Green Bay Resources

Explore more resources from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Bristol

Reminiscences of the Northwest 
Mary Ann Brevoort Bristol, the daughter of Major Henry B. Brevoort, spent much of her youth in Green Bay at Fort Howard, witnessing the interactions between the military, white settlers and Indians. She describes here daily life in Fort Howard and the area around Green Bay as it appeared to a teenage girl in the 1820s.

Baird

Reminiscences of life in territorial Wisconsin 
Though born in Prairie du Chien, Elizabeth Therese Baird spent much of her youth on Mackinac Island. Married at the age of 14 to Henry S. Baird (who was himself only 24), the two young people came to their new home in Green Bay in 1824. Baird recounts here her early years in Green Bay, with many details about early settlers, social life, the neighboring Ho-Chunk and Menominee Indians and a trip through the Fox-Wisconsin waterway.

Irwin

Reminiscenses of the Early Northwest by Mary Mitchell 
The author of this memoir was the daughter of Robert Irwin, one of the earliest and most prominent English-speaking residents of Green Bay. She discusses her childhood on the Wisconsin frontier, including relations with Indians, schools, churches, domestic arrangements, and travels to Milwaukee, Kenosha and Chicago when those cities were still young.

memoir

A Few Thoughts of the Long Ago by Harriet Dousman de Neveu 
In this remarkable memoir, written when she was 86, Madame de Neveu (1818-1906) recalls her childhood in Green Bay during the 1820s and 1830s, and her home life after marrying Gustav de Neveu in 1838 and settling outside Fond du Lac. She vividly describes daily household life, childhood activities, wild animals kept as pets, many interactions with Native American neighbors, the panic caused by the 1862 Sioux Uprising and other aspects of homesteading on the Wisconsin frontier.

Steam buggies

Race of first steam buggies to Madison for prize is recounted (Capital Times, 26 May 1921) 
After Rev. J. W. Carhart invented a horseless carriage in 1873, the state legislature offered a prize of $10,000 to anyone who could run such a machine on regular roads from Green Bay to Madison. Two groups of inventors took up this challenge and the race was run in 1878 between two automobiles named the "Oshkosh" and the "Green Bay" after their places of invention. This newspaper story looks back on the race and the inventors, and includes long excerpts from letters of the participants.

Gorrell's journal

Lieut. James Gorrell's journal. Commencing at Detroit, September 8th, 1761, and ending at Montreal, August 13th, 1763 
After the British defeated the French in 1760, they took possession of French forts throughout Canada. Lt. James Gorrell was sent out to Green Bay in 1761 with a small garrison of British soldiers to occupy Fort La Baye. This is his journal of that assignment, the earliest English account of Wisconsin. Two years later Pontiac successfully organized the western tribes to resist the British, captured Fort Mackinaw in a brilliant sneak attack and laid siege to Detroit. Surrounded by Indian opponents, Gorrell was forced to evacuate all the way back to Montreal and Green Bay saw no more British soldiers until the War of 1812.

bubble

Judge E. W. Keyes tells of the expansion and contraction of the Government's $4,000,000 Green Bay and Mississippi Canal bubble
Because the Fox-Wisconsin waterway had been the chief transportation route through the state for 200 years, a group of early Green Bay developers proposed the construction of a canal between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to connect the Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes. The chief engineering obstacles presented by the route were the need for a canal at Portage and a way to get around the numerous rapids of the Fox River; overcoming them was estimated in 1839 to cost more than a half-million dollars. For decades Congress granted land along the route to be sold by the Fox River Improvement Company and its successors to raise money for the project, politicians ran on platforms of increasing state and federal support and the issue decided the careers of many public figures. But the work progressed slowly, and in the end, the route proved too long and winding to be of much use. At the same time, the railroad eclipsed canal boats as a preferred means of efficient transportation. In this 1903 article, Elisha W. Keyes, who was intimately involved in both the political and financial aspects of the failed canal route, looks back at the decades-long boondoggle.

temperence movement

Green Bay Badger Cradle of Temperance Movement (Green Bay Press Gazette) 
With the assistance of two recent Yankee settlers, Thomas and Nelson Olin, the first temperance society formed in Green Bay in 1835. This article, based on the memories of an old city resident, suggests that the temperance movement began in response to the carousing of young soldiers at nearby Fort Howard.

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers 1967 Press Book 
Coming off their first Super Bowl win in 1966, the Green Bay Packers entered the 1967 regular season undefeated in the pre-season and ready to defend their world title under head coach Vince Lombardi. Tickets to Packer home games had already sold-out before the season began and over one million people were expected to see the team play. This press book, produced by the public relations director of the Packers, provided reporters with the history of the team, information about the players and coaching staff, and previous season statistics and records for easy reference.

Nixon

Green Bay Packers Yearbooks 1960-1967 
Organized in 1919 by Earl "Curly" Lambeau and George Calhoun, the Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned professional sports team in the country. The Packers of the 1960s, under Coach Vince Lombardi, were one of the most dominant NFL teams in history, winning five league championships in seven years. Green Bay also won the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967 after the merger of the National Football League and the American Football League. The Green Bay Packers have won more league championships than any other professional football team, affirming Green Bay's moniker as "Titletown."

The yearbooks here are from the team's return to glory under Lombardi. Arriving in 1959, Lombardi led the Packers to their first winning season in eleven years in his first year as coach. From that auspicious start, Lombardi's Packers had nine winning seasons and claimed five NFL championships in the 1960s. Each yearbook contains roughly 80 pages of text and photos.

Lombardi

The Lombardi Era and the Green Bay Packers (1959-67) 
The Packers of the 1960s, under Coach Vince Lombardi, were one of the most dominant NFL teams in history, winning five league championships in seven years. Green Bay also won the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967. Lombardi arrived in Green Bay in 1959, asserting to Packer fans that "you will be proud of the team because I will be proud of the team." In 1967, after nine winning seasons with the Packers, Lombardi decided to retire as head coach but retained his position as general manager. This commemorative yearbook was produced the following year, in honor of the man who brought glory back to Green Bay.

Ho-Chunk creation narrative

The Ho-Chunk creation narrative 
Sometimes called "Earth-maker Creates the World," similar versions of this traditional account of the Ho-Chunk's origin also were told to anthropologists in the 20th century. The text we present here was given by Ho-Chunk elder Sho-go-nick-kaw, or Little Hill, to Wisconsin settler George Gale about 1850. Also included is Gale's description of Red Banks, the Ho-Chunk traditional homeland near Green Bay, as it was about 1850.

Joliet's notes

Relation de la descouverte de plusieurs pays ... faite en 1673, with Joliet's letter of 10 October 1674 
On their return in 1673, Joliet and Marquette stayed in Green Bay through the winter. The next spring Joliet headed home with the expedition's records but shooting the rapids outside Montreal his canoe overturned, he nearly drowned, and all his notes on the trip were lost. A few weeks later, he was interviewed by Fr. Claude Dablon, head of the Jesuits in New France, about where he'd gone and what he'd seen. Four contemporary manuscript copies of Dablon's notes on that conversation have survived. We give one of those here (from a photostat obtained by Reuben Gold Thwaites about 1899), with a typed French transcription and an English translation of it. Beginning at the bottom of page 12 is a letter Joliet wrote on Oct. 10, 1674, to Bishop Francois Xavier de Laval summarizing his adventures and relating how he lost all his records and nearly drowned when within sight of Montreal. This letter has only been published in its entirety in French; we present here a typed transcript of it and an English translation.

1834 diary

1834 Diary 
In 1834, Episcopal bishop Jackson Kemper undertook a trip to Wisconsin to report on the school founded by Rev. Richard Cadle for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Kemper provides a comprehensive account of his journey to Green Bay and the sometimes deplorable conditions of the children enrolled in the missionary school. The diary was written in pencil in small notebooks.

Cadle

Documents relating to the Episcopal Church: Conditions of admission and survey of schools 
In 1827, Episcopal minister Richard Cadle and his wife Sarah opened a missionary school intended primarily for Indians in Green Bay. During the winter of 1828, land was obtained from the government for the school and a building was erected the following summer. In these selections, the conditions of admission to the school are explained along with a supplementary report on the school after a decade of operation. These records show the intentions and effect of missionary educators on the Menonminee and Oneida in the 1830s.

Jean Nicolet

Journey of Jean Nicolet, 1634 
Samuel de Champlain sent young interpreter Jean Nicolet west in 1634 to search for a rumored river that ran into the sea. This short account from the Jesuit Relations, as given in our American Journeys collection, is the only contemporary report of his trip.

map

Radisson's Account of His Third Journey, 1654-1656 
After about 1640, Indian wars in the St. Lawrence valley prevented the French from traveling to Wisconsin. The Sieur des Groseilliers and his partner, who embarked in 1654, were the first Europeans to reach the upper lakes in two decades. Although it has long been assumed that his brother-in-law Pierre-Esprit Radisson was Groseillier's partner, new research suggests that this could not have been the case as Radisson appears to have been in Quebec in 1655. Nonetheless this memoir, long attributed to Radisson, describes how they (or two other explorers) crossed Lake Huron and lower Michigan before arcing across Lake Michigan into Wisconsin; the Wisconsin portion begins on page 47. It includes several speeches by Indian leaders with whom they talked. It is impossible to trace their route exactly during the two years they spent collecting furs, but they appear to have visited Green Bay, Sault St. Marie, and Lake Superior as well as spending four months going from river to river in the interior. They returned to Montreal in 1656 with a flotilla of Indian canoes loaded with furs, having fought their way through Iroquois attacks both coming and going, and having introduced the first firearms to Wisconsin Indians.

pamphlet

Proposed ship canal at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, to connect Green bay with Lake Michigan and open a new harbor on the west shore of the lake
This four-page pamphlet proposes the construction of a canal at Sturgeon Bay, connecting Lake Michigan with Green Bay. The author proceeds to outline the various reasons that Congress should grant land toward this project by detailing the many advantages that would come from its construction.

Henry Samuel Baird

Recollections of the early history of northern Wisconsin 
Territorial politician Henry Samuel Baird came to Green Bay in 1824. While Baird would eventually play an integral part in territorial politics, he recounts here his early years in northern Wisconsin.

Oneida diary

Diary of John Archiquette 
Typed translation of a diary kept by Archiquette, an Oneida Indian, containing information on tribal council decisions and discipline, and on farming, road building, religious services and other aspects of life on the Oneida Reservation near Green Bay. Translated from the Oneida language by Oscar H. Archiquette.

First traders

"The First Traders in Wisconsin" by Louise Phelps Kellogg (WMH 1921-22) 
This article summarizes the life of fur trader Pierre Esprit Radisson (1636-1710), focusing especially on his Wisconsin years. It analyzes the text of his recollections discovered in 1880 and concludes his first trip to Wisconsin which occurred in 1654-58 (a conclusion refuted by subsequent historians) and centered on Green Bay, while his second happened 1658-1660 and took him from Chequamegon Bay to modern Lac Court Oreilles. It does not quote the document extensively but rather rephrases Radisson's descriptions of Indian life and customs, the Wisconsin landscape and his later travels around Hudson Bay and life in London.

Bishop Jackson Kemper

A Trip through Wisconsin in 1838 by Jackson Kemper (WMH 1923-24)
This is a diary kept by Bishop Jackson Kemper (1789-1870) of his second tour through the state. It begins in Dubuque on July 18, 1838, and details his trip overland through Prairie du Chien, Mineral Point, Madison, Fort Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Brotherton, Wrightstown and Green Bay to inspect the Oneida Mission at the last-mentioned place. Along the way, Kemper appears to have met and talked with many of the most important figures in territorial Wisconsin, of whom he gives short sketches. The diary, which ends abruptly during his return trip, also details the challenges of overland traveling, including poor roads, floods and mosquitoes.

HIstoric Spots

Historic Spots in Wisconsin: Green Bay, The Plymouth Rock of Wisconsin (WMH 1927-28) 
This installment in the series summarizes the explorations of Jean Nicolet (1598-1642), Pierre Esprit de Radisson (1636-1710), Claude Allouez (1622-1689), Sieur de Lasalle (1643-1687), and Nicolas Perrot (1644-1718). It tells the stories of the Marquette and Joliet voyage (1673) and of the loss of the Griffon (1679), the first ship on the Great Lakes. It reviews the building of the first Green Bay fort in 1717 and the arrival of the first permanent residents about 1745, before summarizing the British occupation in 1760-1763 and quoting the 1766 description by Jonathan Carver (1710-1780). After discussing events of the War of 1812 at Green Bay, it concludes by describing the construction of Fort Howard (1816) and providing a long excerpt from a report by Samuel A. Storrow (1787-1837) written the following year.

Old Fort Howard

Old Fort Howard by Louise Phelps Kellogg (WMH 1934-35) 
Fort Howard was an American outpost in Green Bay constructed to protect the Green Bay region from Indian uprisings and to act as an American buffer between Canada and the Indians. The Fort also kept Green Bay in connection with other territorial forts in Wisconsin. The article documents many of the fort’s commanders including Major Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), future president of the United States. The Fort also served as a school for children in the Green Bay area as well as the hub of the settlement’s social activity. By the early 1850s, the removal of most of the Indians made the fort superfluous; it was finally demolished in 1863.

Nills Otto Tank

Nills Otto Tank: Norwegian Aristocrat and Philanthropist by William Titus (WMH 1938-39) 
The Tank Cottage in Green Bay, erected in 1776, is the oldest house in Wisconsin. It was purchased by Judge Jacques Porlier (dates not verified) in 1805 and served as the headquarters for British agents during the war of 1812. This article describes the missionary work of Norwegian philanthopist Nils Otto Tank (1800-1864) before coming to Wisconsin in the mid-1800s to serve the Moravian church. Tank used his fortune to establish a colony for followers of the church near the Fox River, thereby acquiring the Porlier house and surrounding property. Tank's widow, Caroline Van der Meulen (1803-1891), bestowed his remaining fortune to various missions around the world and donated the cottage to the city of Green Bay. The article also mentions the donation of her father's library, consisting of several thousand volumes of books that came directly from Holland, to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Moravians

Scandinavian Moravians in Wisconsin by Joseph Schafer (WMH 1940-41) 
This article gives a brief summation of the development of the Moravian (United Brethren) religion and its adherents, who largely came from Scandinavia. Andreas M. Iverson (1823-1907), a Moravian missionary from Norway, set sail to the United States in 1849 and traveled to Milwaukee to assemble a congregation. Along with the German Rev. John Frederick Fett and Nils Otto Tank (1800-1864), an aristocratic Norwegian and Moravian religious leader, Iverson established a commune on the Fox River in what is now part of Green Bay. However, disputes between Tank and the colonists over land titles eventually caused Iverson and the majority of the community to seek residence elsewhere. In 1853 Iverson established Ephraim in Door County with funding from Rev. H. A. Schultz from Bethlehem, New York. The article closes with a description of Iverson’s character traits, his brief role as pastor of churches at Leland and Mission Point (Norway) in La Salle County, Ill., and his return to Ephraim to continue his difficult missionary work.

Daniel Whitney

Daniel Whitney Pioneer Wisconsin Businessman by Alice E. Smith (WMH 1940-41) 
The numerous and varied business ventures of the trader and land speculator Daniel Whitney (1795-1862) are described here. Arriving penniless in Green Bay at age 25, Whitney had, within 20 years, participated in the fur trade, store-keeping, land speculation, lumbering, manufacturing and transportation. He, and later his associates, delivered supplies along the Fox-Wisconsin water route. His store at Statesburg (South Kaukauna) played a crucial role in the Indian trade, and his fur trading and land speculation brought him in close contact with many notable French-Canadian families, including the Grignon family. It was eventually these ties that lead him to found the town of Navarino, the site of the famous Rump Council. Following the Panic of 1837, Navarino and the village of Astor were united forming the heart of the present city of Green Bay. Whitney was involved in both the early lumber and lead industries and his shot tower still stands at Tower Hill State Park.

Belgians

The Belgians in the North Country by Lee W. Metzner (WMH 1942-43)
The author illustrates how Green Bay became the main destination for all Belgian immigrants to Wisconsin in the 1850s, most of which ended in 1857. Included are oral and published accounts from immigrants about their acclimation to frontier Wisconsin life and the influx of new Belgian immigrants.

Pauly Cheese

The Pauly Cheese Company by Harold T. Shannon (WMH 1954-55) 
This article traces the history of the Pauly Cheese Co., located in Green Bay, Wis. Once one of the largest manufacturers in the world of both natural and processed cheese, the company was founded in 1878 by Nicholas Pauly ( - 1921), who migrated to Wisconsin from Luxembourg in 1874. The article summarizes the early history of cheese making in Wisconsin and discusses Pauly's inspiration for learning the trade, as well as the involvement of his wife and sons in making his business a success. By the early 1900s, the Pauly Cheese Co. was selling up to 10 million pounds of cheese per year and had established numerous warehouses throughout Wisconsin. The article also briefly describes the decline in Wisconsin's cheese factories due to advances in transportation.

Mormons in Green Bay

Green Bay and the Mormons of Beaver Island by Charles O. Burgess (WMH 1958-59) 
After James J. Strang (1813-1856) claimed to be the legitimate head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he founded a colony with 2,500 followers on Beaver Island, at the head of Lake Michigan. This article describes the generally positive coverage given to the Strangite Mormon experiment by the Green Bay Advocate. It provides lengthy quotations from and analysis of many articles published by editor Charles D. Robinson (1821-1886) between 1849 and 1856. In doing so, it necessarily also describes in substantial detail many events in the colony's short life, including its founding and its eventual destruction by angry non-believers in the summer of 1856.

Menominee

A Mission to the Menominee: Alfred Cope's Green Bay Diary (Part I) (WMH 1965-66) 
Alfred Cope (1806-1873), a Quaker, was a member of the party sent from Philadelphia to Wisconsin to help oversee the annuity payment of 1849 to the Menominee under the Treaty of 1848. This initial installment of a four-part series is written in third person and describes his trip across the Great Lakes, his arrival in Green Bay, a visit to the Stockbridge and Brotherton Indians, while waiting for the Menominee to assemble, the arrival of the Menominee and the initial council between the parties. Among the people described at length are Brotherton leader Alonzo Dick (dates unknown), Stockbridge elder John W. Quinney (1797-1855), Pierre Bernard Grignon (1806-1888) and Eleazar Williams (1787-1858).

Part II
Part III
Part IV

Time of Change

A Time of Change: Green Bay, 1815-1834 by John D. Haeger (WMH 1970-71) 
An account of Green Bay from 1815-1834 when the town was becoming more Americanized causing the town's French and British residents to feel ostracized from the community. The relationship between the American, French and British governments, particularly as it relates to fur trade policies, are discussed along with the relations between residents of Green Bay and with American Indian tribes in the area.

John Lawe

John Lawe, Green Bay Trader by Jeanne Kay (WMH 1980-81) 
This is a straightforward biography of John Lawe (1780-1846), a British-Canadian fur trader who spent the latter part of his life in Green Bay, Brown County. An early English-speaking settler in Wisconsin, Lawe was a competent businessman with ties to many influential political and business leaders of his day. The article closely examines his personal life and business career, including his uncle and business partner Jacob Franks (ca. 1768-1840) of Montreal and his real estate, lumbering and sawmilling enterprises in early 19th-c. Green Bay. Other figures described in significant detail include fur-traders Robert Dickson (1765-1823), James Aird (ca. 1778-1819), Thomas G. Anderson (1779-1832), Joseph Rolette (1781-1842) and Ramsay Crooks (1787-1859).

Jean Nicolet

Jean Nicolet’s Search for the South Sea by Norman Risjord (WMH 2000-01) 
This article recounts the visit of Jean Nicolet (1598-1642) to Wisconsin in 1634. It describes how, in the early 17th century, Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635), governor-general of Canada, sent young interpreters to Indian nations of the western Great Lakes in search of a water route to Asia. It reviews the evidence that one of these, Jean Nicolet, crossed Lake Michigan and met the Ho-Chunk at Red Banks, a few miles northeast of modern Green Bay, in Brown County.

 

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