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Winona on the Mississippi

 

What were some of the human cultures or civilizations that lived on the Mississippi River before the arrival of the American settlers?

Were these civilizations simple and primitive or complex and sophisticated? What evidence is there to support your choice?

What were the two major Native American groups who lived in Minnesota? Were they allies or enemies? Which of these groups lived in the Winona area?

Which two European nations established settlements in the Upper Mississippi Valley? Why did they establish those settlements? How did they get along with the Native Americans there?

How did the United States obtain the right of ownership of the Upper Mississippi Valley?

What prevented American Settlement of Minnesota Territory before 1851? What happened in 1851 to open the territory to settlement?

What steamboat Captain was the founder of what is now the City of Winona? Why did he think it was an ideal site for a river town? Was he right?

What were the different names given to the site on which the City of Winona was founded?

What were some other river towns on the west bank of the Mississippi River? What was the closest town on the east bank of the Mississippi River in 1851?

What were the different modes of transportation in the Upper Mississippi Valley in the 1840's and 1850's? How did most settlers get back and forth from Winona to Homer or Winona to Ridgeway? What mode of transportation did Winona need if it was to become a stable river town?

What four major industries became the base for the economic growth of the city? What natural resources of the area contributed to the growth of these industries? Why were these industries so necessary for Winona’s growth?

One of these industries played a significant part in the Union victory in the Civil War--which industry was that and how was it so important?

What are some names of individuals or companies you can associate with the industries that grew up in the Winona area? How did these industries expand their influence beyond Winona to a wide trading area (hinterland)?

Winona leaders realized that the city could not depend on only four major industries for continuing growth and development of the city and area around the city--what were some of the smaller industries, businesses and companies which contributed to Winona’s growth and development?

Winona also became an important governmental and political center in the nineteenth century. Who were some notable Winona politicians and political leaders? What political offices did Winonans hold in local, state and national government?

Winona also became a cultural center. What are some institutions or enterprises which contributed to the cultural development of Winona and the area? What are some of the names of the people who were associated with these institutions or enterprises?

 

 

WINONA

Fathers of waters! by thy side
Cities and towns are rising fast;
Beneath the bluffs, thy beauteous pride,
Gay dwellings now their shadows cast--
But there's a scene surpassing all,
On which the setting sun doth rest--
On thee its latest glories fall,
Winona--pride of all the west.

Far, far inland the farmers thrive,
And reap a rich reward for toll--
The laborer ne'er can vainly strive
Upon thy rich, luxuriant soil.
May fortune's sun resplendent shine
Upon thy town and rearward plains,
And be such future glory thine,
As merit everywhere attains.

The Sioux, their first-born maidens, call
"Wenonah" and no sweeter name
On parent's ears could ever fall,
Or fill the sounding trump of fame!
From far Itasca to the sea,
No spot is half so sweetly blessed--
And here's a bumper health to thee!
Winona--glory of the West.

Sam Whiting, circa 1855

Sam Whiting was Editor of two early newspapers in Winona and an explorer and sea captain.  During the Civil War he was the Captain of the steamer Marion, the ship that took the wives and children of the soldiers stationed at Fort Sumter to safety before the rebels started firing on the fort.  As the Marion sailed out of Charleston Harbor, Captain Whiting refused to dip his flag to the State of South Carolina--an act that enraged the rebels but which won him fame in the Union.  As a result of his patriotic act Whiting had the honor of bringing the flag that flew over Ft. Sumter to a rally in Union Square honoring Major Robert Anderson.  Whiting was appointed U. S. Consul at Nassau in 1862.