempt to bribe him, which won him the sobriquet "Honest Cobb." It was said also that this was the legislature of the "forty thieves." I supposed that the occasion was the exposure of the bribery of the legislature by the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad Company; but that came later. I am unable to find any references to the incident in question in the publications of your historical society. I think it will not cause you much trouble to illustrate the incident in question very briefly on my behalf.

I remember also that General Cobb was criticized for his alleged drawing of two salaries-one as member of Congress, the other as colonel of the two regiments which he organized for the Civil War. If the information is easily available, I should like to know whether or not he spent much of his time in Congress while the war lasted. I should like to know also the date on which he organized each of the two regiments of which he was colonel, and the names of the regiments. I have data covering these points, but I am not sure of their reliability. ALBERT WATKINS, Lincoln, Neb.

With respect to the early career of General Amasa Cobb we have found some interesting material. Cobb was a member of the state senate for 1855 and 1856. In the latter year a special session in September and October was called to accept the Congressional land grants for railroads. There was a powerful lobby for the Milwaukee and La Crosse Railroad present, and it was openly charged that bribery was the order of the day. We do not find that Cobb made an open protest in the senate sessions;

but when the bill was finally passed, October 9, 1856, he "moved that the senate adjourn for the purpose of prayer." In the Legislature of 1858 an investigation was ordered, and Cobb was called before the investigating committee and sworn. His testimony was as follows: (Appendix to Assembly Journal, 1858, 11315).


Question.-Were you a member of the Legislature of 1856, and if so' were you present during the adjourned or extra session in September and October of that year?

Answer. I was a member of the State Senate for the years 1855-6, and was present at the adjourned session, in the months of September and October, of 1856.

Question.-Were any offers of any stock, bonds or other valuable things made to you by any person or corporation during such adjourned or extra session, to influence you to support or oppose, or to give your aid influence to procure the passage or defeat of any measure pending before the Legislature, relating to the disposition of the lands granted by Congress to this State to aid in the construction of railroads? If so, state when, where, and by whom such offers were made.

Answer. Some five or six days before the final adjournment of the said adjourned session, Mr. William Pitt Dewey, who was then the assistant clerk of the Assembly, invited me to take a walk with him, and while walking around the capitol square in the city of Madison, he (Dewey) introduced the subject of the bill granting the land which has been granted to the State of Wisconsin to aid in the construction of certain railroads, to the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad Company, and which bill was then pending before the Legislature. During said conversation he informed me that should said bill pass, he would get a quantity of bonds. He stated the amount that he was to receive, and to the best of the recollection of this deponent, it was ten thousand dollars. He asked me what amount would induce me to cease my opposition and support the bill, or come into the arrangement. I asked him why, or by what authority he made the inquiry? He replied that he had come right from Kilbourn and was authorized by him to say that I might make my own terms. He further stated that "we had had a consultation at the Capital House, and concluded that I, (Dewey) being well acquainted with you (deponent), and we having been around together a good deal, that I could be more likely to come to an understanding, or arrangement with you, than any one else could.” He further stated that "they were bound to carry it through anyhow, and that I might as well make something out of it, as the rest of them." This, as near as this deponent can remember, was the language used.

Question.-What reply, if any, did you make to his proposition? (Deponent declined to answer this question; but upon the same being pressed by the committee, under protest, he answered.)

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