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Pepin County is a small county in Western Wisconsin known for its rich history and beautiful landscapes. While it may not be the most well-known county in the state, it has a surprisingly fascinating past. Here are seven interesting facts about Pepin County in Wisconsin history.

1. The county was named after a famous explorer
Pepin County was named after Jean Baptiste Pepin de la Sierra, an explorer and fur trader who explored the Great Lakes and the Upper Mississippi River in the 1700s. He was a prominent figure in the fur trade, helping to establish many of the trading posts that were key to the development of Wisconsin and the surrounding areas.

2. It was once home to Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pepin County was the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the classic Little House on the Prairie book series. The family lived in a log cabin on the banks of the Pepin River, which still exists today as a museum.

3. The county played a key role in the Civil War
During the Civil War, Pepin County played a vital role in supporting Union forces. Many of the county's residents enlisted in the army, and the county government provided financial support to help supply troops and their families.

4. It was a major center for fur trading
Pepin County was once a major center for the fur trade, with many traders and trappers setting up camps along the Mississippi River. The county's rugged landscape and abundant wildlife made it an ideal location for hunting and trapping, and the trade helped to drive the county's early economic development.

5. The county was once part of the Louisiana Territory
Pepin County was included in the original Louisiana Territory, which was acquired by the United States from France in 1803. The county has a rich Native American history, with many tribes, including the Dakotas, the Menominee, and the Ojibwe, calling the area home for thousands of years.

6. The Great Hinckley Fire impacted the county
The Great Hinckley Fire, a massive forest fire that swept across Minnesota and Wisconsin in 1894, also impacted Pepin County. Many of the county's residents were involved in firefighting and relief efforts, and the fire had a lasting impact on the area's forests and wildlife.

7. The county is home to a uniquely shaped lake
Pepin County is home to Lake Pepin, a long, narrow, and unusually shaped lake that stretches for nearly 20 miles along the Mississippi River. The lake is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and other recreational activities, and has a unique ecology due to its unusual shape and location.

From its history as a major center for the fur trade to its role in supporting Union forces during the Civil War, Pepin County has a rich and fascinating history. Whether you're interested in exploring the area's natural beauty or delving into its past, there's plenty to discover in this hidden gem of Wisconsin.

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