An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
May 3, 2003 - Issue 86
Equadon and the Park
of a Hundred Springs
From The Ashland Daily Press - July 6, 1933 - By Guy M. Burnham
credits: submitted by Timm Severud (Ondamitag)
the History of the Prentice Park
Park of a Hundred Flowing Wells
Park of a Hundred Flowing Wells occupies the site of an old Indian Settlement,
for what man, be he white or red, is not attracted by the pure water that
comes from these wells.
will be just 79 years ago tomorrow that Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilbourne
rowed a small boat from Bayfield across the bay of Chequamegon to the
south shore of the bay. This was all Indian land then, but Whittlesey
believed in take time for the forelock, looking he said, for a place that
'might prove to be the most available point for a town, at or near Equadon
(pronounced E Quay don, the second syllable emphasized.) The word 'Equadon,'
is the Chippewa word meaning 'settlement near the head of the bay.'
west of the place where Whittlesey landed, was the staggering Indian settlement,
clustered around the 'place of many springs,' with paths leading down
to the bay pretty much as they do now.
was on July 5, 1854.
Four years later, Robert D. Boyd, whose blood was the first that was shed in Ashland, lived in the Indian settlement just west of Ashland - with his Indian wife, who was a grand daughter of Michel Cadotte. He came from his residence in Equadon, west of Ashland up to Whittley's third house one evening, where he was shot and killed by Joseph H.M. Cross. There or four years ago, I accidentally discovered the half breed son of the first man who was killed in Ashland, was living on the Bad River Reservation, and from this half breed, Robert Boyd, Jr., I obtained some new facts about the killing of his father. His wife, a very intelligent full-blooded Chippewa woman said to me, "My father lived in a wigwam, in Equadon, west of Ashland, near the springs."
the month of February 1854, Leonard Wheeler, the missionary and an Odanah
Indian met at Odanah, where Mr. Wheeler then lived, and drove on the ice
along the south shore of the Chequamegon Bay, from Kakagon to Fish Creek.
It was the year of the great treaty, in which the Indians agreed to cede
most of their lands to the United States and to reserve tracts for their
permanent homes. The Indians were glad to do this, for only four years
before; the government had decided to move the Chippewa to the Minnesota
country. William Whipple Warren led a large delegation to Minnesota but
like all others who were interested, they much preferred Wisconsin. Leonard
Wheeler himself, took up the cudgel of his wards, and practically led
the fight to prevent the removal of the Chippewas from Wisconsin, but
in 1854, it was understood that some sort of agreement was going to have
to be reached, for white settlers were looking to the north, and they
need an outlet to Lake Superior. The Indians realized that they would
have to do something so Wheeler, the missionary and Little Current, the
Chippewa, were delegated to look over the south shore of Chequamegon Bay.
William Wheeler who was a small boy accompanied his father and the Indian
on the trip, says that the Indians furnished the pony and the missionary
the cutter, and they drove down past where Ashland now stands, to the
extreme head of the bay. From the head of the bay region, at Fish Creek
to nearly where Whittlesey afterwards built his first house, there was
a straggling Indian settlement, which the Indians called Equadon.
foot of land from Fish Creek to Odanah was Indian Land. It was in this
settlement or village, which the wife of Robert Boyd, Jr., told me her
father, lived in Equadon, near the many flowing springs, which we now
call Prentice Park. The Indians thought the western limits of the proposed
reservation of Bad River, should be the west end of the bay, but the missionary
pointed out that that would keep the white men from building a city on
the south shore of the bay, and that it would be advantageous to the Indians
to have such a city built, as it would furnish a market for their furs
and other products they might have for sale. Little Current agreed to
this, and then and there, the agreed on the western limits of the Bad
River Reservation should begin at the Kakagon just as it is now, extending
the reservation far enough south to make up for the loss of the frontage
from Kakagon to Fish Creek. Asaph Whittlesey frequently talked with Leonard
Wheeler about good sites along the south shore and so about four months
after the momentous trip of Leonard Wheeler and Little Current, near the
end of February. Asaph Whittlesey and George Kilbourne rowed a boat over
from Bayfield and felled the first tree, built the first house, establishing
the settlement, which was to be known for about six years as Whittlesey.
When Whittlesey felled the first tree on July 5, 1854, the land still
belonged to the Indians. Three months later, on September 30, 1854, the
Treaty of La Pointe was signed, under which Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles,
Red Cliff, the tip of Madeline Island, and Lac du Flambeau were reserved,
but it was not until January 10, 1855, that the Senate ratified the treaty,
which became a law by proclamation of President Franklin Pierce, on January
Whittlesey built his first house on land, which still belonged to the
Indians, there was little danger of the Wheeler-Little Current agreement
being disturbed, and Whittlesey became Ashland in 1860. The head of the
bay, which then, as well as now, swarmed with fish and game, became a
part of the white man's domain, and this included the Place of Many Springs,
As for the Indian settlement of Equadon, after the Treaty of 1854 became effective in the year 1856, the dwellers in Equadon went over to Odanah, with most of the Chippewas who moved from La Pointe, to the village, which Leonard Wheeler had formed for them on the Bad River.
Site of Equadon
is a beautiful bay, at the head is situated the large village of Indians
who there cultivated fields of Indian corn, and do not lead a wandering
life. There are at this place, men bearing arms who number about 800;
but these gathered together from seven different tribes."
Indian corn is not a crop that is grown in swamps or wet low lands. The historian Verwyst, whom we here know as Father Chrysostom, says that Allouez lived for a short time at least, at the village of the junction of South Fork and Fish Creek, which of course was one of the villages of the seven tribes. Verwyst further says that on east side of Fish Creek was one a large and populous village of Ottawas who raised corn. The map of Bellin also much later, in the year 1741 has a mark showing a village east of Fish Creek. E.P. Wheeler, writing to our committee on the establishment of a Radisson Marker, mentions the Ottawa village east of Fish Creek. The Ottawas, by the way, called the Courte Oreilles or Short Ears, have there name perpetuated in Lac Courte Oreilles, near Hayward. All these villages east of Fish Creek, whose people raided Indian corn, obviously resided quite close to this place of Many Flowing Wells, and I think their cornfields grew right across the railroad track on the level land south of Prentice Park. I was brought up in corn country, and the field where Mr. Maslowski has established his park nursery, is the place where there were cornfields, and it is altogether probable, that the many flowing wells, which line the bluff just above the Lagoon, furnished the drinking water for generations of people. We know, that there stood the settlement of Equadon, near which Asaph Whittlesey felled his first tree.
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