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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Katakittekon region

Definition: A 19th-century term for northern Wisconsin, especially the vicinity around Lac Vieux Desert in Vilas County. From Increase Lapham's 1844 Geographical and Topographical Description of Wisconsin:

"It occupies a high level above Lakes Superior and Michigan, and abounds in small lakes, which constitute the heads of several large rivers. The Menominee [river] of Lake Michigan, the Ontonagon and Montreal of Lake Superior, and the Wisconsin and Chippewa of the Mississippi, all take their rise on the summit in the Katakittekon country. The following extract from Capt. Cram's report relative to this interesting country is the only information we have in relation to it. "...Some of the lakes were observed to contain the speckled trout, such as are generally met with in high latitudes in the United States. The scenery of these lakes is beautiful, and the land adjacent to them is better than is generally believed by those who have not had an opportunity of personal examination. The country is not mountainous, but may be denominated 'rolling.' The growth of timber is tolerably heavy, consisting of white and yellow pine on the borders of the lakes; in some instances of cedar. hemlock, and tamarack; and a little back of the lakes, of sugar maple, white maple, white and yellow birch, poplar, bass and hemlock. The soil is of a nature to be adapted to the culture of wheat, rye, grass, oats, flax, hemp, and potatoes. ... The manufacture of maple sugar is carried on to a considerable extent by the Indians of this region. Many of their 'sugar bushes' were observed, and from the oldness of the marks upon the trees, the Indians must have known the art of extracting this luxury from the forest from an early date of their history. ... This district is tolerably well provided with deer, beaver, otter, martin, mink, muskrat, ducks of various kinds, fish, teal, wild geese and patridges. Deer however, are not so plentiful as further south. Winter usually sets in about the 20th October in the Katakittekon country: this year from the 20th to the 28th October, the mercury ranged as low as from nine to twelves degrees below freezing, and for several days during the latter part of October, it was continually snowing. On the return of our party, Sandy Lake outlet had become so much frozen as to make it necessary to drag the canoes on the ice, and the ice was making very fast in all the lakes and streams -- this in the very last days of October."

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