Nov

25

The date was Nov. 14, 1813. British Colonel Robert Dickson arrived on Lake Winnebago’s Garlic Island, and established an encampment with his group of 27 fighting men. Dickson’s goal as an “Indian Agent” for the British in the War of 1812 was to recruit the support of Native Americans against the Americans in the battle that basically was over the fur trade. Dickson’s goal was to use gifts and merchandise to gain support with tribes located in the corridor from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien.

Weather conditions prevented this group from completing their travel to Prairie du Chien that cold November, so Dickson and his troops set up camp on Garlic Island. Nearby on the mainland was a Menominee village that soon became reliant on Colonel Dickson for goods and supplies.

As winter pressed on, conditions became more difficult. Supplies from Green Bay were not able to get through, creating a serious situation for Dickson, his men and the local Menominee’s. “Although Dickson and his men were themselves often on the edge of starvation, both his natural humanity and strategic considerations compelled him to feed the Indians as well as he was able” (source: Illinois in the War of 1812).

Letters from Colonel Dickson to his lieutenants and others describe the rapidly deteriorating conditions. On March 15 he wrote, “…I am heartily sick and tired of this place. There is no situation more miserable than to see objects around you dying with hunger, and unable to give them but little assistance. I have done what I can for them, and will in consequence starve myself. With best wishes. Yours truly, R. Dickson” (source: Garlic Island War Letters, 1813-1814, Colonel Robert Dickson).

It was soon after, provisions arrived as spring allowed travel routes to become more accessible. Dickson and his men eventually continued their trek southward.

The result of the War of 1812 as stipulated in the Treaty of Ghent is that American forces prevailed.

Here, on Nov. 14, 2013, the 200th Anniversary of the arrival of Colonel Dickson, a few local citizens joined the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society to commemorate this historic occasion on Garlic Island. On hand for the dedication was Richard Keene of Neenah, Archaeologist Richard Mason of Neenah and Randy Domer of the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society. Two flags were hoisted onto the flagpole located near the waters edge. First, the American flag followed by the British flag. The flags were raised by Keene and Mason, followed by a commemoration read by Domer.

Historic Garlic Island is located on Lake Winnebago near its west shoreline, north of Asylum Bay between Oshkosh and Neenah.

via Garlic Island celebrates bicentennial | Post-Crescent Media | postcrescent.com.

Nov

11

MENASHA- Special recognition for friends and family of a man who met his untimely death on Lake Winnebago: The tragedy on the ice spurred an effort to help Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue start its own dive team.

It was a frantic scene on Lake Winnebago off Waverly Beach.

On February 19, 2011, Bruce Peterson’s truck went through the ice.

Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue responded, but had no dive team to go in after the 58-year-old.

Peterson didn’t make it out alive.

“We miss him dearly,” said Jeanne Schiesser, Peterson’s sister.

Shortly after the tragic drowning, Neenah-Menasha firefighters decided to raise funds for a dive team.

Those close to Peterson took the lead, and had great success raising most of the money.

Monday night, city officials took note of those efforts.

The mayor and council officially presented them with a proclamation.

“Thanks will never be able to convey how we feel with what they did. they really are the heroes in putting this together,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Sippin.

Those who were on the scene the day of Peterson’s death say his family and friends have provided the department with a wonderful gift.

One that allows it to be more prepared.

“We could see the hole where the truck had gone down and we knew that there was really nothing we could do. It was a pretty helpless and empty feeling,” said Firefighter Troy Janz.

It took a frenzy of fundraisers, but the group quickly raised 60 thousand dollars towards the 90 thousand the department needed.

“Right away, everybody said absolutely. We’ll do what we can to help so no one else loses a loved one,” said Diane Kiesow, Peterson’s partner.

“I wanted to do something to try to make some sense of the loss that we had,” said Debbie Becklund, Peterson’s friend.

By late 2011, enough was raised to purchase equipment and train divers. The team is now in service.

Peterson’s sister says she’s proud of the work accomplished, and feels so would her brother.

“He would be proud, but he wouldn’t like all the hoo-ha at all,” said Scheisser.

But by turning a tragedy into a community asset, Peterson’s loved ones are making a difference.

“It’s been a long journey, but very fulfilling,” said Becklund.

“Even if we can save one person, it’s all worth it because anyone that needs help, we can help them now,” said Kiesow.

Donations continue to be accepted to help defray maintenance and future training costs.

Dive team started in honor of ice victim.