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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Search Results for: Keyword: 'black hawk'

Term: Bunyan, Paul


protagonist in folktales created in northwoods logging camps; said to be 7 feet tall and with a 7 foot stride, Bunyan is credited with creating Lake Superior, the St. Lawrence River, and the Black Hills of South Dakota. During the 20th c., he became a ubiquitous symbol of American ingenuity and power. The Bunyan stories spread throughout the woods of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and points west betwen 1880 and 1920, until many states laid claim to his birth. Tales about his exploits were passed orally in lumber camps to test the credulity of new recruits and while away winter evenings, starting about 1880.

The first appearance of Bunyan in print occured in 1904 in Duluth, Minn.; other stories followed in 1906 in Oscoda, Mich., and in 1910 in the Milwaukee nature magazine Outer's Book (reprinted in the Washington Post and Wisconsin State Journal the same year). In Minnesota, Red River Lumber Co. advertising manager William Laughead drew caricatures and rewrote stories he'd heard in lumber camps for the company's promotional literature. His first pamphlets appeared in 1914 and 1916, and his 1922 collection was reprinted many times. Laughead is generally credited with popularizing the Bunyan stories, though in ways that scholars generally believe are not faithful to the oral tradition. Commercial books, advertisements, tourist attractions, and Disney cartoons followed in profusion, which led some academics to call the Bunyan stories "fakelore" rather than folklore.

In Wisconsin, the earliest evidence of the tales dates from the winter of 1885-1886 in a logging camp located north of Tomahawk. They were first collected by University of Wisconsin student K. Berenice Stewart (1895-1975) who interviewed loggers between 1914 and 1916, transcribed their stories, and published them in 1916 with the help of her English professor, Homer A. Watt. Rhinelander timber curiser and promoter Eugene S. Shepard (q.v.) told the stories often between 1880 and 1923, and even claimed to have invented the Bunyan character; he also plagiarized the Oscoda, Mich., tales about 1915, issuing them over his own name. Wisconsin Historical Society museum director Charles E. Brown (q.v.) collected original stories from elderly lumberjacks throughout the 1930s, publishing them in pamphlets alongside ones excerpted from previous collections. View more information at Turning Points in Wisconsin History, where you'll find digitized copies of the most important early printings of the tales, and elsewhere at

View pictures relating to logging at Wisconsin Historical Images.

[Source: Turning Points in Wisconsin History]

94 records found

Atkinson, Henry, 1782-1842
Bad Axe River, Crawford Co.
Bad Axe, Battle of
Battle of Bad Axe (Historic Marker Erected 1955)
Battle of Wisconsin Heights (Historic Marker Erect
Beloit [brief history]
Black Hawk 1767 - 1838
Black Hawk at Turtle Village (Historic Marker Erec
Black Hawk War (1832)
Black Hawk War (Historic Marker Erected 1968)
Black Hawk War Encampment "Burnt Village" (Histori
Black Hawk War Encampment (Historic Marker Erected
Black Hawk [origin of place name]
Black Hawk, Sauk Co.
Blackhawk Island, Jefferson Co.
Blue Mounds (geology)
Brigham Park (Historic Marker Erected 1955)
Brigham, Ebenezer 1789 - 1861
Bunyan, Paul
Caspar Partridge case, 1850-1855
Clark, Satterlee [Jr.?] 1816 - 1881
Clermont, Alexis 1808 - 1898
Crelie, Joseph 1773 - 1866
Davis, Jefferson (in Wisconsin)
Decorah family
Decorah Peak (Historic Marker Erected 1958)
Decorah, One-Eyed, 1772?-1864, Ho-Chunk chief
Dodge's Grove and Fort Union (Historic Marker Erec
Dodge, Henry 1782 - 1867
Dodgeville [brief history]
Drummond's Island
Dunn [origin of place name]
Dunn, Charles 1799 - 1872
Fennimore [origin of place name]
Forsyth, Thomas, 1771-1833.
Fort Atkinson [brief history]
Fort Atkinson [origin of place name]
Fort Atkinson, Jefferson Co.
Fort Blue Mounds
Fort Defiance (Historic Marker Erected 1995)
Fort Hamilton
Fort Koshkonong (Historic Marker Erected 1966)
Fox Wars (ca. 1710-1740)
Gratiot, Henry 1789 - 1836
Grignon, Charles Augustin, 1808 - 1862
Grignon, Pierre Sr. 1740 - 1795
Hamilton, William Stephen 1797 - 1850
Helena, Iowa Co.
Indian Lake Passage (Historic Marker Erected 1997)
Keokuk, Sauk chief, 1780?-1848.
Lincoln, Abraham (in Wisconsin)
Meeker, Moses 1790 - 1865
Military River Crossing (Historic Marker Erected 1
Monfort [origin of place name]
Neopope, Sauk warrior, dates unverified
Niedecker, Lorine (1903-1970)(Historic Marker Erec
Niedecker, Lorine, 1903-1970
Ocooch Mountains (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
Oshkosh, Menominee chief, 1795 - 1858
Paquette, Pierre 1799? - 1836
Parkinson, Daniel Morgan 1790 - 1868
Pecatonica River, Green Co. [origin of place name]
Pheasant Branch Encampment (Historic Marker Erecte
Pope-Roberts, Sondy 1950
Potosi [origin of place name]
Presidential Visits to Madison
Prophet, The (Winnebago)
Robson, Judith Biros
Rountree, John Hawkins 1805 - 1890
Route of Abraham Lincoln, 1832 and 1859 (Historic
Sauk and Fox Treaty of 1804 (St. Louis)
Schooff, Dan 1971
Soldiers Grove Origins (Historic Marker Erected 19
Souligny, Menominee leader, 1785-1864
Spotted Arm (Broken Arm), Ho-Chunk chief
Stambaugh, Samuel C.
Storrs Lake, Milton (Historic Marker Erected 1976)
Street, Joseph Montfort 1780 - 1840
The Pursuit West (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
The Smoker, Ho-Chunk chief
The U.S. Military at Turtle Village (Historic Mark
Third Lake Passage (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
timeline of Wisconsin history, 1784-1835
Tragedy of War (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
Trail Discovery (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
Treaty of 1832 (Fort Armstrong)
Troop Encampment (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
Victory, Vernon Co.
Western Escape (Historic Marker Erected 1998)
White Crow, Ho-Chunk chief
Whittlesey, Charles 1808 - 1886
Winnebago Indians (Historic Marker Erected 1973)
Yankees in Wisconsin

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