Not surprising then that early EuroAmerican settlers to the upper Midwest clung to waterways, where the trees were plentiful and provided fuel, lumber and perspective. The water was there for sustenance and transportation to markets back east. There were few trails on the prairie and though railroads were quickly spreading west, they failed to cross the Mississippi River in the first half of the 19th century.
Early settlers to the region were mostly Yankees, many of whom had hopscotched west by way of stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Indiana. A succession of treaties with the native peoples of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa had opened to white settlement vast tracts of the upper Midwest in the 1830s, '40s and 50s. Native Americans were elbowed toward land whites didn't want; and then shoved, when the whites decided they wanted that land, too. The long list of displaced peoples include the Ojibwe, the Ho-chunk, the Fox, the Sac, and the Dakota.
NEXT: The Great Wave
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