The Early Indian Wars



During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Wisconsin was filled with confrontations and battles. Not only were Wisconsin’s Indian tribes trying to fend off the French and British from “settling” their new land, but they were also at war with each other, thanks to the effects of the fur trade.

During the 1600s, the “Iroquois Wars” were the first real conflicts. The demand for furs had been so strong that the Iroquois decided to invade the fur-supplying areas to their west, so many Indian tribes fled west into Wisconsin. This created competition for food and furs amongst the tribes already in Wisconsin, and resulted in even more battles. The warfare continued for several decades.

The 1700s brought about even more fighting with the Fox Wars and the French and Indian War. By this time most of the Indian tribes in the area had become dependent on French and British traders for “modern” technology such as guns and ammunition. As a result, many tribes had become allies with either the French or British and fought alongside them against other Indian tribes.


Doua Vue – St Paul, MN (Originally from La Crosse, WI)

“I always hear about people finding arrowheads in their backyard or some other random place. That’s because hundreds of years ago, many gruesome battles were fought right here in Wisconsin between conflicting Native American tribes. Oh, look, a triangular rock!”

Wisconsin Storytime Home

3 thoughts on “The Early Indian Wars”

  1. I wonder if I might get some information from this site. I have tried several native American sites but with only sarcastic remarks and comments.
    I had heard of an Indian battle that took place on the south side of what is now Rhinelander. Where the St. Mary’s hospital once stood. I don’t know how true the battle was or who was part of that alleged battle. No one knows anything about it or will comment on it. WHY? Is it a lie? Most people say that they never heard of such a battle. What information do you have or know of such a battle. I live only three blocks from where it was supposed to have happened and since I was a child often imagined that braves who may have been injured or going to or from the battle, passed through my property or maybe rested here before returning to battle. I have wondered what it was about and who were involved. If you can help me with this I would greatly appreciate it.

    1. Sorry, I don’t have any knowledge of battles around there. I’m definitely not an expert on this though—just have some basic history knowledge.

  2. Dear sir, My grand mother was from Rhinelander. She told me of this battle when I was about ten years old. She stated that the Indians came down river before daylight and were waiting for the settlers as they awoke. She was related to the folks that were involved. Her grandmother was scalped and left for dead. I believe the families she was related to , we’re the Maybees and Sayures. I don’t believe she would have lied about such a thing. I met a family of Maybees when they moved to minnesota. That was around 1962.

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