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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

To the Mississippi

Editor's Note:

Here Marsh again reveals his romantic side, awed by the beauty and history of the Mississippi. The confluence of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi has had a similar effect on travelers ever since Marquette and Joliet first paddled into it in 1673.


English Prairie: modern Muscoda. Oral tradition in the 19th century claimed that early British immigrants who settled on the site were massacred by Indians, and on the strength of that story the place was called English Prairie until about 1840. This story has not been documented. The earliest history of the village is told here, in an article that makes no mention of either a massacre or a family from Kentucky.


24th [June 1834]

Early in the morn. left with the hope of reaching the R.[?river?] that night. About 9 or 10 o'cl. called at the English Prairie to breakfast. There we found a man from Kentucky living alone with 2 sons. Soon he began to use profane language; afterwards I reproved him for it, which he kindly received, and then gave both of his children some Tracts.


In the course of two or three hours we came to the mouth of the large and majestic river where it discharges its waters into the Mississippi. As I approached this river of rivers, as its name indicates, I felt a kind of veneration as for some ancient relic of which I had heard much, which led me to look and examine every nook and feature and draw near with a kind of cautious step.


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