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Term: Caspar Partridge case, 1850-1855

Definition:

episode of racist hysteria resulting in the kidnapping of a Menominee child by white settlers.  


On April 9, 1850, Alvin and Lucia Partridge took their children maple sugaring in the woods near their farm in the Winnebago Co. township of Vinland, outside Oshkosh. Their four-year-old son, Caspar, wandered away and, despite days of searching by hundreds of neighbors, was never seen again.

Relations between new settlers and the Menominee Indians were tense at the time. The federal government was trying to force the Menominee off their Wisconsin homeland, the tribe was resisting through legal means, and disputes over local tribal boundaries and annuity payments had increased anxiety. Many settlers could recall the violence of the Black Hawk War 18 years earlier, and rumors spread through white communities that Caspar Partridge had been stolen by Menominee Indians.

Eighteen months later, Mr. Partridge's sister spotted a light-skinned boy with a Menominee family near Waupaca. Twenty-two white men invaded their camp, seized the child (named Oakaha), and summoned Alvin Partridge, who thought the boy might be his missing son but was not sure.
 
Other members of the Partridge family were more certain and obtained a writ of habeas corpus to prevent Oakaha from being returned to the Menominee. In early 1852 a six-day trial was held in Oshkosh to determine Oakaha's true parents. In their testimony, Partridge family members pointed to a general physical resemblance, but Menominee elders, Catholic missionaries, and white traders all swore that they had known the child since his birth. The judge ruled that Oakaha should be returned to his Menominee mother, but before that could occur, vigilantes spirited te boy away to the Partridge homestead in Ohio.
 
Eighteen months later, in May of 1853, a child's decomposed remains discovered on the Partridge family's Wisconsin farm were assumed to be those of Caspar Partridge. This prompted federal officials to track Oakaha to McHenry Co., Illinois, where they seized him late in 1854. They were en route to northern Wisconsin to reunite the boy with his mother when the Partridges filed an injunction to stop them. Before a legal hearing could be held, family members kidnapped him a second time, on March 5, 1855 in Milwaukee, and then fled into the wilds of Kansas Territory.
 
Despite repeated efforts, neither the federal government nor the Menominee Nation were able to recover Oakaha again. Renamed Joseph Partridge, he grew up in Kansas, served in the Civil War, and spent most of his adult life plagued by mental health and financial problems. He wandered unhappily throughout the Midwest until his death near New Lisbon, Wis., in 1916.

View more information in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Summer, 1975): 258-312.

[Source: Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Summer, 1975): 258-312.]

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174 records found

Cadle, Richard Fish 1796 - 1857
Cadotte, Michel 1764 - 1837
Cahokias
Callahan, John 1865 - 1956
Callow, William G. 1921
Calvert, Walter B. 1904
Cameron, Angus 1826 - 1897
Cameron, Howard W. 1915
Camp, Hoel Hinman 1822 - 1909
Campbell, Henry Colin 1862 - 1923
Campbell, James 1814 - 1883
Campbell, William James 1871 - 1956
Candrian, Adolph 1850 - 1929
Cane, Arnold J. 1914
Cannon, Raymond Joseph 1894 - 1951
Carey, Eben James 1889 - 1947
Cargill, William Wallace 1844 - 1909
Carhart, John W. 1834 - 1914
Carheil, Fr, Étienne de, 1633-1726
Carpenter, Matthew Hale [B. "Carpenter","Decatur M
Carpenter, Stephen Decatur 1821 - 1906
Carpenter, Tim
Carr, Ezra Slocum 1819 - 1894
Carr, Peter P.
Carron, Thomas 1752 - 1817
Carter, Homer Wright 1847 - 1933
Carter, William Edward 1833 - 1905
Carver, Jonathan 1710 - 1780
Cary, Charles Preston 1856 - 1943
Cary, John Watson 1817 - 1895
Cary, William Joseph 1865 - 1934
Case, Jerome Increase 1819 - 1891
Caspar Partridge case, 1850-1855
Cass, Lewis, 1782-1866.
Cassoday, John B. 1830 - 1907
Castleman, Alfred Lewis 1808 - 1877
Caswell, Lucien Bonaparte 1827 - 1919
Cate, George Washington 1824 - 1905
Cates, Richard L. 1925
Catholics in Wisconsin
Catlin, George 1796 - 1872
Catlin, John 1803 - 1874
Ceci, Louis J. 1927
Celichowski, Bronislaus 1872 - 1951
Cha-wa-non, Menominee leader, died ca. 1826
Chadbourne, Paul Ansel 1823 - 1883
Chafin, Eugene Wilder 1852 - 1920
Chamberlin, Thomas Chrowder 1843 - 1928
Champlain, Samuel de, 1567-1635.
Chaouanons
Chapelle, Dickey 1919 - 1965
Chapin, Aaron Lucius 1817 - 1892
Chapman, Chandler Burnell 1815 - 1877
Chapman, Chandler Pease 1844 - 1897
Chapman, Silas 1813 - 1899
Chapple, John Crockett 1876 - 1946
Charlevoix, Fr., Pierre François Xavier de, 1682-1
Charneski, James R. 1935
Chase, Enoch 1809 - 1892
Chase, Warren 1813 - 1891
Cheveux Releves
Chilsen, Walter J. 1923
Choate, Leander 1834 - 1909
Christian Science in Wisconsin
Christinos
Christopherson, Jr., Frank W. 1927
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Wis
Churchill, Frank Flanders 1865 - 1938
Chvala, Chuck 1954
Chynoweth, Edna Phillips, 1852-1950
Chynoweth, Herbert William 1848 - 1906
Chynoweth, Mary Hayes (1825-1905)
Cinagos
Cirilli, Arthur A. 1914
Clarenbach, David E. 1953
Clark, Charles Benjamin 1844 - 1891
Clark, John 1797 - 1854
Clark, Julius Taylor 1814 - 1908
Clark, Satterlee [Jr.?] 1816 - 1881
Clark, William Walter 1885
Clark, William, 1770-1838.
Clark-Halyard, Ardie 1896 - 1989
Clarke, Bascom B., 1851 - 1929
Clary, Dexter 1798 - 1874
Classon, David Guy 1870 - 1930
Clausen, Claus Lauritz 1820 - 1892
Clausen, Frederick Harold 1875 - 1944
Clausing, Alice 1944
Cleary, Michael Joseph 1876 - 1947
Clemens, Harold W. 1918
Clements, Sylvester G. 1936
Clermont, Alexis 1808 - 1898
Clifford, Gerald Francis 1889 - 1952
Cobb, Amasa 1823 - 1905
Coburn, Frank Potter 1858 - 1932
Cochran, Joseph William 1842 - 1914
Codding, Ichabod 1810 - 1866
Coe, Edwin Delos 1840 - 1909
Coffey, John L. 1922
Coggs, G. Spencer 1949
Coggs, Isaac N. 1920
Coggs, Marcia P. 1928
Colby, Gardner 1810 - 1879
Cole, Azel Dow 1818 - 1885
Cole, Harry Ellsworth 1861 - 1928
Cole, Leon Jacob 1877 - 1948
Cole, Orsamus 1819 - 1903
Coleman, Charles W.
Coleman, William 1878 - 1933
Coleman, William Werner 1835 - 1888
Collie, George Lucius 1857 - 1954
Collins, Robert A. 1924
Colman, Charles Lane 1826 - 1901
Colman, Henry Root 1800 - 1895
Colnik, Cyril 1871 - 1958
Colon, Pedro 1968
Commons, John Rogers 1862 - 1945
Comstock, George Cary 1855 - 1934
Conkey, Theodore 1819 - 1880
Connor, William Duncan 1864 - 1944
Conrad, William Harrison 1888 - 1951
Conradt, Ervin W. 1916
Conta, Dennis J. 1940
Cook, Samuel Andrew 1849 - 1918
Cooley, Robert Lawrence 1869 - 1944
Coon, Frederick William 1850 - 1919
Coon, John Williams 1860 - 1934
Cooper, Henry Allen 1850 - 1931
Corby, Ellen 1913 - 1999
Cornell, Robert J. 1919
Cornish in Wisconsin
Cosgrove, Frank J. 1914
Cothren, Montgomery Morrison 1819 - 1888
Cover, Joseph Carmen 1819 - 1872
Cowie, Robert Somerville 1873 - 1951
Cowles, Robert L. 1950
Crabtree, James William 1864 - 1945
Craig, Alexander J. 1823 - 1870
Cramer, William Edward 1817 - 1905
Crandall, George Humphrey 1869 - 1938
Crane, Frederika (1854-1930)
Crawford, George 1849 - 1927
Crawford, John S. 1923
Crawford, Samuel 1820 - 1861
Crawford, Thomas James 1952
Creager, Marvin H. 1882 - 1954
Crelie, Joseph 1773 - 1866
Creviere, John A. 1886 - 1964
Creviere, Marie Schmitt, 1924 - 2002
Creviere, Paul John, Sr. 1924 - 2008
Croatians in Wisconsin
Crocker, Hans 1815 - 1889
Crooks, N. Patrick 1938
Crooks, Ramsay, 1787-1859
Cross, James B. 1819 - 1876
Crowe, Mickey (1958 - )
Crownhart, Charles Henry 1863 - 1930
Cubans in Wisconsin
Cudahy, John 1887 - 1943
Cudahy, Patrick 1849 - 1919
Cullen, David A. 1960
Cunningham, Thomas Jefferson 1852 - 1941
Curley, Robert M. 1922
Currie, George R. 1900
Curry, John Steuart 1897 - 1946
Curtis, Alice B., 1866-1936
Cushing, Lt. Alonzo H. (1841-1863)
Cutler, Gen. Lysander (1808-1866)
Cutler, Harry Henderson 1859 - 1933
Cynagos
Cyrak, Mel J. 1936
Czarnezki, Joseph J. 1954
Czechs in Wisconsin
Czerwinski, Joseph C. 1944

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