From Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio.





And Transactions of the Wisconsin Archeological Society

Volume 6, Number 3
July, 1907


Issued  by  the  Wisconsin  Archeological  Society

Milwaukee, Wis.

Charles E. Brown, Secretary and Curator

Published by Authority of Law





Wisconsin Archeological Society


Incorporated March 23. 190.1, for the purpose of advancing the study
and preservation of Wisconsin antiquities.

Vol. 6, No. 3.

The Winnebago Tribe. Publius V. Lawson, L. L. B. ............ 77


Introduction 77
The Early Home of the Siouan Tribes 78
The Siouan Migration 80
The Origin of the Winnebago Name 83
The Doty Island Habitat 86
Traditions of the Early Struggles of the Tribe 90
In the Fox Wars 94
In the French and Indian War and Conquest of Canada 99
As British Allies 99
In the Revolutionary War 100
In the Border Wars 102
In the War of 1812 102
The Treaty With the New York Indians 105
Peace Councils 105
The Winnebago War 106
In the Black Hawk War 109
The Removal of the Tribe 112
Organization 117
Manners and Customs 120
Religion 133
Outline Sketches of the Chiefs 136
Antiquities 159
Appendix 161



List of Illustrations.                                                                                



O Check Ka, or Four Legs, head chief of the Winnebago village
   on Doty island, in 1827 .................................................. Frontispiece

Sectional map of Wisconsin giving the locations of some of the
   Winnebago villages ..........................................................

Plate                                                                                        Facing page
1. Four Legs' village on Doty island, 1830  80
2. Rassade. Glass and shell beads, Doty island village site 88
3. Shounk Chunk, or Black Wolf, chief of the Winnebago village
     at Black Wolf point, Lake Winnebago, 1827 
4. Site of the Winnebago village on Doty island, 1907 104
5. Potsherds and stone muller, Doty island site 112
6. Big Hawk, chief of the Pike lake, Marathon county band 120
7. Grooved stone axe and cells, Doty island site 128
8. Blue Wing, a Wisconsin Winnebago girl, 1900  136
9. Stone celt and other implements, Doty island site 144
10. Ta ku ho he gar, or Jacob Russell, Winnebago reservation,
      Thurston county, Nebraska, 1906
11. Flint arrow and spear points, Doty island site 160




A  Quarterly  Bulletin  Published  by  the  Wisconsin  Archeological   Society.

Vol. 6.           MILWAUKEE,  WIS.,  JULY,  19O7.           No. 3.



In the following brochure the author has endeavored to assemble in abbreviated form for the benefit of students and others such facts and information concerning the archaeology, ethnology and early history of the once important tribe of Wisconsin Indians known as the Winnebago, as may prove interesting and useful.

In its preparation he has freely drawn upon and attempted to properly classify the large amount of valuable data preserved in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, the reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and other works of value, some of which are not generally accessible. The records of the Wisconsin Archeological Society have been consulted on various points.

The author desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to Mr. Chas. E. Brown, who has very kindly assisted in the preparation of the two opening chapters, as well as those relating to the antiquities, manners and customs, religion and organization of the tribe. To Dr. W. H. Holmes of Washington, D. C., he desires to express his thanks for the loan of several of the photographs which appear as illustrations.


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The Winnebago tribe which figured so long in the history of the valleys of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers and was so prominent in the pioneer days of Wisconsin, is a member of the great Siouan family of North American Indians whose original home ethnologists have determined was on the Atlantic Coast and not in the region of west of the Mississippi river as was formerly believed. There the Siouan tribes once occupied a vast region, seventy thousand square miles in extent along the eastern foothills of the southern Alleghenies, from the Potomac on the north to the Santee river on the south, including all of central Virginia, or one half of the area of the state, and two thirds of North Carolina, and all the northeastern portion of South Carolina, with an Atlantic coast line of two hundred miles in the Carolinas. This region when it first came to be known to the whites was occupied by a large number of Indian tribes among whom were the Mohegan, Waterce, Totero, Keyauwee, Saponi, Sissipahaw, Sara, Occaneechi, Eno, Shoccoree, Woccon, Xuala, Sugeree, Catawba, Waxhaw, Wateree, Congaree, Santee, Pedee, Sewee, Winyaw, Waccamaw, Cape Fear and others, and the Monacan and Manahoac confederacies. In his monograph, "The Siouan Tribes of the East", (B. B. E.) Mr. James Mooney has assembled valuable information concerning their history and tribal synonymy. Of these tribes the Catawba were the most important. At the time of the first settlement of South Carolina (about 1682), they numbered about 1,500 warriors; in 1761, about 300 remained. In 1882, they were reported to number about 450 persons, and in 1881,


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            79

Dr. Albert S. Gatchet found about 120 persons belonging to this once brave and populous tribe on and in the neighborhood of the reservation on the Catawba river in York county, South Carolina. The present number is estimated at about 100. They are said to be poor and miserable. Of the other tribes mentioned nearly every remnant has now disappeared and some have been long extinct.

It is only in recent years that the linguistic affinities of these tribes has come to be recognized.

   "For a long time the question was ignored by ethnologists, and it was implicitly assumed that they were like their neighbors, Iroquoian or Algonquian in the north and "Catawban" in the south. It was never hinted that they might be anything different, and still less was it supposed that they would prove to be a part of the great Siouan or Dakotan family, whose nearest representatives were beyond the Mississippi or about the upper lakes, nearly a thousand miles away. Yet the fact is now established that some at least of those tribes, and these the most important, were of that race of hunters, while the apparently older dialectic forms to be met with in the east, the identification of the Biloxi near Mobile as a part of tho same stock, and the concurrent testimony of the Siouan tribes themselves to the effect that they had come from the east all now render it extremely probable that the original home of the Siouan race was not on the prairies of the west but amidst the eastern foothills of the Southern Alleghenies, or at least as far eastward as the upper Ohio region." (B. B. E., p. 9.)

In 1881, the Catawba, who had previously been classed as a distinct linguistic stock were visited by Gatschet "who obtained a large vocabulary showing numerous Siouan correspondences. Further investigations by Hale, Gatschet, Mooney and Dorsey proved "that other tribes of the same region were also of Siouan stock." (H. A. I. 213).

   "The several tribes and larger and smaller groups speak dialects so closely related as to imply occasional or habitual association, and hence to indicate community in interests, and affinity in development; and while the arts (reflecting as they did the varying environment of a wide territorial range) were diversified, the similarity in language was, as is usual, accompanied by similarity in institutions and beliefs." (15, B. E., 168.)

Thus the problem of the identity of the eastern, as well as the origin of the western Siouan tribes, has been solved.


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The Sioux in their original domain in Virginia and the Carolinas, were surrounded on all sides by tribes belonging to the Iroquoian, Algonquian and Muskohegan stocks. With their hereditary enemies the fierce and unrelenting Iroquois, their early history shows them to have been constantly at war. This ceaseless warfare led to the extermination of certain of the Siouan tribes, the consolidation for protection of others, and is believed to have been the great cause of the expulsion from their home region of the ancestors of the present western Sioux. It was at first assumed that this race of hunters followed the buffalo as it gradually receded westward, but this theory is now regarded as untenable. It has been shown that this noble American quadruped still ranged through the East until within the past century, whereas some of the present Siouan tribes were already beyond the Mississippi over 350 years ago. Mooney says:

   "We must seek other reasons than the disappearance of the game from what was all a wilderness, keeping in mind the inherent unrest of savages and especially of the Siouan tribes. The most probable cause for this great exodus was the pressure from the north and from the south of hostile tribes of alien lineage, leaving to the weaker Siouan tribes no alternative but to flee or to remain and be crushed between the millstones. They chose to abandon the country and retreated across the mountains, the only direction in which a retreat was open to them." (B. B. E., 11.)

When the prehistoric westward migration of the Siouan tribes took place is not known. Doubtless it was of gradual progress during several centuries:

   "Like most Indian migrations it was probably a slow and devious progress with no definite objective point in view, interrupted whenever a particularly fine hunting region was discovered, or as often as it became necessary to fight some tribe in front, and resembling rather the tedious wanderings of the Hebrews in the desert than the steady march of an emigrant train across the plains."
   "According to the Osage tradition the emigrant tribes, after crossing the mountains, probably followed down the valleys of New river and the Big Sandy to the Ohio." "The theory of a Siouan migration down the valley of the Big Sandy is borne out by the fact that this stream was formerly known as the Totteroy, a corruption of the Iroquois name for the Tutelo and other Siouan tribes in the south." "As early as 1701 Gravier stated that the Ohio was known as "the river of the


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            81

Arkansea" because that people had formerly lived along it. The Arkansea (Arkansa or Kwapa) are a Siouan tribe, living at that time on the lower Arkansas river, but now in Indian Territory." When De Soto looked over the broad Mississippi from the Chaska mounds at Memphis in 1541, he found the "Capaha," or Kwapa or Quapaw, the southern branch of the Winnebago, "already established on the western bank, although a considerable distance above their later position at the mouth of the Arkansas." The name "Capaha" signifies people living "down the river," being the converse of Omaha. . . . . .which, designates those going "up the river" (Dorsey). "More than sixty years ago Major Sibley. one of the best authorities of that period in regard to the western tribes, obtained from an aged chief of the Osage — a well known Siouan tribe, speaking the same language as the Kwapa — a statement which confirms that of Gravier. The chief said that the tradition had been steadily handed down from their ancestors that the Osage had originally emigrated from the east, because the population had become too numerous for their hunting grounds He described the forks of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and the falls of the Ohio at Louisville, where he 'said they had dwelt some time, and where large bands had separated from them and distributed themselves throughout the surrounding country. Those who did not remain in the region of the Ohio followed its waters until they reached the mouth, and then ascended to the mouth of the Missouri; where other separations took place, some going northward up the Mississippi, others advancing up the waters of the Missouri. He enumerated several tribes which had sprung from this original migrating body. Catlin heard a similar story among the Mandan, another Siouan people living far up the Missouri, and Dorsey had since found the tradition to be common to almost all the tribes of that stock. Indeed, two of these tribes, the Omaha and Kansa, cherish sacred shells which they assert were brought from the great water of the sunrise." (B. B. E., 10)

The first separations at the mouth of the Ohio must have occurred as early as 1500, since they precede De Soto's discovery of the Mississippi river.

From the point of dispersal in the region of the Ohio valley there were probably several successive migrations. G. F. Will and H. J. Spinden (3 P. P. M., 97-98) assert that there were probably four of these, the Mandans of North Dakota apparently leading and being "probably a number of years ahead of the other tribes." They "have fairly vivid traditions of the coming of the Hidatsa many years after the former (Mandans) had established fixed villages on the Heart River." The order of Siouan migration is by these authors placed as follows:


82      WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST.                                                                              Vol. 6, No. 3

1. Mandan, Hidatsa, Crow.
2. Iowa, Oto, Missouri, Winnebago.
3. Omaha, Ponca, Osage, Kansa, Kwapa.
4. Dakota, Assiniboin.

They indicate that the second group, which includes the Winnebago, probably did not proceed to the mouth of the Ohio, but cut directly across Illinois to the mouth of the Missouri river. Jenks asserts that "they (the Winnebago) were the rear guard of their kinsmen, the Dakota" (19, B. E., 1051). In this assertion he is not followed by other authors.

From opposite the mouth of the Missouri, the Iowa, Winnebago and Dakota proceeded northward along the Mississippi river. The Dakota, the last of the migrating tribes, was already in Wisconsin and Minnesota in the seventeenth century (3 P. P. M., 98).

   "Traditional and linguistic evidence proves that the Iowa sprang from the Winnebago stem, which appears to have been the mother stock of some other of the southwestern Siouan tribes. Iowa chiefs informed Dorsey in 1883, that their people and the Oto, Missouri, Omaha and Ponca once formed part of the Winnebago nation. According to the traditions of these tribes, at an early period they came with the Winnebago from their priscan home. . . . . .but that the Winnebago stopped on the shore of a great lake (Lake Michigan) attracted by the abundant fish." (H. A. I., 612.)

We do not know where the Winnebago, who probably parted with the Iowa near the mouth of the Rock river or elsewhere in Illinois, entered Wisconsin. Whether they left the Mississippi and passed across northern Illinois to Lake Michigan, up the Rock, or up the Wisconsin and Fox rivers is uncertain. They are first known from Champlain's map of 1632 as located on Lake Winnebago, in eastern Wisconsin.

Prof. Cyrus Thomas, who has written on the subject of the prehistoric migration of the Siouan tribes, believes that the Winnebago came from some region north of Lake Superior, possibly from the shores of Hudson's Bay or Lake Winnipeg. On reaching the head of Lake Huron they "turned westward, passed over St. Mary's river and entered Wisconsin." The Catawba, who probably were in the lead, crossed the strait, passed down on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, and thence continued southward. The Tutelo followed by the Winnebago entered Wisconsin, the former finally following the Catawba


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            83

to the southeast. The Dakota and other divisions of the Siouan family "probably moved southward around the western end of Lake Superior. The Siouan tribes south of Lake Superior, were pressed toward the west and south by the influx of the Chippewas and other Algonquians from the northwest." (19, A. A., 11-18).

Jonathan Carver supposed as a result of his inquiries that the Winnebago came from Mexico, on the approach of the Spanish, about a century before he met them on Doty island in 1766. Their presence on Doty island before 1632, probably shows his date to be erroneous. (See 4, W. H. C., 234-35). Wau-kon-haw-ka or Snake Skin, related to Mr. B. W. Brisbois that the Winnebago came from the southwest and that their name was Ochungra or Large Fish, one that spouted water, hence the whale. (10, W. H. C., 500).

The advance into Wisconsin from Canada of the Chippewa and other Algonquian tribes leading authorities agree succeeded the arrival of the Winnebago and Dakota. (See 19, B. E., 1051-53). Among all of these tribes the Winnebago may be accorded the honor of being probably the first to appear on Wisconsin soil.

With the entrance of the Algonquian wedge into this beautiful region of forest, prairie and lake came constant and bloody warfare, during which the Winnebago were doubtless obliged to maintain their ground for many years by exterminating revenge as shown by the published traditions of Perrot in La Potherie. The introduction of firearms in historic times made possible the driving of the Dakota from central Wisconsin and the Lake Superior region. Notwithstanding its relationship to the Dakota, the Winnebago tribe appears in history to have frequently allied itself with its Algonquian enemies. The presence of the Sioux on the plains is given as one of the principal reasons why the Winnebago feared to emigrate to that region in recent years.


Samuel de Champlain's map of 1632, the oldest map of this region, places the name "Nation des Puans," at the head of a large lake lying to the north of and discharging through a river


84      WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST.                                                                              Vol. 6, No. 3

into Lake Superior. That this lake and stream, though topographically incorrectly located, were intended to represent Lake Winnebago and the Fox river is accepted. This map is said to have been constructed from information furnished by western Indians visiting at Quebec. The Wisconsin section of it is reproduced in connection with a recent contribution by the author entitled "Habitat of the Winnebago, 1632-1832." (1906 P. S. H. S.) In 1634, two years after the date of this map, Jean Nicolet was delegated to make a journey to a nation called "Gens de mer," or ''Gens des Eaux de mer," people of the sea. The published account of his expedition gave such a vague description of the tribe and location that it was not until 1852 that John G. Shea made the discovery that Nicolet had visited Wisconsin and that the people referred to were the Winnebago. Jean Boisseau's map, published in the year 1643, follows the main topographical features of Champlain's map placing "La nation des Puans" at the head of "Lac des Puans," and names the stream by which it discharges its waters, "R. des Puans." This map is likewise republished in connection with the before mentioned article.

Charlevoix, who visited the tribe in 1720, refers to it as "the Otchagras, who are commonly called Puans." (See 16, W. H. C., 411.) The name is also spelled Ochagras. Father Hennepin's map of 1698 gives it as "Ocitagan." (See 1906, P. S. H. S., 153).) Schoolcraft says that the Winnebago called themselves, "Hochungara," or Trout nation, and "Horoji," or Fisheaters, (3, H. I. T., 277). The Sioux called them "Otonkah" (3, H. I. T., 277). The Hurons referred to the tribe as "Aweatsiwaenr-rhonons." (See 3, W. H. C., 137.) Allouez, who first met the tribes to write of them intelligently, spells the name "Ovenibigoutz." (See 16. W. H. C., 67.) Shea finds, the name to occur in the Jesuit Relations also as Ouinibegouc, Ouinipegouec and Ouenibegoutz. (3, W. H. C., 137.)

The names most frequently employed by the old French writers in speaking of the Winnebago are "Puans" or "Puants." Various writers have endeavored to explain why the tribe was so designated. Charlevoix stated in 1720 that they were "called Puans, for what reason I do not know." Yet he did attempt an explanation:


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            85

   "They seated themselves on the border of a kind of lake (Winnebago) and I judge it was there that living on fish which they got in the lake in great plenty, they were given the name of Puans; because all along the shore where their cabins were built one saw nothing but stinking fish which infected the air. It appears at least that this is the origin of the name which the other savages had given them before us, and which has communicated itself to the Bay." (See 16, W. H. C., 412.)

"Bay des Puans" was an early destination for Green Bay. Shea cites the Relations as stating that the names given the Winnebago by the Algonquian tribes refer to their "coming from the Ocean or Salt-water, which the Indians style "Fetid water." (3, W. H. C., 137.)

In 1718, Captain La Mothe Cadillac offered the following:

   "The Puans derive their name from their river which is very muddy. It is full of fish, consequently in hot weather the water becomes foul with them, and putrid with unbearable stench. For this reason the nation is called Puans, though both in their person and habits they are the cleanest of the savages, and their women the least dirty, and keep their cabins clean and tidy." (See 16, W. H. C., 360.)

Of the water Allouez said, in 1670, "the water of the Bay and river is like stagnant ditch water." (do., 367.) It is possible though improbable, that two hundred years ago the Fox river and Lake Winnebago may have been stagnant; but early as well as later writers and the present inhabitants of that region all unite in pronouncing these the clearest and cleanest of waters. Those who are familiar with them will find difficulty in believing the tale of the dead fish. Schoolcraft believes the name of the tribe to owe its origin to the supposed peculiar appearance of the water in both Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnebago. These he says "have a stratum of whitish muddy clay at their bottoms which is disturbed by high winds, giving the water a whitish appearance." (3, H. I. T., 277.) No such clay exists in Lake Winnebago. In a recent publication of the State Historical Society the explanation is offered that the Winnebago, "a free translation of whose name was 'men of the sea,' the French learned later really meant 'men of the ill-smelling waters' which possibly alluded to certain sulphur springs in the neighborhood of Lake Winnipeg, whence the nation had drifted." (1905, P. S. H. S. W., 44.)

The presence of the tribe at Lake Winnipeg at any time is very doubtful. Dr. Hoffman presents a Menominee Indian


86      WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST.                                                                              Vol. 6, No. 3

legend of the origin of the name. (14, B. E., 204-205.) Mrs. Kinzie explains that:

   "The Winnebago from the custom of wearing the fur of a polecat on their legs when equipped for war are termed "Les Puans," or to use their own euphonious appellation "Ho Tshung rahs." (W., 63.)

The name "Puans" was frequently more roughly translated as "Stinkards." Both Radisson (1659) and Allouez (1666) refer to the lake of the "Stinkings," or "Stinkards." (11, W. H. C., 69; 16, do., 55.)

Dr. J. O. Dorsey, the distinguished authority on the Siouan tribes, gives what is undoubtedly the best explanation of the native name. He says that the Siouan root, "changa" or "hanga," signifies first, foremost, original or ancestral. Thus the Winnebago call themselves Ho-tcan-ga-ra, "the people speaking the original language." (B. B. E, 15.)

The student can easily trace in the various spellings the attempts of various writers to reduce the guttural sounds of the Winnebago name to a written language, though their explanations and definitions have often gone far astray.

If the name Qvenibigoutz (Winnebago), by which they were known to their Algonquian neighbors, had been translated at Quebec, when learned by Champlain, as meaning mean, base or vile in place of Puans, it would have more correctly expressed, as intended, the extreme disfavor of these tribes. This, the author believes, is the rational explanation of the name which has come down to us as Winnebago.

(See Plates 1, 4.)

Jean Nicolet was the first white man to visit the Winnebago. He was sent over unknown lakes and rivers, by Governor Champlain to conclude a treaty of peace between them and the Hurons of Canada. He visited them with seven Huron savages in the summer of 1634, returning home the next year. As he approached their village, word was sent in advance to announce his mission, and the Winnebago sent envoys to meet him. These gave him a warm welcome and carried his baggage. The news of his coming spread to the surrounding savages, and a great council was held which 4,000 or 5,000 Indians attended


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            87

and indulged in a barbaric banquet, in which the choicest dish was six score beaver tails. This was the first council held with the Indians in the region which afterward became the state of Wisconsin. There is no contemporary narrative inspired by Nicolet which gives a hint of the place at which this council was held, or the location of the Winnebago village which was the objective point of Nicolet's voyage. We must therefore seek elsewhere for its location. We have assumed that Nicolet held the council in the village of the Winnebago, and was there entertained by the tribe. The habitat of the tribe during this period must therefore be sought from other narratives and maps, and these clearly show the Winnebago village of 1634, and for two hundred years thereafter, to have been at the foot of Lake Winnebago; and from the later accounts which give a more exact location, on Doty island, in what is now Menasha and Neenah, on the shore of Lake Winnebago. The references giving the location will be briefly stated as the author has but recently contributed to the 1906 Proceedings of the State Historical Society, an article entitled, "Habitat of the Winnebago, 1632-1832", and which is devoted to a full consideration of this matter. This paper is in opposition to an article on the same subject, by Mr. Arthur C. Coville, President of the Green Bay Historical Society and published in the Proceedings of the previous year. He contends that Nicolet found the Winnebago at Red Banks, on the eastern shore of Green Bay.

We will first refer to the cartography of the subject. Champlain's map of the year 1632, and Jean Boisoeau's map of 1643, which give the location of the Winnebago on the lake of the same name, I have already mentioned in the previous chapter.

The next map to mention the tribe is that of Marquette. His journal of the famous voyage through the Fox river valley was published in Paris by Thevenot in 1681, with his real map of the voyage. It places the "Puans" village at the foot of Lake Winnebago. This map is republished in the 1906 Proceedings, already mentioned.

The master of this voyage was Joliet, and his map also places the "Puans" village at the foot of Winnebago lake. (59 J. R.) 


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Father Hennepin also places the word "Ocitagan" against Lake Winnebago, on his map dated 1698. He was also a traveler among them and this is his attempt to spell their name, rendered by Charleviox as Otchagras. The maps so far mentioned are all of the Nicolet century; while those of the next century which locate the village, also all place it at the foot of the lake, which always bore their name.

The name of the lake as "the lake of the Puans", has some value in the identification of the site of the Winnebago village, as nearly all the early voyagers approached it from Green Bay. This they named, "La Bay des Puans," because it was the route to the Puans (Winnebago). Shea tells us that the Ottawa river was thus named as the highway to that nation, though they never resided there. (3, W. H. C., 137.) According to Charlevoix, Lake Michigan was originally named Lac des Illinois, because of its being the way to approach that nation though the Illinois did not reside on the lake. (16, W. H. C., 408.) He has stated that it was the Puans of the Lake of the Puans, who "transferred" their name to the bay. Jonathan Carver has explained that the proper name of the Bay was Menomonee, the name "Bay of Puants," being merely a French "nickname" for the same. (4, W. H. C., 227.) The "Riviere des Puans" was the earliest name of the Fox river. It is found on the earliest maps as mentioned above. It is found on the maps of La Hontan of 1709, as "Riviere des Puants"; and also on another map of the year 1709, by the same author, as "R. des Puants." (4, N. C. H. A., 258-261.)

Radisson, as early as 1659, refers to it as "the great lake of the stinkings," (11, W. H. C., 69) a name by which Allouez refers to the lake in 1666; (16, W. H. C., 55) and through all the years down to this day, the lake still retains the name it bore in the very earliest narratives by variants of Winnebago. It was natural that this very large and important lake as well as this important and historic waterway should "have been given the name of this important tribe, and it is impossible to show it was given for any reason except the obvious


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            89

one, that the tribe lived on the banks of the river and shore of the lake which bore its name.

In April 1670, Father Allouez, the first missionary to breast its rapids, entered the ''River des Puans" (Fox) and proceeded to the "Lake des Puans" (Winnebago) expecting to meet the Winnebago, but found it "uninhabited on account of the "Nadouecis" (Sioux), "who are there held in fear." (See 16, W. H. C., 69.) He records that on May 13 he crossed the Bay to find "the Ovenibigoutz (Winnebago) in the clearing where they were assembling." (54, J. R., 230.) We can readily understand from these extracts that the tribe had fled its home on Lake Winnebago for fear of the Sioux and were then gathering at Green Bay. Dr. Reuben G. Thwaites very aptly styles it a camp, using this language: "The Winnebago at present camping on the east shore of Green Bay". (16, W. H. C., 66.) To this war of the Sioux with the tribes of Wisconsin there are many references; (50 J. R., 163 [55, J. R., 109.]; 3, W. H. C., 125; 16, do., 95). Father Dablon refers to some tribes temporarily camping along the Bay, "driven from their own abode, the lands toward the south". (50, J. R., 163 [55, J. R., 109.])

Perrot visited the Fox river region for a number of years, and took some of the Puans with the other tribes to the great council at Sault Ste Marie at which St. Lusson took formal possession of the West, in the name of the French king. In 1690, while in the valley, the Fox tribes who resided on the west shore of Little Lake Butte des Morts, contemplated treachery to Perrot. and he was informed of their intentions by the "chief of the Puans", who acted as his messenger and remained his steadfast friend. This chief also advised Perrot of an intended alliance between the Fox and the Iroquois of New York, and which he was determined to prevent (16, W. H. C., 143-160).

There is no historic reference, narrative of travel or map which places the seat of the Winnebago at any location other than Lake Winnebago during the century in which Nicolet visited the region, nor until 1760, when they seem to have divided into three villages with their head village still on Lake Winnebago.


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None of these villages were on Green Bay. There are however several traditions which seek to claim for some unknown date, a residence of the Winnebago at a location seventeen miles north of the City of Green Bay, on the east shore of Green Bay, at a place generally named the Red Banks, and where there was an ancient earthen embankment or enclosure. The very doubtful value of these traditions the author has fully discussed in his paper (1906, P. S. H. S., 163-65).


The French historian, Baqueville de la Potherie, published in Paris in the year 1722, a work entitled Historie de la Amerique Septentrionale, in which interesting information of the early Wisconsin Indian tribes is preserved. It does not appear however that he ever visited the Fox river valley.

Much if not all of his material was obtained from Nicholas Perrot, a typical forest ranger, who came to Wisconsin as early as 1660, and though not a historian seems to have picked up some of the Indian history and traditions. The period covered by the extract given in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, (Vol. 16, p. 3-10) is said to embrace the years 1640 to 1660, a period which for most of the traditional history is not early enough by many years. Of the current period, the narrative, says of the Winnebago:

   "A few years ago, they numbered possibly one hundred and fifty warriors. These savages have no mutual fellow-feeling they have caused their own ruin, and have been obliged to divide their own forces. They are naturally very impatient of control, and very passionate; a little matter excites them; and they are great braggarts. They are, however, well built, and are brave soldiers, who do not know what danger is; and they are subtle and crafty in war. Although they are convinced that their ancestors drew upon themselves the enmity of all the surrounding Nations, they cannot be humble. Their women are extremely laborious; they are neat in their houses, but very disgusting about their food." (p. 7 [= Potherie, 2:76].)

Reverting to their traditional history, he relates the circumstances of their fall:

   "This Nation was a populous one, very redoubtable, and spared no one; they violated all the laws of nature; they were Sodomites, and even had intercourse with beasts. If a stranger came among them, he was cooked in their kettles. The Malhominis (Menominees) were the only tribe who maintained relations with them; they did not dare even to complain of their tyranny." (p. 4 [= Potherie, 2:70-71].)


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                            91

So aggressive were the Winnebago that although their only arms ''were stone hatchets and knives", they declared war on all the other tribes. Envoys sent to them by the Ottawa were eaten, which cruel deed so incensed the surrounding tribes that they formed an alliance and sent frequent war expeditions against the common enemy, and greatly harassed them. As a result of disagreements among themselves and the continued troublesome activities of the allied tribes, civil wars broke out among the Winnebago. For better protection against the tribes they were finally forced "to unite all their forces in one village, where they numbered four or five thousand men," but an epidemic occurred which soon reduced their number to fifteen hundred.

   "Despite all these misfortunes they sent a party of five hundred warriors against the Outagamis (Fox), who dwelt on the other shore of the lake; but all those men perished, while making that journey, by a tempest that arose.'" (p. 4.)

We suppose that this disaster occurred on Little Lake Butte des Morts, as it has been stated that the Winnebago resided on an island, which we suppose was Doty island. The Winnebago being now greatly reduced by despair and famine, the other tribes were moved to pity by their condition and ceased to make war, and the Illinois sent 500 men, including "fifty of the most prominent persons in their nation," to carry to them a supply of provisions. These the Winnebago received "'with the utmost gratitude"; but at the same time meditated sacrificing the Illinois to the shades of their dead. A large cabin was erected to lodge their guests, and arrangements made for a dance in their honor. While the Illinois were dancing their bow strings were cut, and the Winnebago "flung themselves upon the Illinois, massacred them, not sparing one man, and made a general feast of their flesh".

Reproaching themselves for this dastardly deed, and fearing the vengeance of the allied tribes, when it should become known to them, the Winnebago "resolved to abandon the place which they were occupying", and "took refuge on an Island, which has since been swept away by ice-floes." There they considered themselves safe, as the Illinois did not use canoes. The Illinois finding that their people did not return, investigated


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the place and found only their bones. In order to allow a proper period for mourning for the dead:

   "They deferred hostilities until the second year, when they assembled a large body of men from all Nations who were interested in the undertaking; and they set out in the winter season, in order not to fail therein. Having reached the Island over the ice, they found only the cabins, in which there still remained some fire, the Puans (Winnebago) had gone to their Hunt on the day before, and were traveling in a body, that they might not, in an emergency, be surprised by the Illinois." (p. 6.)

They followed the hunters in the dead of winter, coming up to them on the sixth day and attacking their camp.

   "So vigorous was their attack, that they killed, wounded, or made prisoners all the Puans, except a few who escaped, and who reached the Malhouminis' village, but severely wounded by arrows." (p. 6.)

He again refers to these traditional events as those of "the ancestors" of the tribe as he knew them, and which we judge to refer to ancestors of the Winnebago of possibly the year 1660. There is no record to say how many years before, though it was doubtless several score, for fifty years before La Potherie published his history, Allouez had told the same story of the destruction of the Winnebago, by the Illinois:

   "About thirty years ago all the people of this Nation were killed or taken captive by the Iliniouek, with the exception of a single man, who escaped, shot through the body with an arrow." (pp. 6-7.)

This would place the event in about the year 1640.

He adds that when the captives were permitted to return to their homes this one was made a "Captain of his Nation" as having never been a slave. Shea commenting on this disastrous defeat of the Winnebago says, "if this strange event took place at all, we must ascribe it to an earlier date than 1639 (1634), when visited by Nicolet, who "found them prosperous, and we can hardly suppose a tribe almost annihilated, and then restored to its former numbers in 30 years" (3, W. H. C., 137). Nicolet, it will be remembered, was sent to this then unknown region for the purpose of "making peace" between the Winnebago and the Hurons. As the Winnebago were strong enough to command that attention from Governor Champlain, Dr. Shea is quite correct in supposing the Winnebago to have been "a prosperous tribe" in 1634. The events mentioned


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in the foregoing accounts are not historical, but traditional, for assuredly they did not take place after the coming of Nicolet, as he was followed by other white men in such short periods, as to make it impossible for the occurrence of these stirring events to go unrecorded by others.

Charlevoix visited the tribe in 1720, and though a historian of note in old Canada, records the occurrence as history, though we have shown it to have taken place, if at all, more than a century before he went among them. He possibly got the story from the records of Allouez, made a half century before, though it may have been a riverside or cabin story heard by him at the time of his visit to this frontier of New France. He says:

   "The Otchagras, who are commonly called Puans, formerly lived on the Shores of the Bay, . . . . . ., but they were attacked by the Illinois, who slew great numbers of them; the rest took refuge on the River of the Outagamis (Fox River), which empties into the end of the Bay. They settled upon the shores of a sort of lake (Lake Winnebago)." (p. 411-12.)

This is the only reference given by the old writers of their residence on the shore of Green Bay and is opposed to Parrot's understanding as shown from La Potherie, who asserts that they lived on an island, and that it took the Illinois six days to reach the place of their hunt, a region we suppose to have been on the Wolf and Embarras rivers (Allouez' journal graphically describes the region), where the battle was fought. We believe Perrot's relation of the tradition the most reliable, as he could speak with the Indians first hand, and had their tale sixty years earlier than the priest historian.

Charlevoix, however, adds another disaster not mentioned by the other old writers. In this same narrative he records that "sometime after" the Winnebago had settled on Lake Winnebago:

   "They undertook to revenge the defeat which they had suffered from the Illinois. Six hundred of their best men embarked to seek their enemy; but while they were crossing Lake Michigan they were surprised by a furious gale, which caused them all to perish." (p. 412.)

He states that "this Enterprise caused them a new loss, from which they have not recovered." The former defeat of the Winnebago it will be remembered left a great many prisoners


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in the possession of the Illinois, especially women and children, and it is impossible that so large a following of the tribe may have been gathered to make this attempt to avenge their dead. This event also must be placed long before the coming of Nicolet, as otherwise some other traveler would have recorded so important an event in the affairs of so important a tribe. As all these traditional disasters of the Winnebago, probably occurred long prior to the coming of Nicolet, then if we may accept Charlevoix's statement that the tribe settled on Lake Winnebago after their defeat by the Illinois and before being drowned on their way to fight them), the tribe must have been seated on Lake Winnebago when Nicolet made his voyage seeking them.


The Winnebago formed the third party in an alliance between the Fox and Sauk, and were ever present with the Fox in that long battle which they waged against the French throughout the Fox river valley, and the prairies of the Illinois. This was the war intended to save the region of the golden fleece to the fur trade of France, in which the war whoop of the Foxes was heard on the other side of the Atlantic; and which Dr. Rueben G. Thwaites characterizes as:

   "A dreary half century of spasmodic conflict, which absorbed the attention and helped to drain the treasury of New France, contributing not a little to her downfall."

Of the Fox Indians Bancroft remarks that they were, "a nation, passionate and untamable, springing up into new life from every defeat, and although reduced in the number of their warriors, yet present everywhere by their ferocious enterprise and savage daring." Throughout those long years of frontier warfare, the Winnebago were everywhere the silent allies of the Fox, of which the French were aware. As early as 1714, Ramezay had reported the Winnebago as friendly to the Fox, (16, W. H. C, 301.) by which date the colonial office at Paris had determined on the extermination of that tribe. At this time Father Marest wrote the Governor that, "the Puans were sixty brave men, all boatmen."


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The Winnebago were with the Fox in their raids against their own ancient enemy, the Illinois, in 1723. (16, W. H. C., 434.) In 1724, Captain De Lignery was sent up the river and called a council of the tribes at the old French fort at La Baye. The Puants, Fox and Sank were present. The attempt then made to induce the tribes to cease their war on the Illinois was fruitless, as the Winnebago declared the Illinois retained some of their tribe as prisoners, and an exchange must be effected before a treaty could be made. However, the differences seemed to have been compromised, as at a council held by the same officer June 7, 1726, with these tribes, a treaty was concluded by the terms of which they agreed not to again harass the Illinois. (16, W. H. C., 464, 3, do., 150.) Very soon after, the war broke out afresh and the frontier again resounded with the savage war cry.

In 1716, the French sent an army under De Louvigny against the Fox village, on the west shore of Little Lake Butte des Morts, opposite the Winnebago village. The three days' battle and siege resulted in a treaty of peace, in the keeping of which however, the French had little confidence. They determined to establish a post on the border of the Sioux country to prevent an alliance of the Fox with that powerful tribe of the plains, and a convoy with soldiers and goods for trade made its way to the head of Lake Pepin for this purpose.

The journal of the expedition, made by Father Guignas, its priest, gives the following account of a visit to the Winnebago village, on August 17, 1727:

   "On the third day after the departure from la Baye, very late in the evening, . . . . . . . . . . , the chiefs of the Puants came out three leagues to meet the French, with their peace calumets and with refreshments of bear's meat. On the next day, the French were received by this nation, now very small in numbers, to the sound of several discharges of musketry, and amid great demonstrations of joy. They asked us with so good grace to do them the honor of spending some time with them, that the rest of the day was granted them. There may be in this village 60 or 80 men in all; but all, both men and women very tall and well built. They are upon the borders of a very pretty small lake, in quite an agreeable place, both for situation and for the good quality of the soil, at 14 leagues (35 miles) from la Baye and 8 leagues from the Renards." (17, W. H. C., 23.)

The Fox appear then to have been on the upper Fox river. Captain De Lignery arrived at Green Bay with his expedition


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against the Fox, composed of 450 Frenchmen and 1200 savages, in the month of August, 1728. While there he captured three Winnebago and a Fox Indian, whom he handed over to the tribes to be put to death. He then voyaged up the Fox river to the Winnebago village on Doty island, which had however, been abandoned several days before. He burned the wigwams and fort, and ravaged their fields of Indian corn. (17, W. H. C., 32; 5, do., 86.) In the summer of 1728, after the Fox and Winnebago had retreated up the Fox river in advance of the army of French, Iroquois, Ottawa and Chippewa, there appeared in the region of the French outpost on Lake Pepin, sixty lodges of Fox and Winnebago. The friendly proposals of the former that they be permitted to camp near their fort was rejected by the French. Finally the proposal of both that Le Sieur Jemeraye go with a delegation of several chiefs to St. Joseph river to speak in their favor, was accepted; but on their arrival there these refused to proceed to Montreal for fear of treachery. (17, W. H. C., 69.)

In pursuance of their policy to combine all the tribes against the Fox, the French in some manner won over the Winnebago, their former friends and allies. Thus we learn that in the autumn of 1729, word was brought to Quebec of an attack by the Winnebago, Ottawa and Menominee on a Fox village, in which there were killed one hundred Fox warriors and seventy women and children. Among the killed of the assaulting party were four Winnebago. (17, W. H. C., 80.) Another account gives this assault as on a party of Fox returning from a buffalo hunt, and as made by Ottawa, Chippewa, Menominee and Winnebago. The Fox village contained 80 men, all of whom were killed or burned except three. The allied Indians burned the cabins and also killed three hundred women and children. This probably occurred in the winter of 1729, as the reports are of the date of May 6, 1730. (5, W. H. C., 104.)

The Winnebago having broken with their neighbors and friends the Fox, by the treacherous and unprovoked slaughter, were now in terror for the consequences of their miserable acts. Further attempts against the Fox tribes having been projected from Quebec by the fall of 1729, Sieur Captain Marin appeared at the old French fort at La Baye, (Green Bay), and repaired its fallen roofs.

Plate 3.

From Lewis' Aboriginal Portfolio.


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He had with him ten Frenchmen. On September 10th, the Winnebago returned from their hunt and went to Marin to assure him that they still remained faithful to the French, at the same time presenting him with three slaves. They were rewarded with gifts of powder, bullets, hatchets, guns and knives. Having ascertained that the Fox were not in their own country, the Winnebago took their families and camped on Dendo island in the Fox river, adjoining their former location on Doty island. Very soon thereafter the Fox and Sauk returned and surprised and killed some Winnebago fishermen. Then began a long siege of the Winnebago through the erection by the Fox on the Doty island water side of two forts to command the water in all directions.

In order to compensate the Fox for the loss of two of their number through treachery, and procure a cessation of hostilities the Winnebago decapitated two Menominee who were with them, and delivered to them two others. But the Fox refused to be satisfied unless they also delivered to them four of their own number. This proposal the Winnebago considered an insult, and the siege was resumed. After the fighting had continued for about six weeks, Captain Marin with five Frenchmen and thirty-four Menominee, came to the assistance of the besieged. When the treachery of the Winnebago in giving up several of their comrades to the Fox became known to the Menominee it required all of Marin's powers of persuasion to prevent their deserting from his small command and leaving the besieged to their fate. After four days of fighting with the relief party under Marin it was discovered that the Fox had raised the siege by decamping in the night. Thus were the Winnebago, who had in the meantime been reduced by famine to the eating of boiled bear skins, delivered from the enemy. Marin's force thereupon retired, the Winnebago accompanying him to Green Bay," where they established themselves in a fort. (17, W. H. C., 89-99.)

An unknown author reports in 1736 that, "the Puans retired since 1728, to the Sioux to the number of 80."

The 30 cabins of Winnebago at the Sioux post at Lake Pepin were reported by Sieur Lintot, the commandant, as still there in October 1784. But during the previous winter, ten cabins 


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had detached themselves to go to the Sauk, then located on the Wapsipinicon river, (Iowa); but returned in the summer. (17, W. H. C., 207.)

The Sioux of the prairie became restless in 1736, and were discovered to have traded simply to obtain firearms and ammunition. They passed the Lake Pepin post and meeting with two Frenchmen, lower down the river, scalped them. The Winnebago tried to dissuade them from their evil designs, and notified St. Pierre, the commandant, of the occurrence. At about this time the commandant heard of the massacre of a French party under La Yerendrye on an island in the Lake of the Woods, by the Sioux of the woods. In the winter the Sioux came to Lake Pepin in force and burned the cabins of the Winnebago and their fort, and committed other acts. In March 1737, the Winnebago sided with the Chippewa, who came to fight the Sioux.

Le Grelot, chief of the Winnebago, warned St. Pierre, who distrusted the Sioux, of the impending trouble. As the Winnebago had left with the Chippewa, it was concluded to abandon the post. (17, W. H. C., 272.)

Before 1739, after being on unfriendly relations with the Fox for ten years, the old friendship was revived, and at a council held that year in Quebec with the western savages, the Winnebago chief asked for mercy for the Fox, some representatives of whom were present, (17, W. H. C., 318.) In 1740 at a council held in Montreal, the Winnebago chief again asked for the good will of the French for "their kinsmen the Foxes and Sauk." (17, W. H. C., 325.) The next year, the Winnebago again appeared in Montreal, and reported that they had returned to their home. (17, W. H. C., 363). While at a council at Quebec in 1742, Mayomba, the chief of the Mascoutens, informed the Marquis de Beauharnois, that the Winnebago had sought refuge in their village the year before, as they feared the Fox. (17, W. H. C., 383. ) At this council the Winnebago stated that half of their tribe had returned to its old home, and half was at Rock river. The latter band were notified to unite with the Fox river band in one village. Serotchon and Chelaonois, the Winnebago chiefs present, were promised medals by Beauharnois. (17, W. H. C., 407.)


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In the year 1747, Sieur Clignancourt and others were granted the exclusive right to trade with the Winnebago and other tribes connected with the post at Green Bay and to aid in preserving their alliance with the French. (17, W. H. C., 452.)


The influence of the coming great struggle between France and England was felt even on this farthest western frontier, and that bold warrior, Sieur Charles de Langlade, was appointed by Vaudreuil, the Governor-General of New France to organize and lead in the conflict the French and Indian forces of the Northwest. With the motley throng of western savages who participated under his leadership in the ignominious defeat near Fort Duquesne, in the valley of the Monongahela river, of General Braddock's army in 1755, there wore about 100 Winnebago. They were likewise present with his command in the great council of Indian tribes with Montcalm on the banks of Lake George, in 1757; at the massacre of Fort William Henry, in the same year; at the fall of Quebec, in 1759, and probably in various skirmishes of minor import. (See 3, W. H. C., 212-217; B. B., 63-120.)


After the French flag had been hauled down from Quebec, and England took all Canada under her authority, commandants and soldiers were sent west to assume command of the border posts, which had been under the gentle sway of France for over a century. Lieut, James Gorrell, who took command of the old French fort at La Baye (Green Bay), in 1762, shortly thereafter held a council with several Winnebago and Menominee chiefs, to whose tribes he promised protection and to whom he presented belts and strings of wampum for the return of certain prisoners. They requested that he provide a gunsmith to mend their arms, which were "poor and out of order." One of the Winnebago chiefs present, stated that he would send


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the belt given him to two other chiefs of his tribe. During the month following, the chief of a second Winnebago village arrived and also received a belt and wampum. Gorrell reported the strength of the Winnebago depending on his post at this time, at 150 warriors, located "at the end of Puans Lake, and over against Louistontant." The following summer (1763), when Captain Geo. Etherington, after the massacre of his garrison at the fort at Old Machinaw, sent word to Gorrell to come to his assistance with the La Baye garrison, the Winnebago were among the four tribes who formed his escort, (1, W. H. C., 27-42.) This appears to indicate that the Winnebago did not join in Pontiac's conspiracy, as John C. Shea says they did, on the authority of the Colonial Documents. (3, W. H. C., 137.) 


During the war of the Revolution, there probably was not a friend of the cause of the colonists in all Wisconsin. De Langlade, now in the red uniform of a British officer, recruited his dusky troops from among the Winnebago to join Burgoyne's invasion; but these did not remain with the English general until his surrender. (B. B., 204, 209.) The Winnebago received the war belt from Captain A. S. De Peyster in command of the fort at Old Mackinaw, and notice to hold themselves in readiness to go to the aid of Lieut. Governor Hamilton, at Vincennes, in the autumn of 1778. (11, W. H. C., 115.) In the party of savages who went down the Mississippi in the spring, to aid Hamilton, but who returned on receiving word of his surrender to Clark, there were a number of Winnebago. The border partisan Gautier, who led them, reports that "Carminis" a Winnebago chief, endeavored "to stop the young Puants," from going on the war path. (11, W. H. C., 127.) On their return to old Mackinaw with Gautier, the Winnebago went at once (June 1779) Southward through Michigan on a raiding expedition. (11, W. H. C., 127-135.)

The Winnebago repaired to Montreal with other western savages under De Langlade, and returned on receiving news of the operations of George Rogers Clark, in Illinois. (B. B., 227.) When Lieut. Governor Sinclair sent the army of savages


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under Captain De Langlade to the massacre of St. Louis, there was as usual, a band of Winnebago in his party. The assault on the embankment at the stone warehouse at that place was made by the Winnebago, who left one chief and three warriors dead on the parapet, four others being badly wounded, the only casualty of the expedition. (3, W. H. C., 229-332; 11, do., 147-56.) Lieut. Governor Sinclair reported, in July 1780, the sending of 60 Winnebago and other Indians to the Ohio and Wabash rivers, to intercept convoys of provisions intended for the Americans in the Illinois region. (11, W. H. C., 157.) Doubtless the Winnebago were everywhere active and faithful to the British throughout the war, though few separate reports are made on their conduct.

After the close of the Revolutionary war, the British fur traders had no intention of relinquishing the rich fur-bearing region of the Northwest and began at once to endeavor to retain the interest and friendship of the savages, by an annual distribution of presents. In 1786, the merchants of Montreal, reported to the agents of the crown that the Winnebago (Puants) numbered 600 men, their first village being only twelve leagues (30 miles) from La Bay. Being located on the main waterway to the Mississippi they were frequently troublesome to the passing traders, upon whose cargoes they levied tribute. This system of exacting presents for the right to pass up the Fox river had been practiced for many years by the Doty island Winnebago, and had been a frequent cause of strife between them and the traders obliged to pass that point. In 1787, at the instance of the same merchants, and after the session to the Americans of the region now Wisconsin, the British government sent Joseph Ainsee up the Fox river to the Mississippi with a "canoe loaded with thirteen bales of goods," for presents to the Wisconsin savages. At the Portage he "assembled all the Puants" to address them, and made to them "presents of goods, rum and tobacco." His report gives the number of the Winnebago as 340 men, (12, W. H. C., 78-91.) Dr. Jedediah Morse states that the Winnebago continued to receive presents from the British at Drummond's island, up to as late as 1820.


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The disquiet of the frontier Indians, inspired by British agents, finally resulted in the sending of General Anthony Wayne into the border lands of Ohio, where he fought several successful battles with the savages. The most desperate and successful of these being the battle of Fallen Timbers, fought near what is now Maumee City, Ohio, on August 20, 1794. The Winnebago participated in these border outbreaks and were among the savages defeated in this disastrous battle. (3, W. H. C., 137).

When the Prophet, the brother of the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, was assisting in organizing the Western savages in 1810, he instructed them to refuse to sell meat to the whites, and many of the Winnebago appear to have obeyed his instructions. Louis Bauprez, a trader, who wintered on the Lemumveir, in Wisconsin, in 1810-11, nearly starved because the Indians refused to sell meat, and Augustin Grignon, who was trading on the Pine river, could get no meat from either the Winnebago or Menominee. (3, W. H. C., 268).

At the battle of Tippecanoe, fought on November 7, 1811, and in which nearly one thousand Indian warriors representing various tribes participated, the Winnebago were lead by their chiefs. (15, O. A. H. Q., 477.) Mr. William J. Snelling relates that he remembers a Winnebago at the Wisconsin portage, who met travelers with a human hand dangling on his breast. He had taken it from an American soldier at Tippecanoe. He stated that sixty Winnebago were killed in that battle. (5, W. H. C., 142.)



The last war with England was declared on June 19, 1812. Before it was possible to reinforce the small American garrison at Fort Mackinac, on the island of that name, it was surprised and captured. In its capture, on July 17, a large body of Indians raised by Col. Robert Dickson, and consisting of about


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         103

one hundred Sioux, about one hundred Menominee, and a still larger body of Winnebago under the Teal, One-eyed Decorah and other chiefs of that tribe, participated. After the capture, the Sioux and Winnebago returned to their villages. (3, W. H. C., 268-269.) The fort was held during the war by the British and through it the savages of Wisconsin were constantly recruited to add to the horrors of the struggle.

In the spring of the following year, when Dickson again rallied the Indians for war, there sailed out of the Fox river in his train besides the Sioux and Menominee, a considerable band of Winnebago under their chiefs. Old Decorah, Carrymaunee, Winnoshiek, Pesheu, or the Wild Cat, Sausamaunee, Black Wolf, Sarcel or the Teal, and Neokautah or Four Legs, with Micheal Brisbois as their interpreter. Arriving at Fort Meigs too late to participate in the action they retired to Detroit, from whence they sailed under Proctor and Dickson to Sandusky and attacked the fort so gallantly defended by Major George Croghan. (3, W. H. C., 269.) In June 1813, Dickson arrived at Mackinac from a long sojourn among the Wisconsin tribes, bringing with him 600 savages and their families, to be sent to General Proctor as a part of his force. There were 130 Winnebago in the party. (12, W. H. C., 146.) After eating nearly all of Proctor's available provisions and committing wanton depredations on the settler's stock, the Wisconsin Indians returned home. During the winter of 1813-1814, a delegation of them visited Quebec where they were warmly welcomed by Sir George Prevost. The Winnebago were represented by "Lassammie." (12, W. H. C., 151.) This name probably refers to the chief Cariminie or Karraymaunee.

The expedition under the British Colonel Wm. McKay, which surprised and captured Fort Shelby at Prairie du Chien July 17, 1814, had with it a band of 100 Winnebago under their chiefs "Pesheu or the Wild Cat, Sarcel of the Teal, Carrymaunee, Winnosheek, Sar ra chau, Sau sa maunee, Neo kautah or Four Legs, and Black Wolf." As McKay's fleet of barges and canoes floated down the Wisconsin, a Winnebago was in the party of scouts who went under cover of night into the town and captured a citizen whom they carried away to get information.


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In deploying before the fort the Winnebago took post above it. Two of the Winnebago discovering some hams in a house mounted to the roof and began tearing off the shingles to gain an entrance, when they were both shot in the thigh. (3, W. H. C., 272.) On the second day of the siege. Col. McKay assembled the Indian chiefs and requested their consent to an assault; but the Winnebago chief Sarcel, demurred, saying he and his people remembered taking part with the English in an assault on an American fort, in which they were beaten back with terrible slaughter. (Dr. Draper supposes this was at Fort Recovery, in 1793.) Sarcel proposed to dig a trench and blow up the fort, to which Col. McKay agreed; but after a few hours labor the Indians tired of the work and refused to proceed. Just before the time appointed for the Americans to give up their arms, a Winnebago cut off the finger of a soldier whose hand was thrust through a port hole to him in a friendly greeting. (3, W. H. C., 277.)

In his reports Colonel McKay mentions the Winnebago as in the Indian contingent, and says of them, that they were "perfectly useless to him," and severely criticizes them. He states that they would not receive an officer's orders unless he "held a blanket in one hand and a piece of pork in the other." (11, W. H. C., 267.) Colonel Robert Dickson on his way to the British garrison at Prairie du Chien with goods and provisions, in the fall of 1814, was caught by the freezing of Lake Winnebago, at Doty island, and forced to remain through the winter. In the spring he wrote that he would move as soon as he could, "as the Winnebago were beginning to draw around, and one had as well be in hell as with them."

After the establishment of peace the British held a council (June 3, 1815) at Mackinac, in which Sausamaunee, Black Wolf, Neokautah or Four Legs and forty warriors participated. Sausamaune was the orator for his people, and his speech is recorded (10, W. H. C., 143). Judge Lockwood reports the number of the Winnebago in 1816, as estimated by the traders at 900 warriors. (2, W. H. C., 178.)

The treaty made with a portion of the Fox tribe Nov. 3, 1804, which caused so much dissatisfaction among them, was confirmed at a council held at St. Louis, on May 18, 1816, at which

P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         105

the Winnebago who were present, residents along the Wisconsin, confirmed that part of the treaty which was supposed to grant their rights to the lands of the lead region.


The history of the immigration of the New York Indians to Wisconsin is a long story and would fill several volumes. The Winnebago were involved in the movement by the range of their landed possessions or claims. General Albert G. Ellis, who came to Green Bay with Rev. Eleazer Williams and the Oneida delegation, has given the details of the immigration in several papers (7, W. H. C., 224; 2, do., 425). The Winnebago and Menominee, on August 18, 1821, granted to the New York tribes a ribbon of land stretching diagonally across the state, five miles wide, the strip crossing the Fox river at Little Chute. At this time the Menominee claimed all Green Bay and the shore of Lake Michigan to the mouth of the Milwaukee river, and west to the Mississippi river in a northwest direction. The Winnebago claimed all the balance of the state north and west of the Fox river and Lake Winnebago (2, W. H. C., 425). The following summer, the New York Indians returned to urge a larger grant; but this the Winnebago refused to do and left in a body to go on their hunt. Before leaving, however, they were induced to favor the visitors with an exhibition of their war dance, pipe dance and begging dance, which are graphically described by Gen. Ellis (7, W. H. C., 224). 


In September, 1825, there was assembled by Governor Lewis Cass, at Prairie du Chien., a great council of western savages to determine the boundary lines of their possessions and to confirm the peace between them and the United States. At this council 5,000 Indian warriors of the Winnebago, Dakota, Chippewa, Fox, Sauk, Menominee, Iowa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi tribes were present.


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On August 11, 1827, a treaty was concluded at the Little Butte des Morts (Hill of the Dead), on the west bank of a lake of the same name, in Winnebago county, by the provisions of which the Winnebago, Menominee and the New York Indians, ceded to the United States, their lands in the Fox valley. Governor Cass and Col. Thos. L. McKenney were the commissioners (12, W. H. C., 27). Of this council J. O. Lewis the artist, painted a picture, which is republished in an early volume of the Wisconsin Archeologist (2, W. A., 46).

This council was held during the Winnebago war, so-called. It was attended by five thousand savages. Colonel Whistler while on his journey up the Fox river from Fort Howard to join Gen. Atkinson at Portage, remained with his regiment at the Little Butte des Morts as the Governor's guard until the close of the council, when he resumed his journey up stream. During the council the Winnebago were notified that they must give up the murderers.


The Winnebago war took place in 1827. It was not a war, but only a wide spread scare to the few pioneers, who had come to settle in the far away lands of the west. Those who mention the events of that day generally agree that the energetic movements of Governor Cass, and the promptness of the militia under Colonel Henry Dodge, and the dispatch of General Atkinson of the United States army, filled the Winnebago with such respect for the power of the United States that the incipient disturbance was quelled before it had barely commenced. As there were at that time nearly seven thousand Winnebago they could probably have set the torch to the entire frontier before being conquered. At that period there was a small settlement at Green Bay, another at Prairie du Chien, and possibly seven hundred people in the lead region, south of the Wisconsin river.

In the winter of 1826, the Winnebago became restless, and Mr. M. Brisbois of Prairie du Chien, a trader, became alarmed and warned the settlers that he feared outrages from the tribe. In March, 1827, a half-blood named Methode had gone


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         107

with his wife and five children up the Yellow Creek, on the Iowa side cf the Mississippi river. As they did not return after the sugar season closed, a party went to look for them. They found his camp burned, and Methode and his family burned so badly that it was impossible to determine if their death was accidental or not. Judge Lockwood thought that the outrage ought not to be charged to the Winnebago, though, it was generally believed that Red Bird, a Winnebago murdered them. In October 1826, Fort Crawford was abandoned, and the soldiers ordered to Fort Snelling, taking with them two Winnebago prisoners. The departure of the troops was supposed by the Winnebago to be occasioned by alarm for their safety, and they became still more insolent to the settlers, and did not make prompt settlements with the traders. In the spring of 1827, while Hole in the Day, a Chippewa chief, was at Fort Snelling with a part of his band, on business with the commander, a Sioux shot a Chippewa just outside, the walls of the fort. Col. Snelling permitted the Chippewa to give the Sioux a run for his life between the lines of armed Chippewa warriors, which resulted in his death. Rumors of this event swiftly spread among the savages in the forest, and in some manner was changed to make the Winnebago believe that the two prisoners of their tribe had been executed.

Red Bird, a Winnebago Indian, named from an English red coat which he always wore, had on June 26, 1827, entered Judge Lockwood's house by the cellar kitchen, with two other Winnebago, loaded their guns in the presence of the servant girl, then passed through the hall and entered Mrs. Lockwood's bedroom, where she sat alone. She fled through the rooms into the adjoining store followed by the Indians, who were there induced to leave. They then went two miles out of the village to the home of Rizeste Gagnier and shot him. They also shot Lipcap, a retired soldier, who was at work hoeing in the garden near the house. During the confusion Mrs. Gagnier seized a gun, and with her three-year-old son on her back, jumped from the window and fled to the village with the startling news. A one year old daughter left in the house, was scalped and thrown


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under the bed. The people at Prairie du Chien now greatly alarmed, gathered at the Brunet tavern, and barricaded it. At night there came into the village a keel boat, returning from a voyage to Fort Snelling with supplies, which had on board a dead Indian, two dead men of the crew, and four wounded. The boat had been attacked by Winnebago Indians near the mouth of the Bad Axe river, and riddled with shot. This incident created additional alarm among the inhabitants, and that night sentinels were posted within the breastworks.

On the following day a sort of military organization was effected and all were ordered to move with their families and goods to the abandoned Fort Crawford. This was soon put into the best possible order for defense, the condemned muskets found there being repaired by the blacksmiths and other precautions taken to withstand an attack by the Indians. A count of those present found ninety men and women able to handle a musket.

Gov. Lewis Cass; who was to hold the council with the Winnebago at the Hill of the Dead, opposite Menasha, hearing rumors of discontent among them, arrived at Prairie du Chien on July 4, and putting the military defense in such order as he could, hurried on to Galena, where he arranged for a company of militia to proceed to and assist in the defence of Fort Crawford. He then went to confer with Gen. Atkinson at St. Louis; who immediately moved up the Mississippi with the disposable force under his command, and continued up the Wisconsin to the Winnebago village at Portage, while Colonel Henry Dodge marched with a volunteer force, overland to the same place; and Colonel Snelling came down the Mississippi river, and took command at Fort Crawford (2, W. H. C., 154).

The command of Colonel Whistler, which had come up the Fox river from Fort Howard at Green Bay, were the first to arrive at the Portage. They encamped on the ground where Fort Winnebago was erected in the following year. In the meantime the Winnebago had learned of the coming of General Atkinson's force and became convinced of the uselessness of resistance on their part. A few days after Colonel Whistler's arrival a party of Winnebago warriors lead by Karra-mau-nee and singing the death song, advanced toward his camp and


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         109

there delivered into his hands Red Bird and two other Indiana, We-kau, or the Sun and Chic-hon-sic or Buffalo Calf, whom they announced to be the perpetrators of the recent murders (4, W. H. C., 173). Colonel Thomas L. McKenney, who was present, has described this scene in graphic language and furnished a complete character sketch of the principles (5, W. H. C., 178). After the delivery of the prisoners, old Gray-headed Decorah, a leading chief, gave to General Atkinson assurance of the friendly feeling of the Winnebago toward the United States, and disavowed any connection with the murders on the Mississippi (2, W. H. C., 167). The several military commands then returned to their stations or homes, and the frontier was once more at peace. The prisoners were detained at Prairie du Chien. Red Bird died in prison before his trial. We-kau and Buffalo Calf were convicted and sentenced to be hung. On November 3, 1828, a pardon was granted them by President John Quincy Adams (3, W. H. C., 335; 5, do., 202).

In the same year the war department ordered the erection at the portage, of Fort Winnebago, as a, protection of the frontier against possible future depredations of the Winnebago (14, W. II. C., 71). In 1829, a council was held with the tribe at Prairie du Chien, and at which the cession to the United States of the lead region made in a treaty at the council held at Butte des Morts, in 1827, was confirmed.

Mrs. John Kinzie reports that in 1830 there were two divisions of Winnebago Indians one receiving its annuities from the agent at Portage, and the other at Prairie du Chien. The Portage division numbered between four and five thousand (W. 80). At the Winnebago payment at Portage in 1834, Mr. Henry Merrell says there assembled upwards of three thousand men, women and children, (7, W. H. C., 376). James McCall reported the Winnebago to number about 4,000 in 1830 (12, W. H. C., 192).


The terror among the white settlers of Illinois and Wisconsin at the outbreak of this war, in 1832, was widespread, some of them abandoning their homes never to return. There was


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a general fear of the probable action of the Winnebago, who bad always been deemed a source of danger.

The prevailing sentiment concerning them at this time may be gathered from the published recollections of Col. Charles Whittlesey, a keen observer of the Indians he passed among:

   "The Winnebago is the reverse of a Menominee. Tall in figure, haughty in his mein, proud of his nationality, and ever ready for war, he indulges in less drink and idleness than his neighbor, practices theft and murder and repulses the advance of the white man. We have too often seen his treachery and duplicity. Though professedly friendly, they acted as purveyors and spies to the Sauks and Foxes during the entire campaign. For this reason, they were refused admittance into the forts at Green Bay and Winnebago, which apparently grieved them very much. But they only waited for a safe opportunity to appear as belligerents among Black Hawk's band. The rations dealt out occasionally to friendly Indians, at the frontier posts, were by them carried into the Sauk camp. Many of the murders charged to the latter, were actually committed by them, and particularly the cattle and goods so frequently stolen from settlers by supposed enemies, were in truth appropriated by these professed friends." (1, W. H. C., 74-75.)

During the war on May 25, 1832, a council was held by Colonel Henry Dodge with the Winnebago to discover their sympathies in the disturbances, and Colonel Gratiot the agent, urged the tribe to remain at peace. Dr. L. C. Draper locates the place of holding this council at Wallis Rowan's trading post, six miles northwest of Madison, a short distance below the mouth of Peena or Pheasant Branch. Upon the return of Colonel Dodge from the council with the militia companies, and when within three miles of the Blue Mounds fort, he received intelligence of the delivery of the Hall girls who had been made prisoners at the massacre on Indian Creek, near Ottawa, in Illinois, and for whose ransom Gen. Atkinson had offered a reward of $2,000.00. Chief White Crow, or the Blind, and his band of Winnebago had brought them into the fort, having secured them from Black Hawk's band.

While the army was trailing Black Hawk up the Rock river, with White Crow acting as guide for the detachment of militia under Colonel Dodge, it was supposed that he was leading the army into an ambush; because it was found that Black Hawk held a defensible position on a high declivity sloping to Rock river at a point full of large boulders, at Lake Koshkonong, and desired to bring on an engagement at that place


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         111

where he might have the advantage of position (2, W. H. C., 336-354).

Paquette, the Portage trader, who was himself a half blood of Winnebago mother, acted as interpreter for the Winnebago scouts with Dodge's command. At the battle of Wisconsin Heights, the Winnebago all took to the trees except Paquette, White Pawnee, and a son of White Crow, who fought in the open with the white troops (2, W. H. C., 410).

Thomas P. Burnett, sub-Indian agent to the Winnebago, stationed at Prairie du Chien, in his letters of the period notices the peculiar actions of the Winnebago in the summer, prior to the Black Hawk trouble. He supposed they seemed hostile. He noticed they sent old men, women and children up the Mississippi river, and purchased more powder than usual (2, W. H. C., 252). By order of Gen. Atkinson, Burnett and John Marsh went up the Mississippi, on May 30, 1832, to bring down the Sioux tribes to the assistance of the army. On the upward trip they called at the village of the Winnebago on the La Crosse river, and invited them to join with the Sioux and General Atkinson's army, on the Rock river. They arrived at the Winnebago village on the evening and that night discussed the matter with the chiefs and braves.

   "Win-o-she-kan was opposed to the measure, and declined having anything to do with it. He said the Sauk had twice this season, presented the red wampum to the Winnebago at Portage, and that they had as often washed it white, and handed it back to them; that he did not like that red thing; he was afraid of it. Waudgh-ha-ta-kan took the wampum, and said that he with all the young men of the village would go; that they were anxious to engage in the expedition and would be ready to accompany us on our return." (2, W. H. C., 257-258.)

On their return they were accompanied by eighty Sioux, and twenty Winnebago from La Crosse.

Mr. Burnett was ordered up the Mississippi, (July 25, 1832) to secure all of the Winnebago canoes to thus prevent their use by Black Hawk for escape across the river. We-kon Decorah was on the boat with Burnett. They proceeded up the river on the steamboat Enterprise, with a military command, going sixty miles above Prairie du Chien, Here he found Washington Decorah with the principal part of his band from the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers. At the lower mouth of Black


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river he found One Eyed Decorah and Little Thunder. Winneshiek and Wau-mar-nar-sar had gone up the river with part of the band to hunt and dry meat. The canoes were secured and the party returned (2, W. H. C., 257, 261).

The destruction by the United States troops and militia of the Sauk leader's worn-out followers, at the mouth of the Bad Axe river, on the banks of the Mississippi, in August 1832, furnished the closing scene of the Black Hawk war. Black Hawk and the Prophet escaped to the Wisconsin river dells and sought refuge among the Winnebago. They were delivered to Agent Street at Prairie du Chien, on August 22, by two Winnebago braves, Chaetar and One-eyed Decorah.

By the treaty of Fort Armstrong, Rock Island, concluded September 15, 1832, at which General Scott and Governor Reynolds were the commissioners, it was stipulated that the government should maintain a school for the education of Winnebago children for a term of twenty-seven years, at or near Prairie du Chien. The buildings were erected in 1833, on Yellow river, Iowa; and President Jackson appointed Rev. David Lowry, a Presbyterian minister, to assume charge (2, W. H. C., 147).

In 1834, the smallpox broke out in the tribe, nearly one quarter of the Winnebago dying during the epidemic, The medicine men were powerless to stay its ravages, and the pest swept through the villages, the survivors fleeing before it, leaving their dead unburied (12, W. H. C., 401).


On November 1, 1837, a treaty was concluded with the Winnebago at Washington, by the provisions of which they ceded to the United States all of the balance of their lands on the east side and certain interests on the west side of the Mississippi river, and agreed to remove to a portion of tract of land known as the Neutral Ground in Northeastern Iowa, set aside for them in the previous treaty of September 15, 1832 (18, B. E., 736-768). This treaty of 1837 was loudly proclaimed by the tribe to be a fraud. It was stated that the delegation which visited Washington in that year had no authority to execute


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         113

such an instrument. Chief Yellow Thunder and others, who were of this party, all so declared (7, W. H. C., 373).

The first attempt to remove them from Wisconsin to the west side of the Mississippi was made in 1840, when a considerable number were induced to move to the Turkey river, to the Neutral Ground. That year a portion of the Fifth and Eighth regiments of U. S. infantry came to Portage to conduct their removal. Antoine Grignon, Pierre Meneg and J. T. De La Ronde were connected with this force as interpreters. Meneg was sent to secure Yellow Thunder and a son of Black Wolf, which he accomplished by inviting them to come to Portage for provisions. On their arrival they were arrested and placed in the guard house, with a ball and chain on their ankles. This proceeding greatly hurt their feelings. It had been understood that they refused to emigrate and were about to revolt. On the arrival of Governor Dodge they were released after promising faithfully to return to Portage within three days, ready for removal. This promise they kept. Two large boats were, provided to transport the Indians down the Wisconsin river to Prairie du Chien, Captain Summer was sent down the Rock, then to Madison and to the Fox river to bring in other bands. He secured 250 Winnebago, who were also taken to Prairie du Chien. At and near the head of the Kickapoo he encountered several small camps, the incidents attending the removals of which are quite pathetic and are told by De La Ronde in the Wisconsin Historical Collections (7, 362-63).

The Little Decorah had established a village on the Iowa river, Iowa, in 1840. The Mission school was removed in that year, from the Yellow river to the Turkey river on the reservation (12, W. H. C., 405).

On October 13, 1846, the Winnebago ceded "all claim to land" and especially to their rights on the Neutral Ground and were given a tract of land selected by the chiefs at Long Prairie on the Mississippi river, just above St. Cloud, in Minnesota. But the tribe were not satisfied with the location, and the most of them remained scattered throughout the country (19, B. E., ?80; U. M., 188). At this time, there remained considerable bands in the picturesque valleys of the Wisconsin, Fox, Kickapoo, Black and Lemonweir rivers in Wisconsin.


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Mr. Henry M. Rice secured the contract to remove these to Minnesota and employed Moses Paquette and others to assist him. Paquette visited the camps on the Lemonweir and at La Crosse, and persuaded many of their members to repair to La Crosse for shipment by boat to St. Paul, whence they were conveyed in wagons to the reservation (12, W. H. C., 407-408).

At Winona prairie they grew obstinate and threatened trouble, but were finally induced to move peaceably. A council held with the chiefs of the Dakota at this time is described in the Minnesota Historical Collections (8, 384-85). Winneshiek was the head chief of the Winnebago. The deliberations and the accompanying feast lasted for several days, and were "closed with a wedding the Winnebago giving one of their beautiful maidens to some noted brave of the Sioux. The presents given to the bride were quite valuable." About thirteen hundred were removed to Minnesota at this time, leaving, it was estimated about four hundred still remaining in Iowa and Wisconsin. Others were removed in 1850 (7, W. H. C., 394).

In 1853, a new treaty was made, by which they were allowed to remove to the Crow river. This treaty was not ratified because of the remonstrance of the people of Minnesota (U. M., 188.) On February 27, 1855, they ceded their Long Prairie reservation and were granted a tract of land eighteen miles square on the Blue Earth river, just south of Mankato, in southern Minnesota (19, B. E., 804). They settled here in the spring of that year and immediately began the erection of dwellings and improvement of the land. The teacher of the reservation school reported in 1860 the enrollment of 118 pupils. In the midst of their prosperity, in June, 1862, came the "Sioux massacre," which completely wrecked their future prospects. Although they took no part in that affair., and even though they offered to the government their services in punishing the Sioux, the frightened inhabitants of Minnesota demanded their removal (U. M., 138).

By a special act of Congress (Feb. 21, 1863), they were hastily removed in a scandalous manner and suffering great hardships, in May and June of that year, to Ushers Landing, on the Missouri river, in South Dakota. (12, W. H. C., 410). At the time of this removal, the old chiefs, Decorah, Winneshiek, 


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         115

Dandy and their families, and other members of the tribe, fled to Wisconsin. By order of the President (July 1, 1863), there was set aside for them a reserve just below Pierre, and adjoining the Crow Creek reserve of the Sioux, on the east side of the Missouri river, in South Dakota. Here they became greatly dissatisfied with the nature of the soil and water and the lack of timber, and were reported to be engaged in making canoes with the intention of leaving to join the Omaha and other tribes down the Missouri river. The Indian agent of the Omaha reservation, in northeastern Nebraska, reported in October, 1863, the continued arrival of small parties of Winnebago, in a very destitute condition. For these he was instructed to care. On March 8, 1864, the Dakota reservation was ceded back to the government, and by September of that year, 1200 Winnebago had arrived at the Omaha reservation. These were provided with a tract of land for temporary residence and cultivation. On March 6, 1865, they purchased a large section of the Omaha lands. On June 22, 1874, a second tract was purchased from that tribe. In August 1865, the superintendent of the reservation reported the Winnebago as being "characterized" by frugality, thrift and industry to an extent unequalled by any other tribe of Indians in the Northwest (19, B. E., 828, 834; 12, W. H. C., 410; U. M., 189-91).

In 1873, a last attempt was made by the government to remove the one thousand or more Winnebago, estimated to be still remaining in Wisconsin. Captain Hunt, who was in charge of the removal sent runners to all of the bands with notice to report at Sparta for shipment to Nebraska. But it was found necessary to employ the military, who found Big Hawk with thirty others holding a feast at the Baraboo river. On their refusal to leave they put handcuffs on Big Hawk, who made no resistance. They were all marched into Portage, and there put aboard the cars. Some others were found on the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. In some camps the troops found only women and children whom they marched off, the men following them when they returned. Great hardship was suffered by all of the Indiana, many dying on the way and others from exposure after reaching Nebraska. Several hundred Winnebago were removed, but many more


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remained and returned. As much popular indignation was shown because of the manner of these removals, no attempt has since been made to disturb the Winnebago, who persistently cling to their native woods and streams (12, W. H. C., 417).

In 1883, a census of the Wisconsin Winnebago was completed and annual payments are now made to them at Black River Falls, Stevens Point, Tomah and Hatley. Big Hawk, a chief and descendent of Kayrahmaune, who with his band had a homestead on Pike Lake, in Marathon county, refused the government payments until one W. H. Lee, a lawyer of Stevens Point, should be paid for his services to them. The number of Winnebago enrolled in Wisconsin in 1887 was about 1,500. These have been provided with homesteads which are chiefly in Jackson, Adams, Marathon and Shawano counties. Here they manage to live by picking blueberries, huckleberries and cranberries, raising small crops, fishing and hunting. Large families are the rule among them. Green Grass, a son of Kayrahamaunee, came to the payment at Black River Falls, to draw for 15 children, but as he could not count or name them, Major Hallack, the agent, had him bring them in and stand them in a row.

In a letter to the author, dated Jan, 26. 1907, Hon. C. K Larrabee, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington, D. C., states that:

   "The Winnebago as a tribe have due them $883,249.58 under their treaties of 1837, and the act of July 15, 1870, which has not been capitalized and placed in the treasury as a trust fund. Congress annually appropriates five per cent interest on the principal, amounting to $44,162.47. The Wisconsin band receives 1180-2613 of that amount which is paid them in cash. They also receive $7,000 each year from that amount to equalize their payments with the Nebraska branch, under the Act of 1881. Under that Act they have received $147,000; and $73,960.91 is yet due them in yearly installments of $7,000. The Nebraska branch receives yearly $10,000 in cash for per capita payments; and after this, and the amounts due the Wisconsin branch are deducted, the remainder is subject to expenditure for supplies for the Nebraska branch. Eventually the Wisconsin branch will receive their share of the principal after it has been capitalized and segregated."

There are at this time 1,180 Winnebago residing in Wisconsin, and 2,613 in Nebraska, making a total of about 4,000 Winnebago now living. This shows an increase in 200 years of seven


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         117

hundred per cent, due to enforced peace, notwithstanding the natural decimation due to disease, famine and whiskey. The following information is given in a letter to the author from Hon. T. M. Compton, Superintendent of the Government Indian School at Tomah, Wis., Feb. 1, 1907.

About ten children of the Wisconsin Winnebago attend Bethany Mission school at Wittenberg, opened in 1895, and about 100 have attended the government school at Tomah each year since it was opened in 1893. On the reservation in Nebraska, 82 children attend the government boarding school, opened in 1901. There are also 15 public schools either on the reservation or near enough to be attended by Indian pupils. The parents take but little interest in schools, and the children never attend regularly. Three full blood Winnebago have graduated from Tomah. One is dead, and the other two are attending at Hampton, Va.


To designate the stock or race to which the Winnebago and related Indian tribes belong, the Bureau of American Ethnology has adopted the name Siouan, and to the grand division popularly known as the Sioux, has employed the term Dakota, which that people claim for themselves and which means "our friends." The term Sioux is derived from "Nadowessioux, a Canadian French corruption of Nadowessi-wag ("the snake-like ones, or enemies"), originally applied to the plains Indians by the Algonquian tribes."

Dr. W. J. McGee gives a tabulation (15, B. E. [157]) of the grand and tribal divisions of the Siouan stock. For the sake of brevity, I have in giving his classification, which is based on the extended researches of the Bureau, omitted the tribes included under the last five of the grand divisions, and other matter of no present importance.


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1. Dakota-Assiniboin   4. Winnebago
    Dakota   5. Mandan
    Assiniboin   6. Hidatsa
2. Cegiha       Hidatsa
    Omaha       Crow
    Ponka   7. Biloxi
    Kwapa   8. Monakan
    Osage   9. Catawba
    Kansa   10. Sara
3. ɔiwere   11. (?) Pedee

Of the organization of tribes, other than those known, under the Winnebago and Mandan grand divisions, if such existed, no information is available.

At the time of our earliest knowledge of the Siouan peoples they "were practically out of the stage of savagery and well advanced in the stage of barbarism." In each tribe there existed a division on the basis of kinship into clans or gentes. The names given to these were usually those of the animals, birds, reptiles and of natural objects from which its members claimed descent, or which were regarded in common as guardian deities. These are known as their totems. The term clan implies decent in the female, and gens in the male line. Among the Winnebago and Dakota the man is the head of the family.

Each clan, or gens possessed certain rights and privileges such as representation in the council of the tribe; participation in its religious rites, ceremonies and public festivals; a share in the tribal property and a right to have its elected chief and subchief confirmed and installed by the tribal council. All the members were considered near relatives. Among other duties incident to membership were those of not marrying within the clan, to aid and protect fellow members and to adopt others to replace members lost or killed. (H. A. I., 303-305.) The number of clans or gens varied in the different Siouan tribes. Prom John Alexander, himself a member of the Wolf gens, and


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from other members of the tribe, Dr. J. O. Dorsey obtained a list of the gentes of the Hotcangara, or Winnebago:

1. Wolf   5. Bird
2. Black bear   6. Buffalo
3. Elk   7. Deer
4. Snake      

The Bird gens was composed of four subgentes: 1. Eagle, 2. Pigeon, 3. Hawk, (?) 4. Thunderbird. He believes it probable that each gens was thus subdivided into four subgentes. The tradition of the Winnebago Wolf gives an account of four kinds of wolves. (15. B. E., 240-241.) The tribe comprised in 1850 (according to Schoolcraft) twenty-one bands, all west of the Mississippi. (15, B. E., 163.)

A census, made in 1736, of the Indian tribes connected with the government of Canada gives the "armorial bearings" (clan totems?) of the Puans as "the Stag, the Polecat (Pichoux), the Tiger." The word ''pichou" is said to have been commonly employed to designate the Canadian lynx; the "tiger" was the panther or catamount. (17, W. H. C., 248.) One or more clans or gentes may compose a phratry or subtribe. Several of the Siouan tribes are divided into two, and one, into three of these. Of the Winnebago phratries we have no information. In camping the Siouan tribes of the plains set up their tents in a circle, each of the gentes having its fixed place in the arrangement. The Winnebago being forest Indians have no camping circle.

Among the Siouan tribes the tribal functionaries usually consist of chiefs who are the civil and religious leaders; of soldiers or policemen, who are the servants of the chiefs, and of young men, who are those who have not won distinction in any way. The assembly is composed of the chiefs alone. (15, B. E., 213-214.) Elsewhere in this publication is a chapter giving short accounts of the chiefs, leaders and other prominent men of the early Wisconsin Winnebago.


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A lack of space forbids the authors considering at length the manner of life of the Winnebago tribe, concerning which there is a wealth of widely scattered information. Included in the various chapters of this publication is other data of interest on this subject. Whatever may have been their customs in prehistoric times, they appear at the time of the coming of the early French explorers and missionaries to have been similar in many respects to those of the surrounding Algonquian tribes.

The historian La Potherie's description of the early Winnebago (1640-60) has already been quoted in a preceding chapter. Their prowess as warriors and hunters is generally acknowledged by historians. They appear to have had the universal disfavor of their Indian neighbors, and of the whites, who invariably write them down as filthy. This last is such a general charge that one might be inclined to suppose it to be repeated by suggestion. Whether anyone ever took the trouble to inquire if this was really a domestic infirmity or came from the supposed derivation of their name, we cannot learn. Captain Thomas A. Anderson, who spent a winter trading with them on the Rock river, in 1802, sang the same song of the Winnebago.

   "They were the most filthy, most obstinate and bravest people of any Indian tribe." (9, W. H. C., 152)

In early days their wearing apparel commonly consisted of a breech clout, moccasins, leggins and robes of dressed skins. Simple fabrics of bark fibre and rushes were probably also worn. The advent among them of the French trader enabled them to add to their scanty wardrobes, blankets, cloths and ornaments not before accessible. They are described in 1823 as having "their blankets daubed with paint," "wearing large rosettes of colored ribbons" and "having their hair done in two square cushions on the back of the head." (8, W. H. C., 294.) J. E. Fletcher, the Indian sub-agent at Turkey River, Iowa, furnished to Schoolcraft a description of the costume of the Winnebago, from which the following is condensed:


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   "White blankets are preferred in winter, and colored in the summer. Red is a favorite color with the young, and green with the aged. Calico shirts, cloth leggins, and buckskin moccasins are worn by both sexes. In addition to the above articles, the women wear a broadcloth petticoat, or mantelet suspended from the hips and extending below the knee. Wampum, ear-bobs, rings, bracelets, and bells are the most common ornaments worn by them. Head-dresses ornamented with eagle's feathers are worn by the warriors on public occasions. The chiefs wear nothing peculiar to designate their office, except it be medals received from the President of the United States. Some of the young men and women paint their blankets with a variety of colors and figures. A large majority of the young and middle-aged of both sexes, paint their faces, when they dress for a dance. The men frequently besmear their bodies with white clay when they join in a public dance.
   Old and young women divide the hair from the forehead to the back of the crown, and wear it collected in a roll on the back of the neck, confined with ribbons and bead-strings. The men and boys wear their hair cut similar to the whites, except that they all wear a small quantity on the back of the crown long and braided, which braids are tied at the end with ribbon. They (the men) have but little beard, which is usually plucked out by tweezers." (4, H. I. T., 58-59)

Of the great abundance of food accessible to tile Winnebago and other savage tribes various early writers speak:

   "All of these Tribes at the Bay are most favorably situated; the country is a beautiful one, and they have fertile fields planted with Indian corn. Game is abundant at all seasons, and in winter they hunt Bears and Beavers; they hunt Deer at all times, and they even fish for Wild-fowl. I will explain my remark; in Autumn there is a prodigious abundance of Ducks, both black and white, and the Savages stretch nets in certain places where these Fowl alight to feed upon the wild rice. Then advancing silently in their Canoes, they draw them up alongside of the nets, in which the birds have been caught. They also capture Pigeons in their nets, in the Summer. They make in the woods wide paths, in which they spread large nets, in the shape of a bag, and attached each side to the trees; and they make a little hut of branches, in which they hide. When the Pigeons in their flight get within this open space, the Savages pull a small cord which is drawn through the edge of the net and thus capture sometimes five or six hundred birds in one morning.
    All the year round they fish for sturgeon, and for herring in the Autumn; and in Winter they have fruits. Although their rivers are deep, they close the stream with a sort of hurdle, leaving open places through which the fish can pass; in these spaces they set a sort of net which they can cast or draw in as they please; and several cords attached, which, although they seem to close the opening, nevertheless afford passage to the fish. The savages are then apprised of the entrance of the fish into the net by a little bell which they fasten on the upper part of it; when this sounds, they pull in their fish.


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The fishery suffices to maintain large villages; they also gather wild rice and acorns; accordingly these peoples of the Bay can live in the utmost comfort." (See 16, W. H. C., 9-10.)

Large quantities of sturgeon and other fish were cured by smoke and heat. Nuts, wild fruits and edible roots of various kinds were eaten. In common with other Wisconsin tribes they hunted the buffalo then herding in the central and western portion of the state, even as their ancestors had done in the region of the Ohio. At all of their villages were large fields of corn and vegetables. Carver in 1766 found the Winnebago raising great quantities of corn, squash, beans, pumpkins, watermelons and some tobacco at their Doty island village. Grapes, plums and other fruits were abundant near the town (C. T., 30 [34]). On the part of this island, now included in the cities of Menasha and Neenah, some Winnebago corn hills are yet to be seen. Dr. Lapham noted that the loose stones which originally covered the surface had been collected into little heaps to allow for the culture of the native crop (A. W., 61; 2, W. A., 55-56). In 1793, Robert Dickson reported the Indians at the Falls of the Fox river, near the Portage, as growing "Indian corn, squash, potatoes, melons and cucumbers in great abundance, and good tobacco". Saterlee Clark informed Dr. Lapham that Gen. Atkinson had purchased 6,000 bushels of corn from the Winnebago; and that in 1848 he had himself driven over half a mile of old Indian cornfields in Columbia county, which a pioneer had informed him that this tribe had cultivated (W. B. M.). Corn was eaten green, was roasted, was dried and boiled with tallow or meat, or ground and made into bread, and prepared for consumption in various other ways. It was dried, shelled and cached in storage pits for future use.

A. E. Jenks says of the Winnebago, that they "have been producers of large quantities of wild rice; in fact it has been, and still is, a staple food with many of them" (19, B. E., 2:1052). He does not mention that they ever sowed the grain as did the Ojibwa. Wild rice abounded along the entire course of the Fox river and its tributary streams. An early description of this grain and of the manner of its gathering and preparation by the Indians of this region is given in the Jesuit Relation of


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1662-63. (See 16, W. H. C., 25.) In 1818, Edward Tanner observed great numbers of Menominee and Winnebago gathering it in Rush Lake, Winnebago county. General Ellis gives a full account of its gathering and preparation by Green Bay Indians in 1822 (7, W. H. C., 265-66). Mrs. J. H. Kinzie briefly describes the manner of its gathering by Winnebago women in Big Butte des Morts lake in the fall of 1830:

   "The water along its shores was green with the fields of wild rice, the gathering of which, just at this season, is an important occupation of the Indian women. They push their canoes into the thick masses of the rice, bend it forward over the side with their paddies, and then beat the ripe husks off the stalks into a cloth spread in the canoe. After this it is rubbed to separate the grain from the husk and fanned in the open air. It is then put in their cordage bags and packed away for winter use. The grain is longer and more slender than the Carolina rice it is of a greenish, olive color, and, although it forms a pleasant article of food is far from being particularly nutritive. The Indians are fond of it in the form of soup, with the addition of birds or venison." (W., 67.)

She is mistaken in regard to its nutritive qualities. A recent analysis shows it to be "more nutritious than any of our common cereals, as oats, barley, wheat, rye, rice, and maize" and more nutritious than the other native foods to which our Indians had access. The Wisconsin Winnebago of today dry the grain on a rack over a slow fire and thrash it on a blanket with sticks or flails (19, B. E., 1080, 1065, '83). They store it in birch bark boxes and other receptacles. It is boiled with meat and vegetables, eaten in soup and in other ways.

In common with other Wisconsin Indians, the Winnebago, in later times at least, also manufactured quantities of maple sugar. Early in the spring time incisions were cut in the trunk of the maple the sap passing through a wooden spike into a birch bark or other vessel. W. H. Canfield describes the sap troughs of the Winnebago located at the Baraboo Rapids in 1842, as being made of white elm bark, or carved out of basswood and holding from one to four quarts (H. S. B. G., 25). The sap was boiled and stirred until a thick syrup was formed, this being afterwards poured into other vessels and allowed to cool.

Notwithstanding the abundant food accessible to the Indians there were occasional times of famine, of which the early writers speak. Mrs. Kinzie writes of such time in the spring of


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1833, when owing to their failure during the previous year to plant gardens or cornfields and the scarcity of game during the winter, the Winnebago in the vicinity of Fort Winnebago were reduced to dire extremities for food, many of them subsisting for weeks on "soup made of the bark of the slippery elm or stewed acorns". At this time chief De-kau-ry came from the Baraboo river to report that more than forty of his people had been for many days without other food than bark and roots (W., 481-84 [374-377]).

One style of Winnebago wigwam consisted of an arched framework of poles firmly set in the ground and lashed together with strips of bark and so arranged as to give to it sloping sides and a rounded top. Cross-pieces of wood secured the poles to one another. The roof and sides were covered with large pieces of bark, or matting. The general outline was round or elliptical. Schoolcraft gives an illustration of a Winnebago wigwam of this style (2, H. I. T., pl. 23). The low doorway was closed with a piece of matting or a blanket. In the center of the wigwam was the fireplace the smoke from which escaped through a hole in the roof. Fur robes, matting and blankets served for bedding. Branches were heaped around the side walls and on these the blankets were laid, to serve as a bed. Sometimes a bed made of poles and slightly raised from the ground occupied one side of the hut. Mrs. Kinzie gives an illustration of Four Leg's Doty island village in which the dwellings are shown to have rather high straight walls and a roundly curved roof. (Plate 1.) The lodge of the war chief Yellow Thunder at his village near Portage, is described as being 20 or 25 feet in length, being built of poles and covered with bark (7, W. H. C., 398). Conical lodges, also covered with bark or matting, were employed chiefly in the summer time. Fletcher stated that the lodges at Turkey river, Iowa, were:

   "From twelve to forty feet in length, and from ten to twenty feet in width, and fifteen feet in height from the ground to the top of the roof. (The largest) would accommodate three families of ten persons each. They generally have two doors. Fires, one for each family, are made, along the space through the center. The smoke escapes through apertures in the roof. The summer lodge is of lighter materials and is portable." (4, H. I. T., 56-57, condensed.)


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Council houses and other structures accompanied each village. The Doty island village was at one time fortified by a palisade supported by an earthen embankment. Indications of the latter are still to be seen. (See 2, W. A., 54-55.)

The implements and utensils of the Wisconsin tribes at the time of our earliest knowledge of them were of stone, clay, shell, wood, bone and antler. Elsewhere a reference to the use of stone knives and axes by the Winnebago is made. In their early warfare and hunting expeditions they evidently also employed the lance, spear, bow and club. Their household utensils were few in number and consisted mainly of vessels of clay, wood, bark, gourd and shell. Stone and wooden hoes were employed in preparing their gardens and cornfields. All of these the appearance of the French trader enabled them to exchange for more durable implements of metal. From Doty island alone, from earliest times the site of a Winnebago village, a very large number of stone and other implements have been recovered. Some of these are described in various numbers of the Wisconsin Archeologist, and in other works. These are quite familiar to those obtained from other sites in the Fox valley. It is possible that implements and ornaments of native copper may also have been in use but in regard to these the Jesuit Relations and other early historical works are silent. Saterlee Clark informed Dr. P. R. Hoy in 1881, that when he first went among the Winnebago "many of them had copper headed weapons, many of them carried lances headed with copper, and it is quite common to see arrows headed with copper". W. H. Rogers, for several years connected with the Menominee Indian agency at Keshena, informed the same author that he frequently saw copper implements in the hands of the Chippewa and Winnebago. Many of their pipes were ornamented with copper. (W. B. M.)

Among the Winnebago as among other Wisconsin tribes it was the man's duty to assist in the protection of the village and of his family against enemies and by his hunting to provide meat and skins. He fashioned his weapons, canoes and traps. The work of the women consisted of the care of the wigwam and children, the preparation of food and clothing, and the planting and cultivation of the fields. Rush matting and clay,


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bark and wooden vessels were made by them. If there were several wives the work was shared between them. The drudgery of their lot they appear to have borne quite cheerfully. In pioneer days the Winnebago mined lead in the lead region of Wisconsin and Illinois, the women doing their full share of the work.

Of the marriage customs of the Winnebago Moses Paquette stated in 1882:

   "Presents to the parents of a woman, by either the parents of the man or the man himself, if accepted, usually secure her for a partner. However much the woman may dislike the man, she considers it her bounden duty to go and at least try to live with him. Divorce is easy among them. There are no laws compelling them to live together. Sometimes there are marriages for a specified time, say a few months or a year. When separations occur, the woman usually takes the children with her to the home of her parents. But so long as the union exists, it is deemed to be sacred, and there are few instances of infidelity. Quite a number of the bucks have two wives, who live on apparently equal, free and easy terms; but although there is no rule about the matter, I never heard of any of the men having more than two wives. With all this ease of divorce, numerous Indian couples remain true to each other for life." (12, W. H. C., 427.)

Marriage within the gens was forbidden. Infidelity was in early times probably severely punished as among other Wisconsin tribes. Intermarriage with the surrounding Algonquian was not of uncommon occurrence. As early as 1660 some of the Pottawatomi and Sac and Fox are reported to have taken Winnebago wives and to have in turn given their own daughters to these (16, W. H. C., 7). In later times such marriages were more frequent, when it was often the custom for the husband to make his home with his wife's family. (See W., 345 [269]) Many of the early traders and settlers took Winnebago wives. Slavery existed among the Winnebago at a very early date. These slaves were captives obtained during their wars with neighboring tribes. Grignon states that the Ottawa and Sac and perhaps other Wisconsin tribes "were in the habit of making captives of the Pawnees, Osages, Missouries, and even of the distant Mandans, and these were consigned to servitude." (3, W. H. C., 256.) These were sometimes purchased and obtained in other ways from their captors by the other tribes. Presents of slaves were also occasionally made to the French.


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According to Allouez almost the entire Winnebago tribe was at one time in captivity among the Illinois. (See 16, W. H. C., 6, 7.)

Of the burial customs of the Winnebago in earliest historic times considerable information is available. The bodies of the deceased were wrapped in birch bark or matting and interred in shallow graves. With them were buried their personal possessions, or symbolical objects. In later times the graves were protected by logs, stones, brush or pickets. Prisoners were sometimes put to death in order that the deceased might not want for slaves in the next world. With the corpse of a female were buried her implements of labor. The blackening of the face by mourners was a common custom. The women sometimes cut their limbs with knives and sharp flints. (See 5, W. H. C., 99.) Mothers sometimes carried bundles of clothes to represent a child lost by death (4, H. I. T., 55).

Mr. Jas. G. Pickett has described the mode of burial practiced, before 1848, by the Winnebago residing at Rush lake. The bodies of persons dying in the winter time were encased in bark or deposited in a canoe and elevated into the branches of a tree. Sometimes the remains were placed on a scaffold built between two trees. In the spring time the permanent burial was made in a shallow grave. Over this was erected an A-shaped structure. This consisted of two short, forked posts placed one at either end of the grave and which supported a cross-piece. Against this framework wooden slabs were placed. To mark the grave of an adult male a tall post painted in several colors was placed at its head, and if the deceased was a person of note a white dog was killed and hung to the post (2, W. A., 79).

The graves at Turkey river, Iowa, were dug in an east and west direction, in order that the dead might "look towards the happy land of the west". The body was sometimes placed in the grave in a sitting posture, the head and chest extending above the ground. A pipe of tobacco was buried with an adult male, and a war-club in the grave of a warrior. The incineration of bodies was never practiced by them. The hieroglyphics painted on the post at the head of a warrior's grave represented not the epitaph of the dead, but the exploits of


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those who danced at his grave. The graves of chiefs and persons of distinction were sometimes enclosed with pickets. A white flag was placed over these. Sacrifices of goods were made by hanging these over the grave. These were afterwards gambled for. Fires were kindled and kept burning for four nights, the object being to guide the spirit of the dead in its flight (4, H. I. T., 54-55).

The conical mounds so common in our state were frequently selected as burial places by the Winnebago and other Indians. R. C. Taylor states that on some of the mounds on the shores of Buffalo and Puckaway lakes there were formerly to be seen "the modern grave of some Winnebago or Menomonee chief, strongly protected by pickets." One of the oblong mounds near Theresa, Dr. Lapham found to be entirely covered with the recent graves of the Menominee and Winnebago residing there. (See A. W., 63, 59.) The burial in a large conical mound at Portage in 1832, of White Pawnee, a son of the Winnebago chief White Crow is on record (12, W. H. C., 431). At the present time roof-shaped shelters made of planks are placed over the graves. In the front of these is an opening to allow for the introduction of food and tobacco by the friends and relatives.

Among other favorite games of the Winnebago was that called lacrosse and which is said to have been borrowed by them and the Dakota from the Algonquian tribes. For the playing of this game the plateau where the city of La Crosse is now located was a favorite resort, Paquette says of the Winnebago that after their winter's hunt they would gather at this place to meet the traders and hold their feasts and lacrosse games. It was but seldom played in their villages as it was "considered to be more especially a spring festival game". These games were always played for heavy stakes in goods (12, W. H. C., 426-27). In a game played at Prairie du Chien on April 20, 1806, between the Winnebago and Fox, and the Dakota, 300 Indians participated, the latter being victorious (1, M. H. C., 415). The game is played with a wooden ball and rackets and is probably familiar to all. The moccasin game is said to have been the chief gambling game of the Winnebago. It is thus described by Paquette:


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   "The players squat on the ground in two groups, facing each other; any number may be on a side, one or a dozen, and the sides need not be equal in numbers. On the ground between the two groups, four moccasins are placed in a row. The leader of the side that has the "deal"," so to speak, takes a small bead in his right hand and deftly slides the hand under each moccasin in turn, pretending to leave the bead under each one of them; he finally does leave the bead under one and the leader of the opposition side, watching him closely, is to guess which moccasin covers the bead. The opposition leader then takes a slender stick and lifts up and throws off the three moccasins under which he thinks nothing has been left, leaving the one under which he guesses the bead has been left. Should the bead be discovered under one of the three which he throws off, then he loses four points for his side; should he be correct in his. guess, and the bead found under the one moccasin left, he gains four for his side. Ten small twigs or chips are conveniently at hand, and as each side wins at a play, the leader takes four from the pile. When the ten are all taken, by either or both sides, the game is ended, the side having the most sticks being the winner. Usually five such games are played, the side getting the greater number taking the stakes, which are commonly goods." (12, W. H. C., 426.)

This description differs in various details from the Menominee game as described by Hoffman (15, B. E., 242-244).

The in line of bowl in the playing of which a wooden bowl and dice made of bone or other materials are employed and which is played by the Ojibwa and Menominee, is also played by the Winnebago.

The game of ring and pin, in which a number of phalangeal bones strung on a thong to the end of which a bone or metal needle is attached are employed, is also played. The bones are swung upward and caught on the needle. Foot and hand ball are played. Foot racing, leaping and shooting at marks were favorite pastimes. There were likewise other games which the women and children played.

Of the sports of the Siouan tribes Dr. W. J. McGee has explained that the more important and characteristic:

   "Were organized and interwoven with social organization and belief so as commonly to take the form of elaborate ceremonial, in which dancing, feasting, fasting, symbolic painting, song and sacrifice played important parts, and these organized sports were largely fiducial. To many of the early observers the observances were nothing more than meaningless mummeries." (15, B. E., 174-175.)


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Gen. Albert G. Ellis gives an account of several Winnebago dances as observed by him at Green Bay, an 1822:

   They were preparing to leave for their fall hunts. The whole tribe assembled . . . . . . . . in a large circle, the dancers, and drummer the master of ceremonies in the center; first they gave the pipe dance, an amusing affair, a single one dancing at a time, the trick of which seemed to be to keep time to the drum, and especially to suspend action simultaneously with the cessation of the instrument, frequently the attitude was ridiculous in the extreme, and then maintaining it for a moment, till the drum commenced again, formed an exciting tableau." (7, W. H. C., 224.)

The name given to this dance is probably not its correct designation. He continues:

   "Next followed the begging dance, preceded by a speech by the drummer, setting forth the extreme want of some of their very old, poor people, and asking charity in their behalf." (do.)

Of the war dance he gives the following interesting description:

   "The whole concluded with the war dance, a sight to test the nerves of the stoutest heart. The Winnebagoes at that time, fifty-four years ago, were in their perfection of savage wildness; two thousand of them, men and women, old and young, were massed in a circle, standing fifty deep; the whites, army officers in the inner ring, and the warrior dancers, drummer and singers in the center. Twenty-two of their most stalwart young warriors took their places with not a thread of clothing save the breech-cloth; but all painted in most gorgeous colors and especially the faces, with circles of black, white, red, green and blue, around the eyes, giving the countenances expressions indescribably fierce and hideous, all armed with tomahawks, knives and spears. At first the dance was slow, to measured time of the drum and song; for there were a hundred singers, with the voice of the drummer; both male and female the latter prevailing above the former. Soon they began to wax warm, the countenances assumed unearthly expressions of fierceness; their tread shook the solid earth and their yells at the end of each cadence, rent the very heavens. None could endure the scene unmoved unappalled." (7, W. H. C., 224-25.)

Of this dance J. E. Fletcher also gives a brief description (3, H. I. T., 284-85). Moses Paquette gave to Dr. Thwaites the following brief account of another dance given in earlier days on the return from a successful hunt.

   "Probably the most popular of their dances is the buffalo dance. They represent themselves to be bisons, imitating the legitimate motions and noises of the animal, and introducing a great many others that would quite astonish the oldest buffalo in existence.


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Of course it has been a long time since any Winnebagoes ever saw buffaloes; their antics are purely traditionary, handed down from former generations of dancers." (12, W. H. C., 423.)

Miss Alice E. Fletcher has given a more complete and interesting account of this same dance as performed by the Nebraska Winnebago and which she states is given "four times in the month of May and early June," the dancers being "four men and a large number of women", it is given in the tent used for sacred dances, and "is clearly indicative of the prayer for increase and plenty of buffalo". Of special interest is the construction during the dance of two small mounds of earth. This practice she considers to "suggest many speculations" (See 11, B. E. 427-28). Charlevoix has described the buffalo dance as witnessed by him among the Green Bay savages, in 1721. (See 16, W. H. C., 416.)

Mrs. Kinzie describes the "complimentary" dance as witnessed by her in 1831:

   "It was the custom to ask permission of the person to be complimented, to dance for him. Preparation is made by painting the face elaborately, and marking the person, which is usually bare about the chest and shoulders. All the ornaments that can be mustered, are added to the hair or head dress. Happy is he, who, in virtue of having taken one or more scalps, is entitled to proclaim it by a corresponding number of eagle's feathers.
   The dancers assemble at some convenient place, and then come marching to the spot appointed, accompanied by the music of the Indian drum and shee-shee-qua or rattle. They range themselves in a circle and dance with violent contortions and gesticulations, some of them graceful, others only energetical, the squaws, who stand a little apart, and mingle their discordant voices with the music of the instruments, rarely participating in the dance. Occasionally, however, when excited by the general gaiety a few of them will form a circle outside and perform a sort of ungraceful, up and down movement, which has no merit save the perfect time which is kept.
   The dance finished, which is only when the strength of the dancers is exhausted, a quantity of presents are brought and placed in the center of the circle, by order of the party complimented. An equitable distribution is made by one of their number; and the objects of the display having been accomplished, they retire." (W, 360-61, condensed.)

A somewhat similar dance is performed by the Ojibwa. The scalp dance of the Winnebago Mrs. Kinzie describes as being a most frightful spectacle:

   "The scalps are stretched on little hoops, or frames, and carried on the end of a pole. These are brandished about in the course of


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the dance, with cries, shouts and furious gestures. The women who commence as spectators, becoming excited with the scene and the music, . . . . . . . . rush in, seize the scalps from the hands of the owners and toss them frantically about with the screams and yells of demons." (W., 462.)

L. H. Bunnell states that:

   "The Dakotahs and Winnebagoes, as well as other northern Indians, dance at the commencement of winter; just after the rutting season of deer has passed, for then their camps are usually supplied with venison, and they dance as a thanksgiving offering to the friendly spirits. who guided them to success in the chase. The bear dance is for one person alone." (W. E. M., 126.)

Other dances there were for various occasions. Some of these were of a religious or semi-religious character and were preceded or followed by feasts and oratory.

Other ceremonial observances of the Winnebago tribe in earliest historic times appear to have been very similar to those of their neighbors. The use of the calumet was common to all, and the chant, dance and other ceremonies in its honor and accompanying its presentation and smoking are described by the early French explorers and missionaries. (See 16; 17, W. H. C.) It was offered as a pledge of peace or brotherhood.

Among the Winnebago as among the Menominee and Ojibwa there exists a medicine society. Of this Paquette stated:

   "The chief theoretical object of the fraternity is, to keep the virtues of medicinal herbs and the details of medical practice generally, as secrets among a chosen few, and hand them down from one generation to another. The secret society is conducted by the medicine men. Fully one-half the tribe men, women and youths of both sexes belong; possibly a majority of them do. When a person wishes to join, and is accepted by the fraternity, he must accumulate a heap of goods as an initiation fee." (12, W. H. C., 423-24.)

Among the Winnebago a person is invited to join because of his possessing qualities especially fitting him therefore or because of some cure effected on his person.

   "When he is about to be initiated, a great feast is prepared, at the expense of the candidate. An animal is killed and dressed, of which the people at large partake there are dances and songs and speeches in abundance. Then the chief medicine-man takes the candidate and privately instructs him in all the ceremonies and knowledge necessary to make an accomplished member of the fraternity. Sometimes the new member selected is still a child. In that case he is taken by the medicine-man as soon as he reaches a proper age." (W., 362 [282].)


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Schoolcraft gives a description by Fletcher of the medicine society and an illustration of the interior of the medicine lodge (3, H. I. T., 286-88). The vocation of the medicine-man was an important and respected one. Cures of diseases were affected by magic, prayer, exhortations, fetishes, dances, by the use and application of herbal remedies, etc.


Dr. J. O. Dorsey has presented a study of the cults or systems of religious belief of the Siouan tribes including remarks on those of the Winnebago which present some similarities to those of their relatives, the Iowa, (See 11, B. E. [351]). Dr. W. J. McGee also discusses at length the Siouan beliefs and mythology (15, B. E., 178-185). These and other noteworthy contributions on the subject, the student may read with profit. McGee explains that it was partly through a failure of early writers, handicapped by unfamiliarity with their tongue, to correctly comprehend their complicated mythology that the popular fallacy concerning the belief of the Indians in one "Great Spirit" gained currency among the whites.

   "Among these tribes the creation and control of the world and the things thereof are ascribed to "wa-kan-da" (the term varying somewhat from tribe to tribe), just as among the Algonquian tribes omnipotence was assigned to "ma-ni-do." Inquiry shows that wakanda assumes various forms, and is rather a quality than a definite entity. Thus, among many of the tribes the sun is wakanda—not the wakanda or a wakanda, but simply wakanda; and among the same tribes the moon is wakanda, and so is thunder, lightning, the stars, the winds, the cedar, and various other things; even a man, especially a shaman, might be wakanda or a wakanda. In addition the term was applied to mythic monsters of the earth, air, and waters; according to some of the sages the ground or earth, the mythic under-world, the ideal upper-world, darkness, etc., were wakanda or wakandas. So, too, the fetishes and the ceremonial objects and decorations were wakanda among different tribes. Among some of the groups various animals and trees . . . . . . . . . were regarded as wakandas. (15, B. E., 182, Condensed.)

Of the Winnebago beliefs only scattered fragments of information have been preserved by early writers.

Charlevoix the historian, states of the Winnebago and other tribes residing near Green Bay in 1791. 


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   "The Sun and Thunder are their principal Divinities; and they seem to believe more thoroughly than do those Tribes with whom we hold more intercourse that every kind of Animal has a Spirit, which watches over its preservation. They have special veneration for the Bear; as soon as they slay one of these animals, they make a feast, accompanied by very singular ceremonies. Not only do these savages have, like all the others, the custom of preparing themselves for their grand hunts by fasting, which the Outagamis extend even to ten consecutive days; but besides, while the hunters are in the field, the Boys are often compelled to fast; the dreams which they have during their abstinence are noted, and good and evil auguries for the success of the hunt are drawn from them. The objects of these fasts is to appease the tutelary Spirits of the Animals whom they are to hunt." (16, W. H C., 416-417, condensed.)

All animate and inanimate objects about them were possessed by spirits and offerings of tobacco and other materials were made to gain their good will and secure their assistance. The animals of the woods and waters were their relatives and guardian spirits.

L. H. Bunnell mentions that the yellow rattlesnakes of the Mississippi bluffs were held as sacred by the Winnebago and Dakota, who killed them only when a skin was required for a religious ceremony or dance. In consequence these became so numerous as to make it dangerous for anyone to visit the localities of the dens. (W. E. M., 323.)

Natural phenomena were regard by them as mysterious. Dr. Dorsey believes that judging from some of the Winnebago personal names that it is probable that the winds were regarded as divinities by them (11, B. E., 423), and McGee observes that on the whole it may be safe to consider the sun as the arch-mystery of the Siouan tribes. (15, B. E., 184.)

   "The Winnebago lodges were always built with the entrances facing the east. When the warriors returned from a fight they circumambulated the lodge four times sunwise, stopping at the east just before entering" (do., 240-41.)

Like other Wisconsin savages they believed in monsters, witches and the like, and the revelations of their dreams were carefully observed. Dorsey gives three Winnebago names for superhuman beings. (11, B. E., 367.) They also believed in a future state of existence.

It is related of the early Wisconsin Winnebago that in passing the mouth of Devil river or Puck river, near the lower end of Buffalo lake, they would drop their paddles, say a prayer,


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         135

strew the water with tobacco, feathers and painted hair and then sing a chant before continuing their journey. (8, W. H. C., 290.) Devil's lake was supposed to be the residence of a spirit or manitou, to appease whom offerings of tobacco were made. (7, W. H. C., 350.) There is said to be a Winnebago tradition of a woman carrying her child, who being pursued by her enemies, jumped from an elevation and became a rock. When Indians of that tribe pass the place they make offerings to her. (11, B. E., 425.)

Dr. Lapham has described and figured a boulder of gneissoid granite located at Hustisford and bearing some resemblance to a bird. This he says was held "in great veneration" by the Winnebago Indians (A. W., 51.) In early days a similar rock was presented to the State Historical Society by Dr. D. C. Ayers of Green Bay. It was described as a "stone manitou or spirit rock, an object of Indian worship and regard, somewhat in animal shape, evidently the result of water action, about a foot and a half long, formerly located on the old Indian war trail on the west shore of Lake Winnebago." (4, W. H. C., 28.) It has since been lost. A spirit stone, formed by nature in a resemblance to a human bust, was once located at the Grand Chute now Appleton. The face was painted by the savages who in descending the river invoked its blessing by offerings of tobacco, arrows and other valuables. In the year 1670, this stone was cast into the Fox river by the Fathers Allouez and Dablon.

At Rapide Croche, five miles below Kaukauna, a similar stone was discovered two years later by Father Allouez and also rolled into the stream. He mentioned it as "an idol which the passers invoke for the happy termination of their journey." Thus a manitou rock, the spirit of the water, stood guard at either end of the most dangerous of the rapids of the lower Fox river. They were probably venerated by the Winnebago, who controlled the river, as well as by other tribes. (S. I. S.; 16, W. H. C., 81.) The early missionaries of the Christian religion who went among the Wisconsin savages appear to have made but little progress with the Winnebago. In later days, (April 1833), Rev. Father Mazzuchelli visited them at their village near Portage, and succeeded in making 200 converts.


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He translated Father Baraga's Catechism from the Ottawa into the Winnebago.


The personal history of the chiefs and other noted men of the Wisconsin Winnebago must be reduced by the space allotted this paper, to brief statements devoted chiefly to the principal events of their lives and the locations of their villages.

The first chief of whom we have record is Le Grelot, the head of a Winnebago village at Lake Pepin, in 1737, and who warned the French commandant of the fort at that place of a joint plot of the Chippewa and Winnebago to destroy a party of Sioux. (17, W. H. C., 272.) His name signifies trembler or shaker.

Serotchon and Chelaouois are mentioned as Winnebago chiefs who attended a council held in Quebec in the year 1742. To them the Marquis de Beauharnois, Governor General of New France, delivered an address to the tribe, and promised medals. (17, W. H. C., 406-407.)

Hopokoekau, or Glory of the Morning, also known as the Queen of the Winnebago, was the mother of the celebrated line of creole chiefs known to border history under the various names of Decorah. She was the sister of the head chief of the Doty island village. (5, W. H. C., 156-297.) Of the date of her birth there is no record. Her Indian name is also given as Wa-ho-po-e-kau. She became the wife of Sabrevoir De Carrie, an officer in the French army, in 1699, under De Boisbriant. He resigned his commission in 1729, and became a trader among the Winnebago, subsequently marrying Glory of the Morning. After seven or eight years, during which time two sons and a daughter were born, he left her, taking with him the daughter. During the French and Indian war, he re-entered the army, and was mortally wounded before Quebec, on April 28, 1760. This places his injury as occurring two weeks before the fall of that stronghold, and the deaths of both Wolfe and Montcalm.

He must have been injured in some of the almost daily assaults made by Wolfe upon some part of the long defenses on the bluffs of the St. Lawrence.


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He died in the hospital at Montreal. Glory of the Morning refused to go to Montreal with her husband and remained in her island home with her sons. The daughter whom De Carrie took with him, married Sieur Laurent Fily, a merchant of Quebec, who subsequently removed to Green Bay, and has descendents still living in the valley. (7, W. H. C., 347) Captain Jonathan Carver who visited the Queen in 1766, on Doty island, mentions the pleasure his attentions to her gave her attendants and herself. She received him graciously, and sumptuously entertained him during the four days he remained in her village. His description of the village, which he says "contained fifty houses," is quoted elsewhere in this bulletin. Mrs. Kinzie gives a sketch of the Queen as she appeared at Fort Winnebago in 1831:

   "No one could tell her age; but all agreed she must have seen upwards of one hundred winters. Her eyes dimmed and almost white with age—her face darkened and withered, like a baked apple; her voice tremulous and feeble, except when raised in fury—she usually went on all fours; not having strength to hold herself erect. On the day of the payment having received her portion, which she carefully hid in the corner of her blanket, she came crawling along and seated herself on the door-step to count her treasure." (W., 358 [278].)

Mr. Henry Merrell, who came to the Fort in 1834, says of her:

   (She) "was pointed out to me some years afterwards, when I was told she must be over 143 years old. At the time I saw her she was able to walk six or eight miles to and from the Portage; she lived several years after, and finally came to her death by the burning of her wigwam." (7, W. H. C., 375-76.)

As she then lived in the village of her late grandson, Old Gray-headed Decorah, eight miles below Portage, on the west side of the Wisconsin river, she was probably buried there. She is said by some writers to have been a daughter of the head chief. (3, W. H. C., 286; 2, do., 178.) Her two sons:

   "Being the descendants of a chief on the mother's side, when they arrived at manhood . . . . . . . . assumed the dignity of their rank by inheritance. They were generally good Indians, and frequently urged their claims to the friendship of the whites, by saying they were themselves half white." (2, W. H. C., 178.)

Chou-ke-ka, also spelled Chan-ka-ka, (5 do., 155,) called Spoon Decorah, or the Ladle, was the eldest son of Sabrevoir De


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Carrie, (5, W. H. C., 155; 7, do., 352). Augustin Grignon renders the name Chou-ga-rah. He knew him in the winter of 1801-2 and reports him as then head chief of the Winnebago:

   "He was at this time a very old man and died at the Portage about 1808, and, by his request, was buried in a sitting posture in a coffin, placed on the surface of the ground, with a small cabin erected over it, and that surrounded with a fence." (3, W. H. C., 286.)

According to La Ronde his death occurred in 1816 when he was "quite aged." It also appears that Chau-ke-ka signed the treaty of St. Louis on May 18, 1816. (7, W. H. C., 346-47; 5, do., 155.)

Sons of the Ladle were Ko-no-kah or Old Gray-headed Decorah; Au-gah, or the Black Decorah; An-au-gah, or the Raisin Decorah; Nah-ha-sauch-e-ka, or Rascal Decorah. The Ladle was the father of five daughters, three of whom married Indians. One was married first to [a trapper named Dennis De Riviere] and afterwards to Perrish Grignon, a half-brother of Augustin Grignon. And one married a trader, Jean Le Cuyer, who raised a family at Portage. (3, W. H. C., 286.) Another genealogy furnished by La Ronde states that the Ladle had seven sons and five daughters. The sons he names:

   "Ruch-ka-scha-ka, or White Pigeon, called . . . . . . . Black De-kau-ry; another, Chou-me-ne-ka-ka, or Raisin De-kau-ry; another Ko-ke-maunie-ka, or He-who-Walks-between-two-stars, or the Star-walker; another Young De-kau-ry, called . . . . . . . . Rascal De-kau-ry; another, Wau-kon-ga-ka, or the Thunder Hearer; and the sixth Ongs-ka-ka or White Wolf, who died young. Of the sisters, three married Indian husbands; one married a trapper named Dennis De Riviere, and afterwards to Perrish Grignon; the other to John B. Le Cuyer, the father of Madame Le Roy. (7, W. H. C., 347.)

Old Gray-headed Decorah, or Old Decorah, or Gray-headed Decorah, or White War Eagle, whose common Indian name was Scha-chip-kaka, and whose Winnebago name was Warrahwikoogah or Bird Spirit, was a son of the Ladle, and grandson of Glory of the Morning. He died at Peten well, the high rock on the Wisconsin river, April 20, 1836, and is said to have been 90 years old. He fought under the British General Proctor at Sandusky. (Fort Stephenson, at Lower Sandusky now Fremont, Ohio, was defended by a force under the gallant Croghan, of 150 Americans, with one cannon, against the attack of Gen. Proctor, with 500 regulars and 800 Indians, August 2, 1813.) 


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The War Eagle also fought with Proctor and Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames, where the British army was largely slain or captured and Tecumseh shot. (This important battle, which look place near the Moravian village on the Thames in Canada, eighty miles east of Detroit, was fought by General William Henry Harrison, October 5, 1813.) He was held as a hostage at Prairie du Chien in 1827, for the good behavior of the Winnebago during the so-called Winnebago war. (13, W. H. C., 449; 5, do., 153.) It was while Major Zachary Taylor was located at Prairie du Chien, that he received from Old Gray-headed Decorah a peace pipe now in the State Historical museum at Madison. (4, W. H. C., 28.) He gave assurance to Gen. Atkinson during the Winnebago war, of the peaceable intentions of the Winnebago. (2, W. H. C., 154.) Soon after Laurent Barth purchased the right from the Winnebago in 1793 to transport goods over the Portage, Old Gray-headed Decorah moved from Puckaway lake, in Green Lake county, and located a village on the Wisconsin river, about two miles above the Portage. (3, W. H. C., 288-89.) In 1816, he had a village about eight miles up the Wisconsin river from Portage. (2, W. H. C., 178.) Mr. Henry Merrell, says that in 1834, "Old Chief Decorah had his village on the west side of the Wisconsin river, eight miles below the Portage." (7, W. H. C., 375.) De La Ronde says: 

   "In 1836, the Indians had the misfortune of losing the best of their chiefs, Scha-chip-ka-ka, or De-kau-ry. His death occurred April 20, at the age of ninety, at his village—the locality now known as the Caffrey place in the town of Caledonia, at the foot of the bluff, between the Wisconsin and Baraboo rivers. The school house of district number five, now occupies the spot where the old chief died.
   De-kau-ry's town contained over one hundred lodges, and was the largest of the Winnebago villages. Before he died, De-kau-ry called the Catholic priest, Mr. Vanderbrook, who was at Portage at the time, by whom he was baptized, the day of his death, and was buried in their cemetery near the present Court House in Portage City. (7, W. H. C., 355-56.)

He has also been called Eldest Decorah (5, W. H. C., 153; 3, do., 286.) His Indian name is also given at Hut-sha-wan-shaw-kaid or the War Eagle (5, W. H. C., 155). J. O. Lewis painted his portrait, as "Tshu-Gue-Ga, a celebrated chief half Winnebago and half French, at Little Butte des Morts, 1827."  


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He was only one quarter French. He is also said to have died on April 30th. (5, W. H. C., 155; 3, do., 286.) He signed the treaties of 1828, 1829, 1832. Mrs. Kinzie described him as:

   "The most noble, dignified and venerable of his own or indeed of any other tribe. His fine Roman countenance, rendered still more striking by his bald head, with one solitary tuft of long silvery hair neatly tied and falling back on his shoulders; his perfectly neat, appropriate dress, almost without ornament and his courteous manner, never laid aside, under any circumstances, all combined to give him the highest place in the consideration of all who knew him." (W., 89 [73].)

She reports him as coming to Portage from his village during the famine, in 1831, and reporting the starving condition of his people. On being offered food for his own family he refused to accept it stating that "if his people could not be relieved, he and his family would starve with them." (W., 484 [376].) Augustin Grignon stated that he was the eldest son of the Ladle, and succeeded him as chief (3, W. H. C., 286.)

Sons of Old Grey-headed Decorah were: 1. Chan-ge-ka-ka or Little Decorah, who died on October 20, 1836, within six months of the demise of his father, whom he had succeeded as chief. 2. Hopeneschaka or White French, who became chief on the death of his brother. (7, W. H. C., 346.) 3. One-eyed Decorah or Big Canoe. 4. Spoon Decorah, born at his father's village near the Caffrey schoolhouse, near the mouth of the Baraboo river "a few years before the Tecumseh war." In March 1887, Dr. Reuben G. Thwaites interviewed him in the town of Big Flats, Adams county, ten miles from Friendship. He was then "living with his aged squaw," "while his progeny, reaching to the fourth generation were clustered about the patriarchal lodge in family wigwams." He could only converse in his native tongue. He died on October 13, 1889, in a cranberry marsh, near Necedah, said to have been 84 years old, having been born in 1803. (13, W. H. C., 448-461.) 5. Little Decorah died near Tomah, at Blue Wing's village about April 1, 1887, a very old man, about 100 years old. He was the oldest son of Old Gray-headed Decorah. His place was near Millston, Jackson county, when he died. (12, W. H. C., 429.)

Chah-post-kaw-kaw, or the Buzzard Decorah, was a son of Glory of the Morning and Sabrevoir De Carrie, so One-eyed


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         141

Decorah informed Judge Gale. He settled at La Crosse in 1787, with a band of Winnebago, and was soon after killed by his own son in a drunken row. 1. This son was Mau-wah-re-gah, eldest brother of One-eyed Decorah and Wau-kon. He killed his father while intoxicated and was ever after despised by that band. (3, W. H. C., 287.) 2. One-eyed Decorah, whose Indian name was Wadge-hut-ta-kaw or the Big Canoe, was a son of the Buzzard. J. O. Lewis painted his portrait at Prairie du Chien in 1825, under the name "Wade-He-Doo-Kaana, chief of the Winnebago." His village in 1832 and later was at the mouth of Black river, or as some say, near the village of Salem on the La Crosse river, in Onalaska township, La Crosse county. It is also said by Rev. Branson, to have been at Prairie La Crosse, in 1832. (2, W. H. C., 252.) In 1826, he was said by Gen. H. L Dousman to have his village on Black river. (5, W. H. C., 156.) Thomas P. Burnett says he found One-eyed Decorah and Little Thunder at the lower mouth of Black river in 1832. One-eyed Decorah was born about 1772, and was 15 years of age when his father settled at La Crosse. He aided in the capture of Mackinaw (July 17, 1812), was with the British in the attack on Fort Stephenson; (Aug. 2, 1813, near Fremont, Ohio), with McKay at the capture of Prairie du Chien, and signed the treaty there in 1825. He died near the Tunnel, Monroe county, Wisconsin, August 1864, aged 92 years. (3, do., 286; 7, do., 359.) The act for which he became celebrated was the capture of Black Hawk and the Prophet, in 1832. The particulars have already been noted.

In 1832, One-eyed Decorah married two wives and went to live on Black River (13, W. H. C., 466.) Ever since the capture of Black Hawk the captors and their descendants have borne the name of the bold Sauk warrior.

Spoon Decorah was a son of One-eyed Decorah, and signed the peace and tribal treaty of 1825, at Prairie du Chien He was a cousin of the Spoon Decorah interviewed by Dr. Thwaites in 1887. (13, W. H. C., 460.)

A brother of One-eyed Decorah, was Wa-kon-han-kaw, or Wan-kon Decorah, or Snake Skin, commonly called Washington Decorah, the orator of the Winnebago. He was living in


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1868, in Minnesota, a very aged man. (3, W. H. C., 286.) The name is also rendered Wan-kon-can-haga or Wau-kon. His likeness, painted, by J. O. Lewis in 1825, is shown in his Aboriginal Portfolio. He is there called "Wau-kaun or the Snake." 

In 1832, Mr. Burnett found him, with the principal part of his band from the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers, about sixty miles up the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien. (2, W. H. C., 259). He had a village at the headwaters of De Soto creek, below La Crosse (13, W. H. C., 460.) He died at the Blue Earth agency in about the year 1868.

In 1859, he was said to be 84 years of age. (7, W. H. C., 309.) He signed the treaties of 1829 and l832. He is said by Mr. Dousman to have had a village on the Mississippi, 30 miles above Prairie du Chien, in 1826. (5, W. H. C., 156.) This is probably an error.

Among others who bear the name and claim descent from this famous line of Winnebago chieftains, is Angel Decora, who studied art at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and under the celebrated artist Howard Pyle, who has interested himself in her success. She practiced her art until recently in New York City, when she was placed in charge of the art department at the Carlisle (Pa.) Indian school. In her work she has already won distinction.

This name, Decorah, is variously spelled by various authorities and appears as Day-kau-ray, Decorra, Dekorrah, Decorah, Dakoury and De Kora. De Korra is the name of a town and post office in Columbia county, and Decorah that of a considerable city near the former Winnebago reservation, in northeastern Iowa. The proper orthography of the name is De Carrie.

Four Legs, or Ne-o-kau-tah, had his village at the outlet of Lake Winnebago, on Doty island. Many references to both the chief and his village occur. (See 3, W. H. C., 286; 5, do., 96; 10, do., 74; 11, do., 395; 2, W. A., 52 and 1906, P. S. H. S.) He was known as Neokautah by the Menominee, and his Winnebago name was Hootschope (pronounced Hooshoo). J. O. Lewis, who painted his portrait in 1827, gives his name as O-Check-Ka.


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Hon. Morgan L. Martin, who visited it in 1828, describes the village as follows:

   "On Doty's island, very near the mouth, on the west channel was the village of Hootschope or Four Legs, the well known Winnebago chieftain. There were from 150 to 200 lodges there, covered with bark or mats. We found Four Legs a very ordinary looking Indian." (11, W. H. C., 395.)

On August 16, 1830, Mr. McCall, one of the commissioners appointed to arrange the differences between the New York Indians and the Winnebago, met in council Four Legs and ten other chiefs, at his lodge on Doty island. He briefly describes the chief and his village:

   "There was in all 55, male and female. The chief's name is Four Legs. Took our dinner and returned to meet the chief at his lodge. Here we found them collected in all about 10 in number the head chief seated on his mat cross-legged in all the majesty of an Asiatic prince. After a profound silence, he arose from his seat and shook hands with each of us and addressed us in the Winnebago." (12, W. H. C., 187-188.)

Mrs. Kinzie mentions Four Legs as the "great chief of the Winnebago, whose village was on Doty Island", in 1830, and says:

   "(It was) at the entrance to Winnebago Lake, a picturesque cluster of huts, spread around on a pretty green glade, and shaded by fine lofty trees." (W., 62 [53])

She furnishes an illustration of the village and says: "it was a cluster of neat bark wigwams". This is reproduced in our Plate 1. Four Legs died in 1830, but his village was still occupied in 1832, being reported by Cutting Marsh as occupied "by a small band of the Winnebago tribe". This is the last mention of this village. Its name is preserved in the word Menasha, the city, which with the city of Neenah, now occupies its site. The name both Curtis Heed and Governor J. D. Doty, the founders of the modern town, interpreted as meaning "the village on the island". At the council at Green Bay, August 24, 1830, Four Legs was the head chief and Duck was the head orator. (12, W. H. C., 192.) In furnishing entertainment to amuse their visitors, Four Legs was active. Mr. McCall mentions that:

   "At night a band of the Winnebagoes appeared, painted all colors—not only their faces but their bodies—before the house where we boarded, encouraged by some and treated by others with whiskey. They held the war dance and kept it up until 10 o'clock at night,


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with all their disfigured and distorted countenances—naked except breech clouts. All with some kind of weapon and horrid yell, made them resemble so many infernals." (12, W. H. C., 195.)

The report of the Commissioners of the council recites that Four Legs and Black Wolf were the only speakers, and that they had signed the treaty in 1832, with the New York Indians (12, W. H. C., 195). Schoolcraft mentions that Four Legs exacted tribute from travelers immediately after the war of 1812. He assembled to be the keeper of the Fox river valley. Colonel T. L. McKenney alludes to this custom of exacting tribute, and relates that Gen. Leavenworth in going up stream with him in command in 1816, was accosted by Four Legs and notified that the lake was locked. The General rose with his gun resting on his arm, and asked the interpreter to inform the chief that he had the key to unlock it. To this Four Legs replied, "Let him pass." (5, W. H. C., 96.) As Four Legs was supposed to be forty years of age in 1830, the year he died, he must have been born about 1790. He may have taken part in the war of 1812, on the side of the British. Mrs. Kinzie mentions his death through the drinking of too much sutler whiskey, while waiting at Fort Winnebago with the assembled Winnebago for the arrival of the silver from the Government for the payment of their annuities:

   "His body, according to custom, having been wrapped in a blanket, and placed in a rude coffin along with his guns, tomahawk, pipes, and a quantity of tobacco, had been carried to the most elevated point of the hill opposite the fort, followed by an immense procession of his people whooping, beating their drums, howling. After the interment of the body a stake was planted at its head on which was painted in vermillion a series of hieroglyphics descriptive of the great deeds and events of his life. The whole was then surrounded with pickets of the trunks of tamarack trees, and hither the friends would come for many successive days to renew the expression of their grief, and to throw over the grave tobacco and other offerings to the Great Spirit." (W., 86 [71].)

His wife, who survived him, was a Fox woman but spoke the Chippewa language, which brought her services into use as an interpreter, as that was the court or universal language among all the tribes. (See 2, W. H. C., 176; 5, do., 96; 14, do.,87.) Her portrait was painted by J. O. Lewis, in 1827. Four Legs is said to have been a big chief and "a great and mighty warrior".

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In 1887, there were two descendants of the chief living; one, Good Cloud, a woman residing at Tomah. She had a son whose name was Good Bear. One descendant was Will Dandy, a boy who was then at school in the Wittenberg mission. He has two cousins also living at Wittenberg (13, W. H. C., 460).

San-sa-man-nee was a younger brother of Four Legs and fought under the British flag, in the war of 1812 (3, W. H. C., 287).

Wild Cat or Pe-sheu had his village on Garlic island now Island Park, a small island on the west margin of Lake Winnebago, seven miles south of Menasha, and the same distance north of Oshkosh. The village was also located across the solent on the mainland. The corn hills are still visible, both on the island and mainland. Just when this village was established cannot be exactly ascertained, yet it is probable that Pe-sheu himself was its founder and that he and his tribesmen came from the principal Winnebago village on Doty island. One of the earliest descriptions of this village is that of Mrs. (Governor) James D. Doty, who records in her journal, under the date of August, 1823, of a canoe journey which she made with her husband on the way up the river to hold court at Prairie du Chien:

   "We coasted along the west shore of Lake Winnebago to Garlic island, on the opposite point to which is a Winnebago village of fine permanent lodges, and fine cornfields."

The late Judge Morgan L. Martin made the same journey in birch bark canoes with Judge Doty and others in 1828, on their way to try Red Bird, the Winnebago, for murder:

   "Garlic Island was the next stopping place. There was a Winnebago village there of about the same size as that over which Four Legs (Doty Island) presided, (150 to 200 lodges). The lodges, however, were longer and neater. We purchased supplies of vegetables of the island villagers." (10, W. H. C., 74; 11, do., 395.)

From these descriptions it would appear that the population at that time probably consisted of 1,000 or more persons.

   "Chief Wild Cat was a large and bulky savage with a hasty and ferocious temper which often got him into difficulties. We suppose that he was born at Doty island at some time just previous to the American Revolution. The earliest knowledge which we have of this chief is from a remark he once made when he and Sarcel, a Winnebago chief, had a dispute in regard to their relative bravery. On this occasion


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Wild Cat is said to have exclaimed: "Don't you remember the time we aided the Shawanoes (English) in attacking the fort, that you ran off so fast that you lost your breech clout." This remark had reference to the Indian war of 1793, when the British had incited the western Indians to frequent depredations against the straggling white settlers in Ohio (and Michigan.) There is a possibility also that he may have served with Charles de Langlade under the British flag in the war of the Revolution. Certain it is that in 1797, he was considered of sufficient importance to receive from the royal officers the medal of their King. This bronze medal, given as a memento of distinguished favor, by King George III, to his savage ally in his wildwood home on the shore of Lake Winnebago, now reposes in the museum of Lawrence University, at Appleton, Wis. It was deposited there about the year 1875, by Mr. D. C. Church, of the town of Vinland, Winnebago county, who obtained it from Louis B. Porlier of Butte des Morts, a trader and son of Judge Porlier." (H. W. C., 271; 3, W. A., 60 (?).)

Mrs. Kinzie says the Wild Cat was "our Indian Falstaff in all save cowardice and falsehood" (W., 75). Being intoxicated he was unable to get to Fort Armstrong, at Rock Island, in time to object to the treaty of 1831, and when he found it ceded the lands on which his village stood, he wept. It is said that he was found dead against an oak tree, in the center of the woods, where Oshkosh now stands. He was at the payments in Portage in 1830 and 1831, and is said to have died soon after the Black Hawk war, which would make the date of his death about 1833. He is reported to have been present under the partisan British leader of the Wisconsin savages, Colonel Robert Dickson, early in 1812, at the capture of Mackinac. The following spring he fought with Tecumseh at Fort Meigs, and also in the attack on Fort Stephenson. He also participated in the capture of Prairie du Chien. In the winter of 1814, Dickson with his convoy of supplies was ice bound until January on Garlic island, at Pesheu's village.

Black Wolf or Shounktshunksiap was a celebrated character in the border days of a century past. Mrs. Kinzie has left an interesting sketch of this bold warrior:

   "Whose lowering, surly face was well described by his name. The fierce expression of his countenance was greatly heightened by the masses of heavy black hair, quite contrary to the usual fashion of the Winnebagoes, they for the most part remove a portion of the hair, the remainder of which is drawn to the back of the head, clubbed and ornamented with beads, ribbons, cock's feathers, or, if so entitled, an eagle's feather for every scalp taken from an enemy." (W., 74.)


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J. O. Lewis, who painted his portrait (see Plate 3) at the Little Butte des Morts treaty in 1827, gives his Indian name as Shounk-Chunk. His village was located on a point of land now known as Black Wolf point, jutting out into Lake Winnebago, seven miles south of the city of Oshkosh, township of Black Wolf, Winnebago county. It is said to have numbered not more than forty huts. The date of its establishment here is not exactly known, but it is supposed to have been before the year 1800. Mrs. G. A. Randall, who formerly resided at Randall's point, remembers to have seen the Indian tepees and camp-fires along the shore of Black Wolf point as late as the year 1846. Chief Black Wolf was a large man and much respected by his people, and was called a war chief (13, W. H. C., 460). He participated in the attack on Mackinac in the war of 1812.

   "After the war, the British, still seeking to hold the Winnebago in their interest for purposes of trade, called them to Mackinac to a council or treaty with Col. Robert McDonald, the British commissioner. Black Wolf was one of those in attendance at this gathering. He also participated with the British and their allies in the capture of Prairie du Chien in the year 1814. He was one of the signers of the land grant negotiated by Eleazer Williams in 1821, with Four Legs, the Winnebago head chief, and others by which the New York Indians were to receive a strip of land five miles in width across the Lower Fox river. He also participated in the councils held at Green Bay and Doty island, for a similar purpose, in 1830. He is said to have died at Portage, Wis., in the year 1847. (3, W. A., 86 (?). See also 3, W. H. C., 288; 13, do., 452.)

During the Black Hawk war, Black Wolf, camped with the Winnebago assembled at the site of Portage. Black Wolf was an uncle to Gray Eagle-eye, the last squaw of Spoon Decorah (the Spoon of Dr. Thwaites' interview). (13, W. H. C., 452.)

Dandy, the Beau Brummell of the Winnebago, was a son of Black Wolf, and a cousin of Four Legs.

   He wore a fancy dress, shirt of brightest color, ornamented with rows of silver brooches, and displayed two pair of arm bands. His leggings and moccasins were of the most elaborate embroidery in ribbons and porcupine quills. Numerous ornaments were dangling from his club oil back hair. A feather fan was in one hand, and a mirror in the other. His face was brilliantly colored and daubed. (W., 75.)

La Ronde says that Dandy, son of Black Wolf was also known as Little Soldier (7, W. H. C., 346). His village is reported by Mr. W. H. Canfield as being in 1836, on the Baraboo river


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five or six miles above the present city of Baraboo (5, W. A., 378). Old Dandy, then 70 years old, was one of those Paquette went after at the time of the removal of the tribe. He was a small thin man, and the only Winnebago who after the breaking up of the tribal relations in 1848, was generally respected as a chief of the tribe. He went to Washington in 1828, with War Eagle and others to see the President. His camp was then near the Dalles. He said that he would not go to Long Prairie and was allowed to remain (12, W. H. C., 409). In 1844, Captain Sumner was sent back to Portage to hunt for Dandy. He was found at head of Baraboo river, and made to ride horseback with his legs chained beneath the animal with an ox chain. He demanded to be taken to Governor Dodge at Mineral Point. Dodge asked his mission. Dandy took a Bible from his bosom and asked the Governor if it was a good book. He answered that it was. "Then," said Dandy,. "if a man would do all that was in that book could any more be required of him?" He answered "No". "Well", said Dandy, "Look that book all through, and if you find in it that Dandy ought to be removed by the Government to Turkey river, then I will go right off, but if you do not find it I will never go there to stay". The Governor informed him that his trick would not work He was then taken to Prairie du Chien. The chain so blistered his feet and legs that he was unable to walk for three weeks. He was placed in charge of a corporal, who was obliged to carry him on his back to a buggy to be taken to Turkey river. Supposing Dandy still unable to walk his guard left him for a moment to re-enter the Fort, whereupon he jumped from the buggy and escaped into the forest. He remained in Wisconsin and died at the Peten well bluff, an isolated rocky peak on the Wisconsin river, in June 1870, aged 77 years (7, W. H. C., 364-65). 

The Smoker, or Tahnicksieka. also spelled Not-aw-pin-dawqua, was a Winnebago chief who resided at the south end of Lake Winnebago, three miles east of the present site of Fond du Lac, where the name is still preserved in Taycheedah township (3, W. H. C., 251, 288; 5, W. A., 322).

Mr. Biddle relates an anecdote of the Smokers calling on Col. Miller in 1816, with a deputation of his tribe to enquire 


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why he was about to establish the fort at Green Bay. Col. Miller replied that his purpose "though armed for war, was peace." The chief replied "that if his object was peace he had brought more with him than was necessary to treat; but if his object was war, he had brought too few to fight". Col. Miller then took the savages to view a dozen cannon lying in the grass on the bank of the river proving to them that he had enough war material to make good his right, and ended the conference (1, W. H. C., 52). On this occasion the Smoker made a long speech to Colonel Bowyer, the Indian agent, which is reported in full (13, W. H. C., 444). The Smoker's village was established by his father, Sarro-chau, "one of the best of Indians". This must have occurred before 1788, as at that time some of the people from the village saved the Ace family from being murdered by Pacan and his robber band. Sarrochau was with Colonel McKay in the attack on Prairie du Chien in 1814, and died soon after (3, W. H. C., 288). He served as a guide during the Black Hawk war, in 1832 (13, W. H. C., 453). Judge Martin reports passing an Indian village, during his journey in 1829, on the present site of Fond du Lac, but does not make it clear that this was the Smoker's village (10, W. H. C., 74, 11, do., 400).

The Yellow Thunder, or Wah-con-zaj-gah, "was a fine looking Indian, tall, straight and stately" (12, W. H. C., 429). His old encampment was about five miles below Berlin on the Fox river, at the Yellow Banks (10, W. H. C., 221) This would locate his village near Eureka, in Winnebago county. In 1832, at the close of the Black Hawk war, Colonel Charles Whittlesey, with four others, made a saddle journey over the Indian trail along the left bank of the lower Fox, and the right bank or east side of the upper Fox river. Before arriving at Fort Winnebago, he passed two Winnebago villages, one of which was that of Yellow Thunder. The villagers much to their annoyance followed the party out of their village on horseback (1, W. H C., 74). Hon. Morgan L. Martin mentions passing a "Winnebago village on Green Lake prairie" in 1829, which may have been the village of Yellow Thunder, though probably that of Sarcel (2, W. H. C., 401 (?), do., 74). In 1828, Yellow Thunder and his squaw made a journey to Washington


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to interview the President (7, W. H. C., 346), and thereafter this squaw was known as the Washington Woman. Yellow Thunder was a convert to the Catholic church, and became zealous in its offices (10, W. H. C., 221). He was called the head war chief of his tribe (12, W. H. C., 429). By false pretenses he was induced with others to visit Washington in 1837, and signed the false treaty which ceded to the government all the Winnebago possessions east of the Mississippi river. Three years after, he was one of the first to suffer under this cession by being forcibly put in irons at Portage, and removed to Turkey river, in Iowa, He soon returned and requested La Ronde to go with him to Mineral Point to enter a forty of land, on the west bank of the Wisconsin river (7, W. H. C., 339). He was again forcibly removed to Iowa with Black Wolf but was allowed to return as he was a land owner, (12, W. H. C., 429). Yellow Thunder owned the S. W. quarter of the S. E. quarter of Section 36, on the Wisconsin river, in the town of Delton, Sauk county. On this land two log huts were constructed for his own use, and that of the families who lived with him. About five acres of land was cultivated, corn, beans and potatoes being raised. During big feasts as many as 1,500 Indians gathered in the vicinity. Shortly before his death he sold his land to Mr. John Bennett. It is related that when he paid his taxes he placed a kernel of corn in a leather pouch for each dollar of taxes paid, and when he sold the land he demanded as many dollars as there were kernels of corn in the old pouch. His summer village was sixteen miles up the river from Portage in 1840 (7, W. H. C., 398). He died in 1874 and was buried on a sandy knoll near his homestead. Nearby are the graves of the Washington Woman and several other Indians (5, W. A., 239-40). The reference, (12, W. H. C., 429) giving his death as in the fifties is an error. It is probable that the date of his birth was close to the year 1800. An oil portrait of Yellow Thunder hangs in the halls of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Walking Turtle, or Naw-waw, or Karrymaunee, was described in 1830 as "a stalwart Indian, with a broad pleasant countenance, with an immense underlip hanging nearly to his chin." (W., 89 [73].) The English dispatched Mr. George McBeath


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May 1783, to hold a council with the savages at Prairie du Chien, to announce to them the close of the Revolution and cession of the territory to the United States. At this council "Karimine," spoke for the Winnebago (2, W. H. C., 170). The name is also spelled Karrymaunee, Carrymaunee, Carimaimee, Carimimie, Caramaunee. Calimine, Carramana, Kay-rah-man-nee, Kerry-man-nee and Kariminee. Augustin Grignon says "he was a worthy man" (3, W. H. C., 287). He is "described as the principal chief of his tribe, and is reported to have been beside Tecumseh when he fell at the battle of the Thames, on October 5, 1813 (14, W. H. C., 87). In 1790, he went on a commission with Tecumseh to the Indians in New York, and served with that famous chief in the campaigns of the war of 1812, and until his death. He signed the treaties of 1816, 1825, 1829 and 1832, (5, W. H. C., 178) and was known in 1832 as the "Counsellor" of the Winnebago (7, W. H. C., 350). His village was located at Baraboo, a little north of the present City (7, W. H. C., 350). A. B. Stout gives a brief description of the village:

   "Here, near the junction of Mound and Water streets (Baraboo), Mr. (W. H.) Canfield's city plat shows a group of effigies, all evidently intended to represent mammals. They are now entirely effaced. Mr. Canfield states that when he arrived in Baraboo in 1842, a pole flying a flag made of skins was still standing to mark the location of the council house. The Indians had a village around the council house and the rapids of the Baraboo river which are close by." (5, W. A., 254.)

The Turtle is reported to have had a village on Rock river at Beloit in 1832, when he signed the treaty. (14, W. H. C., 128). The early name for Beloit was Turtle Creek. When the Winnebago band came over the site of Portage to the camp of Major Whistler (on the opposite bank of the Fox to deliver Red Bird and We-kau, on September 3, 1827, Colonel Thomas McKenney, an eye witness, says they were led by "Cariminie." He mentions the Walking Turtle as "still living in 1840." (5, W. H. C., 181.) When Black Hawk's band was being driven from Wisconsin Heights to the Mississippi, Gen. Street, the Indian Agent, wrote that "Carramana and Decor" were at Prairie du Chien. (2, W. H. C., 259.) Karray-mau-nee, had a


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son by the same name, who was "of excellent character, and migrated with his tribe to Iowa." (3, W. H. C., 287.) When Moses Paquette was assembling the Winnebago to remove them in 1848 he says he met '"Kayrah-man-nee" who was a large fine looking man, between 70 or 80 years of age. He died at Dexterville on the Yellow river, Iowa. His Indian name was Maukeekishunka, or Shaking of the Earth. (12, W. H. C., 408.) It is said "Kerrymaunee" had one descendant living at Steven's Point in 1887. (13, W. H. C., 460.) Which of the acts and deeds referred to are those of Walking Turtle, or referable to his son, the records do not state. Dr. Draper says he was alive in 1840, yet his son of the same name was then an old man. When Walking Turtle, the companion of the warrior Tecumseh, went to his grave is not recorded. It is only certain that one of the name has been prominent for a century in the stirring border days. J. O. Lewis painted the portrait of the elder "Kero-mo-nee" at the treaty of Little Butte des Morts, in 1827.

Little Elk, an uncle of Karraymaunee, was "a big man. a wise man, an orator and a good Indian " (13, W. H. C., 460.) His Indian name was Hoo-wau-nee-kah. Lewis painted his portrait at Prairie du Chien in 1825 as "O-wan-ich-koh." When at Washington with the members of the tribe, he was the orator and a person of distinction. Henry Clay complimented him on his appearance and as being the most talented member of the party. "He was decidedly superior in ability to any other individuals of the tribe." (W., 75.)

Tete de Chien or Dogs Head, also known as Sarcel, Susell and "the Teal," was of the Karray-man-nee family. (11, W. H. C., 260-263; 9, do., 300.) Augustin Grignon says he had a village at Green Lake in 1829, where he died before 1840, when the tribe removed to Iowa (3, W. H. C., 287.) Colonel McDougall at Mackinac referred to Tete de chien or Susell, in a communication to General Drummond in July 1814, as requesting the recapture of Prairie du Chien from the Americans, asserting that in its capture by them the brother of Sarcel had been killed with seven other Winnebago. (11, W. H. C., 260-263), a story which is not borne out by the facts, as there was no force present to dispute the taking possession of that post in 1814.

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He is reported as living in 1827, at "English Prairie," now Muscoda. The Teal "was a prominent man, of good sense, and honest." (9, W. H. C., 300.) When Judge Morgan L. Martin passed that way in 1829, he reported a Winnebago village on Green Lake prairie, which it is possible was that of the Teal.

White Crow, or Kau-kich-ka-ka, was a commander of the Winnebago. Mrs. Kinzie speaks kindly of this chief. She mentions him as "Kay-ray-kaw-saw-kaw, the White Crow of Rock river." She says he was "a friend of the whites in the Sauk war. He had lost an eye and covered the deformity with a black silk handkerchief." Others speak of him as a "bad character, tall, slim, hawk nosed. One eye gouged out in a brawl," in 1832 (10, W. H. C., 253.) At the time of the Black Hawk war he was fifty years of age. (8, do., 271; 10, do., 186.) He has been called "the Cicero among the Indians, for his power of oratory and eloquence." (10, W. H. C., 185.) White Crow was not a war chief, but a prominent civil chief and orator. He signed the treaties of Butte des Morts in 1827, Green Bay in 1828 and of Rock Island) in September 1832. He died about the year 1834, and was buried near where Cross Plains now stands. (10, W. H. C., 496.) His village was on the west or northwest shore of Mendota lake, on a high point of land known as Foxes Bluff, west of the mouth of the Catfish, about where is now the village of Pheasant Branch, in Dane county. The village, Saterlee Clark says, was built in the usual style of lodges, not wigwams, more like houses covered with white cedar bark, and contained a population of 1,200 souls. (10, W. H. C., 496; 8, do., 313; 11, do., 401.) Its location is also given as on Lake Koshkonong (8, W. H. C., 313). The council between the Winnebago on May 25. 1832, and Colonel Henry Dodge and Henry Gratiot, the sub-Indian agent, was held at this village, as the sympathies of the Winnebago in the Black Hawk troubles were uncertain, and here they gave assurance of fidelity "though little reliance was placed on their sincerity." (12, W. H. C., 245.) White Crow was sent to Black Hawk's camp by Henry Gratiot, sub-agent, for the Winnebago, to purchase the freedom of the two Hall girls who had 


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been taken to his camp alive from the slaughter at the Davis farm near Ottawa, Illinois. He purchased their freedom for $2000.00 in trinkets and horses. They were delivered to Gratiot at Blue Mounds Fort, June 3, 1832 (12, do., 243), by a party of fifty Winnebago headed by White Crow. (8, W. H. C., 271; 10, do., 185; 12, do., 245.)

   "That night he attempted to stir the Indians . . . . . . into a conspiracy against Dodge's militiamen. But . . . . . talked too freely, and the plot came to the ears of Dodge, who at once imprisoned the conspirator and his fellow chiefs and marched them, June 4, across country to Morrison's Grove. White Crow was released, but two of the others retained as hostages." (13, W. H. C., 452.)

On June 30, 1832, White Crow joined Dodge's forces with thirty braves at First or Kegonsa lake, to guide them to Black Hawk's camp at Hustisford, on the Rock river. It was at first thought he was leading Dodge into ambush. He was one of Paquette's party to guide Dodge and Henry from Fort Winnebago to Gen. Atkinson on Rock river. (13, W. H. C., 452; 12, do., 248.)

White Pawnee or Pawnee Blanc, a son of White Crow, whose Indian name was Pa-nee-wak-sa-ka (7, W. H. C., 350), fought with Colonel Henry Dodge's detachment at the battle of Wisconsin Heights. It is stated that he fought in the open like a white man. (10, W. H. C., 496.) He is described as:

   "An old dandy surpassing in brilliant display of trinkets, arm bands, colored cloth, beads and feathers his younger rival, the Beau Brummell of the savages, Dandy." (W. 76.)

An account of his death and burial is given elsewhere.

White Cloud, or Wabokieshiik, the Prophet, was at the head of a Winnebago village about thirty-five miles above the mouth of the Rock river, in Illinois. He is thus described by Dr. Thwaites:

   "White Cloud, the Prophet, was Black Hawk's evil genius. He was a shrewd, crafty Indian, half Winnebago and half Sac, possessing much influence over both nations from his assumption of sacred talents . . . . . He had many traits of character similar to those possessed by Tecumseh's brother, but in a less degree. His hatred of the whites was inveterate; he appears to have been devoid of human sentiments; he had a reckless disposition and seemed to enjoy sowing the seeds of discontent for the simple pleasure of witnessing a border chaos. He was about forty years of age when his sinister agitation bore fruit; was nearly six feet in height, stout and athletic, had a large, broad face, a short, blunt nose, full eyes, large mouth, a full


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head of shaggy hair and his general appearance indicated deliberate, self-contented savagery. In council he displayed much zeal and persuasive oratory. In the matter of dress he must at times have been picturesque. An eye-witness, who was in attendance on a Pottawattomie council wherein the prophet was urging the cause of Black Hawk, describes the wizard as dressed in a faultless white buckskin suit, fringed at the seams; wearing a towering head-dress of the same material, capped with a bunch of fine eagle feathers; each ankle girt with a wreath of small sleigh bells, which jingled at every step, while in his nose and ears were ponderous gold rings gently tinkling against each other as he shook his ponderous head in the warmth of harangue." (12, W. H. C., 224.)

His name was also spelled Waubakeeshik, meaning "White eye." It is not certain that he was blind in one eye. His portrait, painted by E. M. Sully, is in the possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society. During the Black Hawk war (1832) he went to live with the Winnebago until the war was over, when he retuned to the Sauk. He had a Sauk father and Winnebago mother.

Spotted Arm or Mau-ha-kee-tshump-kaw, (10, W. H. C., 186.) was also known as Broken Arm, or Broken Shoulder, and Ah-shee-sh-ka, a phonetic spelling of the above. He fought under Tecumseh, and died a few years after the Black Hawk war. (13, W. H. C., 451-52) Is said to have been of a "stalwart frame, great intelligence and sobriety." He was a prominent war chief of the Winnebago in 1832. His name was given him because of a severe wound received while assisting the British at the siege of Fort Meigs on the Maumee river in Ohio, in 1813. Here he distinguished himself, and afterward in honor of the occasion painted the wound to keep up the appearance of bleeding. He signed the Treaty of 1829, at Green Bay. J. O. Lewis painted his portrait in 1825, at the council at Prairie du Chien, under the name of "O-Chee-Na-Shink-Kaa, or the man who stands and strikes." On Chandler's map of the lead region, 1829, his village is noted as near the village of Exeter, on the Sugar river in Green county. He is said to have died in 1837. (10, W. H. C., 186-90.)"

Little Priest, or Mor-ah-tshay-kaw, was reputable, able, discreet, wise, moderate and friendly to the whites. His village was near Lake Koshkonong. His name appears in connection with the treaties of Green Bay in 1828, and Rock Island in 1832. His death occurred at a Winnebago village on White


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creek, Adams county, Wisconsin, in. 1882, when he was a very old man. One side of his nose had been sliced off in a brawl. With Whirling Thunder and Spotted Arm, Little Priest was held as a hostage for good behavior of the Winnebago tribe during the Black Hawk war (10, W. H. C., 186, 189, 253).

Winneshiek, was in 1829, head chief of the Winnebago village at La Crosse, and in 1855 was head chief of the Winnebago on the Turkey river, in Iowa, where a county is named for him. His name is also spelled Winnesheik and Winnosheek. (1, W. H. C., 11.) During the retreat of Black Hawk's band across the state to the Bad Axe, he was reported as being in the vicinity with part of the Winnebago band to hunt and dry meat. (2, W. H. C., 261.) The older Winneshiek is said to have been a good chief. The Indians in a drunken pow wow at Prairie du Chien had killed his brother. Word of this tragedy being sent to him, he coolly loaded his pistol, and with it concealed beneath his blanket, went to the place where his brother lay. He had the murderer brought beside his victim and then suddenly shot him dead. (3, W. H. C., 287.) Winneshiek the Younger, son of the old chief, was held as a hostage in 1827 by Colonel Dodge for the good behavior of the tribe. (2, W. H. C., 331.) His village in 1852, was in Iowa opposite a point in Wisconsin, five miles below the Bad Axe river. (1852, G. W., 44, 502.) In 1855; he was head chief of the Winnebago on the Turkey river in Iowa. (2, W. H. C., 331.) In 1857, he was called a worthy chief and ruler of his band. (3, W. H. C., 287.)

Whirling Thunder, or Waw-kaun-ween-kaw, "a man of great repute for his sagacity and wisdom in council", (10, W. H. C., 253.) signed the treaty of Rock Island in September, 1832. La Ronde spells the name Wau-kon-ge-weka. His band is reported as having their village near Lake Koshkonong. (10, W. H. C., 186.) In 1836, his village was located on the site of Portage, north of the city end of the present Wisconsin river bridge. (12, W. H. C., 421 [actually, 402]) He died at Turkey river, Iowa.

Man-ze-mon-eka, or the Iron Walker, a son of Whirling Thunder, shot Pierre Paquette at Portage, October 1836, because he supposed the tribe wronged by the large amount of Paquette's claim against the funds due it. His band resided "a mile or two above the present locality of Watertown." (7, W. H. C., 352; 12, do., 420.)


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When Captain Thompson was out with a party of soldiers gathering up the Winnebago to remove them in 1840, he came upon a young Indian whom he induced to lead him to "Man-ze-mon-ekis" camp, which was on an island in Lake Horicon, then called Winnebago swamp. He was surrounded before he was aware of the presence of the soldiers in the hidden camp. On reaching Prairie du Chien he disappeared and was never found.

Pacan was the head of a robber band. In 1788, a trader named Ace had a post a mile and a half up the Fond du Lac river at the head of Lake Winnebago. Pacan with several Winnebago Indians of White Dog's band, residing on Rock river and regarded as the outlaws of the nation, came to the Ace trading post, told an engagé that there were some ducks in the river, and as he went to shoot the ducks, he was shot dead by Winnebago who were concealed in the thicket. One of them ran to tell Ace of his man's death, and as he went to see, he was shot down by Pacan, who seemed to be the leader of the murders. Mrs. Ace kept the savages off with a shot gun, and saved herself and children, until a friendly Winnebago chief came from the neighboring village, located where Taycheedah now is, and drove Pacan and his party away. The friendly Winnebago escorted Mrs. Ace and her children to Green Bay. Paean was a small homely man, quite old and had a defective eye. His son in a quarrel with his sister's husband, a young chief, bit off his nose. The chief to avenge himself, killed old Pacan, his father-in-law. (3, W. H. C., 264.)

Big Hawk was the head of a Winnebago village reported in 1878 as located on the southeast shore of Pike Lake, in Marathon county. (H. A. W., 104.) He was a descendant of the famous chief Kayrahmaunee (Walking Turtle).

   "Big Hawk is about sixty years of age. He is a young-looking, finely formed Indian, some five feet ten inches in height, with small mustaches; he is sober, of good habits, and with a high sense of honor. He has a regulation homestead of forty acres on Pike Lake, in Marathon county, a portion of which he cultivates, eking out an existence by hunting." (12, W. H. C., 417-18.)

The refusal of himself and his band to accept the government bounty has been told. A portrait of this chief is given in Plate 6.


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Little Medicine Man, "was a fine looking man, under ordinary size, quiet subdued and gentlemanly." (10, W. H. C., 253.) Big Fox, was the name of a Winnebago Indian, whose lodge was on Fox Lake in 1832. (7, W. H. C., 352.) Grizzly Bear had a Winnebago village on Fox Lake, in Dodge county, before 1887. (13, W. H. C., 460.) Mach-koo-kah had a village on the north shore of Fox lake in 1838. (5, W. A., 312.) Chas-ka-ka, or White Ox, was at Portage in 1833. His son was shot there and his death revenged by his brother. (7, W. H. C., 352.) Little Hill served in the Black Hawk war. (7, W. H. C., 309.) Little Thunder acted as a guide in Colonel Dodge's command in that war.

Talk English, was a remarkably handsome, powerful young Indian, in 1830. He had been on a journey to Washington. Little Duck had his home in Yellow Thunder's summer home, sixteen miles up the river from Portage, in 1840. (7, W. H. C., 398.) J. O. Lewis painted his portrait at Little Butte des Morts, in 1827, as "She-Sheba, or The Little Duck, a celebrated Winnebago chief."

White Breast, or Mounk-shak-kah, had a Winnebago village at Horicon, a short distance north of the C. M. & St. P. Ry. crossing of the Rock river. (5, W. A., 317.) In 1836, there was a Winnebago village of five or six wigwams on the present site of Mansion, in Juneau county, presided over by To-Kau-nee. (7, W. H. C., 359; 5, W. A., 340.) The Winnebago village of Blue Wing was reported before 1892, as near Tomah, in Monroe county. (12, W. H. C., 340.) The village of Little Sioux was located three quarters of a mile up the Baraboo river from Reedsburg, in 1832. (7, W. H. C., 351.) J. O. Lewis presents a painting of "Too-ska-no-gan-ka or the Little Otter, a "Winebago chief, painted at Massinnewa, Indiana, 1827." He also presents the picture of Waa-kaun-see-kaa, or the Rattlesnake, a Winnebago chief painted at the treaty of Prairie du Chien, 1825." who cannot be identified with other biographies presented here. Nees-ka-ka was a cousin of Dandy. There was a Wau-kon-ja-kon-ka whose portrait appears in a group in the possession of the State Historical Society.

Several Winnebago villages are reported to which no chief or head man is assigned. Judge Martin mentions one "on Rock


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         159

river near Waupun," in 1829 (10, W. H. C., 74), and a cluster of Winnebago wigwams in 1829, at the head of Lake Horicon, or Horicon marsh, the source of Rock river (11, W. H. C., 401), and "a few Winnebago Indians on the south shore of Third Lake," now known as Monona. There were Winnebago villages on the Lemonweir river, also called in early days, "Monois." (2, W. H. C., 178.) Chapman's map shows a village at the southeast side of Lake Waubesa, south of Madison. (11, W. H. C., 401; 10, do., 74.) A village is reported as located at Mud lake, in Portland township, Dodge county from 1840 to 1860. (5, W. A., 313.) Another was on the west side of the Rock river on the site of Hustiford, Dodge county. (5, W. A., 318.) A mixed Winnebago and Menominee camp was at Theresa, Dodge county. (A. W., 60; 5, W. A., 319.) Mention is made of Winnebago villages on Lee's (Carcajou) Point, Lake Koshkonong, (5, W. A., 336.), and on the west side of Rock river, at Watertown (do., 338.) This last may have been the village of Mau-ze-mon-eka, before mentioned. Mr. J. G. Pickett reported a Winnebago village as located up to as late as the year 1846, at the outlet of Rush Lake in Winnebago county (2, W. A., 80). Other villages were located on the south shore of Lake Puckaway; on the Crawfish river near Aztalan; at the junction of the Yahara and Rock rivers and on the shores of lakes Monona and Waubesa (18, B. E., pt. 2, pl. CLXXI).*


Dr. Cyrus Thomas, Dr. Stephen D. Peet and others who have conducted archaeological researches in Wisconsin, have given it as their opinion that the ancestors of the Winnebago are the probable authors of the very numerous and interesting groups of effigy mounds for which this region is justly celebrated among archaeologists. This contention is based upon their prehistoric occupancy of the effigy mound region, and upon other information. The effigies are considered to represent the clan totems of their builders. (See 19, A. A., 11-18; 2, P. A., 375-398.) If such a custom ever prevailed among the Winnebago, or their kinsmen, the Dakota, it had evidently been

   *There was a Winnebago village near Dayton, Green county. Hist. Atlas Wis., 211 [see p. 45, Exeter, section 14].


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discontinued before the advent of the white explorers, as these make no mention of it and appear not to have even noted these strange earthen monuments. The later Winnebago when questioned could give no information concerning them.

In an early number of the Wisconsin Archeologist, the author has fully described and figured the several groups of effigy and other mounds, the remains of an earthen embankment, evidences of early cultivation and other archaeological features associated with the site of the early habitat of the Winnebago on Doty island, and occurring in the vicinity. (2, W. A., 43-59.) Dr. I. A. Lapham has also described some of these. (A. W., 61-62.)

Although no very extended or careful exploration of the village site has ever been made, a large number of archaeological materials have been recovered therefrom, chiefly in the course of the cultivation of certain of the properties which it occupies. Some of these specimens, selected from among those in the author's own cabinet are illustrated in this publication. (See Plates 2, 5, 7, 9, 11). A very considerable number of others are scattered through various public and private collections in Wisconsin, and elsewhere. Geo. A. West figures an ovoid pipe from a mound, and a catlinite disk pipe from Doty island (4, W. A., 139, 150). Harlan I. Smith in his catalogue of Wisconsin archaeological materials in the American Museum of Natural History, lists a number of specimens from Doty island. These include a catlinite pipe, several copper spear points and a copper harpoon. Some of these were obtained from the mounds. (6, W. A., 27, 41, 42.)

At the water's edge, near the Doty homestead, is still to be seen a large trap boulder, which has upon its surface several shallow depressions, said to have been employed by the Indians in grinding their corn. Elsewhere in this bulletin other information concerning the antiquities of the Winnebago tribe is presented.

The Winnebago are said to possess a valuable collection of wampum belts. A list giving the names and a brief description of one of these has been published (I. N., 34-35.) In the collections of the State Historical Society are various Winnebago materials of interest and value.


P.  V.  Lawson:    The Winnebago Tribe                                                                                         161




A. A. The American Antiquarian.
A. W. The Antiquities of Wisconsin. I. A. Lapham. 1855.
B. B.

The Bravest of the Brave. P. V. Lawson. 1904.
B. B. E. Bulletin of the Bureau of Ethnology. The Siouan Tribes of the East. James Mooney, 1894.
B. E. The Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
C. T. Carver's Travels.
G. W. Geology of Wisconsin. Owen. 1852.
H. A. I. Handbook of American Indians. Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin 30 (Vol. 1).
H. I. T. Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian tribes of the United States. Henry R. Schoolcraft.
H. S. B. G. Historical Sketch of Baraboo and Greenfield. W. H. Canfield. Baraboo, 1891.
H. W. C. History of Winnebago County. R. J. Harney. 1880.
I. N. The Indian, the Northwest. C. & N. W. Ry., 1901.
J. R. Jesuit Relations.
M. H. C. Collections of the State Historical Society of Minnesota.
N. C. H. A. Narrative and Critical History of America, Justin Winsor.
O. A. H. Q. Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly.
P. A. Prehistoric America. S. D. Peet. 1898.
P. P. M. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. The Mandans.


162      WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST.                                                                          Vol. 6, No. 3

P. S. H. S. Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.
S. I. S. Some Idols of the Savages. Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov. 12, 1899. P. V. Lawson.
U. M. Upper Mississippi or Historical Sketches. George Gale. 1867.
W. Waubun, or the Early Day in the Northwest. Mrs. J. H. Kinzie. 1857 [1873].
W. A. The Wisconsin Archeologist.

W. B. M.

Who Built the Mounds. P. E. Hoy. 1886.
W. E. M. Winona and its Environs on the Mississippi. L. H. Bunnell. 1897.
W. H. C. Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.


Publius Virgillius Lawson, Jr. (1853-1920)