First Settlement, Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin

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The first settlement in what is now (1884) known as the town of Prairie du Chien was made at what is called Frenchtown, a suburb of the city of Prairie du Chien, and which is located on the “Prairie” midway between the bluff and the east bank of the Mississippi river two miles north of the city. This settlement dates back nearly a century, and was first called “Popple.” The name “Frenchtown” began to be used about 1850.

Dennis Courtois was the first white man who settled at this place. In 1820 he made affidavits showing himself to have been in the country as early as 1792, at which time he and his wife came from Canada.

Claude Gagnier settled on farm lot No. 13, in 1794, and died leaving a family as residents of the place.

Francois Cheneviere came in 1806 and married a half blood Indian woman. In 1810 he erected a two-horse sweep power gristmill, which was in use till 1838.

Piere Chelofau came from St. Louis and settled here in 1812.

In 1813 a Canadian named Le Blonde came in, married a squaw and raised a family. He died in 1843. About this date came Mr. Gollanan and wife from Canada. He died at Frenchtown in 1867, and his wife died in Missouri in 1880, at the age of 103 years.

Frederick Stram, native of Switzerland came with his family in 1826. They came by way of the Red River of the North, accompanied by Joseph Boothe and a man named Mercheau with their families. The latter remained only three years, but Mr. Boothe remained till the time of his death in 1867. His widow married Modest Corden.

In 1836 Ezekiel Tainter settled on the bluff in the town of Prairie du Chien, on what is now known as the Nickerson farm.

The next to venture out and make settlement on the bluffs, were E. Putnam and John Miller.

History of Crawford and Richland Counties, Wisconsin: Together with Sketches of Their Towns and Villages, Educational, Civil, Military, and Political History, Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens ; History of Wisconsin : Embracing Accounts of the Pre-historic Races, and a Brief Account of Its Territorial and State Governments, Part 1. Crawford County (WI): Union Publishing Company, 1884.

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