Face of the Country
many of the bluffs along the Mississippi river, often attain the height of three hundred feet above their base, and the Blue Mound was ascertained by Dr. Locke by Barometrical Observations to be one thousand feet above the Wisconsin river at Helena. The surface is further [divided] by the Platte, & Sissinewa mounds, but these prominent elevations are so rare that they form very marked objects in the landscape and serve the traveler in the unsettled portions of the country, as guides by which to direct his course. The country immediately bordering on Lake Superior has a very abrupt descent towards the Lake, hence the streams entering the Lake, are full of rapids and waterfalls, being comparatively worthless for all purposes of navigation, but offering a vast superabundance of water power, which may at some future time be brought into
Face of the country
requisition to manufacture lumber from the immense quantities of pine trees with which this part of the Territory abounds.
There is another ridge of very broken land running from the entrance of Green Bay in a south westerly direction forming the "divide" between the waters of Lake Michigan and those running into the Bay and the Neenah, and continuing thence through the western part of Washington County crossing [illegible] river near the Nogowicka Lake and thence, spanning in the same general direction, through Walworth county into the State of Illinois. The very irregular and broken appearance of this ridge is probably owing to the soft and easily decomposed limestone rock of which it is composed.
On our northern border is Lake Superior, the largest body of fresh water in the world, and on the east is Lake Michigan, second only to Lake Superior in magnitude, forming links in the great chain of inland seas by which we are connected with the "lower country" by a navigation as important for all purposes of commerce as the Ocean itself. Besides these immense lakes Wisconsin abounds in those of smaller rise scattered profusely over her whole surface. They are from one to twenty or thirty or more miles in extent. Many of these are the most beautiful that can be imagined, the water deep and of crystal clearness and purity, surrounded by sloping hills with fine rounded projecting points or promentories covered with scattered groves and clumps of trees. Some are of a more picturesque kind being more rugged in their appearance with steep rocky bluffs crowned with cedar, hemlock, spruce and
other evergreen trees of a similar character. Perhaps a small rocky island, will vary the scene, covered with a conical mass of vegetation, the [with] low shrubs and bushes being arranged around the margin and the tall trees in the center [illegible.] These lakes usually abound in fish of various kinds affording food for the pioneer settler, and among the pebbles on their shores may occasionally be found fine specimens of agate carnelian, and other precious stones. In the bays where the water is shallow and but little affected by the winds, the wild rice (Zizania aquaitica) grows in abundance affording subsistence for the Indian and attracting innumerable water birds to these lakes. The rice has never been made use of by the settlers in Wisconsin as an article of food, although at some places it affords one of the principal means of support for the red men. It is said to be about equal to oat=meal in its qualities and resembles
it is some degree in taste. The difficulty of collecting it, and its inferior quality will always prevent its use by white men, except in cases of extreme necessity. The Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake near our north boundary have been so often described as to need only to the mentioned here. Their thousand small wooded islands give them a peculiarly interesting and picturesque character not to be found in any other scenery in the world. Among the small lakes may be mentioned Lake Winnebago, St Croix (Upper & Lower) Cass Lake, Lake Pepin, the Four Lakes the Mille Lac, Ottawa, Peqaugen, Pewauha, Geneva Green, Koshhonong - and many others all more fully described, in another part of this work.