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Record 229/261
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
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Description Small wooden stool.

This stool is documented as being made from the wood of the Old Council Tree. The tree stood at the mouth of the Fox River at Neenah, Wisconsin and derived its name from its use by Native American tribes as the site where councils were held. When the Federal Corps of Engineers dredged and widened the river channel in the late 1880s the tree was cut down and many items were made from its wood.

Publius V. Lawson wrote the following in his "Summary of the Archeology of Winnebago County, Wisconsin" in the WISCONSIN ARCHEOLOGIST, Vol. 2, Nos. 2 and 3, 1903: "TREATY ELM - For many years one of the most interesting land marks in the county was the 'Treaty Elm' or 'Council Tree' beneath whose wide spreading branches the chiefs of the neighboring tribes are said to have gathered in council. It was located on Riverside Park point at the mouth of the Neenah-Fox river in the City of Neenah. It was of immense size and girth and towered above all the surrounding forest and could be seen from points from 5 to 8 miles distant. Such was its prominence as a land mark that it was for many years used as a guide by sailors and steamer pilots on the lake. In 1890 in widening the river, both the tree and point were cut away. It was from beneath this monarch of the forest that Four Legs, a Winnebago chief, undertook, in 1815, as had the Fox Indians a century previous, to halt all boatmen and exact tribute. To a convoy of U. S. soldiers under General Leavenworth making up the rapids on their way to the Mississippi he made his historic remark that, 'the lake was locked'. At this the General is said to have raised his rifle with the reply, 'But I have the key.' To this the prudent old chief quickly replied, 'Then you may pass through'."

Dimensions H-6.25 W-14 D-7.5 inches
Year Range from 1880
Year range to 1889
Material Wood
Object ID 5130-1
Object Name Stool
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009