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WHEN DID THE USE OF BOWS AND ARROWS CEASE?
The finding, this summer, of a flint arrow-head at the north end of the Dells of the Wisconsin River raised the question of its probable age. Some of the residents state that a great Indian battle occurred at the spot where the arrow-head was found, sometime about 1820, and suggested that it was a relic of that fight; others, however, did not believe that bows and arrows were used in that part of the country after about 1800, and thought it antedated that year.
This is a question to which I am wondering whether an authoritative answer can be given. Were not firearms in general use among the Indians of central Wisconsin after the beginning of the nineteenth century?
J. M. W. PRATT, Milwaukee
Wisconsin Indians began to obtain guns from the French as early as 1670, but they by no means abandoned their primitive weapons for firearms. Many settlers as late as the 1840's testify to having seen the tribesmen using bows and arrows. The guns were poor, made for the trade, easily got out of order, and the Indians themselves could not repair them. Every agency maintained a blacksmith, whose chief work was the repairing of Indian guns. Thus bows and arrows were much used for hunting, and part of an Indian boy's education was the accurate shooting of small game with arrows. This answers your question concerning the modern use of arrow-heads.
We have no tradition of an Indian battle at the Dells in 1820. The Wisconsin River Indians were in peaceful relations with one another. The Chippewa occasionally came down the stream, but its lower waters were Menominee territory and so far as we know there were no hostilities between these tribes except at a much earlier period.
SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIAN NAMES
I have heard different explanations of the meaning of the name "Winnebago." Please give me your definition.
Does "Neenah" mean "laughing water," or "running water"? I have heard that "Minnehaha" means "laughing water."
JOHN P. SHIELLS, Neenah
The word "Winnebago" was the name of an Indian tribe whose early habitat was around the lake of that name. The word really means "filthy" or "ill-smelling." It did not mean that this
tribe was more uncleanly than their neighbors, but that they lived in a land of ill-smelling waters. The Indians used the same word for the salt water of the sea.
"Neenah" means "water" only, nothing more. That is the Winnebago term. It is said that an early traveler pointing to the stream asked an Indian what was its name. The Indian thought he meant the element water, and said, "Neenah." The traveler thought it was the Indian name of Fox River.
"Minnehaha" is supposed to mean "laughing water." "Minne" is the same word in Sioux as "neenah" in Winnebago.
THE CAREER OF CHIEF WAUBUNSEE
I am preparing a paper on the life of Waubunsie, chief of the Potawatomi, and desire all the information I can gain concerning him. We own property on a creek named for Waubunsie, as he used it as a favorite camping ground while traveling along Fox River, into which the creek empties. We have built a cottage and fixed up a small park here, and are making a collection of Indian relics to keep in the cottage, which we have named Waubunsie Lodge.
MRS. R. H. JOHNSTON, Oswego, Ill.
We find the following concerning the career of Chief Waubunsee:
His name was spelled in several ways: Waubunsee, Waubansia, Waupan-eh-see, Waubunsie, and so forth. He signed the treaties of 1826, 1828, and 1829, as well as that of 1814 after the battle of the Thames, in which he was engaged on the British side. He was always a friend of the whites; nevertheless he is said to have urged that his tribe support Black Hawk in 1832, but was overruled (Wis. Hist. Colls. vii, 419). A letter from a man named McCarty says (Draper MSS. 9YY69) that he and his brother founded Aurora in 1836, although they owned the land as early as 1834. Waubunsee was head chief of the tribe on Fox River and spent his summers there, removing to the reserve on Kankakee River in the winter. He ultimately removed to Kansas, where he died.
McKenney and Hall, History of the Indian Tribes (Phila., 1855), iii, 31-35, say he was head war chief of the Prairie band of Potawatomi, residing originally on Kankakee River. Though a warrior of daring and enterprise, he was cool and sagacious, and
a bold orator. An anecdote is told of his feud with the Osages who had slain one of his friends. He finally met a party of that tribe near an American fort. The Osages trusted to the protection of the garrison, but Waubunsee scaled the fort at night, despatched a sleeping Osage, tore the scalp from his head, and leaped the wall just as the alarm was given. By sunrise he and his band were far away. At the treaty of the Wabash in 1826, near Huntington, Waubunsee was accidentally wounded by a friend in a drunken frolic. The agent Tipton kept Waubunsee with him until he was cured. In the spring Waubunsee paid a visit of ceremony to thank the agent for his kindness. The latter tried to reconcile the chief with his quondam friend. Waubunsee said, "You may tell him to come back. A man that will run off like a dog with his tail down for fear of death is not worth killing. I will not hurt him."
He was at the treaty of Chicago in 1833, when the tribe sold all their lands. In 1835 he visited Washington to see his "great father," the president. He went West about 1836, and was living in 1838 at Council Bluffs. Later he removed to Kansas.
EARLY PIERCE COUNTY
Our school would like to know a few things about early Pierce County. What Indian tribes lived here? Were there any trading posts in the county; if so, where? Who was the first white visitor to this vicinity? How did Maiden Rock get its name? Any other information about our early history will be appreciated.
MARGARET HENN, Maiden Rock
Pierce County is the scene of some of the most interesting historical events in western Wisconsin. It was the home of the Sioux tribe of Indians, or more properly the Dakota division of the great Siouan family. The Dakota were divided into the Sioux of the Plains, and those of the River. Those who occupied Pierce County were of the latter division. Their territory was encroached upon by the Chippewa from Lake Superior, and a state of war was almost continuous between these two great tribes until 1837, when the Sioux ceded all their lands on the east bank of the Mississippi and withdrew, the next year, to the west bank. The site of Prescott is the traditional site of a great battle between
the Sioux and the Chippewa, in which the latter were victorious, carrying off over three hundred scalps.
The legend of Maiden Rock is very old, and has many forms. The simplest form is told by Bunnell, in Winona and Its Environs. A maiden daughter of Wabasha, great chief who lived at Winona, Minnesota, was named Wee-no-nah, or eldest daughter. She had a young lover of her tribe, whom she wished to marry, but her parents desired to give her hand to an older, experienced warrior who had many Chippewa scalps to his credit. Weenonah objected and was separated from her young lover. One day, on a hunting expedition near Lake Pepin, the older lover pressed his suit. Again refusing, she bounded away from her friends and family, rushed to the height of a great rock, and recounting her sorrows and her undying love for her first lover, threw herself over the cliff and perished. We have never heard of any other site for this legend than the so-called Maiden Rock bluff, on the east bank of Lake Pepin.
The question of early posts in your vicinity is an interesting and a difficult one. In the Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1915, 117–123, you will find this subject discussed. Fort St. Antoine, where Perrot took possession in 1689 of the Sioux country, is thought to have been just below Stockholm in Pepin County. Fort Beauharnois was built in 1727 opposite Maiden Rock, near Frontenac, Minnesota. If you will get Wis. Hist. Colls., xvii, 22–28, you will find an interesting description of this post, and of the celebration with fireworks which terrified the Indians. Fort St. Pierre was also built in your vicinity; just where has not been determined. These were all official French forts, but they were also trading posts. Carver mentions Fort St. Pierre in his journey of 1766-the first Englishman in Pierce County.
The first white men to pass up the river were Father Louis Hennepin and two French companions, Antoine du Gay and Michel Accault, in the year 1680. They were taken prisoners by a band of Sioux. Daniel Duluth came from Lake Superior down the St. Croix, rescued them, and took them east over the Wisconsin-Fox route to Green Bay. If you have Kellogg, Early Narratives of the Northwest, you can read Duluth's own account of this
adventure. After this, French travelers came and went constantly until the downfall of New France after Montcalm's defeat by Wolfe near Quebec in 1759. Then English traders came in, and occupied this region until after the War of 1812. Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike in 1805 carried the first United States flag along the upper Mississippi. In 1819 a post was built at Fort Snelling, and in 1827 a group of officers at the fort formed a company to buy the land at the mouth of the St. Croix. This was Indian land, so they could not obtain it until after the treaty of 1837.
St. Croix County was organized in 1840, and embraced what is now Pierce County. In 1849 a town called Elizabeth was laid off, comprising most of what is now Pierce County. This was perhaps named for Eliza Shazer, thought to be the first white child of American parents born in the present Pierce County. In 1853 Pierce County was erected and named for the president of the United States, Franklin Pierce. The first school was opened in 1851.
THE HORICON MARSH
We are making a study of the Horicon Marsh, and want information upon the subject. If you have any, would you kindly send it so we may use it in our high school work?
ADELINE KROSS, Horicon
This region was at first known as the Winnebago Marsh, and the town at its southern end was called Hubbard's town, for Governor Hubbard of Vermont, who had bought the land there. Governor Hubbard sold the land to Preston and Larrabee, who in 1845 had a dam begun at this place. This dam was completed in 1846 by Martin Rich from Vermont, who suggested the name Horicon for the slowly rising lake. The dam was originally built for water-power purposes, but soon the lake was utilized for the transport of timber to run from Chester down the Rock to Janesville and Rockford. In 1867 a decision of the supreme court abolished the dam, and Horicon Lake became Horicon Marsh. Soon the hunting and shooting clubs began to utilize this marsh. The Diana Shooting Club in 1883 leased ten thousand acres for twenty-five years. The later history covers an attempt to drain