Centennial History of Menominee County, Michigan

The Congress of the United States having recommended that short sketches of the history of the various counties in the several States be prepared and read on the occasion of the celebration of the anniversary of our Independence on this our Centennial year, and that afterwards a copy of the same, either written or printed, be filed with the Librarian of Congress, a copy with the Librarian of the State in which the county is located, and a copy with the clerk of the county; and the Governor of Michigan having joined in this request in behalf of our own State and many prominent citizens having urged the work upon me, as I am an old settler I have undertaken to prepare a historical sketch of Menominee County. Mr. Charles McLeod is now the oldest living white settler in the county, and I am indebted to him for many of the facts recorded in this sketch. I have given other facts as related to me by the late John G Kittson, Esq.. who was also an old settler. I have also referred for data to a small pamphlet published in 1871 by Lewis S. Patrick, and entitled "Sketches of the Menominee River." I am satisfied that the statements contained in this pamphlet are substantially correct, for I was often applied to during its preparation for information previously obtained from older settlers, as well as for such incidents as had come within my own observation. I have endeavored to touch only upon salient points, and to present leading incidents in a succinct form. All the history since the summer of 1859 has been made within my own observation, but for facts occurring previous to that time, my authority is the statements of the settlers who were here when I came. It has been decided to insert the cards of the business men of Menominee County, as in years to come these also become history, and no doubt if this volume has readers twenty-five or fifty years from now, they will be as much interested in the cards as in the other parts of the work, as we now are interested in men and events a quarter or a half century old. In writing a history of Menominee County, I am compelled, in order to make it complete, to include parts of the history of Marinette and Menekaunee, Oconto County, Wisconsin. These villages lying opposite, on the north and south shores of the Menominee river, are so interblended in their enterprises and interests, that a history of one necessarily includes much of the history of the other. In writing these few pages, I make no pretensions to literary merit; on the contrary, my desire is to present facts in a succinct form, so that they may be preserved, rather than to have them in flowery style.


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When the first white man visited Green Bay the Menominee river was the home of the "Menominee Indians," then very numerous, and Menominee was their most populous locality. The abundance of fish running out of Green Bay into the river: the check they received in climbing the rapids two miles from the mouth: and the abundance of game in the woods around, enabled them to obtain a living very easily. Their favorable location, too, on the shores of the bay rich with fish, and at the mouth of the river whose branches enabled them to penetrate the vast regions to the north with their birch bark canoes these advantages drew large numbers about the mouth of the Menominee. The peaceful character of the Menominees was early noted by the white traders, and although they were brave as a people, yet wars rarely arose between them and other tribes, and violence was seldom committed on those who visited them. Tradition tells of but one battle within the limits of Menominee County, and that was between the Indians living near the mouth of the river and those living in the villages near White Rapids and Grand Rapids. The first were Menominees of course, but it is not certainly known whether their opponents belonged to the same tribe or were Chippewas, but the presumption is that they belonged to the latter tribe. The battle was fough: near the house of Charles McLeod, and along the banks of the river near Burying Ground Point. The trouble occurred in this way.