I

This involves the general geologic history of the area plus the history of Native American habitation in our region. the Blue Hills, or the Barron Hills as they're called. the hills that are to the east of Rice Lake. clock to
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I think

probably what we can do is begin with the very ancient history of These are We turn back u p the

billion years ago.

This is when the last of the Even before the final
. ",,'

state's mountains began to be worn down, and these were the mountains to the north (Penokean Range) . peak of this great mountain range, which was probably just as high if not higher than the Swiss Alps, finished its rise to the sky, weathering and erosion had begun. Slowly but surely, these processes carved away at the mountains and gradually these mountains, over hundreds of millions of years of time, were reduced. Peak after peak was cut to low relief and a very thick By the close sheet of sediment was laid down over what is now the state of Wisconsin by the erosion of these large mountains. of what we call the Precambrian Era of geologic time, most of what is now the state of Wisconsin was worn down to a very flat plain known as a ·penep1ain. now. The land was almost like Kansas is These sandstones and But here and there were left remnants of this sheet of

sedimentary rock and a few still remain. and quartzites.

claystones, in some areas were metamorphosed into meta sandstones Examples of these erosional remnants, are the The Barron Hills is This more or less sets Baraboo Range in Sauk County, Powers Bluff in Wood County and our own Barron Hills here in Barron County. and aged from 1. 5 to 1. 4 billion years. composed of a very old layer of metasandstones and quartzites, the stage for the old the really old history of this region. Now let's skip quite a bit of geologic time and go to about 2 million years before the present. epoch of glaciation. This was the beginning of the so-called Pleistoncene Epoch of geologic time which is the During this time, most of North American, The one
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in fact over half, was covered with four great continental glaciers: Nebraskan, Kansan, Illinoisan and Wisconsian.
Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes
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Jim Patraw - February 1994

that is most relevant to this region is the so-called Wisconsian ice sheet, obviously named after the state of Wisconsin. about 11, 000 or 12, 000 years ago. It started about 70, 000 years ago and the advanced extended until If fact, if you were here in Rice Lake and looked about five miles north to Haugen, Wisconsin, you would see, if you were here about 12,000 years ago, a wall of ice about a half mile high. be coming off the glacierl Standing here in Rice Lake would be The glaciers furthest extent is The an old outwash plain of this glacier and a lot of meltwater would marked by a glacial deposit called the terminal moraine. Wisconsin.

evidence of the so-called terminal moraine is found in Haugen, This is the east-west trending a ridge that goes If you notice as you're coming down from This is because this is the through the city. outwash plain. moraine.

Haugen, everything flattens out.

The Ice Age Trail of Wisconsin, set up in the

1970s, is established as much as possible along the terminal It is most developed in southern Wisconsin and Adam Cahow, Professor of Geography at UW-Eau Claire, and a few others are still working on its establishment through accessible land as much as possible up here in this part of the state. Blue Hills. It continues through Birchwood, goes around Murphy Flowage, and parts of the This glacier was in part responsible for producing meltwater in creeks that carved some of the canyon features such as Gundy's Canyon in the Blue Hills; also of note is the area of Felsenmeer Scientific Preserve, which may be the site of a small valley glacier located just a few miles south of Gundy's Canyon. A picture of it was featured in the August 1977 issue of National Geographic and there is a very fine article about the Ice Age Trail in that issue. Glaciers erode rocks, and they also deposit the sediments that result from the erosion. A general term for glacial deposits is drift; drift is classified as being unstratified (all sizes of sediment thrown together) or stratified (definite sizes separated out in given layers).
Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes
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Till is a term that defines
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Jim Patraw - February 1994

unstratfied drift. All sorts of interesting things are found in drift; for example, diamonds. There was a person that found a very small From Isle diamond up by Haugen, Wisconsin, on one of the field trips I was leading to a gravel pit just outside of the city. Royale and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, nuggets of native copper, called drift copper, were carried down by the ice and left in places like the Barron Hills and other regions where the glacier deposited it. Historical Society. region. On glacial topography, in small isolated holes called frost pockets, one can still find patches of Arctic tundra. month of the year. These frost pockets harbor temperatures that drop below freezing every I recall Bob Bailey, who did original He put research on frost pockets here many years ago. There is a very large nugget of native Bruce Ward and others have found good sized copper, weighing over a ton, on display at the Barron County nuggets of native copper in the Blue Hills and the Rice Lake

maximum/minimum thermometers at the bottom of these depressions. He recorded temperatures as low as 10°F to 20°F at the end of June. At the bottom of these frost pockets you'll find such This is a type of grass usually What this represents is a fossil vegetation as Arctic sedge. found only in Arctic regions. Age.

climate that has survived to this day from the Wisconsian Ice Humans inhabited the region as early as 9, 500 to 10, 000 Here at the Barron years ago, very shortly after the ice left. tail projectile point.

County Campus just a few years ago, an individual found a turkey­ This particular projectile point that was commonly in usage during the Late Archaic/Early Woodland Period. The Early Woodland Period goes from 1, 000 B. C. to 300 B. C. and the Late Archaic goes from 3, 000 B.C. to 1, 000 B. C. occupation. The turkey tail points were used during these two periods of cultural It has been heard that a local collector down in
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Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes

Jim Patraw - February 1994

Chetek found a Clovis point not too far from the Chetek area. have not been able to verify this, but this would indicate the

presence of Paleo-Indian culture going back to near 10, 000 years before the present. If this is true, then this area has been inhabited almost since the start of the retreat of the local lobe of the Wisconsian ice sheet that made its way down as far south as Haugen. One thing I'd like to mention is the copper culture between 3, 000 and 1, 000 B. C. with a little resurgence in mining between. 800 to about 1, 200 A.D. The remarkable native copper deposits of It is estimated that between the Michigan Peninsula and Isle Royale were exploited and mined by Native American copper miners. 3, 000 and 1, 000 B.C. (this was during the Late Archaic and

defines the so-called copper culture), somewhere around 1/4 million ton of native copper was mined by these people from around 5, 000 to 10, 000 open pit copper mines. Many of the big mines that were subsequently established there by the white settlers when they came in to work the deposits in the last century, were dug further into old previously established copper pits. There was quite a bit of trade going on both in that time Trade routes were established by It was defined by what oldtimers and the Archaic time, and also in the later period between 800 or 900 and 1,100 or 1, 200 A.D. water and by land. through the Rice Lake area. A branch of one of the trade roads went

call the Bayfield Trail that came down from LaPoint, it connected further north with other trails leading back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The copper would be brought down by foot and also by water through this region and would be transferred to points of rendezvous to other traders from the south, west and east along, usually, river systems. Cooper nuggets from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have been found in archaeological sites in the Southwest U. S. , California, the Southeast U. S. , all the way down through Mexico as far south as northern South America. There was quite a bit of trade going on even in those
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Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes

Jim Patraw - February 1994

early daysl

The Native Americans used the trade routes to The Barron Hills figure very significantly in

transport copper, furs, other goods such as pipestone from the Barron Hills area. pipestone because the major deposits of pipestone that were used to make the sacred pipes of many of the Amerindian cultures that used the rituals of the sacred pipe. area right here in the Barron Hills. This was a prime source Although other areas to the I

north of us also have pipestone deposits in the quartzites, the Barron Hills seem to be the major source site for pipestone. the catlinite in Minnesota. Pipestone and catlinite, although When both should mention that the pipestone we have here is different from they are completely different, are clay mineraloids. rapidly when exposed to air. and resoften the stone.

come out of the ground they are very soft and hardens very Pipestone can be reworked but it takes time to resoften the stone, that is, reintroduce the water The pipestone deposits in the Blue Hills The Pipestone National Monument have been worked for centuries.

catlinite deposit became really active only around the 1830s, after the Lakota were driven out of this region by the Anishinabe (Ojibwa) . Lakota. The pipestone here then became unavailable to the As far as I can tell from visual observation, 90-95% of

the old pipes that I have seen in museums in the West--the old ceremonial long pipes--are made from the pipestone that comes from the area of Northern Wisconsin, and probably from the Blue Hills deposits specifically. Pipestone, like copper, is also used to trace ancient trade, route systems. Like copper, pipestone has certain trace elements These trace elements vary So, that are present in the material.

depending upon the location of the source of the pipestone. the locality of origin of the stone and from there trace the

by chemical analysis of the pipestone, it is possible to pinpoint probable trade route from the source to the point where the given artifact or piece of stone was found.

Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes - Jim Patraw - February 1994

Let's talk about wild rice.

The Indian name for the Rice The region has

Lake area prior to the settlement by the white man was Mushko­ domono-mini-kan which means "prairie rice lake". been known for centuries for its wild rice marsh that once occupied what is now the north part of Rice Lake above the place where the dam is located on Main street. northern Rice Lake. Midwest. it. The establishment of the dam flooded the upper part of the marsh creating what is now This part of the lake was at one time probably the largest single wild ricing area in the entire Each late September-early October, when the rice There were ripened, the Native Americans would come from all over to harvest The women were the ones who usually did this. two per canoe and they would use sticks and paddles to harvest the rice, put it in the bottom of the canoe. I t would then be taken up on shore and the rice would be culled on skins that would be stretched over small holes dug in the ground for this purpose. There were quite a number of these rice culling pits This is just across found over on the old H. C. Nelson property.

the bay from Howard's Point, or Howard'3 Camp, which is on the northeast side of the bay that is in back of Lakeview Medical Center. There is one rice pit that you can still see down in the The H. C. Nelson FAA Park just north of the fairgrounds.

property north of Nora Cemetery and somewhat adjacent to it, right along the lake shore, was the site of extensive garden plots cultivated by the Woodland Amerindians that lived in the permanent village just across what is now the lake. was situated in what is now known as Hiawatha Park. That village It was a
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fairly good sized village; probably 500 or so people lived there They had their garden plots across the marsh on what is now the west side of the lake. Rice Lake, in the
NW

It was in this area on the west shore of

1/4, Section 16, that the profiles of garden

rows of beds that ran diagonally to the shore of the lake could be seen, before the area was developed, right at sunrise or sunset in the slanting rays of the sun. Leland Cooper, when I was helping to excavate the Indian mounds up at Indian Mound
Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes
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Jim Patraw - February

1994

Park, told me of these. along with Rex Hamilton.

I t was around 1912 or 1913 that

Mr.

Nelson, who operated a ginseng nursery there, described them Apparently there were two plots, one They were was around 115 to 120 feet long and this was the southernmost plot, and the northern one measured about 200 feet. separated by a distance of around 50 feet. them. ranged in length anywhere from 15 to 30 feet. garden had about 38 to 40. The planting rows There were many of

The lower part contained about 14 or 15 rows and the upper The crops that were planted were

squash, corn, beans, pumpkins--vegetable staples grown in abundance by the woodland sioux that lived in the village across from the wild rice marsh in Hiawatha Park. Hiawatha Park was the main village site. Amerindians have lodges that stay put. Anishinabe drove them out of the area. The Woodland

The Woodland sioux or The Anishinabe, or the

Lakota were not the nomads that they later became after the Ojibwa, were armed by the French traders with powder and ball. (The French made alliances with them and supplied them with firearms.) This tipped the balance in favor of the Ojibwa. This was the main village but not the only one. All up and down the

Red Cedar River, which was at one time named the Menomonie River (you can see this from the old maps), there were small villages and small settlements. There is a site near the proposed regional airport site, and another a little further upstream across the River on South Street near the UW-Barron County Center campus. site. Going down to the Ann Street school area, not too far You might away from the railroad trestle, there was also a small village These villages supported 25 or 30 individuals. note that these sites are all located on high prominences or places that overlook a bend in the river, or some place where they could keep an eye on what was going on upstream or downstream. Any place where you find a village site you are This is especially true over in Anyone who has a yard that is made of original
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bound to find village garbage. Hiawatha Park.

Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes - Jim Patraw - February 1994

landscape has but to turn a spade of sod and to find old pottery chips, fragments of clay pipes, and all sorts of village garbage that these people threw out or left lying about in the village complex. Just north of the present day Indian Mounds Park, where the historical sign that describes the old Bayfield Trail stands is a place that was known as Howard's Camp. T. Howard who owned this point of land. considerable number of Amerindians. It was named for Mr. M. This was a dancing

grounds where various types of ceremonies were held by a During the years of 1 879 and 1880, there were times when more than 100 Amerindians would camp there and they would hold their ceremonies at that point. Regarding the Indian mounds, the greatest concentration of mounds were the 51 burial mounds, (and let me emphasize that they were all burial mounds), that extended from what is now the Barron County Fairgrounds down through Indian Mound Park, the area where the Rice Lake Convalescent C:'lre Center and Lakeview Medical Center stands now, southward to about Stout Street. These were described by Professor Cyrus Thomas in about 1890. These particular mounds that are here represented the graveyard, if you want to call it that, of the peoples in the village that lived across the wild rice marsh, who were probably Woodland Sioux of a time period of 1,000 A.D. to 1, 500 A.D
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One of the

mounds, at least the one that I helped excavate with Leland Cooper back in 1952, was made after the advent of white culture in the United States, for one burial had a lead button and a steel spring included in the funeral bundle. particular mound is obviously later. At the intersection of Main and Messenger Streets in Rice Lake, there was also a group of mounds called the Middleton group. This group contained the largest of all of the mounds. No
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The age of that

It was on this mound that the Carnegie Library was built.
Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes
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J im Patraw - February

1994

trace of these mounds remain.

On the east shore of Rice Lake,

and this is south of where the Red Cedar River empties into Rice Lake, just south of the Miles Johnston residence in the woods there are several burial mounds called the Draak mounds. After the Ojibwa drove the sioux out of the area, they established residence here. bridge. Their burial ground was located down where Narrows Park is now, at the north end of the railroad If you go to the Narrows Bridge and look to the east you These graves were covered can see the remnants of the trestle. been destroyed.

with little spirit houses and all traces of the burial sites have Further down the road at Colan Point also was a This was the campsite of the band He stayed there until practically all of campsite for the Anishinabe. of Chief Cha-nee-nee. in 1833.

the Anishinabe had been removed to the Lac Oreilles reservation He was allowed to stay there several years after Frequently several hundred Indians would One of the graves was everyone else had gone. ceremonies. burials.

camp here at different times and would have festivities and There were also graves there. a niece of the old chief. Again, there is no trace left of these

The entire site is now occupied by homes.

Another very significant historical site is found on Orchard Beach Lane just south of Jachim Drive on the prominence of land between Lower Rice Lake and Lake Montanis. settlement in Barron County. post. The front yard of the late Joe Jachim's house was the site of the first white This was Augustin Cadott's trading According to the best accounts, this trading post was

built some time prior to the Revolutionary War. Some time after 1790 a sioux raiding party attacked the fort, killed Cadott and one other person, and destroyed the fort. visited in 1880 by Professor Butler. The site itself was He described seeing the

ruins of the post in the form of a ditch and the outlines of the stockade which had gun turrets on the northeast and the southwest. There were places where fires were made, a garden
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Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes - Jim Pat raw - February 1994

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plot, and also a cabin in the enclosure.

This probably was a Thus

major trading post and hopefully someday we will be able to mark the site with an official State Historical Society marker. far, our efforts have proved unsuccessful, but we're still hoping. The history of logging and lumbering that was part and parcel of the establishment of Rice Lake is another story. suspect that you should contact Bruce Ward or Don Carney for these aspects. I hope that these notes will be of some help to you in writing your proposal and as I have stated in my letter of endorsement, I stand ready to be of service and assistance to this enterprise that you are proposing down at the proposed Rice Lake Regional Airport. Please feel free to calI on me. Thank you very much for listening. I

Rice Lake Area Geologic Notes

Jim patraw - February 1994

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