Portage County Time Line 1827 thru 1849

Quick Jumps: 1827, 1850, 1875, 1900, 1925, 1950, 1975

1827 The Treaty of Buttes des Morts decrees that the Yellow Banks at the bend of the Wisconsin at Plover is the dividing line between the land of the Ojibwe to the north and that of the Menominee to the south.
1830 John Baptiste DuBay opens a trading post on the Wisconsin River near the mouth of the Little Eau Pleine.
1832 Daniel Whitney and Amable Grignon are both authorized by the Menominee Indians to build sawmills.

Whitney builds his mill and, to supply it with equipment and supplies hauled by oxcart, blazes the “Pinery Road” north from Portage to Nekoosa.

1833 The Black Hawk “War” ends; the defeat of the Sauk Indians leads to the opening of land north and west of the Fox-Wisconsin River to white settlement.

From his mill at Nekoosa Daniel Whitney runs the first raft of lumber from northern Wisconsin down the Wisconsin River.

1836 Congress organizes Wisconsin Territory.

The territorial legislature creates “Portage County,” centered around the seat of government at Portage City.

The Menominee Indians sign the “Lumberman’s Treaty,” to allow logging and sawmilling in a three-mile wide strip along the banks of the Wisconsin upstream from Nekoosa to Wausau.

1837 Gilbert Conant and Daniel Campbell build a dam and sawmill at “Conant’s Rapids.”

In Washington D.C. representatives of the Ho-Chunk sign a treaty relinquishing all their land in Wisconsin; many members of the tribe do not accept the treaty and remain in Wisconsin, including the less-settled portions of Portage County.

1839 George Stevens arrives at the head of “Shaurette Rapids” and purchases a log shack built by James Allen to store supplies for his operations upriver. Located on a point of land at the foot of what becomes Main Street, Allen’s cabin was the first building in what became known as “Stevens Point.”

Joshua Hathaway begins to survey the strip of land along the Wisconsin opened to settlement by the “lumbermen’s treaty.”

James Harper and Robert Bloomer build a sawmill at Jordan on the Plover River.

1840 County population: 1,623.

George Stevens builds a sawmill at Wausau and uses “Stevens Point” as a place to launch canoes bearing gear and supplies upstream.

Daniel Campbell makes what is probably the first entry of land in what becomes Portage County at the federal land office in Mineral Point; it is the location of the Conant and Campbell sawmill at “Shaurette Rapids” in Section 7, Town of Linwood on the west bank of the Wisconsin.

1841 George Stevens drives the first raft of lumber from his Wausau mill down the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers to St. Louis.

The borders of Portage County are enlarged to include a block of territory 48 miles wide from Portage City to the boundary of Upper Michigan.

The territorial legislature charters, but does not fund, the “Pinery Road.”

1842 At their first meeting, the commissioners of Portage County set off six election precincts, including one at Andrew Dunn’s mill on Mill Creek in Linwood and another at the house of George Stevens at Wausau.
1844 In a referendum vote decided with the help of rivermen in town for the spring drive, the village of Plover Portage defeats Portage City as the site of the Portage County seat.

Andrew Dunn files a claim to the land that became the public square and surrounding territory in Stevens Point; one year later he sells it to Irish immigrant Andrew Mullarkey, who soon sells it to Mathias Mitchell.

1845  At Stevens Point, Mathias Mitchell opens the Raftsman’s Home hostelry while Abe and Sarah Brawley plant the city’s first garden, an “astonishment” of potatoes and corn.

William Sylvester builds the Marsh House stopping place for travelers on the Pinery Road from Portage City near Grand Marsh in Adams County; the road forks at this point, with one branch running to Nekoosa and another north-northeast to Plover.

The village of Plover is platted, but its post office is identified as that of Plover Portage.

The county board lets a contract to William Dunton to build a wooden frame court house in Moses Strong’s newly platted village of Plover.

At Plover, Robert Wakely disrupts the federal court of Judge David Irwin by getting drunk and riding his horse into the courtroom.

1846 A territorial census finds a total of 933 people in Portage County; the Plover Portage precinct has 162 white males, 40 white females and 2 females of color.

Columbia County is the first of the central Wisconsin counties to be carved out of greater Portage County.

William H. Johnson builds the first sawmill on Shaurette’s Rapids at Stevens Point; it is soon acquired by Moses Strong.

1847 Mathias Mitchell, James M. Campbell and others organize a school at Stevens Point; they hire Mandana Hale as the first teacher but the school closes after its first season; a few weeks later another school is organized at Plover.

A. L. Sherman and Charles Rice build the American House hotel at Plover Portage.

An unnamed Methodist circuit rider conducts the first recorded Christian religious services in the county at Plover and Stevens Point.

The county commissioners levy a tax of three mills per dollar of valuation for county administration, one mill for the poor, 3.5 mills for roads and 12.25 mills for territorial expenses.

1848 Wisconsin is admitted to the Union as the 30th state.

The legislature creates the towns of Plover, Middletown and Bull Falls in Portage County; each one will send a commissioner to the new county board.

James M. Campbell, Stevens Point, is the county’s representative in the first state legislature.

Moses Strong acquires the sawmill at Conant’s Rapids.

1849 After four years of delay, the county court house in Plover is ready for occupancy.

Quick Jumps: 1827, 1850, 1875, 1900, 1925, 1950, 1975


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