Term: timeline of Wisconsin history, 1622-1699
Adapted and expanded from Schafer, Joseph. "Outline History of Wisconsin." 1925 Wisconsin Blue book (Madison, 1925) . More information about most people and places listed here, including links to original sources, can be found by searching them in this Dictionary.
1622-23. Etienne Brule skirted the shore of Lake Superior
1634. Jean Nicolet landed at Red Banks, near Green Bay.
1654-1656. Medard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers, crossed Lake Huron and lower Michigan before arcing across Lake Michigan into Wisconsin. During the two years his party spent collecting furs, they appear to have visited Green Bay, Sault St. Marie, and Lake Superior as well as spending 4 months going from river to river in the interior. For many years, it was assumed that Pierre-Esprit Radisson had accompanied des Groseilliers on this trip; Radisson¿s own reminiscences make this claim. However, the discovery of Radisson¿s signature on a document signed in Quebec in 1655 proves his claim untrue.
1659-60. Pierre-Esprit Radisson and his brother-in-law, the Sieur de Groseilliers, with six other fur traders and a band of Huron Indians, skirted the south shore of Lake Superior, learned of mines of copper in the neighborhood, and late in the autumn entered Chequamegon Bay. Somewhere between the Ashland and Washburn of our day, they built a crude waterside fort. Later caching their stores, to hide them from the Indians, they visited a Huron village in the interior, and wandered as far west as the Mille Lacs region in Minnesota, there wintering among the Ojibwe. In the spring they visited the Sioux and then returned to Chequamegon Bay, built another fortified trading post, and during the following summer descended to Canada, never again to visit the Northwest.
1660-61. The Jesuit missions in Ontario near Georgian Bay having been destroyed by the Iroquois, the Huron fled to Northwest Wisconsin. Father Rene Menard followed them in the autumn of 1660. After a winter of great hardship among the Indians at Keweenaw Bay, he and a white companion started for the Huron villages on the Chippewa and Black rivers. After many difficulties and much suffering, they reached the Wisconsin River, which they descended for a considerable distance. In the vicinity of a rapids on the Rib River in Taylor County Father Menard lost the obscure trail, and was never again seen.
1665. Father Claude Allouez, another Jesuit missionary, was sent by his superior to reopen the mission among the Huron. On Chequamegon Bay, he chose for his hut a site on the southwest shore, which he named "La Pointe du Saint Esprit." Remaining here four years, he instructed roving bands of Huron, Ottawa, and other Indians, who had fled from Iroquois attacks. In 1669 Allouez was relieved by Father Jacques Marquette.
1666. Nicolas Perrot, a fur trader, visited the Ho-Chunk, Potawatomi, Fox, Sauk, and Mascoutin villages near Green Bay, and persuaded the Potawatomi to send a delegation to trade and treat with the governor of New France at Montreal.
1669. Father Allouez visited the region of Green Bay, where he ministered to the several tribes clustered around its shores. He wintered in a small cabin whose location is not now known.
1670-71. After visiting the Fox village on Wolf River, and that of the Mascoutin on the upper Fox (near the present Berlin), Father Allouez returned to Sault Ste. Marie (May 20, 1670). In the autumn, accompanied by Father Claude Dablon, he was again in Wisconsin, when the mission of St. Francois was begun for the Menominee and the Potawatomi, that of St. Marc for the Foxes, and that of St. Jacques for the Mascoutin.
1671. Simon Francois Daumont, sieur de St. Lusson, was sent to Sault Ste. Marie, and there (June 14), in the presence of Allouez and other Jesuits with Perrot acting as interpreter, took official possession of the Northwest in the name of the French king.
1672. Father Allouez, reinforced by Father Louis Andre, enlarged the Wisconsin missions, building at De Pere (whose names is abbreviated from "Rapides des Peres", the "Fathers' Rapids") a chapel and mission house, to which was given the name of St. Francois Xavier. This became the centre of Jesuit missionary work in Wisconsin.
1673. Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette set out in May from St. Ignace mission, at the Straits of Mackinac, and entering Green Bay and Fox River reached the Mascoutin village on June 7. Portaging into Wisconsin River, they descended the latter to its mouth, at which they arrived June 17. Thence they descended the Mississippi as far as the mouth of the Arkansas, passing on their way villages of the Illinois and other Southern tribes. Satisfied that the great river made its way to the Gulf of Mexico, and warned of danger if they advanced, they planted a cross at the limit of their discovery and in July began the return voyage. Ascending Mississippi and Illinois rivers they portaged at Chicago to Lake Michigan, and by the close of September were again at the mission at De Pere.
1674-75. In October, an ailing Marquette started with two assistants to establish a mission among the Illinois Indians. Proceeding along the east coast of Green Bay, where is now the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, they portaged to Lake Michigan and paddled up that lake to the mouth of Chicago River, where they wintered on a sand dune near the shore. In the spring they pushed on to the Illinois villages near Peoria. But Marquette grew steadily more ill and turned back to Mackinac, hoping to live to reach that station. He died on the journey (May 19), and was buried at the mouth of Pere Marquette River in Michigan. Later, Indians removed his bones to St. Ignace.
1673-76. Father Allouez, aided by Fathers Andre and Antoine Silvy, continued their work among the tribes around Green Bay. Crosses were erected in the important villages, and baptisms conferred. The number of Indian refugees in these villages, fleeing from the raiding Iroquois, increased more rapidly than the converts.
1677. Father Charles Albanel came as superior of the Green Bay missions, and a substantial chapel was built at De Pere. Allouez voyaged by way of Lake Michigan to the Illinois, finding bitumen just north of Milwaukee.
1678-80. Daniel Greysolon Duluth explored and traded in the western end of Lake Superior, discovering the Bois Brule/St. Croix route to the Mississippi, and hunting with Sioux Indians on Wisconsin soil.
1679. Robert Cavelier de La Salle, licensed by the French king to monopolize the Western fur trade, arrived off Green Bay early in September in the "Griffon" ¿ the first sailing vessel on the Great Lakes. It had been built on Niagara River above the cataract. Sending her back laden with peltries collected at Green Bay, La Salle with a party of fourteen men in canoes started southward along the west shore of Lake Michigan. The voyage was one of great peril, for the lake was swept by gales. In Milwaukee Bay their camp was visited by a band of Fox Indians, who stole some of their property. La Salle induced them to make restoration, whereupon he moved on up the lake coast, finally reaching the Illinois by way of St. Joseph and Kankakee rivers.
1680. Father Louis Hennepin, a Recollect friar of La Salle's party, with two of the latter's subordinates, Michel Accau and Antoine Auguel, left the mouth of Illinois River (March 12) to explore the upper Mississippi. On their way they passed the site of Prairie du Chien. Below Lake Pepin the party were taken prisoners by the Sioux, who carried them to the present site of St. Paul, thence to the Mille Lacs. After wandering some months with roving bands of Sioux, Hennepin and his companions were rescued by Duluth, and crossing by the Wisconsin¿Fox river route proceeded to De Pere and Mackinac.
1683. At De Pere, in May, Duluth defended the mission against an Iroquois attack. Subsequent disorder and confusion occurred in the Green Bay region, and trader Nicolas Perrot, acting under the orders of the commandant at Mackinac, re-established peace. About this time, Duluth, having punished Indian murderers of the French at Sault Ste. Marie, rendered Lake Superior safe for French traders and explorers.
1684. Warriors from Wisconsin tribes, led by Perrot, joined La Barre's abortive expedition against the Iroquois.
1685. Perrot was appointed "commandant of the West." With a small squad of twenty soldiers, he passed over the Fox¿Wisconsin route and wintered on the east bank of the Mississippi, about a mile above the present village of Trempealeau. Afterwards he established several trading posts on the Mississippi River, among them Fort Nicolas, near the site of Prairie du Chien, and Fort St. Antoine on Lake Pepin.
1686. Perrot presented a silver ostensorium to the De Pere mission.
1687. Warriors from Wisconsin tribes, under Perrot's leadership, joined Denonville, on Lake Ontario, for an expedition against the New York Iroquois. During their absence the mission house at De Pere, with all the furs stored therein, was burned with a loss of over 40,000 livres.
1689. Perrot, commandant among the Sioux, took possession at Fort St. Antoine, in the name of the French king, of the St. Croix, St. Peter, and upper Mississippi valleys.
1690¿92. Perrot discovered and began operations in the lead mines of Iowa and Wisconsin, where he built temporary forts. He also adjusted peace between the Sioux and the Foxes together with their allies.
1693. Continued wars between the Sioux and the Wisconsin tribes rendered the Fox¿Wisconsin route unsafe for French traders. Count Frontenac thereupon sent Pierre Charles le Sueur to command at Chequamegon and keep open a route from Lake Superior to the Mississippi. He built a stockaded fort at La Pointe, on Madeline Island in Chequamegon Bay, and another on an island in the Mississippi near Red Wing, Minnesota.
1696. Licenses for fur trading were revoked by the French government, all western commandants being recalled and the posts evacuated and abandoned.
1698. Father Jean Francois Buisson de St. Cosme, a Sulpician missionary en route for the Mississippi, coasted from Mackinac along the west shore of Lake Michigan. Finding the Fox¿Wisconsin route closed by the hostility of the Fox Indians, his party was obliged to seek the Chicago¿Illinois portage. October 4 they camped at a Potawatomi village on the site, it is supposed, of Sheboygan. Three days later they reached Milwaukee, where was found a large Indian town of mixed tribes. The next stop was on the site of Racine; but they found the water too low to portage over to the Pistakee (or Fox River of the Illinois), so after a five days' rest they continued on to Chicago.
View related articles at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.
[Source: Schafer, Joseph. "Outline History of Wisconsin." 1925 Wisconsin Blue book (Madison, 1925)