Term: timeline of Wisconsin history, 1784-1835
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.
1784. North West and Mackinac fur companies formed at Montreal for trading in the region of the Upper Great Lakes.
1785. Julien Dubuque first visited Prairie du Chien, and explored the lead mines of Wisconsin and Iowa.
1788. At an Indian council at Prairie du Chien the Fox gave permission to Dubuque to work the lead mines on a large scale.
1790. Pierre Grignon of Green Bay outfitted Pierre Antaya of Prairie du Chien for trading on the upper Mississippi.
1791. Jacques Porlier came to Green Bay, and acted as tutor for Grignon's children.
1792. John Johnston built a fur-trade post on Chequamegon Bay.
1792¿93. Charles Reaume wintered on St. Croix River; Porlier on the upper Mississippi.
1793. Laurent Barth built a cabin at the portage of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers and transported boats and cargoes between these divergent waterways.
1794. Wisconsin Indians, chiefly Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi, participated in the Indian war against American frontier settlements, and were in the battles of Fort Recovery and Fallen Timbers.
1795. Death of Pierre Grignon senior at Green Bay. Jacques Vieau, agent of the North West Company, established posts at Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, and Milwaukee. He selected the last-mentioned place as headquarters, and found there a Potawatomi village, with Sauk, Fox, and Ho-Chunk intermingled.
1796. The British evacuated the Western posts. Mackinac was occupied by an American garrison commanded by Maj. Henry Burbeck. A British garrison and fur-trade headquarters were established on St. Joseph Island in Lake Huron.
1797. The Spanish incited the Sauk and Fox to pillage British traders at Prairie du Chien; the latter's goods were saved by friendly Sioux. A Sioux-Chippewa war was waged in northern Wisconsin.
1798¿99. Fox and Sauk visited the British post at Amherstburg, and made treaties with the officers of that government.
1799. The, X Y Company was organized to compete with the North West and Mackinac companies. John Lawe arrived in Green Bay as clerk for Jacob Franks.
1800. The Spanish at St. Louis feared an Indian attack instigated by British traders. A Spanish gunboat patrolled the Mississippi as far as Prairie du Chien.
1802. John Campbell was appointed American Indian agent at Prairie du Chien. Governor Harrison of Indiana Territory granted commissions as justices of the peace to John Campbell and Robert Dickson, also of Prairie du Chien; and organized the militia with Henry Monroe Fisher as captain, Basil Giard as lieutenant and Michel Labat as ensign.
1803. Charles Reaume was commissioned justice of the peace at Green Bay, and Henry Monroe Fisher at Prairie du Chien.
1804. Harrison made a treaty with the Sauk and Fox at St. Louis, by which the U.S. believed
Indian title to lands in the southern portion of Wisconsin, including the lead
region, was extinguished. Many Sauk and Fox leaders, however, believed the treaty was invalid because the tribe members who signed it had not been authorized to speak for the entire nation.
North West and X Y companies were amalgamated.
1804¿07. Francois Victor Malhoit, clerk for the North West Company, built a new fort and traded at Lac du Flambeau. Posts of the same company existed on the site of Superior, at Madelaine Island, and on Lac Court Oreilles.
1805¿06. Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike was dispatched up the Missouri from St. Louis, to inform Indians and traders of the purchase of Louisiana and of American arrangements for posts and trading. In the ascent, he spent several days at Prairie du Chien, where he found a few American settlers among the French-Canadian inhabitants. After wintering near the Leech Lake source of the Mississippi, he returned to St. Louis in the spring, holding a conference with the Ho-Chunk and Sioux at Prairie du Chien.
1806. The secretary of war at Washington appointed Nicolas Boilvin assistant Indian agent for the Sauk and Fox Indians.
1808. When John Campbell was killed in a duel, Boilvin moved to Prairie du Chien as Indian agent and American magistrate. A fur-trade factory was established at Mackinac.
1810. John Jacob Astor purchased the Mackinac Company and organized the South West Fur Company.
1811. The Astorian party under Wilson P. Hunt and Ramsay Crooks passed through Wisconsin en route for Pacific Ocean. Wisconsin Indians participated in battle of Tippecanoe.
1812. Wisconsin traders participated in the British capture of Mackinac (July 17). Some Wisconsin Indians aided in the massacre of Fort Dearborn (Aug. 15).
1813. Lieut. Joseph Perkins was sent from St. Louis to fortify Prairie du Chien, where he built Fort Shelby, the first American post in Wisconsin. Robert Dickson, adhering to the British, collected Indians to attack this post, and wintered on Garlic Island in Lake Winnebago.
1814. Maj. William McKay organized an expedition at Mackinac for the capture of Fort Shelby. He started June 28, in six days reaching Green Bay, where he was joined by thirty habitants and about 100 Indians; Dickson with his forces met them at Portage. July 17 they landed at the mouth of the Wisconsin and summoned Lieutenant Perkins to surrender, which the superior numbers of British forces compelled him to do. McKay with difficulty saved the prisoners from massacre by his Indian allies. The name of the fort was changed from Shelby to McKay. Wisconsin traders and Indians aided in the British defense of Mackinac (Aug. 4) against the attack of the Americans.
1815. After the treaty of Ghent with Great Britain ended the War of 1812, Capt. Alfred Bulger, the British commandant, abandoned Fort McKay (May 24) and retired to Mackinac. American jurisdiction was resumed by Nicolas Boilvin as Indian agent and justice of the peace.
1816. A series of treaties with Indians was held at St. Louis, in which the tribes renewed their allegiance to the United States. Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien was erected by Gen. Thomas A. Smith; Fort Howard at Green Bay was begun by Col. John Miller. Col. John Bowyer was sent to the latter place as Indian agent. By act of Congress the fur-trade was restricted to American citizens and Astor's American Fur Company began operating in Wisconsin. Government fur trade factories were established both at Green Bay and Prairie du Chien, with Matthew Irwin and John W. Johnson as their respective factors.
1817. The fur trade of Wisconsin settlers was disarranged by the new law. Peltries were seized at Mackinac, and traders arrested on the Mississippi. First school in Wisconsin opened at Green Bay in February.
1818. On May 25 a school opened at Prairie du Chien under Willard Keyes. Brown, Crawford, and Michillimackinac counties were organized, embracing the whole of the present Wisconsin, as well as parts of Minnesota, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Solomon Juneau arrived in Milwaukee, and soon thereafter bought out the trading-post of his father-in-law, Jacques Vieau.
1820. Isaac Lee, United States commissioner, adjusted the land claims of the early French settlers at Prairie du Chien and Green Bay. The first Protestant sermon preached in Wisconsin was delivered July 9 at Fort Howard by Rev. Jedediah Morse, father of the inventor of the telegraph. Morse visited the West as representative of several Protestant missionary societies, to study the problem of improving the condition of the Indians. His report, published by the government, constitutes the first volume in the series dealing with Indian affairs.
1821. The first steamer on the upper lakes, "Walk-in-the-Water," navigated Lake Michigan, bringing a delegation of New York Indians to arrange for their transfer to Wisconsin. The code of Michigan Territory was made the basis of law; but no courts were organized except those of justices of the peace.
1822. Government fur trade factory system abolished. The Mohican Indians (Oneida, Stockbridge, Munsee, and Brothertown) purchased lands of the Menominee and began their removal to Wisconsin. The U.S. government decided to lease lands in southwestern Wisconsin for mining purposes. Col. James Johnson of Kentucky, having secured a lease of part of the present Galena, began mining on a large scale by bringing slaves with him to do the work. There followed an inrush of speculators and prospectors into southwest Wisconsin.
1823. The first steamboat, the "Virginia," ascended the Mississippi as far as Fort Snelling. Lake Superior was surveyed by Lieut. Henry W. Bayfield of the British Navy. First session of Crawford County court was held (May 12) at Prairie du Chien. United States circuit court held first session at the same place (October 17), with James D. Doty the presiding judge.
1824. First session of Brown County court opened (July 12) at Green Bay, with Jacques Porlier as chief justice. Judge Doty held the first United States circuit court (October 4) at the same place.
1825. A treaty was concluded at Prairie du Chien in August by William Clark and Lewis Cass, government commissioners, between the Indians of Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, establishing tribal boundaries and making peace between the tribes. An Episcopal mission was established at Green Bay by Rev. Norman Nash. In May, Doctor William Beaumont began, at Mackinac, the observations on action of the gastric juice, which were continued at Fort Crawford and elsewhere, his subject being Alexius H. Martin.
1826. Fort Crawford was abandoned, and the troops sent to Fort Snelling, near St. Paul.
1827. Acting on misinformation, Ho-Chunk warrior Red Bird led a party who exacted revenge killings on several settlers and attacked two keelboats on the upper Mississippi in what came to be called the "Winnebago War of 1827." Settlers fled to Prairie du Chien and organized and manned the abandoned fort. Troops were sent from St. Louis and Fort Snelling. Col. Henry Dodge raised a hundred mounted volunteers in the lead mines. Maj. William Whistler, in command at Fort Howard, moved up the Fox River to Portage, and the troops on the Wisconsin, under Gen. Henry Atkinson, pursued the fleeing Ho-Chunk who were overtaken near Portage. Their leader, Red Bird, soon died in prison and his associates were tried and sentenced, but afterwards pardoned on condition that the Ho-Chunk cede their mining lands to the United States.
1828. Fort Winnebago was begun at the Portage in September by Maj. David E. Twiggs.
1829. In July, the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi attended a treaty at Green Bay and ceded their claims to lands between Rock and Wisconsin rivers. Thousands of miners settled in the lead region, where speculation increased. A Methodist mission was established at Green Bay.
1830.A Protestant mission was founded on Madelaine Island by Frederick Ayer. Rev. Cutting Marsh opened a Presbyterian mission to the Stockbridge Indians at Statesburg (South Kaukauna).
1831. Daniel Whitney's company began the erection of a shot tower at Old Helena on the Wisconsin river.
1832. In April Black Hawk, a Sauk leader, resenting the intrusion of the American settlers crossed from Iowa and passed up the Rock River to the Sauk village of Prophetstown, intending to raise a crop. This "invasion" aroused general alarm in Illinois and what is now Wisconsin. Settlers fled the country or gathered into log forts. Gen. Henry Atkinson, with an army of volunteers and regulars, marched from Fort Armstrong against Black Hawk, who retreated up Rock River to the neighborhood of Lake Koshkonong. Atkinson with a force of nearly 4,000 federal regulars and Illinois militia pursued the Sauk party of about 1,200, mostly non-combatants, who retreated through the present site of Madison. At the crossing of Wisconsin River a mile below Prairie du Sac, a skirmish occurred (July 21) and the final engagement was at the mouth of the Bad Axe (August 2), where the Indians were massacred while attempting to recross the Mississippi into Sioux territory. Black Hawk surrendered to some Ho-Chunk and was brought to PrPrairie du Chien, whence he was sent to Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis. Throughout the summer, Sauk attempts to surrender had been repeatedly ignored or misunderstood, and of the 1,200 to 1,500 Indians who crossed the Mississippi with him in the spring, not more than 150 survived. In the autumn, treaties were negotiated with the Menominee, Sauk, and Ho-Chunk who, seeing what happened when Indians resisted overwhelming U.S. power, gave up all their lands south and east of Fox and Wisconsin rivers.
1833. By a treaty at Chicago, the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi concurred in the above treaties and ceded the lands south and west of Milwaukee. The first newspaper in Wisconsin, the Green Bay Intelligencer, was established.
1834. Land offices were established at Mineral Point and Green Bay. The first public land sale was held, at Mineral Point. The first public road was laid out. American settlers began to arrive at Milwaukee.
1835. The first steamboat landed at Milwaukee, June 17. A large influx of settlers secured lands in the southern and eastern portions of Wisconsin. The first bank was opened at Astor, now a part of Green Bay. Bishop Baraga founded a Catholic mission on Madeline Island.
View related articles at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.
[Source: Adapted and expanded from Schafer, Joseph. "Outline History of Wisconsin." 1925 Wisconsin Blue book (Madison, 1925).]