Centennial History of Menominee County, Wisconsin

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 while 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 inter-blended 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 pretentions 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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The history of a new country can reach back but a few years. The unwritten history, if known, would possess a greater interest than the written, and could the distant past unfold its record we would read a page of history beside which the times within the knowledge of man would seem tame and commonplace. It is so with Menominee County.

Could we go back to the days of pre-historic man, we would probably find history so full of tragic interest that it would seem like romance, and even if we had the history of the early Indian races who made this their homes for many generations, it would undoubtedly furnish us much more of incident than we can obtain since the white man first paddled his canoe, or pushed his batteaux into the mouth of the Menominee.

We have no knowledge of the pre-historic man except what is gained from the mounds scattered through the country, and some remnant of streets and cities that have been exhumed, and occasionally fortifications, the remains of which furnish satisfactory evidence that the builders were of a race much more numerous and farther advanced in civilization than the races that succeed-ed them and where found here by the white men.

Abundant evidence that such a race once inhabited Menominee County is found in the mounds within its borders. But these mounds are the beginning and the end of all the history we have of the pre-historic race.