Page images

pure soft water. There are some very pretty prairies, surrounded by groves of heavy timber. Some lead and copper ore have been discovered in the southern part of the county, and an extensive marble quarry has been opened in the valley of Bear creek. All the stone is to be found in quarries, and none scattered promiscu. ously upon the surface of the soil. There are many large tracts of well-watered and rich land in this county-hence the appropriateness of its pame, Richland.

Of natural curiosities, perhaps there is in the whole western country none greater, than the Natural Bridge over Pine river. It is of rock, from forty to sixty feet high, and over half a mile in length, extending into a level country, with a beautiful arch sufficiently large for the passage of the waters of Pine river, even in times of flood. This rock-bridge is perfectly solid for thirty feet above the water, and covered on the top with a beautiful grove of thrifty pine. The rock is a species of sand stone, about four rods wide, and its sides perpendicular the whole length. It forms a great natural water power, and shelter for man and beast. The Indians, it is related, used to assemble here in great numbers, to worship. The chief or principal speaker ususually stood upon the top of the rock, while his audience remained below. Another very considerable curiosity in our county, is the Warm Cave, which sends forth a warm current of air at all seasons of the year. · This county is settling very rapidly by an intelligent and enter. prising population, almost wholly Americans.* Its agricultural, mineral and lumbering resources, together with its proximity to an extensive mining country, and its facilities for market, form

* A writer in a recent number of the Platteville American, who sigas himself "An Old Pioneer," says that he explored, in 1848, the wild parts of Sauk and Richland counties, in the latter of which scarcely a section of land had been entered, although it had been in market four or five years. The entire population of Richland county did not exceed a dozen families numbering thirty souls, who were mostly composed of the sons of Nim. rod who had retired from the busy haunts of men to pursue the chase, and enjoy the charms of solitude. Richland City was founded by Isaac H Wallace, who ereeted the first log cabin there late in the autumn of 1843. The population of the county, which was 903 in 1850, in now estimated at 3000.

L.C. D.

great inducements to settlement and cultivation. There are several thriving villages already teeming with life and animation. Among them may be mentioned Richland City, situated at the mouth of a very pretty stream called Willow Creek; and seven miles still higher up on Pine, is the new county-seat, Richland Center, situated on a beautiful prairie with scattering shade trees, and the whole surrounded by noble groves of thrifty timber. At this place is an excellent water power, and mills are now in process of erection. This promising town is just springing into vigorous life and activity. Richmond, the former county seat, is also a pretty village, situated on the Wisconsin river.

Richland Center, Dec. 15, 1852.




To the Cor. Sec. of the Wisconsin Historical Society :

The object of forming the Historical Society of Wisconsin, is to gather materials for the formation of a correct history of the State, and to preserve from oblivion such incidents, names, &c., as will be of use in compiling such a history. And to aid in the accomplishment of this design, in one particular, I respectfully suggest the propriety of collecting the original Indian and French names of the State, of counties, towns, rivers, lakes and mountains, and attach to each the signification in English; and also the deriva. tion of all purely English names.

That my design may be understood, and at the same time to contribute my limited knowledge in this matter, I will give a list as far as they now occur to mind; and at the same time request such corrections and additions as may be necessary to perfect it.

If editors, and others, who live on the spot, and have the means of reliable information, will take some pains to correct any errors in this, and to enlarge the number of names, and publish them, an accurate vocabulary of names may be obtained, of which the future historian may avail hiinself, to the interest and edification of the reader.

In doing this, I would suggest the propriety of giving the name

of the Tribe of Indians, from whose language the Indian name of a place or a thing is derived, if known. The importance of this distinction will be seen in the sequel, and from the fact that the same thing is differently named by different tribes; and in the different languages, tongues or dialects of the Indians, slight variations in sound may have given rise to different spellings, and hence an apparently different name, while, in fact the same name is intended. For instance, Manitowoc, if from the Chippewa, or Ojibowa, * should be Munedoo-a general name of spirit. The prefix or termination gives the kind of spirit intended. Munedoo-ish means Devil, or Evil Spirit, in Ojibowa. Owkesha-munedoo is God, or Good Spirit. Woc may be intended for owk, and munito may be intended for munedoo, and if so, Munedoo-owk alias Manitowoc, when applied to the Islands in Lake Michigan, or the river emptying into it, probably signifies the habitation of the Good Spirit. The perversion or corruption of the word may be from the imperfect understanding, or imperfect orthography of the white nian of the Indian language, or it may have been derived from the Menomonee, or some other tribe of Indians, who use the word a little differently from the Ojibowas.

I am not an Ojibowa scholar, but have a work by Peter Jones, a celebrated missionary, froin which I derive the above orthography of the word, but if I am not right, will some one be so good as to put me so.

But to the general list of names; and first of the State. The State derives its name from the principal river which runs centrally through it. The Chippewas upon its head waters call this river Wees-kon-san which signifies “the gathering of the waters.” They gave it this name, as an Indian trader informed me, on ac. count of its numerous branches near its head concentrating into one stream, which afterwards runs so great a distance with but comparatively few principal branches to swell its current. The French

* Dr. Morse, in his Report of his Indian Tour of 1820, speaks of " an old Ottowa chief living at Ma-nit-ou-wankthe river of bad spirits.See the definition in the folbwing paper, by Mr. Hathaway.

L. O. D.

voyager called it Ouisconsin, the first syllable of which comes nearer to the sound of the Indian than does Wis. The second syllable of the French, if you give the c its hard sound, is more like kon than con; but the last syllable (sin) is evidently a deviation from the Indian both in the English and French. An attempt was made, a few years since, to restore the second syllable of this name to its original Indian sound by substituting k for c, but this would not restore either the first or the last. The attempt, however, was unpopular, and the Legislature solemnly decreed that the name should be spelled Wisconsin, and this, probably more from opposition to the individual who attempted the restoration, than from correct literary taste, or any regard for the original Indian name.


Adams.-Named in honor of President Adams.
Brown.-In honor of Gen. Brown of the U.S. Army.
Crawford.— In honor of W. H. Crawford, Sec. of U.S. Treas.
Columbia.-From Columbus.

Calumet.-Indian-pipe of peace; the name said to bave been given to the place on account of the different tribes frequently holding peace councils there, when they smoke the Calumet or pipe of peace.

Chippewa. From the river of that name—Indian, Ojibowa. Several bands of this tribe settled on its head waters, to which they fought their way, about 120 years since, from Lake Superior, against the Dacotah or Sioux, and gave their name to the river in honor of their victory

Dane.-In honor of the author of the ordinance of 1787.
Dodge.-In honor of Gov. Dodge.

Fond du Lac.—The head or fountain of the Lake-Winnebago. The same name is also given to the head of Lake Superior.

Grant.-From the river which took its name from one Grant, a trapper, who had his cabin on its bank.

Greene.-In honor of Gen. Greene, of the Revolution.

« PreviousContinue »