Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Origin of 'Winnequah'

I came across the following items of local interest in Google Books.


. . .




Edited by MILO M. QUAIFE, Superintendent


Can you give me any information concerning the origin and

historical significance of the name "Winnequah," applied" to the point

projecting into Lake Monona?


Madison, Wisconsin.

The site of Winnequah was originally known as Strawberry Point,

Squaw Point, Old Indian Garden, and Wood's Point. It was the

village home for the Lake Monona Winnebago, and when Madison

was first built it was occupied by Abraham Wood [no relation], who had a Winnebago

chief's daughter for his squaw. She was one of the illustrious

family of Decorah, and her father was chief of the band in the vicinity

of Portage. In 1885 William B. Long and Abraham Wood entered

the fifty-two acres of the point in the Mineral Point land office, and

three years later, March 24, 1888, transferred their interest to Col.

William B. Slaughter. After this transaction Wood moved to Poynette.

Slaughter kept the land as an investment. Thomas B. Sutherland,

one of the founders of the State Historical Society, was wont

to relate his experiences as surveyor in 1885 when he spent some time

at the Indian village at Strawberry Point. The name "Winnequah"

was bestowed upon the point some time in the late sixties by Capt.

Francis (Frank) Barnes who ran a steamboat line on Lake Monona.

Barnes had a fancy for odd names; one of his boats was named the

"Scutanaubequon." He built a dancing hall on the point and fitted
it up for picnic parties and seems to have invented the word "Winnequah."

At least, its meaning is not to be found among the Winnebago

vocabularies, nor is it susceptible of any interpretation except that

it is made up of Winnebago Squaw Point. Barnes carried on his

steamboat line from 1866 to 1878 or 1874, perhaps later. The Madison

directory for 1877-78 lists him as "captain of tu:g." The owner

of Strawberry Point-to revert to its first name--from 1868 or

earlier was N. W. Dean. He seems to have rented or leased the land

to Barnes for his picnic grounds.

As a medieval Madisonian, I protest against your summary

termination of the activities of "Cap" Barnes at "1878 or ]874,

perhaps later.'" He was positively an institution in and of Madison,

and I positively remember him and his steamboat line at least as late

as 1889. His steamboats, the Scutenaubeqoun and the Waubishnepawau

lent new terrors to the aboriginal tongues. His later

divergence to Silenzioso bore witness to the liveliness, if not the

expertness, of his linguistic imagination. No Madisonian of the

Victorian age, so to speak, will recall "Angleworm Station" without

a warming of the heart to the memory of "Cap" Barnes. His midwinter

straw hat and his irrepressible gaiety are intimately associated

with our tenderest Madison memories. Picnics? Madison was the

home of them, and "Cap" Barnes and his steamboat, in combination,

were preessential to them. It was "Cap" Barnes who hit upon the

first discovered practical use of the abortive capitol park driven

well: "Pull it up, saw it into lengths, and sell it to the farmers for

post holes."

Statesmen, prophets, and nabobs, Mr. Editor, may pass into

oblivion-but touch reverently on the memory of "Cap" Barnes.

Madison would never have been the Madison of its golden age without



Milwaukee, January 7, 1918.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder why the Ojibwe and HoChunk reject the settlers playing with words in the Algonquin and Souian traditions. Neither Chippewa nor Winnebago are acceptable to many speakers of these languages.
    Even the English dictionary in our Monona Library list Squaw as pejorative in to use squaw for spouse is not free from this prejudice.
    I wonder why no history from the 'bottom up' doesn't look at settler's use of native languages and why indigenous peoples reject them.