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Histories:  Trempealeau Co. Historical Accounts:

"Trempealeau County" by Clarence J. Gamroth: 

Volume 1A:

Miscellaneous:  Indian and Wildlife in Trempealeau County

by Edward A. Dumback, as told by Albert Bautch, 1947

In Trempealeau County there were rather large numbers of Indians.  They lived in bands and many times came to visit the white settlements.  A small trading place was started southwest of the present site of Independence called New City.

In 1861, the Civil War broke out.  The South planned to weaken the North by urging the Indians to attack the frontier settlers in the North.  The South thus hired the Indians in Minnesota to fight the settlers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  A few Indians from Trempealeau County joined the Indian bands further west which were on the warpath against the whites.

With the exception of this short period of unrest, the Indians around here were very friendly with the whites.

During the war in Minnesota, many of the settlers there left their settlements and fled to Wisconsin or to Minneapolis where there was a large fort (Fort Snelling).  At times the fort was so filled that there was not enough sleeping room on the grounds.  A few families from Minnesota came to live around here to escape the Indian raids.  A Mr. Travis and a Mr. Borst came to live in Trempealeau County.  They bought land north of what is now Independence.  Each had a valley named after him.

As in most parts of Wisconsin, Trempealeau County had a rather large amount of game.  Herds of deer roamed the forests often as many as 25 to 30 in one band.  Bears were often seen.  Elk were few in number.  In earlier days elk were found in Trempealeau County as abundant as other big game.  The white men used to gather the horns which were shed each year and cutting the pointed horns and set them in boards to make drags to level the plowed fields.

On day an engineer from Madison named Crunsholts was walking along a stream in North Creek near the site of the Catholic church.  From a distance he saw a grey object sticking out from the bank of the stream.  Closer examination disclosed the horns of an elk.  Further digging uncovered a complete skeleton.  The skeleton was sent to Madison and today may be seen in a museum there.  It proved to be the largest skeleton found in Wisconsin.

(Comment by Clarence Gamroth:  The Indian uprising referred to above occurredin 1862.  In the outbreak of the Civil War, troops were withdrawn to the east and south.  The Sioux Indians broke out from the reservation and plundered and massacred particularly near New Ulm, Minnesota.  The Indians had long suffered at the hands of the white administration on the reservation and took advantage of the absence of the troops.  They were finally overcome by the Militia.  My readings on this episode disclosed no evidence that the South incited the Indians of Wisconsin or Minnesota.)


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