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Local History Index

HISTORIC HO-CHUNK TIMELINE

1620 -- The first mention of Winnebago came to French through Huron and Ottawa middlemen, during the French’s attempt to expand the fur trade.

1634 -- French explorer, Jean Nicolet landed at the shores of Red Banks. This is the first recorded date of a meeting between the "White man" and the Winnebago. The exact size of our tribe was not historically

documented at the time, however, our territory extended from Green Bay, beyond Lake Winnebago, to the Wisconsin River and to the Rock River in Illinois.

Late 1630's -- Winnebagos went to war against the Michigan Algonquian tribes ( the Foxes, Sacs, Pottawatomie, and Ottawa) who invaded Wisconsin from the present state of Michigan.

Father Pierre Francis Xavier de Charlevois, a Jesuit Missionary, estimated the Winnebago population at 4,000-5,000 warriors at the beginning of the hostility.

A small pox epidemic reduced the number of Winnebago warriors to 1,500; dropping the total Winnebago population by 2/3rds.

1639-40 -- Winnebago were attacked by the Illinois on Doty Island (present day Neenah, WI) in Lake

Winnebago.

1643 -- Jean Boisoeau's map shows the Winnebago in villages on Lake Winnebago.

1659 -- Radisson referred to Lake Winnebago as "the great lake of the stinkings".

April 1670 -- Father Claude Allouez entered the "River des Puans" (the Fox River) and proceeded to the

"Lac des Puans" (Lake Winnebago) expecting to meet the Winnebago but found it "uninhabited on account of the Sioux, who are there held in fear".

May 13, 1670 -- Father Allouez crossed the Bay (to the east side of the Bay in present day Door County)

to find "the Ovenibigoutz [Winnebago] in the clearing where they were assembling".

September 1670 -- Father Claude Dablon and Father Claude Allouez took the Winnebago Sacred Stone

and threw it into the Fox River.

1674 -- The Joilet map shows Winnebago living east of Green Bay.

1680 -- Winnebagos ally with the French against the Iroquois.

1681 -- Father Marquette's map places the Winnebago at a village at the foot of Lake Winnebago. 

1698 -- Father Hennepin's map lists the Winnebago as "Ocitagan" and also locates villages on Lake

Winnebago.

1718 -- Winnebago villages moved to the Fox River and to Lake Winnebago. There are 600 Winnebago

there. During the bloody warfare between the Winnebago and the French, Winnebago villages are

burned by the French at Butte des Morts.

1720 -- Winnebago warriors capture and kill Spaniards in the Southwest.

Charlevoix visit the Winnebago near Green Bay and notes they are "the Otchagras, who are commonly

called Puans, for what reason I do not know".

June 7, 1726 -- French government conclude a treaty with the Winnebago community at Green Bay. In it

the Winnebago agree not to harass the Illinois nation.

August 17, 1727 -- Father Louis Ignatius Guignas, a Jesuit missionary, reports that the Winnebago live in

villages on Lake Winnebago, but estimates the population at only 60-80 men. That would bring the total

population to about only 250 people. This represents the last time the Winnebago were a unified people.

1728 -- The Lake Winnebago village noted by Guignas is burned by the French.

Fall, 1728 -- A split in the Winnebago tribe occurs and results in teh movement of one group south to the

Rock River area; they become known as the Rock River Band. Carcajou Point, on Lake Koshkonong,

becomes the location of White Crow's village.

1729 -- The Winnebago ally with the Fox against the French in the "Fox Wars".

October, 1734 -- Sieur Lintot reports that there are still 30 Winnebago "cabins" at Lake Pepin.

1735 -- A large Winnebago village begins on the site of Watertown, Wisconsin.

1737 -- The Winnebago at Le Greco's village at Lake Pepin move down to the Rock River at the urging of Captain Pierre Martin.

March, 1737 -- The Winnebago side with the Chippewa against the Sioux.

1738 -- Sieur Marin, a French man from Prairie du Chien, is the first recorded trader dealing with the Rock River Winnebago.

1747 -- Sieur Clignancourt and others are granted the exclusive right to trade with the Winnebago and other tribes near the post at Green Bay.

1748 -- Winnebago take possession of the Chippewa village on Smoky Hill, Wood County and a fierce battle follows.

1755 -- About 100 Winnebago fight with other tribes against the British in "Braddock's Defeat" in the Monongahela Valley.

1760 -- Crabapple Point, another village on Lake Koshkonog is settled. By this time, there are three principle villages with the head villages still on Lake Winnebago and another at Red Banks.

1761 -- There are 150 Winnebago warriors at three village sites on Lake Winnebago.

1763 -- Winnebago join with Chief Pontiac. The Winnebago befriend the English at Green Bay.

September 25, 1766 -- Carver arrives at the great village of the Winnebagos, located on a small island at the east end of Lake Winnebago (now the site of Menasha, WI). He says that the village contains about

50 lodges which house some 200 warriors. The total population estimate would be approximately 1,000 people.

September 25-29, 1766 -- Carver meets Glory of the Morning, who receives him graciously and entertains him during the four days he remains at the village. He reports that the Winnebago are raising

large quantities of corn, squash, beans, pumpkins, watermelons, and tobacco at their Doty Island village.

May 15, 1767 -- Major Robert Rogers, British Commandant at Fort Michillimackinac, enters into his journal that Foxes, Menomonees and some Winnebago, "are gone south to war with the Illinois Indians".

1776 -- Winnebago fight alongside of the British in the Revolutionary War.

1777 -- Charles Gautier, a trader, reports finding an abandoned Winnebago village on Lake Koshkonong. A Spanish document locates a Winnebago village near the mouth of the Rock River, five miles up from its

confluence of the Mississippi River.

1778 -- A Winnebago chief named Chaurachon and his band on the Rock River enter into a "treaty" with General George Rogers Clark who represents the United States.

1783 -- Intertribal warfare develops over the fur trade. War erupts between the Winnebago and the Chippewa.

1786 -- Merchants of Montreal complain that the Winnebago number 600 men and their first village is only 30 miles from Green Bay. The Winnebago are often troublesome to passing traders and tax them for

their safe passage.

1793 -- The Winnebago attack the Maumee in Ohio and support England in the attack on Ft. Recovery. Robert Dickson reports that the Winnebago at the falls of the Fox River, near Portage are growing Indian

corn, squash, potatoes, melons, and cucumbers as well as "good tobacco". Spoon Decorah, eldest son of Glory of the Morning and Savrevoir Dekaury, founds a settlement on the Wisconsin River, about two

miles above the portage.

August 20, 1794 -- Winnebago are defeated by Gen. "Mad Anthony" Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near Maumee City, OH.

1801-02 -- Augustin Grignon finds Winnebagos living in six villages on the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, one village near present day Oshkosh, one one Garlic Island, one on Doty Island, one on Green Lake and

one on Lake Puckaway.


 

1805 -- Zebulon Pike travels up the Mississippi and reports sighting two Winnebago villges on the Rock River as well as villages at both ends of Lake Winnebago, Portage and Lake Puckaway. He estimates

the population at 1,950 people.


 

April 20, 1806 -- Over 300 Indians, representing the Winnebago, Fox, and Sioux, participate in a lacrosse tournament at Prairie du Chien.


 

1809 -- Tecumseh travels west from Prophetstwon (near present day Lafayette, Indiana) west and meets with Winnebago and Sac converts along the Rock and Mississippi Rivers. By April, 50 Winnebago join

the Prophet at his village on the Tippecanoe River near Lafayette.


 

April 25, 1810 -- William Henry Harrison reports to the Secretary of War that the Prophet Tecumseh controls 1,000 people comprised principally of Kickapoo and Winnebago.


 

June 14-15, 1810 -- There is a great meeting of various tribes at Prophetstown. A party of 1,100 Sacs,  Foxes, and Winnebago are on their way to join the conference.


 

Winter 1810-11 -- Winnebago, following orders of the Prophet, refuse to sell meat to the white traders.

 

November 7, 1811 – Between 600-700 warriors, most of whom are Winnebago and Potawatomie, participate in the Battle of Tippecanoe.


 

December 31, 1811 – After arriving back at Prairie du Chien, Decora (probably Old Grayheaded Decorah) states, “We have been killed; your comrade Harrison has killed us. Look at us who have

escaped; look at the way our blankets are pierced with bullets!”


 

1812 – John Hays reports to the Governor of Illinois the existence of Winnebago villages on the Pecatonica River near Lake Koshonong.


 

January 1, 1812 – A war party of 100 Rock River Winnebago raid the lead mines owned by George Hunt, nine miles below Dubuque, IA.


 

May 1, 1812 – 300 Rock River Winnebago arrive in Indiana and pitch camp on Wild Cat Creek close to Prophetstown.


 

July 17, 1812 – Led by Big Canoe and Robert Dickson, 100 Winnebago aid in the capture of Ft. Mackinac on Mackinac Island.


 

October 5, 1813 – Winnebago fight with General Proctor and Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames, where Tecumseh is killed.


 

June 2, 1814 – American forces take control of Prairie du Chien, capturing 20 Winnebago and killing 12

others.


 

August, 1814 – Winnebago warriors assist in the British defense of Mackinac Island.


 

December 28, 1814 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed securing the rights of occupancy, fishing and planting for Indians. No provisions are made for hunting rights and the fate of the Indians is now in the

hands of the Americans.


 

1815 – The territory of the Winnebago is a triangle shaped area with Green Bay, North Central Illinois, and La Crosse as the points. The British think the Winnebago are too mercenary and end their official

ties. The Winnebago attack Prairie du Chien. The tribal population is at 4,500.


 

June 13, 1815 -- He Who Walks Naked, younger brother of Four Legs, states, "Father, the peace made between you and the Big Knives may be a lasting one; but it cannot be for us, for we hate them; they

have so often deceived us that we cannot put any faith in them."

 

May 18, 1816 – A treaty of Peace and Friendship is signed in St. Louis confirming an earlier agreement outlined in 1804. This is the first of many treaties negotiated between the Winnebago Nation and the U.S.

government.


 

1816 – Tribal organization is in disarray as the Winnebago scatter into nearly forty settlements. Judge Lockwood reports the population of the Winnebago, as estimated by traders, to be 900 warriors.


 

1818 – Solomon Juneau, founder of Milwaukee, builds a trading post and begins dealing with the Winnebago. Edward Tanner observes great numbers of Winnebago and Menomonee gathering wild rice

at Rush Lake, in Winnebago County.


 

June, 1819 – Captain Henry Whiting made a trip from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien and notes Winnebago villages at Doty Island, at a spot on the west side of Lake Winnebago, about 7 miles from the

outlet, at the confluence of the Fox and Mecan Rivers and one village on the Baraboo River “…not far from the Portage”.


 

1820 – There are five Winnebago villages at Lake Winnebago and 14 village sites on the Rock River. The total population of the Winnebago is estimated at 4,000- 6,000.


 

August 18, 1821 – Menomonee and Winnebago hold land in common. The government negotiates a treaty only with the Menomonee which grants the New York tribes a strip of land five miles wide crossing

the Fox River at Little Chute.


 

1822 – The U.S. Government begins leasing lands in what is now southwestern Wisconsin to lead miners, thus creating a rush of white speculators and prospectors into what is Winnebago territory. The

New York tribes come back to the Winnebago asking for a larger grant of land. The Winnebago refuse. Winnebago are now mining lead in the Lake Koshkonong area.


 

1823 – A Winnebago village is noted at the confluence of the Sugar and Pecatonica Rivers.

August, 1823 – Mrs. James D. Doty mentions in her journal of a canoe trip made with her husband along the shores of Lake Winnebago. She records, “We coasted along the west shore of Lake Winnebago to

Garlic Island, on the opposite point to which is a Winnebago village of fine permanent lodges and fine cornfields”.

1824 – Henry Brevoort, agent at Green Bay Agency, reports the Winnebago census at 700 warriors, all on the upper Rock River. Koshkonong Village is now called the “Great Village of the Winnebago”.

 

1825 – The territorial claim of the Winnebago extends from: Southeast, the Rock River headwaters to 40 miles from the mouth of the Illinois, west to the Mississippi River, north to the Black River, to the Upper

Wisconsin River, but not across the Fox River. The white population in the lead mine area stands at 200.


 

August 16, 1825 – Wabasha makes an agreement with the Winnebago regarding the boundary line “about the Black River”.


 

August 19, 1825 – The Treaty of Prairie du Chien establishes firm boundaries among the tribes of the Great Lakes region. The treaty provisions are violated immediately as white lead miners flood the

Winnebago territory.


 

1827 – Winnebago kill the French family of Francis Methode on Yellow Creek, 12 miles from Prairie du Chien. Among those that are accused of the crime are He that Comes Again and The Boxer.


 

June 26, 1827 – Red Bird and two others enter Judge Lockwood’s home and load their weapons in the presence of a servant girl. Mrs. Lockwood flees the scene and goes to an adjoining store. She is followed

by Red Bird and the others and asks them to leave. They then go 2 miles outside of the village and kill Rizeste Gagnier and scalp his one year old daughter.


 

August 11, 1827 – The Treaty of 1827, signed at Butte des Morts, again establishes territorial boundaries. Four Legs addresses U.S. Commissioners Lewis Cass and Thomas L. McKenney in defense

of the Winnebagos in regards to the Red Bird affair.


 

September 3, 1827 -- Red Bird joins a group of over 100 warriors and goes to Major Whistler’s camp to give his self up. Red Bird carrying a white flag is peacefully received by the soldiers.


 

1828 – Little Elk impresses Henry Clay with his public speaking ability during a treaty trip to Washington, D.C.


 

February 16, 1828 – Red Bird dies of dysentery while awaiting trial for murder.


 

August 25, 1828 – Treaty of 1828 provides a temporary boundary between the Winnebago and the United States. Winnebago sell the lead mining region to the government and agree not to, “molest or

interfere with any of the white miners in the region”.


 

July 21, 1829 – Waukon Decorah meets with commissioners Pierre Menard, Caleb Atwater & John McNeil at Prairie du Chien to discuss the mineral lands.

 

August 1, 1829 – In the Treaty of 1829, the Winnebago cede 2,530,000 acres of land for $18,000 annually for a 30 year period. This includes the lead mine area of southwestern Wisconsin. The tribe also

receives 3,000 pounds of tobacco and 50 barrels of salt annually in addition to $30,000 in presents at the signing.


 

1830 – The Indian Removal Act, enacted during Andrew Jackson’s tenure as president, paves the way for the great Native American Removals of the 19th century. At this time there are two branches of the

Wisconsin Winnebago; one group receives annuities at Portage and the other at Prairie du Chien. A total of 4,000- 5,000 Winnebago are reported to have received total annuity payments of $5,000 at Ft.

Winnebago.


 

July 15, 1830 – Council is held in Prairie du Chien establishing the boundary of the “Neutral Ground” which later becomes Winneshiek County, IA.


 

October 24, 1831 -- Agent Street reports to Clark that some of the Winnebago are wintering with the Menomonee on the Black River.


 

1832 -- The Sacs and Foxes leave lands granted to them by the Treaty of 1816 and move back to lands they once occupied across the Mississippi River. Militia is called and the "Black Hawk Wars" ensue.

Henry Gratiot obtains small pox vaccine in St. Louis and begins inoculating the Rock River Winnebago.


 

May 25, 1832 -- Col. Henry Dodge meets with several Winnebago at Four Lakes for a council. There he warns them that if they join in a war with Black Hawk they will lose many lives, their annuities and their

lands. The meeting is held at White Crow's village on the northwest shore of Lake Mendota.


 

May 30, 1832 -- Thomas P. Burnett, sub-agent to the Winnebago, and John Marsh go up the Mississippi River and invite the Winnebago to join with the Sioux and Gen. Atkinson's army on the Rock River. 20

Winnebago from La Crosse go with them.


 

June 3, 1832 -- White Crow purchases 2 captive girls, Rachel and Sylvia Hall, from the Sacs and brings them to Col. Dodge at Blue Mounds Fort.


 

June 30, 1832 -- White Crow joins with Col. Dodge's forces at Kegonsa Lake.

 

July, 1832 -- General Atkinson reports a deserted village on the Bark River, which he refers to as Burnt Village.


 

July 21, 1832 -- White Crow and his son, White Pawnee, fight with Col. Dodge's troops against the Sacs in the Battle of Wisconsin Heights.


 

July 25, 1832 -- Burnett is ordered up the Mississippi River to secure all of the Winnebago canoes to prevent Black Hawk from escaping across the river.


 

August 2, 1832 -- American troops, with Winnebago and Menomonee auxiliaries, decimated the Sac and Fox at the Battle of Bad Axe River.


 

August 27, 1832 – The La Crosse bands of Winnebago bring the Prophet and Black Hawk to Prairie du Chien as prisoners of war.


 

September 10-14, 1832 – Winnebago chiefs and head men number around 40 and are anxious to clear the nation of accusations of complicity in the Black Hawk War. Scott and Reynolds are told that the only

Winnebago who fought with the Sacs were those related to the Sacs. The commissioners argue for land cession in the treaty negotiation.


 

September, 1832 – Juliette Kinzie writes that the Winnebago had failed to plant gardens the summer before and many are starving. Game is scarce this winter and many of the Winnebago subsist “for weeks

on soup made of the bark of the slippery elm or stewed acorns”.


 

April 29, 1833 – Council at Four Lakes (present day Madison, WI), Governor Dodge tells the Winnebago in the Rock River (ceded) area they have to move by June 1, 1833. Most plan to move near Baraboo,

Devil’s Lake and Sauk Prairie. White Crow states, “…many provisions have been promised but few delivered”.


 

Summer, 1833 – General Dodge’s soldiers force the Winnebago north of the Wisconsin River. Most bands settle at Sauk Prairie and on the Baraboo River.


 

June 10, 1833 – About 60 lodges remain in the ceded area.


 

1834 – Small pox affects the Winnebago again. They flee in all directions, spreading the epidemic further. About one-fourth of the entire Winnebago population perishes with the total dead being 1,000-

 1,500.

Upwards of 3,000 Winnebago men, women, and children come to Portage for their annuity payment.


 

February, 1834 – Whirling Thunder sends a message to Lewis Cass regarding the unfulfilled promises made during the treaty negotiations at Rock Island in 1832.


 

1835 – Winnebago Mission in Wisconsin closes.

U.S. agent finds about 30 Winnebago families farming on the Baraboo River.


 

September, 1835 – Whirling Thunder sends a letter to Governor Lewis Cass asking that he be allowed to go to Washington to talk to President Andrew Jackson directly about the problems the Winnebagos are

facing.


 

1836 – Reverend Samuel Mazzuchelli correspond with George Wallace Jones regarding the Winnebago Mission and School in Wisconsin Territory.


 

April 26, 1836 – Wisconsin Territory and Territorial Government are established. Almost 900,000 acres of land are sold.


 

October 15, 1836 – Waukon Decorah eloquently addresses Governor Dodge and refuses to be relocated southwest of the Missouri River to live, “among nations that we are extremely unacquainted with”.


 

1837 – Governor Dodge visits the Winnebago at the Portage and invites them to send a delegation to Washington. They ask if they would be expected to cede their lands.

Traders took $200,000 of the Winnebago treaty settlement money under the pretense of “claims”.


 

September, 1837 – Thomas A.B. Boyd, newly appointed agent for the Winnebagos meets with the Portage chiefs in council. He tells them the Great Father invited them to Washington, “for no other motive

than their welfare”. The Winnebago object to the trip until after their annuities are paid.


 

November 1, 1837 – Treaty of 1837 signed in Washington, D.C. Most Winnebago who went are young people, with no authority to negotiate a treaty. The Winnebago understood that they have 8 years until

their removal from Wisconsin, but in reality the treaty states 8 months. All land east of the Mississippi River is ceded to the government.

 

June 12, 1838 – A delegation of Winnebago go to Captain Low at Ft. Winnebago to protest their newest treaty. Black Decorah calls Agent Boyd “the fool agent” and tells Low they were taken to Washington and

kept drunk.


 

July 1838 – Dandy meets in council with Major W. Cobbs of Ft. Winnebago. He requests that Agent Boyd be replaced with Saterlee Clark and lists the tribe’s complaints about Boyd.


 

September, 1838 – Dandy, Caramani, and Yellow Thunder go to Governor Henry Dodge. In council at Mineral Point, Dandy speaks at length about the tribe’s complaints about Agent Boyd and of the shameful

tactics Boyd used to get the delegation to sign the treaty in Washington.


 

October 5, 1838 – One-eyed Decorah and Snake petition Governor Dodge to give them more time before removal. Their request for four years is rejected, but the government gives the nation one

additional year beyond the original 8 months.


 

1839 – 30 Winnebago families are camped near the Coe family residence on the east shore of the Rock River seven miles above Watertown.


 

Early November, 1839 – A Winnebago camped on Neutral Ground is attacked by Sacs, leaving 20 people dead, 5 wounded and 2 are taken as prisoners.


 

1840 – The first forced Winnebago removal to Turkey River, Iowa occurs. They are moved by the Fifth and Eighth regiments of the U.S. Infantry to the so-called “Neutral Ground”. Two large boats transport the

Winnebago down the Wisconsin River to Prairie du Chien.


 

Summer, 1840 – While in the midst of the removal, an epidemic of dysentery and fever kill an estimated 1,000 Winnebago.


 

August, 1840 – Yellow Thunder is preparing a war party at Winneshiek’s village with the help of Sioux allies to retaliate against the Sacs.


 

November 10, 1840 – A delegation of Winnebago goes to Mineral Point to council with Governor Dodge and tells him of the hardships the Winnebago are enduring.


 

1840’s – Spoon Decorah tells of hunting elk along the Black River and of trapping along the Roche-a-Cri River.

 

July 5, 1841 – Little Hill heads a delegation to talk to Agent Lowry at Ft. Atkinson. He argues against the president’s policy of punishing the treaty-abiding faction of the Winnebago Nation.


 

December, 1841 – Governor Doty proposes that the Winnebago give up their land in the Neutral Ground

and move to a site on the St. Peter’s (Minnesota) River.


 

1842 – The population at Turkey River is 756.

Five Winnebago villages exist along the Root River in Minnesota at this time.

Many Winnebago girls are taken to the Menard Academy, a Catholic convent school in Kaskaskia, Illinois

for a Catholic education.


 

1843 – Our Blessed Lady of the Seven Dolors Winnebago Mission is established. At this time, the

principal band of Winnebago in the Neutral Ground is called the School Band and they occupy an area

long the Turkey River.


 

Summer, 1843 – John Chambers, governor of Iowa Territory proposes another treaty to the Winnebago.


 

1844 – A company of Dragoons rounds up the stray Winnebago for removal to Iowa.

Captain Sumner goes to Portage to hunt for Dandy. Dandy is changed with an ox chain to his horse and

demands to see Governor Dodge. Dandy asks the governor if the Bible was a good book. The governor

replies that it is. Dandy responds, “Then if a man would do all that was in that book could any more be

required of him?” The governor says, “No.” “Well,” says Dandy, “look that book all through and if you find

in it that Dandy ought to be removed by the government to Turkey River, then I will go right off, but if you

do not find it I will never go there to stay”.


 

1845 – Governor Henry Dodge once again unsuccessfully negotiates a removal treaty with the

Winnebago. Winneshiek is made head chief at the Turkey River in Iowa.


 

October 13, 1846 – The Winnebago cede the “Neutral Grounds” area and end up (following the 1847

treaty) in land between the Sioux and their enemy the Chippewa in north central Minnesota. About 1,300

are removed to the Long Prairie area of Minnesota, just north of St. Cloud at this time.


 

Spring, 1847 – Winnebagos meet with the Ojibwa chief Hole-in-the-Day and he agrees to cede land for

their occupancy in Long Prairie. Henry M. Rice selects the reservation site between the Long Prairie,

Watab, Mississippi and Crow Wing Rivers in what was Wahnahta, later Toddy County, Minnesota. The

 

Winnebago reserve becomes a buffer between the Chippewa and the Sioux who are hostile towards each

other.


 

1848 – Our Blessed Lady of Seven Dolors mission closes.

Originally evolving from the Prairie du Chien Agency, which was established in 1807, the Winnebago sub

agency becomes a full agency.


 

July, 1848 – About 620 Winnebago arrive at the reservation at Long Prairie and camp near the new

agency; others remain near the Mississippi River.


 

Winter, 1848-49 – The Winnebago suffer from scurvy and would have starved at Long Prairie if the

traders had not extended credit for them.


 

July, 1849 – Winneshiek journeys to St. Paul to confront Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey about

the terrible hardships the Winnebago have endured.

Little Hill says the Winnebago would like to shoot their agent, Jonathan Fletcher, who wrote earlier that

the Winnebago were “well pleased and satisfied”.


 

1850 – Another 400 Winnebago who had remained in Iowa and Wisconsin are removed to

Minnesota. Henry Schoolcraft’s census lists the number of Winnebago as 2,531 in twenty-one bands.


 

March 14, 1850 – Grand Council is held in St. Paul between the principal chiefs of the Winnebago,

including One-eyed Decorah, Winneshiek, Big Canoe, Good Thunder, Little Dekora, Carimona, Little Hill,

along with a number of Sioux, and Governor Alexander Ramsey.


 

May 3, 1850 – Henry M. Rice is appointed as the removal agent for the Winnebago.


 

May 16, 1850 – Captain Jim, a prominent leader of the Winnebagos in Minnesota, speaks about the need

to educate the children.


 

1851 – Canon Fancis de Vivaldi arrives at Long Prairie, MN. Our Lady of Seven Dolors Chapel (mission)

and a school are opened.


 

Spring, 1851 – J. E. Fletcher is removed and A.M. Fridley is appointed as agent to the Winnebago and

Menomonee.

 

August 4, 1851 – Bishop Joseph Cretin, in a letter to Governor Ramsey, asks that he be allowed to

establish a mission and school at Long Prairie.

In the same letter, the Bishop asks that Ramsey, “be divested from the religious prejudice” and support

the Bishop’s request for an appropriation. Up until this time the school and mission were not connected.


 

1852 – Father De Vivaldi requests that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet come to Long Prairie to

teach and administrate at his mission school.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet from St. Paul, MN arrive at Long Prairie to teach in the school

there.


 

July 29, 1852 – In a letter to Governor Ramsey, Fr. De Vivaldi asks that provisions and clothing be

provided by the Agent for the students at the Winnebago school.


 

January 1, 1853 – The contract written for the Winnebago school and Long Prairie on this date is good

for five years and includes a sum of $75 per pupil per year stipend to be not less than $2,000 per year for

operating costs. Curriculum included English, reading writing, arithmetic, geography and manual art

courses.


 

June 23, 1853 – The Winnebago, having troubles with the Ojibwa and Sioux, negotiate a treaty to

exchange the Long Prairie reservation for land on the Crow and Mississippi River.


 

August 4,1853 – At a council held on the Watab River, Winneshiek and Little Hill request that the new

reserve run east to the Mississippi River.


 

November 15, 1853 – Bishop Cretin threatens to “expose everything to the public by way of the press” in

regards to the mishandling of the Winnebago money by their agent.


 

March 24, 1854 – Winnebagos expressed interest in moving southwest to the Missouri River, to be

among the Otos and Omahas. George W. Manypenny, Commissioner of Indian Affairs estimates the

Winnebago population at 1,480.


 

December, 1854 – Winnebago chiefs petition the president for a trip to Washington in hopes of being

allowed to move from Long Prairie to a reserve southwest of the Missouri River (Nemaha Half-Breed

Tract).

 

1855 – Winneshiek is head chief at the Winnebago village on the Turkey River in Iowa, where a county is

named for him.


 

February 19, 1855 – Little Hill heads a delegation and speaks with Commissioner Manypenny. He

explains that the Winnebago want a reserve south of the Minnesota River.


 

February 27, 1855 – A new treaty ushered in the Winnebago removal from their reservation in Long

Prairie, MN to a fertile farming area near Blue Earth, Minnesota, in the south central part of the state.


 

May 5, 1855 – Winneshiek, Big Bear, Little Priest and others go to St. Paul after choosing their new

reservation in Blue Earth, MN. Here they document their decision and begin to prepare for their next

removal.


 

May 24, 1855 – Winnebagos begin their removal to Blue Earth with 300 canoes arriving in St. Anthony on

this day.


 

June 2, 1855 – A mass meeting is held at Mankato to protest against relocating the Winnebago in Blue

Earth County, Minnesota. Resolutions are passed and sent to congress.


 

1856 – Winnebago mission founded at Blue Earth and is attended by diocesan priests residing at St.

Peter and Paul Church in Mankato.


 

January 8, 1856 – Little Hill and a number of other chiefs contact Governor Gorman to beg for aid. They

had not been paid their annuities and were forced to go to Reverend Canon Francis de Vivaldi, the priest

who operated their mission, for food and provisions.


 

January 12, 1856 – In a letter to Commissioner Manypenny, Little Hill lists the Winnebago’s complaints

against Agent Fletcher and calls for his removal.


 

Early April, 1859 – A Winnebago delegation goes to Washington asking that they be allowed to remain

on the Blue Earth Reserve, “where lie their children and friends, whose graves are yet green in their

memory, without molestation or fear of being driven thence by their remorseless neighbor, the white

man”.

 

April 18, 1859 – Baptiste LaSallieur, in a letter to President James Buchanan, reminds the president of

the money owed to the tribe and tells him, in part, “You want us, father, to act like white men, and we

want to tell you that it requires a great deal of money to do so”.


 

May, 1859 – Winneshiek refuses a medal during a council with William J. Cullen, Superintendent of

Indian Affairs in Minnesota, and is deposed as head chief. Baptiste is appointed to the position.


 

1860 – The Winnebago pass a code of laws dealing with stabbing, stealing, and drunkenness. 260 cases

of small pox are reported this year, with 43 fatalities. Schooling begins with 62 males and 48 females

enrolled on the Blue Earth reserve.


 

June 25, 1861 – Little Hill, in a council with Superintendent Thompson, complains about Agent Balcombe

and pleads for the money owed the tribe. The money would not be given until the tribe had received their

land allotments and the rest of the reserve sold to white settlers. The money amounted to about

$300,000.


 

Summer, 1861 – Winneshiek, a staunch opponent to the allotment of the Blue Earth Reserve, obstructs

the surveys of the reservation lands.


 

October18, 1861 – Blue Earth Reservation census shows 2,106 Winnebago living in Blue Earth and

Waseca Counties in Minnesota.


 

November 26, 1861 – Captain Jim, a Winnebago chief, freezes to death while on his way home from

Mankato. He had fought for the U.S. in the War of 1812 and in the Black Hawk War.


 

1862 – Winnebago circumstances have diminished to a horrible state. The promised allotments were

never completed and the Winnebago are surrounded by hostile and unfriendly white people.


 

March 10, 1862 – Little Priest testifies that Balcombe had been corrupt in many dealings with the

Winnebago. Allegations include buying items for his personal use with annuity money and missing large

numbers of people in his census.


 

April, 1862 – Agent Balcombe is charged with corruption in the selling of Winnebago annuity goods back

to the trading firm of Hubbell and Hawley. 

 

June, 1862 – The “Sioux Massacre” frightens local citizens so much that they begin to call for the next

removal of all Indians in the area.


 

January, 1863 – Settlers organize a secret society called the Knights of the Forest in Mankato to bring

about the removal of the Winnebagos. “A secret order called the Knights of the Forest was formed by two

men from Mankato and one from Garden city, for the express purpose of the removal of the Winnebago

and all Indians from the state of Minnesota. The Knights grew to considerable size to include many of the

most prominent and influential men of both political parties. One noteworthy act of the Mankato lodge

was the employment of a certain number of men whose duty it was to lie in ambush on the outskirts of the

Winnebago reservation and shoot any Indian who might be observed outside the lines…” – Blue Earth

County Historical Society Review, April 27, 1886.


 

February 21, 1863 – A special Act of Congress approving the removal of Wisconsin Winnebago to Crow

Creek Reserve in South Dakota becomes law.


 

April 25, 1863 – Winnebagos are officially notified of their next removal by Agent Balcombe.


 

May 2, 1863 – The total number of Winnebago is listed as 1,856. About 40 Winnebagos apply for

citizenship in Waseca District Court, but Judge Donaldson refuses their applications.


 

May 2, 1863 – The total number of Winnebago is listed as 1,856. About 40 Winnebagos apply for

citizenship in Waseca District Court, but Judge Donaldson refuses their applications.


 

May 5, 1863 – The first group of Winnebago arrives at Mankato to await their next removal.


 

May 9, 1863 – About 1,000 Winnebago are reluctantly staying at Camp Porter in Mankato awaiting

removal. The first boat load of Winnebago leaves Mankato for their new Dakota reservation. The

steamers Canada and Davenport transport about 1,200 Winnebago to Hannibal, MO for the first leg of the

journey. The boats take 300-400 people on each, they are only meant to hold about 100.


 

May 23, 1863 – Winneshiek and about 800 tribal members arrive in Mankato. At Ft. Snelling, Winneshiek

and Wakon Decorah ask General Henry Sibley to write a letter requesting that the land Winneshiek

received from Wabasha in 1848 could be exchanged for a reserve on the Chippewa River in western

Wisconsin.

 

June 8, 1863 – The first Winnebago arrives at Crow Creek after taking a slow trip up the Missouri River

aboard the West Wind. The route from Mankato was down the Minnesota River to the Mississippi River,

from the Mississippi up the Missouri River to Usher’s Landing.


 

June 9, 1863 – Reverend John P. Williamson reports that the daily ration at Crow Creek is less than one-

quarter pound each of flour, pork, and corn.


 

June 24, 1863 – About 750 Winnebago arrive at Crow Creek after being transported separately. The total

number of Winnebago at Crow Creek amounts to about 1,950.


 

July, 1863 – General Alfred Sully relays the Winnebago complaints to Secretary of the Interior John P.

Usher. Sully suggests that removal to the Ohama reserve in Nebraska would be both humane and

economical.


 

August 7, 1863 – Winneshiek again makes an appeal to the president, asking this time for the land given

by Wabasha on the Root River.


 

August 8, 1863 – Superintendent Thompson leaves Crow Creek for Washington to make arrangements

for provisions for the winter and to transfer the Winnebago annuity money.


 

October 1, 1863 – Great dissatisfaction is reported among the Winnebagos at their new agency in

Dakota. Many have already left, destitute and starving, going down the Missouri River in canoes.


 

Fall, 1863 – Baptiste LaSallieur, in council with Superintendent Thompson says, in part, “We are not

afraid to die, but we do not wish to die here”.

October, 1863 – The St. Paul Daily Press calls the movement of Winnebago across the northern plains a

follhardy as Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The Press refers to it as the “Moscow Campaign” which later

becomes known as the “Moscow Expedition”.

March 1, 1864 – All Winnebagos except approximately 200 have left their agency in Dakota.

May, 1864 – Approximately 1,200 Winnebago are at the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska.

June, 1864 – Robert W. Furnas, Omaha Agent, reports that the Winnebagos on his reserve are starving

and need immediate assistance.

19 

 

August 1, 1864 – Twenty-two Winnebago enlist in Company C, Nebraska Veteran Battalion and twenty-

four in Company D.

September, 1864 – Superintendent Thompson arrives for council and the chiefs report that they left the

Crow Creek Reserve because they were surrounded by hostile Sioux, much the same as the situation

had been at Long Prairie.

December 10, 1864 – Baptiste LaSallieur is permitted to return to Blue Earth County, Minnesota and re-

occupy his farm with his family.

December 30, 1864 – Most of the Winnebagos have by now left the Crow Creek Reserve.

1861-1865 – There were about 100 Winnebago warriors who served as soldiers during the four years of

the Civil War.

1865 – Little Priest and 71 other Winnebago enlist in Company A, Omaha Scouts at Decatur, Nebraska.

March 6, 1865 – Treaty of land cessions in Dakota Territory include the purchase of the northern portion

of the Omaha reservation in Nebraska for the Winnebago.

November 15, 1865 – The Winnebago officially relocate to the Omaha Reserve in Nebraska.

1866 – Act to Increase and Fix the Military Peace Establishment of the United States includes a clause

authorizing the president to enlist a force of Native Americans.

August 1, 1866 – General Order from the office of the Adjutant General implementing the provision of the

above act. Colonel Carrington began efforts to enlist Winnebagos and Pawnees for service on the

Bozeman Trail.

Late 1860’s – Earliest settlement of Winnebago at Watermill was under Chief Ah-oo-cho-ka or Blue Wing

and was located a few miles north of Tomah, WI.

August 19, 1867 – Winnebagos population is at 1,672.

May 29, 1870 – Act to have patents issued to every Winnebago Indian lawfully residing in Minnesota on

June 15, 1870 if an allotment had not been received as provisions of treaty of April 15, 1829 is passed.

20 

 

October 11, 1870 – Fifty-one Winnebago (men and women), most of whom were half blood, are

naturalized at the U.S. District Court by Judge Nelson in St. Paul, Minnesota. The purpose of their

naturalization is to secure their right to obtain patents from the United States on land which they were

allotted on their former reservation in Blue Earth County, Minnesota. Only 23 Winnebago had purchased

land in Minnesota.

1872 – Last attempt by the U.S. government to remove the Winnebago people from Wisconsin.

The removal attempt takes place during the winter, exposing the Winnebago to dangerous conditions.

Reports of atrocities begin to surface and the public outcry is so great that the government never attempts

another removal.

May 29, 1872 – A congressional act supplementary to the Act of July 15, 1870 appropriates another

$36,000 for the removal of the Winnebago.

1873 – The Winnebago population stands at 2,500.

March 3, 1873 – An Act of Congress passes this day providing relief of the Winnebagos. Although this

act provided for regular annual payments, these payments do not begin until ten years later.

June, 1873 – Council is held with Governor C.C. Washburn. Governor Washburn recommends the

Wisconsin Winnebago go to Indian Territory and warns the chiefs that they would have to leave in the

fall. Short Wing asks for a reserve at the head of the Black River.

November 19, 1873 – Grey Wolf and the Nebraska chiefs send a message to Congress charging the

Wisconsin Bands with abandonment of the tribe. They state that they did not “…want to be made poorer

by the removal of the Wisconsin Indians amongst us…” and ask Congress to increase their funding.

December 12, 1873 – Company C, 20th Infantry and a detachment from Company H are ordered to

proceed from Ft. Snelling to Sparta, WI to provide military assistance in the removal of the Winnebagos.

December 18, 1873 – Lt. Stafford, with twenty men and Capt. Hunt, capture eighty-six Winnebagos, “on

the Baraboo River, near the Crawford Bridge”. They are lodged in Sparta to await the train which would

ship them to Nebraska.

21 

 

December 22, 1873 – The eighty-six Winnebago, including Big Hawk, are sent west to Nebraska on the

11 am train. They are accompanied by Sheriff David Bon and six others. Many die on the way and others

die of exposure once reaching Nebraska.

December 23, 1873 – Charles A Hunt captures Shaking of the Earth (Caramani) and Yankee Bill with

seventy-one other Winnebagos at Leroy Station; they too are sent west.

December 25, 1873 – Fifty-six Winnebagos are captured in Trempealeau County.

Early 1875 – The Wisconsin Winnebagos petition the government to allow them to become United States

citizens.

March 3, 1875 – An Act of Congress approved on this day, provides that any Indian head of household

who is over twenty-one and has abandoned “tribal relations” (meaning the so-called renegade bands)

should be entitled to benefits of the Homestead Act of May 20, 1862. This act also guarantees that any

Indian homesteader can share in tribal annuities, funds, lands, and other property.

February, 1876 – Black Hawk and Short Wing ask John St. Cyr to help them obtain the right to

homestead land for eighty Winnebago at Black River Falls, WI. Following this action, most of the

Wisconsin Winnebago file for forty acre homesteads.

1880 – The Wisconsin Winnebago are once again able to share in the annuities. Up until this time, the

U.S. government viewed the nation as a “renegade band” and gave annuities only to the Nebraska

Agency.

January 18, 1881 – An Act of Congress approved on this day, directs the Secretary of the Interior to have

separate censuses taken of the Winnebago in Wisconsin and Nebraska and adjust the accounts between

the two nations.

1881 – Special legislation passes permitting Wisconsin Winnebago 40 acre homesteads. They are not

given clear patent to their land for twenty years and could not sell it until then. The first Winnebago to

homestead is known only as “Indian George”. By this time 1,200 Winnebago are living in Wisconsin.

1883 – The census of the Wisconsin Winnebago is completed.

Chiefs of the Iowa tell Owen Dorsey that the Iowa, Oto, Missouria, Omaha and Ponca, “… once formed

22 

 

part of the Winnebago Nation,” and they each came with the Winnebago from an original home north of

the Great Lakes.

November, 1883 – There are just over 1,100 people on the Winnebago enrollment.

1884 – Norwegian Lutheran mission and boarding school establishes four miles from Wittenberg, WI.

1886 – The Commissioner of Indian Affairs recommends that a government agent be placed in charge of

the Winnebagos in Wisconsin.

1886-1887 – Fifty-six births and thirty deaths are reported among the Winnebago.

1887 – Reuben Gold Thwaites of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin comes to Tomah to gather

information about the Winnebago. He finds that they had been granted homesteads and most of the land

had proved to be barren hillsides or tamarack swamps. Few of the Winnebagos even know where their

land is located.

February, 1887 – The Winnebago population reaches 1,400.

March 29, 1887 – Spoon Decorah, in an interview with Moses Paquette says, “We think the Big Father

does not care for us any longer, now that he has all our best land. Perhaps it will not be long before he

will wan the poor land we now live in. Then we must go to the reservation in Nebraska”.

1888 – Federal statute authorizes the sale of a portion of the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska.

1890 – Black Ash Basketry is introduced to the Winnebago.

January 19, 1893 – The Tomah Industrial School opens with seven employees and seven students.

1894 – Recorded as the last Winnebago burial on Lake Koshkonog, Moses Decorah’s son is buried in a

traditional ceremony in Sumner Township.

1895 – Federal Statute for the relief of Winnebago Indians in Minnesota.

Bethany Mission School at Wittenberg opens.

23 

 

September, 1898 – Wisconsin Winnebagos participate in the cranberry harvest near Valley Junction,

Wood County.

1900 – Peyote religion is introduced to Wisconsin Indians.

1901 – The first commencement takes place at the Tomah Indian Industrial School with five children

graduating. A government boarding school opens on the Winnebago reserve in Nebraska.

January 26, 1907 – C.F. Larabee, Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs, writes, “The Winnebago as a

tribe have due them $883,249.58 under their treaties of 1837 and the act of July 15, 1870”. Eventually the

Wisconsin branch receives its share of the principal after it has been capitalized and segregated.

1911 – The Tomah Indian Industrial School is made the Winnebago Agency.

1912 – Population estimated for the Winnebago Nation in Wisconsin at 1,180 and in Nebraska at 2,613.

1914 – Winnebagos receive their last payment of annuities.

1924 – The Winnebagos and all other Indian Nations are granted full United States citizenship.

1934 – Indian Reorganization Act.

1935 – Tomah Industrial School closes in June. Children are farmed out in a kind of foster care

situation. All employees are gone by July 1st .

July, 1937 – On the George P. Bennett Marsh, near the Watermill area, Winnebagos return annually to

work the cranberry marsh. Many are descended from his first employees who worked for the company

many years ago.

1937 – Cranberry Harvest Festival Champion is Jesse Mike this year.

1938 – Cranberry Harvest Festival Champion is Ralph Mann.

1939 – Three of the finalists in the Cranberry Harvest Festival this year are Jesse Mike, Ralph Mann, and

George Whitewing.

24 

 

1941-1945 – The thirty dead or wounded Winnebago in the armed forces are members of the Indian

Mission Church.

1941 – Winnebago Handcraft Cooperative is established by Reverend Ben Stucki.

February 13, 1945 – The title of the Tomah Indian Industrial School is transferred to the Veteran’s

Admission for hospital use.

1946 – Indian Claims Commission Act.

1947 – Reverend Mitchell Whiterabbit accepts the call as a pastor for the Indian Mission Church.

1949 – Tribal reorganization begins when Nebraska and Wisconsin Winnebago agree to bring a common

claim before the Indian Claims Commission.

February, 1949 – The Winnebago Veteran’s Organization organizes under a State of Wisconsin charter.

1961 – Claims Committee provisionally reconstitutes as the acting Wisconsin Winnebago Business

Committee. This group begins to investigate organizing under the Indian Reorganization Act.

1962 – The Wisconsin Winnebago Tribal Constitution is written.

1962-63 – Census taken by Superintendent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the tribal secretary

determine that there are 494 eligible to vote in the first election under the reorganization.

January 9, 1963 – There is a referendum regarding reorganization of the tribe.

June 8, 1963 – The first election of officers takes place.

September 14, 1963 – The first General Council election is held.

November 1, 1963 – Grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare is received.

1964 – Pow-wow Grounds

1965 – Indian Mission property

25 

 

1966 – Indian Heights Housing Site

1970 – Indian Claims Commission approves Winnebago claim for $4.6 million.

1971 – Blue Wing Village, named in honor of Chief Ah-oo-cho-ka, Blue Wing, is built near Wyeville. The

village includes 32 acres of land and about 20 homes.

1976 – Sand Pillow Housing Site

1980 – Ho-Chunk Casino and C-Store property

1982 – Baraboo Smoke shop and DeJope Bingo property

1983 – Tomah Smoke shop (now Whitetail Crossing), Black River Falls Smoke shop (now Whitetail

Crossing), and Ho-Chunk Bingo.

1985 – Tomah C-Store property

1986 – Contract Health Office

1987 – Sands Bingo

1988 – Farnum Center property

1989 – Executive Building property and Tribal Courts property

1990 – Language Division property (Mauston)

1992 – Gaming Compact with Wisconsin

1993 – Majestic Pines, Rainbow Bingo and Casino, and Ho-Chunk Grand Openings

Rainbow Gift Shop

Ho-Chunk Gift Shop

Properties: Christianson (Shawano County), location of Ho-Chunk North C-Store

1994 – Chakh Hah Chee Child Care Center complete

Rainbow Re-Opening

26 

 

Ho-Chunk casino/Bingo Re-Opening

Ho-Chunk Lodge opens

Ho-Chunk North facility complete

Properties: Muscoda, O’Connor, Schrank and Potch-ha-Chee, Records Management

November 1, 1994 – Wisconsin Winnebago officially adopt their new constitution which changes the

name to the Ho-Chunk Sovereign Nation. Ho-Chunk is the name we call ourselves. The BIA recognizes

the New Constitution.

Fall, 1995 – The Ho-Chunk Nation departments move into their new office building in Black River Falls,

WI. Three Rivers House (former Masonic Temple, La Crosse) is acquired via grant application. Tomah

Whitetail Crossing is completed.

Tomah Apartments

Maplewood Apartments

Properties: Mortenson, Timber Run and Parmenter

1996 – District I Community Center renovation is completed.

Chakh Hah Chee Elder center is completed.

New Majestic Pines Grand Opening

Properties: Rockland and Nine Eagles

1997 – Winnebago Heights Elder Center is completed. Indian Mission Elder Center is completed.

Wazee Wastewater Treatment Site.

Crockett’s Resort is purchased.

Properties: Mueller, Garvin/King of Thunder

1998 – Hocak Construction

Four Winds Insurance is established.

Ho-Chunk Casino Water Tower

New wastewater treatment plant at Ho-Chunk Village.

New water system for Chakh Hah Chee Village and Rainbow Casino

Majestic Pines Hotel is completed.

Properties: Christensen (Jackson County)

27 

 

1999 –Three Rivers House renovations are completed.

Wonk Sheek Warehouse is completed.

Majestic Pines expansion is completed.

House of Wellness

Ho-Chunk Casino expansion is completed.

DeJope Bingo

Vagabond Motel

Properties: Kickapoo Valley reserve, Whirling Thunder, Hurley and Ho-Chunk Cinema property is

acquired (Tomah), Leassum, and East Sand Pillow.

2000 – Ho-Chunk Casino Hotel & Convention Center is completed.

HCC Wo Za Wa, Copper Oak and Buffet is completed.

Baraboo Whitetail Crossing is completed.

HCC Sunrise Café is completed.

2002 – 10 Year Strategic Plan is approved.

Ho-Chunk Distribution Center is completed.

Veterans Service Office opens.

Records Management Building is completed.

Ho-Chunk Health Care Center is completed.

Properties: Ruxton, Miers

2003 – Andrew Blackhawk Legion Post building is completed.

Rainbow C-Store is completed.

Tomah Equipment

Ho-Chunk Cinemas opens.

Trial Court (Judicial Center) is completed.

Properties: Plum Creek, Red Banks

2004 – Whitetail Crossing Casino, Tomah

Southland Properties

2005 – Ho-Chunk Village, 36 Multi-family units are completed.

28 

 

2006 – Food Distribution Building is completed.

West Pow-wow Grounds

2007 – Kingsley Bend Mounds

Sanford White Eagle Legion Post Building is completed.

2008 – Sand Pillow Head Start is completed.

Blue Wing Elder Center is completed.

Wittenberg Elder Center is completed.

Ho-Chunk Casion Aquatic Center is completed.

Wittenberg Ancillary Site is started.


 

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