History of Brown County, Wisconsin

VOLUME I

Brown county comprises that portion of Wisconsin lying at the southern extremity of a great arm of Lake Michigan, known from early times as Baye des Puans, la grande baye and finally Green Bay. This fine sheet of water ninety miles in length, joins the lake through many deep and navigable channels at Death's Door, where it attains a breadth of some thirty miles. In shape the bay resembles a mammoth Indian celt, and extending in a south-westerly direction gradually narrows from its widest part until its span does not exceed five miles. At its extreme point is situated the county seat, Green Bay, a city with a population of 30,000.

The County's area is five hundred and eighteen square miles, twenty-four from its widest point from east to west, and thirty from north to south. On the north it is bounded by the bay and Oconto county, east by Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties, south by Manitowoc, Calumet and a small corner of Outagamie while Shawano and Outagamie counties form its western limit. The Oneida reservation lies half and half in Brown and Outagamie counties.

Fox river cuts off the County's northwest corner, zigzagging toward the l3ay between wooded and fertile shores; Wrightstown is the last river town within Brown county limits.

On Green Bay the county's water line extends for fifteen miles along the western shore and a like distance on the eastern. Fox river gives a frontage of twenty miles on either shore ; East river flowing into the Fox near its mouth is navigable for some four miles. Both streams are extensively used for manufacturing purposes, and the entire inland area is largely devoted to dairying and agricultural pursuits.

Tje towns fronting on the bay are Suamico, Howard, Preble, Scott and Green Bay; those on the Fox river are Lawrence, Ashwaubenon, Wrightstown, Rockland, Depere, Allouez ,and Preble. Inland lie Morrison, Holland, Glenmore, New Denmark, Eaton, Humboldt and Pittsfield.

The population of Brown county according to the census of 1910 is 54,098, and is composed of widely diverse nationalities. The original settlement was made by French Canadians, followed by English, Americans, Germans, Belgians, Flemish, Irish, Hollanders, Scandinavians, Danes, Bohemians and Poles.

Although originally Brown county stood for the whole state it has been mercilessly shorn of its generous proportions until at the present time in the seventy-one counties now comprising Wisconsin, Brown stands fifty-six in point of size, the remaining fifty-five averaging anywhere from 1,497 square miles down the scale. Shawano in its secession took from Brown 1,135 square miles, Outagamie 634, the little counties of Kewaunee and Door 274 and 454 respectively; Manitowoc 590 square miles, and so on through the acres of fertile land composing the twenty-two counties that were cut off from Brown.

Notwithstanding this ruthless hacking away from the parent stem, Brown county continues to be regarded as the most important in Wisconsin.

In point of history the rest of the state is obliged to stand as a blank number up to 1840, while Brown county furnishes interesting material by the volume for every United States history that finds its way to the public library shelves.

It is a wealthy county, the assessed valuation in the government census of 1910 placing it twelfth in the long line of its larger sister counties. In population to the square mile Brown stands fifth in the state, the counties averaging higher being Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine and Winnebago.

The total farm acreage is 301,519, on which 3,615 farms are located. Of these 3,349 are owned and operated by the farmer himself, 246 are under lease, and 20 are owned by farmers who employ a manager to look after the property.

Green Bay, the county seat, is one of the most thriving and progressive business cities in the United States, with the handsomest courthouse in the west. It guards the gate of the waterway which connects the St. Lawrence valley with that of the Mississippi, and is a central shipping point for coal and grain.

Milwaukee, at present the largest city in Wisconsin, was originally platted and owned by Green Bay men, who had, however, largely disposed of their interests by 1855; the lead mines in southern Wisconsin were first controlled and operated by Green Bay capital, the tremendous water power of the Fox River valley was made available and of value through the progressive business spirit of Brown county men, and Wisconsin's capital, Madison, was first located, platted and named by Judge Doty, a prominent political leader in Brown county.

In the formation of the territory and state of Wisconsin, and in the organization of state, county and town government the men of this county took prominent part. The public press of Wisconsin had its beginnings here, and on the shores of Fox river the first advance toward permanent civilization and educational enlightenment was made.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I
BROWN COUNTY BOUNDARIES 1

CHAPTER II
GEOLOGY 3

CHAPTER III
THE INDIANS IN 1634 7

CHAPTER IV
THE COMING OF JEAN NICOLET 13

CHAPTER V
FATHER ALLOUEZ AND THE MISSION OF ST. FRANCOIS XAVIER 19

CHAPTER VI
NICHOLAS PERROT AND THE FUR TRADE 27

CHAPTER VII
THE FRENCH FORT AT LA BAYE 43

CHAPTER VIII
FORT EDWARD AUGUSTUS CHARLES DE LANGLADE - WAR OF 1812 61

CHAPTER IX
AMERICAN OCCUPATION 70

CHAPTER X
BROWN COUNTY CIVIL GOVERNMENT AND COURTS 91

CHAPTER XI
NEW YORK INDIANS AND ELEAZER WILLIAMS 105

CHAPTER XII
MEN AND MANNERS OF 183O 117

CHAPTER XIII
THE BLACK HAWK SCARE 127

CHAPTER XIV
FORT HOWARD MEXICAN WAR 137

CHAPTER XV
BROWN COUNTY'S PART IN THE MAKING OF WISCONSIN TERRITORY AND STATE 153

CHAPTER XVI
COUNTY AND TOWN GOVERNMENT 163

CHAPTER XVII
THE FOX RIVER IMPROVEMENT COMPANY 173

CHAPTER XVIII
LUMBERING IN BROWN COUNTY 181

CHAPTER XIX
BROWN COUNTY IN THE CIVIL WAR 195

CHAPTER XX
THE GREAT FIRE OF 1871 IRON FURNACES DAIRYING 229

CHAPTER XXI
THE SCHOOLS OF BROWN COUNTY 241

CHAPTER XXII
CHURCHES OF BROWN COUNTY 251

CHAPTER XXIII
LIBRARIES 165

CHAPTER XXIV
POLITICAL LIFE BANKS THE PRESS 269

CHAPTER XXV
RAILROADS MAILS WATER TRANSPORTATION HARBOR 277

CHAPTER XXVI
BROWN COUNTY TOWNS 297

CHAPTER XXVII
FISHERIES AGRICULTURE BRICK YARDS BRIDGES 327

CHAPTER XXVIII
COUNTY AND TOWN INSTITUTIONS 333

APPENDIX
BROWN COUNTY MISCELLANY 337

 

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VOLUME II

 

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Brown county once embraced half the area of what is now Wisconsin, but it has been gradually lopped off in every direction until reduced to the present size. Twenty-two counties have been carved from Brown, which when erected by proclamation of Lewis Cass, Governor of Michigan Territory, on October twenty-sixth, 1818, had for its boundaries; north, the county of Michilimackinac: east, that county and the northward extension of the line between Indiana and Illinois: west by a line drawn due north from the Illinois boundary, through the middle of the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, extending to the county of Michilimackinac. The Illinois line formed the southern boundary.