1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prairie du Chien

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28166081911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 22 — Prairie du Chien

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, a city and the county-seat of Crawford county, Wisconsin, U.S.A., on the east bank of the Mississippi river about 3 m. above the mouth of the Wisconsin, about 98 m. W. of Madison. Pop. (1890) 3131; (1900) 3232; (1905) 3179; (1910) 3149. It is served by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railways. The city has a fine location, its natural attractiveness and mineral springs in the vicinity combining to make it a summer and health resort. It has an excellent artesian water-supply. Among its buildings are the Crawford county court-house, the city hospital and a sanatorium. It is the seat of St Mary's Academy (1872; R.C.) for young women, and the College of the Sacred Heart (1880; R.C.) for men. Among the manufactures are beer, wagons, wool, and pearl buttons, and the city is a centre of the fresh-water pearl fisheries along the Mississippi. Prairie du Chien is one of the most interesting places, historically, in Wisconsin. The first white man known to have visited the site was Father Hennepin in 1680; later in the same year the trader Du Lhut (or Duluth) was here. In 1685 Nicholas Perrot, the French commandant in the West, built Fort St Nicholas near the site of the present city. After the close of the French and Indian War, British authorities assumed possession, but no garrison was regularly maintained. In 1779–1780 Prairie du Chien was the scene of plots and counter plots of American and British sympathizers and of the activities of Godefrey Linctot, the agent of George Rogers Clark. About 1786–1781 a permanent settlement began to grow up around the post. Prairie du Chien was formally surrendered in 1796 to the United States authorities under the Jay treaty, and by them Fort Shelby was erected. On the 17th of July 1814 a force of British, Canadians and Indians under Major William McKay captured the fort, and renamed it Fort McKay, but abandoned it in May 1815. In 1816 Fort Crawford was erected—it was rebuilt on a different site in 1829—and in 1820 one of the principal depots of the American Fur Company was established here. Here in 1823 Judge James Duane Doty (1799–1865) opened the first United States court in what is now the state of Wisconsin. At the time of the Red Bird rising in 1827, Governor Lewis Cass of Michigan Territory made Prairie du Chien his temporary headquarters. During the Black Hawk War (1832) Zachary Taylor, then a lieutenant-colonel, was in command of Fort Crawford, and to him Black Hawk was entrusted after his capture. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul railroad was completed to Prairie du Chien in 1857. The city was chartered in 1872.