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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of Sheboygan County


    Sheboygan County formed part of the territory to which the Chippewa Indians laid claim, but it was never one of their favorite camping grounds. At certain seasons of the year, a number of lodges would set up their wigwams on the bluffs by the lake, or on the high banks along the rivers, and engage in catching and smoking the white fish which were found in great numbers. When the dam was being built for the first saw-mill, three or four hundred Indians came and protested against it, because they feared that it would keep the fish from going up the river, and it was only after a prolonged argument that they consented to its completion. The relations between the early settlers of the county and the Indians were always of a friendly nature. For years previous to the first permanent settlement, Green Bay fur traders occasionally came here to engage in the Indian trade, and it is in that capacity that William Farnsworth, afterward the leading pioneer settler, came here as early as 1818. In 1835, the Indians had already ceded the land to the Government, but there were still about one thousand of them living in the county. There were about one hundred wigwams on the bank of the Sheboggan River near its mouth, a large town east of Cascade in the present town of Lyndon, another two miles south of it, and one or two farther west. A number of different tribes were represented, but the Chippewas were most numerous. For a dozen years after the first permanent settlement, it was not an unusual thing for twenty or thirty lodges of Indians, with their ponies, squaws and papooses, to bring in their peltry and exchange it for blankets, tobacco and whisky, the prime necessities of Indian life. After a few days spent in conviviality, they would disappear as suddenly as they came, and not be seen again for months.

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