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This paper was published in the Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at Its Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting, Held October 21, 1909, pp. 252-272

By Richard Dart



(1) The following narrative was secured by Rev. Samuel T. Kidder of McGregor, Iowa, in 1906, when president of Ripon Historical Society. Mr. Kidder had several interviews with Richard Dart, and much of the narrative is in the latter's own phrasing. Afterwards, when in manuscript, it was carefully revised by him. Richard Dart, son of Anson and Eliza Catlin Dart, was born May 12, 1828 in New York city. His removal with his father's family to the township of Dartford, Wis., is herein narrated. Mr. Dart still lives in the vicinity in excellent health, and with a remarkable memory for his early Wisconsin experiences.--ED. [Back]

(2) Samuel W. Beall was of Maryland birth (1807), and educated at Union College. After his marriage in 1827 he removed to Wisconsin, where in 1834 he was appointed receiver of public lands at Green Bay. At the expiration of his term of office he went East, but in 1840 returned to Wisconsin in order to locate there permanently. After several years in the Green Lake country he removed to the neighborhood of Fond du Lac, where he was agent for the Stockbridge Indians. He served in both constitutional conventions, and was lieutenant-governor in 1850-52. After locating at Denver, Colo., for a few years (1859-61), he volunteered for service, was chosen lieutenant-colonel of the 18th Wisconsin regiment, and severely wounded at Shiloh. At the close of the war he removed to Helena, Mont., where he was shortly afterwards shot and killed in an altercation.--ED. [Back]

(3) Mr. Dart says that the rank and file of the Winnebago knew nothing of this government purchase. It was effected by agency men, who got the chiefs drunk and secured the cession papers. The government paid no principal, but ninety-nine years' interest with no entail to the Indian's family or children after his death. The rate of interest was small, and mostly eaten up in advance through the Indians getting trusted at Fort Winnebago agency for adulterated and poisonous whiskey. Mr. Dart considers that the Indians were badly treated by rascally traders and agents.--S. T. K. [Back]

(4) The big Butte des Morts trail ran from Green Bay along the northwest bank of Fox River to Knaggsville (now the Algoma district of Oshkosh), thence southwest past the site of Ripon; thence westerly to Marquette, the seat of Marquette County; thence to Fort Winnebago, at Portage. There were no settlers in the Ripon or Green Lake region as yet. One branch of the trail struck off to Powell's spring and LeRoy's plantation.
     Dr. H. L. Barnes of Ripon says that the trail crossed his father's farm, now owned by Almon Bradley, three miles northwest of Markesan. Thence it went over the hill, past the old Whittier place; it then passed near Satterlee Clark's, and across to Deacon Staple's farm on Grand Prairie. A son of John S. Horner recollects that this trail passed by the Steele and Foltz farm and kept near the timber line along the edge of the prairie, and that Satterlee Clark lived nearly a half mile north.--S. T. K. [Back]

(5) Mr. Dart was not personally present on this first exploring trip, but has heard his father describe it.--S. T. K. [Back]

(6) Now Kaukauna and Little Chutes.--S. T. K. [Back]

(7) The Indians always used the French appellation for both small and large Green Lake, calling them respectively Petit Lac Verd and Grand Lac Verd. We could never get them to use any other name. [Back]

(8) Pete (probably Pierre) Le Roy was a half-breed trader-farmer, whose plantation lay four or five miles south of us, three miles due south of where the Centre House now stands. Le Roy had a big spring on his place, the source of a creek that bears his name. He was a son of the Le Roy at the Portage, mentioned in Wis. Hist. Colls., vii, pp. 346, 360; see also Mrs. Kinzie, Waubun, for whom Pierre Roy acted as guide in 1831. He was in Pauquette's [sic] employ, and moved on as the country settled. One of his daughters, a pretty girl, went insane, to Le Roy's great grief. [Back]

(9) These sisters became Mrs. Mary Keene of Newark, N. J., and Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson of Minnesota. [Back]

(10) The only settler in this region was Dr. Mason C. Darling, whose cabin at Fond du Lac stood on the river near the post-office site; later, he lived where Darling's block stood, on the corner of First and Main streets. [Back]

(11) Every fall we had to burn round everything--house, sheds, and stacks--to save them from these fires that annually swept the prairies. [Back]

(12) My father, Anson Dart, was born March 6, 1797, in Brattleboro, Vermont. Gaining some knowledge of drugs, he became a druggist in New York city, where he imported from France the first ounce of quinine brought to America. Later he removed to Oneida County, New York, and became a miller, having a large mill at the town of Delta. Afterwards he lived awhile in Utica, being construction superintendent of the asylum at that place. He came West in 1835-36 and made investments in Milwaukee, and also in pine lands, but lost them all in speculation. Daniel Whitney of Green Bay once offered the company my father represented, $100,000 for their pine lands, but father laughed at the offer. In the reverses of 1837 he was ruined, and finally took up land in Green Lake County, as herein narrated. [Back]

(13) Old residents say that Twin Lakes were practically one in the early day, so were considerably larger than at present. [Back]

(14) He came all the way from New York by wagon, and it took him from spring to autumn to come through. [Back]

(15) For a biographical sketch of John Scott Horner, see Wis. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 1905, pp. 214-226.--ED. [Back]

(16) Mr. Dart says: "Dandy was about twenty-five years old in 1840, was then head chief of the Winnebago, at the time of the deportation, and one of the brightest, finest looking young men I ever saw." This does not comport with Moses Paquette's statement that Dandy was about seventy in 1848, "a small thin man, of rather insignificant appearance." See Wis. Hist. Colls., xii, p. 409; but see also Id., vii, p. 365.--ED. [Back]

(17) Remnants of such mounds are still visible on low ground back of the residence of S. D. Mitchell, near Green Lake.--S. T. K. [Back]

(18) Henry Burling, now of Ripon, says that in his boyhood he understood that Powell was mysteriously shot or burned in his shanty, and that what was said to be his grave was on his father's farm near Twin Lakes, and that for years his father plowed around the grave and kept it marked, but that later it was plowed under. Richard Dart thinks this was a mistake, and that Powell left the country. He would seem to be the same trader spoken of as William Powell, who was present at the Portage when Pierre Paquette was shot; see Wis. Hist. Colls., vii, pp. 357, 387, 388. Probably he was a half-breed son of Peter Powell, a British trader in Wisconsin in the early part of the 18th century.--ED. [Back]

(19) The Pier family came to Fond du Lac in 1836-37, and John Bannister and Mason C. Darling in 1838. The following year, Reuben Simmons built the first house at Taycheedah. Francis D. McCarty came the same season. Meanwhile Waupun had been begun by Seymour Wilcox, and the De Neveus were at the lake in Empire township that is called by their name.--S. T. K. [Back]

(20) J. H. Colton, Western Guide, or Emigrant's Guide, (N. Y., 1845), gives Marquette County in 1840 a population of eighteen.--ED. [Back]

(21) These three townships, 16-18 or range xiv east, were by the first territorial division in 1836 assigned, through an inadvertance, both to Marquette and Fond du Lac counties. By act of March 6, 1848, they were declared part of the latter county.--ED. [Back]

(22) The only schooling my brother Putnam had was four or five years in a district school in New York, before he came to Wisconsin. So he took what books could be had, and educated himself. Night after night, after a hard day's work in the field or mill, he would sit by the fireplace with his book, sometimes until midnight. He thus became able to carry on all of father's correspondence as Indian commissioner. [Back]

Last Updated 3/28/1999 This page is part of an ongoing project to document the history of Green Lake County. If you have information to share, please contact Bob Schuster by email at rmschust@facstaff.wisc.edu or at 6020 Kristi Circle, Monona, Wisconsin 53716, (608) 221-1421.