The new Indian agent describes tensions in the Lead Region in 1827.

Letters about white incursions onto Indian lands in 1827.


Joseph Street arrived in Prairie du Chien late in 1827 as the new Indian agent, and was immediately disturbed by the way miners and other white settlers had ignored U.S. treaties and occupied Indian lands. Since one of his main duties was to preserve peace, Street was worried about a full-scale war (which ultimately broke out five years later), and in these four letters he describes why the patience of the Indians was wearing thin. In the first three letters, to his political patron Ninian Edwards, he describes the situation in the closing weeks of 1827. In the fourth, a long manuscript letter to the U.S. War Dept., he describes the tensions caused by the flood of white squatters and his fears that the situation will grow violent. In this fourth letter Ho-Chunk elders are quoted at length, the illegal occupation of Indian land by Henry Dodge is detailed, and the so-called Winnebago War of 1827 is reviewed in detail, including the surrender of Red Bird. At the end of this manuscript letter Street also urges the government to stop widespread sexual exploitation of Indian women by white traders, and reveals how economics, race, and gender relations were all woven together on the Wisconsin frontier. To see a typed transcript of any page, click "Page & Text" while reading it.


Related Topics: Territory to Statehood
Mining, Logging, and Agriculture
The Black Hawk War
Treaty Councils, from Prairie du Chien to Madeline Island
Lead Mining in Southwestern Wisconsin
Creator: Street, Joseph Montfort 1782-1840
Pub Data: The first three letters, written in December, 1827, and January 1, 1828, were published in Wisconsin Historical Collections, vol. 11 (Madison, 1888): 356-369. The fourth, written Jan. 8, 1828, is unpublished; it is from the National Archives series "Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs,1824-1881. Prairie du Chien Agency, 1824-1842" on National Archives microfilm reel 696, frames 0080-0092.
Citation: Street, Joseph Montfort. "Letters about white incursions onto Indian lands in 1827." Online facsimile at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=265 Online facsimile at:  http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=265; Visited on: 9/1/2014
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