Ancient Indian Fort at Lake Vieux Desert Wisconsin


In the second volume of the History of the Indian Tribes (p. 91, Plate lii), just published by authority of Congress, is a plate representing the ancient works situated on one of the three islands in Lake Vieux Désert, the head of the Wisconsin river, accompanied by the following brief notice:
“The remote position of Lake Vieux Désert, its giving rise to the Wisconsin river, and its having a large island in its centre which fits it for the cultivation practised by the Indians, appear to have early pointed it out as a retreat and stronghold of the interior Indians. No enemy could approach it except by water, and its natural capacities for defence were strengthened by an elliptical embankment in its centre, which appears to have served as the basis of pickets. There were small mounds or barrows within the inclosure, together with some cross embankments, and two large excavations without the embankment, all which are shown in the plate. It appears to have been the most northwesterly point fortified, east of the Mississippi river. The boundary which separates Wisconsin from Michigan cuts the island into nearly equal parts.”
It is not stated when or by whom these works were surveyed. The general parallelism of the embankments with the shore of the island, and the occurrence of large pebbles in their materials, lead to the suspicion that they may be natural ridges, caused by the expansive force of ice. Such ridges are quite numerous along the banks of the smaller lakes in this climate.