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History: Local History Index : Transportation: Indian Trails

Tempero Tells of Indian Trail In Town of Lisbon

by Charles J. Tempero

Printed under "The County Heritage" column in the Waukesha Freeman, Feb. 23, 1938

Transcribed by Michael R. Reilly

updated 06/24/2013

    In 1885 my father moved onto the farm on which I now live, NW 1/4 Section 34, Town of Lisbon. I was then a lad of 11 years and loved to roam in the back fields, around the old pond holes, and up and down the creeks.

    At that time it was not an uncommon thing for a person to walk several miles and many a time I walked to Sussex by way of crossing the Richard Craven Farm on Section 27.

    On these cross lot trips in the marsh lands lying either side of the creek on the Craven farm . I often noticed a narrow strip of land which was higher, dryer, and continuous from one side of the marsh to the other excepting where the creek passed through.

    Told It Was Old Indian Trail

    In after years, my grandfather-in-law, Alfred S. Weaver, told me what it was all about. He told me it was an old Indian trail. The trail came up from the Fox River and the S. W. corner of the Town Of Menomonee and entered what is now the Town of Lisbon about the center of Section 36 running slightly to the north of west and crossed the south end of his farm on Section 35.

    It entered Section 26 slightly west of the center of those two sections, east-to-west, crossing the Sussex Creek about 1/8 (?) mile north of his father's homestead. There was also a grade path across this marsh.

    The trail continued westerly, passing south of the hill on Section 28 towards the Town of Merton; beyond this point he never told me, but it was the trail that ran from Milwaukee to Portage.

    This trail must have been of great importance to the Indians because of its running so near a straight line and the amount of work that must have been done building the grades across the marshes. And to my observation it kept to almost level land.

Tempero Tells More About Indian Trail, by Charles J. Tempero, 

Waukesha Freeman, March 30, 1938
Transcribed by Michael R. Reilly


    Since writing the article on the Indian trail in the town of Lisbon, I have learned, on very good authorship that the angling parts of the road between Waukesha and Merton, in the main, is the result of following another old Indian trail.

    In a biography of the late Hon. John N. Cadby, who in 1842 settled in Merton - then a village of six or seven cabins, there is an account of a Pottawattomie or Winnebago Indian village of seven or eight lodges then located east of Merton on the farm now owned by Jacob Schlicher in Section 18, town of Lisbon, just south of Bark river.

    According to the adage of "two and two make four", it is reasonably correct to assume that the two trails junctioned at or near this village.


More About Local Indian Trails

Transcribed by Michael R. Reilly

Waukesha Freeman Dec 8, 1937 - December 1, 1837 marks one hundred years since Stephen Warren, a young man of twenty-two years old started from his father's home near Ann Arbor, Mich. to walk west into the wilderness to establish a home for his father and mother and thirteen brothers and sisters. He worked along the way earning his keep and a little besides and landed in Milwaukee, Feb. 1, 1838. A little later he started west on the Indian Trail which later became Watertown Plank road, landing in Hartland, April 1, 1838, which was then an Indian Settlement, called by them Sha-ba-qua-nake, meaning groups, bundles, bunches, or what have you. Thus was the beginning of our beautiful and prosperous little city.

Feb. 1, 1838 marks one hundred years since Stephen Fairchild Warren came to Milwaukee, he having walked from his father's home near Ann Arbor, Mich. He stayed in Milwaukee for two months, then started west on the Indian trail, now Highway 19, and landed in Shabaquanake, now Hartland. Hartland will probably celebrate in some way this event during the year 1938. Your correspondent, is a granddaughter of this man, being one of four children born to Myron H. Warren, only child of Stephen Warren. Waukesha Freeman, Feb. 9, 1938. Editor's note - Which date is actually the correct one? Perhaps that written by his granddaughter?

Charles B. Sheldon, the first white man to settle in Oconomowoc, died at his home on Wednesday. Mr Sheldon was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, in 1812. In 1834 he turned his steps westward. He was in Iowa during that winter, but in the spring of 1835 went to Mineral Point, Wis. where he worked at mining. In 1837 he followed the Indian trail from Prairieville to Oconomowoc and built a pioneer shanty upon the claim of 160 acres which remained his homestead until the day of his death.
Waukesha Freeman, June 11, 1891

George W. Rowell, Sr., intimately connected with industrial interests in this city for a number of years, died early this morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Fred Ellingson, 2128 N. 40th St., Milwaukee. Mr. Rowell observed his ninetieth birthday in April of this year and had been in active health until within the past year. He spent several weeks this summer with his daughter, Miss Maria Rowell, in this city. Mr. Rowell was born at lake Five in this county, April 13, 1843, and had spent the major portion of his life in this county. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Rowell, natives of New York State, had come to Wisconsin in 1842, purchased government land in the town of Lisbon, near lake five, and entered upon the arduous life of the pioneer. The family, comprising at that time the parents and eight children, lived in their wagon until their first crude home was constructed. It stood not more than two rods from the old Chicago and Winnebago Indian trail and the red man was a frequent visitor.
Waukesha Freeman, Nov. 1, 1933

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